Do you trust me?
Well, why on earth should you?
You don’t know me personally; we’ve never met and, almost certainly, never will. What impression you may have formed will be drawn mainly from my entries here in the blog and comments sections of the TOI. One or two other noteworthy journals have found favour in my sight and contributions of mine have also appeared in their columns. But that’s about it; the full extent of my literary take on life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
Then why ask the question?
Because there are times when you just have to trust someone; parents, relatives, colleagues, friends and, sometimes, even total strangers. But what amount of trust should you place in this latter category, people about whom you may know very little? And, more importantly, what is it you would trust them with?
This dilemma is one from which Arabs and Israelis have long sought release. For generations, its hold over them has remained constant and, as a result, their conflict, now well into its sixth decade, has never once looked like ending – and most certainly not in a positive way. Lack of confidence in each other’s probity and good intentions has been around from the very start; it could almost be classified as an art form in itself. Both sides have found so much to criticize and condemn in their respective opponents that any thought of mutual coexistence must seem delusional at best, self-inflicted cruelty at worst.
How then to find even the smallest level of trust? This 65 year-old contest is a struggle that has cost the lives of thousands and plumbed the depths of human misery and despair. It will continue on indefinitely unless abundant quantities of this very scarce commodity called trust start making a bee-line towards all those having good reason to need it.
Desperate times sometimes call for desperate measures. As a last resort, trust may have to be quickly manufactured instead of being painstakingly earned. And this process might have to be carried out on what could be considered a worldwide scale.
When your own worst enemy here can so easily become, in effect, yourself, then the most exacting care will be taken to avoid such a fate. Even to the extent of entering into really meaningful peace negotiations that would otherwise not be contemplated for an instant.
You can trust me on this. It’s really just human nature, after all.