The Truth About Women

oppression_women

Peter and Leon were at the café discussing women:

Peter: “Can’t live with ’em, can’t live without ’em.”

Leon: “The second part is completely true, the first is conditional.”

Peter: “Whataya mean conditional?”

Leon: “Well, it’s conditioned on your attitude toward them.”

Peter: “Bullshit… Doesn’t matter what I do, they’re still impossible to live with.”

Leon: “Yet, you do live with them.”

Peter: “What’s your point?”

Leon: “Point? Kinda obvious, eh?”

Peter: “Is this one of your psychological tricks?”

Leon: “No, just the truth—men are born from women, men live with women, men oppress women, and… women continue to bear it all, with a lot more strength then the men have.”

Peter: “More strength?

Leon: “Obviously.”

Peter: “Might be obvious to you but the whole subject confuses the hell out of me…”

Leon: “So, you admit you misunderstand them. Do you realize you also underestimate them?”

Peter: “Misunderstand, maybe; frustrated, for sure; underestimate? I don’t see where you’re headed with all this, I just want a solution.”

Leon: “Solution, Peter? First, you have to practice three powerful virtues: humility—to soften your willfulness; honesty—to inform your conscience; then, Love—to give them a reason to reveal themselves to you.”

Peter: “Dude, you’re outta your mind…”

~~~~~~~~~

Yep, Leon was out of his mind and into his heart . . .

Here are some recent sources of information about how men are treating women:

From Time World: The Best Way to Curb Forced Marriages

From the Washington Post: For Kurdish Girls, a Painful Ancient Ritual

From the Washington Post: A Private Feud Turns Into a National Issue

From Rising Voices: Nari Jibon: End Violence Against Women

From the Guardian, UK: Saudi girl, eight, married off to 58-year-old is denied divorce

From OneWorld.Net: Giving Birth in a Congolese Refugee Tent

From The Bahá’í International Community: Beyond Legal Reforms:Culture and Capacity in the Eradication of Violence Against Women and Girls

From Inter Press Service: Q&A: Failure to Translate Women’s Legal Rights into Action

Spiritual Quote :

“…among the teachings of Bahá’u’lláh is the equality of women and men. 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, Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, p. 302

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Can We Trust The News ?

Image Credit
child-of-war
Ananiah didn’t want to believe it: innocent people were dying and his country’s newspapers were claiming the bombing was only against military targets.

How could they miss what he could see with his own eyes? Right across the border from his favorite tree, right in that village, mothers and kids his age were lying in a pool of blood, hands and legs and heads severed from their bodies…

He couldn’t stop the tears, couldn’t stop his body shaking with rage. What could he do about it? Why were the newspapers lying about it? What did those people down there do to end up like that?!

Ananiah changed that day. His trust in his country evaporated. His anger at grownups began to swell into hatred. His faith in God was injured…

~~~~~~~~~

I created that short scene, created it out of the truth of a situation happening all over the world—lies so huge that no one should believe them.

How do we get news that tells the real story? How can we arm ourselves with the Truth?

Here are some sources that work hard to uncover the facts:

OneWorld.Net: “OneWorld aims to be the place global citizens turn to for news and views from around the world not covered in mainstream media; we are also a key hub that Americans use to find and interact with like-minded individuals and organizations from around the world.”

GlobalVoices: “Today, Global Voices is thriving, vital component of the global media environment, helping individuals and media professionals around the world gain access to the diverse voices coming from citizen media.”

Inter Press Service: “Information is an agent of change. Since its inception, back in 1964, IPS has believed in the role of information as a precondition for lifting communities out of poverty and marginalization. This belief is reflected in our historic mission: “giving a voice to the voiceless”—acting as a communication channel that privileges the voices and the concerns of the poorest and creates a climate of understanding, accountability and participation around development, promoting a new international information order between the South and the North.”

The Real News Network: “We won’t blindly follow wire services or official press releases that attempt to set the news agenda. We will cover the big stories of the day, but we will broaden the definition of what’s important. The Real News will investigate, report and debate stories that help us understand the critical issues of our time.”

Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty: “RFE/RL’s mission is to provide uncensored news and information in countries where a free press is either banned by the government or not fully established.”

Spiritual Quote  (written over 100 years ago):

“In this Day the secrets of the earth are laid bare before the eyes of men. The pages of swiftly-appearing newspapers are indeed the mirror of the world. They reflect the deeds and the pursuits of divers peoples and kindreds. They both reflect them and make them known. They are a mirror endowed with hearing, sight and speech. This is an amazing and potent phenomenon. However, it behoveth the writers thereof to be purged from the promptings of evil passions and desires and to be attired with the raiment of justice and equity. They should enquire into situations as much as possible and ascertain the facts, then set them down in writing.”
Bahá’u’lláh, Tablets of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 39

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How Valuable Is Your Life ?

next_world
Susan just wanted to die…

Her parents had done it, just last year—smashed to a pulp in their car.

David had left her—”I’m really sorry about your parents but you’re mind just isn’t right, Susan. Grief is one thing; but, this is just too weird.”

She’d been talking to her parents in her sleep—sometimes when she was awake…

She stood at the end of the tunnel that ran under the road in the park and started screaming.

Unnoticed, just to her left, sat an old man, back to a tree. He looked up in his stupor and shouted, “Hey, Twinkles, nothing’s that bad.”

Susan’s scream strangled itself and she whirled on the man—”Why did you call me Twinkles!? ”

“‘Cause it’s your name . . .” The man promptly passed out.

Susan began a slow twirl that sank toward the ground as her mind revealed her mother and father, floating in nothingness, smiling and saying the name they’d called her when she was a child—Twinkles . . .

~~~~~~~~~

Just a story? Ever heard one like it?

Right when I was ready to write a post about the Next World and our connection to it, and as mysteriously as the old man calling Susan Twinkles, a fellow-blogger posted a friend’s powerful short essay on just that topic. It first appeared, as a guest post, in Bahá’í Perspectives  then, the writer posted it to her own blog, Two Points for Honesty. Here it is:

nava-kavelin
Nava Kavelin

The Prelude

“It is not an easy task to present minds obsessed with the conception of this world and its affairs as complete in itself rather than as an ante-room to a larger, freer life, a scene in which the dominant note [is] Eternity.”

~Howard Colby Ives


What would it look like if we lived our lives at every moment aware of the fact that this world and everything in it was merely a prelude to a world much greater than this. Rather than allowing that knowledge to dull us into nonchalance or trick us into thinking the prelude was inconsequential, we would live knowing that the prelude was absolutely crucial in dictating what was to come.

The prelude would define the rest of the play—the body and the characters, the scene titles, and even the very last period on the very last page of the final act.

How might we live if we understood that the prelude was not more important than the rest of the play, but was absolutely essential to its unfolding.

And what if we knew that this play told the greatest love story of all time. Greater than Romeo and Juliet, Antony and Cleopatra, Bella and Edward, Leili and Majnun…greater than the love felt by the most adoring, devoted, sacrificial father for his favorite daughter…and that the prelude’s purpose was to set forces in motion which would allow for the lover and the beloved to meet in the chamber of eternity.

The meeting of the two was inevitable. But the prelude would determine how quickly it would happen. The prelude would determine how long the lover would sigh in longing for her beloved. How long she would feel consumed by the flame of separation from the one for whom every cell in her body existed, every beat of her heart resounded, nay, the reason why every atom in the universe was. For these two to meet, to love, to be near.

What if you knew that you were the lover in the prelude. And that every decision you made, every thought, every action or inaction, bore direct influence on how near you would be to the greatest, most radiant, most resplendent, kind, loving, wonderful, unimaginably glorious being.

That every kind act, every selfless thought, every step taken to help ease someone else’s burden, to help improve the quality of another’s life, to help those other lovers living the prelude with you would draw you nearer to this object of adoration—and what if you knew that your time in the prelude was very, very fleeting, especially as compared with the dominant note of eternity, which the rest of the book would unfold—would you waste a single moment on anger? On jealousy? On lethargy or inactivity?

How much time would you devote to leisure? To pleasure pursuits that distracted you, perhaps even furthered you away from, the path that led to this all-glorious one?

If we lived every moment of our lives consciously aware that we were created to know and to love God, to worship and adore Him in our actions towards His other creatures, that in serving our fellow man, we drew nearer unto Him, that whether or not we felt it now, when we exited the ante room and entered the chamber of eternity, we would be totally aware of and consumed by our love for Him and that if we were remote from Him we would feel sorrow and regret more intense than any hellish brimstone or scalding fire could impose on us …and that our nearness or remoteness from Him would be in direct proportion to how we had spent our time in the ante room, or how we had penned our story in the prelude—I wonder how differently we would behave. How different our entire atmosphere would be. One directly affects the other, after all, and both help shape the kind of eternity that awaits us. An eternity which we are already a part of, which is always as near to us as the air we inhale and exhale at every moment.

“…This most great, this fathomless and surging Ocean is near, astonishingly near, unto you. Behold it is closer to you than your life-vein! Swift as the twinkling of an eye ye can, if ye but wish it, reach and partake of this imperishable favor, this God-given grace, this incorruptible gift, this most potent and unspeakably glorious bounty.”

~ Bahá’u’lláh

Spiritual Quote :

“Love is the one means that ensureth true felicity both in this world and the next. Love is the light that guideth in darkness, the living link that uniteth God with man, that assureth the progress of every illumined soul. Love is the most great law that ruleth this mighty and heavenly cycle, the unique power that bindeth together the divers elements of this material world, the supreme magnetic force that directeth the movements of the spheres in the celestial realms. Love revealeth with unfailing and limitless power the mysteries latent in the universe. Love is the spirit of life unto the adorned body of mankind, the establisher of true civilization in this mortal world, and the shedder of imperishable glory upon every high-aiming race and nation.”
‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, p. 27

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A Bahá’í’s Christmas Present . . .

christmas-tree-friendsJudy almost wanted to threaten to stay in her room all Christmas day; that is, unless her father let her friend Naquito celebrate the holiday with them…

She went and hugged her father, gave him a butterfly kiss on his wrinkled forehead, and whispered, “Please…?”

“Judy, your friend is a wonderful person but she isn’t a Christian, she wouldn’t feel comfortable here while we’re celebrating the birth of Jesus.”

“Dad, you don’t get it. Naquito loves Christ as much as you do. She just feels He wasn’t the only Messenger of God that ever came to earth.”

Judy waited for the expected defense…

“Well, little one, that isn’t a very Christian attitude is it?”

“Oh, Daddy, I love you so  much but Jesus loves Everybody and Naquito loves Him. If Christmas isn’t about love what’s it about?”

Judy swirled out of my imagination and this fictional religious exchange ended with Naquito sharing Christmas with Judy and her family. Judy’s father even ended up having more than one joyous giggle-session with Naquito…

And, even though I’m not a Christian, I respect and honor Christ so much that I wanted to give all my readers a Christmas present, a joyous, loving, maybe even giggly present.

Here’s a video from my super friend, Robin Easton, about her experience of Christmas and Daddy and… well… Watch and feel the Love!

And, here’s Robin’s Wonderful Blog.

Spiritual Quote :

“…the Faith of Bahá’u’lláh—if we would faithfully appraise it—can never, and in no aspect of its teachings, be at variance, much less conflict, with the purpose animating, or the authority invested in, the Faith of Jesus Christ. This glowing tribute which Bahá’u’lláh Himself has been moved to pay to the Author of the Christian Religion stands as sufficient testimony to the truth of this central principle of Bahá’í belief: ‘…The deepest wisdom which the sages have uttered, the profoundest learning which any mind hath unfolded, the arts which the ablest hands have produced, the influence exerted by the most potent of rulers, are but manifestations of the quickening power released by His transcendent, His all-pervasive and resplendent Spirit. We testify that when He came into the world, He shed the splendor of His glory upon all created things. Through Him the leper recovered from the leprosy of perversity and ignorance. Through Him the unchaste and wayward were healed. Through His power, born of Almighty God, the eyes of the blind were opened, and the soul of the sinner sanctified… He it is Who purified the world. Blessed is the man who, with a face beaming with light, hath turned towards Him.'”
Shoghí Effendí Rabbání, The World Order of Baha’u’llah, p. 185

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The Best Blogs . . .

best_blogsMiguel’s blog was actually being read by people outside his village!  He could hardly believe it but wasn’t going to complain—he’d worked hard to learn how to blog and felt his message was worth reading—the oppression of his people…

Within a year, his blog was being more than just noticed; it was being quoted on other blogs and seemed to be reaching people who had some influence that just might aid his Cause…

Shortly after his blog’s first birthday, Miguel was asked to contribute to an international online journal about oppression of indigenous peoples. Miguel was very happy with his plight even though he had to take more care when he walked in the town near his village—word was reaching the authorities . . .

~~~~~~~~~

That little snippet of a story was created by me but inspired by real stories I’ve read about the “reach” of apparently humble blogs—about the surging energy of thousands of citizen journalists.

I’ve recently discovered a major source of journalism that honors bloggers, worldwide. Here’s a short statement from Deutsche Welle  who sponsors the BOBs—Best of the Blogs—Awards:

“Welcome to the BOBs, the world’s largest international awards for Weblogs, podcasts and videoblogs. Since its inception four years ago, the BOBs have grown to include 11 languages. The winners of each year’s awards are decided by both an international jury of bloggers and through online voting.”

Here are just a few of the top winners:

Generación Y ~ Best Weblog

Author: Yoani Sanchez
Language: Spanish
Date: 2008-09-03
More: Details
Comments93 
The Cuban blogger Yoani Sanchez has been transformed over the past year into an international personality. In Generation Y, she gives voice to a whole generation of Cubans and provides the world with a window into Cuba through her clear and poetic writing.

Voices of Africa ~ Best Videoblog

Author: Various
Language: English
Date: 2008-09-25
More: Details
Voices of Africa is a project to equip citizen journalists in Africa with mobile phones and/or portable digital recorders so they can report on the events happening around them. The local more…

Ohod ~ Best Weblog Arabic

Author: Ahmad 
Language: Arabic
Date: 2008-09-30
More: Details
Comments
Ahmad provides an introduction to independent culture in Egypt, the Arab world and elsewhere. His short commentaries on social issues and reflections are pieces of Arabic literature.

刘晓原的BLOG ~ Best Weblog Chinese

Author: 刘晓原
Language: Chinese
Date: 2008-09-24
More: Details
Comments112 
Liu Xiaoyuan is a self-educated lawyer. He got his official license to work as a lawyer in 2000. He has been writing his blog for the 3 years and helps people protect themselves in their more…

Spiritual Quote :

“In cycles gone by, though harmony was established, yet, owing to the absence of means, the unity of all mankind could not have been achieved. Continents remained widely divided, nay even among the peoples of one and the same continent association and interchange of thought were wellnigh impossible. Consequently intercourse, understanding and unity amongst all the peoples and kindreds of the earth were unattainable. In this day, however, means of communication have multiplied, and the five continents of the earth have virtually merged into one. And for everyone it is now easy to travel to any land, to associate and exchange views with its peoples, and to become familiar, through publications, with the conditions, the religious beliefs and the thoughts of all men. In like manner all the members of the human family, whether peoples or governments, cities or villages, have become increasingly interdependent. For none is self-sufficiency any longer possible…”
‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, p. 31

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Who Are The Poor ?

poorAre you poor? Do you know someone who is?

