Unlimited Productions, Inc.
Pilot Concept for a Television Drama Series
Students of many nationalities at the United Nations International School (UNIS) in Manhattan are concerned about the Israel-Palestine crisis. They find themselves forming a group to do something about it.
Arguments break out about what they can do, and what the solution is. The Iraqi boy has very different ideas from the Israeli girl, who although at odds are attracted to each other. The other kids, American, Russian, French, Israeli, Arab, and so on, all have their own perspectives.
Interacting with UN officials and their parents who are in some cases UN diplomats, they evolve a step-by-step plan for averting what they see as the dominos leading to a possible world war. The plan all of them finally agree upon: the desired Palestinian state will come into existence under UN administration. UN peace zones have never failed*. Israel’s main concern about a secure strategically defensible border would be seemingly solved. There could be a long-range anticipation that one day perhaps the UN would leave the nation to its autonomy once the world was convinced of its maturity to handle that autonomy peaceably.
The Iraqi boy and the Israeli girl are now on the same side, and they become an item.
The kids distribute a paper about their plan at the UN but nothing changes, and in the kids’ minds they see a probable military powder keg explosion looming. A number of UN delegates explain to them the flaws in their plan and why it will never work, but other UN delegates encourage them and give them suggestions.
A few of them get interviewed on a television talk show and the next day their ideas are debated in the Security Council and in the General Assembly. The students are elated and inspired and decide that to continue to have an effect they should create their own weekly television series, THE KIDS’ UN. An interactive show utilizing social media in which kids can participate from around the world — with webcams even, and with the kernel of the show being a drama series about kids putting on a show like this.
As they struggle with starting a production with almost no money, and they and their families feel that the probability of a world war continues to mount, some of the kids come under family pressure because of differing ideas and the possibility of political reprisals. This tears apart the romance of the Iraqi boy and the Israeli girl.
The students put a rough pilot together and play it for key diplomats and video their reactions, hoping they will hear support. But the opposite happens. They meet objections for which they have no answers.
Mulling it all over afterward they strike on answers. The main objection is that “it’s not a brilliant new proposal: it’s been suggested many times before.” It would therefore need a twist to get attention, someone had said.
And so they change their plan: they will propose to rename the contested territories that the Palestinians want as their own state: “The First World State of Palestine”.
People around the world who believe in the idea of One World, will be asked to help make that idea a reality, by visiting The First World State of Palestine at least once a year. If they do so they get to carry a second passport as citizens of Earth. They need to revisit the First World State once a year to maintain this passport.
One of the students makes a guess at the tourism revenues that would be added to the region: if only ten percent of the people in the world today believe in the idea of One World, that’s 500 million people. If only one in five of them can afford to fly over each year and spend only $1000 each, that’s a hundred billion dollars a year. Surely a stabilizing boon to the region’s economy.
And with Israel replaced by the UN as caretaker in Palestine, the area would once again be safe for tourists. Once in the region, people would visit The Pyramids, Israel, and other places as well as Palestine. Other destinations in the region would begin advertising themselves…
The fiery debates between the Iraqi boy and Israeli girl in the kids’ councils are what gave rise to the First World State idea. The two are brought back together by it.
Just retrieved the above from the archives. It was written in 1990.
Back then my contact at the UN was George LeClere, the media director, who liked the First World State idea. He put me in touch with the Israeli Foreign Ministry Undersecretary and with Palestinian Observer Zehdi Terzi. I met with Mr. Terzi in the UN Plaza Hotel, and he felt the idea was worth considering, especially after I showed him the encouraging letter from the Israeli Undersecretary. Later Mr. Terzi reported that Yasser Arafat had liked the idea too and was willing to go on TV saying as much. George LeClere offered me the UN video facilities to produce a talk special on this subject with all the key players. At the time we both imagined we could get Dick Cavett to be the host.
Jimmy Carter sent me a second handwritten note, this time saying that the peace talks had to be started ‘without crippling preconditions’. In the context, I took it he was saying to hold off on airing any idea. We followed his guidance. We shelved the TV show idea.
Before closing the door on the idea, we penned Destiny’s Children (the start of this post) as a fictional TV drama series, on the premise that it wouldn’t have the same negative effect Carter advised against. We never sent it to anyone, feeling that I was just rationalizing by thinking fiction could be less dangerous than nonfiction.
Now, 21 years later, we and the world are back in the same mess again in the Holy Land. The Palestinians are asking the UN for recognition as a nation, and the expectation is that they will drag Israel into a war crimes tribunal if they are granted statehood. This is ironic in the extreme since as recently as October 1, 2011 Hamas leader Khaled Meshal said “Palestinians must resort to resistance no matter how costly it is, until Palestine is free and Israel is destroyed.” Speaking at the same conference in Tehran, Iran supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said that the Palestinians should not limit themselves to seeking a country based on the pre-1967 borders because “all land belongs to Palestinians.” These are the people contemplating accusing others of war crimes while they plot the destruction of another nation.
One precondition that the UN should institutionalize for recognition of any new nation is that it officially accepts the existence of all states currently recognized by the UN and will not be an aggressor state against any UN member states. This would symmetrically establish that Palestine cannot become a nation without agreeing that its neighbor Israel has a right to exist there. And as a provision its inherent fairness is obvious. “We’ll recognize your right to exist, if you’ll recognize our right to exist.”
Maybe bringing up a crazy idea like the First World State can at least jog Acceleritis-paralyzed minds into some better-informed or out-of-the-box thinking than I can produce right now. Even if the FWS idea itself is a non-starter for some reason. I conjecture that my esteemed readership contains the top percentile of out-of-the-box thinkers of any media audience. If anyone can think up an idea worth considering it is one or all of you.
Let’s hope so.
Best to all,
* After this TV treatment was written in 1990, UN peace zones were perceived failures in Rwanda and in Lebanon.