Issue 59 / July - September 2007
Speech, that Powerful Instrument of Error and Glory ...
Speech is certainly one of the distinctive qualities of human beings that makes them superior to other animals. We can deduce from the above verse that speech is not only a biological privilege, but a special quality with a preordained role that influences the course of human destiny. Human experience in this world has witnessed drastic changes as a result of spoken -and sometimes unspoken-words. Remember the marvelous epic Braveheart; when the disheartened â€śsons of Scotlandâ€ť were about to return home; William Wallace appears, right on time, and makes a short but impassioned speech which pulls the mob back into companies. Wallace spoke to an army of two-thousand people; if he had the means Martin Luther King had in 1963 (namely, microphone, speakers, and mass media) he could have moved the entire country to mobilize for freedom. While Wallaceâ€™s speech started a battle, â€śI have a dreamâ€ť was a great example of how much impact an eloquent speech could have in social transformations.
And remember the Farewell Sermon of the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him. Besides laying down the first human rights declaration, this sermon triggered a centrifugal force of social mobilization. Most of the Companions of the Prophet left the holy cities of Mecca and Medina to spread the divine message to other nations.
The lead article in this issue stresses the cosmic significance â€śspeechâ€ť holds for our life. Kursat Oz discusses the importance of â€śrhetoricâ€ť by giving the example of two figures who have contributed to social changes in societies: the Nobel-awarded economic solution by Muhammad Yunus of Bangladesh, and an educational movement inspired by Fethullah Gulen, a renowned Turkish scholar.
Professor Cakmak reminds us the aesthetics in Godâ€™s creation in his â€śWriting with Atoms.â€ť Comparing the relationships and similarities between the universe (macro level), humanity (normo level), and the atomic structure (micro level), Cakmak encourages the readers to contemplate the beauty around us.
In this issue, we witness the tragic report by Ayse Coskun on the rapid spread of HIV across continents. Salih Uslu draws our attention to the relationship between physical cleanliness and moral purity, and cites examples from the practices of different religions.
Esref Sami helps us deepen our contemplation on the marvelous works of art around us with an extensive study of the perfect design of Venusâ€™ flower baskets. S. Utku Ayâ€™s work on camera chips shows us how, despite great advances in technology, we can only partially imitate the human eye.