Posted by: Dissol on Jul 11, 2011
I have posted a few times recently about how Web 2.0 is helping with World Peace. Too often it is happening too late, but internet connections from Egypt, Libya, and elsewhere have enabled the rest of us to gain an understanding of what is happening on the ground (rather than merely through the biased lenses of different media outlets.
Now there is a new initiative which is showing real promise to try to avoid the wars, and strife. It is aimed at bringing two communities together, hopefully to lessen the chances of future bloodshed. It is, almost inevitably, in the Middle East, & the two communities are the Israelis and the Palestinians, or perhaps more precisely the Israelis, and Arabs from the region, as the membership includes Egyptians, Jordanians, Tunisians, Moroccans, Lebanese and Saudis.
It is merely a Facebook page: Called Facebook.com/yalaYL Yala means “let’s go” in Arabic, and YL stands for Young Leaders. They have a membership of 22,500 active users, roughly 40% Israeli, and 60% Arabic.
For many of the members it is their first interaction with the “other side”. Often the chat is about sport, or music, but it is a really good concept. Understanding is what can avoid conflict. There is a general feeling that they are being let down by their leaders, on both sides. This was shown in one exchange (lifted from the New York Times): an Israeli named Alon Kadmon asked what would happen if Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel and Mr. Abbas of the Palestinian Authority were locked in a sealed room for a week.
Nadine Firas Yaghi, a Palestinian, replied that the two leaders would realize “that both have ears, eyes, hands and a mouth, a moment of epiphany that they share the same qualities, that before being Palestinian, Israeli, Jewish, Muslim or Christian, they are human beings.”
Another Palestinian response was sharper: “Don’t open the door.”
On a similar line, there are moves to produce “mesh networks” that should be able to avoid the possibility of governments to block internet access. Watch out for this technology being built into smartphones in the future.