You Might Be a Baha’i

While some people think they are Baha’is and are told that they, in fact, are not, others are Baha’is and simply don’t know it. Therefore, as a public service, here are some helpful clues that you may actually be a Baha’i:

You might be a Bah??’?­…

  • …if you’ve been divorced and still need your mommy and daddy’s permission to get married again.
  • …if a movie star offers you a night of passion and your response is “Um … can I investigate your character?”
  • …if you get more excited by LSA than LSD.
  • …if the only smoke you envision when you hear the phrase “joint feast” is from overdone tadiq.
  • …if you think March Madness is the result of extreme hunger.
  • …if you see “Some Assembly Required” written on a box and you think it came from a place that needs homefront pioneering.
  • …if you overhear your friends discussing ‘the ITC’s new IPG with Ruhi to be an A-Cluster’, and actually understand what they are talking about.
  • …if you see a real estate billboard that says “Fully Detached Community” and you drive on saying “We’re not needed here”.
  • …if it’s the Ides of March and your stomach growls and you answer the pager on your belt.
  • …if your idea of the perfect family vacation is to wait for ten years, climb a mountain on foot where there are no casinos, no golf or tennis, you have to stay quiet, stand in line, cannot take pictures, visit a lot of gravesites, and at the end of ten days they kick you out of the country.

Related Links:

An alternate – albeit more formal method – you may already be a Baha’i

Intensifying Persecutions in Iran

The Universal House of Justice has released a message regarding the worsening situation for Baha’is in Iran. You can read the letter by following the links below – just make sure you have Acrobat.

Basically they go over the recent developments and give a few examples of what has occurred on the ground in Iran. By no means does the letter cover everything (nor can it) that has happened. Instead it seems that the intent is to let the wider Baha’i community know of the intensification of attacks on Iranian believers.

This is something that I tried to do when I wrote about the Hojatieh Society more three months ago and outlined why this was a growing and grave danger for the Baha’i community in Iran.

Of note is this section of the letter where they cite…

…efforts undertaken by the Association of Chambers of Commerce (Ettehadieh Asnaf) to compile a list of Baha’is in every type of trade and employment…

Its probably safe to bet they aren’t troubling themselves with this sort of list building for benevolent reasons (like for example, creating a Baha’i yellow pages directory).

If you recall, the Hojatieh Society’s core is made up of extreme right wing merchants (bazaaris) and Mullas. Therefore, this action taken by the Association of Chambers of Commerce confirms that there is a wider plan afoot against the Baha’is. And that such a plan is systematic and is being driven forward by a newly emerged and organized group – the Hojatieh.

In light of all this, the letter of the UHJ is very short on answers or solutions. Of course, there is nothing that Baha’is can do to truly remedy the situation. We are being faced with a dogmatic fanaticism that is wholly unyielding. Pressure brought to bear through international political agencies like the United Nations are futile. The whole world has witnessed how for such an important issue such as nuclear armament, the political powers in Iran risk economic isolation and even military action from the West.

Do you really believe for a second that for such a relatively unfamiliar issue (in comparison), they would curb their plans of persecuting Baha’is? that they would allow any influence to change their methods? that they would begin to actually adhere to international codes and laws to which they are signatory?

This is why I’m baffled why the UHJ continues to give the same pablum of hold’n’pray. That’s not good enough. If indeed the Baha’is are facing a renewed wave of persecution, alternatives must be sought. Why should a community be harried, persecuted, hounded and suffer innumerably when they can simply leave?

What’s more, the Iranian government would like nothing better than that. So why not give it to them, tied with a red bow? What is wrong with a mass exodus? What is wrong with getting the heck out of Dodge and raising your children where they can grow up and live in freedom?

Iran won’t stay under the opression and tyranny of the current regime for ever. So why not get out and return when the time is right?

Or is that too simple an answer?

Related Links:

Universal House of Justice message of March 22, 2006 (English)
Universal House of Justice message of March 22, 2006 (Persian)
The Return of the Hojatieh
Statement from the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights

Friendly Fire

In case you have procrastinated and still have your Christmas tree hanging around somewhere… don’t panic!

I have the best solution and it will not only get your spouse off your back, clear up space inside your house, but it may very well make you the star of your neighbourhood.

