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Promises, promises

by Noga Gur-Arieh

October 2, 2012 | 10:10 am

The UN assembly- the place for politicians to shine

After a week of UN speeches, I had the urge to tell you about politicians from my point of view. For several days now my mind has been occupied with a rumble of thoughts and feelings, and I figured the only way I can make sense of it all is to write it down. So who are politicians? They are people we vote for, usually once every four years, to represent us. We choose many, for various roles and parts, while only one of them is chosen to sit on top. This person is the State leader, and he/she is the best and worst of them all. State leaders have the most responsibility, and thus they are under the most pressure. They can try and handle it in a smart way, but the outcome is usually one big mess, with only us to blame.

When we cast our votes, we usually rely on a bundle of promises, packed one on top of another, creating a utopean vision that can never happen. We, the voters, are fully aware of the non-existing reliability of those promises, but choose to believe them anyway. Why? Probably because we crave those things, and by hearing our wildest dreams being realized from the mouth of a soon-to-be important person, we act like we're under a spell. Politicians have a very sharp tongue, especially during an election year. They know exactly what to say, and we listen. We are attracted to their words like a moth to fire, and eventually vote according to their speeches, and not by relying on past actions. We are forgiving, and therefore willing to give a second chance to a mouthful of promises we want to hear so badly. After we cast our vote to the greatest promiser we lay back and wait for the magic to happen. But since our State leaders are not Walt Disney, that's not possible. As time passes by, they make sincere attempts to follow their promises and make them reality, only to discover that's not possible. Then, as we wait patiently, they try to figure a way out, and spend about a year or so coming up with reasonable excuses.   At first, we get angry, as we are tired of waiting for Utopia. We promise ourselves to never fall for their traps ever again, and begin to protest against our unrealized dreams. Then, as the election date comes closer, the game changes yet again.

A part of a politician's job is to make speeches. In fact, this is their primary job and the first requirement for the part. State leaders get to make the most meaningful speeches at the top of the political world- the UN. This is the one and only neutral organization which is as far from neutral as Britney Spears is from sanity. The closer the election date is, the more vague  and more grandiose their speeches become. They basically stand behind the podium and throw words like "Peace", "Will not allow", "middle east", "obligation" and "friendship" to the air, without mentioning names and without actually saying anything. Then, when their job is done, our job begins, because the interpretation is on us. The day after, newspapers are filled with the finest journalists' attempts to realize what the State leader had said. At this point, each and every one of us forms an opinion based on the newspaper we read. The politician basically sits back at his/her chair, smiling to one self. Their job is done. Ours is just beginning.

One other fact about politicians is that they have selective hearing when it comes to the world's worst enemies. A leader of a hostile country, who may put the world in danger, can say a sentence which starts with "Death to all Israelis" and ends with "Let the peace begin", and the state leaders will only hear the latter. Politicians, just like the rest of us prior to elections, can also put words and actions to a complete separation. Examples? Coming right up! When a tyrant like Assad butchers his people and then poses for a family portrait for a top magazine, smiling shyly and being quoted saying things about the peace and love, politicians will take that as a statement of peace. When Ahmadinejad makes a peace sign to the camera, while building a nuclear bomb which is officially stated for the destruction of Israel, politicians will zoom in on the peace sign without reading in between the lines (or looking at newspapers' headlines).

This leads me to the next politicians' characteristic- they are naïve.  Well, they’re either that or they're really good actors. I personally believe that a politician who truly believes Ahmadinejad craves peace is in the wrong business. And since they obviously make beautiful speeches and have ravishing charisma, they are in the right business, meaning they honestly can't really believe in his peace and love screen of lies. A politician who says he believes peace in the Middle East will arrive shortly is naïve. Same goes for the unbelievable politicians who listen to Ahmadinejad stating he intends to destroy every last Israeli and then shakes hands with him, saying his nuclear weapon is for research.  A politician saying any of those things is a politician who sits far away from here, and has no clue what's really going on. This is a politician who has a lack of understanding of just how important Israel is for maintaining of peace in the Middle East. There are far more than one politician of that kind. There are countless politicians who truly believe in fairytale peace without changing a thing, or simply by exchanging words with our Prime Minister (who is quite a politician himself). This will not bring peace, and these are NOT the people who should sit on top of the political-diplomatic ladder.

A true state leader, the one we really need, is a person who sticks to what he believes in, even during the election year. A true state leader is the person who is willing to make a change in this world, come what may. A person who is willing to take a risk for the sake of humanity. A true state leader will not only say all of this, but actually do, and "do" is the key word. I am a realistic person, which means I have almost lost hope in such a Messiah, but deep inside, I am still looking for the politician who will bring back our belief in that profession.  The most important thing we all must remember is that both the blame and the hope is on us. We must not forgive and forget like we do once in every four years or so. We must remember and face all of the wrongs and rights, not listen to polls or promises, and fight for out Utopia.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

My name is Noga Gur-Arieh, and I’m an Israeli Journalist, currently studying for my B.A degree in Media and Political Science, at Tel Aviv University.

I am very socially...

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