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Heroism, Locally and Globally
Nov 1, 2010

Everyone, at least at one point in his or her life, feels destitute, deprived of any hope, as if they have reached the “end of the road.” Chances are that most of us gave up trying to find a solution to save ourselves from that seemingly unavoidable end.

No, not all of us.

Jill Carroll presents us with a legendary example of hope from our recent past, showing us that there can always be a solution, even at the cold touch of the barrel of a weapon, or with the blood-chilling knowledge that your town has been targeted. In this issue, she shares with us a truly interesting story she was told last summer in Fuzine, a village in Croatia’s Gorski Kotar district.

Croatia, now an independent state, was one of the six republics which formed the former country of Yugoslavia, a country that was devastated after a war in the ’90s. We shiver when we remember the massacres of Bosnian civilians before the eyes of the entire world, under the so-called protection of UN forces, when some had proclaimed that we had reached the zenith of human civilization. The massacre of Srebrenica, the fifteenth anniversary of which was marked last July, has no doubt left indelible stain not only in the lives of its victims-at least, those who survived-but also in the conscience of all of us who could do nothing more than pray. One observer who participated in the ceremony last July described Srebrenica as a town in which “the dead are more alive than the living, the living more dead than the dead; the dead visiting homes at night, the living visiting the dead during the day.” The story Jill reports from Gorski Kotar, Croatia features civil leaders and media members who heroically acted “faster than the dead” and perhaps saved their towns from being another Srebrenica – despite the consequences they faced in the years that followed.

The lead article describes another story of heroism, which is displayed at a global level. Gulen praises those educational activists who have gone all around the world and built schools and dialogue centers in hundreds of countries. The people Gulen describes are filled with love for humanity regardless of race, color, religion, and language, and they are convinced that universal peace can only be realized by overcoming ignorance. Gulen calls this volunteer movement “A Movement Originating Its Own Models,” perhaps because they are so precious to Gulen that he cannot compare them with any other social movement in the world, and perhaps because these volunteers truly come forward with an authentic approach for engaging our modern world and times.