Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Of Gas and Gaza

What a way to start the year. Despite the feeling of relief for 2008 to finally come to an end, 2009 started with a lot of heat -or in fact, a lack of it, in the case of many European countries that depended on Russian gas for heating. It was particularly dramatic to see Europe piling up wood at local markets for people to warm up, while a harsh cold front was bringing temperatures as low as -20C in some places.

It is another proof of Russian hegemonic aspirations. They were not dead. This time, again, their display of power is unsustainable. Energy is on the list of top problems to solve in the next coming decades. Once Europe and the world stops needing Russian natural resources for energy generation, maybe Russia will understand how unsustainable this game really is.

The Middle East is even worse. What has changed after 20 days of Israeli siege on Gaza? Well, a thousand less Palestinians in the world, that's for sure. Death is the antithesis of sustainability. In geopolitical terms, who speaks up for Palestinians? Who wants to step up in their defense? Perhaps somebody should tell Hamas that article 7 in their Charter, which vows the elimination of the State of Israel, is also unsustainable. Maybe the civil society of Gaza should say that. It's a democracy anyway, isn't it? Of course, when an adversary a thousand times stronger is attacking you day in and day out for three weeks, then it is very difficult to listen to your people and to make sound political decisions.

Meanwhile, Hamas's political assessment of the situation is: let's keep shooting our rockets into Israel, otherwise they will kill us all. Seems to be a very powerful rhetoric, since the militants still haven't stopped the shooting. But, again, quite unsustainable.

We are well into the XXI Century, and we still see no sign of civilization at the level we should be at, after such a prosperous XX Century. I heard Paul Hawken, the famous activist and environmentalist, say some time ago: the real Non-Governmental Organizations in the world are the governments. Very long ago, governments stopped governing. They are only supporting, defending and protecting a status quo of some very powerful groups around the world.

Although I believe there are incentives stronger than money to act virtuously, I am starting to consider it is time that we make a case for peace as a global business. If we understood how huge a business deal it would be if there was a sustainable degree of peace in the world, maybe we would stop the shooting and the blame game and the political belief systems that are conducting our planet in the wrong direction. Which way is Virtue?

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