When I was 18 years old, I had been in the United States for about a year–in this very foreign, interestingly different and rigorously individualistic culture as opposed to the social and group oriented pampering I was very much used to back at home, in Turkey. My engineering studies were not so interesting. I was more inclined towards reading philosophical works and engaging in deep theoretical debates about meaning of justice and truth. I changed my major from engineering to philosophy and so my second year in college began with a feeling of emptiness, lack of purpose coupled with loneliness brought by being a young boy away from home equipped with no survival skills such as cooking, doing laundry or taking care of oneself in general.
All of these factors contributed immensely to my introduction to Sufism. I needed a release, perhaps, a peace of mind from all the chaos …
Folks, many of you may have seen this, but we have friends in the world who cannot directly access the Jerusalem Post piece. So here it is. Lauren is an amazing interviewer. She interviewed me for nine hours, longest interview of my life:
By LAUREN GELFOND FELDINGER
This week, Orthodox American rabbi Marc Gopin saw his coexistence work in Syria bear fruit. What turns a Soloveitchik disciple into an unofficial diplomat to the Arab…Somewhere between the shtetls of Eastern Europe and sites across the Levant, Rabbi Dr. Marc Gopin, 52, has found his calling.
Heading the George Mason University Center for World Religions, Diplomacy and Conflict Resolution in Arlington, Virginia, he is not waiting for a peace treaty to cause change. Gopin gets on a plane and heads for trouble spots wherever he can find openings. He meets with sheikhs, heads of state …
This is wonderful news. Michel is a proud Syrian patriot and a pioneer of nonviolent approaches to change in the Middle East. He deserves all the honors that can be bestowed on him for his courageous stances and his reputation as a man of great integrity and generosity. All he did was have the foresight to describe where Syria is going anyway in the age of Obama. I understand the nervousness of the regime in the age of Cheney and Rumsfeld, but our nonviolent citizens are the greatest assets of every civilization, not a danger. This is the lesson of reform that needs to come to every society in the Middle East, including the so-called democracies.
Syrian writer and pro-democracy campaigner Michel Kilo has been released from prison after serving a three-year sentence…While he was in prison, Syria established diplomatic relations with Lebanon and exchanged ambassadors….He said he was in
I just published this essay in the Common Ground News Service:
Non-cooperation can bring a revolution to the Holy Land
by Marc Gopin
26 March 2009
WASHINGTON, DC – It is time for a mass movement of nonviolent non-cooperation and resistance amongst Palestinians-because everything else has failed. I have hopes that the Obama Administration will be the best yet in moving the parties toward resolution, but in my heart I have always felt that there is one path to peace that has never been adopted, and that is the path of nonviolent non-cooperation – but with love – the way of Gandhi and Martin Luther King.
This is something that a number of Palestinians within Israel and Palestine have tried through nonviolent marches, protests, and food boycotts, but it has never received full backing because it only works when it is adopted as the only means of resistance.