John Kerry’s April 29 deadline for a negotiated framework between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, is only a few weeks away.
Without waiting for what is still a “flexible” end point for this round of “peace talks”, the two negotiating parties have entered the “blame game” utilizing the weapons they have at hand.
One party has the military and police strength of a major world military power. The other has the power to sign 14 international treaties, which include the Geneva Conventions and treaties on racism, genocide, and civil and political rights.
Writing for Al Monitor on its Israel page, Ben Caspit offered his observation on the blame game. [Bold emphasis added]:
“Everything that has happened to Kerry’s initiative this week was smeared in block letters on every wall en route to this impasse that we have just reached.
What we had here was a foretold chronicle of a breakdown on one hand, and a sweeping and somewhat childish enthusiasm with which Kerry sank his teeth into the negotiations on the other.
Had Kerry studied and examined the history of the last 20 years, he would have discovered that what he had undertaken was a mission impossible.”
Had Caspit studied and examined the two films he slips into his report, he would have discovered that Cool Hand Luke and the Mission Impossible series witness to the familiar reminder that “the arc of history bends toward justice”.
Luke’s spirit outlives the oppressive warden that treated him so brutally. Tom Cruise’s “missions impossible” all focus on one man’s victory over stronger adversaries.
Here is dialogue from a key Cool Hand Luke scene, followed by the scene on video:
Captain: Don’t you ever talk that way to me. (pause, then hitting him) NEVER! NEVER! (Luke rolls down hill; Captain speaks to other prisoners) What we’ve got here is failure to communicate. Some men you just can’t reach. So you get what we had here last week, which is the way he wants it. Well, he gets it. I don’t like it any more than you men.
Martin Luther King, Jr., who was assassinated at the Lorraine Motel, in Memphis, Tennessee, 46 years ago this past Sunday, referred to the “arc of history” in a speech he gave to the Southern Christian Leadership Conference on August 16, 1967, eight months before he was killed.
The arc reference was used earlier by Theodore Parker (1810-1860), a well-known American clergyman and a leading abolitionist. Predicting the eventual success of the abolitionist cause, Parker wrote:
“I do not pretend to understand the moral universe; the arc is a long one, my eye reaches but little ways; I cannot calculate the curve and complete the figure by the experience of sight; I can divine it by conscience. And from what I see I am sure it bends towards justice.”
Martin Luther King, Jr. made these words famous to a new generation a century later in his “Where Do We Go From Here?” speech to the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.
King ended his talk with his version of the Parker quote:
“Let us realize that the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice. Let us realize that William Cullen Bryant is right: “Truth, crushed to earth, will rise again.” Let us go out realizing that the Bible is right: “Be not deceived. God is not mocked”.
Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” This is our hope for the future, and with this faith we will be able to sing in some not too distant tomorrow, with a cosmic past tense, “We have overcome! We have overcome! Deep in my heart, I did believe we would overcome.”
King’s enemies, and there were many, could not dim the spirit nor the influence of a man who reminded us that “God is not mocked”.
The movement King led brought down the walls of segregation. That “security wall” Israel claims it needs for its protection, will be brought down as well, along with the occupation it symbolizes and enforces.
This end of one more chapter of the “peace process”, is certainly a failure of the participating parties. It is not, however, the final word on the subject.
“The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.”
The picture of Secretary of State Kerry is from the Guardian. It was taken by Jacquelyn Martin/AFP/Getty Images.