On Sharing Space

December 22, 2012

In Moscow, I encountered an interesting phenomena.Moscow is the economic, financial, trading, political, social center of Russia. People want to live there. The price of real estate is sky high. (Moscow has the reputation of being the most expensive city in the world for business travelers).What happens to married couples that live in a one-room studio when they get divorced? None can move out. But they hate each other. What now?They learn to live together nevertheless.I hear of situations where the divorced couple remarries. Now, two couple shares the same apartment. In some cases, share the same bedroom.Now what?They have to learn to live together or they will make each other’s life miserable.What if it is not just two couples but two families sharing the same kitchen and the same bathroom which was quite a prevalent situation in the Soviet Union times?Same principle holds, and if someone was unruly, he or she had to be disciplined for the benefit of all.No other choice.Why am I telling you this? Because it reminds me of the Middle East.Both the Palestinian and the Israeli share the same space. None wants to move out. None can kick the other out either.They dream about making the other one disappear but the reality is that it is not going to happen. Ever.So what to do? Must learn to live together somehow.What to do with the unruly children who continue to make havoc?The cool headed parents must lock them in the bathroom to make life reasonably acceptable.The families do not have to like or love each other. They just have to accept reality that they have to share the “apartment.“ It is really an academic exercise, which does no good, to analyze who was there first and who is the interloper.Just the opposite. It only feeds the fires of hate and undermines the probability of finding a liveable solution. The fact is that they now share the same room. The same bathroom. They breathe the same air and share the same faucet that gives them water.Making the other party’s life miserable will only backfire because the other party has means to retaliate.Cool heads must take control of the situation and stop the cycle of hurting each other.Just find a way, design and agree on rules of conduct that makes life livable. Not necessarily comfortable. Just livable.There is one major reason why that might not happen although it is the logical thing to do.Let me call it the Romeo and Juliet syndrome. The two families hate each other and are scared that their children might stop the generations old rift and fall in love with each other and marry. And then the continuity of the “pure family blood lines” will get contaminated.Hmm…Could this be true in the Middle East? The hate serves both parties. It prevents the kids from getting along. Mixed marriages will contaminate the purity of Jewish lines or Muslim lines. God forbid. So better keep fighting. Until Romeo and Juliet commit suicide. Is that our future?Sincerely,Dr. Ichak Kalderon Adizes

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Dr. Ichak Adizes