How are you? I’m Dania from Indonesia. I was a participant of the world congress of Imams and Rabbis for Peace in Seville, Spain, as a student of Children of Abraham. I met you there. I hope you’re still remember me.
Mr. Owen, I’m very concerned about the war between Hezbollah and Israel in Lebanon.. I read the news about it everywhere. Yesterday, I found a newspaper on my boss’ desk. I stole it (hihihihi) while she was having lunch and read the news about Hezbollah and Israel. People died in Lebanon, most of them are children and old people. They bombed houses, buildings.. oh my God, I couldn’t stand read it. I saw the news on the TV, too. They showed the picture of the victims in lebanon, the children, the amunitions, people suffered…
On my way back home from the office, I turned my radio on and heard the news about Hezbollah and Israel (again and again and again!).after the news, they played one of my favourite songs, Imagine, sang by 2 singers, an arabic man and a french woman. they sang the song in 3 languages: arabic, french, and english. it was beautiful. i’ve heard this song many times, but when I heard it yesterday, I cried.. I was very upset about this war and all. whjat is wrong with this world?? why do they do that? what for? Can’t they stop the war, make peace, and live happily together? what’s wrong with peace? why do they reject peace? what do they want now? when is it going to be over?
Can we do something to stop the war, Mr. Owen? Me, you, and the Imams and Rabbis who attended the congress in Seville? Can we take action? What can we do to stop the war? what can we do to make them realize that war won’t do any good?
I can’t find any answer for these questions.. I feel hopeless.
Of course I remember you! And with great affection!! As for Hezbollah and Isreal. . . I am afraid that this may be one of those times in Human history when all the things we should done and did not, along with all the things we should not have done and did — now come due. It is rather like the situation when we do not take care of our health and suddenly we find that we have a bad infection and a fever. That fever will now run it’s course.
Sooner or later it will break but whether that break occurs before major damage has been done, or after, remains to be seen. Being a Human Being is a constant learning process, and sometimes that learning can be very painful. But the greatest tragedy would be not to learn. So for my self, I feel neither helpless nor hopeless. To be sure I do not have the power to separate Israel and Hezbollah, nor do I think that those who may think they have the power (Presidents, Kings, Imams, Rabbis, etc) could do any better.
And even if they were to be successful in Lebanon — the underlying causes would remain, and the fever would break out again. So what to do? Speaking only for my self, I intend to keep opening space so that wonderful people such as you can experience that “playground” (as you called it) in which real people with real differences can meet each other with respect. And if you are looking for something to do right now — you could try the same thing.
I am new in this place. I joined the list after discovering recently the concept of OST and ever since I am studying this idea with it’s many possibilities and connotations.
As an artist I couldn’t ignore the many similarities between some of the ideas of OST and the opening of space for the creative flow within a framework of art making be it a painting, a poem, apiece of sculpture etc.
But since it is a time of war I thought to write few words about the negative connotations of opening space without realizing how denials of evil intent open the gap in opposition to any good intent of loving people everywhere.
Reading some of your letters here regarding the war between Lebanon and Israel I couldn’t not notice how much some of you seem to disregard the power of opening space for bad intent if not plain old evil.
How about opening space for stupidity of the western cultures who still disregard the bad intent of the militant Islam that despises most of what the western cultures regard as good and valuable?
How about opening space for deceits and evasions of the European countries that allow their business corporations to sell any lethal knowledge that turns out to be the weapons that are used to instigate terrorists activities around the globe?
What about the Lebanese government that opened space for murderous intent of the Hezbollah ? Why do you think that space is limited only to love and good? Isn’t space unlimited by definition?
Where did you got the idea that disregarding evil intent by denying it’s existence will not open space in direct proportion to the force with which it is being denied?
Opening space for evil (knowingly or not) is nothing new and it has always created the gap that feeds on the denials of people of good intent everywhere.
It is not enough to open space for good intent. You must accept responsibility for your own denials that you throw into the gap in superstitious belief that if you dispose of your bad intent by denying it into the gap you will not have to face it one day.
Well, the day has arrived and guess what? Most of you in the free western society will have to face how ludicrous is your belief that terrorists will sit with you in open space circles and allow you the freedom of doing things in your own way.
Do you believe that perhaps opening space with Bin Laden could have prevented the attack on the WTC?
I am not sure that Opening Space with or for Ben Laden would have done much good, but I am pretty sure that had we (that would be all of us) diligently opened space for the peoples of the world so that the chaos, confusion and conflict that inevitably occur in the course of human living might have found resolution prior to explosion — the Ben Ladens of this world would find little fuel for their fires. That did not happen and the fires are burning. It could have been different, I believe — and may still be different if we get to work.
Personally, I have never seen an Open Space for “bad intent if not plain old evil.” What shows up in all the Open Spaces I have experienced is just plain people, who come in all shapes and sizes with multiple desires, histories and passions. Even in violently conflicted environments, such as the Open Spaces I have been part of in The Middle East, the people soon found themselves with more in common than difference. To be sure the conversations were loud and confrontational — but for the most part, they were conducted with respect — which often turned into hope and trust, and strangely, even affection. Recently in Seville where I found myself in the midst of several hundred Rabbis and Imams, that was the case. And several years ago in Rome, with a smaller, but much more political group of Israelis and Palestinians, the situation was the same. For the story you might check — http://openspaceworld.com/opening_space_for_peace.htm
To be sure there are psychopaths and thugs. Every society has them — but when the space of that society is keep open (there are multiple ways to open space in addition to OST) — the pathology of such people can be marginalized and the toxins they produce flushed away. Alternatively, when we close space, build walls, seek to dominate and control these same toxins are concentrated and eventually become lethal. We know all about that, I think. To me it is less a matter of morals and ethics and more about good plumbing, although maybe this is the ultimate ethic and morality. The fact of the matter is that everyday human life produces toxic by-products. It is inevitable and quite natural and may be prevented only with the cessation of life, which is not quite what I would have in mind. The critical issues is to keep flushing the system — and that requires lot of space in order to keep things moving. I grant you this may not be the most delicate way to put things, and one might conclude that OST is simply the community commode — but it seems to work.
我個人從未曾看過那一場開放空間會議的出發是惡意的，在所有的開放空間會議裡，我看到的是：平凡的人們，有著不同的模樣、帶著各種渴望、經驗和熱情而來，即便是像在中東那種有激烈暴力衝突的環境，在我所參加的開放空間會議裡，人們仍很快地找到彼此的共同點而不是歧異處；雖然談話過程既大聲又針鋒相對，然而卻是帶著相互的尊重在進行的–然後轉換希望和信任，甚而建立情感連結，就像我最近在西班牙的 Seville，和數百位猶太祭司和什葉派教派領導者(Rabbis and Imams)共度的開放空間會議一樣。或者幾年前在羅馬的、規模小一點的以色列和巴勒斯坦政治團體的那一場，情況也是類似的。