Act like a lady, think.

It all started with Steve Harvey’s best-selling non-fiction book released in 2009 entitled “Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man: What Men Really Think About Love, Relationships, Intimacy and Commitment.” Three years later, a feature film based on the book, titled Think Like A Man, was released by Sony Pictures. It is unsurprising that any reference to having to ‘act like a lady’ has since been removed. All you need to do now is – think like a man. Stripped to its essence, this new thinking suggests that a woman needs to get into the mind of a man with whom she is romantically associated in order to pre-empt his thoughts and conduct herself in such a way as not to antagonise him too much. This is the only way to keep him, the thinking continues.

What’s wrong with thinking like a lady? Can a lady not think? Why act like a lady if you have to act like a man? Why not act like a man if you’re going to think like one? Why should being a lady constitute an act?

How is it that such a concept is even mildly acceptable in the 21st century? Whatever happened to a woman being allowed to be the person she wants to be, to express herself as she feels appropriate and to be loved for who she truly is? Why must she fit into a mould that’s cast by men in order to gain acceptance?

At the World Economic Forum in Davos this year, Sheryl Sandberg, one of the most powerful women in business and the Chief Operating Officer of Facebook, spoke of an “ambition gap” in how girls are being raised in contrast to boys. ForbesWoman recently wrote a piece based on Sandberg’s ideas and highlighted the main causes of the ambition gap between men and women as being, inter alia, that boys are taught from an early age to be strong and smart while little girls are taught to be pretty princesses. The dainty little princess grows up and is now confronted with the view that she needs to step outside herself and start thinking like a man. Why? Because if she doesn’t, men won’t be interested in her.

Plus ca change, yes?

This is compounded by shocking statistics on the way society is constantly programmed to conform to the idea have to work their existence around the idea of male superiority:

Only 16% of protagonists in film are female. Only 7% of film directors and 10% of writers are female. Between 1937 and 2005 there were only 13 female protagonists in animated movies. The female characters in G rated movies are just as likely to wear revealing clothing as in R rated movies. Gloria Steinem opines that more than 70% of women on TV are in their 20s and 30s. She observes that a male dominant system values women as child bearers so it limits their value to the time that they are sexually and reproductively active and they become much less valuable after that. Geena Davis observes that all of Hollywood is run on one assumption: that women will watch stories about men, but men won’t watch stories about women; it is a horrible indictment of our society of we assume that one half of our population is just not interested in the other half.

The most shocking expression of the absurdity currently finds itself in the expression: act like a lady, think like a man. Or, per the movie, forget about even acting like a lady – just think like  a man. The whole concept of having to ‘think like a man’ is counter-revolutionary and this prototype of how women should behave is nonsense upon stilts. If a woman needs mind games and power-play to sustain her relationship, then she shouldn’t even be there. Never are men heard to say, ‘act like a man, think like a lady’. Acting like a lady but having to  think like a man perpetuates the attitude that women exist to pander to the whims of men as opposed to the idea that men and women are partners who enter into relationships for the mutual benefit of each other.
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Thought has no sex. Either one thinks or one does not.
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Happy Independence Day Zimbabwe, but are we really free?

Zimbabwe achieved majority rule and internationally recognized independence on the 18th of April 1980, following a long period of colonial rule. Without wanting to sound like a rancid ZBC TV commercial, Independence Day is important for any Zimbabwean as it commemorates the end of the apartheid-in-miniature era which was characterized by racial oppression. It is a day on which any citizen of this great nation ought to be proud – proudly Zimbabwean.

But are we really free?

Human rights violations are fairly rife in Zimbabwe. There is a widespread consensus among human rights organizations that systematic violations of the right to personal freedom and integrity are frequent in Zimbabwe, especially towards suspected members of the political opposition. The violations are perpetrated by government supporters as well as law enforcement agencies, and include assaults, torture, death threats, kidnappings, unlawful arrests and detention. As a young criminal lawyer, I was exposed, as no young lady should, to the horrors of Chikurubi Prison, Matapi Police Station and of course, Harare Remand Prison – which ironically is a few kilometres from where I live. I participated in the trial of Christopher Kuruneri, who had been incarcerated for four years, before being acquitted on charges relating to financial crime. Of further interest were the land cases, where I represented farm labourers, old farmers, new farmers and those aspiring to forcibly acquire ‘new’ land. These cases enabled me to travel around Zimbabwe more than I had in all my years, and to places I never knew existed. I argued in the Supreme Court sooner than I would have been able to, had the situation been normal. The human rights violations in Zimbabwe have led to claims that we are a failed state. Paradoxically, a recent UNDP Report provides that Zimbabwe has the highest literacy rate in Africa. During the impugned decade, Zimbabwe has also produced Olympic athletes, Rhodes scholars and award-winning writers. Are such achievements consistent with a failed state?

