Friday, April 20, 2007

A Continuing Echo

Two Weeks after returning from Istanbul I cannot get the echo of the Call to Prayer out of my head. I cannot get the image of the bearded men in the pantaloons in Fatih and their veiled wives out of my mind.
I want to be a liberal- I want to be open minded but for a Christian, even a Liberal One Istanbul is a place that makes one wonder and think about his/her place in the world.
I keep thinking about the panels in Hagia Sophia, where each the panel crosses were removed
with at chisel systematically, I keep thinking about the icons and mosaics of St Savior in Chora with their smashed faces and desecrated bodies and I ask myself what is it that makes us one?
The thing that haunts me is that my people have done the same things. In Spain and Sicily we did the same things to Mosques and Synagogues but one some level most Christians don't care
because it is evil being done to another. In Mexico and Peru the same things.
This sense is the reason that most people in Europe in the 1930s and 40s said nothing about the holocaust- it did not effect them why should they risk? Why should they try to change and he hurt by courage?
I cannot believe that when Abraham was called by God (YHWH, ADONAI, ALLAH) 6000 years ago he meant for his children- as numerous as sands on a seashore- to be like this with one another. I have heard all the stories- Islam is a religion of war- Christians are Crusaders on balance we are equally flawed and sinful. But why is it that as we pray to same God we continue to commit atrocities?
Less than 10 years ago Orthodox Christians in Bosnia- murdered unobservant Muslims for revenge for a battle in 1389. In the Middle East in Lebanon and Cyprus Muslims and Christians continue to kill each other. In Iraq Shia and Sunni kill each other over a family dispute 1400 years ago. Why is it that Islam could produce a Sinan or a Rumi and Christianity a Dante or a St Francis and Judaism a Buber or a Heine but we continue to kill each other?
I go back to the smashed icons of Istanbul- and the desecrated mosques of Palermo and wonder?

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