Ah, “dialogue”… Hallowed by thy call...
A dialogue is essentially a “reciprocal conversation”; the Ancient Greeks had a concept of “flowing-through meaning”; it is composite word made up of dia (across), and legein (speak). This “speaking across” may not be part of its modern definition, but the concept is still far better than the all too common Arab habit of “speaking at”.
One prerequisite to dialogue is a measure of common goals. Herein lays a problem with modern
A first problem is that the “partners” do not agree on the meaning of “nation”. With sectarian groups more powerful than states, some see a “nation” as an “umma of believers”, other as a grand “sectarian alliance”, and yet others as some great “ethnic conclave”…
A second issuer is the lack of common values. It is hard enough when those who value life may not agree on its exact definition, and do not concur on what should be given priority. It is harder when a strong party to that “dialogue” is not interested in life or liberty as an end in themselves, and not even in a great “Jihad”, but in “martyrdom” as the ultimate end.
While most Lebanese long for it, a modern secular democracy appears far from the minds of their leaders. It is also far from the minds of far too many people, many of whom believe that the God who gave us life and granted us reason did so only so that we can deprive others of their life, even at the expense of our own.
Another prerequisite of “dialogue” is the use of a common language. Consider your local high school bully; for all the PC crap being marketed around, anyone with a functioning memory understands that there is no sense of “talking” to bullies.
Unless you use the right “words”. Whenever engaged in a “dialogue” with a bully, it helps to use Universal Sign Language, augmented by a little Touch Therapy. One may not always impress one’s point upon them, but they will learn to value your input, and even avoid future “conversations”.
A scene from the movie “Thirteen Days” on the Cuban Missile Crisis can best illustrate this issue of “language”. When told by Admiral Anderson to “Get out of our way”, since his Navy “has been running blockades since the days of John Paul Jones”, McNamara explains to him;
“John Paul Jones... you don't understand a thing, do you, Admiral? This isn't a blockade. This, all this, is language, a new vocabulary the likes of which the world has never seen. This is President Kennedy communicating with Secretary Khruschev”.
So, after the current assassination, we can still say Yes to Dialogue.
This leads us to a question; how do you respond when faced with such arguments?
When those who should be on your “side” are far too willing to follow Panglossian demagogues, how do you convince them that “evil is [not] essential to the order of the world”?
The fact that most of those who claim March 14th would not survive Zadig’s dance is far from relevant in this context; when the house is on fire, you don’t inquire about the water’s PH… There’ll be time enough to clean anything that did not burn…
Lambs and Wolves
Even if one is intent on “dialogue”, one general direction would be to talk to each one with “their” language. Even those who preached the Gospels knew how to be “lambs amongst lambs, and wolves amongst wolves”.
Do not misunderstand me; I am not necessarily advocating an “eye for an eye” in the retaliatory sense, but in its original, “egalitarian” meaning. To those who decided to skip the benefits of the enlightenment, only lex talionis Works. After all, we can only treat others as good as they treat us…
A “golden rule” for “Black Arabists”, if you will…
This would serve a good guide in such “dialogues”; old hands in
It helps that you’re not alone in your fight, and your ideals have much support among your people.
But it does not help if you’re acting like a lamb, and “run” into hiding when the wolf attacks. When faced with hyenas, the lion has the teeth to back his roar…
And bear in mind that wolf’s goals are not limited;
He is in for the long haul…