On June, 15th 2007, the website mentioned below was taken offline.
It is available at the Internet Archive.
The NSA of South Africa A few Baha’i youth unaffiliated with any institution of the Faith has have an interesting contribution to the world wide campaign mounted to bring attention to what is happening to the Iranian Baha’is (please refer to the comments section for clarification of edit). In about a subtle way as a charging rhinoceros, the site compares what is happening to the Baha’is in Iran to what happened to the blacks in South Africa during apartheid.
Now since the majority of those using the internet and reading blogs nowadays were not around then, it must be explained that the late 70′s was a rather politically charged era. Not only was Vietnam still fresh in people’s minds, but apartheid was a glaring eyesore on the political landscape. And as you would expect, many Baha’is felt that since it went directly against the bedrock values of the Baha’i Faith, they must do something about it.
A few of those kind of Baha’is were in California at that time and as luck would have it, they had just organized themselves into publishing a new magazine called Dialogue. Naturally, they felt that since this was such a popular topic in their time, they must address it within their newly created Baha’i magazine. What they got for their trouble is simply embarrassing (for the Baha’i administration involved). I’ll let Karen Bacquet describe what happened :
There were several disputes over articles: about a dozen were censored outright and dialogue was required to excise phrases in and alter the titles of others. The often slow and cumbersome review process also created real difficulties for the publication schedule.
The first major battle occurred over an article about the anti-apartheid movement. While Baha’i scripture teaches racial equality, Baha’is are expected to abstain from any political involvement. Scholl was warned that to criticize the South African policy of apartheid might endanger the Baha’i community in that country, even though the Baha’is’ failure to oppose this institutionalized racism created the impression that they supported it. In the end, the article was allowed to appear after several changes had been made.
So while the apartheid was raging, Baha’is were not allowed to make a peep about it. Nor do anything or say anything against it… even though it went against everything that the Baha’i Faith stands for. Baha’is were gagged by their respective NSAs and something as simple as an article could not pass censors because it opposed apartheid.
Which makes this part of the website
created by the NSA of SA especially interesting:
“…like so many…” Indeed.
But now, now that apartheid is over… and by over, I mean that Baha’is stood on the sidelines and did nothing nor contributed anything to its demise… I guess its alright for
the NSA of SA some of us to use it in a rhetorical technique to draw attention to the suffering of Iranian Baha’is.
A final thought: Dialogue was pressured so much over an incident (A Modest Proposal) that the founders could do nothing but shut it down with a heavy heart.
Intensifying Persecutions in Iran
The Return of the Hojjatieh
Universal House of Justice message of March 22, 2006 (English)
Universal House of Justice message of March 22, 2006 (Persian)
Statement from the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights