Short Term Memory

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.

Related Links:

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

  • Anonymous

    Hmmm. That begs the question of whether the UHJ’s statement in and of itself qualifies as “getting politically involved.”

  • Anonymous

    Hmmm. That begs the question of whether the UHJ’s statement in and of itself qualifies as “getting politically involved.”

  • Anonymous

    This reminds me when Rosa Parks died and my Baha’i community did various activities to honor her memory. I made the point of asking, “Why should we honor Rosa Parks? If she were a Baha’i, she would not be allowed to disobey the laws of her government, no matter how racist or tyanical. As soon as you sign your card, you lose a lot of your ability to fight injustice.” Silence. Oh well.
    Here’s a t-shirt: “Baha’i Bystander. Watching others make a difference.”

  • Anonymous

    This reminds me when Rosa Parks died and my Baha’i community did various activities to honor her memory. I made the point of asking, “Why should we honor Rosa Parks? If she were a Baha’i, she would not be allowed to disobey the laws of her government, no matter how racist or tyanical. As soon as you sign your card, you lose a lot of your ability to fight injustice.” Silence. Oh well.
    Here’s a t-shirt: “Baha’i Bystander. Watching others make a difference.”

  • http://bahairants.com Baquia

    Interesting observation. One of these days I plan to write about the Baha’i reaction (read: Shoghi Effendi’s reaction) to the rise of the Nazi regime in Germany. Its hair raising stuff.

  • http://bahairants.com Baquia

    Interesting observation. One of these days I plan to write about the Baha’i reaction (read: Shoghi Effendi’s reaction) to the rise of the Nazi regime in Germany. Its hair raising stuff.

  • Sina

    Hi everyone, my name is Sina Rahmanian, I am a Baha’i University Student from South Africa. I was in the committee who came up with the idea of the denial.co.za website. We decided 2 come up with a website to “raise awareness” (key phrase) about the situation of the Bahai’s in Iran.
    The website has absolutely NO AFFILIATION..i repeat…NO AFFILIATION with the NSA of South Africa. It was a group of 2 students, and 4 other Bahai’s (none of them in the NSA either) who came up with this initiative. This website would not in the 1st place have been set up if the Universal House of Justice did not ask the Bahai’s of the world to raise awareness of the situation. This is by absolutely no means a political protest. Letters are sent to NGO’s and relevant non-Bahai individuals who have a say. This website has only been up for a few days, and it is one of the largest growing websites. Because of its overwhelming response, the automated letters to UNICEF, Amnesty International, etc will soon no longer be sent.
    Please friends, I ask of you to not make the mistake of calling this website an official Baha’i website, which is completely inaccurate, and puts a whole different spin on things. I will definately bring this point up when i next meet with the committee members (also note, the committee was not appointed by any institution. We ourselves spontaneously decided to start an initiative). I also urge any one who has grievances about this website to bring them up with the developers.
    I would like to make a point with regards to the apartheid comparisons that were made in the original comment. The aim of the denial website is very different to the aim of us Bahai’s in South Africa during apartheid. During apartheid years, the whole world knew exactly about what was happening in South Africa. Bahai’s (as we all know) are not allowed getting involved in politics, simply because we are not trying to cure symptoms of a sick society, we are trying to change the very spiritual foundations of society. Speaking from personal experiences related to me by Bahai’s in the thick of apartheid, the Bahai’s here did a much greater job living the life of example and obedience than they ever would have done living a life of political protest. Right now…the world simply does not know about what is happening to the Bahai’s in Iran. The Bahai’s from around the world are just RAISING AWARENESS and letting the world know that there IS this problem right now. There is a very distinct line here between the role of the Bahai’s around the world during apartheid years, and the role of the Bahai’s around the world now with regards to the situation in Iran.
    This is all of-course my personal opinion. If the website is too controversial, I am sure that the Insitutions will inform us, and we will without a doubt make alterations.
    I would like to repeat: THE WEBSITE HAS NO AFFILIATION WITH THE NSA OF THE BAHAI’S OF SOUTH AFRICA
    A thought – We are not fighting the old world order, it is self-destructing. We are building the new one.

  • Sina

    Hi everyone, my name is Sina Rahmanian, I am a Baha’i University Student from South Africa. I was in the committee who came up with the idea of the denial.co.za website. We decided 2 come up with a website to “raise awareness” (key phrase) about the situation of the Bahai’s in Iran.

