2011 has started off with a bang. Many Arab countries are following the examples of Tunisia and Egypt. There is increasing public unrest as those countries rally to remove their self-appointed, long-time rulers. As I am writing this piece, news agencies are dispatching updates from Libya announcing that foreigners are trying to flee the bloodshed that is underway. Our prayers and hopes are for a rapid and peaceful transition to freedom and democracy in these countries, without further casualties or damage to human dignity. Do these changes exemplify the “vicious circle of an assortment of strange occurrences” as opposed to the “virtuous” circle that Gulen refers to in the lead article? Such nationwide transformations cannot be completely irrelevant, but what Gulen points to is the human condition free from boundaries of time and space, that everyone can take upr for himself or herself. He speaks of “massive collapses” in which “our homes … have been rendered into inns and hotel rooms for short stopovers and swift migrations.” His concern is for a great many of us who have become “enslaved to soulless ambitions,” “leading lives as the victims of bodies, [and] serving a life-sentence in the narrow confines of corporeality with feeble willpowers, unbelieving hearts, starving souls, bleak horizons, and shaken hopes.” His hopes are with those fortunate ones who “are busy with the passion of letting live … blowing resurrection everywhere.”

“What would you do if you were told you had only 72 hours to live?” was the theme we announced in the last year’s essay contest. The winner of this contest is Joseph Salter, who participated from behind bars. Yes, this is true. He is the author of five unpublished novels he has written during his term in jail. Read what this talented author, who is serving jail-time for a period unknown to us, has to say about if he were told he only had three days remaining to live. We will continue to publish other interesting essays submitted for the contest in following issues. Each of them responds to this question – which is somewhat distressing for many – with unique content, revealing unaccomplished dreams, regrets, and thankfulness.

We would like your attention and participation as we announce a new initiative that our magazine is introducing: The Fountain Talks. Organized by The Fountain and other participating organizations, The Fountain Talks is the name for locally organized seminars in which we will discuss any of the essays published in our most recent issue or any of those themes we generally stress in our publication. The first of such events took place on February 20 in Ohio in cooperation with TASCO, which featured Dr. Nuh Aydin, who made a presentation on his book review published in the previous issue. The Fountain Talks will be held very soon in Singapore, Australia, Indonesia, and Malaysia in the form of a series of panels starting from March 29. TCC in New York will host Julie Ann Cunningham who will speak on her “Music of the Spheres” article (issue 76) March 31. Please contact your local representative for The Fountain to learn about the details.

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