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.
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.
theharealwayswins asked: Allah-u-Abha! How long have you been Baha'i, if I am allowed to ask?
Hey there :)
I was born into a Baha’i family, (that doesn’t make you a Baha’i though) but it actually became “mine”/personal when I was about 18/19. How come?
These were the classifications in the library - totally incorrect and a common mistake that people make. Guys, the religion is called the “Baha’i Faith”, not Bahaism. Don’t get it twisted.
How to be:
Yesterday I was going through some Baha’i writings looking for something, and I found this “list” by Baha’u’llah, the founder of the Baha’i Faith and I find it to be a basic “how to be” list. Awesome.
“To distinguish one’s self through good deeds:”
i. To be truthful
ii. To be trustworthy
iii. To be faithful
iv. To be righteous and fear God
v. To be just and fair
vi. To be tactful and wise
vii. To be courteous
viii. To be hospitable
ix. To be persevering
x. To be detached
xi. To be absolutely submissive to the Will of God
xii. Not to stir up mischief
xiii. Not to be hypocritical
xiv. Not to be proud
xv. Not to be fanatical
xvi. Not to prefer one’s self to one’s neighbour
xvii. Not to contend with one’s neighbour
xviii. Not to indulge one’s passions
xix. Not to lament in adversity
xx. Not to contend with those in authority
xxi. Not to lose one’s temper
xxii. Not to anger one’s neighbour
~ Baha’u’llah, Kitab-i-Aqdas, p. 160
The end is glorious if we only persevere.
…And just as the viability of every cell and every organ is contingent upon the health of the body as a whole, so should the prosperity of every individual, every family, every people be sought in the well-being of the entire human race…
Justice is the one power that can translate the dawning consciousness of humanity’s oneness into a collective will through which the necessary structures of global community life can be confidently erected. An age that sees the people of the world increasingly gaining access to information of every kind and to a diversity of ideas will find justice asserting itself as the ruling principle of successful social organization. With ever greater frequency, proposals aiming at the development of the planet will have to submit to the candid light of the standards it requires.
At the individual level, justice is that faculty of the human soul that enables each person to distinguish truth from falsehood.
At the group level, a concern for justice is the indispensable compass in collective decision making, because it is the only means by which unity of thought and action can be achieved. Far from encouraging the punitive spirit that has often masqueraded under its name in past ages, justice is the practical expression of awareness that, in the achievement of human progress, the interests of the individual and those of society are inextricably linked. To the extent that justice becomes a guiding concern of human interaction, a consultative climate is encouraged that permits options to be examined dispassionately and appropriate courses of action selected. In such a climate the perennial tendencies toward manipulation and partisanship are far less likely to deflect the decision-making process.
The implications for social and economic development are profound. Concern for justice protects the task of defining progress from the temptation to sacrifice the well-being of the generality of humankind — and even of the planet itself — to the advantages which technological breakthroughs can make available to privileged minorities. In design and planning, it ensures that limited resources are not diverted to the pursuit of projects extraneous to a community’s essential social or economic priorities. Above all, only development programs that are perceived as meeting their needs and as being just and equitable in objective can hope to engage the commitment of the masses of humanity, upon whom implementation depends. The relevant human qualities such as honesty, a willingness to work, and a spirit of cooperation are successfully harnessed to the accomplishment of enormously demanding collective goals when every member of society — indeed every component group within society — can trust that they are protected by standards and assured of benefits that apply equally to all.
A statement prepared by the Bahá’í International Community Office of Public Information, Haifa, first distributed at the United Nations World Summit on Social Development, Copenhagen, Denmark.
3 March 1995
For the closing of the Johannesburg Baha’i community Naw Ruz celebrations everyone released balloons into the air with their wishes and hopes for the New Year - it was so special - hope they come true!!
*photo by A. Binazir*
IT’S NAW RUZ!!!
HAPPY HAPPY HAPPY!!!!!
*and may everyone’s Fast be accepted!*
Always too fast…
It’s not like I don’t know it’s coming; like I don’t know what the time frames are or when it’s going to end, but this happens to me every single year.
(it’s also not like I’ve never said this before, so if you’re reading these sentiments again, then my apologies.)
The period of the Baha’i Fast is my favourite time of year. I know, that the 2nd to the 21st March is the period wherein I steel myself - every fail-day, every moment of weakness gets kicked in the face by this time of year. I get to prove to myself that I’m stronger than my ‘just-because-I-want-to’ senses, and when you often feel like you have no sense of self-control, this is obviously then an important period.
But it always goes too fast. It ends with me feeling like I haven’t had enough, like when you’re ridiculously thirsty and you only get a teaspoon of water to cover a years worth of thirst. (which in itself is a strange sentiment to equate the Fast to - a need to Fast???)
I’ve always tried fasting outside of the Baha’i Fast period, but have never been able to. I don’t know if it’s because during this specific period, I know that there are millions of others doing it with me. I have no idea why actually, I’m seriously speculating here…let’s see….maybe I can do it again later in the year too…