In the past week we have witnessed not only the massacre in Florida during the early hours of Sunday, June 12th which killed nearly 50 people and shocked our nation, but also two car bombs in Baghdad on Thursday, June 9th killing 24 people, and the shootings in a market in Tel Aviv which killed 4 people in broad daylight on Wednesday, June 8th.

Every day the  front pages of our newspapers have been announcing acts of violence in civilian settings carried out by lone individuals in the name of oppressive ideologies against victims unknown to their killers.  Destruction, fear, and terror are leaving a heavy wake in all corners of today’s world.

Recently, our sisters who collaborated with the GIVEN Forum had the great privilege of meeting Dr. Amal Marogy, an Iraqi scholar and speaker for the event.  On Wednesday, June 8th she spoke on EWTN about the role that ordinary people can play in responding to the violence in the Middle East.

In addition to her personal witness of the community and heritage of Iraqi Christians, Dr. Marogy is applying her academic expertise to the Aradin Charitable Trust which seeks to protect, educate, and preserve rare Aramaic languages, manuscripts, and the living communities who still carry these treasures in their homes.  The following short video (2:32) introduces the urgent work at hand in the context of on-going destruction and violence:

Learning about her work and the mission of the Aradin Charitable Trust leads one to the very worthwhile short video (5:14) about their February 17, 2016 lecture in Cambridge, England:

The speaker at the very end is Patrick Colquhoun, MBE who reflects on Dr. Marogy’s work most eloquently: “I think her interest in culture links with beauty; and I think evil hates beauty.”

In addition to his famous medical work in Bulgaria, Colquhoun helped to bring to production a film called “One Word of Truth” based on the text prepared by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (1918-2008) when he was awarded the 1970 Nobel Prize for Literature.  Because of political conditions in Russia at the time, Solzhenitsyn was not allowed to travel to Sweden to receive the prize in person.

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn in 1974

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn in 1974

The resulting film of stills and moving images set as the backdrop to his words seems particularly timely as we all struggle to face inexplicable acts of terrorism at home and abroad.  Well worth the time, “One Word of Truth” (27:14) invites a new generation to explore the role of beauty and culture in the face of violence.

May Our Lady, Queen of Peace and the sinless woman who alone is Tota Pulchra (“All Beautiful”), teach us how to cultivate the true and the beautiful against the evil in ourselves and in our world.  For, if “one word of truth shall outweigh the whole world” then let us make our way back to the reality of the human person, and find Him who is the Word and the Truth who will make us free.

beauty-culture-against-violence