The West's Legacy in the Middle East Troubles, Challenges and Perspectives

Ziad el Sayegh, Policies and Communication Advisor at MECC Intervention in the CEC Peace Conference 2019 in Paris

1-      Background

This is not an ordinary conference. One hundred years have elapsed since the Paris Peace Conference (1919), and yet we are in the midst of international crises that are not unlikely to lead to war-style conflicts. It is useful to recall the facts and decisions of the Paris Peace Conference (1919), which did not last more than twenty years before the outbreak of the Second World War (1939), it is however urgent to think together about the actions to be taken against the structural cracks that have emerged in the last 20 years and entrenched so firmly through the rise of populism, racial nationalism, and xenophobia. Aren’t these the phenomena that assassinated the facts and decisions of the Paris Peace Conference twenty years later its adoption?

The context of this 1st seminar might not allow me to deep dive into the root causes of the failure of the Paris Peace Conference (1919). I will rather focus on its theme which is “The West’s Legacy in the Middle East”, and therefore I would like to highlight three topics:

1.      Europe and the Middle East: The dilemma of colonial mentality.

2.      Europe and the Middle East: Minorities and majorities between Islamophobia and Christianophobia.

3.      The Middle East and Europe: The tragic geopolitics.

I will conclude with the necessity to build an interreligious peace alliance, as expressed by the leading Swiss theologian Hans Küng. The search for an agreed basis for interfaith action for a better world was given a new impetus in 1992 with the publication of Kung’s Global Responsibility. His argument was summarized in the now well-known mantra: “No peace among the nations without peace among the religions”

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