Finding Peace in the Middle East

Selena points out a new game called Peacemaker. The game places you in the position of trying to find a path to peace between Israel and Palestine.

I can’t wait to try this game. My favorite class at the University of Oregon was an Honors College course on the Rhetoric of the Israeli/Palestinian Conflict. Each student was assigned a leader involved in the Middle East discussion—Israeli, Palestinian, and even U.N. and U.S. representatives.

We studied our leader’s beliefs, concerns, and politics throughout the course while working towards a term paper that was to encapsulate the assigned leader’s view of the world.

All of this research was actually groundwork for the final which was a mock peace conference. We were to negotiate peace during the final three class sessions. Within 10 minutes of starting our conference, talks had broken down and the U.N. representatives were scurrying between rooms trying to get us to return to the table.

I believe our major accomplishment was the fact that we returned to talks. We never came to any solution.

I’ve often thought about this experience when I’ve heard other people talk about how ridiculous the conflict is and how they should just split the land in half and move on. We tend to think of the conflict as being an easy thing to solve.

It isn’t. Twenty college students with nothing on the line except our researched beliefs barely could agree to sit at the same table. Peace won’t come easily.

So I’m very pleased to hear that there is a game that attempts to share the difficulty solving these issues and that educators are looking into incorporating this into their curriculum. My experience changed my perspective in profound ways. If the game can capture only a fraction of that experience, it will be worth it.