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Where The Red Stripes Are


By James G. Mason  
May, 2002

Those who have called me “radical,” in the past are going to nod their heads and say, “I told you so,” after this proposal.   Like most of the political world, I’m desperate for a reasonable solution to lasting peace in the Middle East.  But “reasonable” ideas should be reserved for situations in which reason can realistically prevail.  This is not the case in the Middle East.  I feel deep sorrow when peoples kill each other.  I feel pity for those who can’t resolve their differences.  Because one of the most sensitive subjects in the world for any opinion writer is what, where, when, how to do with, at, for, about Jewish people; here’s the part where I have to de-anti-Semite my view: I have nothing against the Jewish people.  I live with and am in love with a Jewish woman.  There are two Jews in my family, my German ancestors were Jewish.  I see no reasonable differences between the Jewish ethnicity and any other human ethnicity.  To be fair, I have nothing against Arabs and Palestinians either. 

I’m also an atheist and so I’m embarrassed when humans take-up beliefs and become indignant about “rights” that evolve from those beliefs, and then proceed to kill each other over them.  I would agree the following would be radical proposal if the problem had just begun, if there had not already been three thousand years of blood baths on this very land we call “holy,” i.e. the ruthless army of David, the actions of Ramses, the Roman conquests, the Christian Crusades.  Already in the last four decades; several accords, hundreds of meetings, dozens of broken agreements and thousands of innocent deaths.  It would not be a radical proposal if all this death and failure to get along were not over something as trivial as a section of dry land the area of Rhode Island.  The land under the political borders called Israel and the occupied territories has seen more blood spilled per square mile than any spot on this Earth.  

I say let all current occupants, of this land worth dying and killing over, have 1 year to gather their belongings and get out for good.  Neighboring and other countries can agree to accept a fairly distributed amount of emigrants of the disputed land.  A U.N. force can be in charge of rounding up every man, woman, and child, and all wildlife from the region.

Then irradiate the Middle East. The nuclear powers of the Earth should agree to jointly explode nuclear devices over all land from the south of Lebanon to the West Bank of Jordan to the Red Sea.  Destroy all opportunity for a human to thrive on this land for hundreds of years.  Melt the so-called “sacred lands,” that these disagreeing peoples have been willing to kill and die over for decades.  Turn the Temple Mount into a mound of glass.  Change the surface of Jerusalem into an indistinguishable mass of lumpy melted and radioactive rock so unrecognizable it will matter not who gets the east side and who gets the west side.  The children can have a “time out” while their land is ever so slowly recovering from radiation and perhaps their children’s children’s children’s children’s children’s great grand children can later reoccupy the sand and rock that so many have died over for centuries. 

Is this a violent option to end violence?  No. Approximately six million refugees can be relocated to nations, largely of their choosing.  All wildlife can be collected including native fauna.  It’s not violent to transform rock and sand to a landscape that is inhospitable to humans.  For those bound to religiosity, religious structural icons can be moved and relocated. 

Will this action stop the hate that currently exists between the warring factions of the Middle East? Of course not.  This hatred is already dispersed past the borders of the Middle East.  What can be expected is that the root reason, for the hatred (the Holy Land) will be made a part of an unchangeable past.  Nuclear nations of the world who participate in this land de-civilization will share blame for the physical act of the destruction. 

What will become of Zion?  In the past fifty years the Jewish people have displayed innovation and drive and industrious accomplishments in building Israel unparalleled in human history.  The land was nearly barren in Nineteen Forty Eight.  The Israeli people have proven that oasis’ can be built.  The water aquifers, the pipelines and the irrigation that transformed Israel, can be built again.  I think it’s reasonable to assume they would again get economic and material help from sympathetic nations, if their choice of a new Zion would be free of territorial dispute to begin with.  The Western Sahara comes to mind. 

Blame it on religion.  Blame it on zealous ownership of religiously held land, on rightful indignation inspired by holy teachings, on belief systems that override logic and tolerance, love and peace.  If it’s “sacred land” they are concerned about - the land will still be there, the space will always exist, it’s just that undeserving humans who fight and kill like children who refuse to get along, can’t occupy it for hundreds of years to come. 

It sounds biblical like something the Christian god would do.  Except according to the stories in the Christian Bible, which describe the overall character of that god, he would not be so merciful as to evacuate the people and the wildlife, he would strike and kill everyone, children and babies too, in one fell swoop, for their collective sins. 

Few writers and even fewer politicians and diplomats can offer a permanent answer to ending the chronic violence that has plagued the Middle East.  I welcome a better answer with as much permanence, which is reasonable to expect can be carried out and which distributes responsibility globally.

Afterwards red stripes can grace every map of the Middle East where Israel and the occupied territories had been, warning travelers and air traffic to stay clear of the radioactive wasteland. The new “forbidden zone,” can serve humanity immensely as a lesson in humanity for generations to come.  Imagine generations of school children sitting in their social studies and geography classes, learning about “the people who couldn’t get along because of their differences,” and lost their land, “where the red stripes are” in the Middle East. 

James G. Mason

Homepage: http://www.redshift.com/~jamesm2

All Copyrights Reserved, James G. Mason, 2002