Be kind to animals
Added: Friday, 19 October 2007

watch original V-Blog in Persian

Last night we had dinner at a dear friend's house. They are the most hospitable people and always treat us with generosity and warmth. They also happen to have three dogs. One is always quivering and they say it's because he's part Jack Russel; one has an incurable skin disease, which makes him untouchable and lonely; and one of them is quite large and was tied to a pole most of the night. Of him, all I heard was screams and wincing.

Now, I have a lot of friends with dogs. Most of them are never allowed in the house. In South Africa, the motive for getting a dog is often to maximize protection. So you find people buying vicious sounding dogs in order to scare potential thieves. Some buy dogs because their kids beg them to, others buy one on a whim. But one thing I know for sure is: bringing an animal into your home is a decision that needs to be taken very seriously. Unfortunately, more often than not, people who bring in animals neither have the time, nor the space, nor the love that is necessary to give to their four-legged companions.

Dogs, for example, need space. They need exercise, discipline, food, interaction and love. These are all components that most dogs I see around me don't seem to get at all. Last night was a great example. The family already owned two dogs, one of which had developed an incurable skin disease. Ironically, it had been the one that nobody in the family had spent time touching or petting much. Perhaps it was his body's reaction to a lack of warmth.

In my opinion the family was already overwhelmed with the two dogs it had, but for some reason they took on a third, bigger dog. That dog was still a puppy, hence in the prime of its time to run and play. But it was tied to a pole. When I asked the family how often they take him for a walk, the answer was 'not really'. But I did find out that he is allowed to run around their little garden when the guests are gone.

Now, some of us come from cultures where dogs and cats are disliked. In some countries people burn stray animals or throw things at them. In relation to those extremes, this family is more than kind to be providing a home for their three dogs. But if we forget our traditions and what we've been told and investigate the goodness of animals with our own eyes, we will see that there is so much joy to be found.

Having lived with my pavement-special, Rocky, for over a year, I can say that any cruelty towards animals is inhumane and undignified of the human station. We who have a soul, a conscience and wisdom should be above all compassionate to all created things. Dogs exemplify patience, uncompromising loyalty, a desire to protect you, unconditional love, instant obedience to their beloved master and are always happy to see you and run to you, no matter how rarely you give them attention, what you give them to eat or how terrible you look or smell! Tell me, how many humans do you know who exemplify these virtues?!

Of course there are some vicious, frustrated and aggressive animals, but they mostly reflect the upbringing by their owners. If you train and discipline your dog using positive reinforcement rather than punishment, you will witness the amazing fruits of your endeavors as you rear a happy, healthy and good-natured companion. If we learn to establish a harmonious relationship with our animals and our nature, then there is no way we can possibly be capable of harming another human soul.

In the Baha'i writings we are told:

"He (the true seeker) must show forth kindness to animals. How much more to his fellow man, Him who is endowed with the power of speech." - Baha'u'llah

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17 October 2007

An Inspiring Love Story

Like the song "Last Christmas" by Wham, when you give away a piece of your heart to someone you love, the very next day the one you love gives it away..and never to return that piece ever again.
Love hurts, it's true, but it's also endless. So don't give up :-)

Have you shared your love with that someone special?

If you loved this video, also visit for more inspirational Flash movies and downloadable screensavers. Send them to your friends or loved ones (could be your spouse or just that special someone whom you really care for) and brighten their day :-)

They wouldn't know unless you put your caring thoughts into actions to touch their hearts...

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Let deeds not words be your adorning
Added: Saturday, 24 February 2007

watch original V-Blog in Persian

When you live in a country like South Africa you come across many NGOs and community projects that try to help society in various ways. But I've seen few that achieve lasting changes and it's easy to get disillusioned. The desire to help and uplift others is often corrupted by the budding selfish inclinations of people who see opportunities for themselves.

But one organization has certainly stood out for me: the African Children's Choir. What they do might seem to explain why, but there's more that blesses this endeavor than meets the eye. The way it works is, they go into destitute areas around Africa, identify a village that is most needy and create a boot camp for the orphans/children in the region. From those children they will pick the 25 most promising performers and turn them into a choir, by adopting those who have no parents and getting permission for those who do. The children are trained in singing and performing, live in a boarding-school type environment and get all the benefits of love, food and education. They tour the world, raising money with their heart-warming songs and return home with the prospect of tertiary education and support for their home communities.

It is absolutely breath-taking to see the changes in these children, as they go from weak, dazed and dirty tadpoles to flowering, strong, confident and loving individuals who are willing to give back to society.

But there is one component that makes all the difference: faith. These children's hearts and souls are transformed by faith and the people who help transform them are motivated purely by faith. It is in their love for God that they are able to render selfless service.

Now some will role their eyes and say 'well faith seems to do more damage than good these days' – and I can't blame them for thinking that. But remember that people who preach faith but act with hatred are the poison of society, wolves in sheep's guise. All they're doing is using religion as a front for their deep Godlessness.

True faith manifests itself in actions – not words. And this is what the children truly witness and give testimony to. This organization is run by Born-Again Christians. No matter what religion motivates people, it can be the cause of the greatest good. It is only when we put ourselves and our selfish needs above those of others that we manipulate religion, or science or any other God given gift.

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