Tag: Damascus


  • BLESSED ARE THE PEACEMAKERS: A Letter from Syria’s Hind Kabawat

    TECHNICAL CHALLENGE WARNING: WINDOWS INTERNET EXPLORER WEB BROWSER HAS A FLAW AND IS  UNABLE TO DISPLAY MY WEBLOG PROPERLY. TRY FIREFOX AND OTHER BROWSERS, AND ASK MICROSOFT TO BE MORE COMPATIBLE. THANKS!

    Blessed Are the Peacemakers is a new series in marcgopin.com that will feature writing by or about significant peacemakers who are confronting the conflicts facing humanity with courage, creativity, and passion.

    The essay below is written by Hind Kabawat, the foremost peacemaker of Syria and my partner of five years in Middle Eastern peacemaking:

    WHAT THE MIDDLE EAST NEEDS IS THE “AUDACITY OF HOPE”

    For the last five years or so, I have been actively working with Jewish colleagues in the US and elsewhere to help broker a lasting reconciliation between Israel and its Arab neighbours. But in the wake of the carnage in Gaza, it is impossibly difficult to be optimistic about the future of the …

  • In the Land of Hayal’s and Shahids

    Writing from Jerusalem

    No one knows whether the Middle East is at the dawn of a new era with the accession of President Obama to leadership, whether between Obama, the new Saudi king’s very serious Peace Proposal, and President Assad’s keen interest in a peace process, that we are at the dawn of a strong consensus to finally resolve the central conflict of the region, the Palestinian/Israeli conflict. We could also be at the beginning of a downward spiral of hatred, revenge, populist rage, military force, fanatical manipulation, and zero sum desperate final measures of power and destruction that will yield unprecedented human misery in the region. I cannot tell, honestly.

    But I do know that we are all responsible for this. We are responsible in everything we say and do, and in every action that we support. The nonsense that corrupt

  • Friendship in a Mad World: The Art of the Possible in an Impossible Region

    This report in from Sami Moubayed in Damascus. Moubayed speaks with great authority for the official mood in Syria. This cancellation of negotiations by Syria has sent shock waves in an Israeli establishment that thought the talks with Syria were going well. My shock is at their shock:

    According to veteran British journalist and Syria expert Patrick Seale Israel’s ‘savage war’ brings home a number of truths:

    1) Syria’s fate is tied to the Palestinians. It cannot distance itself from the Palestine cause, whatever incentives Israel might in future be inclined to offer it.

    2) Only a comprehensive accord can bring peace to the Middle East – but of this there is at present no sign.

    3) Third, by its violence and its brutal indifference to human life, Israel has demonstrated yet again that it is not ready for peace. Its primal urge remains to expand and to dominate, as

  • DAMASCUS 14TH CENTURY: AN ASTOUNDING INTERFAITH PRECEDENT FROM A TIME OF SORROW

    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.

    He writes:

    “I saw a remarkable instance

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