Friday, November 17, 2006

Good Neighbors

Michael Totten pointed me to this new group blog that only started a week or so ago. The thing that makes it really interesting is the group involved:

Drima –Sudanese
Ramzi — Palestinian
Tif — Israeli
Big Pharaoh –Egyptian
Free Cedar –Lebanese
Yaser –Syrian
Shifaa –Jordanian
Yaeli –Israeli

Quite a combo, wouldn't you agree? The site is called Good Neighbors, and its purpose is to promote dialogue between people in the Middle East, but here, I'll let them describe their goal:
Welcome to Good Neighbors! Here you will find a communal effort designed to increase dialogue and understanding between all of the neighboring countries in the Middle East including Jordanians, Lebanese, Israelis, Palestinians, Egyptians, Saudis, Iranians, and Syrians on a cross-country level, as well as to increase understanding, respect and dialogue among the various strata of society within our countries. This is a first of its kind region-building initiative and we invite you to pull up a chair and help make it a success!
I'm so heartened to see Israeli, Palestinian and Lebanese bloggers joining together, along with so many others. After the events of the summer, with so much military interaction, it's encouraging to see interaction of a more positive nature. It's a decided act of faith in the future, and the power of communication to overcome mutual ignorance, fear and enmity. In reading the posts from the past week at this fledgling enterprise, and the comments they've generated, I'm struck by how eager they all seem to understand one another and not let traditional animosities prevent progress toward peace in the troubled region where they all make their homes. Obviously, they would be positive about the prospects, or they wouldn't be joining together in this way, but hopefully they represent a much larger number of heretofore silent people who will read, comment and spread the word that there is a haven online for Middle Eastern people who seek common ground.

It'll be interesting to see where this thing goes. I suspect I won't agree with a fair portion of the opinions I see published there. What I've read there so far is rather socialist for my own political bent, and I could use a few less negative assumptions about President Bush and those who agree with his policies, but I'm willing to let that slide and observe this experiment in cross-cultural communication, because I very much admire its intent. (I'm glad to see Big Pharaoh as part of this group. His blog has been a favorite of mine for a while now.) Anyway, thought I'd let you all know that there are some friendly kids who just set up house down the street, and they're hoping to be Good Neighbors.