In August when the world’s focus was fixed on the most costly ever Olympic Games in Beijing (estimated costs to be over $40 billion), the ugly face of war was seen in another part of the world as news agencies reported clashes between Georgia and Russia. Images and reports coming from the region during the clashes that lasted for almost a week were horrifying, as many courageous reporters dared to enter cities like Gori and Tskhinvali while bombing continued and managed to dispatch videos and frames of unarmed civilians wounded, in tears, or searching for someone dear. I could not help but hear a fleeting inner voice ask me why I was so horrified at the war in Caucasia, while news about another one that has been continuing for years in Iraq, with tens of civilian casualties every day, did not even catch my attention any more.
In this issue the article on “The Adaptation in the Senses” points to the fact that the human body is blessed with an ability to adapt to the surrounding conditions by way of which our senses get used to changing climate, light, and even pain. This feature of our body is a mercy, considering that if we could not adapt to circumstances, life would be torture. Could this be the reason bombings and civilian sufferings in Iraq do not irritate me-because I have been watching or reading about it for more than five years now and my senses are adapted to being exposed to the same play on the Iraqi stage?
While voicing a strong longing for the lofty and colorful life of centuries ago, the lead article is a consolation for the victims of all times as it reminds the reader of how joyous enthusiasm was once achieved: “We believed as long as we could employ our willpower up to its potential all problems could be overcome as a result of divine help. We always managed to discover contentment in our soul and proceeded on our course.” In such a state of psychology no misfortune can shake any individual or community.
In this issue you will meet Ottoman Women: Myth and Reality, a book which won the Benjamin Franklin best book in history award in May 2008. Its description of the legal rights and social status of Muslim women in the nineteenth century will shatter life-long prejudices about harem life. Another writer, Dr Salik, takes us on a space journey to discover planets orbiting other stars where scientists hope to test theories developed on planet creation. Thomas C. Smedley offers an interesting pattern of engaging with foreign cultures as a result of his personal experiences with the Turkish community in the USA. Smedley says that by practicing role reversal, a person of good will can overcome the barriers of language, religion, and nationality.
Ramadan mubarak! We wish this holy month of Islam may be a means of peace and joy for all peoples of the world.