This issue’s lead article is about a clash between the old way of thinking and the new one. This struggle could be best described as the inner struggle of a lobster which is trying to break through his shell. Almost every nation in the world has undergone a similar process, where people are divided into different camps of thought. Some never want to give up on their values and cannot reconcile changing conditions with what makes them who they are. Others believe their country needs to get rid of the centuries-long burden that keeps them stuck and unable to move forward. Both schools of thought have a point, yet they both stand at extreme poles. A true progress is when a nation tries to remain whole by maintaining and respecting its heritage, but also by placing aside those elements of culture which have become irrelevant, and perhaps contrary to the spirit of the day and age. As the title of the article suggests, the solution lies when we realize that “hearts are seeking love” – love is at the essence of every solution.
This issue takes us on a tour from Asia to the Mediterranean. The ocean just off the coast of Taiji, Japan, turns blood red every year when dolphin hunting season starts. Betul Aydin describes this graphic tragedy, which sees the senseless slaughter of these cute, intelligent animals. The author wonders: Is such a massacre really necessary? Why does this hunting have to be so indiscriminate and painful? Is dolphin meat healthy? What are the environmental consequences of this bloodshed? We hope Aydin’s article can raise further awareness about this tragedy.
Off to the west, our next stop is Spain. We’ve covered Andulusia and the Alhambra palace before. But the Andalusian Umayyads built such a fantastic, enduring civilization that it is worth revisiting, whether through a reference to their scientific magnificence or an appreciation of the architectural monuments they left behind, like the Alhambra. Faisal Warsani writes about the palace’s beautiful ornamentation, including the grand muqarnas, courtyards, and geometric patterns.
Back to the Far East, Daniel Skubik takes us to South Korea, sharing his reflections from an interfaith trip in which he recently participated. Skubik says the term “interfaith dialogue” is ambiguous and too often misleading, since it is used to cover a wide variety of interactions and expectations. He writes about four forms of engagement that help explain what interfaith dialogue really means and how it should be implemented.
Dialogue does not only occur through face-to-face engagement. Daniel Hummel writes on an important part of our modern lives, which influences our interfaith conversations, too: social media. We’ve all faced the cruelty of “internet trolls.” How can we use the internet to discuss important, sometimes divisive subjects without resorting to vitriol, name calling, and personal insults?
Let us remind you that the 2016 Essay Contest “I Am an Immigrant” is still underway. The deadline has been extended to December 31. For submissions and other details, go to http://essay.fountainmagazine.com.