Beyond Peace in the Middle East at CGI

The Clinton Global Initiative this year was a place where politics converged with philanthropy. Since inception, this venue has been the change agent for philanthropic work throughout the world. The commitments made have been massive and have provided millions worldwide with clean drinking water, mosquito nets, eye glasses, vaccines, and education– among many others. This Foundation can be credited for ushering in new social philanthropic models involving private industry, the wealthy and government working together with non-profit organizations.
Remarkably, the topics at CGI this year spanned Empowering Girls and Women (see the prior post) to market-based solutions, clean tech, jobs, manufacturing and world peace. What an extraordinary venue it was where the participants could experience a panel with the Crown Prince and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Kingdom of Bahrain, Prime Minister of the Palestinian National Authority, and the President of Israel discussing rebuilding the region after peace. Where else and with whom else other than former President Bill Clinton – could one see and hear such a constellation of world thinkers cutting across the issues of our time. Many of us bloggers, writers and journalist bustle through the high security and put up with the fanfare –just to be inspired and sustained for the coming year.
It was a rare gift from the universe to be able to hear the Middle East session up close. It is curious that there was not enormous media coverage of this landmark discussion because all the bad stuff gets air time. Even CNN’s Fareed Zakaria this Sunday morning did not mention it. Rather he focused on the fabricated photograph of the President of Egypt from the White House for the Arab press. It is perplexing because here sat the leaders of those enmeshed in the real peace talks. In this small room, they and former President Clinton were talking gracefully with one another about rebuilding the region. Only the former President could command such authority and respect. Remember, it was Bill Clinton that attempted peace between Israel Prime Minister, Yitzhak Rabin and Palestine Liberation Organization Chairman Yasser Arafat so long ago. It was that fateful handshake on the White House lawn that in many ways led to the assignation of Rabin. And it is now Madame Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that is officiating the peace talks today. Perhaps this is a forbearing for things to come later this year. If they can talk peaceably in front of Bill Clinton, maybe there is hope for a just and final resolution. Few of us get to see our dreams come to fruition, but it appears that the Clintons both have long reach, big memories and staying power. All this woman can say is – may it be.

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Fascinating Middle East News Coverage

I’m not sure how many people are aware of the LinkTV network. (You might have seen their coverage of YearlyKos.) LinkTV is available if you have satellite, like DirecTV and Dish — but you can also visit them online. Over at LinkTV there is a show called Mosaic, with some great Middle East news coverage offering perspectives you can not get from American corporate TV. You can watch the stream of last night’s Mosaic, with translated clips from Lebanese, Israeli, UAE, Al Jazeera, Algeria, Iranian and Gaza news broadcasts covering the fighting going on. It is fascinating to get these viewpoints and coverage of events so important to all of us and to the entire world. You can always watch archives of Mosaic at this page.
Recently there have been two extended coverage specials, and another extended coverage special tomorrow. highlight clips from the specials are available here.
From LinkTV:

Mosaic Special Report: Insight into the Middle East. This live call-in special showcases Link TV’s team of journalists and Middle East experts answering your questions and e-mails about what’s really happening in the current crisis. Wednesday’s program will be aired at 7 to 7:30 p.m. (Pacific Time) and 10 to 10:30 p.m. (Eastern Time) on DIRECTV ch. 375 and DISH ch. 9410. The program will be followed by Link TV’s Peabody Award-winning original program Mosaic, which draws on reports from 28 Middle Eastern news broadcasts to provide context, analysis and a look at the stories you never see on American TV.
To watch the first evening of our extended Middle Eastern coverage, Mosaic Special Report: Insight into the Middle East from July 20, 2006, click here.
Daily episodes of Mosaic are available at no cost online.
Link TV is also offering a special emphasis on the Mideast throughout our daily schedule, including a rotation of reports and documentaries such as Me and the Mosque, Occupied Minds and International Dateline: An Eye For An Eye, which features a report from Dateline’s Thom Cookes from the city of Haifa and his on-the-spot assessment of why things have gone the way they have.

There’s also a new Mosaic blog.
(Disclosure – I am doing some unpaid consulting with LinkTV.)

Credentials To Analyze Iraq

tristero nails it.

6. If you are not Muslim, don’t speak Arabic well, haven’t read the basic texts of Islam or participated in services, haven’t been to Iraq, and/or believed – for whatever reason – prior to the invasion that it was a smart, or at least reasonable, idea to invade Iraq – that is, if you can’t answer “yes” to a decent number of my first five questions – then why should I bother to take seriously anything you might think to say?

Meanwhile, right now it is a good idea to check in every day with Juan Cole, Mosaic (if you have satellite TV), Middle East Report.
Suggest others in the comments.