East and West. Maybe it is not easy to draw straight lines where these two are clearly separated, and yet everyone has a conceptualization of what is meant when this distinction is proposed. While some circles try to delineate the differences and polarize societies on the basis of “us vs. them,” there are others who prefer to highlight commonalities, shared pains and joys, the benefits of interaction, and an inevitable future of less separation and more coexistence.
One dynamic of our shared society that will shape such a future is migration. Migration is a reality of the human condition. Throughout history, migrations, be they mass or individual movements, have not only shaped our societies, national borders, languages, religious traditions, and of course, identities, but have also been a major catalyst for disputes and conflicts. Hence, for the last several years, the US has been debating whether a wall should be built across the Mexican border; we continue to watch the heart-breaking tragedy of thousands of refugees rowing across the Mediterranean; the ongoing plight of Syrians fleeing their country’s violence; and more recently, the forced migration of teachers, doctors, and civil servants affiliated with the Hizmet Movement from Turkey, their homeland, where they have suffered persecution for the last few years. Due to many reasons, including geographical, historical, and colonial ties, Europe has been one of the major destinations for those seeking freedom and a life of security, especially for many Muslims. Akbar Ahmed’s book Journey into Europe: Islam, Immigration and Identity (2018) is one of the most comprehensive researches into this very complex social phenomenon. In this issue, Behzad Fatmi from India reviews Ahmed’s book and explains how the author dissects the fundamental character of European society vis-à-vis the place of Muslim communities in the continent.
Learning theoretically about diseases is surely important. But having a first-hand experience, or at least spending time with those who suffer from a disease, teaches much more than what one can learn from books. Ceyda Sablak shares her experience with some patients who told what they have been through with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS). She writes how important it is to have an accurate and concrete diagnosis, even if it turns out to be a terminal illness. While it is painful to go through such an illness, it is no less of a burden on the shoulders of doctors and the family who have to be present next to their loved ones and do as much as they can to continue to care for them.