Science in the Middle East

The acronym is SESAME, Synchrotron-Light for Experimental Science and Applications in the Middle East.  It is a project in which several countries in the Middle East are participating. It seems that it is a sort of mini Cerne. There are ither such machines in Brazil, South Korea & Taiwan. This being so, quite what is the point of replicating them?

It may be that scientists as they often claim are somehow above prejudices common elsewhere. But the evidence is to the contrary. They seem to think that somehow they are more rational, more enlightened than the rest of us. But scientists participate in the building of weapons of war, it seems quite willingly. It is a surprise that Israel is one of the participating countries, which according to the BBC are Cyprus, Turkey, Israel, Iran, Pakistan, Jordan, Palestine & Egypt. Bahrain seems to have dropped out. No doubt the bombs will still reign down on Palestine. Israel & Iran will continue to be implacable enemies. Ultimately the fate of the human race depends more on politics than science, as does the fate of planet. The scientists from Israel & the other countries taking part in the project may be friends but the leaders of their countries are not.

The machine was a German machine which was about to be thrown away. Herman Winick an American with a German name thought the machine was perfectly ok & had it donated to Middle East scientists. The Jordanians donated the land which is in the desert & the money has come from various sources. The people who live near the machine are worried about radiation.

Great noises are being made about how it can improve the lives of the people in the Middle East. But what is really needed in the area & indeed throughout the World is democracy, pluralism, secularism, peace & reconciliation, also such liberal values as an independant judiciary & freedom of speech. Scientists don’t have the answer. Events have shown that advances in for example, medicine, have neither reduced disease nor increased human happiness. Lifespan has been increased, yes. There has been temporary alleviation from disease but new diseases like AIDS have come along. People do live longer but are no happier. Wars proliferate, man’s inhumanity to man is just as great as ever if not worse.

Personally I am more impressed with the orchestra that Barenboim has put together.

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