Sunday, March 13, 2016

Letter to Bernie Sanders: A green, healthy, and sustainable U.S. for peace in the Middle East

Dear Bernie,

I've been thinking about your positions on war and peace, and I was especially interested in your comments on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. As an American with Hebrew and Arab roots, I'd like to make a few suggestions about the best way to advance peace here in the U.S., and in the Middle East.

I think that, as Americans, we have to focus on what we want here in the U.S. as we address inequities around the world. I recommend that we advocate for a green, healthy, and sustainable America. I’ve outlined some general principles below.
  • Green: reduce energy consumption and conserve water. The result is that we reduce greenhouse emissions, stabilize our climate, and create green jobs. A green economy fosters interdependence rather than violent competition for resources such as energy, land and water.
  • Healthy: provide free health care and promote effective working conditions. People have a right to be healthy, and we need to create a culture that values emotional, social and physical wellness. We need recreation in schools and communities, contact with nature, experience with the arts and sciences, and a sense of belonging. Healthy Americans take care of themselves, their families, and their communities. Healthy Americans also have the time to influence local and global politics for a just world.
  • Sustainable: study and advocate for systemic economic, social and ecological balance. War isn’t good for children and other people, and it is expensive. War is a result of fear, desperation and greed. Conflict in the U.S. and in the Middle East results from an imbalance that positions economy against society and the environment. Alternatively, sustainability is a road map to a flourishing world that ensures a high standard of living for all, in the present and in the future. For more information, read the U.N.’s Sustainable Development Goals.
The Middle East is a beautiful part of the world that could easily celebrate cultural diversity, honor and protect indigenous people, and even create abundance through low impact eco-tourism.

For Americans, the best way to bring peace to the Middle East is to focus on a green, healthy and sustainable America as we promote a culture of peace and joy at home and abroad.

Yours,
Gamal

A modified version of this letter was published in The Swarthmorean on Mar. 11, 2016.