The Middle East Conflict : The South Dakota Solution
Michael H. Thomson
Every day, for decades, tales of bloodshed, tragedy, atrocities, religious, and racial hatred have been the standard fare of news from the Middle East. The focal point of all of this strife, of course, is Israel, home to the three great religions of the Book. All of these religions have at their core the belief that they are God’s chosen people, and that status, of course gives them the right to hate and despise everyone else.
The hate is so refined that sub-groupings of Islam, Judaism, and Christianity bear animosity towards one another i.e. the Sunnis and the Shiite Moslem factions, Protestants and Catholics, and Traditional and Hasidic Jews. I could continue sub-grouping even among the sub-groups, but I think you get the point.
Of course, there is another factor in Israel that everyone seems to ignore-overcrowding. Israel has a population of approximately 7 million people; about 6 million Jews and about 1 million Arabs. All living very uncomfortably with each other on 7,849 square miles of land-approximately the same land area as Massachusetts. More Jews and Arabs would move to Israel if they could, and of course that is one of the major problems. Where to put all of these people so they can hate each other better?
Undoubtedly, if this strife continues, and it will, World War III will arrive shortly. There will be more 9-11’s. This conflict has been going on for so long that every possible solution has been tried at least twice! Anyone who shows promise of being a peacemaker is eventually assassinated. Peace will never come through negotiation. Never. Peace will have to be imposed in a drastic, creative manner. Unfortunately, no one in the U.S. or the E.U. is committed enough to stand up to the plate and do the things that need to be done. Ironically, many of our attitudes we have in dealing with this problem have evolved over decades from that beginning point in the land of the Book.
One of my original ideas for imposing peace would be to demolish all the Holy sites. Bulldoze the Church of the Holy Sepulcher; make a parking lot of the Temple Mount, the Dome of the Rock, the Al Aqsa Mosque, and the Wailing Wall. In other words neutralize the conflict by taking away all the “bones of contention.”
Then I thought about the “innocent” merchants who would lose their livelihood from hawking the myths, the near legends, and outright lies promulgated throughout the centuries about all these so-called holy places. There is no telling how many ankle bones and other skeletal body parts that reside in tombs below great cathedrals that have no relationship whatsoever to the saint they are purported to have once been attached to in life. No place on earth has created more superstitions than the Holy Land. Now to the drastic, creative solution:
Premise: The entire world and the universe is God’s creation, right? Ok, even if you’re an atheist and hate that word “creation” you probably still have to stretch your imagination to figure out how all of this stuff just appeared. I use God to keep it simple. Continuing…everything being equal, if it’s God’s creation, it is therefore “holy” and thereby the entire world is “holy.” Make sense? Probably not to people in one of those sub-groups of Christianity who agonize all their life hoping to buried on sanctified ground. Okay, I’m sorry to hurt your feelings…I’ll stick with the premise.
So, on the basis of my premise, much like we occasionally shift furniture in our living room, why not shift where we locate the holy land? If you are uncomfortable about my use of the term ‘holy’ keep in mind that I am going to the root causes of this disease rather than its symptoms. After much thought and careful consideration I have thought of a place that could use the tourism, has plenty of territory to handle 7 million people-possibly double that figure when the rest move in, and is currently ranked 21st among Israel’s trading partners. What better place to relocate the Holy Land than South Dakota.
Remember when the London Bridge was moved to Lake Havasu, Arizona? What a construction project! Lake Havasu receives hundreds of thousands of visitors a year since the bridge was placed there in 1971. Think of the impact of moving ALL of the Holy Land to South Dakota! Disney watch out! Moving all the holy Islamic, Christian, and Judaic shrines and temples to South Dakota would provide jobs for decades, produce harmony, and give us all some peace!
75,885 square miles with only 800,000 current occupants would provide plenty of growing room for young Moslems, Jews, and Christians. Sure its cooler in South Dakota than in Israel, but eventually everyone would adjust. Sovereignty issues could be dealt with in a political climate that has dealt with sovereignty issues for years. The established State of South Dakota has the agony of dealing with very thorny sovereignty issues in its long relationship with the Ogala Lakota Sioux. A little taste of Karma might help the State move that situation along as well, particularly when the majority population was reduced to a minority dealing with major ethnicity issues.
What I am proposing is not without precedent. The United States, the ancient Romans, the former USSR, the British and many other countries with troublesome populations, have geographically displaced entire populations for centuries. Ahh… those Cajuns and that blackened redfish…..you couldn’t get that in New Orleans if the Arcadians hadn’t been displaced from Canada! Think of those kosher elk dishes awaiting us if the South Dakota Solution were ever implemented!
Humor? Yes. Tongue in cheek? Definitely! A preposterous idea? I challenge the U.S., the E.U., and the U.N. to come up with a better one!
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