Friday, March 26, 2004

More Shikaki

Here is Khalil Shikaki's New York Times article calling for elections prior to an Israeli pull-out from Gaza. It's definitely worth reading. My main concern is whether the plan is feasible. Even if Shikaki is wrong and Hamas were to win such elections, I would support them. At least then someone would have control and a legitimate claim to speak for the Palestinians.

On a somewhat related note, something I found out today caused me think on chaos theory:

A.) Jonathan Edelstein has a series of interesting posts on Shikaki.
B.) When our Middle East Studies Program considers speakers for this semester, Shikaki is on the list. Remembering Edelstein's posts, I lobby hard for him, and since no one else has strong opinions, he is invited.
C.) Taking advantage of the trans-Atlantic plane ticket, Shikaki stopped in Washington for two days to lobby for his election idea. He said the people he talked to hadn't considered it, but did find it interesting.
D.) (projected) Shikaki's idea is implemented, leading quickly to peace in the Middle East.

OK, maybe not. Still, it's good to feel like you might have done something useful, even if you didn't realize you were doing it. At least when I go to figure out the paperwork on disentangling the different financial strains of his visit and how much of it we pay for, I'll have a sense it served a purpose.

UPDATE: Man, I can't get the tone to come out right here. Basically what I want to convey is that I was close to a chain of events which might have a positive impact on the Middle East (which I find neat, being young and idealistic and all that), but also that our program funds aren't going to a lobbying trip. In that context, it is fortunate that my attempts to communicate with Dr. Shikaki took a while to get a response, as had we known, we might have expressed a strong preference for a direct flight for various reasons related to the financial bureaucracy. This communication issue is the reason I just found out about this today, even though I was officially at the center of the planning action. Shikaki, of course, was quite pleasant during those times when we did communicate.


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