I recently had a chance to see a documentary on Fethullah Gulen and the Hizmet Movement, namely “Love is a Verb”. It was a cool breeze from the heavens in this dog-eat-dog world full of ongoing wars and crimes. It once again showed me that there is still hope for humanity as there are still good people doing altruistic humanitarian work in the very dangerous regions of the world despite the continuous cruelty and monstrous slaughters surrounding and discouraging them on a daily basis.
I want to congratulate the producers and directors of the documentary as they picked illustrious examples of humanitarian work that is organized and run by the Hizmet Movement. They all fit to the title of the movie very well as each one show that love is not just a word in a poem or the lyrics of a song, but it actually is what you do with that feeling coming from the very bottom of your heart. It wonderfully depicts that it takes a very strong will and day-to-day real action to really love and keep showing your love for humanity.
The first example was from Sarajevo. During the Serbian massacre of Bosnians –in their very hometown just because they came from a different ethno-religious background– several devoted volunteers from the Hizmet movement were trying to get into the city whereas everyone else were trying to run out. The only reason for this heroic act was to open new schools in the city that will teach the next generation the importance of dialog, love, communications, collaboration and cooperation. The founders of the school modestly explain how they were inspired by the teachings and writings of Fethullah Gulen and left their friends and families for good.
The second example was from Northern Iraq, where a young Kurdish girl, graduating from a Gulen Inspired School opened during the recent Iraq war. She explains how she was affected by her sincere teachers at the school as they gave up their good life back in the affluent neighborhoods in Turkey and stayed in the dorms of the schools with these young girls despite the ongoing war. Following the good example of her teachers she decides to become a teacher and now works at the same school in order to serve back to her community. Another girl depicted, from the same school, becomes a civil engineer and helps designing a dam for a hydroelectric power station in the area –not to mention that she is the first may be the only female engineer in that institution.
During the interviews you hear a similar example from the Philippines where children from Muslim, Hindu and Christian backgrounds go to the same school while their parents have been fighting day and night for years in that region. The former Leader of Ecumenical Affairs and Interreligious Dialog at the Vatican, Father Thomas Michel, explains that he could not believe his eyes when he first observed the situation and named these schools nothing but the “Peace Islands” surrounded by the waves of war and ocean of hatred around them.
The third example is from Somali where several medical doctors from Istanbul moved to the region only to provide medical help to the needy. The female doctor, mother of two, says she decided to move the region after seeing the very unfavorable conditions in Somali during a relief campaign by Kimse Yok Mu (Anydoby Out There?) –a relief organization run by the Hizmet Movement. She says she could not sleep with the thought of children dying due to hunger or old people going blind just because they could not get a simple cataract procedure. Another surgeon gave up his luxury life back in Istanbul and moved to Somali for good just to help the needy people in the region.
The examples of inspiring devotion do not end there. There will probably be a sequel, may be many more, to this documentary as the devoted volunteers of Hizmet movement do not just talk the talk, but keep walking the walk. When you first see it, most volunteers interviewed in the documentary may sound like Klaatu, the alien played by Keanu Reeves in the movie “The Day The Earth Stood Still”, as he puts it, “We’ll undo the damage you’ve done and give the Earth a chance to begin again.” As you keep seeing the role models in Hizmet movement you will find yourself repeating the response of Dr. Benson in regained hope: “We can change. We can still turn things around.”