Heritage (Monrovia)

Liberia: Sports and the Process of Dialogue and New World Order

It is a fact that the concepts of democracy peace dialogue and tolerance have spread and are now being taken seriously with the expansion of commu-nication networks throughout the world.

In order for these concepts to be-come more widespread and for everyone to benefit from them a number of responsibilities fall on all people both as individuals and as societies.

In connection with this matter one important source of power and means of communication that can influence society is without a doubt sports. All manner of sports programs indeed anything that pertains to sports are instantly transmitted from one side of the globe to the other.

Of course there are other more conventional ways to spread ideas but by employing this means we can help the ideas of dialogue and tolerance spread; ideas that we believe to be so essential that they must be made known to everyone can be publicized by this means for the sake of the well-being of both our own people and all of humanity.

For example the 90 minutes spent on the field during a football match could be well utilized. The game itself will give pleasure to the spectators in the stands and at the same time without any objections a number of human virtues could be easily displayed. It is important to utilize this 90 minutes in this way.

For example as was formerly done in sports matches the victors and the defeated would come together embrace shake hands and radiate sportsmanship to all around them.

Such behavior would in time be reflected by the behavior of the people in the stands. This would be an important lesson to the people who occasionally feel inclined to burn their seats curse one another or even attack one another with weapons; for them it would be highly beneficial to see and show the sports profession in a light that radiates good feelings and thoughts.

Even if the spectators of today do not respect the fact that the players are shaking hands before leaving the stadium in time the behavior of the players will break the cycle of hate and vengefulness or at least neutralize it. At this time this is what the world desperately needs.

Both internally and externally certain people have a desire for conflict and have been brought up in an environment of conflict and therefore they do not desire dialogue or the improvement of human relationships.

It is for this reason that we must act very cautiously. In every task undertaken there should be a certain meaning sincerity should be sought and reason and good judgment should be the priority.

In addition every profession should be given its due and it should behave accordingly. An imam uses his voice in the mosque but a film star an actor or an author does not act in the same way.

The actor gives precedence to body language or acting ability and the author to writing style and the writing of ideas in a literary way. This is how it should be; otherwise the impact of the message and its effect is diminished and the message is of no benefit.

The same thing is true for sports. An athlete should demonstrate his or her abilities through success good behavior and an exemplary lifestyle.

Unfortunately today the importance of some values has not been per-ceived. People have a greater need for religion than they do for bread and water for the peace and security provided by religion and for the guarantee of an afterlife; I believe that when these facts have been properly explained then there will be no doubting this matter.

There are many people throughout the world who want to do something in the name of Islam. But when this important subject is approached in a crude manner hate is evoked in the place of love and unbridgeable abysses appear between people. Yet what is expected and needed is for Islam to be a bridge and a road between people as well as a factor that breaches the abysses.

If we do not respond to those who are extending their hands in order to express their love and respect we will become unlovable. In fact we will cause some undesirable negative developments to occur.

In short we can say that as an important factor in realizing social dialogue and tolerance sports can also be utilized if done so in a well-thought out manner.

Everyone takes up the matter of a new world order and evaluates it from a different point of view according to their own thoughts. This is quite natural. For example people who have suffered from an internationalism disagreeable for many might accept chauvinism as a form of salvation and be inclined toward it.

As a matter of fact in Asia today almost every nation under the ideal of turning back toward its ancient history is turning toward its own particular values to such a degree that these nations now see themselves as being nationalistic.

In view of the present situation it is possible to evaluate the changes in the Russians the Uzbeks the Kazakhs and others in this way.

Today there are a number of changes with similar significance taking place in other countries in the world. As long as these "changes" and "developments" do not harm anyone else they can be seen as being normal.

However if we can find a way and a method that would make these changes more beneficial it would then be possible to prevent further tragedies.

Some of these developments follow a course based on religion. In relation to these it is possible to mention both organized and unorganized activities throughout various parts of the world.

