Individual Baha’is Ignoring NSA Directive on Iran

Daniela recently wrote a guest post about the ‘official’ Baha’i guidance regarding the protest movement in Iran: Don’t Speak Out for Them. There she quoted the UK NSA’s guidance to Baha’is to keep mum about the developments in Iran.

I already linked to a similar message from the NSA of the USA. To summarize:

“the believers should be guided lovingly and firmly to distance themselves from either public or private commentary”.

And there are similar letters from all NSA’s around the world. Which means that this is a coordinated effort from the UHJ/ITC but for some reason it was deemed more prudent for the individual NSA’s to write similar letters rather than just one from Haifa.

In any case, it seems that Baha’is are ignoring such directives.

twitter is a new social networking site that allows people to ‘tweet’ 140 characters (or less) messages from their phones, computers, etc. It gained even more prominence during the first days of the Iranian post-election uprising as youth in Iran would send messages, often from the streets, to the rest of the world. With the harsh crackdown on foreign reporters, the youth became in effect the eyes and ears on the ground.

There are relatively few Iranians using twitter. The vast majority of the users are in the US and through the hashtag #iranelection they have been following the reports coming out of Iran and elsewhere. As a gesture of solidarity in the first days of the movement, many changed their account icons to full green or to the text “Where’s my vote?”

Then someone set up a site which would add a green overlay to the existing account icon and thousands showed their support in this way.

Not surprisingly, Iranian Baha’is have been one of the active sub-groups in following the recent developments in Iran. They are still connected if not by an emotional bond, by family and friends who are still there and are feeding them news. Many of them on facebook and twitter have added a green overlay to their account icons. Among the most prominent is Rainn Wilson. Click the image below to see a recent screenshot of Rainn’s twitter account:

rainn wilson twitter thumbnail

So while the NSA’s around the world are telling Baha’is to keep mum about the Iranian protest, it seems that at least through electronic means, individual Baha’is are largely ignoring this and continuing to be engaged in following and supporting the values that the Baha’is Faith stands for: equality, freedom, justice, separation of church and state, etc. Such values are hallowed above all and any political considerations and to cower in a corner, rather than stand up and defend them is to be ignorant of the very essence of our Faith.

Of couse, we have no problem advocating on their behalf when the downtrodden happen to be Baha’is. No. Not at all. We are asked to contact our government, speak with influential people, take our case to the UN, etc. to draw attention to the injustices heaped on Baha’is. But when Baha’is are not directly involved? Then we are told to STFU.

Turning your icon green may seem to be an infinitesimal gesture when compared to the actions of the youth of Iran right now who are facing beatings, arrest, torture and ultimately death but as spectators thousands of miles away from Iran it helps us as much as them to do something.

Finally, to characterize the protests that have taken place inside and outside Iran as ‘clearly partisan activity’ is to demonstrate utter ignorance. The will of a nation yearning to live free is as distanced from partisan politics as the Baha’is right to live without persecution. I understand that the only tool at the disposal of the NSAs is to characterize the peaceful protests as ‘partisan’ in order to persuade Baha’is to not support them. But mislabeling something so blatantly only damages the integrity of the said national bodies.

We must choose to side with our values and if they perchance make us allies with one or more political factions at any point in time, this is merely coincidence. Such seeming partnership is no reason to abandon one’s values and ignore them in the fear of appearing to be supporting ‘partisan politics’. This was the mistake that we made in South Africa during Apartheid when we stood aside while all the values we cherish as Baha’is were trampled.

How is it that we have no reluctance to approach differing political parties in power to lobby on behalf of the persecuted Baha’i minority in Iran? By what magical device is such activity and partnership not deemed to be ‘partisan’? How different is it to supporting any other group that is persecuted and has their rights removed?

Here is a letter from the Universal House of Justice to the Iranian Baha’is regarding the recent events.

  • Craig Parke

    It actually is one of their better letters. It actually has some real blood and emotion in it for a change. But the cognitive dissonance in the historical context is just more than I can bear anymore. It gives me a migraine headache.

    The letter would be a quite valid position if the UHJ had never asked Baha'is at any time worldwide to ever contact their governments on behalf of the plight of the Baha'is of Iran. (Especially governments with military power which the Baha'is as conscientious objectors are exempt from serving in). But they have done this repeatedly over many long years.

    People in many nations have been repeatedly asked to stand up for us. To any person who has a brain, quite implicit in that plea was that people were supposed to give their sons and daughters in battle to defend the human rights of Baha'is in Iran as a religious minority if that is what it took on the part of their governments and the means at their disposal. (If everyone remembers, the U.S. use of military force in invading Iraq was blatantly supported in a communication at Ridvan 2003 because it might result in Baha'is being able to go on “real” Pilgrimage in Iraq for the first time in decades!)

    It is, of course, easy to support war when you, yourself, or your sons and daughters are personally exempt as conscientious objectors and don't have to actually fight and die or be maimed in “doing God's work”. That is for the little people and the dupes who have not accepted Baha'u'llah yet. Let them die. So when the people that are repeatedly asked to stand up for us actually need help in return themselves it turns out it just doesn't work that way.

    “You'll recall that the U.S. was 'dragged' into WWII with the attack on Pearl Harbor. Our boys were sleeping off Saturday night while the enemy schemed — but America soon woke up. So when you see the U.S. in
    Cambodia or in Vietnam — or when you see America's young men in
    Lebanon, or knocking around in the Balkans — 'please, will you be quiet and let God do His work!'”
    - Glenford Mitchell
    Member of the Universal House of Justice
    Baha'i Faith

    The UHJ and NSA's should never have asked for the help of others to defend us in the first place. Then we could take the pristine moral position as outlined in the letter in good conscience.

    Oh, but I forgot, personal individual conscience is now forbidden in the Baha'i Faith too.

    “We have inherited a dangerous delusion from Christianity that our
    individual conscience is supreme. This is not a Baha'i belief. In the
    end, in the context of both our role in the community and our role in
    the greater world, we must be prepared to sacrifice our personal
    convictions or opinions. The belief that individual conscience is
    supreme is equivalent to 'taking partners with God' which is abhorrent
    to the Teachings of the Faith.”
    - Douglas Martin
    Former Member of the Universal House of Justice
    Baha'i Faith

    Yep. God's work is fierce. Be quiet and let others do it and die. just callously step over the bodies of the slain when you get to go on your devout full Pilgrimage.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uPU4p7UQOtU

    http://www.youtube.com/verify_age?&next_url=/wa

    Not me. I will never be a part of that mindset any longer after 38 years.

  • Karmaniac

    Frankly, I can't get around the impression that the Baha'i administration is using the plight of the Baha'is in Iran for public relations (teaching, proclamation). I always thought that this was digusting. It may be one reason why the Baha'is are silent about other injustices around the world, but quite vocal about the Baha'is in Iran.

  • Craig Parke

    The spiritual archetype of “Clergy” and “Divines” in this World Age is being replaced by ONE primal Archetype for humanity: ROCK MUSICIANS.

    We don't need a Pope. We don't need ludicrous Mullahs. We don't need TV Evangelists. We don't need entrenched elite Politburo hacks in any system. We don't need hacks to calculate how many angels can dance on the head of a pin. Been there. Done that. That phase is over for humanity. Judgment Day has come. We don't need any of them in their bullshit systems of man made false doctrine baloney for their selfish small minded petty need for control.

    We can think for ourselves now thank you very much.

    Have a nice day.

    What we need are damn good rock guitarists. We need writers, film makers, playwrights, and painters. We need farmers, truck drivers, software engineers, and programmers. We need people that can actually DO THINGS and create with their hands and their spirits rather than sit around in their ecclesiastical frat boy club and pull on their puds.

    We don't need elite “managers” and “executives” either. There are computer programs that can do all that now and every person can figure out what they need to do to step up their game in their organization by clicking a mouse.

    It is a New World Age and all bets are now off.

    World Democracy is coming via the Internet.

    The PLANETARY ATOM is forming and it's electron valence shells are the thoughts being communicated from person to person and soul to soul via fiber optic on the Internet.

    It is all lead, follow, or get out of the way now.

    All this will happen with or without the Baha'is.

    It is cosmic and it cannot be stopped.

    So here is the Ben E. King classic played very nicely around the world months ago. There is no Ruhi Book on how to make that happen. It is Spirit that makes that happen. That cannot be taught by failed high school teachers.

    Enjoy.

    “Stand By Me” – Playing For Change – Song Around the World
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Us-TVg40ExM

    And as of four days ago it looks like Iran is producing some rockers after all: Andy Madadian, Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora do “Stand By Me” with a little Farsi up front.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Us-TVg40ExM

    Now people with self taught computer skills can put it all together in their basement.

    Tribute To The Iranian people – Stand by Me
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WDaM60UMUYs

    All people in organized religions systems need to go out and get a real job and become part of the rank and file of humanity that are doing the actual creative heavy lifting of the unfolding World Age.

    I can't wait to go to work tomorrow morning to work on my latest computer programs so my company can make another million dollars to provide a livelihood for 430 people by actually DOING SOMETHING USEFUL that does not begin in words and end in words.

    And I think I will listen to some Leon Russell all day tomorrow on my headset while I program. and I will be very nice to every person I meet on the path of the day. Deeds not words. Befriending people because they are human beings and not a piece of meat to try to brutally convert to the Baha'i Faith so some “Clergy” can feel better about their mind bending spiritual failure in life as human beings.

    Yes. Rock guitarists will all sit on the Right Hand of God the Father Almighty in this world Age. Not jack ass “Clergy” and “Divines”. Judgment Day has come for the Mullahs in Iran and the “Mullah Archetype” in every land regardless of what so called “organized religion”.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QHMoxOVYPHM

    Yes. I know Ronnie Wood went through a tough year last year. I always pray for him.

  • Craig Parke

    Whoops. I gave you the wrong link. My bad. It should have read as follows:

    And as of four days ago it looks like Iran is producing some rockers after all: Andy Madadian, Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora do “Stand By Me” with a little Farsi up front.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WDaM60UMUYs

  • Craig Parke

    Dammit! Here is the Andy Madadian, Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora link!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RASKaZFZtS8

  • Craig Parke

    Pey,

    This is just up on Huffington Post.

    Can you translate for us what they are chanting?

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qJ7s-GbU_gU

    Much thanks if you can!

  • pey

    I got part of it. “Death to the dictator” and “Iranians are dying and people know what is going on” I think they are saying to the authorities that the world is watching. I didn't get the last part of it.

  • Craig Parke

    Does anyone else here get the “American Baha'i”? I just got the new one. It is always a quite interesting psychological document. I will say that things seem to be getting somewhat saner maybe by a few tightly spaced atoms. I think the improved use of technology is driving an improvement in the manifestation of rational thought. This is good. I will save any psychological analysis for a future time.

  • Greg Hodges

    In addition to the authority of appointed institutions, involvement in politics must always be placed in the context of its application throughout Babi-Baha'i history.

    During Baha'u'llah's Baghdad ministry, many, if not most Babis assumed he was revitalizing the community so as to return to the anti-state warfare of Mulla Husayn, Quddus, Vahid, Hujjat, etc. Baha'u'llah consistently counselled Babis to pursue teaching instead. God only knows what would have happened if he had pursued holy war. Most likely, now there would be no such thing as the Baha'i Faith, or Babi Faith for that matter.

    Secondly, take the 1906 Constitutional Revolution in Iran. Calls for modernization and democratization appeared to be the fulfillment of long-held Baha'i dreams. Opposition forces wondered where the Baha'is were in all that. Instead, Abdu'l Baha was dedicating the greater share of attention to the teaching work, especially in the United States. The rapid development of that community during that period is in large part attributable to the fact that the faiths' best and brightest had been sent to consolidate that fledgling community, Mirza Abu'l-Fadl, Mirza Haydar Ali, etc. If 'Abdu'l-Baha had been turning his attention to Iranian politics what would that have gained anyone? I suppose we could have been a tiny minority party in a parliamentary regime that collapsed two generations later. By focusing on the Western Baha's 'Abdu'l-Baha could hasten the day when they would send pioneers to every corner of the globe.

    The wisdom of non-involvement in politics is always clearer, even obvious, in retrospect.With that said, junior youth groups will alone accomplish in the next decade the sorts of social transformation involvement in statist politics could only dream of. And this is only at a very early stage in the development of 'Abdu'l-Baha's Divine Plan.

  • Bob

    You're siding with CIA/Mossad colored disinformation

  • Bob

    Very good comment. Can I use it?

  • Baquia

    Greg, ah, but Abdu'l-Baha didn't stay quiet about politics. On the contrary! He said a great deal and continuously conversed with the political, ecclesiastical and social leaders of the time. He wrote a treatise that was widely circulated (albeit anonymously at first). He even encouraged Baha'is to stand for elected office. You seem to not know very much about Abdu'l-Baha. Or Baha'u'llah it seems, who praised parliamentary democracies with opposing political parties, separation of church and state, railed against unjust kings and rulers with the strongest language, etc.

