Egypt: Bloggers on the Fence
Date posted: January 7, 2009
Sitting on the fence requires objectivity, tolerance, and integrity. Mona Eltahawy chose to sit on the fence and Amr Gharbeia asks people to choose a solution. In her post: "On Fence Toughtest Stance in Mideast", Mona Eltahawy stated that:
it’s too easy to take sides in the Middle East conflict. Few other parts of the world inspire such passion or leave such little room for doubt. For many, choosing sides is just an afterthought to their birthright: If you’re an Arab, go join the Free Palestine demonstrations; and if you’re Jewish, go join the Save Israel marches. Don’t forget, you can always throw God into the mix. Lay claim to your holy sites and you’ll have religiously sanctioned wrath to fuel your rage.
Then she asks:
what’s the point of choosing sides when both sides are losing? The real challenge when it comes to the Middle East is to sit on the fence and to understand that as with most chapters of this interminable conflict, civilians pay the most expensive price.
The best unbiased advice she could give is:
From that perch up there on the fence, keep your eyes firmly on Israeli and Palestinian civilians and ask about the responsibility of leaders to their people. The civilians of Gaza are victims of both Hamas and Israel. The former have been more concerned with firing ineffectual rockets at southern Israel where they targeted the very group of people they are now accusing Israel of hurting the most in Gaza — civilians. Israel has launched a punishing bombardment and invasion of Gaza that will be used as the latest proof that it is the neighbourhood bully. Its actions are bound to turn Hamas into the very heroes they don’t deserve to be and possibly unleash a new wave of unconscionable suicide bombings against Israeli civilians. And all for what?
And she warns:
For those of us from the region, the easiest thing might be to follow our birthright to bias but the hardest thing is to scream “Enough” at a time when both sides seem bent on mutual destruction and when to criticize your side ensures accusations of being a sellout.
Finally she insists on:
staying on that fence and being a sellout for peace. Stay on that fence with me and scream and yell for a ceasefire. Enough violence.
Amr Gharbeia created a poll on his blog asking voters to choose one of nine options to end the conflict and the results showed that the majority of people just want peace and democracy: