I want to share this, but I don’t exactly know what to say: I’ve spoken about martyrdom before, but I want you to please listen to this ^^^.
20 years ago on the 13th March 1994, in the middle of Mdantsane in Ciskei, Eastern Cape, before South Africa’s first set of democratic elections, three men who lived their lives trying to bring about the unity of humanity, were put against a wall and executed because of what they believed in, and what they were trying to do.
The gunmen failed. When you give your life; live your life for something bigger than you, nothing can stop you.
Some people lay stress on fasting. They affirm that in augmenting the weakness of the body they develop a spiritual sensibility and thus they think to approach God.
Weakening one’s self physically does not necessarily contribute to spiritual progress. Humility, kindness, resignation, and all these spiritual attributes emanating from great physical strength are acceptable to God. That an enfeebled man cannot fight is not accounted a virtue. Were physical weakness a virtue the dead would be perfect, for they can do nothing.
If a man be just, kind, humble and merciful and his qualities are acquired through the will-power — this is Godlike. A child cannot kill a man; but a Bonaparte can abstain from war, from shedding blood, from devastating countries. A dumb person will not speak ill of any one, a paralyzed hand cannot strike; but a strong arm can refrain from striking. Justice, love and kindness must be the instruments of strength, not of weakness.
"To be a Baha’i simply means to love all the world; to love humanity and try to serve it; to work for universal peace and universal brotherhood." ~ Abdul Baha
3 days until my favourite time of year!!
The Baha’i Fast starts on Sunday, March 2nd!!
"These Bahai’s are dirty, they are unethical, they are unclean non-believers, do not dine with them, do not socialize with them, do not befriend them,"
VIOLENCE WITH IMPUNITY
I just finished watching this short documentary on the status of Baha’i’s and their human rights in Iran. The documentary illustrates a report which was released earlier this year.
If I were there in Iran, along with being an immoral spy, I’d also be unclean, unemployed, and expelled from university.
Please watch this, and share it. It is also available to watch in Persian.
I owe me an apology. I owe you an apology. Whatever. Somebody out there somewhere is getting an apology. I have been geej, dizzy, and totally preoccupied by a fundamentally important and vital ‘thing’ that has just …I dont know. (as I type it, it sounds funny….like….if it’s vital and fundamental; like breathing, how can you not be preoccupied with it?). Geez I almost swore…
There are all these important things to talk about like how Syria is breaking my heart and I feel like I’m not doing anything (is there even anything one can do??), or how I just realised that Blurred lines is actually a disgusting song, or how a Baha’i man in Iran got murdered solely on the basis of his faith, or how in two weeks time there are going to be the most incredible conferences on community service and I am so excited to go.
But no, instead, I am sitting here still being geej thinking about that my iTunes is trying to kill me with it’s random song selection because every song it chooses reminds me of “breathing”.
…by our actions, we reveal what is growing in the heart. Actions are mirrors of the soul…
Let each morn be better than its eve and each morrow richer than its yesterday. Man’s merit lieth in service and virtue and not in the pageantry of wealth and riches. Take heed that your words be purged from idle fancies and worldly desires and your deeds be cleansed from craftiness and suspicion. Dissipate not the wealth of your precious lives in the pursuit of evil and corrupt affection, nor let your endeavours be spent in promoting your personal interest. Be generous in your days of plenty, and be patient in the hour of loss. Adversity is followed by success and rejoicings follow woe. Guard against idleness and sloth, and cling unto that which profiteth mankind, whether young or old, whether high or low.
The line “We test our gold with fire, we test our people with gold” is an altered passage from one of the writings of Baha’ullah. My friend, a great writer and teacher who follows the Bahai faith, said this to me once when I was feeling down. It’s a reminder that life isn’t meant to be easy, and that the really tough ones among us are probably the most tested as well.
"O SON OF BEING! Busy not thyself with this world, for with fire We test the gold, and with gold We test Our servants" ~ Baha’u’llah
Poster design by ofthesol
the word ‘courageous’ can apply to a person who conquers his own self and passion. For it is easier to conquer whole countries than to defeat one’s own self. The purpose of the coming of the Manifestations of God is to endow the soul of man with spiritual qualities and enable him to defeat his greatest enemy — his own self.
~ Abdul Baha
From the Arabic Hidden Words #2, Baha’u’llah.
The anguish of separation - Vargha Taefi
Though things may look well on the outside, nothing will quell the pain I feel as my mother is jailed in Iran.
I am a financial adviser, aged 29. I live in Melbourne with my wife. We are surrounded by great friends, fabulous food and coffee. We enjoy all the buzz and life of this vibrant city.
My situation looks good from the outside. And it is, except there is no getting around the pain that runs through my life, a pain caused by the fact that I can’t see or be with my mother, Fariba Kamalabadi.
My mother, who is innocent of any crime, has been held in Iranian prisons since May 14, 2008, because of her religion. She is a member of the Baha’i faith. She is serving a 20-year sentence, and this week marks the fifth year since her arrest.
A mother of three, she is an educational psychologist. She is also one of seven people - five men and two women - who served as the ad hoc leadership group for Iran’s biggest non-Muslim religious minority, the Baha’i, numbering 300,000.
Her religious belief commits her to obey the law not to be involved in partisan political activity. In fact, as I witnessed it growing up, her life has been one of service to others. But instead of being publicly praised, she has become the target of vicious persecution by the Iranian authorities.
In May 2008, she and her colleagues, the oldest of whom is now 80, were arrested in co-ordinated dawn raids on their homes in Tehran.
