The Art of Human Rights Struggle

Just a few of the art works inspired by
the struggle for human rights in Iran
on Tehran Bureau

Poster 5 150x150 Artful Resistancetehranbureau slideshow image 150x150 Artful ResistanceNeda, a young woman shot to death, immortalized as the ‘human face’ of the movement.

FB profile 7 150x150 Artful ResistanceFB profile 32 150x150 Artful Resistance“Where is my vote” became the iconic phrase for protesting the fraudulent vote results

Spiritual Quote:

“The source of human rights is the endowment of qualities, virtues and powers which God has bestowed upon mankind without discrimination of sex, race, creed or nation. To fulfill the possibilities of this divine endowment is the purpose of human existence.

“Human rights can be established in terms of social status when members of the community realize that the gift of life and conscious being obligates them to meet responsibilities owed to God, to society and to self. Mutual recognition by members of the community of the truth that their lives emanate from one and the same universal Source enables them to maintain ordered relationships in a common social body.

“The social body does not create essential human rights. Its office is that of trustee under appointment to act for the community in the preservation of the relationships which represent the moral achievement of the members, and to cherish and protect that unity of spirit which is their highest mutual obligation.

“No social body, whatever its form, has power to maintain essential human rights for persons who have repudiated their moral obligation and abandoned the divine endowment distinguishing man from beast. Civil definitions of political and economic status, if devoid of moral value and influence, are not equivalent to essential human rights but express the expedients of partisan policy. An ordered society can only be maintained by moral beings.”
Bahá’í International Community, 1947 Feb,
A Bahá’í Declaration of Human Obligations and Rights

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Global Day of Action

Global_Day_of_Action

Our last post alerted folks to the Global Day of Action on July 25th—United for Iran—when people in over 100 cities around the world stood with the people of Iran in their hour of need—their struggle to have their voices heard, their votes counted, their rights protected…

Here are just a few of the videos of this Global Day of Action
from the United for Iran  site:

CNN covers Berlin and London:

Shirin Ebadi, first Iranian to receive the Nobel Peace Prize, human rights activist and lawyer
(after the introduction there is an English translator…):

U2 sings for the Iranians:

Spiritual Quote:

“Bahá’u’lláh…has said, and has guarded His statement by rational proofs from the Holy Books, that the world of humanity is one race, the surface of the earth one place of residence and that these imaginary racial barriers and political boundaries are without right or foundation. Man is degraded in becoming the captive of his own illusions and suppositions. The earth is one earth, and the same atmosphere surrounds it. No difference or preference has been made by God for its human inhabitants; but man has laid the foundation of prejudice, hatred and discord with his fellowman by considering nationalities separate in importance and races different in rights and privileges.”
‘Abdu’l-Bahá, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 232

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The World Is Watching…

united_4_iran

Things have been stirring in Iran…

As the ancient Persia, this country gave the world its first declaration of human rights…

Its recent track record on that account is shameful…

Go to United for Iran and see what a Global Day of Action for Human Rights can mean…

For now, watch this video:

And, here’s a list of links to our other posts about Iran:

Prayers Make History

Who Are The Iranians?

18 Tir = 9 July

An Anthem for Iran

Jon Bon Jovi Sings for Iran

Neda, Stay With Us !

Why Is This Woman In Jail?

Morality’s Downfall

Women, Stereotypes, and Truth

Why Should You Care?

Religious Persecution

Repression

East and West Embrace, tentatively…

Religious Minority In Iran

Prisoners of Conscience

Woman – Man – Art

Human Rights Abuse That’s Closest To My Heart…

Spiritual Quote:

“We are commanded to quicken the souls, to train the characters, to illumine the realm of man, to guide all the inhabitants of the earth, to create concord and unity among all men and to lead the world of humanity to the Fountain of the Everlasting Glory. The reformation of one empire is not our aim; nay, rather we invoke from God that all the regions of the world be reformed and cultivated; the republic of men become the manifestors of the bounty of the most glorious Lord; the East and the West be brought nearer together; and that the Turk and Tajik, Iran and America, India and Arabia, Japan and Persia, China and Germany; in brief, all the nations and peoples of the world become as one soul and one spirit, in order that strife and warfare be entirely removed and the rancor and hostility disappear so that all become as the waves of one ocean, the drops of one sea, the flowers of one rose-garden, the trees of one orchard, the grains of one harvest and the plants of one meadow.”
‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Tablets of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá v3, p. 490

