Lucio Malan has been a member of the Italian Senate since 2001.
“First of all, dialogue among people is very important and dialogue doesn’t just mean meetings, good will people and saying nice words. These are good things giving a good message, but it would be more important that leaders could meet and recognize each other. They can have disagreements about many issues, but it would be very important to show people that leaders do speak to each other. That will be a good example for people who are easily driven toward hatred or toward violence.
Promoting a culture of truth would be another very important thing. Of course there are conflicts, it’s human. But, when trying to overcome conflicts, we should start from telling the truth and not open lies in order to promote hate or miscomprehension among people. The more people speak to each other and try to understand the way other people think and feel, the more there will be comprehension and will for peace. There are so many good things we have in common and just a few things we don’t. Some are very important for each religion, but some are, I think, marginal.
I often say that Europeans – and I think Europe should include Turkey – I always thought that, as Europeans, we have a special duty to spread tolerance not because we are teachers, but because we have set a very bad example in the last centuries: religious conflicts, dynastic conflicts… any kind of conflicts, wars, bloody wars. It’s about experience: we do have the experience of an era of conflicts which was bad for the people, bad for the Nations, bad for religion, bad for culture… We were wrong for many centuries, thus we know that tolerance and reciprocal understanding can produce, for instance, prosperity.
My ancestors – I belong to a Christian minority – my ancestors were persecuted for centuries not by Islamic people or Hindus, but by other Christians, so now we both know that the best thing is living together in peace. And if you strongly believe your belief, your religion, and you are in peace with yourself thus in peace with others, you also show your religion is good and, maybe, communicate this to other people through an attitude of respect and not superiority or, worse, violence.
Istanbul is a beautiful city, so meaningful in many aspects – including the fact that it’s a symbol of unity because it is both Asia and Europe: from this point of view, Istanbul is really unique. I have visited it, but it would be always a pleasure to return and see the important progress that Turkey has made in the last decades”.