    The website has absolutely NO AFFILIATION..i repeat…NO AFFILIATION with the NSA of South Africa. It was a group of 2 students, and 4 other Bahai’s (none of them in the NSA either) who came up with this initiative. This website would not in the 1st place have been set up if the Universal House of Justice did not ask the Bahai’s of the world to raise awareness of the situation. This is by absolutely no means a political protest. Letters are sent to NGO’s and relevant non-Bahai individuals who have a say. This website has only been up for a few days, and it is one of the largest growing websites. Because of its overwhelming response, the automated letters to UNICEF, Amnesty International, etc will soon no longer be sent.

    Please friends, I ask of you to not make the mistake of calling this website an official Baha’i website, which is completely inaccurate, and puts a whole different spin on things. I will definately bring this point up when i next meet with the committee members (also note, the committee was not appointed by any institution. We ourselves spontaneously decided to start an initiative). I also urge any one who has grievances about this website to bring them up with the developers.

    I would like to make a point with regards to the apartheid comparisons that were made in the original comment. The aim of the denial website is very different to the aim of us Bahai’s in South Africa during apartheid. During apartheid years, the whole world knew exactly about what was happening in South Africa. Bahai’s (as we all know) are not allowed getting involved in politics, simply because we are not trying to cure symptoms of a sick society, we are trying to change the very spiritual foundations of society. Speaking from personal experiences related to me by Bahai’s in the thick of apartheid, the Bahai’s here did a much greater job living the life of example and obedience than they ever would have done living a life of political protest. Right now…the world simply does not know about what is happening to the Bahai’s in Iran. The Bahai’s from around the world are just RAISING AWARENESS and letting the world know that there IS this problem right now. There is a very distinct line here between the role of the Bahai’s around the world during apartheid years, and the role of the Bahai’s around the world now with regards to the situation in Iran.

    This is all of-course my personal opinion. If the website is too controversial, I am sure that the Insitutions will inform us, and we will without a doubt make alterations.

    I would like to repeat: THE WEBSITE HAS NO AFFILIATION WITH THE NSA OF THE BAHAI’S OF SOUTH AFRICA

    A thought – We are not fighting the old world order, it is self-destructing. We are building the new one.

  • http://bahairants.com Baquia

    Thanks for the note Sima. I’ll correct the post asap re the non-affiliation to the NSA or other institutions. Can you tell me how you skirted around the ICANN laws to get around the TLDcc (denial.co.za) limitations? afaik, you have to have a business or trademark for denial to get that URL. Or you could lie and pretend that your surname is denial. You went with the latter, according to whois data.
    4a. admin : Denial, Education
    4b. admintitle : Mr
    4c. admincompany : Denial
    4d. adminpostaladdr : L.J Road #1, Mahim, Mumbai, India
    4e. adminphone : +91222444914
    4f. adminfax : +91222444913
    4g. adminemail :
    denial@rediffmail.com
    You say:
    “There is a very distinct line here between the role of the Bahai’s around the world during apartheid years, and the role of the Bahai’s around the world now with regards to the situation in Iran.”
    There is? Really? So Baha’is around the world and inside SA, during apartheid should have kept their mouth shut and not said or done anything… but Baha’is around the world during the persecution of Baha’is in Iran should not?
    Why?
    What is the difference?
    Did you know that about 2 years ago the Baha’is inside Iran sent a letter to the IRI protesting their treatment? But afaik, the Baha’is inside SA never sent any letter protesting the treatment of blacks? Why not?
    Is hypocrasi/y spelled with a ‘y’ or an ‘i’? Just wondering if you know. I’m terrible at spelling.
    Furthermore, you stress ‘raising awareness’. When I mentioned the episode with Dialogue magazine and their being muzzled by the NSA of the US… that is EXACTLY what they were trying to do.
    RAISE AWARENESS of apartheid. That’s why I titled the post “Short Term Memory”. Get it? I guess not. People don’t remember those times. And they don’t realize just how out of whack that policy is. I was trying to show exactly that by juxtaposing it with the denial.co.za website.
    And finally, how exactly are we buliding the NWO? does it involve taking Ruhi 3 times, over and over again? Or is it through stacking carrera marble on top of a mountain? Gimme a clue.

  • http://bahairants.com Baquia

    Thanks for the note Sima. I’ll correct the post asap re the non-affiliation to the NSA or other institutions. Can you tell me how you skirted around the ICANN laws to get around the TLDcc (denial.co.za) limitations? afaik, you have to have a business or trademark for denial to get that URL. Or you could lie and pretend that your surname is denial. You went with the latter, according to whois data.

    4a. admin : Denial, Education
    4b. admintitle : Mr
    4c. admincompany : Denial
    4d. adminpostaladdr : L.J Road #1, Mahim, Mumbai, India
    4e. adminphone : +91222444914
    4f. adminfax : +91222444913
    4g. adminemail :
    denial@rediffmail.com

    You say:

    “There is a very distinct line here between the role of the Bahai’s around the world during apartheid years, and the role of the Bahai’s around the world now with regards to the situation in Iran.”

    There is? Really? So Baha’is around the world and inside SA, during apartheid should have kept their mouth shut and not said or done anything… but Baha’is around the world during the persecution of Baha’is in Iran should not?

    Why?

    What is the difference?

    Did you know that about 2 years ago the Baha’is inside Iran sent a letter to the IRI protesting their treatment? But afaik, the Baha’is inside SA never sent any letter protesting the treatment of blacks? Why not?

    Is hypocrasi/y spelled with a ‘y’ or an ‘i’? Just wondering if you know. I’m terrible at spelling.

    Furthermore, you stress ‘raising awareness’. When I mentioned the episode with Dialogue magazine and their being muzzled by the NSA of the US… that is EXACTLY what they were trying to do.

    RAISE AWARENESS of apartheid. That’s why I titled the post “Short Term Memory”. Get it? I guess not. People don’t remember those times. And they don’t realize just how out of whack that policy is. I was trying to show exactly that by juxtaposing it with the denial.co.za website.

    And finally, how exactly are we buliding the NWO? does it involve taking Ruhi 3 times, over and over again? Or is it through stacking carrera marble on top of a mountain? Gimme a clue.

  • nwcoastguy

    I’m a former Bahai’ from many years gone by. I have family members who are still devouted to the Faith and I must say, I have been to a large degree shaped by my upbringing in the Faith.

    This issue of not speaking up comes flying out of the past like a rocket. It is certainly one of the reasons I (and I can’t believe others) left the Bahai Faith. The requirement to “keep the peace” and sit quietly by while people are tortured and discriminated against is bizarre. Twenty years later I can still hear people saying that “the Bahai’s of Iran were warned about this” as some sort of “response” to what was happening in Iran. I think we now call this blaming the victim.

  • http://n/a nwcoastguy

    I’m a former Bahai’ from many years gone by. I have family members who are still devouted to the Faith and I must say, I have been to a large degree shaped by my upbringing in the Faith.

    This issue of not speaking up comes flying out of the past like a rocket. It is certainly one of the reasons I (and I can’t believe others) left the Bahai Faith. The requirement to “keep the peace” and sit quietly by while people are tortured and discriminated against is bizarre. Twenty years later I can still hear people saying that “the Bahai’s of Iran were warned about this” as some sort of “response” to what was happening in Iran. I think we now call this blaming the victim.

  • http://khalblogstan.blogspot.com Khaled

    Hi, I have something you might be interested to see that is about the issue, a fwd letter that initially was sent to one Bahai i dont know from Office of Public Information, that perplexed me.
    http://khalblogstan.blogspot.com/2006/04/not-in-best-intererest-of-faith-letter.html

  • http://khalblogstan.blogspot.com Khaled

    Hi, I have something you might be interested to see that is about the issue, a fwd letter that initially was sent to one Bahai i dont know from Office of Public Information, that perplexed me.
    http://khalblogstan.blogspot.com/2006/04/not-in-best-intererest-of-faith-letter.html

  • http://khalblogstan.blogspot.com Khaled

    i forgot to mention that ido know first person who sent this letter for “information” I As you can guess I am bahai who likes to ask questions
    this is first time ive put something of thsese kind of thoughts out there to everybody to see. feel free to read my blog, God! i relly love internet :)
    and i like to be informed of whats going on :)

  • http://khalblogstan.blogspot.com Khaled

    i forgot to mention that ido know first person who sent this letter for “information” I As you can guess I am bahai who likes to ask questions
    this is first time ive put something of thsese kind of thoughts out there to everybody to see. feel free to read my blog, God! i relly love internet :)
    and i like to be informed of whats going on :)

  • http://bahairants.com Baquia

    nwcoastguy,
    well, what can I say? its tragic and sad. Instead of revelling in the Shiite tradition of martyrdom, why can’t we do what is best for people so that they live productive and happy lives? And if that means leaving a country, so what? Didn’t someone wise once say: Let not man glory in this that he loveth his country, let him rather glory in this that he loveth his kind.

    Khaled,
    nice to meet you and thanks for the link to your blog. The content of that letter are pretty self-explanatory. The Baha’i AO has developed its own vocabulary within a very short period of time and it is as distasteful as that of the Bolsheviks. “not in the best interests of the Faith” is Baha’i speak for ‘do not do it’.

  • http://bahairants.com Baquia

    nwcoastguy,
    well, what can I say? its tragic and sad. Instead of revelling in the Shiite tradition of martyrdom, why can’t we do what is best for people so that they live productive and happy lives? And if that means leaving a country, so what? Didn’t someone wise once say: Let not man glory in this that he loveth his country, let him rather glory in this that he loveth his kind.

    Khaled,
    nice to meet you and thanks for the link to your blog. The content of that letter are pretty self-explanatory. The Baha’i AO has developed its own vocabulary within a very short period of time and it is as distasteful as that of the Bolsheviks. “not in the best interests of the Faith” is Baha’i speak for ‘do not do it’.

  • http://bahaitheway.blogspot.com Priscilla

    [quote post="92"]In the end, the article was allowed to appear after several changes had been made.[/quote]

    Baquia,

    Re-reading this post I noticed the above quoted statement. It seems that, despite the objections, the article was actually allowed to go through. I wonder what the changes were. Do you know? I totally agree with you that there is hypocrisy in the Baha’i world in this department; I have been puzzling over this lately and am trying to figure out how to pin it down. But the specifics of this example are not quite as strong as I had remembered them being, though this line is totally chilling: ?Scholl was warned that to criticize the South African policy of apartheid might endanger the Baha’i community in that country.?

    BTW do you know a more specific date for this than the ?70s?

    best,
    Priscilla

  • http://bahaitheway.blogspot.com Priscilla

    [quote post="92"]In the end, the article was allowed to appear after several changes had been made.[/quote]

    Baquia,

    Re-reading this post I noticed the above quoted statement. It seems that, despite the objections, the article was actually allowed to go through. I wonder what the changes were. Do you know? I totally agree with you that there is hypocrisy in the Baha’i world in this department; I have been puzzling over this lately and am trying to figure out how to pin it down. But the specifics of this example are not quite as strong as I had remembered them being, though this line is totally chilling: ?Scholl was warned that to criticize the South African policy of apartheid might endanger the Baha’i community in that country.?

    BTW do you know a more specific date for this than the ?70s?

    best,
    Priscilla

  • http://www.bahairants.com Baquia

    Unfortunately I do not have any more information right now on the original article or what changes were made Prescilla. The best people to ask would be those who were involved with Dialogue.

  • http://www.bahairants.com Baquia

    Unfortunately I do not have any more information right now on the original article or what changes were made Prescilla. The best people to ask would be those who were involved with Dialogue.

  • ep

    Late 1980s. For contact info: google “Steve Scholl White Cloud Press” used to be in Medford, Oregon. Or contact Tony Lee, Kalimat Press (Los Angeles, California).

    I was raised as a social activist in the 60s, and was completely appalled after becoming a bahai that (so called) “political” activities were prohibited such as being an environmentalist, protesting violations of human rights and social justice. The FBI probably infiltrated the bahai community in the 50s/60s (see another thread on this blog). Meaning that at a minimum, the bahai leadership elites got much more “conservative” about politics to avoid scrutiny. Abdul-baha was very involved in politics and protest, including assigning a Hand of the Cause to the new Parliament in Iran when it was first established. Due to corrupt “bahai” politicians in Iran, Shoghi Effendi later placed absurd restrictions on everyone.

    It is pure hypocrisy that bahais get involved in “politics” related to persecution of iranian bahais, but other bahais are prohibited from supporting social justice issues that do not involve iranian persecutions (e.g., Darfur, Tibet).

    Conservatives (catholics) in europe, and people influenced by them such as Shoghi Effendi (extensive catholic education), thought that they could use fascism/nazism to destroy communism. Unfortunately the fascists/fazis ended up using the conservatives, not the other way around.

    Read all of Shoghe Effendi’s writings on politics/governance and you will see that Shoghi Effendi’s New World Order (Odor?) was to be a revived form of imperial Christendom with Sufi/Islamic (bahai) “theocratic” variations.

    The bahai New World Odor had to be an imperialist theocracy because that is what SE apparently thought was necessary to wipe out 1) what later came to be called “3rd world national liberation movements”, which SE clearly was NOT in favor of, and 2) “spiritual corruption” in the capitalist democracies.

    Both fascism and communism originated in romanticism, which was a european “spiritual” reaction against the “conditions of modernity” (capitalism, science, technology, democracy).

    Philosophical, bahai is not compatible with the paradigm of modernist democracy (which destroyed both communism and fascism).

    Which is why almost no one joins it, and shy food fights break out every once in a while about what bahais “really” believe in.

    Any “spiritual” reform philosophy, especially those established by slave owners of antiquity who dabbled in esoteric “spiritual” metaphysics in their spare time, has to come to terms with modernity and evolutionary theory. However, most, including bahai, have not done so, leaving confused followers.

    Keven Brown attempted to retranslate and redeem abdul-baha’s bizarre statements about evolution (with support from the UHJ/BWC), with limited success.

    Eric P.
    (ex-bahai, 30+ years)
    Sacramento

    [quote comment="54050"]Unfortunately I do not have any more information right now on the original article or what changes were made Prescilla. The best people to ask would be those who were involved with Dialogue.[/quote]
    [quote comment=""]Unfortunately I do not have any more information right now on the original article or what changes were made Prescilla. The best people to ask would be those who were involved with Dialogue.[/quote]

  • ep

    Late 1980s. For contact info: google “Steve Scholl White Cloud Press” used to be in Medford, Oregon. Or contact Tony Lee, Kalimat Press (Los Angeles, California).

    I was raised as a social activist in the 60s, and was completely appalled after becoming a bahai that (so called) “political” activities were prohibited such as being an environmentalist, protesting violations of human rights and social justice. The FBI probably infiltrated the bahai community in the 50s/60s (see another thread on this blog). Meaning that at a minimum, the bahai leadership elites got much more “conservative” about politics to avoid scrutiny. Abdul-baha was very involved in politics and protest, including assigning a Hand of the Cause to the new Parliament in Iran when it was first established. Due to corrupt “bahai” politicians in Iran, Shoghi Effendi later placed absurd restrictions on everyone.

    It is pure hypocrisy that bahais get involved in “politics” related to persecution of iranian bahais, but other bahais are prohibited from supporting social justice issues that do not involve iranian persecutions (e.g., Darfur, Tibet).

    Conservatives (catholics) in europe, and people influenced by them such as Shoghi Effendi (extensive catholic education), thought that they could use fascism/nazism to destroy communism. Unfortunately the fascists/fazis ended up using the conservatives, not the other way around.

    Read all of Shoghe Effendi’s writings on politics/governance and you will see that Shoghi Effendi’s New World Order (Odor?) was to be a revived form of imperial Christendom with Sufi/Islamic (bahai) “theocratic” variations.

    The bahai New World Odor had to be an imperialist theocracy because that is what SE apparently thought was necessary to wipe out 1) what later came to be called “3rd world national liberation movements”, which SE clearly was NOT in favor of, and 2) “spiritual corruption” in the capitalist democracies.

    Both fascism and communism originated in romanticism, which was a european “spiritual” reaction against the “conditions of modernity” (capitalism, science, technology, democracy).

    Philosophical, bahai is not compatible with the paradigm of modernist democracy (which destroyed both communism and fascism).

    Which is why almost no one joins it, and shy food fights break out every once in a while about what bahais “really” believe in.

    Any “spiritual” reform philosophy, especially those established by slave owners of antiquity who dabbled in esoteric “spiritual” metaphysics in their spare time, has to come to terms with modernity and evolutionary theory. However, most, including bahai, have not done so, leaving confused followers.

    Keven Brown attempted to retranslate and redeem abdul-baha’s bizarre statements about evolution (with support from the UHJ/BWC), with limited success.

    Eric P.
    (ex-bahai, 30+ years)
    Sacramento

    [quote comment="54050"]Unfortunately I do not have any more information right now on the original article or what changes were made Prescilla. The best people to ask would be those who were involved with Dialogue.[/quote]
    [quote comment=""]Unfortunately I do not have any more information right now on the original article or what changes were made Prescilla. The best people to ask would be those who were involved with Dialogue.[/quote]

  • Annonymouz

    EP you are a misleading and really simply lying here. Would you like me to give some examples of your miss-statements?

  • Annonymouz

    EP you are a misleading and really simply lying here. Would you like me to give some examples of your miss-statements?