For more than four months my mother was held in solitary confinement. In 2010, after 2½ years of detention, during which the seven were physically mistreated, they were charged with baseless accusations of espionage, insulting Islamic sanctities, crimes against national security, and ”spreading corruption on earth”. Any one of these charges can result in the death sentence in Iran.
During the time of their trial, they were denied access to their lawyer, Nobel laureate Shirin Ebadi. The prison authorities allowed only a few visits from their families. Then, after being subjected to a sham trial, the most shocking news was announced - each was sentenced to a 20-year prison term. There was international outrage but they are still locked up.
My mother is being held in Evin Prison. She was previously in Rajaei Shahr and Qarchak prisons until condemnation of the extremely harsh conditions by international media and governments led to her transfer.
During her captivity she has been confined to a 2x2-metre shared cell. There is hardly any light entering. There is no bed. She sleeps on the floor, even during the extremely cold winters which worsen her sciatica. Her colleague who shares the same cell, Mrs Mahvash Sabet, 60, recently suffered a broken hip owing to poor diet, low calcium and no sunshine.
To keep her mind sharp, my mother reads and re-reads the rare books she gets access to, remembers all her family - their phone numbers and important dates and occasions - and studies English with her fellow prisoners. She often composes and memorises poems, and recites them to family members during brief visits.
For three weeks in 2009, American journalist Roxana Saberi shared a cell with my mother and Mrs Sabet.
After her release, Saberi said in an interview: ”Fariba and Mahvash were two of the women prisoners I met in Evin who inspired me the most. They showed me what it means to be selfless, to care more about one’s community and beliefs than about oneself.”
At the time of my mother’s arrest, I was out of Iran on my honeymoon. I had left Iran a few years earlier to pursue the university education I had been banned from obtaining by the Iranian government because of my religion. My parents have never been able to meet my wife, nor were they able to attend my wedding in May 2008, which was just under two weeks before my mother’s arrest, because their passports were confiscated.
As a child I grew up seeing agents of Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence and plain-clothes agents raiding our home and loading trucks with our belongings: books, photos, tapes and CDs, cash, jewellery, telephones.
On several occasions they took one of my parents with them as well. In response to our calls for justice and pleas for our human rights, we were told: ”Human rights are for humans, not you.”
For a very long time my nightmare has not been of the past but of slowly losing memories of my mother.
I reassure myself that in the absence of my mother, at least her loving company can be bestowed on inmates who do not have their own mothers or sisters with them. I often imagine how I would love to buy her scented hand lotions and perfume and flowers.
In my mind, I plan on spoiling and treating her like we do with my wife’s parents. I sometimes imagine the day of her release and the travels we will do together. At important times in my life, I seek her advice in silence, imagining what she would say and how she would encourage and support me.
On rare precious occasions when she is allowed to phone, within those painfully short two-minute conversations, we speak in tones of assurance and safety, conveying love and asking each other ordinary questions.
I miss my mother and it still hurts. But I am so proud she has lived up to her beliefs, has helped others in jail and has remained strong in her faith. On Mother’s Day I pay tribute to her.
Vargha Taefi is the Melbourne-based son of one of the seven imprisoned Baha’i leaders.
Johannesburg, South Africa.
Baha’i leaders in Iran have been wrongfully sentenced and imprisoned for 20 years, solely on the basis of their religion. They have already been in horrific prison conditions for 5 years; 5 years too many. If you know a Baha’i or know about the Baha’i Faith, then you’ll know that the charges are completely false - please inform yourselves of the situation http://www.bic.org/fiveyears/; the more people who know, the better.
If you want to submit your picture to create awareness, then go to here.
To mark the five year anniversary of the wrongful imprisonment of the seven Iranian Baha’i leaders, the Baha’i International Community is today launching a campaign to call for their immediate release – and to draw attention to the deteriorating human rights situation in Iran.
“On 14 May, the seven innocent Baha’i leaders will have been behind bars for five full years, unjustly imprisoned solely because of their religious beliefs,” said Bani Dugal, the principal representative of the Baha’i International Community to the United Nations.
“We are asking people of good will around the world to raise their voices in an effort to win their freedom and the freedom of other innocent prisoners of conscience in Iran,” she said.
The campaign will run from todaythrough 15 May, under the title “Five Years Too Many.” Around the world, Baha’i communities and others are planning public events that focus on the plight of the seven, who face 15 more years in prison, and whose 20-year sentences are the longest of any current prisoners of conscience in Iran.
“The arrest of the seven Baha’i leaders on false charges, their wrongful imprisonment, and severe mistreatment while in detention are emblematic of the suffering of the Iranian Baha’i community as a whole – and, indeed, the situation of the hundreds of other innocent prisoners of conscience who have been incarcerated for their beliefs,” said Ms. Dugal.
“Their long sentences reflect the Government’s determination to completely oppress the Iranian Baha’i community, which is the country’s largest non-Muslim religious minority.”
Six of the seven Baha’i leaders were arrested on 14 May 2008 in a series of early morning raids in Tehran. The seventh had been detained two months earlier on 5 March 2008.
Since their arrests, the seven – whose names are Fariba Kamalabadi, Jamaloddin Khanjani, Afif Naeimi, Saeid Rezaie, Mahvash Sabet, Behrouz Tavakkoli, and Vahid Tizfahm – have been subject to an entirely flawed judicial process.
During their first year in detention, the seven were not told of the charges against them and they had virtually no access to lawyers. Their trial, conducted over a period of months in 2010 and amounting to only six days in court, was illegally closed to the public, demonstrated extreme bias on the part of prosecutors and judges, and was based on non-existent evidence.
“Human beings should be free as birds.” - Art work by Brazilian Artist Siron Franco for the “Five Years Too Many” Campaign.
Click through for more information.