“The 90 sheets of paper are decorated with watercolor hearts, rainbows, butterflies and Kelly green trees on cobalt blue backgrounds.
Many of the paintings have white corners where the artists wrote their names, ages and hometowns.
It’s a typical display of children’s art at the First Unitarian Church on Main Street [Worcester, MA], in a large white room with a blue carpet. The paintings are held by binder clips and strings that dangle from the ceiling.
But the youngsters who made the art probably have never even heard of Worcester.
The paintings were brought from Turkey, where the children and their families have fled from war-ravaged Syria. The work was in a bundle, stored at the bottom of a suitcase.
Now the paintings will be the centerpiece at a fundraising event from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. Tuesday at the church. Organizers hope to raise $1,000 which they will donate to two organizations working to provide relief to Syrians. Those who donate $50 or more will be given a painting.”
“Blue, red, yellow, and green were the colors chosen by a group of activists called ‘A Human Being´s Revolution for Life’ to celebrate the second anniversary of the Syrian uprising. Through this initiative they stand up to the world and to international media that insist on viewing and depicting their revolution as a civil war. ‘The violence is only a step on the path’, they reflect on their creations. Despite suffering unbearable pressure, Syrians continue to create films, paintings, music, and slogans from the heart of their revolution. […] The initiative marks four calendar days with the colors of the dreams born from the loss and pain of the Syrian population.”
Blue: “To the people of the world, our suffering has uncovered that the humanity in which you pride yourself is the one thing you should be ashamed of.”
Red: “Salute to those who walked to their death smiling in the light of freedom.”
Yellow:“Don’t give me a passport, the hearts of the people are my nationality.”
Green: “A revolution of spring, a revolution of dignity.”
“…How can we tell the story of the Syrian struggle? For every day and for every Syrian there is a story. For every party, organization, girl and boy […] there is a story that is difficult to reduce to a few lines. How can we tell the story of the two years of the Syrian impossible, while Syrians continue to break another impossible every minute?”
“Representative King and others have it exactly, completely wrong — the American Muslim community has actively and repeatedly, day in and day out, rejected such radicals on religious grounds: they do not know mercy.
More than a decade since 9/11, this should no longer be any secret. Across the nation, the doors are open, and more are opening every day. And despite whatever misplaced fears the Boston bombings evoke about radical Islam and homegrown terror, we’ll all find ourselves increasingly secure as more Muslims heed the call — coming to Islam as it is in the United States, as a real, living community.”
“‘I would not be willing to do a funeral for him,” said Imam Talal Eid of the Islamic Institute of Boston, a community services organization that frequently arranges funeral prayers and burials in the region. “This is a person who deliberately killed people. There is no room for him as a Muslim. He already left the fold of Islam by doing that. In the Quran it says those who will kill innocent people, they will dwell in the hellfire.’
‘He should be buried according to the religious tradition he adheres to. His case is with God. We can judge him as best we can according to the savage and insane actions he has done, but in the end, his soul is going to be brought before God,’ said Webb. ‘I don’t think I could ethically lead a prayer for him, but I would not stop people from praying upon him.’”
“For Hempton, the key is working with other Schools so that religious understanding informs law, business, public health, medicine, and, especially, conflict resolution.
As part of the Divinity faculty, he said, “It’s easy to feel that history is not moving your way,’ that the West is rapidly secularizing, ‘and religion is yesterday’s news.’
But as a young man in Northern Ireland during the Troubles, ‘many of us thought we were living through Europe’s last war of religion,’ and that gave him a sharper focus. ‘We were forced to think hard. However bad those years were, there was a deep intellectual engagement. Things mattered.
‘In my years in Northern Ireland, I saw the good, the bad, and the ugly of religion; it’s all there,’ he said. ‘I have some understanding of how these things work now, and they’re very complicated and have many layers of complexity. We need to really have a stronger sense of the deep roots of these conflicts that can’t be quickly fixed or naively fixed, but have to be engaged in a serious way.’”
“It seems to me that as historians, social scientists and humanities professors, our role is to challenge these narratives and present a more complex version of Iraqi realities. If I had to single out one domain at which I think our efforts should be directed, I would suggest it is documenting, studying, and analyzing the quotidian, or, in other words, what it meant to be an Iraqi in the last three decades. Our attention should be directed at the children who struggled, and often succeeded, to get an education as the educational system around them collapsed; the men and women who had to search for medical treatment outside of Iraq; the ordinary citizens who lost any sense of personal security because of the recent civil war; those who lost their jobs due to the collapse of the Iraqi economy or because of the processes of de-Baathization that harmed many non-Baathists; the members of the religious communities who found themselves facing minoritization processes; the Iraqis living in the Diaspora who had to deal with the realities of their families at home; the injured, the bereaved, the refugees.”
“The new pope addressed ambassadors from the 180 countries accredited with the Holy See, urging them to share his objectives: fighting poverty, building peace and establishing ‘true links of friendship between all people,’ by building bridges between them.
To this aim, promoting interreligious dialogue, particularly with Islam, is critical, he said, adding that he was grateful that ‘so many civil and religious leaders from the Islamic world’ had attended his installation Mass on Tuesday.”