“If the idea of loving those whom you have been taught to recognize as your enemies is too overwhelming, consider more deeply the observation that we are all much more alike than we are unalike.” ~ Aberjhani
One: My neighbor and I have the same origins;
All: We share a common destiny;
One: We are the obverse and reverse sides of one entity; We are unchanging equals;
All: We are the faces which see themselves in each other;
One: My neighbor’s sorrow is my sorrow;
All: Your joy is my joy;
One: We are mutually fulfilled when we stand by each other in moments of need. All: Your survival is a precondition of my survival. Zulu Personal Declaration
Quotes & Readings
“Architecture in my country has played an important role in creating, directing and amplifying conflict between warring factions, and this is probably true for other countries as well. There is a sure correspondence between the architecture of a place and the character of the community that has settled there. Architecture plays a key role in whether a community crumbles or comes together. Syrian society has long lived the coexistence of different traditions and backgrounds. Syrians have experienced the prosperity of open trade and sustainable communities. They have enjoyed the true meaning of belonging to a place, and that was reflected in their built environment, in the mosques and churches built back-to-back, in the interwoven souks and public venues, and the proportions and sizes based on principles of humanity and harmony.
This architecture of mixity can still be read in the remains. The old Islamic city in Syria was built over a multilayered past, integrating with it and embracing its spirit. So did its communities. People lived and worked with each other in a place that gave them a sense of belonging and made them feel at home. They shared a remarkably unified existence.
But over the last century, gradually this delicate balance of these places has been interfered with; first, by the urban planners of the colonial period, when the French went enthusiastically about, transforming what they saw as the un- modern Syrian cities. They blew up city streets and relocated monuments. They called them improvements, and they were the beginning of a long, slow unraveling. The traditional urbanism and architecture of our cities assured identity and belonging not by separation, but by intertwining. But over time, the ancient became worthless, and the new, coveted. The harmony of the built environment and social environment got trampled over by elements of modernity — brutal, unfinished concrete blocks, neglect, aesthetic devastation, divisive urbanism that zoned communities by class,
creed or affluence.” ~ Marwa Al-Sabouni (from her TED talk)
Seed of Shared Humanity
Say together: Goodwill to all people. We are all one.