I have always admired the state of Israel. And while I do not agree with all its policies and the way the state has handled a lot of situations internationally, one thing I can say is that you can always trust and count on the Israelis to do what is in the best interest of Israel and Israel only.
The Israeli people are some of the most resilient people, not only in that region but globally. Israel has survived countless wars, terrorism against the nation and one of the most massive genocides any single people have faced in the modern history of mankind.
Yet this nation which is surrounded by a sea of hostile nations and is much smaller than most of them, has managed to not only survive but to thrive.
Israel is a nation of about 8.2 million, with virtually no natural resources and has a GDP of about $281 billion. It has one of the most powerful armies and intelligence operations in – probably – the entire world. Internationally, this tiny nation has tremendous influence and is never afraid to express its views internationally, despite its critics.
While there is no question that Israel has its fair share of internal dissent, disagreement and political differences, what is clear is that as a nation, Israeli are united in one common cause and that is the survival and success of the nation of Israel.
The Israeli lesson can be a learning experience to Belize. Both countries are about the same size, and while their population is much larger than ours, we do have the advantage in that we have much more natural resources. But what we lack and what they have in abundance, is unity, patriotism and a love of nation.
As Belizeans we allow political, social, racial, cultural and economic differences to completely divide us, to the detriment of the nation. We place way too much emphasis on what divides us, instead of what unites us. If we expect our nation and our democracy to grow and not only grow but succeed, this destructive attitude must change.
The building of a forward operating base on Sarstoon Island is but a small step to restore our pride as a nation and to finally demonstrate to Guatemala that we cannot be bullied.
GOB’s decision, no doubt hastened by the massive internal pressure of organizations like COLA, the Territorial Volunteers and ordinary citizens have now found it politically expedient to build this base.
What this shows, is that people can still pressure the government to do the right thing. The next step is to keep the pressure up on them so that they can finally do what is in the interest of Belize and Belize only, when it comes to the Guatemalan situation.
No government can save a nation, only the people can. Just as Israel gains its strength from its people, so can Belize gain strength from theirs. One of the keys to the Israeli survival lesson has been its military, its ability to mobilize them, its military technological innovation and production, but most importantly, is its conviction to use it when the nation faces threats from any of its neighbors.
While Belize may never be able to compete with Mexico and Guatemala militarily, we must also establish ourselves in such a position to make Guatemala think twice about crossing the Sarstoon. And if they do, they should get a bloody nose, so they think twice. The forward operating base can be a step in that direction.
It’s all about the people!