Perhaps not.

Zimbabwe should never be allowed to slide back as far as some of the countries that feature in international criminal law. My experiences at the United Nations International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda and at the International Criminal Court have shown me that. Whether Zimbabweans believe it or not, we have not reached that threshold. At least not yet.

Elections are due in a few months time, maybe longer – no-one really knows. I am not registered to vote, nor am I too interested in the outcome. I understand there is little I can do to change the situation. This moment belongs to a different generation. My hope lies in the Zimbabwe of the future. Ten or even twenty years from now. True freedom for Zimbabweans is a continuous process which is yet to be fully attained. A lot will depend upon whether the oppressed of yesterday do not become the oppressors of today. The country will not build itself simply because the majority black people are now in charge. There is no substitute for hard work – entitlement for its own sake benefits no-one.

We must cease to be prisoners of our own vices in order to be truly free. Only then will we reap the fruits of independence.

Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle. And so we must straighten our backs and work for our freedom. A man can’t ride you unless your back is bent.

~ Martin Luther King, Jr ~

Anders Behring Breivik: The insanity of the defence of insanity?

Anders Behring Breivik is a 33 year old Norwegian who has a most unusual mental state.

On 22 July 2011, Breivik bombed government buildings in Oslo and proceeded to carry out a mass shooting at a camp of the Workers’ Youth League (AUF) of the Labour Party on the island of Utøya where he killed 69 people, mostly teenagers. Breivik acknowledged the acts to a courtroom packed with many of those who managed to dodge his bullets and bombs, as well as the families of some who didn’t. “But I do not plead guilty”, he proclaimed. His justification is that he committed the killings in “self-defence”. He had already announced that he did not recognise the Norwegian court – because, he said, it received its mandate “from political parties who support multiculturalism”.

Breivik undoubtedly has a calculating mind. He programmed the satnav in his hire car before leaving his mother’s flat to take him from Oslo’s government district – where he planted his lethal fertiliser bomb – to Utvika, the village opposite the island of Utøya. Arriving at Utvika, he called up the island administration and told them they needed to send a boat to pick him up: he was a police officer, he assured them, and had been dispatched to reassure the campers following bombings in Oslo. Details indicate that he plotted the attacks from a single bedroom at his mother’s flat, using a computer on which the prosecution claimed he once spent a whole year playing the World of Warcraft game “full time”.

In court, Breivik showed no remorse. The only time he appeared to show any emotion was when prosecutors played a 12-minute propaganda video he had posted on YouTube shortly before carrying out the attacks. He wiped away tears (not shed for his victims but for his ’cause’) as he watched the film which purported to show the threat of “the rise of cultural Marxism in western Europe” and “the Islamic colonisation” of Norway and beyond. This amateur film spliced together still images, including a cover of the Spectator magazine, a cartoon of a headscarfed woman with a bomb in place of a pregnant belly, and at least half a dozen scenes showing knights wearing the St George’s flag.

Is Breivik insane? Psychotic?

Breivik was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia by the court-appointed psychiatrists. According to their report, Breivik acted compulsively based on a delusional thought universe. Among other things, he alluded to himself as a future regent of Norway pending a takeover by a Templar-type organization. Imagining himself as regent, his ideas included organizing Norwegians in reservations and using them in breeding projects. Other psychiatrists disagree that he is psychotic or schizophrenic, and on 13 January 2012, after much public pressure, the Oslo district court ordered a second expert panel to evaluate Breivik’s mental state. On 10 April 2012 the second psychiatric evaluation was published with the conclusion that Breivik was not psychotic during the attacks and he was not psychotic during their evaluation.

It will be interesting to see how the Norwegian court will deal with Breivik – it appears difficult to contend that he is not insane. However, as the second psychiatrist’s report suggests – what if he is just a really bad person? Breivik is arguably the most extreme manifestation of the fight against multiculturalism which has taken many forms in different Western European nations, tragically so.

