THROUGH THE WALL OF FIRE - Armenia - Iraq - Palestine: From Wrath to Reconciliation
by Muriel Mirak-Weissbach
Can peoples and nations, who have been pitted against each other in geopolitically manipulated conflict, overcome their adversarial relationship and achieve reconciliation? This book answers the question, examining the Armenian genocide of 1915, the two Iraq wars and embargo regime, as well as the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians beginning in 1948. It portrays these seminal moments of the 20th century through the eyes of those who were children at the time. Their first-hand accounts of the dramatic events are corroborated by documented historical research, in the effort to identify which political forces were ultimately responsible and why. An episode from Dante's Divine Comedy - the pilgrim's passage through a Wall of Fire - serves as a metaphor for the challenge facing political leaders and their citizens who seek reconciliation: like the pilgrim-poet, they must undergo a profound internal, emotional transformation, overcoming the hatred, bitterness, and desire for revenge that the traumatic past has left behind. In contemporary politics, traversing the Wall of Fire requires abandoning the prejudices and ignorance bred by conflict. It means facing the truth about the past, acknowledging the historical record in all its brutality, and identifying those responsible. Only then is it possible to 'forgive and forget' in the spirit of the Westphalian Peace, to define a new relationship based on the commitment to enhance the progress of the Other.