JEDDAH - Mutual respect and shunning of personal egos of the participants are essential for any dialogue to bear fruits. As such dialogue in its true sense does not lead to the aspired goal unless the participating sides respect viewpoints of others. Dialogue means tolerance and respecting others’ freedom and opinion.
The objective of holding a constructive dialogue is not merely to discuss different opinions or for each party trying to neutralize the other. Its greatest goal is to enrich thought, instill the value of tolerance among people and prepare the way for fruitful cooperation that results in good for all concerned. This can be achieved by looking for the common factors that form a strong foundation for constructive cooperation among nations and peoples. With this sense in mind, dialogue becomes a cultural value that must be attained, abided by and spread at all levels.
Awareness on all these is necessary and must be taught to new generations, especially through presenting a role model and not merely through instructions. The painful reality is that violent arguments take place and quite often they go beyond the sphere of objectivity and the matter might develop into a fistfight among the parties having different opinions because each side wants to impose its views by all means.
This is not restricted to low strata of the society but applies to a considerable segment of those concerned with thought and culture in general. On many occasions, they digress from meaningful and productive discussion and come to abuses and personal insults which have nothing to do with an objective debate.
This indicates the shallowness of thought and deficiency in power to convince and lack of logic.
This digression is unbecoming of man whom Allah has honored and preferred over His other creatures.
Allah has made man His successor on the earth so that he builds and constructs, fills the earth with good and spreads right, justice, security and peace. In the current age of disputes and disharmony, no saner mind would deny the importance of dialogue.
It has become one of the necessities of the age not just at the level of individuals and societies but at the level of relations between nations and among different peoples.
The onus is on the international community to see that the law of the jungle does not prevail in some countries of the world. All efforts should be exerted to bring those countries that have digressed from the values of humanity and civilization back to their senses so that they follow a civilized method in dealing with others - that is, dialogue.
There is no other means for solving problems and avoiding conflicts as are being witnessed now. – Okaz
– The writer is Egyptian Minister of Endowments.