(Picture courtesy of hirefrank at flickr.com.)
The usual Thursday feature of foreign news did not seem as odd for a Thanksgiving as it might have without the achievement of peace in Gaza. Intense efforts among parties, that include the new government of Egypt the overthrow of Mubarak enabled, makes this even more momentous.
The truce – announced in Cairo by Egypt’s foreign minister, Mohamed Kamel Amr, and the US secretary of state, Hillary Clinton – included a pledge to open border crossings. That could ease the five-year blockade of the coastal enclave, a key point certain to be the focus of differing interpretations as the dust settles.
But even as the truce was being announced, Netanyahu warned more “forceful” action might be required if the ceasefire failed, a reference to a threatened ground invasion of Gaza which was postponed by Israel after pressure from the US president…..
The agreed truce, mediated by Morsi and his spy chief, Mohamed Shehata, came after days of talks and frantic shuttle diplomacy involving regional leaders, the UN secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, and Clinton.
The peace was only arranged after days of violence, and will hold only if the warring areas go forward resolutely to make conditions viable for the people in Gaza.
Elsewhere in the troubled area, conflict in Syria has spilled into neighboring Turkey and led to a call for help from the NATO alliance in the form of forces on the border.
Concerns in Ankara deepened last week with an air assault by forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad on the rebel-held frontier town of Ras al-Ain, which triggered some of the biggest refugee movements since the 20-month-old conflict began.
More than 120,000 Syrian refugees are sheltering in camps in southern Turkey and with winter setting in and millions of people estimated to be short of food inside Syria, there are concerns many more will pour in.
Turkey has led calls for a buffer zone to be set up inside Syria where refugees could be safely sheltered, a move which would need to be policed by foreign air power to be credible, but the idea has gained little international traction.
Argentina worked toward offering its investor classes greater attractions to fund private expansion. Upheaval that included government intervention in markets have made investors shy from investing in the country’s business.
Argentina’s lower house of congress approved a sweeping capital markets reform bill Wednesday night that aims to channel more private savings to fund businesses and infrastructure projects.
The government hopes the bill will encourage more middle-class Argentines to invest in the securities market so that businesses have greater access to funding at competitive rates.
Here at home, it’s not a celebration for all of the people of the U.S. When the pilgrims arrived, they co-existed with the tribes they found here. As European settlement of this nation increased, those tribes were pushed from lands they had always possessed. We still live on lands we essentially took from the native population that originally held them.
Indians outnumbered Pilgrims by roughly two to one at the feast. Half of the Mayflower’s passengers had died within a few months of their arrival 10 months earlier, and the Wampanoag were the only reason the rest of them were alive.
Under their leader, Massasoit, they had nurtured the English, formed an alliance with them and offered them large expanses of real estate. They had taught the Pilgrims to live off the land; the fish, game and corn they were eating in the fall of 1661 came courtesy of Wampanoag generosity.
Massasoit was no useful idiot, though. His once-large tribe had been just been devastated by plague introduced by white fishermen; the Wampanoag were being subjugated by the powerful Narragansett tribe. If the Pilgrims were using him, he was shrewdly using the Pilgrims to rebuild his power and counter the Narragansetts.
Here’s hoping the Thanksgiving holiday will give occasion to celebrate better conditions for all the world and its people.