Richard N. Frye’s final request has been to be buried to his beloved city of Isfahan. Even the noted conservative president Ahmadinejad agreed to this honor. Frye’s hope has been that his burial in Isfahan would help unite the two countries he loved so.
Today we allow ourselves to imagine other climes, other realities, other symbols, other possibilities to see God’s mercy not merely as the sunshine that shines on all but also as the snow that covers all. What would it be like for us to imagine other spiritual “climes” without the tribalism, sexism, and classism that marked the original context of so much of early Biblical and Arab societies?
Listen to this talk (with stunning images) about the history of Iran and US-Iranian relations over the last century.
For many of the activists in Gezi Park, they are saying it as loudly and clearly as they can: The issue is not Islamism, it’s neo-liberal capitalism.
So why are we so unwilling to hear that critique? Because it would force us to confront our own demons of economic injustice.
This is not simply Islamists vs. Secularists. It is tempting to see this as a struggle of Islamicly leaning AKP against secularists. And that would be a mistake. A strong leader, Erdogan, is facing a substantial percentage of his own society who right now do not feel represented, included, seen, heard, and accounted for. It’s a great opportunity for Turkey to become an even more vibrant democracy.
Here was a lesson that Martin Richard, the wise 8-year old, had already learned:
If you can, bring joy and love to humanity.
If you cannot, and you can, at least cause no harm.
Christ taught us: “Blessed are the Peace-Makers.” If Blessed are the Peace-Makers, what do we say about those who not only do not make peace, nor pray for peace, but actually pray for conflict and seek to extend war? These are the unblessed Peace-breakers, the War-makers.
Muslims have had by and large a very tense relationship with Pope Benedict, yet I would hope that we as Muslims can practice the divine qualities of mercy and forgiveness at this time, and stand next to our Catholic friends as they journey through this turbulent time of transition.
President Eisenhower: “In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex.”