Where Have You Gone, Ralph Bunche?
In an op-ed piece in the Los Angeles Times, http://www.commondreams.org/views06/0802-30.htm Erin Aubrey Kaplan contrasts the horrible approach to “peacemaking” by Condaleeza Rice with that of Ralph Bunche, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1950 for securing an armistice between Israel and the Arabs. Bunche, the first African American to win the Nobel Peace Prize, had turned down an appointment as Asst. Sec. of State because he would not live in Washington, D.C.’s segregated housing. He helped to form the United Nations and became Under-Secretary for the former colonies as they came under UN “trusteeship” on the way to independence. When Israel was formed in 1948, every Arab nation declared war, seeing Israel as a Western colonial force. There seemed no chance to get any co-existence between Israel and her Arab neighbors, but Bunche’s armistice held until the Six Day War in 1967.
When did the U.S. stop producing brilliant diplomats like Bunche who could make peace? When did we get to the place where we can only make war? We say that we are “spreading democracy,” but that doesn’t seem to be what we are spreading: death, pain, hatred, sectarian strife, civil war, instability. Are these now our only legacies? Are there no Ralph Bunche’s left among us?
Dear God, we thank-you for the life of Ralph Bunche, political scientist, sociologist, diplomat and peacemaker. We ask for you to raise up his like today for we sorely need folk in his mold. Amen.
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