Emilie Richards McGee sharing her thoughts about the RumiForum trip to Turkey:

Emilie Richards

I am a novelist, and one of the things that a novelist do when they novels is to collect the evocative moments because you can’t tell the whole story. You have to evoke a picture for the people right away. As I have been on this trip I have been collecting evocative moments not that I had a moment to write them now, (laughs) …, and I won’t go through my evocative moments not all of them anyway, one of the very first was coming on the bus when we came up, we were first looking at Istanbul; first time I have ever seen Istanbul; and then as we circled around and went above the bridge, the sun was setting behind the mosque; and then when we were out of the boat I heard the call for the prayer for the first time. Those were really very amazing moments. There are many many of those. So I thank you for the evocative moments! They will be living in my heart and in my mind in many many ways in the future. Of course so many people have already mentioned hospitality of the people; that was certainly the biggest evocative moment that I had. It was just how wonderful people are for no good reason just to be good. It is just amazing.

The second thing I would say was how interesting it was being on the bus and watching dynamics of people. I mean not an “under a microscope” kind of thing but just watching the layers coming peeling off. When we started out we were strangers, we all knew that probably we had a lot common on some level but we did not really know what it was. So people were very careful, and then little by little as the trip progressed, people’s sense of humor began to come out, people began to really share their stories a piece at a time, and when they realize they are accepted they shared a little bit more and it just hit me as we are sitting here and listening to each other that’s what this (Gulen) movement is all about. This is a movement you have created is putting people together starting as strangers and little by little peeling off the layers, and that’s what we did on the bus, and that’s what you are trying to do. It works as well for all the whole movement it worked as it worked for the people on the bus, the people that have been together this week. Then there’s really hope. For that I am really grateful, and then I want to just reiterate, I want to say that a little more time to process this wonderful experience would be so appreciated. But that is such a small thing in comparison to everything else. So I say thank you to everybody. It has been wonderful!

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