By İhsan Yılmaz, Sunday's Zaman
I am attending an international conference titled "Mevlana and Civilizations Dialogue," in Dushanbe, jointly organized by the president of Tajikistan, the Tajikistan Academy of Sciences and the Dialogue Eurasia Platform (DAP) of the Journalists and Writers' Foundation. The organizers emphasize that humanity is faced with a recurrence of the threats that marked the age of Mevlana Jelaluddin Rumi -- the absolute annihilation of humankind, the collapse of civilizations and violence that spread the seeds of atrocity and hate. They state that the need for a moral and ethical backbone that establishes tolerance and compassion is immeasurable and that such an inspiration can be found in Mevlana. The conference with participants from more than 30 countries aims to put forward Mevlana's thinking and to apply its contemporary implications for the benefits of all humanity.
In today's global village, borders have blurred, several cultures come into contact more often and more intensively with each other, and people and societies consciously or subconsciously interact more and more with each other. Social mediation and peaceful coexistence within the context of cultural, ethnic and religious divisions, hierarchies, rivalries and conflicts that are grounded in socioeconomic and political realities have become vital necessities of our time. They are needed in order to maintain social cohesion within which an appreciation of diversity must stand as a main point of reference, paving the way for intercultural dialogue vis-à-vis processes of globalization, migration and the transnationalization of social relations. In order to achieve this, and to build bridges between different cultures, socially innovative projects should be implemented to tackle the problems stemming from the migration, the emergence of transnational and diaspora communities and their role in (inter)national conflicts as well as the re-emergence of religious groups and identities, the politicization of religion and the rise of religious fundamentalisms in the context of global geopolitical and economic coalitions, and hence new conflicts and wars.
Intercultural dialogue as an instrument for alternative dispute resolution and social mediation is an important, socially innovative method in our age of globalization and refers to the intensification of worldwide social relations and the multiplicity of linkages and interconnections between the states and societies that make up the modern world system. Mevlana's social innovation is once more needed in our turbulent global village, which is full of students of the "clash of civilizations" and neo-assassin terrorists.
It is such a nice coincidence that the Turkish and British foreign ministers met last week and that the main message given by British Foreign Minister David Miliband was about building bridges at a time of change. He emphasized that "the relationship between Turkey and the EU represents one of the defining political tests of our time. Get it right, and we can prove wrong those who say we are destined for a clash of civilizations, that East and West, Muslims, Christians and Jews, can find no common ground; get it wrong and we give succor to those who would pull us apart." A renewed Mevlevi spirit and discourse will definitely help to achieve this tremendous goal. The two ministers agreed to meet at least once a year. This is an important step and once again shows British vision and realism.
It gives one hope to see how Mr. Miliband's below enthused remarks resonate with the speeches of the early 1990s of the Mevlana of today, Mr. Fethullah Gülen:
"If we can create a world where what we share -- in terms of interests and values, rights and responsibilities, institutions and activities -- far outweighs that which separates us, if we can recognize that our common humanity shines through our diversity, I believe we can create the conditions to tackle insecurity and build prosperity… We -- Britain, Turkey and the rest of Europe -- must turn outwards and invest in shared projects and shared institutions that help harness the opportunities of our connected world."
Last Mod: 09 Eylül 2007, 13:33