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.

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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.

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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)