In it he suggests that those of us in the scifi/fantasy world get off of our pessimistic asses and stop writing dystopias. Now, it's already too late for me, although I did try to infuse The Year of the Crow with a dollop of hope. His point is that we dream what we write. We dream what we read. Writers not only write how it is. They also write how it could be. There's much to be said about telling stark truths and writing cautionary tales. We can't live on dreams of rosy futures alone. But we can't live without them, either. And, Stephenson says, we have been living without good dreams for too long a time.
A few days ago, I claimed to have come up with a possible solution to the Israeli/Palestian conundrum. But until I read Neal's argument, I was shy about sharing. Now the way to do so is clear as a bell. Present it as the fiction which, as of today, it is. With that in mind, I offer this rosy-fingered dream to a writer of political possibilities of the future.
There is one overriding concern for Israel as it stands today. Unless Palestinians are evicted from Israeli lands, all possible futures point to an eventual majority of Palestinians within the country which, unless Israel wants to become something other than a democratic state, will soon drown the dream of a Jewish homeland. Of a safe haven.
So here is my fictional solution.
- Create the two states of Israel and Palestine, based on the 1967 borders.
- Everybody remain in the homes they currently occupy.
- Israel writes a new constitution which grants all the rights and privileges of citizenship to all resident Palestinians except the franchise in national elections - they may, however, elect representatives to sit in the Knesset as observers and consultants.
- Palestine writes a new constitution which grants all the rights and privileges of citizenship to all resident Israelis except the franchise in national elections - they may, however, elect representatives to sit in Parliament as observers and consultants.
- The Palestinian residents in Israel will constitute a non-resident voting bloc in Palestinian national elections.
- The Israeli residents in Palestine will constitute a non-resident voting bloc in Israeli national elections.
- Jerusalem will serve as the national capitol of both states, with administrative districts for both nations set aside for that purpose.
- The "Holy" precincts of Jerusalem will be administered as a protectorate under the United Nations, with particular sites cared for by those particular religious institutions which have traditionally cared for them or which fall within the purview of the interests of each religion. Disputes to be settled by the U.N.
So have at it, future alternative historians. Show us a future that works. Show us something we can dream of, something we can wake up tomorrow and work for. I just know there is someone out there who can write the novel of the Israeli-Palestinian peace accords. Or the one in which North Koreans stage a bloodless coup. Which is, of course, completely impossible.
Except in fiction.