Wednesday, June 13, 2007

It's almost time to admit being wrong

Looking at a chart of when readers access this blog, it seems that you enjoy a post with multiple subjects rather than just one. I'll try to remember that when deciding what to write.

When I first starting doing journalism nearly 40 years ago, there was a feeling of being alone, divided from the readers. My first job was at the Wethersfield Post, working for a man named Lou Marino. Lou left for healthier places about six months after I signed on, and Chris Larsen, the publisher, wanted me to run the paper, and offered a 50 percent increase in pay to do it. So I became the youngest managing editor in Connecticut, as far as I knew.

It was a lonely job. I don't mean I was lonely for friends. I was lonely for feedback. I hadn't yet realized that both readers and bosses only chime in when there's a problem. For example, I heard from by boss when I spent about three times the amount he had visualized on a promotion party for the paper. I didn't hear from anyone week after week when things were going well.

For the majority of my career, I worked in crowded newsrooms with colleagues, most of whom felt the same way I did. We only heard from bosses when they didn't like something, so we buoyed each other up. When we were so good it could not be ignored, like when the late, lamented Journal-Courier of New Haven won nearly every prize for which we were eligible, we heard from the bosses for a while, but then the paper was subsumed into the Register and that was sold and that's all she wrote.

Well, I'm working alone again, and getting that old feeling of loneliness. It's part of the deal and I don't know why I'm even bothering you with this.

On the other hand, hundreds of you have visited this blog, some many times. For this, I humbly thank you and pledge I will do all I can to keep your trust and your interest.

Page 2

I've made one of the cardinal no-no's of journalism, not linking the headline and the first few paragraphs of the story. Forgive me, please.

The wrong I am close to conceding is about the Middle East, and more specifically about the Palestinians. I thought that by giving up Gaza, Israel would gain support from the rest of the world, especially the European community. That would lead to more pressure put on the Palestinians to do something with their newly gained territory.

I have watched in amazement how they kept doing the same old things, no matter who was leading them. Nearly 30 years ago, Abba Eban, the late eloquent diplomat and historian of Israel, said Yasser Arafat "never missed an opportunity to miss an opportunity." Arafat is long dead and his successors, with help from the United States, have continued along the same path. I say helped by the United States because it was because of George W. Bush's insistence that democracy came to a people who neither wanted nor deserved it.

The fact that Hamas, a client of Iran, has any legitimacy is because of that vote and the failure to realize that Palestinians could not separate their anger over the corrupt Fatah party and the probability that electing Hamas would only pour oil on the fire, which it has done.

We are now at what could be the start of a civil war, at least in Gaza, with thugs shooting each other with abandon and not caring a bit about the consequences to the people they are supposed to be guiding or at least ruling.

I don't know what the answer is. Thomas el-Friedman (the Arab honorific is well-deserved), in the New York Times, said he doesn't know the answer either.

I'm not ready to give up on the instinct for self-preservation and how it may just save the day.

The Arabs say, "The enemy of my enemy is my friend."

They probably think that means Israel. I hope that's the case. If Fatah and Abu-Mazen, the president of the Palestinian Authority, has any sense of self preservation left, he'll realize that the only chance he has to keep his job and maybe even his life is to jump into bed with Israel.

And I hope that if this happens, the European community and the so-called moderate Arab states have the good sense to tuck them in. And like a good bed partner, I hope Abu-Mazen will do whatever to takes to make his partner happy and content.

Failing that, I may have to say I'm sorry about my feeling that peace still has a chance.

No comments: