The Girl Effect . . .

image credit

Both images (the same person) are from National Geographic. The one on the left taken in 1984, the right in 2002, in Afghanistan.

The woman was interviewed in 2002. Here’s an excerpt:

Had she ever felt safe?

“No. But life under the Taliban was better. At least there was peace and order.”

Had she ever seen the photograph of herself as a girl?

“No.”

She can write her name, but cannot read. She harbors the hope of education for her children. “I want my daughters to have skills,” she said. “I wanted to finish school but could not. I was sorry when I had to leave.”

Education, it is said, is the light in the eye. There is no such light for her. It is possibly too late for her 13-year-old daughter as well, Sharbat Gula said. The two younger daughters still have a chance.

This is a story repeated far too often in our world but there is strong reason for hope!

One among many reasons for hope is a site called The Girl Effect and I can’t urge you strongly enough to click that link and at least watch the really awesome video !

Here is a PDF file of their Fact Sheet and here’s an excerpt from that Fact Sheet:

The Ripple Effect

• When a girl in the developing world receives seven or more years of education, she marries four years later and has 2.2 fewer children.

• An extra year of primary school boosts girls’ eventual wages by 10 to 20 percent. An extra year of secondary school: 15 to 25 percent.

• Research in developing countries has shown a consistent relationship between better infant and child health and higher levels of schooling among mothers.

• When women and girls earn income, they reinvest 90 percent of it into their families, as compared to only 30 to 40 percent for a man.

Population Trends
• Today, more than 600 million girls live in the developing world.

Girls Count !

Here are two videos from their site:

19-year-old Shumi from Bangladesh

18-year-old Addis from Ethiopia

“The world of humanity has two wings — one is women and the other men. Not until both wings are equally developed can the bird fly. Should one wing remain weak, flight is impossible. Not until the world of women becomes equal to the world of men in the acquisition of virtues and perfections, can success and prosperity be attained as they ought to be.”

‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Bahá’í World Faith, p. 288

As long as women are prevented from attaining their highest possibilities, so long will men be unable to achieve the greatness which might be theirs.

‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Paris Talks, p. 133

Advertisements

And, The Winners Are . . .

The winners are…

Everyone who posted a comment about [ what they saw in ] this picture from the post two days ago.

Thing is…

Anyone can do this with any picture I post. Your impressions and feelings are the other half of why I blog…

The winner’s comments below { there’s even a short play down there! }:

https://i0.wp.com/www.thedailypage.com/media/2007/02/08/BoyDogBath.jpg

image credit

9 Comments »


    Laughter is God’s sunshine, with a Gentle impression of Love from a child of innocence in spirit, mind, and body !

    Comment by Catherine — @ 2:09 pm –> | May 28, 2008

    Thank You Love, for being Here Now!I experience God intimately by embracing ALL of life lovingly!

    Comment by Amarendra<!– @ 3:04 pm –> | May 28, 2008

    Thanks for drawing my bath honey. What would I do without you?

    Comment by Alexys Fairfield<!– @ 4:44 pm –> | May 28, 2008

    Unconditional Love.

    Comment by Paul<!– @ 5:49 pm –> | May 28, 2008


    Mmmmm…. nothing like the smell of wet dog.

    Comment by Sophia | May 28, 2008 <!– @ 8:24 pm –> |


    Man’s best friend is his dog; but a dog’s best friend is his kid!

    <!– @ 3:08 am –Comment by Marilyn Higgins | May 29, 2008


    “Don’t tell mom the water’s still running!” or“When are you coming in? The water’s so cool!”
    <!– @ 11:12 am –Comment by Maggie | May 29, 2008

    Nothing like a bubble bath and the company of your best friend to end the night:~)

    Comment by Brandi<!– @ 2:16 pm –> | May 29, 2008


    NOTE: The dog’s leg creeping into the tub (by the boys hand).

    Little boy: “Ooooh, I love you so much.”

    Dog: Wags tail.

    Little boy: Looks around quickly then says, “Hey, come on in the tub. Quick! Mom’s not looking. Ssshhh, don’t splash so much. Gosh you’re BIG, move over! Ooow, your claws are scratching my leg. Move over some more.

    Little boy: Pushes dog away a bit

    Dog: Looks dejected: (

    Little Boy: Looks at dog and says, “Aaaw, that’s okay. We can both fit in here. I’ll make room for you, ’cause you’re my bestest ever friend in the whole world.”

    Dog: Licks boy’s face and wags his tail, splashes water and suds everywhere.

    Little boy: Giggles and wraps his arms around the dog’s neck.

    “Luv in the Tub.”
    You can’t beat it! )

    RainforestRobin
    http://www.nakedineden.com

    <!– @ 3:38 pm –> Comment by rainforestrobin | May 29, 2008

Your Turn . . .

https://i0.wp.com/www.thedailypage.com/media/2007/02/08/BoyDogBath.jpg

image credit

What does that picture “say” to you? Could you write a caption for it? How about a short paragraph explaining what you see happening? What about a short story? Well, it’s your turn !

I did this a month or so ago and it seemed like the right time to try it again.

I hope you’ll take this mild challenge: write a phrase, sentence, paragraph, or story about that picture. Post it in the Comments, and I’ll post all the comments day-after-tomorrow.

I normally post every day but I’ll extend this post’s lead to give you a chance to crank up your creativity !

Our Children Must Have PEACE !

//www.bahai.org/images/childrens-class-kiribati.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

image credit

“The well-being of mankind, its peace and security, are unattainable unless and until

its unity is firmly established.”

Bahá’u’lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 286


Highlighting the crying need for peace, especially for our children, is this quote from OneWorld.Net’s article, “International Efforts ‘Still Failing’ Child Soldiers.

“Existing strategies have not had the desired impact. If further progress is to be made, it must be recognized that child soldiers are not only an issue for the child rights specialists, but should be on the agendas of all those involved in conflict prevention and resolution, peace-building and development,”

In spite of the dire circumstances affecting our hearts and minds, there is a deep and lasting hope that’s much more than a pipe dream:

“The Great Peace towards which people of good will throughout the centuries have inclined their hearts, of which seers and poets for countless generations have expressed their vision, and for which from age to age the sacred scriptures of mankind have constantly held the promise, is now at long last within the reach of the nations. For the first time in history it is possible for everyone to view the entire planet, with all its myriad diversified peoples, in one perspective. World peace is not only possible but inevitable. It is the next stage in the evolution of this planet—in the words of one great thinker, “the planetization of mankind”.

“Whether peace is to be reached only after unimaginable horrors precipitated by humanity’s stubborn clinging to old patterns of behaviour, or is to be embraced now by an act of consultative will, is the choice before all who inhabit the earth. At this critical juncture when the intractable problems confronting nations have been fused into one common concern for the whole world, failure to stem the tide of conflict and disorder would be unconscionably irresponsible.”

From The Promise of World Peace ~ Download Word Doc or PDF

“If the learned and worldly-wise men of this age were to allow mankind to inhale the fragrance of fellowship and love, every understanding heart would apprehend the meaning of true liberty, and discover the secret of undisturbed peace and absolute composure.”

Bahá’u’lláh

Perfectionism . . .

My father was obsessive about doing things “right”. I think quite a bit of my rebelliousness from 18 to 42 was stimulated by the primal urge to break the hold of my father’s perfectionism. He was so right in a multitude of details and processes yet so wrong in the wide and deep arena of simple humanity…

As a writer, I’ve long since realized that my eyes and brain need help (other eyes or computer programs) to rid my words of flaw and imprecision. I also indulge in the sub-domain of poetry: here is where the perfect phrase breaks the rules and the clearest statements drip with emotion…

Various blockages to creativity and productivity begin with statements like: “I’d better wait till I know for sure.” or “Maybe they won’t like it this way.” or “I don’t think I can get away with it.” Certainly we need to be aware of all the pertinent facts before acting. We need to consider the effect of our actions on others and act with honesty.

Still, perfectionism can take the most common common sense and warp it into uncommon hindrances.

Life isn’t black and white, either/or, cut and dried.

It’s infinite shades of grey with colorful glows swirling inside. It’s both/and. it’s alive and kicking!

Human growth is a process, not a set of rigid rules. If Perfectionism was the Rule, Forgiveness would not exist . . .

“All beings, whether large or small, were created perfect and complete from the first, but their perfections appear in them by degrees. The organization of God is one; the evolution of existence is one; the divine system is one. Whether they be small or great beings, all are subject to one law and system. Each seed has in it from the first all the vegetable perfections. For example, in the seed all the vegetable perfections exist from the beginning, but not visibly; afterward little by little they appear. So it is first the shoot which appears from the seed, then the branches, leaves, blossoms and fruits; but from the beginning of its existence all these things are in the seed, potentially, though not apparently.

“In the same way, the embryo possesses from the first all perfections, such as the spirit, the mind, the sight, the smell, the taste — in one word, all the powers — but they are not visible and become so only by degrees.”

‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Some Answered Questions, p. 198

Prisoners of Conscience

One of our readers commented on liking recent posts on human rights and the Iranian Bahá’ís. Because of the truth that, if one person says something, there are a number of others who feel the same way but haven’t mentioned it, I thought I’d do a follow-up post to the one I did on the seven incarcerated Irainians.

The following story is reprinted from the site of the Bahá’í International Community:

Bahá’í International Community rejects Iranian allegations on recent arrests
21 May 2008

— Allegations by Iran that six Bahá’ís were arrested last week “for security reasons and not for their faith” are utterly baseless and without documentation, said the Bahá’í International Community today.

“All of the allegations issued in a statement on Tuesday by the Iranian government are utterly baseless,” said Bani Dugal, the principal representative of the Baha’i International Community to the United Nations, referring to statements made in a press conference given yesterday in Tehran by Iranian government spokesman Gholam-Hossein Elham, at which he acknowledged the arrest and imprisonment of six Bahá’í leaders last week.