Suffice it to say that it would be unfortunate if a person who has confessed to killing 77 people for no reason – except to defend himself from people who have caused him no harm but to be different from him – would be acquitted on the basis of a technical defence when his ideology could be destructive and may fuel destructive far-right tendencies in Europe. Such intolerance has no place in a 21st Century world where ethnic and racial hatred offends humanity and is contrary to basic principles of human rights.

Self-respect: Every woman should have it

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My personal definition of self-respect is knowing when to walk away from a situation that has ceased to make you happy – it may be a job, a friendship or a relationship. Knowing when to leave because your well-being depends on it is the key to remaining inspired by life and choosing happiness.

Like a butterfly which flies from its cocoon, we must grow and move on from the situations that prevent us from exuding our true beauty and achieving that for which we have been destined.

Every woman – young or old, married or single, religious or not – must have this quality.

I would not send a poor girl into the world, ignorant of the snares that beset her path; nor would I watch and guard her, till, deprived of self-respect and self-reliance, she lost the power or the will to watch and guard herself ~ Anne Bronte

Trayvon Martin: Is race the issue?

Yes, I am black.

No, I’m not a big fan of hoodies.

Yes, I believe Trayvon Martin’s death was sad, regrettable and should not have happened.

Yes, I do think society should be concerned about the manner in which he died.

No, I don’t think race is the issue.

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It was as though after criticism of the Kony 2012 campaign went almost as viral as the video of the campaign itself, the world needed a fresh campaign to go crazy about. That campaign was found in the tragedy of Trayvon Martin.

Trayvon Martin was shot on February 26, 2012, in Sanford, Florida. Martin was a 17-year-old African-American who was shot and killed by 28-year-old George Zimmerman, a man of Peruvian and white descent. Martin was unarmed, walking from a convenience store to the home of his father’s girlfriend when Zimmerman, a community watch captain, began following Martin and called the Sanford Police Department to say he witnessed suspicious behaviour. Soon afterward, there was a physical altercation which ended when Zimmerman fatally shot Martin.

The circumstances surrounding Martin’s death have received national and international attention. President Obama  pledged a full investigation into the death of  Martin and offered his condolences to the Martin family. Hoodies have since taken on a national significance in the United States, as Martin was killed while wearing one. Donning a hoodie is currently seen as a sign of protest, and many cities across America staged “million hoodie marches” or “hundred hoodie marches” against the suggestion that he was killed because he was black and that the police have failed to perform their role because they have declined to charge Zimmerman for manslaughter.

The criticism that the killing was racially-motivated is yet to be properly substantiated. Crucially, however, if the victim of the shooting had been a hooded white teen or a hooded hispanic teen, would it be any less atrocious? The answer ought to be no. Why? Because the killing of any 17-year old in such a disproportionate manner is unacceptable. Obama has accentuated the racial undertones of the killing, perhaps unduly, when he asserted that, if he had a son, he’d look like Trayvon Martin. Various critics have pointed out that if the President had a son, he wouldn’t look anything like Trayvon Martin. He’d be wearing a blazer from his prep school, he’d be driving a Beemer and he’d be surrounded by Secret Service. So the president’s suggestion that he can only feel for this kid because he looks physically like him is patently flawed.

What about the united view that everybody appreciates what it is to lose a son of any colour? – not to mention the common adage that not all black people look the same.

The real enemy in this tragedy is not race. A teen of any race, social standing or persuasion may wear a hoodie. A man of any colour can view a hooded teen as suspicious. The problem lies in the law that enables a man who forms a suspicion that a person is a danger to him to take the law into his own hands and kill that person. Whether the victim is a hooded black teen or otherwise is immaterial. What society should focus on is the “stand your ground” law which is part of the law of the state of Florida. This law states that a person may use deadly force in self-defence when there is reasonable belief of a threat, without an obligation to retreat first. Under this principle, a person is justified in using deadly force in certain situations and the “stand your ground” law would be a defence or to criminal charges and a civil suit. Florida’s law in this regard  makes it very difficult to prosecute cases against people who shoot others and then claim self-defence. The shooter can argue he felt threatened, and in most cases, the only witness who could have argued otherwise is the victim who was shot and killed.