Unlike others they approach every matter from the principle that "religion is basic." And naturally they want to evaluate today's unsettled situation in line with their own way of thinking and manipulate and lead people to the position required by religion.

In addition to this is the fact that the attempt by the powers which have exploited the world many times to take advantage of this period of restructuring seems normal from their own perspectives.

Is there full agreement among these powers? Of course not. However it is widely believed that they are trying to come together and to reach an agreement as soon as possible. As is known.

Britain does not think very differently on this matter from America. Although they had a small difference of opinion regarding the Sarajevo issue the British are now also following America's line.

Sometimes France appears to have different views but that derives more from their effort to get a share in the new structure and formation rather than a genuine difference in view.

In addition there are some countries in which it is difficult to tell whether they are comfortable with the new order or not. It is quite difficult to understand the situation of these countries just as there are some diseases that are hard to diagnose. As a matter of fact they do not expect a share in the general advantages. In fact it is not obvious what they really want at the present time.

It is also necessary to take note of the internal change that every country expects from itself. Of course the manifestation of this expectation will vary according to the country and it is impossible to consider and analyze all of them separately.

If you like let us make a few points about expectations in our own country and then move on. Our society is prudent and vigilant; one day it will assuredly listen to its intuition and conscience and adopting the change most suitable to its nature it will realize this change.

This situation being surmised many differences in thought have emerged in our country. Hopefully those who possess all these different views and thoughts are sincere in what they say and want to do. In this broad spectrum some differences in line and motif are quite normal and in fact in one respect they should be accepted as being beneficial.

After these general remarks we can briefly consider the matter within a technical perspective. The idealized peaceful world cannot be established by war and spilling blood.

Nor will camouflaging activities of aggression and occupation yield positive results. For this reason it is beneficial to repeat clearly and precisely once again that any balance of power that is made by using force will collapse in the shortest period of time and those who were responsible for it will be the first to be buried under the debris.

I think we have witnessed that in this sense. Korea. Vietnam the Gulf and Somalia are some of the most striking examples. Examples of reaction are likely to be even more violent in the future.

The sympathy among Muslim peoples in the Muslim world a sympathy which was once felt for the leaders of the free world will slowly melt and antipathy will take its place. It appears that if the new world order is founded upon explicit or implicit exploitation by force instead of democracy and full enjoyment of basic human rights and freedoms then this antipathy will continue in expanding dimensions.

Our ancestors said. "the water jug breaks on the way to the well." Those who have gained a position by destroying something will themselves collapse and lose that position later on in the same way. If we look all around us today and take into consideration the recurrence of history we will be able to see more clearly what is awaiting us tomorrow.

Even if the world is not in a process of renewal and it is clear today that it is not it definitely is in a process of reconstruction. When the correct time arrives this reconstruction will certainly be realized. When this happens instead of having a world that has been shaped with malice and hatred a surprising world that has taken its form in a climate of love tolerance and forbearance will appear before us.

The collective conscience will gladly welcome and place it in its heart not neglecting those who have a share in this reformation.

These people will leave permanent tracks and even if they have physically left this world their tracks will remain for centuries. I believe with my whole heart that the only thing to do today in order to realize these spring-fragranced dreams is to perform this kind of service for humanity.

For this reason instead of temporary fleeting and un-promising efforts. I would advise a type of movement that is lasting and fully beneficial in every way. I think that as long as I am alive I will not hesitate to repeat these recommendations.

M.Fethullah Gulen İs thinker, author, poet, opinion leader and one of the most influential scholars in the World today.

His ideas have inspired millions to take part in a muvement of intercultural and interfaith dialogue and educational activism, which produced hundreds of quality schools and dialogue organizations in more then 120 countries.

Originating in Turkey but becoming increasingly transnational, the Gulen movement has represented novel approaches to the synthesis of faith reason, eucation, spirituality, an peaceful co-existence in the divirse societies.

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