Ari Sherman, Creative Advertising

The Olinguito: Dreaming of Peace on the day an engaging newly discovered critter is in the news.

Posted in Hope, Israeli Palestinian Negotiations, Science, Story Telling by Ari Sherman on August 15, 2013

On the bright side, and I’m actually not making this up, our world has been enriched this morning, or at least our awareness of it has been enriched, by the announcement of the discovery in ‘plain sight’ of what’s being described as a ‘mini-raccoon with a teddy bear face that is so cute it’s hard to resist’ (AP), a ‘new’ species of mammal that somehow went overlooked until now, called the olinguito, 2 feet and a long tail, 2 pounds of reddish-brown tree leaping South American cuteness that led one scientist to actually call it a cross between a house cat and a Teddy Bear.
And that’s got to put smiles on a lot of faces.
Sadly we’ve also been greeted by increased and in some cases growing sectarian and religious violence in the MidEast. Again.
There is the on-going struggle to balance secular rights with the more conservative and religious leanings of the current government of Turkey. There is of course the bloodshed and strife that is on-going today in Egypt, as the battle between the secular and the fundamentalist elements there continues in the wake of the efforts to break free of the past that began with the Arab Spring and its removal of Mubarak. That toll for the last week or so stands at 525 dead, at least. And perhaps most ominous of all, today we’ve seen the death of at least 14 victims, with hundreds more injured, resulting from the spillover of strife from Syria into Lebanon. The thought that bombs are going off in Beirut again is tragic and sad and frightening and brings home all the more powerfully how dangerous old ideas, and leaders who don’t embrace full rights for all and work to resolve differences with respect for all human dignity and a preference to go the brave way, the way of peace, are for all of us.
Guess that tells you all where I’m about to go.
On a day when a previously unknown fuzzy little teddy bear is exciting the scientific world and sparking imaginations everywhere there is a negotiation taking place. It is difficult. Its odds of success have been called unlikely at best. But I prefer to believe, as I have all my life, that Israel, and most Israelis at least, believes in being a Democracy more than anything else, and that it knows it cannot be a true Democracy while continuing to occupy a people whose rights have been compromised to the point they really don’t warrant consideration as true Civil Rights. And the math of demographic reality, well known to both sides, can’t be ignored either. It’s time to make the break, take the risks and move on in to a future where Peace can be built, no matter how difficult that may be or what setbacks may threaten it as they no doubt will.
Releasing prisoners, for Israel, was no easy task – but it lead to a chance to change, and that has to be a good thing. Announced intentions involving building more settlements does the opposite. It may seem like a smart move, a signal, whatever. It just plain isn’t positive. It’s transparent and harmful and in its way it’s an added insult to those for whom the Prisoner release already brought so many difficult and painful feelings and memories. Because if you release murderers without taking significant steps to eliminating the conflict that those murders occurred in, what good have you possibly done.
So my fingers are crossed. I’m taking the ‘fuzzy’, optimistic side brought to me by way of a little oddity that likes the tree life of South America. And brought to me by the optimism of believing in some day living in a world where war and inequality don’t threaten the rights of any and every child on this planet to dream one day they may stand among the foliage and look up to see one. So here’s to hoping! I wish a happy Olinguito Day to everyone.

You gotta love finding out there’s a species so new that it’s name comes up as a typo when you write about it ; )

Photo courtesy of the AP

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