All you need is that Christmas tree (the drier the better), an axe or saw to chop it down and some sort of ignition device (lighter, matches, TNT, etc.) and a streak of Zoroastrianism.

What is all this about you ask?

Why its Chahar Shanbe Soori !!

You know, the last Wednesday before the spring Equinox?

C’mon, we covered this months ago people.

Now doesn’t that look like the most fun you’ll ever have getting rid of a Christmas tree?

Just make sure you put safety first like these people above in LA (contain the fire, and either have a fire extinguisher handy or have the local fire department on standby.

Bahai Research

There is a new website which brings the functionality of Ocean to your browser. If you’re not familiar with Ocean, it is software which puts the the sacred scriptures of many religions on your computer and allows you to search them using keywords. Thereby saving you from being beset by references to Kitab-i-Hearsay.

This new website allows you to search not only in English, but in French, German, Arabic, Spanish, Portuguese and Dutch.

Now all they have to do is make a nifty button like Ocean:

Ocean, a Free Software Library of the World's Religious Literature

Fahrenheit 345

First, profuse apologies for the lack of updates on the blog. Until recently, I was rather busy. But I hope to get back on track and provide you with (more or less) regular updates going forward.

As you are no doubt aware from Karen’s messages, there has been a concerted effort to help Kalimat Press. This effort has been mainly concentrated online. It’s most recent activity was the creation of a petition.

If you already have not done so, please take a moment to read it and then please consider signing it. And if you have no idea what all this fuss is all about, then it may help to read the links at the bottom of this post and to visit the background information page here.

Now, I know. I know. You’re probably shaking your head, muttering to yourself that this is not how Baha’is do things. Well, actually… it is. But I’ll leave shattering that myth for another time.

*********************

Now, there are rumblings in the distance that the decision taken by the US NSA towards Kalimat has been copied by the Canadian NSA. This is something that I alluded to previously in my comments on this topic. If you recall, I wrote:

But realistically it doesn’t have a snowball’s chance in hell of being reversed. In fact, I would not at all be surprised to see other NSAs soon following the lead of the US in this decision.

Right now, I don’t have hard evidence (like the US NSA letters – see below). If the situation develops in that direction, I will it share with you. Or if I hear that this was all a bad joke – as I’m praying it is – then I’ll update you on that and eat a helping of steamed crow.

But honestly, eventhough I truly do hope and pray that this newest development is simply an unfounded rumour and will not come to pass, a part of me expected it. I suppose if I had to rationally explain my intuition on this I would have to say that I assumed that such a major decision on the part of the NSA would not be taken unilaterally, in a vacuum. You can bet your last Ruhi book that before taking such a drastic step the NSA consulted not only with their Continental Counsellors, but with their brethren on the ITC as well as with the UHJ.

The fact that they went ahead with this decision tells me that they had the backing of those different parts of the administration. And that, tells me that this deision – petition or not – will go forward. And not only will it not be reversed, it will spread from country to country, until all the major English speaking countries’ NSAs have taken similar measures.

Again, I’d love to be 100% completely wrong about this. Lets hope I am.

*********************

You’ve probably heard the expression, ‘There’s nothing new under the sun’. It is a cliche because it is true. And no less in this matter. For this recent boycott of a publisher is not the first time we’ve seen such ugliness within the Baha’i community.

Many years ago, during the Guardianship of Shoghi Effendi, the NSA of US & Canada (at the time they were combined) was lead by a very commanding and charismatic person by the name of Horace Holley. He was in many ways the only person that mattered when it came to major decisions. And eventhough he sincerely thought that he had the best interest of the Faith in mind, often he would act like a total bully.

When David Hoffman set up George Ronald, the first ever private Baha’i publisher (that is, not controlled by any Baha’i administrative institution), Holley was dead set against it. His strong conviction was that all publishers had to be under the auscpices of the Baha’i institutions, such as NSA’s as had been the tradition up until that time. And as a result, he enacted an official boycott of George Ronald. As you can imagine, this was not the way that a fledgling business can grow.

Thankfully someone came to their rescue and gave them not only money but very large commissions of books.

That person?

Shoghi Effendi.

Related Links:

Karen’s commentary on her blog
Alison’s commentary and podcast on her blog
Boycott of Kalimat
Fahrenheit 245

Kalimat Press website
NSA letter to LSAs (pdf file)
NSA letter to Kalimat Press (pdf file)