The Thistle - An E-Newsletter of Scotch College, Perth, Western Australia

Chaplain's Reflections

'Those heroes that shed their blood and lost their lives … you are now lying in the soil of a friendly country.  Therefore rest in peace.  There is no difference between the Johnnies and the Mehmets to us where they lie side by side, here in this country of ours… You, the mothers, who sent their sons from far away countries, wipe away your tears; your sons are now lying in our bosom and are in peace.  After having lost their lives on this land they have become our sons as well.'

The moving words of the Turkish leader Atatürk (in 1934) speak powerfully into our context after the recent massacres in a synagogue near San Diego, in a church in Colombo and in a mosque in Christchurch.  After such atrocities, it would be so easy to conclude that there is inherent tension between the Islamic and Western cultures, or even that they are incompatible.

If there is anything that the reaction to recent events has shown us, it is that we have more in common than that which divides us. We share so much and have so much to learn from each other. As the phoenix bird, there rises from the ashes of these tragedies, a common humanity that transcends culture, religion, nationality. Amidst the outpouring of grief, communities have come together to declare, 'we shall overcome'.

In the heart of God we are intimately connected, which makes possible our essential solidarity with each another.