    No one is saying that Baha'is should wade into partisan politics or do something as nutty as throw their support behind a party or candidate. What I'm saying is that just as the Central Figures of the Faith stood for certain values and never compromised them or cowered in a corner, afraid to either anger powerful forces or to appear as 'politically involved', we should champion the values that are the bedrock of the Baha'i Faith.

    And not only do so when it suits our purpose – or because Baha'is are involved. Rather the full test is when you take a position knowing that it is the right thing to do, but comes with bitter consequences. We failed this test in South Africa during apartheid. Do you think the world didn't realize this? do you think the world wasn't watching?

  • Craig Parke

    This is, indeed, a very good statement. It is completely logical and it makes damn good sense. I commend you for this excellent analytical post. In 1971 I WAS YOU. For more than a decade I went to Baha'i events five nights a week in great spiritual humility with my heart completely on fire. I served in many different capacities. I performed many tasks for my nearest LSA. (LSA's do not count for anything in the Baha'i Faith anymore).

    So we'll see how this all looks to you 40 years from now after everything you had ever hoped for was completely run into the ground by completely dysfunctional, arrogant, and not very bright or spiritually experienced people at the top of this who made it their own private kingdom for their own personal psychological needs. the Faith is all about the personal social theoriees of a very tiny clique of people now. It is mere top down “groupthink” spiritual communism now. It will have the exact same fate as “groupthink” material communism on the present limited and narrow YEAR ZERO mentality course.

    Meanwhile, what are you doing for the “JUNIOR YOUTH GROUPS” that just experienced having to kill or be killed for six years in Iraq and eight years in Afghanistan because the dysfunctional and largely brain dead idolatrous Admin-O-Centric Baha'is of the world completely ran their religion into the ground for the entire last century decade after decade and counting amid incredible human carnage and suffering?

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/05/03/uneart

    Don't you think thousands of “JUNIOR YOUTH” for many decades before you were ever born or ever thought of by your parents tried to deal with the state of the world in utter anguish? I certainly did. Seven of the first eight Baha'is I met when I returned to the United States in 1972 were veterans like I was. You could join VVAW or the Baha'i Faith to try to do something. Many joined the Baha'i Faith. Many social activists from the Civil Rights movement too. Their fervor and total dedication was eventually shamefully betrayed by this entrenched cowardly Theocracy of Dunces of the entrenched professional Baha'i Administrative Order who have traded in people's “hopium” generation after generation since 1921. These people are insane. So much has been lost that it is incalculable.

    So we will see how it all goes in the next decade for the “JUNIOR YOUTH” of Peter Khan Jungend. And we will see how it all looks to you 40 years from now when you realize the Administrative Order of the Baha'i Faith exists in a clueless top down straight jacket while the whole world passes it by.

    Many dedicated Baha'is I have known deserved far better leadership than they ever got so they moved on to try to actually accomplish something useful in the world with their dedication to humanity before their death.

    Remember them 40 years from now because they will be gone from this world.

  • fubar

    Greg,

    Its a good thing that John Locke, George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Lord Acton, Abraham Lincoln, Gandhi, Abraham Joshua Heschel, or Martin Luther King, Jr. didn't have the opportunity to listen to your wisdom.

    What you are implying is that the revolutionaries that created republics, in which a set of “felt requirements” about a new form of modernist culture were enforced in constitutional law, were somehow irrelevant on the world stage, and some obscure, confused, medieval mystics have more important things to say about the world.

    This is why the world ignores bahai.

  • fubar

    For a reality check, google “Wallace Stegner ARAMCO”.

    http://www.stanfordalumni.org/news/magazine/200
    -
    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?st

    Also see:

    http://www.opinionjournal.com/editorial/feature

    After 9/11, Mead described a “forgotten” principle of foreign policy analysis:

    The export of any high-value commodity from a non-industrial country ALWAYS undermines democratization there.

    Major examples:

    spice trade from india

    plunder of gold from colonial latin america by Spain (possible Catalan musket, canon trade).

    the opium for tea (and silk trade) in China by the British.

    oil from the middle east, africa, etc.

    Also: consider the ill effect that oil had on american democracy.

    The USA (according to perception) didn't have very many “friends” in the middle east during the cold war that were both anti-communist and pro-democracy (the american flavor).

    If there had been a more “warlike”, modernist reform movement in Iran that had deep cultural roots and an established history of fighting bitterly for constitutional reforms, do you think that the British or USA would have reformulated their policies toward Iran such that it was more supportive of a”democratization”?

    Perhaps I'm indulging in utopianism, but I think the answer would have tended to be “yes”.

    There would have been not excuses, during the era of the “Mandates”, for stereotyping Iranians as backward and anti-modern of a significant (even if beat down, underground) pro-modernist political counterculture existed that could have been “tapped into”.

    Instead, the west turned to the Shahs, who created an absurd spectacle that led directly (along with CIA stupidity on many occasions) to the takeover by the mullas.

  • Brendan Cook

    Baquia,

    I agree with your post here, just as I agreed with the point Daniela was trying to make in her earlier post. The only thing I can add is by way of summary. There's a deeper lesson here, which applies to any 'political' situation, and not merely to the problems in Iran. it's this: don't confuse avoiding partisanship with avoiding the *appearance* of partisanship. Baha'is are so concerned with staying out of politics, that they're afraid to do anything that might seem political. And so if a Baha'i principle is the subject of partisan debate — race and gender are almost always charged with partisan significance — Baha'i institutions tell the rank and file to step back. The consequence is that Baha'is will only stand up for Baha'i principles when the matter is already beyond controversy. They stand up for human rights and social justice only when these matters are no longer seen as 'political', i.e. when the support of Baha'is is no longer needed.

    How much better it would be if Baha'is looked beyond the ever-changing perceptions of what constitutes a 'political' issue and fixed their eyes on the basic principles of the Faith! How much better if individual Baha'is stood unwaveringly on the side of human rights and social justice in and out of season!

    The worst irony about the current situation is that by trying so hard to stay out of politics, Baha'is come off as hyper-sensitive to political considerations. Because what could be more political than speaking up at one moment and staying silent at another, all depending upon how the prevailing winds of public opinion seem to be blowing?

    Keep fighting the good fight. I'm sorry we don't correspond more.

    Brendan

  • farhan

    One important detail, Brendan; you no doubt live in a country where freedom of speech is an obvious right. We should also remember that whatever statment a Baha'i might make around the world, can be used as evidence for the condemnation of their brothers and sisters in countries like Iran.

  • farhan

    An interesting point about Hardar Ali, Baha'u'llah advised him to be wise, but passionately in love with the Faith, he did not exercise enough restraint and got into serious trouble by being provocative. Later he explained that since Baha'u'llah had promised that he would meet Him again, he was confident that nothing grievous could befall him.

    Again and again we should remember that the best we can do for humanity is to survive and serve as vehicles for the life-giving divine message instead of wearing ourselves out by by taking sides in the innumerable conflicts around us.

  • Craig Parke

    “Because what could be more political than speaking up at one moment and staying silent at another, all depending upon how the prevailing winds of public opinion seem to be blowing?”

    BINGO!

    This is why in the future we will be perceived as an organization of shameful shallow cowards. Thank God many Baha'is I have known over the years have broken with Shoghi Effendi as the Supreme Manifestation of God for this World Age to save the honor of the Faith. People got fed up with being an elephant tied to a stake that is afraid of a mouse to keep up “appearances”.

    This is my real name. I have been a Baha'i for 38 years. i was totally steadfast for 32 years. I worked on Barack Obama's campaign because as a military veteran I did not want to miss this chance to improve race relations in my nation. I am white. My Father served with black troops in World War II. I did this service in memory of them and their sacrifice to fight for others to have rights they themselves did not have. I am a member of Amnesty International. The powers that be in the Baha'i Faith know where to find me if they want to kick me out. Any lifetime incumbent theorist class member of the UHJ or the US NSA or any Counselor or ABM or AABM that wants to lecture me on this can go to hell. I gave it all I had for decades in the Baha'i Faith. Now I want to contribute something REAL to the world before I die. People from my Era are now told they were not really Baha'is anyway and did not really understand any of it all along like the “Ruhi Baha'is” do now so what does it matter. We are now told that serving on a Spiritual Assembly or trying to help a Spiritual Assembly was the wrong focus all along. We were deluded and weren't “true Baha'is” anyway. None of that ever counted. So they can interrogate me and kick me out anytime. People have already been kicked out because of the thought crimes of their Internet posts. I am used to the concept now. It is all now part of the top down NEWTHINK.

    None of us were ever “true Baha'is”!

    So it goes.

  • farhan

    Baquia wrote: We failed this test in South Africa during apartheid. Do you think the world didn't realize this? do you think the world wasn't watching?

    Baquia, we did not fail in Africa, be it South or East where I hold first hand information. The Baha'i pioneers exercised enough wisdom so as to be able to maintain their positions, and enough audacity to lay the foundations of interracial harmony which is now flourishing. Your shallow analysis is insulting to several generations of self sacrificing people whose engagement Shoghi Effendi compared to that of the martyrs of the heroic age of the faith.

  • Brendan Cook

    Farhan,

    If you think the matter through, I suspect you'll find that you don't really believe what you're saying here. Surely you're not proposing as a general principle that Baha'is in one country refrain from any statement that might foment anti-Baha'i sentiment in another country! Because if you were, you'd hold off on advocating for female literacy, to give only one example. The education of girls is a touchy subject in certain regions of Pakistan and Afghanistan. Baha'is there could certainly face persecution if they were associated with this, but that doesn't mean we should sacrifice the principle. Every situation is different, but it's not a good rule to avoid saying something because bigots may not like it. By that argument, the work of civil rights activists during the 50's and 60's “[could have been] used as evidence for the condemnation” of racial minorities in the American South.

    But if you want to be more specific and restrict yourself to Iran rather than to “countries like Iran,” you're still missing the point. I agree that this is an especially sensitive situation, but I don't think your attitude is helping. Because while your intentions are good — who doesn't want the best for the Baha'is of Iran? — your methods may backfire. There seems to be a danger not only in choosing to speak at certain times, but in choosing not to speak at other times. The point Daniela was trying to make, it seems to me, is that it might help to say something right now. This moment of crisis may also provide an opportunity. This may be an opportunity to stand by the more moderate elements of Iranian society, those who, like the Baha'is, have reason to resent Ahmadinejad and his cronies. This might be a chance for Baha'is outside of Iran to demonstrate that their defense of their co-religionists is rooted in more than parochial concerns. By standing up for the civil rights of all Iranians, and not merely Iranian Baha'is, the international Baha'i community would demonstrate the solicitude for the whole of humanity which it so often professes.

    But that's just my take on things. Perhaps refusing to protest when anyone who's not a Baha'i gets martyred really is the best way to win respect for the Faith around the world.

    Brendan

  • Grover

    What about when the Jews were being slaughtered in Germany, did the Baha'is speak up then?

  • Grover

    Ooooh, angry Farhan! Baquia's commentary is hardly shallow compared to the tripe that you write, and he does ask a valid question.

  • farhan

    Not at all angry Grover; and do you think if the Baha'is had “spoken up” this would have changed something? And who says the German Baha'is didn't speak up before going to the camps?

    There is of course a difference between “speaking up” for offering a substitute society and “speaking up” to point out at tyrants every one know about already.

  • farhan

    Brendan, we are not trying to “publicize” or “gain respect” by filing long lists of official protests as governments and embassies do, and noisily supporting the right cause, but to share without distortion God's message as a remedy for the ills of our times.

    This involves general statements like the ones offered by the BIC, but does not include taking sides in political conflicts the roots of which we often not well informed about.

  • farhan

    Craig wrote: we will be perceived as an organization of shameful shallow cowards

    No Craig, we are NOT an organisation but a religion bent at providing spiritual inspiration with a small part of organising so as to hold very diverse believers together. We are not a state or an association like Amnesty or Greenpeace, although Baha'is might be acting through them.

  • fubar

    Farhan,

    You are lying. Bahais exploit persecution for publicity reasons, and to atetmpt to gain converts. period. they got up on a stage with Ronald Reagan for all the world to see. bahai leaders have big egos, and are perfectly happy to exploit the image of persecuted bahais in iran to get recognition.

  • fubar

    this has been researched. shoghi effendi (SE) tried to accomodate hitler and the nazis, just as did the catholics. a lot of things were patterned on catholicism. SE was educated in catholic schools.

    nazism backfired on both bahais and catholics.

    catholics had hoped that the nazis (fascists) would destroy communism, and could them be contained.

    they were wrong. SE was wrong.

    the vulgar, bourgeois americans (gasp, “materialistic” protestants) had to come to the rescue (WWII), and their subsequent global rise was completely unanticipated by SE's romanticism, and probably put his pro-catholic, imperialistic tendencies into a state of deep shock.

    bahai ideas are permeated with anti-capitalist, romanticist memes that are completely consistent with various historically failed ideologies in both europe and the middle east.

    without that context, bahai reactions to nazism makes little sense. there is a cover up.

  • Baquia

    Farhan, not only did we fail to stand up for what we believe as Baha'i principles inside South Africa, Baha'is elsewhere who attempted to do so were beaten down and told to shut up.

    Did you know Dialogue magazine in the US tried to address the apartheid almost 30 years ago? And that they were strong armed by the NSA of the US and almost weren't able to publish it?

    Dialogue magazine apartheid article

  • fubar

    farhan, this puffery is appalling.

    unless you know the ENTIRE history of interracial harmony (whatever that means) in africa, and can provide a reasonable body of evidence showing that bahais made a significant contribution (beyond self-inflated rhetoric), no one should take what you say as anything else except biased apologetics and polemics.

  • Grover

    Of course German Baha'is would be speaking up if they were sent to the camps. I would be complaining like mad too.

    Look, I can appreciate most Baha'is, except for the exceptional few, in a hostile environment, such as in Germany in WWII and South Africa, would be keeping quiet for fear of having the tyrants, politicians, and their cronies turn on them. I would too. I'm a coward like most people.

    But surely, the AO, as the representative of God, Baha'u'llah, whoever, had a responsiblity to speak up and make a statement, and join its voice to the others who were speaking up about the human rights abuses?
    But it didn't. It turns a blind eye, says some prayers with crocodile tears in the shrines, makes some vague general statement about how the world is in travail and God's plan is in motion. It only gets involved when Baha'is human rights are affected. Thats unfair. The AO could have been the biggest advocate for human rights in the world, but its not. Not only that, it censors those Baha'i groups that would attempt to speak out. What does that tell you? I know what it tells me – the AO is just a cowardly as everyone else.

  • farhan

    Baquia, thanks for the the link; unfortunately it didn't work;

    As for what Baha'i institutions at a given time decide to do after consultation, they represent the best that community could do at that time without your counselling.

    I know plenty of people who smugly criticize what others did during Nazi occupation in France but not for one moment would they imagine what they would have done in similar circumstances.

    I read people who would at once encourage all Baha'is to flee Iran, leaving behind their suffering fellow citizens, and criticize them as cowards for not “speaking up” for the same fellow citizens. As the French say, when you want to drown your dog, you say he has rabies.

    I think the position you are seeking is one of an advisor to Baha'i institutions before, now, and ever after. If they listened to you, the world would become a paradise.

  • farhan

    Grover, the Baha'is represent a tiny insignificant minority compared to other billions of Christians and Moslems with huge institutions and huge financial resources. They concentrate their efforts on sharing the message they believe to be vital to humanity. They do not believe they themselves are going to do much, but that God is going to do miracles through them. Those who want to do it the Baha'i way follow the plans they believe were given by God. If you have better ways of helping humanity, by all means go ahead. Baha'is are not criticizing efforts by others but concentrating on their own efforts. Try doing the same.

  • Greg Hodges

    What fascinates me is the conflation of “doing something” about injustice and “speaking up.” It's as if justice is merely about covering one's bases by publicly condemning everything that's wrong with the world.

    What I've always found appealing about the Baha'i Faith is the way that the principles of the faith are reflected in lines of action promoted at the grassroots. We can't revolutionize the world today or tomorrow. Pretending we can is futile. But we can work together to create real change in our neighborhoods and communities, while laying the groundwork for more ambitious action in the future.

    It gives practical depth to the virtue of hope. I think this is one reason there's been such an upsurge of receptivity in recent years.

  • Craig Parke

    “You'll recall that the U.S. was 'dragged' into WWII with the attack on Pearl Harbor. Our boys were sleeping off Saturday night while the enemy schemed — but America soon woke up. So when you see the U.S. in
    Cambodia or in Vietnam — or when you see America's young men in Lebanon, or knocking around in the Balkans — 'please, will you be quiet and let God do His work!'”
    - Glenford Mitchell
    Former Member of the Universal House of Justice
    Baha'i Faith

    Greg, you seem to be a young man. What is the duty of the Baha'is to the American soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan sent to kill or be killed in “doing God's work” ?

    As a military veteran and a Baha'i I bitterely resented this absolutely BREATHTAKINGLY THOUGHTLESS statement by a man who has never had to deal with taking a human life in war and it's aftermath himself like all of the lifetime incumbent professional AO on their own private Mt. Olympus Bubble cut off from the anguish of the real world.

    If war is “God's work”, shouldn't all the YOUNG BAHA'IS of the world of military age from every nation be under formal U.S. Military Command in Iraq and Afghanistan shouldering this task RIGHT NOW as set forth by Glenford Mitchell?

    And shouldn't everyone else back at the home front have “T” shirts that say “Half the world can suffer and dies so everyone else will be Baha'i”.

    As a veteran of the Armed Forces of the United States who joined the Baha'i Faith because i thought it was anti-war, I don't buy the equivalence of that transaction.

    If you are young and of military age – forget about KNOCKING on doors to make converts and sleeping safely in your bed at night – according to Glenford Mitchell – you should be in Iraq or Afghanistan right now KICKING in doors as that is God's real work!

    I will gladly drive you to the recruiting office as a good fellow Baha'i to help you fulfill God's work. As a veteran long ago in my youth, I already fulfilled my apparent obligation in the Faith. The prayer of an M-16 on fully automatic is now apparently pure incense to God. Napalm must count even more.

    The incestuous clique of people leading this religion are insane. They have lived in the cult bubble so long that they do not even understand the actual absurdity in human terms of what they are saying.

    It is all now man made wag-the-dog absurd blind ideology.

    Lock and load. Let's go.

  • Brendan Cook

    Farhan,

    I don't know exactly what kind of activities you think I was talking about, but I'll try to be as clear as I can. I'm suggesting that it might help if Baha'is responded to the death of Neda in something like the same way they would have responded had she been a Baha'i.

    Brendan

  • Baquia

    Thanks Brendan, appreciate your insights on this.

  • Grover

    Farhan – you're just making excuses.

  • farhan

    Fubar, as George Bernard Shaw puts it: “The liar's punishment is not in the least that he is not believed but that he cannot believe anyone else.”

    The Baha'is are delighted to welcome helpers joining in their cause, but certainly do not need to enrol large numbers who do not adhere to their principles not are ready to live the life. The aim of God's message is to bring about a change in human character and not provide names on a list. It is grotesque to imply that the Baha'i leaders are happy to get the baha'is persecuted so as to enjoy recognition.

    The Baha'is would certainly prefer not to be persecuted, but defend themselves not by responding by conflict and violence, but by alerting democratic structures, to which they contribute, for example through the BIC, and draw public attention to their plight, thereby consolidating these structures. The image of a persecuted minority could in fact give them a recognition as downtrodden losers and largely dissuade adhesion, eclipsing the reality that they believe that their message is one of ultimate prosperity and peace.

  • farhan

    Brendan wrote: I'm suggesting that it might help if Baha'is responded to the death of Neda in something like the same way they would have responded had she been a Baha'i.

    Who would it help, Brendan?

  • fubar

    no, what is grotesque is the exploitation itself (not being honest about the fact that it exists).

    one of the worst forms of bahai insanity has to do with “teaching”.

    no dehumanizing act is too low to be “excused” by some rationale that it is somehow related to “teaching”.

    this is the religious equivalent of used car salesmen.

    have a nice day!

  • fubar

    it would help anyone that cares about basic human decency.

  • pey

    It would help show that Bahais are not a bunch of hypocrites.

  • fubar

    bahai is mostly organization. it stopped being “about people” a long time ago. the only people that are valued, and considered “spiritually worthy”, are the leadership elites and their supporters. everyone else is an unworthy subhuman and subservient to the overarching needs of the “system”.

    here is an interesting article on community and human needs:

    http://bahai-library.com/conferences/common.thr

    I attended a training by the authors using their full book, and they were primarily concerned about the dehumanization of life in bahai communities and dysfunctional aspects of administration. Their methods of course were never supported by the mainstream community/administration since they drew direct attention to the failings associated with the dominant form of bahai culture/organization.

    It is also not a good idea to reference “outside” experts on spiritual transformation, or to mention “science”, those are taboo subjects that are avoided by bahai groupthinkers because they might fracture the fragile form of false unity that exists in many bahai communities.

    excerpts

    http://bahai-library.com/conferences/common.thr

    Common Threads:
    A Theory and Practice of Community Development
    Lin Deahl-Coy, M.A.
    John W. Suggs, Jr. M.B.A.

    Presented at the 23rd Annual Association of Baha'i Studies Conference,
    “Sacred Justice: Uniting the Human Family,” in Tempe, Arizona on June 19, 1999

    BACKGROUND

    In 1992, in response to the call for the development of human resources, we designed a program to teach practical skills of love, support and belonging. We were inspired by the following statement by the Guardian on the integration of science and religion.

    “It is hoped that all Baha'i students will.. Be led to investigate and analyze the principles of the Faith and to correlate them with the modern aspects of philosophy and science. Every intelligent and thoughtful young Baha'i should always approach
    the Cause in this way, for there in lies the very essence of the principle of independent investigation of the Truth.”
    Aug. 6, 1933 Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer.

    We were further encouraged by the May 19, 1994-letter from the Universal House of Justice and its encouragement to pursue individual initiatives. We, therefore, continued to develop both a theory and a practice of community growth and development.

  • fubar

    yes, yes…. much better to put energy into conflict *within* the bahai community, such as marginalizing nonconformists, critics and dissidents.

    bahais are not vehicles for life-giving divine messages (any more than many other spiritual people on planet earth), they are keeping alive irrelevant metaphysics and dysfunctional bureaucracy.

    no one will listen to bahais until bahais have the courage to put their ideas and methods into the crucible of social and political activism.

    the world has had enough bad religion dressed up in false garb.

    most people are too sophisticated to “fall for” the silly stuff that bahais offer.

  • fubar

    in google books, type in “apartheid dialogue magazine bahai” and click “search”.

    http://books.google.ca/books?id=AzCV2jC35WsC

    The reference to apartheid is on p 143-144.

    It is interetnig that the two reviews of the book that can be found on google are from reactionary bahais, one a professional librarian that has a position within bahai leadership elites, and the other from a fundamentalist goof who can't possibly have any idea of what reality consists of.

    Ironically, both reviews validate Garlington's point in the book about the hostility and criticism that is found in the bahai mainstream to alternative perspectives. Both reviews clearly demonstrate the apalling and incessant polemic distortion and violence to the truth that exists in bahai culture, especially amongst the leadership elites and their supporters.

    There is very little real “tolerance” of diverse viewpoints, instead there is conformism and hostility to different thoughts.

    The existence of “organizational shadow” in bahai is overwhelming.

    I suppose that some praise to the powers of the universe is due, they have made sure that the bad religion called “bahai” has become so profoundly and disgustingly dysfunctional in its display that very few people are desperate enough to consider joining it.

  • fubar

    Amazing that Garlington's book's foreward was written by Jeffrey Kripal (professor of religious studies, specializing in american counterculture spirituality)!

    Kripal's insights make the comments of the bahai reviewers cited on Google Books look even more idiotic by contrast.

    It is amazing that a professional bahai employee of the library of congress would utter such distortions and conformist drivel as Collins does in his review.

    It is stunning that Collins fails to acknowledge that most of the ex-bahai/”disaffected” sources that Garlington used (who were Garlington's friends), had been victims of various abuses by the administrators that Collins is so cozy with! It should not take a rocket scientist to see that nonconformists, critics and dissidents that have been attacked by bahai conservatives and fundamentalists would have the sharpest understanding of the dysfunctional nature of bahai tormentors and inquisitors.

    Collins is using an old trick, commonly employed by dysfunctionado AO types to quiet nonconformists in the bahai community, of “blaming the victim”.

    Collins attempts to cover up one of the many disturbing historical incidents of massive bureaucratic failure in the usa bahai community: the south carolina mass conversion fiasco.

    fwiw – I was told by a SC “homefront pioneer” that he was directly approached by a nsa member at that time and offered a high position in exchange for voting for, and otherwise supporting, the group at the USBNC that wanted to stop the mass conversions, and needed a “compliant” african american of high charisma to act as a spokesperson.

    there was no question at the time that if a large number of poor blacks became bahai in SC, that they would have voted to oust the old group of people from power who had been running the nsa/usabnc for a long time.

    the nsa needs to apologise for its vile, racist past.

  • farhan

    Grover- excuses for whom?

  • farhan

    Fubar, why conflate people whose aim is to fight injustice, with those whose aim is to elaborate a peaceful society that will replace it? You want _every one_ to do the same job?

    We have ample examples that show that hauling down tyranny is not automatically conducive to a durably peaceful society. Baha'is believes that whilst some help disintegrate the out-dated world order, others have to work at elaborating the new one, preferably, before the old one collapses completely. What is wrong with that?

  • farhan

    Pey wrote: It would help show that Bahais are not a bunch of hypocrites

    Pey, it is not all about “showing” or “appearing” so as to gain respect and popularity and attract adhesion. It is about bringing on a vitally necessary change in minds and hearts and promoting a new way of life, whether or not humanity likes it.

    Don't you feel it would be hypocrite if the Baha'is gave the same attention to the death of Neda as to the long lasting persecution of Baha'is and the death of Mona?

  • farhan

    Fubar, thanks for these quotes on social development. If you have a look at Paul Lample's recent talk in Baha'i studies, you will understand that the Institute Process is an ADDITION to what we had before on these lines and a spring board for encouraging participants to follow these lines, and not a replacement for social development projects as you seem to imagine. You are obviously entirely unaware of the present situation of the Baha'i community.

  • pey

    If it is not about showing Farhan, then why do you teach the Faith. Is that not “showing”. You are showing all the time. What you do here every day Farhan is showing. But in one way you are correct, it should be more than showing. Bahais should be sincere when they speak about Neda as they were when they spoke of Mona. The deaths can mean different things to the Bahais, and that is fine. But to not say ANYTHING about Neda, and just only talk about the persecution of Bahais…well the audience can decide if that is or is not hypocrisy for a religious community that claims to be about justice in the world.

  • Brendan Cook

    Farhan said:

    “Don't you feel it would be hypocrite if the Baha'is gave the same attention to the death of Neda as to the long lasting persecution of Baha'is and the death of Mona?”

    Brendan responds:

    Farhan obviously doesn't understand the nature of hypocrisy. I invite all of the posters on this blog to examine his comment above carefully. If you read it over, you'll see that Farhan doesn't simply have the definition of hypocrisy wrong, he has it upside down. Farhan suggests that “it would be hypocrite (sic)” to treat the murder of an Iranian who is not a Baha'i in the same way that we would treat the murder of a Baha'i. In fact, it is hypocritical to treat the outrages of the current regime differently depending upon the religion of a victim. Hypocrisy is built around this sort of double standard.

    This obviously isn't a matter that can be debated — a word means what it means and that's the end of it. But for the amusement of the more thoughtful readers of this blog, allow me to provide a few additional examples of Farhan's “reasoning” at work. I've preserved the basic structure of his thought, and inserted new particulars into the square brackets. It's a sort of hypocrisy mad lib, and a good way of illustrating how confused Farhan is on this point.

    “Don't you feel it would be hypocrite if [politicians] gave the same attention to [the public good] as to [their own personal fortune]?”

    “Don't you feel it would be hypocrite if [Americans] gave the same attention to [the AIDS crisis in Africa] as to [the health crisis in their own country]?”

    “Don't you feel it would be hypocrite if [the wealthy] gave the same attention to [educating the children of the poor] as to [educating their own children]?”

    I could give more examples, but you all get the picture. You can all see that to use the word “hypocrite” as Farhan has used it is so incorrect as to make the act of disputing it with him worthless. You can't argue with someone who says the sky is red and the sun is black. And you can't argue with someone who defines as hypocrisy as rejecting a double standard when hypocrisy actually consists in embracing one.

  • Grover

    Farhan, stop being stupid, you know exactly what I mean.

  • Grover

    You know, what I find amusing about this is Farhan thinks he's the spokesman of the Baha'i Faith. There is something fundamentally wrong with Farhan pyschologically and intellectually. It comes through in all his posts. He deliberately plays the idiot.

  • Grover

    Just as I said before, there is something fundamentally wrong with Farhan pyschologically and intellectually. He deliberately plays the idiot, probably because he enjoys having us argue with him.

    Baquia, honestly, do you think having Farhan dominate the blog is actually conducive to anything apart from advertising to the world what a prat he is. Can't you limit or vet his numerous posts?

    I honestly can't believe that Farhan is a doctor – no doctor is that stupid – unless they got their degree from McDonalds.

  • pey

    Ok, I won't go to that extent with name calling. The labels should be true. Farhan is not stupid or an idiot. There is a reason he is here- a doctor who has enough time on his hands to reply to practically every message. I have been out of the loop inside the Bahai community for some time, but I'm sure there is some kind of course that is teaching Bahais how to deal with dissent online. Or maybe there are a few chosen people under Counselors who are given the task diffusing what is said online about the AO. Who knows?

  • Brendan Cook

    Grover,
    I agree with Pey that name-calling goes too far. It's one thing to express frustration with someone's arguments, or even their grasp of basic English usage, and another to say that there is something “fundamentally wrong” with them personally. And if you really don't like Baquia's policy towards any poster or postings, the best way to let him know would be through a private message.

    Brendan

  • Baquia

    This is an open forum, as long as people are willing to enter into a dialogue about ideas rather than petty or personal attacks. That's where I draw the line – so please, discuss ideas not people as much as possible.

    When we write, we try to persuade others of our ideas but as we express them, we also expose our ideas to the rest of the world to judge. I think an open forum is the best way for adults to hash out important topics.

    If someone decides to use all that rope to hang themselves, that's up to them.

  • farhan

    Brendan wrote: Farhan obviously doesn't understand the nature of hypocrisy. I invite all of the posters on this blog to examine his comment above carefully

    Thankyou, Brendan.

    I will welcome the comments of all readers on this blog and I will then explain my point.

  • farhan

    When Baquia writes: We failed this test in South Africa during apartheid. Do you think the world didn't realize this? do you think the world wasn't watching? (07/02/2009)

    Farhan asks: Are we to do what the world wants to see? Are we to attempting to be appreciated? Or are we attempting to provide what the world needs i.e. the spiritual basis of an oncoming peaceful society?

    When Brendan writes: �Because what could be more political than speaking up at one moment and staying silent at another, all depending upon how the prevailing winds of public opinion seem to be blowing?�

    Farhan: Baha’is make statements on social issues, with sustainable outcomes, without taking sides and amplifying conflicts, irrespective of “public opinions” at a given time.

    Brendan: �There seems to be a danger not only in choosing to speak at certain times, but in choosing not to speak at other times. The point Daniela was trying to make, it seems to me, is that it might help to say something right now.� (07/03/2009)

    Farhan: A “danger” for whom? For Baha’is or for the suffering millions? It “might help” whom? Help to a better public opinion concerning the Baha’is or the suffering millions? How do you exactly suggest helping the millions? What are Daniela’s suggestions on what to “say”?

    Brendan: �By standing up for the civil rights of all Iranians, and not merely Iranian Baha'is, the international Baha'i community would demonstrate the solicitude for the whole of humanity which it so often professes.�

    Farhan: How do we “stand for those civil rights”? By making statements or demonstrating? Or is it more useful to promote and implement a social structure based on those values at grass roots on a global scale?

    Brendan: �Perhaps refusing to protest when anyone who's not a Baha'i gets martyred really is the best way to win respect for the Faith around the world.�

    Farhan: Are trying to “win respect” for Baha’is or are we trying to find an efficient way of helping the victims?

    When Pey writes: It would help show that Bahais are not a bunch of hypocrites.(07/04/2009)

    Farhan: To whom are we “showing” Who would it help, the victims of the public opinion of Baha’is?

    IOW, I feel it is hypocritical to make statements or take actions in order to gain popularity, instead of providing the best we have, i.e. preparing the foundations of a peaceful society at grass roots.

  • farhan

    Pey, I am participating here on an entirely personal basis and I value this discussion because of the questions that are brought up.

  • farhan

    Greg wrote : The wisdom of non-involvement in politics is always clearer, even obvious, in retrospect

    Greg, in the 1970-80s I was involved with the French doctors and the issue that came up was that doctors became witnesses of atrocities and felt impelled to report them; in doing so, the French doctor teams could no longer access some areas and as the result, millions of innocent populations became totally deprived of medical attention. As a result, French doctors split into two organizations: �Medecins du Monde� and �Medecins Sans Fronti?res� who claimed the duty to interfere.

    In one case, doctors in Somalia found themselves having to repair injuries caused by local midwives practicing genital mutilation. They became involved and they, and even the local doctor, had to flee after having been stigmatized as a �foreign spy�; As a result, huge populations were totally deprived of medical care. Back in Lyon, the issue was discussed and it was decided that some of them would return, offer antiseptics and local anesthesia and promote a minimal mutilation that could be easily reversed. Some disagreed and refused to return.

    Baha’is are IMO confronted with similar issues: Stay and keep quiet, offering whatever help they can, or speak up and flee, aware that taking sides might also attract additional violence towards the local people they are attempting to help. �Speaking up� is not always the best way of helping local populations.

  • Baquia

    I'm glad you're here Farhan. I'm critical of the lack of diversity of voices within the Baha'i community and the way that we and especially the institutions, have become closed and ossified. After that, I can't very well go and create an echo chamber on my blog, can I?

    That would make me a hippopotamus… er, no that's not it. It would make me a hypochondriac… no, that's not it either… what's the word I'm looking for?

    ;)

  • farhan

    Thanks, Baquia, I am sincerely grateful for the questioning I meet here and the insights they lead to. I have learnt to wade through scorn and misunderstanding, taking delight from the flowers I come upon. It has so happened that my professional life the last two years has constrained me to long periods of presence in the hospital, and the challenges I have met on your blog have been a source of deepening and revision of my English for me.

  • pey

    Oh no, not a hypocrite Baquia. I mean seriously, do you think you should give the same prefernce to someone like Farhan as you would with those who agree with you? Isn't it hypocritical of you to let Farhan speak as much as the rest of us since you don't agree with him?

  • fubar

    re: bourgeoisophobia

    Weekly Standard

    Among the Bourgeoisophobes
    Why the Europeans and Arabs, each in their own way, hate America and Israel.
    by David Brooks
    04/15/2002, Volume 007, Issue 30

  • fubar

    re: etherealist bourgeoisophobes

    farhan,

    thanks for subjecting yourself to being horribly abused by people that are trying to understanding the truth in spite of the vast distortions produced by the bahai propaganda machine for the last 50+ years.

    you have provided the extraordinarily invaluable service of crystalizing and exemplifying the expression of so many of the dysfunctional aspects of bahai belief, and allowing many participants to vent about their outrage over such. I propose that we confer upon you the title of “Great Healer” for your selfless contribution to the mental health of the masses of the downtrodden.

    to reiterate, there is a form of romanticism that exists in both european and middle eastern culture called “etherealism” that represents a withdrawal from the “real world” by those that feel spiritually superior (e.g., as upholders of the earthy purity of the slave classes), but that have been, through some great screw up by the powers of the universe, seen their world overcome by crass materialists and vulgar capitalists.

    In response to the great cosmic imbalance, the “etherealist” withdraws from reality, to live a life of pristine appreciation in a bubble of detachment from the mundane, polluted, practical aspects of life.

    eventually the etherealist becomes fascinated by the creation of ever more delicate and elaboratly decorative sugar-coatings for excrements, and eventually transcends the awareness of the original decompositional fetidity of the original material.

  • farhan

    Fubar, I was told that someone questioned the Buddha’s non violence and to test him, insulted him copiously. Seeing the Buddha smile, he asked if He had no self-respect. The Buddha replied with a question: If you want to give a gift to someone and the person does not accept it, to whom does the gift belong? To the on who wanted to give it, replied the man. So your words stay with yourself, replied the Buddha. A list is a place where we can exchange ideas and enrich ourselves mutually. To be closer to the level of discussion current here, insulting people on a list is spitting in the air above one’s head, or if you prefer, pissing against the wind. As Baquia said, this is an open forum and we expose our ideas to the view of the planet.

  • Grover

    Ok, now you are really making me sick. I don't care if Farhan spouts a whole lot of stuff people disagree with so long as its coherent and has some semblance of logic. Most of the time he is taking the piss and not even paying attention to what the other people have written. You've all said this from time to time. Now I've openly stated it, you all turn around and say Farhan is our buddy, despite the fact he has been rubbing crap in your guys faces ever since he has started blogging. Now in a fit of extreme martyrdom he's likening himself to Buddha. If that doesn't tell you something is wrong, I don't know what will.

  • Brendan Cook

    Pey,

    I like where you're going with this, but your phrasing is off. What you mean to say is this:

    “Don't you feel it would be hypocrite if [Baquia] gave the same attention to [posters like Farhan] as to [posters he agrees with]?”

    Brendan

  • fubar

    Farhan (Great Healer),

    What you apparently fail to see is that people want the bahai faith to simply “do the right thing” (have a consistent position on human rights abuses), and stop using the persecution of bahais in iran for publicity reasons.

    In other words, they want their religion (or ex-religion) to stop looking silly and self-serving.

    The second part of your formulation makes even less sense than the first: bahais are not laying the foundation for peace. they are laying the foundation for a dysfunctional bahai bureaucracy that produces little or nothing except illusion, and marginalization of critics, dissidents and nonconformists.

  • Baquia

    Farhan asks: Are we to do what the world wants to see? Are we to attempting to be appreciated? Or are we attempting to provide what the world needs i.e. the spiritual basis of an oncoming peaceful society?

    Baquia responds, I would suggest that a “spiritual basis for a peaceful society” would require us to not pick and choose when we defend our values, depending on when it simply involves us directly or whether it is convenient. Nobility of character and integrity require Baha'is, as individuals and collectively, as represented by their institutions, to consistently stand up for the values which are the bedrock of our Faith.

    I brought up the example of apartheid in south africa where we did not even condemn the practice! we simply watched from a distance and kept quiet. When concerned Baha'is half way around the world in California raised a voice, the US NSA intervened and tried to shush them up!

    It is impossible to raise a “spiritual basis for a peaceful society” by just talking a good talk. I'm afraid that's what we're doing. We remain quiet when an underaged person is killed in Iran (which is not only against Iranian law but international law), we remain silent when homosexuals are persecuted and killed in Iran, etc.

    But we raise holy hell when they arrest 7 Baha'is.

    If you can not see the harmful effect that sort of behavior has on the prestige of the Faith… I'm afraid there is no use in continuing this dialogue.

  • farhan

    Fubar, I am here for entirely personal motives and will try to reply point by point; please feel free to put additional questions if you wish and to disagree as much as you wish:

    Fubar: What you apparently fail to see is that people want the bahai faith to simply “do the right thing” (have a consistent position on human rights abuses),

    Farhan, I see this point very clearly but as I have often said, I dare to disagree. The Baha’i faith is not an association with a governing board and members giving their directives. It is a religion, based on a revelation, aiming at the spiritual education of the masses. We can reject this or accept it; if we accept it, as I do, we are to abide by its spiritual laws that include compliance with it’s institutions. If it turns out to work, good for the Baha’is. If it is a fallacy, as Queen Victoria wisely noted, it will slip into oblivion.

    Farhan: As to the human rights issues, �speaking out� is often insufficient, and in some cases can be counterproductive, as in the example I gave of French doctors in Somalia. �speaking out� as Baha’is in some circumstances can even be a burden to people we are trying to help and who do not want to be associated with us. Baha’is believe that human rights issues require education from the cradle onwards, and they are being active in this field.

    Fubar: and stop using the persecution of bahais in iran for publicity reasons.

    Farhan: I entirely agree; it is of no avail to classify ourselves as losers, although at the time when we were not known, and no one availed to the plight of the unknown Baha’is, it was the only way to draw international attention so as to save some innocent lives

    Fubar: In other words, they want their religion (or ex-religion) to stop looking silly and self-serving.

    Farhan: I understand their wish to belong to a Faith making statements and taking in an issue where even the Pope who is the spokesman of one fifth of humanity has not taken position. My belief differs from theirs: I believe that such a statement will not help the victims and even be deleterious. It happens that the Baha’i institutions hold the same views, and as Abdu’l-Baha said, before making a political statement they should clearly say that they are not Baha’is.

    Fubar: The second part of your formulation makes even less sense than the first: bahais are not laying the foundation for peace. they are laying the foundation for a dysfunctional bahai bureaucracy that produces little or nothing except illusion, and marginalization of critics, dissidents and nonconformists..

    Farhan: my vision of the Baha’i community differs from yours. Thanks for expressing your views and allowing me to express mine.

  • farhan

    Baquia wrote: consistently stand up for the values which are the bedrock of our Faith.

    Farhan: �standing up� sometimes calls for statements from our armchairs, sometimes involves being there and working at grass roots in favour of reconciliation, hoping that those in their armchairs are not going to make statements that will discredit your work; you cannotreconcile people and at the same tim take sides.

    Baquia: we simply watched from a distance and kept quiet.

    Farhan: �we� did not sit back and observe; some did, but not us: Baha’i pioneers I happened to meet were there, working at grass roots hoping that those comfortably in their armchairs would not make statements that would disgrace their reconciling efforts and get them thrown out of the country or into prison. I remember one pioneer sobbing and pleading with Ruhiyyih Khanum to go there and she replied that she did not have their patience and force of character and she would get put straight into prison.

    Baquia: It is impossible to raise a “spiritual basis for a peaceful society” by just talking a good talk.

    Farhan: Entirely agreed, Baquia, and you can add �stating good statements� to that. What the world needs is to be familiarized with God’s teachings at grass roots, and to be assisted in applying those reconciling teachings in their everyday life. This is what the institute is about. Making statements that can be understood in taking sides in a conflict will disqualify our reconciliatory efforts.

    Baquia: We remain quiet when an underaged person is killed in Iran (which is not only against Iranian law but international law), we remain silent when homosexuals are persecuted and killed in Iran, etc.

    Farhan: a statement from an insignificant number of Baha’is in the world in favour of these people would not help them and might in fact might only intensify their ordeals

    Baquia: But we raise holy hell when they arrest 7 Baha'is.
    Farhan: if you know of any other way of defending them other than informing public attention, please share.
    Baquia: If you can not see the harmful effect that sort of behavior has on the prestige of the Faith… I'm afraid there is no use in continuing this dialogue.

    Farhan: once again I feel it is not to be a question of the �prestige� of the Faith but finding an efficient and sustainable solution. It would be hypocritical to make statements seeking the �prestige of the Faith� which would jeopardize the grass roots efforts being deployed. If you cant see that making statements so as to �enhance the prestige of the Faith� is hypocritical, I suggest moving to another subject.

  • pey

    “Farhan: a statement from an insignificant number of Baha’is in the world in favour of these people would not help them and might in fact might only intensify their ordeals”
    Then please stop making statements in regards to the Bahais in Iran. Or do you think only then it actually makes any difference? When you speak on behalf of Bahais (and only Iranian Bahais) and then use it as a teaching tool as the AO would like you to do. Anyway, Baquia is right. If you can't understand the rudimentary definition of hypocrisy, then how can you ever accept that THAT is what you are demonstrating.

  • Brendan Cook

    What can I say except that I think Pey is absolutely right!? But then I don't need convincing on this point…

  • Baquia

    Farhan, I agree about the clumsy wording I used (“prestige”) but I only did so because as you clearly demonstrated you have a perverse understanding of the meaning of hypocrisy. So seeing that you do not understand the concept or perhaps your Enlgish is not so good on this word, I tried to use a different way to explain it.

    The central idea here is simple. If the Baha'i Faith defends the rights of Baha'is persecuted in Iran, it does so not out of any selfish motives, but because the Baha'i Faith stands for social justice, equality before the law, democracy, freedom and a host of other values.

    Therefore, it is shocking for us to be selective in our defense of such values and only speak up when Baha'is are in danger… and remain silent when others are persecuted unjustly.

    If you are not able to see this clear distinction or are not able to readily admit to it without having to return to dissimulation and spin, then there isn't much to say because we'll just be going around and around the same tired path.

  • Tahirih_Starr

    Some strategy thoughts.

    Yes, we are witnessing those whose hearts are imprinted with Tahirih's Spiritual Zietgeist naturally responding to injustice and standing by those who are suffering oppression and speaking out for freedom. Oh Tahirih! Oh! Qurratu'l-Ayn!

    In Tahirih's poem the 'Morn of Guidance' in Farsi it says:

    “The epiglottis of the pretentious shayk's will be cut out ending their deception to free all…..and with the POWER OF EQUALITY injustice will evaporate”

    strategy: I would suggest that many leaders in Bahai still hold the visions of world domination through the Bahai World Commonwealth ideology. Therefore, it helps to keep low key while other methods are employed such as getting a major film with noted actors like Shohreh Aghdashloo to act in heart wrenching movies such as Mona's Dream, a movie which tackles the persecution of Baha'i in Iran. Obviously such a film will result in giving Bahai more positive press and powers and the masses will be attracted to what seems like an all inclusive religion.

    But alas, Bahai in its present state is NOT based on the 'Spirit of Equality' that Tahirih called for, as Bahai holds firm for women NEVER being being part of head decision making. Of course this means a world cibstryct out of balance bereft of the Spirit. Thus the end result of spreading Bahai will not stop injustice in the world.

    Consequently, the power must go to the people whose hearts who are imprinted with the Spirit of Equality so that the SixthSun Cycle will unfold with the highest possibilities. Let not their zeal and enthusiasm be seized by ungodly motives ever again! Keep eyes and hearts in an aware state.

    �With the truth of the new Dreamtime and the Shiva/Shakti male/ female Oneness� -Starr*
    http://starrsaffa.com

  • farhan

    Baquia wrote : Farhan, I agree about the clumsy wording I used (“prestige”) but I only did so because as you clearly demonstrated you have a perverse understanding of the meaning of hypocrisy.

    Baquia, let us drop the word. My reasoning is such: 1)We have injustice all over the world. 2)As a Baha’i, I belong to a religious community that believes that the lack of spirituality is at the roots of this situation. 3)To overcome this situation I believe that we are to promote spiritual values at grass roots. 4)I believe that the general statements through the BIC that are studied by various states do help. 5)I am aware that by taking sides in various conflicts, Baha’is will be disabled from acting as conciliators. 6)I am aware that many international institutions are engaged in making statements, including the UN and president of the US, with no avail. 7)I do not believe that a statement from Baha’is will help the victims and might in fact even bring further accusations on them. 8)I also believe that if I make statements in the name of Baha’is which will be counterproductive for the victims for the sole reason of �enhancing the prestige� of the Baha’is, I would be insincere. 9)I also believe that as a community we are responsible for the welfare of each other, and as a non-violent group, the only way we can protect ourselves is to attract attention to what we are going through. 10)I also believe that arresting the seven persons responsible for a community has a different symbolic value than arresting any other persons. Desecrating a flag is not the same as desecrating any piece of cloth. 11)I am ready to reconsider my beliefs with anyone.

  • Guest

    Dear Baquia (Baghiyyeh ?? Baaghiyeh???)

    you are chating together

    with: fubar craig Parke farhan grover

    what is the value of your blog??

    and you forget to investigate.
    busy to discuss if UHJ is doing well or NSA of here and ther is working …

    read you HOLY quran

    remember that you have to pay your Zakat according to Quran and not Aqdas!!!!

    but in Quran you can not find it!!!

    because the Qums abrogated zakat booty for the Rasoulallah

    if you are happy go ahead

    hope one day you reach enlightment

    ciao

  • pey

    For someone who doesn't understand the English language very well, you seem to have a great grasp of it. :o)

  • Baquia

    Farhan, you've set up a straw man argument. I never suggested that we make “statements”. I'm not sure if you're able to see your pattern, but what you do is come up with something different than what a person says, then put words in their mouth, and then argue against the words you put in their mouth!
    This may be satisfying to you but to the other person it is insulting. If you had done this once, I wouldn't be mentioning it. But this is a pattern with you. I only mention it so that you may be able to perhaps, take an objective look at it and replace it with another more productive approach. This is why I call what you do 'spin'. You do not engage with what people are actually saying, but with what you want them to be saying.

  • Baquia

    Guest, the zakat in the Baha'i Faith has not been outlined (yet). Look for the explanation and guidance in Q/A portion of the Aqdas.

    Zakat is mentioned in the Quran, although the rate was not quantified. There are numerous mentions of zakat (a quick search in 21:73 will show you one mention).

    Since you seem very interested in Quran you might want to talk to Sen who knows more about Islamic theology than I do.

    Thank you, I also hope to reach enlightenment one of these days.

  • farhan

    Thanks, Pey. I did my primary and secondary studies in English, and the remainder in French, so I do sometimes speak and write Frenglish

  • farhan

    Baquia, I have made a list of my own statements to which your comments are welcome;

    Also, what kind of action were you suggesting when you wrote: “This was the mistake that we made in South Africa during Apartheid when we stood aside while all the values we cherish as Baha’is were trampled.”

  • Baquia

    Going back to the issue of hypocrisy… the answer to your question should be evident. What actions do we undertake (and with what intensity) when our own, fellow Baha'is are under persecution?
    The same we should do for others since what is being threatened are the values which we cherish and the kind of society that we strive to build for all of humanity.

  • pey

    Wait wait Baquia. Not ALL fellow Bahais. Just the ones under Islamic persecution because then it fits into Bahai administrative policy to help teach the Faith. Otherwise we don't say much. Take the Cambodian Bahais under the Khmer Rouge for instance.

  • farhan

    Baquia wrote: What actions do we undertake (and with what intensity) when our own, fellow Baha'is are under persecution? The same we should do for others since what is being threatened are the values which we cherish and the kind of society that we strive to build for all of humanity.

    Baquia, interesting application of �prefer your neighbour to yourself�. Do you feel as responsible for the millions of starving, homeless, school less, children around the world as you are to children of your family? Or are you also a hypocrite like the rest of us?

  • farhan

    Pey, if you sent a small number of famine and health relief volonteers to a scene of catastrophe, would you offer the same protection to thess volonteers as to the victims?

  • pey

    Wow. So the Bahais (specifically Iranian Bahais) get all the support because you believe they are mankind's salvation. Forget the others. Great Farhan. The only difference is…volunteers are actually making a difference in the world.

  • pey

    Not only your hypocrisy, but your pompousness amazes me (I'm sure both words you understand very well)

  • Pey

    Farhana said: “Do you feel as responsible for the millions of starving, homeless, school less, children around the world as you are to children of your family? :
    Pey says: “I don't know about Baquia, but Abdul-Baha certainly would have. And remember him Farhan? He was our example. Something that obviously you and the AO have lost. I really can't believe you just asked this question and think your hypocrisy fits into the what the Bahai Faith is about.

  • Baquia

    Farhan, I've moved my reply here due to the space constraint. I'm replying to your comment here.

    Although an individual parent may cherish their own child more than anothers that does not mean that an institution devoted to justice would make the same choice.

    What I'm saying in plain language, to exit the analogy you suggested, is that there is a difference between individual Baha'is and Baha'i institutions.

    While the first may have many shortcomings, the latter is held up to an infinitely higher standard. Especially the UHJ who is there, as you and I believe, for the whole world. If that is so, then how can it act in such a narrow manner?

  • farhan

    Pey, so if I get you right, you have abandoned your family and friends and unlike the �pompous and hypocritical Baha’is�, with great humility and sincerity, you follow Abdu'l-Baha's example and devote yourself to the suffering millions on this planet; Perhaps you can explain for us what to do in practice for these millions beyond your generous statements on Baha'i Rants?

  • farhan

    Baquia: What I'm saying …. is that there is a difference between individual Baha'is and Baha'i institutions.

    Farhan: Important point to me too.

    Baquia: While the first may have many shortcomings, the latter is held up to an infinitely higher standard. Especially the UHJ who is there, as you and I believe, for the whole world. If that is so, then how can it act in such a narrow manner?

    Farhan: Again I agree, with the further point that the Baha’i institutions, unlike political institutions do not place the responsibility for doing things in the hand of �leaders�. Leadership is concerned with guiding, harmonizing and coordinating the efforts of individuals. So to go back to your example of apartheid in SA, if the UHJ deemed that the wisest line of action was to keep a low profile, not to take sides with one community against the other, avoid being imprisoned and expelled from the country and patiently lay the spiritual bass of a future interracial society, the Baha’i community in SA followed that guidance. I am not sure what better line of action you would have suggested at that time and instead of putting words into your mouth, I am placing questions in your ears.

  • Baquia

    This is not about taking sides Farhan. It is about right, and wrong. It is about championing values that are the foundation of the Baha'i Faith.

    Funny how what the Baha'i Faith does to protest the unjust treatment of Baha'is in Iran is not 'taking sides with one community against another'. But when it comes to other injustices, it is.

  • farhan

    Baquia wrote: It is about championing values that are the foundation of the Baha'i Faith.

    Baquia, if you do not agree that fostering spirituality at grass roots, from the cradle onwards and statements amongst the NGO and states through the Baha'i International community is an efficient line of action for sustainable results on human rights issues, then what other line of action would you promote when you have several communities in conflict?

    There is of course a difference when a community is being persecuted without being in conflict with others, because in this case, taking sides with them does not imply taking sides against others, unless you consider their teachings as detrimental to social wellbeing.

    You say the Baha'is failed to oppose apartheid; how was it possible to oppose apartheid at that time without taking sides against the whites? What line of action would you have suggested if you were a member of the UHJ at that time?

  • Baquia

    Farhan, if you're going to revert to putting words in my mouth, I'm happy to give you the last word on this. I've said pretty much everything that needed to be said in this discussion. Have a nice day.

  • pey

    I don't need to prove anything to you. YOU believe that taking care of our own (but only if they are persecuted by Muslims) is more important than taking care of all of humanity. Abdul-Baha never thought this way and wouild be shocked by your statments. I could only wish that Bahais especially the AO's would just make some simple generous statements in regards to Neda, the cambodian Bahais that died under the Khmer rouge, thos who suffered under apartheid, etc etc. AS WELL AS the general statements made on behalf of our brethren in Iran. I wold again bring up the word hypocrisy but you'll again state that maybe your English is not the perfect to understand such a complex word.

  • farhan

    Pey wrote: I could only wish that Bahais especially the AO's would just make some simple generous statements in regards to Neda, the cambodian Bahais that died under the Khmer rouge, thos who suffered under apartheid, etc etc.

    Pey, thanks for not backing out of my question. I understand that you believe that a department of public information by the UHJ could make regular statements on world affairs. I believe that your suggestion deserves consideration perhaps if not now, but in the future when the UHJ will have gained some public credit. For the moment, mainly Baha’is recognise their station and value their guidance. I am not aware of any other religious institution having taken position on this tragic event. To my understanding the UHJ has a function of arbitration, which implies impartiality; it was not to the UHJ that Baha’u’llah advised to �Bind ye the broken with the hands of justice, and crush the oppressor who flourisheth with the rod of the commandments of your Lord, the Ordainer, the All-Wise.� (Kitab-i-Aqdas 2:89).

    As to my personal understanding about the wave of international protests about Neda, you might feel that a statement by the UHJ would change the course of events, but I feel it would give the impression that the Baha’i world is taking sides in an internal conflict. I doubt that it would improve anything for the victims. In fact it might be a source of discredit to them and would disable the Baha’is from their aim of promoting spiritual values and reconciliation at grass roots and from the cradle onwards.

    I understand the word hypocrisy as falsehood in wording ideas and sentiments; I do not consider you as insincere but I sincerely hold a view different from yours. I believe that a statement by the UHJ would not help but might be counter-productive. In this case, if I encouraged such a statement for the sole purpose of enhancing the prestige of the Baha’is, I would be insincere.

  • Grover

    Examinations doth trial the soul because the worlds greatest fool always asks more than the worlds wisest man can answer.

  • pey

    Your view Farhan is extremely ethnocentric and it does not represent the Faith, unless by the Faith you mena only the AO. See Farhan jan. I'm Iranian too. I know the mentality of most Iranian Bahais and Iranian culture in general. The world is divided by religion in that part of the world. From the day you are born in a Bahai hospital by a Bahai doctor (as I was) to the day you end up in a Bahai grave. The same for Christians, Jew, Zoroastrians, etc. So in your mindset there is no hypocrisy for the AO and most Bahais to ony speak out for Iranian Bahais- that's just what family does, right Farhan? The heck with everyone else. You see Farhan, that version of the Bahai Faith is very foreign to thos who come from a Western background and those of us who have also grown up here for a large part of our lives. So which is the true Bahai Faith. I go back to Abdul-Baha who I believe made a comment once about how he didn't understand why so many people will comment about the deaths of their own countrymen, yet not care about a war where thousands were killed, but just happen to not be the same nationality. I'll have to find you that quote Farhan. Maybe it will make you understand the word hypocrisy.

  • Baquia

    “There are two kinds of people in the world: those who divide the world into two kinds of people, and those who don't” – Robert Benchley

  • Grover

    �Any man can make mistakes, but only an idiot persists in his error�
    Marcus Tullius 106 BC-43 BC

  • farhan

    That was a good one, Baquia; Thanks! I will register it!

  • farhan

    Pey, I think you are referring to this chapter of Paris Talks (24thNov 1911) where Abdu'l-Baha said:

    �I have just been told that there has been a terrible accident in this country. A train has fallen into the river and at least twenty people have been killed. This is going to be a matter for discussion in the French Parliament today… I am filled with wonder and surprise to notice what interest and excitement has been aroused throughout the whole country on account of the death of twenty people, while they remain cold and indifferent to the fact that thousands of Italians, Turks, and Arabs are killed in Tripoli! The horror of this wholesale slaughter has not disturbed the Government at all! Yet these unfortunate people are human beings too…..�

    Abdu’l-Baha then went on to give the solution:

    �Alas! we see on all sides how cruel, prejudiced and unjust is man, and how slow he is to believe in God and follow His commandments…..Why is man so hard of heart? It is because he does not yet know God. If he had knowledge of God he could not act in direct opposition to His laws; if he were spiritually minded such a line of conduct would be impossible to him. If only the laws and precepts of the prophets of God had been believed, understood and followed, wars would no longer darken the face of the earth….

    So we see that the dissemination of God’s message was what Abdu’l-Baha advocated as a remedy for injustice, not the mere voicing of protests from our arm chairs. He continued:

    �Therefore, I say unto you pray—pray and turn your faces to God, that He, in His infinite compassion and mercy, may help and succour these misguided ones. Pray that He will grant them spiritual understanding and teach them tolerance and mercy, that the eyes of their minds may be opened and that they may be endued with the gift of the spirit. Then would peace and love walk hand in hand through the lands, and these poor unhappy people might have rest. Let us all strive night and day to help in the bringing about of better conditions. �

    As how to �strive to bring about better conditions�, Abdu’l-Baha does not stay sit back and criticize what others are attempting to do; He said:

    �Put into practice the Teaching of Bah??’u’ll??h, that of kindness to all nations. Do not be content with showing friendship in words alone, let your heart burn with loving kindness for all who may cross your path. (PT 16-17 Oct 1911)

    As to the implementation of Abdu’l-Baha’s projects for this spiritual upraising of humanity outlined in the tablets of the divine Plan, thousands of Baha’is left their homeland to hostile countries to spread the teachings; they didn’t do so by filing complaints and issuing statements from their arm-chairs. I have been an international or home front pioneer almost all my life. Some others even chose to stay in their homeland so as to help the spiritual reconstruction of their home-land, side by side with their suffering fellow citizens, declining invitations for being welcomed with open arms in other countries, seeing no reason to seek safety and comfort that millions of their fellow citizens were denied. And you come to tell us that these believers, specially identified as scapegoats, do not deserve a special protection.

  • farhan

    Baquia, as usual you back out of practical suggestions and position yourself as an arbitrator of what is right and wrong. You assess the actions of Baha’i Institutions as �wrong� but you have no alternative to suggest.

    The whole issue of �right� and �wrong� is now established by consultation and not by personal discrimination. Beyond this assessment, we are to find practical solutions. We should not be like very well informed spectators who can tell how a player missed a goal or where a musician misinterpreted an author, but without ever playing football or a musical instrument. In fact those involved in action are far more lenient towards other people’s mistakes than the professional spectator. The arena of service in the Baha’i faith is not one of spectators putting thumbs up or down and publishing evaluations; it is one of servants becoming involved in a �battle� that aims at providing Divine Guidance so as to overcome human neglect and perversity, sometimes at the risk of their own lives. Had you lived in SA under apartheid, you would not have misjudged the pioneers in this way.

  • Baquia

    Farhan, we are using one standard to act on behalf of Baha'is, and another for others who are downtrodden. If you can not see this or can not bring yourself to admit it, then I'm sorry, there's nothing more than can be said. I answered your question by saying that we should be doing the same for others as we do for our brethren because we are all children of God. Have a nice day.

  • Craig Parke

    Farhan,

    These are excellent and beautiful quotes by Abdu'l-Baha and are why I joined the Baha'i Faith and gladly served it for so many years. The sentiments of these words among many others were my hope. Now almost 40 years later I find out that our Institutions don't give one wit of credibility to what Abdu'l Baha said in “Paris Talks”. I just did not know this until recent years.

    How do you square what Abdu'l-Baha said with Glenford Mitchell saying the when Baha'is see American soldiers being sent to their deaths they should just “be quiet and let God do His work”? How?

    I was once an American soldier. I bitterly resent that guidance that Baha'is are to just gleefully step over the bodies of American soldiers on their way to their incompetent delusions of grandeur. Not me. Every needless death is endless pain for mankind. Every needless death is absolute anguish to the families of the dead. More American soldiers died in Iraq and Afghanistan this week. Human beings destroyed in endless war.

    How do you explain that the core beliefs of the Baha'i Faith can be changed at any time for any reason by the men at the top? And that anyone who speaks up against this to call them on it can be thrown out of the Faith at any time for any reason they say?

    Please explain?

    I say these men treat the Baha'i Faith as their own personal satrap and I just will not support that. they only speak up when Baha'is die. They never speak up for anyone else. Ever. And that is why the Baha'i Faith as an organization has less and less credibility in the world among truly spiritual people who care about the human race. And that is why the Faith has been run completely into the ground.

    These people do not care one wit abput the teachings of Baha'u'llah or Abdu'l-Baha. Their Supreme God is Shoghi Effendi and the Administration he created. there is no longer any Spirit and that is why the Baha'is are now reduced to being the Jehovah's Witness of Shia Islam going door to door. They Faith does not want any social activists. It does not want any educated people in touch with their own souls. It only wants sheep who do not think for themselves. It only wants desperate people who can be completely dominated and controlled. that is the simple truth. That is why as it founders, everyone else on Earth that cares about the human race will go on and build the Kingdom of God by establishing justice in the world. If that includes atheists teh help is welcome. To the people that actually do this, will go the support of the Cosmos. They will do it while the Baha'is are in ever greater and greater chains and straight jackets put on them by their leadership. The whole thing is completely ridiculous.

  • farhan

    Craig, as i see it, the purpose of God is not to intervene in social affairs and do things for us, but to inspire humanity to grow and come about doing it by its own self. It is like a teacher who gives the lesson and then sets the problem on the board, allowing the students develop their own capacities and learn by trial and error. Baha’u’llah gave His message to the world’s leaders and now lets us do it and suffer until we have done it _by ourselves_. The first step in this direction is spiritualisation as Shoghi Effendi clearly outlines it for us:

    “Indeed the chief reason for the evils now rampant in society is the lack of spirituality. The materialistic civilization of our age has so much absorbed the energy and interest of mankind that people in general do no longer feel the necessity of raising themselves above the forces and conditions of their daily material existence. There is not sufficient demand for things that we call spiritual to differentiate them from the needs and requirements of our physical existence.

    “The universal crisis affecting mankind is, therefore, essentially spiritual in its causes. The spirit of the age, taken on the whole, is irreligious. Man's outlook on life is too crude and materialistic to enable him to elevate himself into the higher realms of the spirit.

    “It is this condition, so sadly morbid, into which society has fallen, that religion seeks to improve and transform. For the core of religious faith is that mystic feeling which unites Man with God. This state of spiritual communion can be brought about and maintained by means of meditation and prayer. And this is the reason why Baha'u'llah has so much stressed the importance of worship. It is not sufficient for a believer merely to accept and observe the teachings. He should, in addition, cultivate the sense of spirituality which he can acquire chiefly by means of prayer. The Baha'i Faith, like all other Divine Religions, is thus fundamentally mystic in character. Its chief goal is the development of the individual and society, through the acquisition of spiritual virtues and powers. [87] It is the soul of man which has first to be fed. And this spiritual nourishment prayer can best provide.

    “Laws and institutions, as viewed by Baha'u'llah, can become really effective only when our inner spiritual life has been perfected and transformed. Otherwise religion will degenerate into a mere organization, and becomes a dead thing. The believers, particularly the young ones, should therefore fully realize the necessity of praying. For prayer is absolutely indispensable to their inner spiritual development, and this, as already stated, is the very foundation and purpose of the religion of God.” (Directives from the Guardian p87)

  • farhan

    Craig, this quote underlines God’s purpose in allowing us to attain by our efforts and not through coercion:
    â€?He Who is the Day Spring of Truth is, no doubt, fully capable of rescuing from such remoteness wayward souls and of causing them to draw nigh unto His court and attain His Presence. “If God had pleased He had surely made all men one people.” His purpose, however, is to enable the pure in spirit and the detached in heart to ascend, by virtue of their own innate powers, unto the shores of the Most Great Ocean, that thereby they who seek the Beauty of the All-Glorious may be distinguished and separated from the wayward and perverse. Thus hath it been ordained by the all-glorious and resplendent Pen….â€? (Gleanings XXVIII)

  • Craig Parke

    You quoted SE:

    “Laws and institutions, as viewed by Baha'u'llah, can become really effective only when our inner spiritual life has been perfected and transformed. Otherwise religion will degenerate into a mere organization, and becomes a dead thing. The believers, particularly the young ones, should therefore fully realize the necessity of praying. For prayer is absolutely indispensable to their inner spiritual development, and this, as already stated, is the very foundation and purpose of the religion of God.” (Directives from the Guardian p87)

    BINGO FARHAN!

    This is EXACTLY what has happened to the Baha'i Faith. It is a mere organization of spiritual communist hacks with their worship of their God Shoghi Effendi. The means to an end became the end. Everyone who ever served in the Faith since the 1960's and 1970's saw this happen. All Spirit was suffocated out of the Faith by mentally ill lifetime incumbent apparatchik hacks at every level. With no term limits this was inevitable.

    Meanwhile, look at all the spiritual books on Amazon. People are praying and meditating their asses off while the Baha'is hold another insufferable administrative meeting in the new dumbed down Spiritual Communist Party McFaith. If Ruhi is ever successful and brings in entry-by-troops, those people will eventually be crushed too by the amazing Lead Zeppelin Admin-O-Centric Spiritless Faith too. It is endless. No one can take a breath in the crushing Admin-O-Centric Faith. Ruhi is just another forced exercise. You cannot force people to pray. Prayer and meditation are things people learn on their own. Not from the top down spiritual Comintern nanny state.

    “For the core of religious faith is that mystic feeling which unites Man with God. This state of spiritual communion can be brought about and maintained by means of meditation and prayer.”

    The current version of the Baha'is Faith could not pray it's way out of a paper bag. Who wants to live under terminal enforce groupthink.

    The only hope is that some time in the far future after all the people currently leading the Baha'i Faith are all dead and are long gone and have gone to their hapless reward, the rank and file will get back to Baha'u'llah and studying all spiritual teachers of the world of every Era including people channeling down at the Holiday inn.

    You must look for truth everywhere at all times in tghis World Age. You must learn to pray and meditate yourself in this World Age. It cannot be taught from the Committee To Teach Everyone How To Pray And Meditate, Inc. It comes from within on one's own under one's own power. To think otherwise is to have zero experience in life.

    SE should have been doing his job appointing a Living Guardian to help out some instead of berating other people for not praying enough.

    Just look on Amazon. People are learning to pray and meditate far better than the hapless top down micro managed Baha'is.

  • pey

    Farhan says: “So we see that the dissemination of God’s message was what Abdu’l-Baha advocated as a remedy for injustice, not the mere voicing of protests from our arm chairs. He continued:”

    So are you saying that the AO and you have not grasped the message of Bahai well enough yet? I would agree. Because like the French who were so concerned about the 20 some people that died in an accident while not giving a damn about the thousands dying in a war, you also believe voicing of protests from our AO arm chair on behalf of a small group of Iranian Bahais is more important than doing the same for others. Thank you for finding the quote that supports what I have been saying.

  • pey

    “I am filled with wonder and surprise to notice what interest and excitement has been aroused throughout the whole country on account of the death of twenty people, while they remain cold and indifferent to the fact that thousands of Italians, Turks, and Arabs are killed in Tripoli! “
    How Farhan is this different from your view that Bahais take care of their own before they can make any comments about others. That injustices against Persian Bahais is somehow of a higher caliber worthy of us to make “armchair” protests, but not for others. I really don't see the difference between how you and the AO our acting here and the French people that Abdul-Baha was commenting about. Again thanks for diggin out that quote!

  • Craig Parke

    That quote directly supports what you and Baquia are saying. But, unfortunately, it is a quote by Abdu'l-Baha. That is the quaint OLDTHINK Baha'is Faith. In the NEWTHINK Baha'i Faith what Abdu'l-Baha said about anything does not count.

    What counts are, firstly, the personal opinions of the members of the UHJ as given in their personal talks to captive Baha'i audiences and, secondly, the elucidations of the sitting UHJ. What counts is their personal and group interpretations. What counts is what the members of the UHJ and ITC discuss at lunch. They are the sole interpreters of the Writings of the Faith for every soul on Earth. What they say goes and anyone who does not stay strictly within their interpretations both in letter and spirit as clearly set forth in the Ruhi Courses is in mortal danger of being called in for interrogation by an ABM or AABM and thrown out of the Faith at any time. What Abdu'l-Baha ever said about anything does not count for jack squat in the religion he helped found anymore.

    But I completely agree with Abdu'l-Baha on this point. His mind was one of the reasons I joined the Faith almost four decades ago.

    So it goes.

  • farhan

    Baquia wrote: I'm not setting myself up as arbiter, it is as clear as the nose on your face.

    Baquia, you are arbitrating, without noticing it, any more than you see my nose.

    Who told you that Neda’s family has requested a statement from the UHJ? You are presuming what they might wish. Will the US embassies intervene in the same way for a US citizen and for someone who has not requested US citizenship or has expressed the wish not to be associated with the US? The UHJ is a spiritual leader who intervenes to guide and protect whosoever knocks at their door, humbly begging guidance, and does not interfere with the lives of those who have not expressed their wish to benefit from their guidance and spiritual protection.

    The UHJ also makes statements for those who are presumed requiring their support through the BIC; here you can find statements on the subjects you bring up, but only for those who have eyes to see and ears to hear and hearts which love and cherish: http://www.bahai.org/

  • farhan

    Pey wrote: That injustices against Persian Bahais is somehow of a higher caliber worthy of us to make “armchair” protests, but not for others.

    Pey, as I see it, general statements for humanity by the UHJ are issued through the BIC and available to all who wish to consult them and states which want to apply them in the interests of their citizens. The UHJ does not interfere in particular in specific political issues or in the lives of those who do not require their attention, but has a responsibility towards those who beg that guidance and assistance and enter into a covenant with them.

    As for quotes, I used Mars and then Ocean on PC and now archives on Mac.

  • farhan

    Craig: What counts are, firstly, the personal opinions of the members of the UHJ as given in their personal talks to captive Baha'i audiences…

    Craig, this just is not true. You have a distorted vision of the Baha’i community.

  • http://bahaisonline.net/tcb/?p=441 Steve Marshall

    Malapropist?

  • pey

    And feminists, and gays/lesbians and ethnic groups and…. you don't believe are used as scapegoats in Iran and in other socieities? You simply choose to elevate our own over others. THAT is not the Bahai Faith that I believe in. THAT was not Abdul-Baha when he chastised the French people for caring about their own while thousands of other nationalities died in war. Hypocrisy!

  • Baquia

    Farhan, Can you can show me where I said that the UHJ should provide a statement to Neda's family?

    “Who told you that Neda’s family has requested a statement from the UHJ? You are presuming what they might wish.”

    “To see what is in front of one’s nose needs constant struggle” – George Orwell

  • fubar

    farhan,

    no, you are the one that has a distorted, polemic, apologist, conformist, vision of the bahai community.

    where is the evidence of robust disagreement with, protest of, uhj member's public opinions?

    answer: NOWHERE.
    (excet for a few marginalized blogs, one of which has to operate in secracy to avoid PERSECUTION by bahai thought police.)

    You are the archetypal distortion artist.

    As such, you typify many of the things that are wrong with bahai. if you had any power, you would do what all other similar bahai totalitarians do, which is abuse authority to marginalize alternative perspectives, nonconformance, dissent and criticism.

    everything you say makes it more obvious what is deeply wrong with bahai: it is a religion that operates on lies, lies, lies.

  • fubar

    fahan: you are sugat coating poo again.

    bahai AO is not laying a foundation for world peace, they are laying the foundation for maintaining their power, and protecting dysfunctional organizational culture.

    abuse of authority and totalitarianism is the only thing coming from bahai administration.

    “outwardly fair, inwardly foul” is the best description for bahai administration and its apologists and polemicists.

    bahais don't want to get into politics because it would make the incredible INCOMPETENCE of the people running the bahai faith even more obvious than it already is.

  • fubar

    farhan,

    as I've said before (what seems like 100s of time by now) “spiritualization” existed before any so called prophets.

    no prophets are needed. “progressive revelation” is just another version of the old religious “middle man scam” cooked up by the rulers of slave societies 5,000 years ago.

    bahaullah simply reminded people of something that already existed.

    the spread of yoga and other “new age” type postmodern/integral aspects of culture is what is bringing about “spiritualization”, bahai is a footnote to a footnote to a footnote, and well on the way into the “dustbin of history” as a significant spiritual movement that has social, economic or political relevance.

  • fubar

    farhan,

    you are really dense.

    bahai administration should have asked for (volunteer)bahai “martyrs” to go to south africa to protest racism and injustice, get beat up, thrown in jail, and so forth using the model of Nelson Mandela, and the thousands of other “peace” activists that not only “talked the talk”, but “walked the walk”.

    instead, bahai hypocrisy prevailed.

    the real reason that bahai administration didn't want any bahai protestors to go to south africa was that they would have become “famous”, and some of them would have eventually ended up becoming bahai leaders, and would have broken through the lifetime-incumbency system, risen to high levels within the bahai power elites, and eventually MADE REAL CHANGES (improvements) to how the rotten, inept, corrupt, totalitarian bahai administrative system works.

    the real problem is that the bahai leadership elites do not want to be accountable for the things they do wrong. it is a comfy little club, and they do not want anyone with wide support asking for significant change.

    your inability to see the obvious corruption is a perfect example of why the bahai community is a massive faliure.

    you have an infinite number of absurd/silly excuses, all of which simply further embarass the religion you think you are “defending”.

  • fubar

    bahai had become a religion of cowardice. compare farhan's excuses for bahai cowardice with the main figures in bahai history that had the “guts” to challenge the corrupt political and religious leaders of the mid-1800s in iran.

    the very 1800s babis/bahais that are considered “heros” and “martyrs” would see the current bahai community as a bunch of cowards.

    “it really is that simple” sometimes.

  • fubar

    a religion of cowardice will never attract mass following.

    bahais should have done what Gandhi/Mandela did: protest, get beat up, and thus inspire millions to support social justice.

    http://www.encounter.co.za/article/112.html

    the basic reality is that bahais did the cowardly thing in s. africa, they hid in the shadows, just as the iranian bahais had been doing for a long time. they never really believed they could master their universe.

    Here is one big difference: Gandhi was “political”, he fully embraced the idea of national liberation movements and independence from colonial/imperial power.

    at the same time, bahais were dreaming of creating a new imperial system (based on a bahai “one truth above all things” anti-pattern), thus, were not simpatico with liberation politics.

    my ancestors fought against slavery, and against fascism, and I grew up around people that fought for civil rights and the environment. there is nothing about the future bahai global emperial-totalitarian system (based on the current trajectory of fundamentalism/literalism) that has any appeal to me. it does not represent the next step forward in the advancement of civilization, world peace, or any of that. on the contrary.

  • fubar

    chating = “chatting”? horrors! yes, the internet is a fruit of “evil”, “materialistic”, “western” modernism, spreading godlessness via technology. right. of course. much better to live in a dark little tribal corner of the world while someone else runs everything and does all the hard work.
    (sarcasm)

    the value of the bahai rants blog? it brings the ugly, dark stuff about bahai into the light of day. it exposes the deception and lies that pervade bahai culture. it makes fun of the false utopias bahais use to convert people.

    enlightenment is this age is about integrating transcendence (spirituality, mysticism) with rationalism-science-technology (transrationalism / transpartisanism).

    enlightenment in this age is holistic, and it matches the complexity of the conditions of the world.

    enlightenment in this age is not about turning back to primitive constructions (“partial truths”) of transcendence/spirit, with associated outmoded metaphysical constructs. (such as prophetology.)

    enlightenment in this age is about throwing a monkey-wrench into the backward, fundamentalist, paradigm regressive public relations machine that bahai administration has set up to disseminate LIES and DECEPTION so that a power hungry, incompetent elite can maintain power.

    excerpts:
    | Clare Graves
    |
    | “Summary Statement: The Emergent, Cyclical, Double-Helix Model of the
    | Adult Human Biopsychosocial Systems,” presented Boston, May 20, 1981
    |
    | Briefly, what I am proposing is that the psychology of the mature human
    | being is an unfolding, emergent, oscillating spiraling process marked by
    | progressive subordination of older, lower-order behavior systems to
    | newer, higher-order systems as an individual's existential problems
    | change. Each successive stage, wave, or level of existence is a state
    | through which people pass on their way to other states of being. When
    | the human is centralized in one state of existence, he or she has a
    | psychology which is particular to that state. His or her feelings,
    | motivations, ethics and values, biochemistry, degree of neurological
    | activation, learning system, belief systems, conception of mental
    | health, ideas as to what mental illness is and how it should be treated,
    | conceptions of and preferences for management, education, economics,
    | and political theory and practice are all appropriate to that state.

    http://www.enlightennext.org/magazine/j22/beck….

    | In light of these new glimpses from a higher perspective, I now realized I
    | really had been at odds with myself. My GREEN eco-consciousness was
    | always in conflict with my ORANGE materialism. My RED independence
    | was in opposition to my GREEN need for acceptance and communality,
    | and the “Mean Green Meme” was hell-bent on pitting itself against
    | Second Tier, luring me with its righteous idealism and narcissistic
    | demands so I wouldn't have to meet the evolutionary challenge to trust,
    | let go of fear, and actually transform.
    |
    | Now, getting back to enlightenment, well, as we've been
    | finding, “Everybody wants to get enlightened but nobody wants to
    | change.” But, to be honest, I didn't think that applied to me. I mean, I
    | was spiritual. I was serious. I had made sacrifices. But somewhere deep
    | down, evolution was evolving my perspective and I realized: Clare
    | Graves was right, the leap to Second Tier is “momentous,” because it's
    | pointing to nothing less than the difference between inner conflict and
    | profound inner resolution between all the parts of myself, all the
    | memes. As Don Beck pointed out, it is the dropping away of fear. And
    | that's no small thing. It means being completely at home in the
    | universe.
    |
    | And in that shift in perspective, I discovered more: the whole spiral is
    | necessary. It's what got me to where I am today, and to the iota of
    | humility required to recognize that I really am part of the “never-ending
    | upward quest” that Don Beck describes. And this is only the beginning.
    | Because freedom from fear and irresolution means freedom to stand in
    | awe of this miraculous, ever-ascending spiral of human emergence. And
    | freedom to stand in awe of the cosmic order that creates it. As depths of
    | insight and vast realms of consciousness glint from the upper reaches of
    | the spiral, the real possibilities begin.

    http://www.formlessmountain.com/aqal.htm

    http://multiplex.integralinstitute.org/Public/c

    excerpt:
    | Ken Wilber who coined the phrase “mean green” (closely related
    | to “boomeritis”), here's some discussion on it from his book, A Theory
    | of Everything:
    |
    | The point is simply that the very high developmental stance of green
    | pluralism–the product of at least six major stages of hierarchical
    | transformation–turns around and denies all hierarchies, denies the
    | very path that produced its own noble stance. It consequently extends
    | an egalitarian embrace to every stance, no matter how shallow or
    | narcissistic. The more egalitarianism is implemented, the more it
    | invites, indeed encourages, the Culture of Narcissism. The the Culture
    | of Narcissism is the antithesis of the integral culture.
    |
    | (We saw that narcissism, at its core, is a demand that “Nobody tells me
    | what to do!” Narcissism will therefore not acknowledge anything
    | universal, because that places various demands and duties on
    | narcissism that it will strenuously try to deconstruct, because “nobody
    | tells me what to do.” This egocentric stance can easily be propped up
    | and supported with the tenets of pluralistic relativism.).
    |
    | In short, the rather high developmental wave of pluralism becomes a
    | supermagnet for the rather low state of emotional narcissism. …
    |
    | In other words, the very high developmental meme of pluralism becomes
    | a shelter and a haven for a reactivation of some of the lower and intensely
    | egocentric memes (e.g., purple and red) In green's noble attempt to move
    | beyond conformist rules (many of which are indeed unfair and
    | marginalizing), and in its genuine desire to deconstruct a rigid rationality
    | (much of which can be rigid and stultifying)–in short, in green's
    | admirable attempt to go postconventional–it has often inadvertedly
    | embraced anything nonconventional, and this includes much that is
    | frankly preconventional, regressive, and narcissitic.
    |
    | …. A typical result is that the sensitive self, honestly trying to help,
    | excitedly exaggerates its own significance. It will possess the new
    | paradigm, which heralds the greatest transformation in the history of
    | the world; it will completely revolutionize society as we know it; it will
    | revision everything that came before it; it will save the planet and save
    | Gaia and save the Goddess; it will be the most extraordinary…

    So, the question is: does bahai theology/scripture contain the memetic-code needed to create the necessary building blocks of consciousness to enable people to HEALTHILY navigate through the changes in consciousness that occur in postmodern culture?

    The ANSWER IS – NO!

    There has been a near-complete failure at all levels in bahai (cultural, administrative, scholarship-research, activism) to address the current “problems of existence” at the leading edge of social evolution.

    In short: bahai is mostly bullsh*t.

    adios muchachito!

  • farhan

    Baquia, your proposal was to act the same way with Baha'is and non Baha'is undergoing injustice. To my knowledge the UHj reacts when people or institutions refer to them for help. They make general statements through the BIC. They do not interfere when people or their families do not ask for assistance.

  • Sami

    The National Assembly of the Baha'is in the United States issued this letter recently:

    July 22, 2009

    To the American Bah??’?­ community,

    Dearly loved Friends,

    A Global Day of Action has been organized (see http://united4iran.org for more information) and will be observed on July 25, 2009 in defense of the human rights of all Iranians. The Bah??’?­ International Community has issued a brief statement of support on the home page of the Bah??’?­ World News Service (http://news.bahai.org).

    The National Spiritual Assembly wishes to share with you the following further guidance just received from the Universal House of Justice should you be considering participating in an event in your city:

    As you are aware, Baha'is do not engage in partisan political activities. In this respect, in a message to the believers in Iran dated 31 October 2008, the House of Justice elaborated on the implications of this fundamental principle of the Faith as follows:

    You should take every opportunity to explain to your fellow citizens the fundamental principle of the Faith that strictly prohibits involvement in partisan political activity of any kind, whether local, national or international. Baha'is view government as a system for maintaining the welfare and orderly progress of human society, and obedience to the laws of the land is a distinguishing feature of their beliefs. Iran is dear to the Baha'is, who are the well-wishers of all. In whatever country they reside, including the birthplace of Baha'u'llah, they strive to promote the welfare of society. They are enjoined to work alongside their compatriots in fostering fellowship and unity and in establishing peace and justice. They seek to uphold their own rights, as well as the rights of others, through whatever legal means are available to them, conducting themselves at all times with honesty and integrity. They eschew conflict and dissension. They avoid contest for worldly power. Neither do they aspire to overthrow governments, nor do they participate in the schemings of others to do so. The record of the past one hundred and sixty years bears witness to this assertion.

    The organizers of the Global Day of Action have explicitly asserted that this undertaking is non-partisan in nature and that its aim is to call upon the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran to uphold internationally recognized human rights and the related guarantees that are enshrined in the country's Constitution. Accordingly, Baha'is may generally feel free to lend their support to this event by participating in it as individuals. Should they be invited to sign related petitions, they may also do so, provided the wording is non-partisan in character. Indeed, initiatives such as this afford a welcome opportunity for Baha'is to demonstrate their willingness to engage with like-minded organizations and individuals in defending the human rights of all who suffer oppression and in championing the cause of justice.

    Believers who choose to participate in this and other such demonstrations should, however, be sensitive to the fact that in certain countries and in particular situations the event could assume a partisan political character, notwithstanding the original intent of the organizers. In such a circumstance, believers would of course not participate or, if the event assumes such a character after it has begun, should tactfully withdraw.

    We trust that all who choose to participate in these events will keep in mind the attributes we are exhorted to exemplify in our daily life, including wisdom, dignity, moderation, non-partisanship and loving concern for the welfare and rights of all. It is important to bear in mind, as well, that these events have been organized for all who suffer in Iran, and it would not be appropriate for an individual Bah??’?­ who does participate to be seen as trying to use the occasion to unduly promote the interests of the Bah??’?­s.

    Should you have any further questions that arise in relation to participation in events in your city, we ask that you turn to your Local Spiritual Assembly and follow its guidance. Local Spiritual Assemblies may in turn seek guidance from our Office of External Affairs.

    With loving Bah??’?­ greetings,

    Kenneth E. Bowers
    Secretary-General

  • fubar

    an inadequate, but refreshing change for the better.

    1) inadequate because: bahai administration does not appear to have provided any initial leadership in this activity, abd

    2) it is unclear exactly what “partisan” means. for instance in the usa, there is

    2a) confusion amongst the “mean green meme” people on the left who have misplaced attitudes about pluralism, and

    2b) the usual opportunists and scallawags on the right that use the crisis in iran to beat their absurd nationalist/militarist drums.

    why can't the bwc simply and clearly state what kind of “partisan political” problems they are referring to?

    this is confusing to anyone with even a minor understanding of the history of human rights. gandhi, martin luther king, jr, nelson mandela, and many other famous civil rights leaders confronted evil government policies, why are bahais so convinced that their cowardice is somehow virtuous?

  • intellectuallycurious

    I have read this entire and exhausting back and forth and explication of hypocrisy and failure to call a spade a spade (an unfortunate recurring theme that is worthy of its own post), and I think it is a useful episode to highlight an institutionalized pathology that we are all likely aware of:

    Criticism is unacceptable. There is something wrong with whomever is the critic. There can be nothing wrong with whatever is the object of the criticism.

    So much for intellectual curiosity and independent investigation if it takes you to a divergent conclusion…

  • fubar

    an inadequate, but refreshing change for the better.

    1) inadequate because: bahai administration does not appear to have provided any initial leadership in this activity, abd

    2) it is unclear exactly what “partisan” means. for instance in the usa, there is

    2a) confusion amongst the “mean green meme” people on the left who have misplaced attitudes about pluralism, and

    2b) the usual opportunists and scallawags on the right that use the crisis in iran to beat their absurd nationalist/militarist drums.

    why can't the bwc simply and clearly state what kind of “partisan political” problems they are referring to?

    this is confusing to anyone with even a minor understanding of the history of human rights. gandhi, martin luther king, jr, nelson mandela, and many other famous civil rights leaders confronted evil government policies, why are bahais so convinced that their cowardice is somehow virtuous?

  • intellectuallycurious

    I have read this entire and exhausting back and forth and explication of hypocrisy and failure to call a spade a spade (an unfortunate recurring theme that is worthy of its own post), and I think it is a useful episode to highlight an institutionalized pathology that we are all likely aware of:

    Criticism is unacceptable. There is something wrong with whomever is the critic. There can be nothing wrong with whatever is the object of the criticism.

    So much for intellectual curiosity and independent investigation if it takes you to a divergent conclusion…