Peace means something else in Islam and it behooves us to negotiate peace respecting their definition. If we are going to abide by the belief that all cultures are equal then we must accept the views of those with whom we negotiate a priori when we sit down to discuss and hazard peace.
Iranians overwhelmingly elected a "moderate" cleric, Hassan Rowhani, as President, an outcome that has been hailed as a harbinger of positive change. Rowhani is probably not as moderate as his campaign speeches suggest, and Iran's Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei remains the repressive autocrat he has always been. Yet, the new Iranian President has clearly been successful by reflecting the democratic sensibilities of the population, while the Ayatollah desires to legitimate the aging theocratic regime; perhaps both will begin to see the benefits of a softer tone. But will a change in tone presage a change in substance?
A process of truth and reconciliation is underway this week in The Hague -- the Iran Tribunals. The aim of the tribunals is to bring the facts, individuals, and victims of the mass executions that marked the beginnings of the Islamic Republic of Iran. As witnesses of day one related their stories to the audience, there was a feeling of clarity. More than one tear was shed for these tragic experiences, and the lives lost.