The “stand your ground” law has been used to excuse neighbourhood brawls, bar fights, road rage, and even street gang violence. Before passage of the law, Miami police chief John F. Timoney called the law unnecessary and dangerous in that “[w]hether it’s trick-or-treaters or kids playing in the yard of someone who doesn’t want them there or some drunk guy stumbling into the wrong house, you’re encouraging people to possibly use deadly physical force where it shouldn’t be used.”

The prosecution of Zimmerman under such legislation is not what the campaign should be about. There is a large chance he would go free. The “stand your ground” law doesn’t apply only to black victims. Trayvon Martin was not unique in his fate. Race is not the problem; the law is. To campaign only for Trayvon Martin is to obfuscate issues and run away from the true problem we ought to be campaigning against. A balance must be struck between the law of self-defence and the sanctity of human life. Laws which support killing in self-defence must factor in proportionality.

Trayvon Martin lies in all of us – not just the illusory son of a black President. Before Trayvon Martin was black, he was human. No person, black hooded teen or otherwise, should be allowed to die in this way with the sanction of the law.

The ten worst stereotypes about powerful women according to Forbes

Forbes Magazine is always a good read. Inspiring, balanced and critical, I always find in there something that speaks to me or provokes me to think, whether or not I agree with the views expressed. Recently, the magazine published an article about ten of the worst stereotypes about powerful women.

It is my own view that twenty-first century post-feminism has had a damaging impact on the gains of the feminist movement of the last century. Feminism now carries a negative connotation, with many women, young and old, shying away from being labelled as such. Many fear that they will be perceived as cold and lonely if they associate themselves with the feminist movement.

Consequently, women continue to be judged more, even by other women. As an African woman, the third dimension of an entrenched patriarchical sub-culture and tradition adds its own texture to the challenge of being a modern career woman. For many African people, a woman’s place is in the home. Only in the last two decades were women recognized as having their own legal capacity in Zimbabwe. It is generally not considered an admirable feminine attribute for a Zimbabwean woman to be outspoken or to challenge the status quo – traits that are generally positive when espoused by men. I am yet to hear of a female chief. In addition, the legal world in Africa and abroad is mostly a boys’ club. There are no women on the Commercial Court bench in London and Lady Hale is the lone female justice of the United Kingdom Supreme Court. It remains a challenge, albeit interesting, to be female in today’s working world.

Against this background and drawing from the experiences of some of my own personal heroes (heroines?…whatever!) including Halley Bock, Olivia Fox Cabane, Jill Abramson, Laura Chinchilla, Carol Bartz and Christine Lagarde, Forbes highlighted the following as the ten most hated and pervasive stereotypes of powerful women which we continue to allow to seep into the collective subconscious:

  1. Ice Queen.
  2. Single and Lonely.
  3. Tough.
  4. Weak.
  5. Masculine.
  6. Conniving.
  7. Emotional.
  8. Angry.
  9. A Token – to fulfil diversity requirements.
  10. A Cheerleader – not a coach or a quarterback.

I could not agree more with Forbes: while male leaders are allowed to have complex personalities, powerful women are often summed up by hackneyed stereotypes that undermine them and their power.

Ode to the women who nonetheless build their ranks as heads of state, corporate leaders and media executives in spite of these stereotypes.

Occupy Africa? The AU in the ICU as US Special Forces hunt down the ‘spokesperson of God’

The death of Gaddafi in many ways showed the African Union (AU) to be weak and impotent. When the Libyan leader started shooting Libyan civilians, the regional body was silent. When NATO intervened to protect civilians and civilian protected areas following a mandate from the UN Security Council, the neocolonialism mantra went into overdrive. When he was shot dead in Libya, the AU’s silence was louder. The Libyan episode is deeply ironic because Gaddafi, during his tenure as Libya’s leader, called for the creation of an African military to defend Africa. Gaddafi’s vision was far-reaching, calling as it did for the establishment of a United States of Africa to rival the United States and the European Union. “We want a single currency. We want one African passport,” he declared. In theory, many Africans share this vision. Indeed, many of Africa’s statesmen and leaders paid lip service to it. The truth of the matter is that, in a continent ravaged by war, poverty and corruption, these ideals would prove impossible to achieve as more of Africa’s leaders sought to entrench their positions using violence and appropriating national resources for their personal use. The natural result has been war, war and more war.

