In the last few days, news reports have been covering the aftermath of the Israeli navy attack on a pro-Palestinian flotilla of ships which was on its way to Gaza to deliver aid. What was supposed to be a peaceful attempt to break through the blockade that has affected the Gaza strip since 2007 left nine activists dead and more than thirty people injured. This disturbing episode has reignited bitter interchanges between pro-Israeli and pro-Palestinian parties and, once more, has showed the power of geopolitics in action.
In the face of events such as this, I feel drawn towards Nick Megoran’s recent call for the development of a “pacific geopolitics”, which he defines as “the study of how ways of thinking geographically about international relations can promote peaceful and mutually enriching human coexistence” (2010: 385). He argues that critical geographers should not only expose the dynamics of militarist or imperialist geopolitics but should also provide accounts of successful peaceful alternatives. In his article for Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, he uses research on “The Reconciliation Walk” (which brought American and European Christians together to re-enact the routes of the First Crusade and apologise to Jews, Eastern Christians and Muslims for such episodes of history) to exemplify how “pacific geopolitics” can be developed. In this way, geographers can imagine and work for peace.