Archive for January, 2007

Thomas Friedman, ‘From Beirut to Jerusalem’

From Beirut to JerusalemWe had a v.interesting discussion. i think that while it was a bit of work everyone seemed to agree the book was a rewarding experience. I certainly found it fascinating and learnt a lot from it.

I think the key positive we found in the book was its tremendous inside view of what it was like in Jerusalem and Beirut in the 80s and 90s. It was quite a privelege to have access to such a detailed account of what its like to live in these places, and the political and military details behind all the news stories. I was amazed how little I knew despite growing up with the issue on the news every night.

However, I think maybe the book created some uneasiness too. For me, that uneasiness stemmed from friedman’s explanation, or lack of , for all these decades of tradgedy. In the end he seemed to be saying, more or less, its the fault of the leaders and the peoples involved, and they need to get over it. For example he quotes someone who said something like ‘it will end when they value their children more than their political ambition’.

Whilst there maybe some truth in this eye catching phrase, its seems overly simplistic, and on reflection to not be an explanation at all. You could say the same thing about every nation that has failed to address a big problem due to shortsightedness, greed or hunger for power. Think of climate change, nuclear disarmament, and the environment.

I’m not sure it helps in any way, and worse it seems to distance the reader, and friedman, from the people ‘over there’ in Jerusalem and Beirut as if they are different in some very fundamental way.

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January 28, 2007 at 7:14 am Leave a comment


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