Friday, December 12, 2008
Between the Lines: The Contrast Between Dreams of Peace and Hatred
Milton B. Wallack
Milton B. Wallack is the founder of the Connecticut Stem Cell Coalition and past president of the Jewish Federation of Greater New Haven. Readers may write him in care of the Register, 40 Sargent Drive, New Haven 06511.
Would you ever have believed that the Tampa Bay Rays would make it to the World Series in 2008? Who would have imagined that skin cells could be reprogrammed into cells that have the potential to cure a wide range of medical challenges such as Alzheimer's disease, Lou Gehrig's disease, Parkinson's disease, diabetes, brain and spinal cord problems, and much more? Or that stem cells would be used to rebuild a windpipe or a bladder.?
Would we have thought that in Brazil, 80 percent of the automobiles can use fuel developed from sugar cane? Who could have imagined that garbage would be used to create energy, or that we would have the developing technology to better utilize solar, wind, geothermal, coal and nuclear sources to do the same, while also protecting the environment.?
Who really believed that gasoline prices would be back under $2 per gallon or that crude oil would be close to $50 per barrel, down from a high of more than $140 per barrel.?
Who could have imagined that we would be witnessing more than 30 years of peace between Israel and Egypt, made possible to a large extent by Israel giving up the Sinai? In the quest for a Mideast peace, Israel has also given up Gaza and has demonstrated its willingness to do even more under the right security circumstances.
There are, in fact, current initiatives between Israelis and Palestinians to create mutual security forces in places like Hebron, as well as in the city of Jenin, formerly an area of severe Palestinian agitation. There is also ongoing cooperation between Jordan and Israel to limit terrorism. As former Israeli Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion once said, 'In Israel, in order to be a realist, you must believe in miracles.'
Only five years ago, could we or anyone around the world have imagined that the 44th president of the United States would be a black, elected in a contest in which race played almost no role.?
It would not be a difficult challenge for each of us to create a list of ideas that we originally believed inconceivable, but are today the new reality. This is why even though we face enormous challenges, there is reason for hope, if we remain optimistic and are willing to work creatively and cooperatively.
A few years from now, we could again be reflecting on how much of the impossible we have achieved.
To be sure, there will be new challenges along the way, as we have just witnessed in Mumbai, India. But with an enlightened broad coalition of cooperation and with a strong mutual resolve, we will have the ability to overcome significant obstacles to peace and prosperity. It is important that we understand that if all of us are not secure, then none of us are secure. With better cooperation and collaboration at home and abroad, there will be reason for hope.