Monday, December 18, 2006

Dividing the world for good

I try to listen and understand the views of others, on current affairs issues, and occasionally I do hear what is being said. Like this morning: “The Palestinians are now divided into two factions,” I was told.

‘Well, yes…’ I was thinking, ‘so?’

Then the rest was added, “no wonder we can’t get along, all this division…”

I lost the rest of the comment as my mind went off on its own tack. Was their any value, for example, pointing out that our own country was divided and riven by political factions, and some of the players quite vicious.

I ventured the point, but it was quickly swept aside – “We aren’t divided like they are…”

So, some countries are allowed to have instutionalised division and others are not. Australia, the US, Britain and their ilk are expected to have ‘healthy’ and robust competition for the political plums.

Palestine, Iraq and the somehow lesser nations are expected to be homogenous, of one mind. But then ‘we’ generally disagree with ‘them’ on the broad plane of their beliefs, so ‘we’ don’t see any points of divergence in ‘their’ beliefs which could generate divisions.

For example if ‘we’ deem Islam to be suspicious in its entirety, then the idea of internal divisions seem to be a doubtful proposition. There is no room to imagine splits within the dubious religion.

Yet even us non-Christians, in the West, readily accept the notion that the church , split and divided on so many planes and angles, is simply the church doing what it does.

That all comes down to ignorance, an unwillingness to understand other cultures. But actively trying to wipe out divisions is more of a concern.

Following the welcome ousting of Thaksin Shinawatra in Thailand, authorities are now looking at measures for an appointed Prime Minister, one who can rid politics of divisions.

Opponents of the deposed prime minister, Thaksin, have argued that, despite the strength of the constitution drafted in 1997, he was able to subvert the system of checks and balances.

Somehow, resorting to a semi-democracy hardly seems the way to stop the system being subverted. We need to accept division as a part of healthy systems of government. But diversity should be equally available to Palestinians as it is to us. Common sense, at the very least, should recognize that other cultures have an equal right to diversity and division.


Anonymous said...

Common sense, at the very least, should recognize that other cultures have an equal right to diversity and division.

Maybe--and I'm really just being snarky here--we should take the Episcopal Church as an instructive example?

Cartledge said...

An excellent example froggy, but few seem to see the connection. We allow and accept fractured structures in our society and yet perceive other cultures as naturally homogenus.

Anonymous said...

I have never thought of it that way, yet it was out there all along. I guess these "young democracies" on the Middle east need to strike a healthy balance of bloodshed and banquets.