Thursday, December 21, 2006

Wake up

Tony Blair speaking yesterday in Dubai.

There is a monumental struggle going on worldwide between those who believe in democracy and modernisation, and forces of reaction and extremism. It is the 21st century challenge. Yet a great part of our own opinion either thinks there is no common theme to it all; or if there is, is inclined to believe that it is our - that is America and its allies - fault that this is so.

In any other situation in which terrorists with almost incredible wickedness butcher completely innocent people, provoke sectarian conflict, spread chaos and despair, in almost any other situation we would say well our response should be to stand up and fight back. In Iraq, in Afghanistan, but seeping across the board, voices instead say: we shouldn't be involved: better leave well alone; it is none of our business.

Here are elements of the Government of Iran openly supporting terrorism in Iraq to stop a fledgling democratic process, trying to turn out a democratically elected Government in Lebanon, flaunting the international community's desire for peace in Palestine - at the same time as denying the Holocaust and trying to acquire a nuclear weapon capability: and yet a huge part of world opinion is frankly almost indifferent. It would be bizarre if it weren't so deadly serious.

We have in my view to wake up...

We should stop buying into this wretched culture of blaming ourselves, of pandering to a wholly imagined grievance on the part of those we are fighting. We should take on the nonsense that says when terrorists who claim to be Muslim kill innocent and true Muslims in Iraq or Afghanistan, that it is somehow the fault of American and British soldiers being present there.

We should proclaim what is so obviously correct, that what holds back the Palestinian people are not those of us striving to make a reality of a stable, viable Palestinian state next door to Israel, but those who pretend to champion that cause but deny the very two state solution that is Palestine's only hope of salvation.

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