The spotlight is now directly focused on Annapolis as preparations are finalised for the opening night of the proposed revival of the show “Road Map” - first conceived by President George Bush in 2002.
Tickets have been finally mailed out for this eagerly anticipated event to a large number of so far unidentified VIP’s who will drop into Annapolis to attend a gala dinner on 26 November to be followed by a full blown performance the following day. They are slotted to fly out after meeting the two principal actors - Ehud Olmert and Mahmoud Abbas - who will be desperately trying to get the show on the road once again after a series of abysmal failures over the last four years
The media are busily speculating who will turn up and who will get the best seats in the house. Hopes are high that prominent and highly influential Saudi Arabian and Syrian entrepreneurs will join the audience to show their confidence in and unqualified backing for “Road Map” rather than their own production “Arab Peace Initiative“ which has not been publicly performed since it was written in 2003.
Optimistic expectations for the successful revival of “Road Map” have been dramatically toned down as disagreements have emerged over the past few months in relation to the precise wording of the program. Constant bickering and feuding between Olmert and Abbas have led to friction between them as each has tried to act out and justify his star role by influencing the content of the program to be presented.
Doubts that the show would be staged have been finally laid to rest as the President and his influential backers - Russia, the European Union and the United Nations - have decided that the show must go on - no matter what - in the best traditions of the theatre of the absurd in which this farce is being played out.
No doubt the producer - President Bush - and the director - Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice - are hoping that the Annapolis revival will have a happy ending just like the very successful musical “Mary Poppins” currently running in London’s West End and on Broadway.
The storyline in “Mary Poppins” is summarised as follows:
“Jane and Michael Banks are in need of a nanny, every governess has quit and with their mother fighting for women's rights and their father at the bank all hours of the day it is imperative they find a suitable candidate. When their father rips up the advert they wrote, they are resigned to the fact that their next nanny will have none of the attributes they are looking for - then Mary Poppins arrives and their lives change for ever.”
This is remarkably similar to the story that will be unveiled at the revival of “Road Map” in Annapolis:
“Jews and Arabs are in need of a mediator, every previous applicant has quit and with the Palestinian Authority fighting for Arab rights and Israel in occupation of the West Bank all hours of the day it is imperative they find a suitable candidate. As the Road Map is in danger of being ripped up they are resigned to the fact that their next mediator will have none of the attributes they are looking for - then Condoleezza Rice arrives and their lives change for ever”
No doubt Condoleezza would consider herself to be the equal of Mary who modestly spoke of her unique qualifications in the following manner:
"I'm practically perfect in every way, Practically perfect that's my forte. Uncanny nannies are hard to find, Unique yet meek unspeakably kind, I'm practically perfect not slightly soiled, Running like an engine that's just been freshly oiled"
Condoleezza will indeed have the opportunity to strut her wares at Annapolis and attempt to emulate Mary. She indeed has the capacity to change lives forever but current indications are that they will be worsened rather than bettered.
Her mediating effort in removing Israel from control of the Philadelphi crossing on the border between Egypt and Gaza has run more like a rusty engine than a well oiled machine allowing weapons and explosives to be smuggled into Gaza at will - thence to be subsequently directed at Israeli civilian population centres on a daily basis.
Her frequent flying trips to the Middle East using six star executive jets have failed to bring about any change of heart in the demands made by Mahmoud Abbas - unlike the loveable Mary who soared out of the skies and into the hearts of everyone she encountered using just her umbrella to do so.
Condoleezza will confront Mahmoud Abbas who has shown no inclination to play his leading role with any real conviction or authority as he stubbornly clings to his star billing whilst all indicators show he is not really up to the role in which he has been cast.
His co-star Ehud Olmert could soon find himself indisposed for future appearances in “Road Map” due to other commitments of a political and business nature that could keep him centre stage in other places thereby necessitating an understudy to replace him if the Annapolis revival is to be successfully continued.
A new buzz word could emerge to describe the performance at Annapolis rivalling “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious” - the title of the smash hit in “Mary Poppins.”
That word could be "Annapolisticclaptrapisovertlysurreptitious”.
Broadly translated it means:
“the talk at Annapolis will be contrived, foolish, insincere and pretentious and will be characterized by misrepresentation of the truth.”
“Road Map” will probably be artificially resuscitated at Annapolis and briefly enjoy a right of return to the world stage, but it can never be the box office success its proponents envisage.
Circumstances have materially changed since the President’s original script was written but the uncompromising position of Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinian Authority hasn’t. Their continuing failure to act out their roles as described in President Bush’s explanatory program notes guarantees that “Road Map” will continue to languish and finally collapse in a heap like so many other similar stage shows such as “Oslo“ “Madrid” and “Camp David 2000“.
The President needs to go back to the drawing board, thoroughly rewrite the script and completely change the cast and characters. Just a spoonful of sugar can certainly help the medicine go down in the most delightful way.
Maybe then there will be something wonderful to sing and dance about.