human rights violation

Where are the enemies?
Added: Wednesday, 28 May 2008

watch original V-Blog in Persian

Last week, a group called The Friends was arrested in Iran. This group of people, one member of which was arrested earlier in March, is comprised of 7 women and men who take care of the affairs of the Baha'i community in Iran. The Baha'is are the largest religious minority in Iran and have been persecuted since the inception of their Faith. Initially officials entered the homes of The Friends, searched their belongings and then arrested them with no explanation, taking them to the infamous Evin prison. Yet, meanwhile, it is clear that they are not at Evin, nor does anyone know of their whereabouts. It is all very reminiscent of the pogroms undertaken against Baha'is in the 1980s, when members of the Baha'i governing bodies disappeared never to be seen again and were most certainly executed.

A few days after CNN and other news agencies reported on the recent arrests and described the human rights violations that continue to be brought against the Baha'is of Iran, an Iranian government spokesperson, whose authority has, in the meantime been questioned, came out to say that the abovementioned individuals were arrested because they pose "a threat to national security and because they have relations with foreigners"; meaning Israel.

Let's briefly analyze the issue of national security. Any just government has their people's best interest in mind. That is what national security is all about. Because an extensive study of the Baha'i faith is an impossibility even for scholars much less for this blog, let me revert to the Faith's 12 basic principles in order to discern what part of the Baha'i belief-system poses a threat to the people of Iran. The 12 principles are:

-unity in diversity ("the earth is but one country and mankind its citizens")
-the source of all divine religions is One (Buddhism, Hinduism, Zoroastrianism, Judaism, Christianity, Islam etc are all true and come from God)
-the elimination of all forms of prejudice
-the harmony of science and religion
-the independent investigation of truth (you cannot be born as a Baha'i, the whole aim of life is to see through your own eyes and hear with your own ears, regardless of your parental or cultural heritage)
-the equality of women and men
-universal education (with preference for the girl-child if a choice must be made)
-universal peace
-world peace upheld by a world government
-spiritual solutions to economic problems
-a universal auxiliary language (imagine a world where the members of the human family could communicate with each other in one language beside their own)
-religion must be the source of unity

Which of these principles is against the interests of the people of Iran? And if so, what does that say about us Iranians; and what, then, is in our interest?

All the efforts of Baha'is in Iran revolve around those principles. Baha'is in Iran focus especially on projects that help underprivileged communities. They do sports, arts, literacy and values education with children from poor neighbourhoods and are careful not to impose their beliefs on anyone, leaving actions to speak louder than words. Yet they are perceived as a 'threat' to national security.

The other accusation concerns relations with Israel. As you may know, the Baha'i World Center, its shrines and global administration are based in Israel. And the reason this is so, is because of Iran itself. Baha'u'llah was banished by the 19th century Iranian government (by Nassereddin Shah), to modern-day Israel at a time when that piece of land was still part of the Ottoman Empire, later became Palestine and finally Israel. Baha'u'llah died there before Israel was Israel.

And besides, this is not a unique feature in human history. The very Emam Hossein, who is a holy figure in Islam, was buried in Karbela, in Iraq. Iraq is a Suni country and does not consider Emam Hossein a holy figure. Yet Iranian Shi'ites go on pilgrimage to Karbela every year, despite being self-declared enemies of the Sunis. It's all very confusing.

Iranian soil is holy to Baha'is, as is the soil of the Holy Land. No Baha'i would ever wish harm or destruction onto Iran. And despite being persecuted, being denied the right to tertiary education, suffering from psychological mobbing in schools and the work place, being restricted from working in many fields and trades and despite the knowledge that at any time they might disappear never to be seen again by friends and family, they remain in Iran. Why?

Here's a beautiful little story that demonstrates why. An old man lived on a farm with his grandson. One winter, the wolves came down the hill and attacked the son, eating him alive. The old man was devastated. So the next day he went to buy large amounts of raw meat and climbed the hill to see the wolves. He cast out the pieces of meat for the wolves, so they would no longer be in need of food and would not resort to killing human beings. So instead of killing and taking revenge, the old man gave his oppressor what he needed the most. Some love.

Is that a crime? If so, Baha'is are more than guilty!

Rate The Video
No votes yet


12 May 2008

You Can't Stop My Love

They lived in the poorest neighborhood of their city. It was the kind of place you'd avoid if you could. But these children had no choice. They were born into misery and would probably die there. Then, one day, things changed. A group of people seemed to care. They came out of nowhere and they showed up every weekend. Unfailingly, their cars would appear on the horizon by 8:30 am. They'd park on the dirt road, next to the cadavers and burned tires. They'd come and spend a few hours with the children. They'd play games with them, exercise them, sing songs, read stories and help with school work, arts and crafts. Nobody really knew why they did what they did. But it didn't matter, because life was never the same again. It was colorful, happy and hopeful. For those few hours, every weekend, the children felt loved and not forgotten. They dared to articulate dreams and they began to take care of themselves and their desolate environment. Things were good. But then again, maybe things were too good. Because one fateful day, those people didn't show up again. Had they stopped caring? Had they found other children? No. They had been arrested. They had been imprisoned for coming to see these very children every week. For this, the court had said, constituted "an offense relating to state security"...



More Videos

Most Watched

SearchWeb.jpg
Gems-320x240.jpg
Margaret-Appa-320x240.jpg
Rate The Video
Average: 5 (3 votes)


23 April 2008

You Can't Stop My Love

buy on dvd
buy from amazon

They lived in the poorest neighborhood of their city. It was the kind of place you'd avoid if you could. But these children had no choice. They were born into misery and would probably die there. Then, one day, things changed. A group of people seemed to care. They came out of nowhere and they showed up every weekend. Unfailingly, their cars would appear on the horizon by 8:30 am. They'd park on the dirt road, next to the cadavers and burned tires. They'd come and spend a few hours with the children. They'd play games with them, exercise them, sing songs, read stories and help with school work, arts and crafts. Nobody really knew why they did what they did. But it didn't matter, because life was never the same again. It was colorful, happy and hopeful. For those few hours, every weekend, the children felt loved and not forgotten. They dared to articulate dreams and they began to take care of themselves and their desolate environment. Things were good. But then again, maybe things were too good. Because one fateful day, those people didn't show up again. Had they stopped caring? Had they found other children? No. They had been arrested. They had been imprisoned for coming to see these very children every week. For this, the court had said, constituted "an offense relating to state security"...



More Videos

Most Watched

SearchWeb.jpg
Gems-320x240.jpg
Margaret-Appa-320x240.jpg

Connect With Us

Subscribe

Get notified about new videos!

More Videos

Little Virtues
Little Virtues
Africans
Africans
The Street's Barber
The Street's Barber
Leyla Haidarian: Beyond King of the Mountain TED talk
Leyla Haidarian: Beyond King of the Mountain TED talk


style="display:inline-block;width:300px;height:250px"
data-ad-client="ca-pub-7659394265573037"
data-ad-slot="4641536186">