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Prayers Make History…

image credit
namaz7There is political foment happening in Iran but it’s not my place to comment on purely political happenings…

Yet, the underlying spiritual struggle, the human suffering, the psychological horror, the emotional drama; these I will address…

From a story on Tehran Bureau: An independent source of news on Iran and the Iranian diaspora  entitled, Prayers Make History, I want to quote various passages that set my mind and heart ablaze:

From A First-Hand Account

“As with other such days, I felt a dual sense of fear and fervor, heightened by the uncertainty of whether people would turn out or not. I arranged to go with friends, because the past month’s experiences have taught me that going alone is unsafe. I remembered to put my name and number on a piece of paper in my pocket so if anything happens to me, my family can be notified.”

“They came in all types: hipster with a rainbow-cannabis medallion resting on his open neck, a family with a ten-year-old child, women in that Islamic Iran archetype black chador, scruffy-looking men, laborers, girls in sunglasses, senior citizens.”

“…phenomenal spectacle, a first in the history of Friday Prayers in Iran (and perhaps in a large part of the Muslim world), men and women were not segregated. Thy prayed side by side. This did not appear to offend the religious-minded; they seemed to accept the situation.”

“Personally, as an atheist, I’ve always found it difficult to socialize with the religious masses. For the first time in my life, however, I really enjoyed being among my religious compatriots. I even tried to behave in such a way as to avoid causing them any discomforrt or disrespect.”

“The word online was that protests would start after prayers were over. …I was intoxicated by the boom of thousands of reverberating voices chanting in unison….We pushed forward, a deluge thickened by people spilling in from alleys on either side where they’d been praying. The drone of chanting carried over from other streets and we felt empowered in the knowledge that thousands more were on the move like us.”

“Suddenly, to our shock, they began firing tear gas in rapid succession — six, seven, eight? I don’t know how many hissing shots landed in quick succession in our midst. Panic ensued, as the crowd’s stampede-like retreat was constricted by the density of the crowd and the lack of space to expand into.”

“My eyes and throat and lungs were on fire. As I inhaled more toxic fumes, breathing became laborious. The muscles in my limbs felt numb, lax…People huddled around, and I went forth too, to get black smoke and cigarette smoke in my eyes to counter the effects of the tear gas.”

“The feeling of suffocation grew inside of me. A new awareness suddenly occurred as well: I may die. At that moment, I physically felt the possibility of death. Then I heard voices. I felt hands pulling me up, hands passing me along, and that’s the last thing I remember.”

The story continues, the man recovers, tells of help given him and his helping others, scenes of violence, bravery, human drama…

Spiritual Quote (about the early history of the Bahá’í Faith in Iran):

“Agitations, trials, woes, afflictions, and torture, arson, expulsion, plunder, beating, vilification, captivity, banishment, imprisonment, destruction of life—none of these could hinder the advancement of this beloved Cause, none could weaken the high resolve of its followers and champions in any part of the world, none could damage or disrupt the structure of its New Order, none could create a cleavage, a division, a schism or any form of sectarianism in the ranks of its embattled hosts. Nay rather, were one to observe with a discerning eye, it would become clear and evident that commotion in itself, the very succession of calamities, upheavals and hardships. and the recurrence of trials, adversities and sufferings have lent an impetus to the power latent in the Cause and reinforced its compelling force and pervasive influence. Indeed as a result of the onrushing tempests of tribulation and the raging hurricanes of tests and trials, the Faith’s scope of operation has been enlarged, its pillars have been raised to loftier heights, its foundation has become more secure, its glory more resplendent, the spread of its influence more rapid, its ascendancy and dominion more conspicuous and evident.”
Shoghí Effendí Rabbání, Fire and Light, p. 36

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Who Are The Iranians ?

Much going on in Iran now…

Much in America, too…

Our previous post, For America’s Spiritual Growth…, explored some deep connections between the two countries…

But who Are  the Iranians…?

