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From Factions to National Unity



In a much welcome development for the Palestinian people, the leaders of the rival Palestinian movements Fatah and Hamas announced recently that they have broken a long political deadlock and formed an interim unity government led, at least at first, by Mahmoud Abbas, the president of the Palestinian Authority based in the West Bank. The announcement at a news conference in Doha, Qatar, was indeed a significant step toward reconciling the two movements.  Mr. Abbas, the chief of Fatah, and Khaled Meshal, the political leader of Hamas, the Palestinian Islamist movement, met in Qatar at the weekend for talks on how to move forward with reconciliation efforts. It must be mentioned that this unity deal did not just happen out of the blue. The warring groups have been exploring ways to come together and in fact under an accord signed last May, the sides had agreed to form a national unity government. The progress made towards having a unity government of the Palestinians should be, an urgent reminder for the warring Naga armed groups to find similar common ground in order to take forward the vision and aspirations of the Naga people. All of us are aware of the agreement—Naga concordant—signed last year by the signatories of the Covenant of Reconciliation to form a Naga national government. A high level commission was also set up to pursue this goal. Obviously the split in one of the group is not helping the Naga situation as it has created a new dilemma.
It will be worth mentioning here on the comments made in a new booklet ‘Naga Predicament: A Realistic Perspective on Unification-Peace-Reconciliation Efforts’ written by seasoned politician SC Jamir, a former Chief Minister and senior Congress leader from Nagaland. The booklet stated that “an unambiguous, united and single Naga political agenda has now been hijacked by innumerable groups, factions and parties, which are often indistinguishable from each other”. It goes on to add that this has created confusion and disorder not only for the Naga public but also for the India leadership. The booklet goes on to suggest that the unity of the Nagas should be to; first and foremost, evolve a common framework where a definitive, pragmatic, amicable and progressive action plan can be charted out to restore the festering Naga political problem. The question is should we let India just sit back and watch as the Nagas tear themselves apart. The tragedy of the Nagas seems to be that while we are victims at the hand of others, yet there is the tendency to destroy ourselves from within. More than India it would seem that by our divisions Nagas are undermining ourselves.
Similarly the Palestinians have also had to struggle to actually see the good sense of coming together for their common cause. Much effort has gone into this realization. In the run up to the unity talks one Palestinian leader Ismail Haniyeh rightly urged that national unity and reconciliation between social segments are both a strategic option and a national necessity and also as the best means to ensure continuous prosperity and progress and help overcome all crises, adding that achieving national reconciliation and peaceful co-existence are basic pre-requisites for peoples to meet their expectations in all fields. This should be equally applicable for the Nagas too.  We also need to demonstrate the will to overcome our internal divisions and work out a tangible solution both from within and without with India on the basis of our historical and political rights. Time is running out.

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