Selling a Vision of Hope To Advance Clean Technology and Peace in the Middle East

hamsa Israel army IDF photo

Today’s guest post is by Nissim Dahan, who is working to sell his “Vision of Hope.” Dagan envisions a network of individuals and organizations to help create economic prosperity in the Middle East. Through funding and implementing new environmental solutions, like clean technologies, Dahan believes the world can fight extremism. He uses the analogy of the Hamsa, the “hand of God” and the Middle East symbol to ward off the evil eye, to convey his mission. Here is his pitch:

We’ve all heard the doomsday scenarios if Global Warming is allowed to play itself out. For example, by the year 2050, sea levels may rise by as much as 20 feet –– flooding 60 percent of inhabitable land leading to water shortages, crop failures, and so forth. And most scientists would agree that even if all the facts are not as yet in, the risk of catastrophe is at least great enough to justify quick action now, before it’s too late to turn things around.

So given the evidence and logic that point to going “green,”why is it that not enough is being done? How do we explain the inertia that keeps serious change from taking place? The answer is not all that complicated.

Since the decision was taken some 150 years ago to run our economies on fossil fuels, a decision which may prove fatal to our destiny as a species, moneyed interests of all sorts have emerged which are fully content to leave things as they are, in a bid to keep the profits rolling in.

Oil production, car manufacturing, electricity generation, –– you name it ––are all heavily invested in the status quo. And once the moneyed interests feel this way, it is natural for most politicians to follow suit. Politics, after all, follows money.

Nissim Dahan and his wife

Nissim Dahan and his wife

So what will it take to turn things around, and to give momentum to the movement toward green?

One possibility would be to link going green to other intractable problems which confront us, and to show that protecting the environment could well become part and parcel of an overall solution to most of the ills which plague us. When it’s just the environment we’re talking about, we become too dependent on the good will of people with wealth and power. And let’s face it, there’s just so much good will to go around.

But if it were possible to make environmental protection part of a much larger picture, part of issues which are important even to the wealthy, and even to the powerful, then the possibility for turbo-charged change becomes more realistic. In short, we need to find a way to tap into the self-interest of those who are in a position to make something happen along these lines.

The Three Es

So what are the problems we face in this increasingly globalized world? Granted, we may be generalizing somewhat, but it could well be argued that we face three types of threats: the threats posed by ideological extremism, the threats to the environment, and the threats to our economies. We can refer to these three threats—Extremism, Environment, and Economy—as the 3-E’s. Even to the cursory observer, it is quite evident that the 3-E’s are inter-connected and inter-related. For example, ideological extremism, as we see with groups like Al Qaeda, can hinder environmental cooperation, and can derail any attempt to help developing nations to join the global economy.

Similarly, environmental harms can help breed extremism, and can threaten economic prosperity. In a similar vein, economic deprivation can become fertile ground for fomenting extremism, and can foster further degradation of the environment. In short, the 3-E’s are highly inter-connected, and inter-related. They feed upon one another, and into each other, in countless ways. You literally can’t solve one, without addressing the other two. They are a package deal of sorts.

Change is in the Palm of Your Hand

Since the three main threats we face are so related to one another, it makes sense that a solution is possible which would solve all three in one shot. We call that solution Selling a Vision of Hope, which has five parts to it, like the five fingers of your hand. In a very real sense, we could say that the answer to world peace is in our hand:

1. The thumb is for ideology: We will use a new ideological framework –– an ideology of common sense ––to speak to one another with common sense and with a sense of personal dignity. If the world is already becoming smaller technologically and economically, doesn’t it make sense for it to become “smaller”

ideologically as well? In a more perfect world, universal principles of common sense will inspire our thinking and inform our speech. In our fractured world, common sense is the common denominator.

2. The index finger is for investment: We will invest in one another under the banner, “We stand ready to invest in you, if you are ready to invest in yourselves.”

We will invest to create jobs, jobs which are geared to protect the environment. Such good paying jobs, in places like the West Bank, could help in many ways: to promote environmental protection by producing green technology products, to neutralize extremist thinking, to open up new markets for goods and services, to generate new profits, to bridge the gap between rich and poor, to convert oil profits into green profits, to help diversify strictly oil economies, to energize economic growth, to condition people for the possibility of peace, and so on.

3. The middle finger is for hope: We will use common sense along with some well placed investment dollars to sell people on a Vision of Hope—a Vision of Peace, Prosperity, and Freedom— on the Arab street, in the Muslim world, and in the world as a whole.

4. The ring finger is for public diplomacy: As we begin to sell our Vision of Hope, it becomes incumbent on us to sustain the vision by launching a series of public diplomacy programs which are specifically designed to prop the vision up, and to carry it forward, such as media campaigns and programs to empower women.

5. The pinky is for the willingness to fight: If we already have to fight against the forces of ideological extremism, even against those who would further environmental degradation, then we will fight, and fight hard, but we should elevate the fight on the ground to a higher moral plain by giving the fight a moral clarity of purpose. People will fight harder once they know what they’re fighting for. We’re not fighting, for example, a “war against terror.” We’re fighting a war to realize a Vision of Hope. There’s a big difference. We’re not fighting simply to “protect the environment.” We’re fighting, literally, for our lives.

So how does any of this pipedream begin to take place? We need to start with a specific project, a project which resonates with hope, and which says to the world that a Vision of Hope could be made real if people simply choose to make it so.

