Saturday, May 31, 2008

China and Israel - a tale of 2 photographs

Take a look at these two photographs

The first one is obviously from Tianamen Square, which people will recognize. The second is from somewhere in the occupied territories in Palestine. Now there are two ways of looking at this.

The first way is that just like China clamped down on pro-democracy protesters and sent in tanks, nothing will happen in Palestine as well. It is now just a shade under 2 decades for China and nothing changed as yet, it is still the same old communist regime and in some ways, even more of a crackdown on any form of alternative political activity happened. So if you are big enough, brutal enough and do not give a toss at all,then  you will get away with repression.

The second way of looking at this is, people do not learn. 20 years onwards, China is still thought to be a repressed autocratic country in the world, whether it is Tibet, Uighurs or the students demanding freedom, it is still held up to be one of the standard bearers of the oppressed, communist, totalitarian, authoritarian regimes. Similarly, that is also the image that is getting propagated across the world for Israel. Is that something that one can live with?

And finally, all single ideology states are unable to change without massive and huge impacts to their core ideology. This is why liberal democracies are generally much better in reacting to massive change than totalitarian regimes. We all know about the challenges with China, but the problem with Israel is that while it was formed under an "exclusionist" philosophy, it decided to impose it on the basis of a liberal democracy. Well, those two mutually inconsistent and kind of mutually exclusive factors will lead inexorably to either the Zionist philosophy being abandoned / modified or liberal democracy being abandoned, but not both. This is why I strongly suggest that Israel should talk to Hamas (assuming it wants to go down the liberal democratic route).

Which iconic photograph does Israel want to be remembered by?

Technorati Tags: ,,,

No comments: