Revd Nadim Nassar of the Awareness Foundation spoke to the Theology Group on Thursday 20th June, 2013. His subject was the Arab Spring, the Relgiious Winter and the Summer of Hope. Huda Nassar and Nadim Nassar are by representatives of the Syrian Christian community and their helpful reflections were evidenced from personal experience.
This blog is my personal reaction to the presentations and the discussion that followed and nothing that is written below should be attributed to anyone else other than me...so any criticism of content should come in my direction. The principle thesis was that the Arab Spring arose because of i. lack of freedom of expression and of movement, ii. corruption, incompetence and lack of accountabiltity in local and national government, iii. poverty and unemployment particularly among the young and iv. the explosion of communications technology which allows information about comparative freedom, wealth and justice to spread globally. The Religious Winter is prescribed by Religious Fanaticism which does not believe in dialogue nor compromise, considers co-existence to be a weakness and diversity a threat to true religion. Religious Fundamentalism in Islam has its roots in i. globalisation and reaction to western and US dominance in the affairs of mankind, ii. the need to unite Islam, to link alliances and solve problems through unity under Islam shadowing an original impulse in the birth of Islam through the unity of argumentative and hostile nomadic tribes in the Arabian peninsula. The Summer of Hope is a breakthrough beyond the Apring and the Winter into the dawn of a new age which learns to listen to one another, to expect diversity and celebrate it and to respect difference. Our conversation about this analysis related to the Christian community and the Christian message in the midst of this cradle of change and pit of despair. The message of Jesus of Nazareth is one of the suffering servant who is raised from the dead as the resurrected Christ offering humanity the chance of forgiveness through grace and fulfillment through love and compassion and the assuredness of the wholly sufficient presence of the one true God now and forever...this is the summer of Hope fulfilled in our time. The blog is now open for comment and I will contribute to that as I reflect further. Do join in.