Rasmussen has just spoken right now. He thanks the Turkish hospitality and then he addresses very directly to the sad issue he is famous for. Starts by saying that “censorship is the enemy of the dialogue” while “freedom of expression helps long term peaceful development”. A very clear sentence which confirms the positions he used to hold during the crisis. But now he looks softer than he used to be in the past during the cartoon episode: “I condemn any action that offends any religion..I respect Islam and its religious symbols and the feelings of all Muslims..I would never myself depict any religious figure…Likewise I was sad to see that these cartoons were considered by some Muslims like as an offense”.
He adds that, as the new secretary general of Nato, he will “pay close attention to the religious and cultural sensibility of the diverse communities that live in this various world”. “I consider a personal responsibility for me to carry on the dialogue with Islamic world”, he points out and the crowd’s applause proves everybody welcomes this new approach.
Obama sending greetings to the persians on You Tube for Newroz, Rasmussen personally taking care of the cultural and religious dialogue, what’s happening to the world?
What is clear is that a new era, at least in communication policies, has started. Words like alliance and dialogue are taking crusades and clash places in international communication vocabulary. The entire world is now hoping that this will be not just a re-styling and a new make up with the same old face.
The Alliance of civilization summit has just started few hours ago in the beautiful city of Istanbul and will last until tomorrow. The programme is plenty of insights and thoughts to fight against the alleged “clash of civilization” that after 9/11 sadly become our way to interpret everything happening in the world. Turkish prime minister Erdogan, with Spanish Jose Luis Zapatero, have strongly supported this Forum. There were rumors that also US president Obama and Rasmussen, the new Nato secretary general, will attend the meeting, probably tonight and at a private dinner. If we think about what George W. Bush has meant for the “clash” of civilization and what he has done to ignite it, Obama’s visit is even more meaningful. Moreover, Rasmussen’s presence is very key, too. The Muslim world has not forgotten what Denmark did with Prophet Mohammed’s cartoon, but since this dark page of intercultural relation Denmark has done a lot to improve its image in the Muslim world, and it’s not a matter of “brand” and image building only. Denmark is organising lots of initiatives towards the dialogue, enhancing its presence in the Muslim world and Rasmussen’s visit could be a step further in a process that is anyway happening everyday thanks to danish institutions and people that are doing a lot. I am just wondering where Italy is in all this (a part from our pm ‘s phone calls). We used to have a strategic role in the Mediterranean that we are loosing day by day, being too much concentrated on our little political plays. What role will we be playing in this future alliance of civilization?and are we really doing something to enhance our dialogue with the muslim world like Denmark is doing? I don’t think so, unfortunately.
More from the conference later, if they get us translation. I couldn’t understand a word of Erdogan’s speech in Turkey cause they run out of hearing (official reason: more delegates than expected). Since translation is key for dialogue, and there is no alliance of civilization without dialogue, I really hope they will provide us with it soon. Otherwise it risks to be a big event done for the sake of doing a big event, in a nice luxury hotel but without taking care of these “small” details that make the difference.