“The allegations are not new, and the Iranian government knows well that they are untrue,” Ms. Dugal said. “The documented plan of the Iranian government has always been to destroy the Bahá’í community, and these latest arrests represent an intensification of this plan.

“The group of Bahá’ís arrested last week, like the thousands of Bahá’ís who since 1979 have been killed, imprisoned, or otherwise oppressed, are being persecuted solely because of their religious beliefs. The best proof of this is the fact that, time and again, Bahá’ís have been offered their freedom if they recant their Bahá’í beliefs and convert to Islam – an option few have taken.

“Far from being a threat to state security, the Bahá’í community of Iran has great love for their country and they are deeply committed to its development. This is evidenced, for example, by the fact that the vast majority of Bahá’ís have remained in Iran despite intense persecution, the fact that students denied access to education in Iran and forced to study abroad have returned to assist in the development of their country, and the recent effort by Bahá’ís in Shiraz to provide schooling for underprivileged children – an effort the government responded to by arresting some 54 Bahá’í participants in May 2006,” said Ms. Dugal.

In its coverage of Mr. Elham’s press conference, the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) reported that the six Bahá’ís were arrested “for security reasons not for their faith.” The IRNA report also quoted Mr. Elham as saying that the six Bahá’ís were somehow linked to “foreigners, the Zionists in particular.”

Ms. Dugal addressed that issue also, saying:

“The charges linking the Bahá’ís to Zionism are a distortion of history: The Bahá’í Faith has its world headquarters in Israel because Bahá’u’lláh was, in the mid-1800s, sent as a prisoner to the Holy Land by two Islamic countries: Ottoman Turkey and Iran.

“The charge that Bahá’ís are Zionists, which has in fact been made against Bahá’ís for the last 30 years by Iran, is nothing more than an effort by the government to stir animosity against Bahá’ís among the Iranian population at large. This is but the most recent iteration in a long history of attempts to foment hatred by casting the Bahá’ís as agents of foreign powers, whether of Russia, the United Kingdom, or the United States—and now Israel—all of which are completely baseless.

“The real issue, as it relates to Bahá’ís, who are committed to nonpartisanship and nonviolence, is the ideology of the government, which has undertaken a well-documented effort to utterly block the development of the Bahá’í community not only through arrests, harassment and imprisonment but also by depriving their youth of education and preventing adults from obtaining a livelihood.

“We would ask whether issues of state security rather than ideology were involved in recent incidents such as the destruction of a Bahá’í cemetery and the use of a bulldozer to crush the bones of a Bahá’í who was interred there; the harassment of hundreds of Bahá’í schoolchildren throughout Iran by teachers and school officials in an effort to make them reject their own religion; or the publication of dozens of defamatory anti-Bahá’í articles in Kayhan and other government-sponsored news media in recent months,” said Ms. Dugal.

She also noted that over the years, a number of government officials, clerics, and members of the judiciary have in fact made statements in private noting the nonpartisan conduct of the Bahá’í community and the unjustified nature of government charges against Bahá’ís.

She added that the present government’s ideology is based in large part on a belief that there could be no Prophet following Muhammad. The Bahá’í Faith poses a theological challenge to this belief.

“Freedom of religion is the issue and Iran itself is a signatory to international covenants that acknowledge the right of individuals to freedom of religion or belief, including the right to change one’s religion,” Ms. Dugal said.

“What the Iranian government cannot tolerate is that the Iranian people are less responsive to the government’s propaganda, because they see the reality — that Iranian Bahá’ís love their country, are sincere in their desire to contribute to its well-being, are peace-loving, and are law-abiding — and that these qualities stem from their beliefs. Consequently, there is growing sympathy for the Bahá’ís. Increasingly, people at all levels of the society are coming to their defense both privately and publicly, and there is growing interest in and attraction to the Bahá’í Faith amongst the population,” Ms. Dugal said.

Soil and Souls

Just one of my favorite quotes today…

“Holy souls are like soil which has been plowed and tilled with much earnest labor; the thorns and thistles cast aside and all weeds uprooted. Such soil is most fruitful and the harvest from it will prove full and plenteous. In this same way man must free himself from the weeds of ignorance, thorns of superstitions and thistles of imitations, that he may discover reality in the harvests of true knowledge. Otherwise the discovery of reality is impossible, contention and divergence of religious belief will always remain and mankind, like ferocious wolves will rage and attack each other in hatred and antagonism. We supplicate God that He may destroy the veils which limit our vision and that these becloudings which darken the way of the manifestation of the shining lights may be dispelled in order that the effulgent Sun of Reality may shine forth…. Just now the soil of human hearts seems like black earth, but in the innermost substance of this dark soil there are thousands of fragrant flowers latent. We must endeavor to cultivate and awaken these potentialities, discover the secret treasure in this very mine and depository of God, bring forth these resplendent powers long hidden in human hearts. Then will the glories of both worlds be blended and increased and the quintessence of human existence be made manifest.”

‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Foundations of World Unity, p. 76