By Debbie Menon
No, dialogue is NOT a solution! It is merely another, quite common, much overused, abused, and never quite successful method of attempting, or pretending to attempt, to find or describe a solution; and it is usually compromised by bad faith on the part of one, two or all parties. Furthermore, it takes the bad faith of but one participant to thoroughly compromise it, and turn it into a strategic tool for forestalling the search for a solution, perpetuating the status quo, or worse.
History has demonstrated this.
A shooting match, with my men in one trench, yours in another, or me in my airplane dropping bombs on you while you run or shoot back at me in the sky, is also a form of dialogue; the most common form, in which one side applies its most forceful and persuasive arguments to prove to the other that their argument is the best and their solution is the best, to which the other side must accede.
Dialogue, ‘in this sense’ two or more parties battering their heads against each other across a table, is no different and no more of a solution than two armies battering heads across a battlefield. I can name too many examples with which you are already familiar. The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict for instance. Dialogue, misleadingly called a ‘peace process’ has been a part of the problem, and has served as one more way to evade a genuine solution, which would demand that the intervening party return home and STOP IT!
If everyone would stay at home, then there would be no invaders to fight, and no reason to fight them. As veteran journalist Helen Thomas accurately says “Get the hell out…”
Everything we see that is happening in Palestine, Israel, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran, Syria, the Middle East, and through diplomatic channels around the world, are but symptoms. And, by treating symptoms, we ignore the underlying causes. So long as addressing symptoms alone there will be no solution.
And, that is the strategy of the offender of peace and justice, to keep everyone’s eye off the target.