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The Monitor's View

A tip of the hat to peacemakers

Just type in 'reconciliation' on Google News and the world looks a lot more hopeful.

By the Monitor's Editorial Board / September 11, 2008

The news business, so addicted to conflict, often overlooks stories of countries putting the past behind them. But lately, anyone who searches for "reconciliation" on Google News might be surprised. Many a hatchet is being buried.

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One example is last week's fence-mending visit to Libya by Condoleezza Rice. She was the first US secretary of State in more than a half century to set foot in the "rogue" North African state, which was bombed by the US in 1986.

While her Tripoli trip was not a Nixon-to-China moment, it does reflect a key decision by Libya's Muammar Qaddafi – after the 2003 US invasion of Iraq – to give up chemical weapons, end a nuclear-bomb project, and pay the families of victims in the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103. And his move helps end international sanctions on his people.

Another diplomatic trip that requires two countries to jump over the shadows of their past was the Sept. 7 visit by Turkey's president to neighboring Armenia for talks and to attend a binational soccer game. These two peoples have been estranged for decades by the Armenian protest over genocide in 1915 by the pre-Turkey Ottoman Empire. With Turkey hoping to join the European Union and with Armenia's eye on Russia's invasion of Georgia, the two countries may now try to resolve their dispute over history.