'333' - A lesson on dialogue, tolerance, understanding and forgiveness
Previewed auspiciously at the United Nations to diplomats and nearly 500 other individuals of diverse faiths and nationalities,'333' was designed to increase awareness and understanding of the Ancient Manuscripts of Mali throughout the World.
The producer of this new and important documentary film, Michael Covitt, gave this exclusive interview to Imago Dei: "Our documentary emphasizes the fundamental approach of these Malian Manuscripts, and the positive impact they produce on the resolution of conflicts through dialogue, tolerance, understanding and forgiveness.
Influenced by traditional West African thought and the Sufi faith, nearly 1,000,000 Manuscripts of Islamic Doctrine were recorded from the 12th through 16th Centuries and have been passed down from generation to generation.
These documents span diverse topics, including astronomy, chemistry,
healing, jurisprudence, legislation, mathematics, medicine, mysticism, women's rights, children's rights, animal rights, and most important, the peaceful resolution of conflict.
Extending familiarity with these Manuscripts will enable the World to better appreciate our differences, and hence to better understand our similarities. But now, with two different insurgencies under way in Mali, the Manuscripts are in serious danger of being obliterated.
Much as the Dead Sea Scrolls were heralded as the great manuscript find of the 20th Century, the Manuscripts of Timbuktu may prove to be the most important revelation of the 21st Century. Just as the Dead Sea Scrolls have illuminated the puzzle pieces of Christianity and Judaism, the Manuscripts unlock significant insights into a very different Islam that is confronting the 21st century.
And this historic witness to a very different type of Islam is precisely why these manuscripts might indeed be destroyed by Islamic militants who are increasing their grip on power in Mali's north. One example: a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the gravesite of one of Timbuktu's 333 saints, has been desecrated.
We cannot allow wanton vandalism to proliferate anywhere on our planet. Therefore, humanity must come together and save this invaluable treasure from possible destruction."
(Photo: Ancient Mali manuscripts, featured in the film, taken by David West)
Exiting a Dead End Road, A GPS for Christians in Public Discourse
A recently published book, edited by Gudrun and Martin Kugler, seeks to outline the difficulties faced by Christians today in public discourse. The book, 'Exiting a Dead End Road, A GPS for Christians in Public Discourse' can be bought at this link.
Below is a excerpt taken from the foreword, written by Mario Mauro MEP:
"The following book edited by my friends Martin and Gudrun Kugler sharply
underlines the dangerous ongoing developments that have been progressing in
Europe over the past years.
The numerous examples from all over Europe reported in the book remind us, above all, of the warning expressed some time ago by Benedict XVI "The biggest risks for the contemporary society are caused
by fundamentalism and relativism."
The first indicator is the role played by the family: in a report entitled "Report on the Evolution of the Family in Europe 2008", the European Network Institute for Family Policies emphasized the risk that the monogamous family could disappear from the landscape of the Continent due to divorces, abortions, decline of birth-rates, ageing of the population and lack of politics that support the family.
The picture that emerges is dramatic, as all of the indicators concerning population, birth rates, marriages, and the breaking-up of families have pointed to substantial deterioration the past 25 years. The panorama of the family in Europe has worsened to a degree that gives cause for worry."
Pro-life campaign ignites Canada
Despite government attempts to stifle the debate, Canadian MP Stephen Woodworth has
spoken out in an effort to acknowledge human life before
birth. Speaking exclusively to Imago Dei
, Natalie Hudson Sonnen, Executive Director of LifeCanada, outlined the move to re-open the debate in Canada:"Stephen Woodworth received a standing ovation at the annual March for Life Banquet in Ottawa, Canada earlier this month. He is the member of Parliament who has successfully created an intense national debate about the un-debatable - abortion. Canada's Criminal Code states that a child is not a human being until it has proceeded in a living state from the body of its mother. Mr. Woodworth's Motion 312 would have a committee struck to address this 400 year old law with scientific and medical expertise. However, both government and radical pro-abortion forces oppose it.But despite the opposition, the coverage has re-ignited the debate and got Canadians thinking. It has re-invigorated the conversation about abortion and for the first time in almost 20 years, mainstream media is taking note of the growing pro-life movement, especially of youth involvement, in Canada."
People can support the efforts to acknowledge human life before birth by registering to this petition in support of the motion.
"The omnipotence of man makes men superfluous (just as monotheism is necessarily the consequence of the omnipotence of God), then totalitarianism's power to destroy humans and the world lies not only in the delusion that everything is possible, but also in the delusion that there is such a thing as man. ... But man exists only as God's creature.
The power of man is limited by the fact that he has not created himself, whereas the power of men is limited not so much by nature as by the fact of plurality-the factual existence of my kind. It does not help me, as the humanists would have it, that I see man in every human being, as this by no means necessarily leads to respect or recognition for human dignity, but can equally well mislead us into believing in a surplus and in superfluity."
Private correspondence from Hannah Arendt (to Eric Voegelin); 8 April 1951.
"The Institute promotes recognition of the infinite value of every single person by recognising each human life as being made in the Image and Likeness of God, from conception until natural death. The Imago Dei is the source of the sanctity of human life. Promoting Human Dignity protects this sanctity in the political sphere, as the Christian Faith upholds it in the cultural sphere. The Institute exists to draw these themes together."
Founder, Dignitatis Humanae Institute