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With Respect To The 'Dossier' on Ken O'Keefe Composed By Mary RizzoM. Dennis Paul, Ph.D. Associate Editor Salem-news.com
Contrary to resolution, what Mary's effort accomplishes is continuation of this issue and the taking of sides... Solidarity Lost.
(WINDSOR, N.H.) - A lengthy diatribe [ http://q4.93.sl.pt ]composed by Mary Rizzo [12/2010] of Palestine Think Tank (PTT) regarding claims she feels are of major import regarding alleged actions of activist Ken O'Keefe (involved in the Road to Hope convoy of last year that met with numerous obstacles and negative press), is described as a “dossier” by Mary. In the classic sense, her overdrawn article is anything but a dossier. To some, this may be a minor point but I raise it here to address the issue of clarity and purpose.
What Mary offered is, accurately, a blog article attacking the character of Mr. O'Keefe based on personal perspectives drawn from her interpretations, both of substance and worth, of select interviews, biographies, Facebook and Twitter posts, videos, and media reportings. It is not based on any genuine personal knowledge of, or presence within, the events to which she refers. Based solely upon her research, and colored with an obvious disdain for Mr. O'Keefe, Ms. Rizzo assigns herself the position of prime investigator, prosecutor, judge and jury. I grant that she did request, of her readers, their personal response to her verdict in this trial by blog.
I leave it to readers to view the actual blog piece (as noted above) and the extensive comments viewable here: http://q4.id.sl.pt
I do not question Mary's commitment to the struggle for freeing Palestine. Likewise, I have no question regarding the commitment of Ken. Both have conducted admirable work in their own respective ways.
As a veteran activist, and one who has witnessed and become embroiled in controversies within a variety of activist organizations, my issue with Mary and her blog approach to dealing with such controversy, is that such an approach neither honestly addresses facts, separating them from personal sentiments, innuendo and aspersion, nor affords resolution maintaining the solidarity necessary for any activist organization to effectively carry on its chosen mission.
Quite contrary to solidarity, as can be witnessed by the numerous comments, what such approach actually creates is ever deepening division amongst the body of activists who look toward such organizations for guidance and direction. Contrary to resolution, what Mary's effort accomplishes is continuation of this issue and the taking of sides...Solidarity Lost. Played out in media, future possible activists are faced with having no unified structure to support them... and donors, so desperately needed, are fearful of lending their support. The movement loses... but more important, the Palestinians lose.
The reality of any movement is that strong personalities will arise and old guard will resist new methodologies for achieving mutual aims. Personalities will clash and ideologies will conflict. Perspectives will be misinterpreted and risks will be taken. All of this and more are natural expectations of any movement that struggles with seemingly inescapable odds against success... and this is aside from the infiltrations from outside forces that are also to be expected.
Organization within the movement is the most important factor in its success. This movement has clearly demonstrated poor organization and has, as such, met with more obstacles than necessary. In many instances, as was most recently witnessed by the usurpation of travel rights by Greece at the behest of Israel, greater organization (such as keener awareness of the dysfunctional economics of the region and not underestimating the global reach of both the US and Israel, among a number of other considerations not for display), would very likely have produced better results, Obviously, the Road To Hope convoy was plagued by poor organization.
Problems or concerns within an organization are best taken up within the structure of the organization itself and not in the media. An organization which has no mechanism in place for adequately dealing with internal strife fails as an organization. Within an organization, minor claims, such as issues over whether Ken had a US passport or not, can be dispensed with for what they are.. extraneous kerfuffle and the matters of genuine organizational concern can be appropriately addressed. However, once in print and slanted toward an intended bias, they stand to contribute to perceptions which are wholly unwarranted.
Ms. Rizzo's article is rife with such trivial claim as passports and pictures, unfortunately, and is nuanced by her leading questions and statements which are unacceptable in conflict resolution. Had she put her efforts toward offering an organizational review of her concerns, she would now appear more a peacemaker and proponent of solidarity. Sadly, this cannot now be said and the exact opposite can. In her attempt to paint Ken as an inflated ego, she emerges in much the same light. The movement does not need its media fighting amongst themselves with editor challenging editor over past military experience or allegiances and senselessly commenting on interviews with mothers. My hope is that she can see the damage done and attempt to stanch the bleeding.
To the Free Palestine movement, I strongly urge that a central coordinating committee comprised of representatives from all groups be formed and that the first call be for construction of mechanisms for internal dispute resolution. In this regard, I offer my services in an advisory capacity.
The second order should be a committed dialogue for constructing mutually agreed upon ends and means for activists. This needs to be inclusive of many platforms.. not exclusive to the degree that there exists only one.
Beyond this, planning for success is far more effective than harping on failure.
Stay Human! VIVA PALESTINA!
Past related reports:
M. Dennis Paul, Ph.D. is a Counselor and Conflict Resolution Specialist/Consultant (Mediation/Arbitration/Facilitation) (20+ yrs).
He is the Creator of Thought Addiction programs (Lectures Seminars & Workshops) (Intensive 21 day Addiction Recovery Programs designed for Artists, Actors, Musicians & Industry Leaders) residing in New Hampshire (US). (The Website for M. Dennis Paul, Ph.D. is currently under reconstruction) Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org 1-603-478-1544
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