Most of humanity is poor…

Even the richest people on earth run the risk of being poor in spirit.

I want you to contrast your memory of the largest, most exciting event you’ve ever seen (especially if it was in an affluent country)—full of cheering crowds, ecstatic children, thunderous music, and fantastic displays; contrast that with the following video—produced all over the world  and performed by some of the poor majority—then, tell yourself which event is more uplifting to your soul:

Produced by Playing for Change

I can’t help but feel that things like the Superbowl or the Rose Parade or the extravaganza of the recent U. S. Presidential Campaign not only don’t help my soul but probably darken it just a bit…

Our souls need to truly connect with other souls, not through massive productions that worship money and privilege but through events that let us truly participate, even if only to sing along with the video…

Spiritual Quote :

“They who are possessed of riches…must have the utmost regard for the poor, for great is the honor destined by God for those poor who are steadfast in patience. By My life! There is no honor, except what God may please to bestow, that can compare to this honor. Great is the blessedness awaiting the poor that endure patiently and conceal their sufferings, and well is it with the rich who bestow their riches on the needy and prefer them before themselves.”
Bahá’u’lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 202

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Citizen Media

mediaCalling all World Citizens!

Are you letting the rest of our human family know what’s really going on where you live?

Well, actually, I’m only able to call on all English-speaking  World Citizens. It’s a shame I can only afford a blog platform that costs nothing and, therefore, can’t install translation software…

I included a post about the problems of World Citizens having clear communications in my recent series, Path Toward Peace , but I trust there are those of you reading this who can translate for other World Citizens you know…

I was prompted to write this post today by the following news story:

From OneWorld.Net: Obama Urged to Reform Media, Protect Internet
“As President-elect Barack Obama prepares to name a new leader of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and a chief technology officer at the White House, more than 100 advocates of a free and open media — including some of the most well-known musicians, bloggers, and policy analysts in the country — are urging him to remain true to campaign pledges to diversify media ownership; renew public media; and promote fast, affordable, and open Internet access.”

I felt this story, about a newly-elected President of the United States who’s received such acclaim world-wide, was a good lead-in to a series of papers I discovered recently that assess the state of Citizen Media and its interaction with the mainstream sources of what’s actually happening in our world.

That video is from the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University  and they’ve published twelve fascinating papers on the topic of Digital Media.

I’ve uploaded (so you can download ) the Adobe .pdf of the Overview: News and Information as Digital Media Come of Age.

You may feel you can’t take on the task of reporting events to the world but one example I can cite is this blogger, me , who’s on a small military pension, living in a small apartment, only able to use software that’s free, yet, still sending this report out to the world…

Also, CNN has recently started a site where they say, “…the stories submitted by users are not edited, fact-checked or screened before they post.”

Then, there are the many other efforts to aid Citizen Journalists as represented in this search page from Google.

Plus, there’s the beginner’s tutorial on Global Citizen Media (available in three other languages besides English) from RisingVoices.

We often feel we can only take care of our own lives in this crisis-ridden world, yet, telling the rest of the world about your struggles to live your life would be a fine beginning as a Citizen Journalist!

Spiritual Quote :

“People need to think of themselves as world citizens and understand their personal responsibility… Campaigns to raise public awareness of the challenges of world citizenship must make use of the full range of media and the arts, including television, video, film, radio, electronic networks, books, magazines, posters, flyers, theater and music. These campaigns should enlist the advertising and entertainment industries, the media—both traditional and non-traditional—the entire UN system, all member states, NGOs, and popular personalities. They should reach out to the home, the work place, public areas and schools.”
Bahá’í International Community, 1993 Jun 14, World Citizenship: A Global Ethic for Sustainable Development

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