Spiritual Quote:

“Aside from that which is a matter of record in Persian histories, it is stated in the Old Testament—established today, among all European peoples, as a sacred and canonical Text—that in the time of Cyrus, called in Iranian works Bahman son of Isfandiyar, the three hundred and sixty divisions of the Persian Empire extended from the inner confines of India and China to the farthermost reaches of Yemen and Ethiopia.[1] The Greek accounts, as well, relate how this proud sovereign came against them with an innumerable host, and left their own till then victorious dominion level with the dust. He made the pillars of all the governments to quake; according to that authoritative Arab work, the history of Abu’l-Fida, he took over the entire known world. It is likewise recorded in this same text and elsewhere, that Firaydun, a king of the Pishdadiyan Dynasty—who was indeed, for his inherent perfections, his powers of judgment, the scope of his knowledge, and his long series of continual victories, unique among all the rulers who preceded and followed him—divided the whole known world among his three sons.
[1] 2 Chronicles 36:22-23; Ezra 1:2; Esther 1:1; 8:9; Isaiah 45:1, 14; 49:12.

“As attested by the annals of the world’s most illustrious peoples, the first government to be established on earth, the foremost empire to be organized among the nations, was Persia’s throne and diadem….

“It should not be imagined that the people of Persia are inherently deficient in intelligence, or that for essential perceptiveness and understanding, inborn sagacity, intuition and wisdom, or innate capacity, they are inferior to others. God forbid! On the contrary, they have always excelled all other peoples in endowments conferred by birth. Persia herself, moreover, from the standpoint of her temperate climate and natural beauties, her geographical advantages and her rich soil, is blessed to a supreme degree. What she urgently requires, however, is deep reflection, resolute action, training, inspiration and encouragement. Her people must make a massive effort, and their pride must be aroused.”
‘Abdu’l-Bahá, The Secret of Divine Civilization, p. 7

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Global Crisis, the MDGs, and the Earth Charter

Global_Crisis

The MILLENNIUM DEVELOPMENT GOALS (MDGs) are an intertwined set of priorities first promoted by the United Nations in 2000.

Here they are:
End Poverty and Hunger
Universal Education
Gender Equality
Child Health
Maternal Health
Combat HIV/AIDS
Environmental Sustainability
Global Partnership

The original “deadline” for meeting the goals was 2015.

In the highly influential Huffington Post , in an article entitled, It’s Over: The Tragedy of the Millennium Development Goals, William Easterly says, “The MDGs will go down in history as a success in global consciousness-raising, but a failure in using that consciousness for its stated objectives….Why waste any more effort on the MDGs, now that we know they will not be met?”

In the 2009 Report on the status of attainment of the goals, it says:

“Rather than retreat, now is the time to accelerate progress towards the MDGs and to strengthen the global partnership for development. If the global community responds constructively to the crisis, the goals can still be achieved.”

The statement from the Huffington Post is from an economist. The statement from the 2009 Report is from the Secretary-General of the UN.

It’s relatively easy to see why the chief officer of the United Nations would implore hope and significantly puzzling why an economist would preach defeat before the deadline…

Of course there are many other views as well as many other initiatives to improve the miserable lot of most of the members of our human family…

One particularly important initiative is the Earth Charter—drafted during a six-year worldwide consultation process (1994-2000).

In 1991, the Bahá’í International Community offered suggestions for the proposed Earth Charter and presented them to the Preparatory Committee of the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development.

This blog always offers a spiritual quote along with its commentary since I believe the solutions to cultural and global crises lie in applied spirituality. I believe the BIC’s suggestions to the UNCED are noteworthy because they give the underlying spiritual prerequisites without which any proposed political or economic solution will fail. Here are those suggestions…

Spiritual Quote:

Geneva
5 April 1991

* * * * *

“The Bahá’í International Community applauds the proposal of the Secretary-General of the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) that an Earth Charter be one of six principal components to be addressed at UNCED in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in June 1992. Indeed, agreement on the ‘principles to govern the relationships of peoples and nations with each other and with the earth’ will be essential ‘to ensure our common future in both environmental and developmental terms’. We, therefore, welcome this opportunity to share our views on elements to be considered for inclusion in this proposed Charter.

“It is our conviction that any call to global action for environment and development must be rooted in universally accepted values and principles. Similarly, the search for solutions to the world’s grave environmental and developmental problems must go beyond technical-utilitarian proposals and address the underlying causes of the crisis. Genuine solutions, in the Bahá’í view, will require a globally accepted vision for the future, based on unity and willing cooperation among the nations, races, creeds, and classes of the human family. Commitment to a higher moral standard, equality between the sexes, and the development of consultative skills for the effective functioning of groups at all levels of society will be essential.

