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Thursday, April 25, 2013

What if the Middle East conflict didn't exist anymore?

I was watching The Jetsons last night, and something occurred to me. But first, some rambling. Yes, I am allowed to ramble. You aren't the only ones out there that get to do that.
I loved The Jetsons when I was a kid. Even though I watched them from about 1970 to 1975, I had no idea that they were made in 1962. At the time, they were way ahead of anything that was on TV. Even though they are cartoons, they were aired first run in prime time, on Sunday nights. Long before anyone thought of doing that with The Simpsons.
As I watched the first episode of season 1 last night, it occurred to me how stupid and poorly written they were. The concepts they talked about (flying instead of driving, having robots as servants, and other technological advances that actually have come true) were very futuristic and compelling to think about some 50 years ago. But the basis of the show was still everyday life and how people get along. Jealousy, love, deception, goofiness, raising kids, working for the man at a dead end boring job, the grind of daily life, etc. Stuff like that.
That first episode was basically the Jetsons needing a vacation and winning one from some sort of advanced interactive TV thing they had in their apartment. On that vacation ( a cruise, but one that traveled the air instead of the sea), the main premise was the parents, George and Jane, running into old flames from their youth, and trying to keep that from each other. Standard sitcom plot, with the predictable ending. It wasn't high concept stuff.
The show wasn't well written or presented. But, they had such a vision of the future, and many of those things came true. We still don't have robots for maids, and we can't make a huge suitcase into clothes fold into a wallet size you can fit into your pocket, but many of the technological advances have come true. The internet is certainly proof of that. 
That was now more than 50 years ago. Many things have changed, but still, many of the issues and daily news items still reflect that we haven't made any or much progress since then. Here are some things I wonder and that would be interesting to ponder in a fictional way. Will any of them happen in our lifetimes? Probably not.
But then, how many of us thought that the Berlin Wall would fall, or that Russia would be every bit as capitalist as America and Communism would mostly be a thing of the past? In the late 70s, those were not thoughts we even considered. The list goes on. Many amazing things have happened, while some things never change.
Anyway, lets speculate on what can be. I will do one of these a month. Here is the first thought.

Imagine a world in which the Middle East conflict doesn't exist.
What would it actually take to convince both sides that there is no end-game positive result to fighting over land that neither will give up to the other side without bloodshed?
I don't know the answer to that question. I don't even know if it is possible to convince them that it is just land. And that the world is full of land. Lots of land. You can live a better, safer life. The fighting is pointless. Their children die for nothing. They spend most of their lives in fear. For what? For the hope to possess land they consider "holy".
This conflict has gone on for thousands of years. Yet, it seems if anything, it is more contentious as time marches on.
Part of me just wants the rest of the world to tell them both to get along, or we will do it for them. Just take it from both sides, tell them to get the hell out, as far away from each other as possible, and then we will just leave it a barren wasteland.
Kind of like how your father was when you were on a long trip. He lets you and your sister battle a bit in the backseat, but at some point he turns around and tells you to knock it off. Two hours later, when you start bickering again, he slams the brakes on and pulls the car over. Then he reads you the riot act and tells you that you are going to get it if you don't cut it out and all get along. Enough has become enough. I think we are at that point in the Middle East. Either they get their act together and settle this, or we just have to come in, like our fathers did, and settle it for them.
It seems pretty clear, on their own, they are not able to do it for themselves. They are just two bickering little kids who are fighting over a toy. 
And just like our fathers, we are just tired of it all. 
The likely scenario would be that if they were removed from the region, went their separate ways, in two or three generations the younger people wouldn't even understand what they were fighting over and would just get along, as most of us do now. It seems distance is the only solution now. Cooler heads never seem to prevail in this region. Just like you and your sister, you grow older, you go about your lives, and you come back together and realize that you were fighting over nothing worth fighting over.
Will it happen in my lifetime? Probably not. But it would be an interesting world to think that on a daily basis we didn't have to read or watch people kill people over land that they could easily have elsewhere without all the risk they take now to have. And mostly, something neither side has for long before the other side tries to take it back.  

What a world it would be if the fighting in the Middle East simply didn't exist anymore. 


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