Unsurprisingly therefore, all of the cases before the International Criminal Court (ICC) are from Africa, an unfortunate reality that has created tension between the Court and the AU. A notable case that the Court has attempted to prosecute relates to one Joseph Kony, the leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). Kony proclaims himself to be the “spokesperson of God” and a spirit medium, primarily of the Holy Spirit which the group believes can represent itself in many manifestations. Combining local religious beliefs, mysticism, traditional religion and Christianity, the LRA claims to be creating a theocratic state. It is accused of widespread human rights violations and breaches of international criminal law, including murder, abduction, enlisting child soldiers and sexual enslavement. The group operates in northern Uganda, South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Central Africa. The AU neglects or refuses to condemn, prosecute, wage war against or otherwise censure the LRA. Innocent civilians die daily, women are raped every minute and children give up their innocence as armed conflict consumes their existence. Fellow Africans continue to go about their usual business as if nothing is going on.

American foreign policy chimes against this bleak background. At the early stages of his presidency, the Obama doctrine had been difficult to articulate. George Bush had made Obama’s job easier with his pugnacious approach to global politics. Calls for peace and a need to end the war in Iraq were a strong feature of Obama’s first campaign, leading many to believe erroneously that he would be anti-war. Various of his National Security Strategy documents abandoned the aggressive tone of a ‘war on terror’ and focused instead on a ‘network of hatred and evil.’ Obama, it was thought, heralded a new era, characterized by making peace with the world. Over the last year, Obama has learnt the art of war. He has overseen the US military play a key role in the killing of Osama Bin Laden and more recently regime change in Libya through the killing of Muammar Gaddafi. Most recently, he has stretched his tentacles over to Africa in a hundred-strong Special Forces mission designed to disband the LRA. Obama’s motives are unclear. Yet STILL, the AU is silent.

Admittedly, the LRA has committed atrocities and must definitely be disbanded, if not destroyed. But for how long will Africa’s leaders and its people look on as foreign missions carry out the all important task of peace building in Africa’s own backyard?

Gaddafi was bad, but his idea of an African military was not bad at all. Africa needs to protect itself against itself. Gaddafi is now dead while the AU languishes in the intensive care unit.

Another New York Times article on Zimbabwe that just made me roll my eyes

Energy Maburutse is simply brilliant. Diagnosed at age 5 with brittle bone disease which has left him wheelchair bound, he attended high school in Zimbabwe and is currently enrolled a Lynn University in the United States. At 21, he is a true inspiration to Zimbabweans at home and abroad.

I read of his story in the New York Times but instead of feeling happy, my stomach flipped. Another American journalist, whose knowledge of Zimbabwe is most likely based on other articles he has read in foreign media, had a lot of disparaging things to say about the country – albeit by insinuation, cloaked in the beautiful tale of a disabled student. The article opened with the oblique dig at the fact that Energy had never before seen an air conditioner. Well, that’s because the weather in Zimbabwe is such that one does not normally need an air conditioner. Rarely do we experience extremes of heat or cold. When it does get uncomfortably hot, no sooner do the heavens quench the dry earth with rain, cooling everything down. The report went on to describe how Energy had never eaten frozen yoghurt, one reason why he had put on weight. Oh yes, and the mop that can be wrung using the sliding mechanism on the handle, as opposed to Zimbabwe where people perform the same function with their hands.

I accept that life is not perfect in Zimbabwe, much less so in rural Zimbabwe. But is there any need to be so condescending? Even under extremely difficult circumstances, Zimbabwean students, locally and abroad, work hard and succeed. If a disabled rural student can make it to a reputable college in the US, and thrive, what does it matter that he has never seen an air conditioner, has never eaten frozen yoghurt or knows a mop to operate differently? Must we be so petty? Why employ such deductive leaps in reasoning to insinuate that the country is a hole, dark and despondent? A more complete analysis of the Zimbabwean situation and interviewing a different sample of students may paint a very different picture. Not to mention that most students in local universities attended mission or rural high schools but go on to be leaders in industry, justice, medicine and science.

So proud am I to have grown up and studied in Zimbabwe that all I can do upon reading such a thinly veiled assault on a country that is so rich and full of potential is roll my eyes. My Zimbabwean education has taken me everywhere I have needed to go. And I remain rooted there. According to the article, upon completion of his studies, the prospect of returning to Zimbabwe is out of the question. He wants to be a human rights advocate — maybe with the United Nations, maybe with Unicef — and of some sort of arrangement by which “he can live in America or anywhere but Zimbabwe, where there are no ramps, astronomical unemployment and unfathomable poverty.” If all educated Zimbabweans adopt the same attitude, other rural students in Energy’s position may not be as lucky as he is.