“There are many environmental declarations to which the UNCED Earth Charter could refer and on which it might draw, including the Stockholm Declaration on the Human Environment (1972), the Nairobi Declaration (1982), the World Charter for Nature (1982), and more recent documents such as the Universal Code of Environmental Conduct (Bangkok, October 1990).

“Clearly, an UNCED declaration or Earth Charter would profit from the widest possible consultation with governments and non-governmental organizations. The Bahá’í International Community is, therefore, pleased to offer the following elements for possible inclusion in such a declaration of principles.

“In order to reorient individuals and societies toward a sustainable future, we must recognize the following.

– Unity is essential if diverse peoples are to work toward a common future. The Earth Charter might well identify those aspects of unity which are prerequisites for the achievement of sustainable development. In the Bahá’í view, ‘The well-being of mankind, its peace and security, are unattainable unless and until its unity is firmly established’.

– The unrestrained exploitation of natural resources is merely a symptom of an overall sickness of the human spirit. Any solutions to the environment/development crisis must, therefore, be rooted in an approach which fosters spiritual balance and harmony within the individual, between individuals, and with the environment as a whole. Material development must serve not only the body, but the mind and spirit as well.

– The changes required to reorient the world toward a sustainable future imply degrees of sacrifice, social integration, selfless action, and unity of purpose rarely achieved in human history. These qualities have reached their highest degree of development through the power of religion. Therefore, the world’s religious communities have a major role to play in inspiring these qualities in their members, releasing latent capacities of the human spirit and empowering individuals to act on behalf of the planet, its peoples, and future generations.

– Nothing short of a world federal system, guided by universally agreed upon and enforceable laws, will allow nation states to manage cooperatively an increasingly interdependent and rapidly changing world, thereby ensuring peace and social and economic justice for all the world’s peoples.

– Development must be decentralized in order to involve communities in formulating and implementing the decisions and programs that affect their lives. Such a decentralization need not conflict with a global system and strategy, but would in fact ensure that developmental processes are adapted to the planet’s rich cultural, geographic, and ecological diversity.

– Consultation must replace confrontation and domination in order to gain the cooperation of the family of nations in devising and implementing measures that will preserve the earth’s ecological balance.

– Only as women are welcomed into full partnership in all fields of human endeavor, including environment and development, will the moral and psychological climate be created in which a peaceful, harmonious, and sustainable civilization can emerge and flourish.

– The cause of universal education deserves the utmost support, for no nation can achieve success unless education is accorded all its citizens. Such an education should promote the consciousness of both the oneness of humanity and the integral connection between humankind and the world of nature. By nurturing a sense of world citizenship, education can prepare the youth of the world for the organic changes in the structure of society which the principle of oneness implies.

“The Bahá’í International Community stands ready to contribute to the further elaboration and promotion of an Earth Charter in consultation with other interested bodies.”
Bahá’í International Community, 1992 June 06, Earth Charter

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United Breaks Guitars

There are many ways to complain about unjust treatment.

Case in point, from the Huffington Post: “United Breaks Guitars, the sudden viral hit produced by distraught United Airways passenger Dave Carroll and his band, broke 1M views a mere 4 days after he posted it on YouTube.”

This video is the most creative complaint I’ve ever seen:

Detailed description of the incident

Also from the Huffington Post: “Carroll’s goal was to get one million views in one year but he did more than just that. Remarkably, in these brief 4 days he changed United’s Google search results page — something marketers take great pains to protect. In web marketing it’s often said, “You are what Google says you are,” and right now 4 of the Google results on the first page for “United Airlines” point to this video. Seven of the first 10 results for a Google video search of United Airlines are damaging to the brand.”

Mr. Carroll’s response to United’s attempt at restitution is amazing:

Song Two certainly should be fascinating…

Spiritual Quote:

“O SON OF SPIRIT!
The best beloved of all things in My sight is Justice; turn not away therefrom if thou desirest Me, and neglect it not that I may confide in thee. By its aid thou shalt see with thine own eyes and not through the eyes of others, and shalt know of thine own knowledge and not through the knowledge of thy neighbor. Ponder this in thy heart; how it behooveth thee to be. Verily justice is My gift to thee and the sign of My loving-kindness. Set it then before thine eyes.”
Bahá’u’lláh, The Arabic Hidden Words

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