(RNS) The conflict between secularists and Islamists is generating a new religious dialogue about the role of religion in politics, as political leaders in Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and Jordan side with the Egyptian military and secularists.
we see the emergence of a civil disobedience campaign right before our eyes in Turkey: people literally standing up for what they believe.
Civil disobedience is a powerful tool, which exposes the hypocrisy of brutality. It was true in the American civil rights era, and it is true for the Standing Human Beings of Turkey.
Ultimately that’s what so amazing about music at Gezi park. It’s not about the notes. It’s not about the words, or the melodies. It’s ultimately about us, all of us. It’s about the power of music to unite all of us. It’s about this new global generation of humanity who care about the well-being of one another beyond the narrow confines of nationality, race, creed, or class, that give us hope. They give us hope that they will be able to sing together, make music together, make love together, and make of this old world, a new world.
For many of the activists in Gezi Park, they are saying it as loudly and clearly as they can: The issue is not Islamism, it’s neo-liberal capitalism.
So why are we so unwilling to hear that critique? Because it would force us to confront our own demons of economic injustice.
This is not simply Islamists vs. Secularists. It is tempting to see this as a struggle of Islamicly leaning AKP against secularists. And that would be a mistake. A strong leader, Erdogan, is facing a substantial percentage of his own society who right now do not feel represented, included, seen, heard, and accounted for. It’s a great opportunity for Turkey to become an even more vibrant democracy.