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Left and right must realise their rows are jeopardising democracy: Marc Gopin

TVP World interviewed Marc Gopin, the director of the Centre for World Religions, Diplomacy and Conflict Resolution talks about how focusing on common values can reconcile people of different religions, cultures, and political beliefs.

Mr Gopin has years of experience working on conflict resolution with people from almost every continent and on different sides of numerous conflicts. Through research and practice, he has discovered that religions, while often a source of conflict, have values deeply embedded in them, which can be unifying and serve as bridges to reconcile the sides of the conflict or prevent it from escalating.

Speaking of the conflict between Arabs and Jews or between the Christian world and the Muslim world, he points out that Judaism, Christianity, and Islam are all Abrahamic religions, and focusing on their common root is something that can serve as one such bridge leading to reconciliation.

Referring to the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine, he speaks of how Putin has framed his invasion as a sort of a Holy War and received the support of Russian Orthodox hierarchs. In the Russian narrative, the independence of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church from the Russian Church is framed as a heretical schism. But Mr Gopin points out that Orthodox leaders in other countries have condemned Putin’s actions, clearly showing that it is not Orthodox Christianity that is the source of the conflict, but the way it is used by the Kremlin.

Apart from religion, culture more broadly can also be used to build bridges and the principles to do this are similar.

Mr Gopis also spoke of the polarisation in western democracies, which he believes is a dangerous phenomenon. An antidote to that, in his opinion, is for societies to develop common political values that transgress political divisions. He says that left and right, conservative and progressives, must realise that by demonising each other they are jeopardising democracy.

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