What follows was posted to a UK-based mailing list called “Iran Press Watch: the Baha’i Community”.
I’ve been following it closely, as it contains precious information on the persecution of Iranian Baha’is. In the beginning, I had mixed feelings about it. I suspected it of being a Baha’i propaganda tool disguised as an independent media watch, which disturbed me.
I would see nothing wrong in Baha’is openly protesting against the treatment we get in Iran. Then why not state it clearly?
But in recent weeks, my prejudices started to melt away, as Iran Press Watch’s posts started to warm up to the opposition’s protest.
I even kind of hoped for a new official attitude against the regime. I dreamt of seeing Baha’u’llah’s fiery words to the Shiite clerics launched as rockets against the bearded and turbaned oppressors.
Would we, in the end, take our right place â€?in the forefront of all progressive movementsâ€??
Alas, here comes the clarion call. Announcing a crackdown on those who side with those we ask to side with us when we’re the ones being beaten up or dragged to prison.
—————–From Iran Press Watch—————————————
Non-involvement in Discussions on Iran’s Elections
June 23rd, 2009
Editor’s Note: In light of recent events in Iran, we wish to bring to our
readers attention the following letter from the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of the United Kingdom, the highest administrative body of the British Baha’is, on the non-involvement of Baha’is in discussions on the current state of affairs in Iran.
June 22, 2009
Dearly loved Friends
Events taking place in the Islamic Republic of Iran in recent days have
naturally been occupying the minds of the believers here in the United Kingdom, especially those of us concerned for the safety of our loved ones in that land, and for the well-being of our sorely-tried brethren and others facing oppression.
The National Spiritual Assembly would like to share with the friends the following guidance, contained in a letter dated 4 February 2008 written by the Universal House of Justice, which states that the believers’ “avoidance of any form of partisan alignment and non-involvement in political affairs, whether as individuals or as groups, should be the basis of their activities in order that they become the icons of trust of the people, of government officials and of the leaders of the nation, as was the wish of the beloved Guardian.”
“Participation in civil elections”, the House of Justice reminds us, is permissible “provided the elector can do so without any attachment to any political party or demonstrating any partisan inclination”. The Supreme Body continues: “But this participation is voluntary and not compulsory.
Bah??’? institutions and the Bah??’? community have nothing to do with it. The believers do not consult with each other about whom they vote for and the community does not act in any way to influence the participation of individuals and whom they vote for. Avoidance of any discussion on this matter is necessary and the preservation of the unity in the community of Bah??’u’ll??h is, at all times, of utmost importance.”
In light of this guidance, the friends should not be discussing matters to do with the Iranian election result and its aftermath on social networking sites such as Facebook, on their personal weblogs and other online media. Such unwise and wholly inappropriate actions may only serve to reinforce the misconception in the eyes of the Faith’s detractors that our long-suffering, persecuted friends in Iran have some form of political agenda or allegiances.
With loving Baha’i greetings
National Spiritual Assembly
————-End of quoted post————————-
The words attributed to pastor Martin Niemoller spring to my mind:
“When the Nazis came for the communists,
I remained silent;
I was not a communist.
Then they locked up the social democrats,
I remained silent;
I was not a social democrat.
Then they came for the trade unionists,
I did not protest;
I was not a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Jews,
I did not speak out;
I was not a Jew.
When they came for me,
there was no one left to speak out for me”.
When they come for our friends (and come they will) there may be no one left to speak out for them