Develop Green Solutions in the West Bank

Arab boy collecting water in the West Bank

Arab boy collecting water in the West Bank

We could build a factory in the West Bank, on one of the four industrial zones that are currently being developed there as we speak. The factory would be run by Palestinian and Israeli entrepreneurs, who would hire and train Palestinian workers to produce a state of the art green energy product, which is technologically significant in some special way. Saudi financing would be the icing on the cake, and would send the message that oil profits are being used to create green profits.

Such a project, if successful, could attract worldwide attention, and could generate some serious investment dollars to fund more such projects, for more such jobs, for more protection of the environment, and for more neutralizing of extremism. A simple project could be the impetus for a movement for change.

For more information and to join Nissim’s quest, please visit him at: Selling A Vision of Hope.

Related green peace stories on Green Prophet
Regional Environmental Hazards and the Dead Sea- Red Sea Peace Conduit
Jordan River Peace Park Coming Soon?
The Politics of Israel’s Water

(Image credit: greenpepper)

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3 thoughts on “Selling a Vision of Hope To Advance Clean Technology and Peace in the Middle East”

  1. My partner and I absolutely love your blog and find the majority
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  2. gucci bag says:

    Such a project, if successful, could attract worldwide attention, and could generate some serious investment dollars to fund more such projects, for more such jobs, for more protection of the environment, and for more neutralizing of extremism. A simple project could be the impetus for a movement for change.

  3. Nissim Dahan says:

    It has been suggested to me that I answer a few questions about my background, credibility, and the status of our vision, Selling a Vision of Hope.

    1. What is your background?

    I was born in Israel in 1952. My family’s roots in Israel go back some 200 years. The parents of my grandmother were one of the 60 families to found the city of Tel Aviv. My dad was an officer in the army for some 18 years, and helped defend the nascent state. When I was 7 years old, my dad moved my mother, brother, and me to the U.S., the land of opportunity. We moved around quite a bit, but spent the last 40 years in Baltimore. I received a BA at the University of Pennsylvania, and a JD at the University of Maryland, School of Law. I met my wife in Paris, France and we’ve enjoyed 33 happy years together. For the past 30 years, as part of a family owned building business, I’ve worked to personally sell, design, and build some 1200 custom homes in the Baltimore metropolitan area. In the last two years I’ve worked on Selling a Vision of Hope.

    2. What expertise do you offer that could help accelerate your vision and that could encourage cooperation from others?

    More than anything, I am a good salesman, and while Selling a Vision of Hope is quite different from selling and building homes, still, “selling is selling.” People seem to respond favorably to some of these ideas. In addition, I know quite a lot about running a business, and this experience could come in handy as we try to create green technology businesses in places like the West Bank. I am also a lawyer, so this knowledge may come to play as we begin to maneuver through the various obstacles that will be in our way.

    3. What credibility do you offer?

    It is a sign of our times that people use expertise as a measure of credibility. But when it comes to peace, there may be no experts. If there were such experts, then where is the peace? My greatest source of credibility lies in my ability to convince you that Selling a Vision of Hope makes sense. Not because I say so, but because you come to believe it, based on your own common sense. I am also passionate about the cause, and that is at least worth something. But ultimately, it’s all about salesmanship, and my ability to convince others that Selling a Vision of Hope is the right answer for our time, and is at least worth a try. Hopefully, if an idea is good, it will be able to stand on its own, and gain some measure of credibility, and with that, the traction needed to makes something happen.

    4. At what stage is your mission?

    So far I have a vision. I wrote and published a book about it entitled, Selling a Vision of Hope: A Refreshing Alternative to Armageddon. I have a website http://www.sellingavisionofhope.org which my son-in-law created for me. I’ve been on the radio a couple of times. And I am slowly beginning to make the kind of contacts who could help me to put together an actual project on the ground. I could either create my own project, such as a factory, or I could help an entrepreneur to promote his project under the umbrella of Selling a Vision of Hope, if he or she becomes convinced that such an image would be good for PR, for marketing, and for attracting additional investment dollars.

    5. Do you have partners, investors, any projects underway, or is this just a personal “mission,” vision/dream, you have?

    It is still just a “vision/dream,” but to my mind, that’s a good start. Any movement for change must start with a vision. Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on the bus. Ordinarily a non-event. But Dr. King was no ordinary man. He was a man with a vision, a big vision of hope, a dream of social justice and equal treatment under the law. He highlighted the case of Rosa Parks, and soon enough, the reality on the ground began to fill up the space created by the vision. Such is the dynamic of change in the world, and such is the prescription for change in the Middle East, and beyond.

    I also have a strong relationship with Bar Ilan University. My parents are noted philanthropists there, and one of their projects is a department in nanotechnology, which has already developed some significant green technology products. Professor Kaveh, the president of the university, visited us recently and assured me that Bar Ilan would work with us, to bring new products on board, if we were able to line up the financing, even Saudi financing.

    6. What kind of help do you need?

    More than anything, I need contacts. I need to speak to people who know people. Ideally, for example, if I find a person who is ready to launch a green energy product, I may be able to convince him/her to locate at least part of the production facility in a place like the West Bank, and to use Selling a Vision of Hope as part of the PR/Marketing campaign. By doing this, an entrepreneur would be making his/her business to be about more than just making money, but about making a difference as well. Such an approach could result in worldwide attention, excellent PR, strong marketing, and could attract additional investment dollars.

    So if you know of such people, or if you have any contacts along these lines, or if you have any ideas in this regard, then by all means, please let us know at http://www.sellingavisionofhope.org

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