THE SAUDIS AND IRANIANS NEED TO TALK:
AND WE NEED TO MAKE IT HAPPEN
In recent years I have worked deeply on quiet conflict management interventions from Afghanistan to Iran, but mostly in Syria. I have watched the unnecessary suffering of countless people, the slaughter of hundreds of thousands of Syrians, the greatest civilian displacement in Middle Eastern history, and I have watched it up close through the lives of my students and friends.
As an analyst my job is to study, inquire and reflect. Everything we conflict analysts, peace builders and trainers–Western, Muslim, Arab, Christian and Jewish–are learning from experience in the field, and from our students and friends all over the Middle East, is that we are caught in a deepening maelstrom of violent disasters due to the perpetual state of war between two states with radical philosophies that have been at loggerheads since 1979, Saudi …
Democracy is short-lived without an enlightened electorate, an enlightened electorate cannot be achieved without an effective education for enlightenment, and an effective education for enlightenment has yet to be developed.
The most dangerous thing to the history of democracies is not taking fools seriously. This is the fruit of their labor and one day it may deprive us of a home.…
Religious Extremism Inside the State, a Poison We Can Eliminate With Good Ideas, Behaviors and Policies
Christian extremism in the U.S. Military, Muslim extremism in the new Egyptian Parliament, the worst kind of racism and fantasies of ethnic cleansing reaching the most official governmental positions of the Israeli Chief Rabbinate. That is just the news from one week, and it all points to the same thing: religion is poison for the State and the State is poison for religion. Want to kill a religion? Give it power in the State. Want to save a religion from those men who would abuse it for their own violent fantasies? Deprive religion of all state power, and the maniacs lose interest in it.
The State is all about power, and we have learned from a long and painful human history that no one should be trusted with too much power. That is why religion should remain powerless, so that it can function as a place …
Here is in excerpt from my latest article co-authored with Aziz Abu Sarah.
…So now we have Christian funds from the United States that have effectively supported the misguided second and third generation settler youth who are actively attacking churches and referring to Jesus as a son of a whore. If this is what Pastor John Hagee and other radical Christians intended, then it suggests a rather bizarre theology of interfaith love and care. It seems in reality that these funds are intended to foment conflict, to promote a confrontational, apocalyptic and messianic end to the State of Israel….
I spent almost an hour on the phone with this excellent reporter, Manya A. Brachear, who wrote the Los Angeles Times story. The more I studied the pictures the more horrified I became that this man was running the United States military, and that our country was actually engaged in a Christian crusade in the eyes of so many of its soldiers. I am so glad the reporter gathered the responses of the Christian community and I do hope that, as I said in the article, there is a bipartisan Christian effort to put this dark period behind us in the United States.
Here is an excerpt:
One passage plucked from the New Testament’s Epistle to the Ephesians instructs believers to “put on the full armor of God.”
An excerpt from the Old Testament’s Isaiah directs them to “open the gates that the righteous nation may enter.”
This from Roi Ben Yehuda, written for marcgopin.com
Dear Professor Gopin,
I am reading about the Jerusalem Initiative in your book Holy War, Holy Peace, and I was reminded of a gem I once found researching for a paper on the impact that the black plague (1348-1351) had on the Jews. It comes from the pen of Ibn Batutta, the 14th century Muslim scholar and traveler.
In his book, entitled “Ibn Battuta Travels in Asia and Africa 1325-1354”, the author provides an account of the Middle East during the plague. For those of us interested in the “Black Death”, Ibn Batutta’s account is a precious primary source. But there is one passage that really blew my mind. After documenting all the horrible destruction of the plague, Ibn Battuta describes how the community (i.e. Muslims, Christians, and Jews) responded to the disaster.
“I saw a remarkable instance