Even so, few people who comment on Zimbabwe have ever visited the nation. Fewer people understand it. Things are sub-optimal but they will get better. In the meanwhile, all I can do is smirk and roll my eyes at another ‘we pity you’ article with perhaps more disdain for the New York Times than they show for Zimbabwe.

It’s not every generation that an African woman wins a Nobel Peace Prize ~ RIP Wangari Maathai

Maathai was a true force of nature – an environmentalist, feminist, politician, professor, rabble-rouser, human rights advocate and head of the Green Belt Movement. She will be fondly remembered for her contribution to sustainable development and human rights on the African continent. May her soul rest in eternal peace.

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“African women in general need to know that it’s OK for them to be the way they are – to see the way they are as a strength, and to be liberated from fear and from silence.”

Wangari Maathai

Palestine: to state or not two state?

Over the last decade, the Israel-Palestine conflict has taken a back seat as US foreign policy, and indeed that of a large proportion of the ‘free world’, has been transfixed on the war on terror. The conflict re-entered the limelight last week as President Mahmoud Abbas called on the United Nations General Assembly to back a two-state  solution, recognising the state of Palestine with pre-1967 borders. President Abbas’s speech was met with thundering applause, mainly from ‘smaller’ states which form the majority of the General Assembly but have disproportionately less power in the control of global affairs compared to the five most powerful states in the world which control the fifteen-member United Nations Security Council – the United States, the United Kingdom, China, Russia and France.

Many ask: why the sudden resuscitation of this conflict on the world stage? A likely answer is that after decades of circular negotiations which have produced no outcome, the Palestinian leadership has decided to seek international legitimacy as a way of strengthening their position. It is also thought that the increase in Israeli settlements on land that Palestinians view as their own has compounded their call for a solution to a conflict that, along with that in the DRC, is the most complex in the world. The consequences of the creation of a Palestinian state may include possible recourse to the International Criminal Court for war crimes and crimes against humanity allegedly committed by the Israelis on Palestinian territory. Abbas contends that being accorded state status by the United Nations will improve the Palestinian bargaining position in relation to Israel and expose Israel as an occupying power in another sovereign state. Israel, understandably, is not happy with Palestine’s bid, viewing it as a threat to future negotiations, opening the door to violence and instability and in arguable violation of the 1993 Oslo Accords. It is reported that the general Israeli view is to embrace a two-state solution eventually, although critics argue that Israelis are unwilling to make the compromises necessary to achieve this.

At the 2010 session of the General Assembly, President Obama was in strong support of a two-state solution, along the lines of the current Palestinian bid. He asserted that “[i]f an agreement is not reached, Palestinians will never know the pride and dignity that comes with their own state. Israelis will never know the certainty and security that comes with sovereign and stable neighbours who are committed to co-existence. The hard realities of demography will take hold. More blood will be shed. This Holy Land will remain a symbol of our differences, instead of our common humanity.  I refuse to accept that future.” In a spectacular backtrack, thought by many to be another Obama strategy for political survival in the face of an impending presidential election, Obama has refused to support the most recent Palestinian cry for a two-state solution. He superficially argues that only negotiations can bring a lasting peace and stability. Europe is confused and divided on the issue. History, international law and principle may explain why.

All that remains is to ask – if the world, in particular the western liberal world, was hyperventilating with excitement at the Arab Spring which saw the fall of many a western foe (notably Gaddafi and Mubarak), why is there such reluctance to support the self-determination of a people seeking a springtime start to a lasting peace? Can we blame ordinary Palestinians for feeling forgotten and excluded? How does the world react to West Bank settlers who are deeply opposed to the very idea of a Palestinian state on land they believe was given to them by God? Can the skepticism of Palestinians about the “peace process” and their resentment to Jewish settlements expanding on their land be successfully tempered? Is Hamas’s threat to ‘wipe out Israel’ real?

Despite doubt after Obama’s declared support for Israel, Abbas has stated the Palestinian position. Whatever the outcome of the Security Council deliberations, Palestine has succeeded in drumming up worldwide support and much needed pre-negotiation legitimacy for its bid for a two-state solution. However, the reality of global power play suggests that this is a small peak in the series of valleys in the bid to find a solution to a conflict many believe has no solution.