Why is this woman in jail ?

Haleh RouhiThe Iranian authorities say this woman, “Haleh Rouhi Jahromi, [and her friends and co-workers] Raha Sabet Sarvestani and Sasan Taqva were each sentenced to three years’ imprisonment for ‘organizing illegal groups’ and to an additional one year’s imprisonment for ‘propaganda on behalf of groups that are opposed to the Islamic system’.”

From the site, OneCountry.Org, we have this:

“Accounts that have emerged from Iran tell a far different story. According to Diane Ala’i, a Bahá’í International Community representative to the United Nations in Geneva, the three were in fact engaged in social service projects that most governments would praise.

“’Far from working against the government, the Bahá’ís who were arrested in May 2006 were engaged in humanitarian projects aimed at helping underprivileged young people in the city of Shiraz,’…”

They continue, “In fact, it was a Muslim friend of one member of the group who suggested that the program be instituted to help school children in Katsbas, a poverty-stricken suburb of Shiraz. The project aimed specifically at tutoring children to help them prepare for their end-of-term school examinations.” The group then “…decided to extend their services to include assisting the children to acquire social and moral skills so that they themselves could become the agents of advancement in their own lives and in the society.” The group decided to go even further and “…organized a weekly program offering art classes to young cancer patients at a hospital for children and youth in Shiraz.”

These activities were considered “organizing illegal groups” and “propaganda on behalf of groups that are opposed to the Islamic system”?

Why in the world…?

Because Haleh and Raha and Sasan are Bahá’ís and the current leadership of Iran hates Bahá’ís…
Haleh Rouhi with 'Abdu'l-Baha
That’s Haleh again and she stands in front of a portrait of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, the son of the Prophet-Founder of the Bahá’í Faith. The quote below is from Him…

Spiritual Quote:

“I now wish you to examine certain facts and statements which are worthy of consideration. My purpose and intention is to remove from the hearts of men the religious enmity and hatred which have fettered them and to bring all religions into agreement and unity. Inasmuch as this hatred and enmity, this bigotry and intolerance are outcomes of misunderstandings, the reality of religious unity will appear when these misunderstandings are dispelled. For the foundation of the divine religions is one foundation. This is the oneness of revelation or teaching. But, alas, we have turned away from that foundation, holding tenaciously to various dogmatic forms and blind imitation of ancestral beliefs. This is the real cause of enmity, hatred and bloodshed in the world—the reason of alienation and estrangement among mankind. Therefore, I wish you to be very just and fair in your judgment…”
‘Abdu’l-Bahá, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 407

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Women, Rights, and Water

women_waterWomen are important.

Rights are important.

Water is important.

So, why are so many women so challenged when it comes to getting water? (to see some fascinating yet chilling visual evidence, click on “image credit” at the top of this post)

From OneWorld.Net: “Women and girls in developing countries bear significant economic, physical, and health burdens to provide water for their families on a daily basis — ‘this is the forgotten glass ceiling’, write sustainable water experts John Sauer and Andra Tamburro.”

The article goes on to say:

“Women in poor communities across Asia, Africa, and South America typically walk an average of 3 miles a day to fetch water for their households, often from contaminated sources such as rivers, unprotected springs, and shallow wells…The time this takes could be spent instead on income-generating activities, education, and caring for the family. Moreover, the quality of water that women in developing nations must bring home puts people at risk of deadly diseases such as cholera, typhoid, and amoebic dysentery, diarrheal diseases that kill more children under five than AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis combined.”

Why is this happening?

What can be done about it?

How will worsening climate change affect the situation?

Some of the answers can be found at OneWorld.Net’s Water and Sanitation guide.

The intro to the guide states:

“The achievement of providing 1.6 billion people with access to safe drinking water since 1990 is potentially jeopardised by the absence of matching investment in sanitation. The lack of hygienic facilities experienced by 2.5 billion people is a fundamental cause of disease which leads to 1.5 million deaths of children each year. Climate change uncertainties cast a menacing shadow over the efforts of developing countries to honour their citizens’ rights to safe water and sanitation.”

It continues with these topics (along with many links to further information):

Millennium Development Goals and Water and Sanitation
The Sanitation Deficit
The Benefits of Water and Sanitation
The Right to Water and Sanitation
Water and Sanitation in Global Politics
Local Governance of Water and Sanitation
Water is a Finite Resource
Climate Change and Water

Like most of the problems afflicting humanity, nothing significant will happen to rectify the situation until the people in-charge and the people affected attain some measure of Unity

Spiritual Quote:

“Women have equal rights with men upon earth; in religion and society they are a very important element. 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

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Child Soldiers, Updated

Image Credit
child-soldierIn a recent report from TerraViva-Europe, RIGHTS: RECRUITERS OF CHILD SOLDIERS DEFY UN PRESSURE, I found this statement about attempts to eradicate the use of child soldiers:

“Asked how the United Nations could remedy the situation, or rein in non-state armed groups, Joost R. Hiltermann of the International Crisis Group told IPS there is ‘no easy answer’ to the question.

“‘I doubt the United Nations could do anything about it other than highlighting the issue and reinforcing the ban on the use of children in conflict, especially for such nefarious purposes,’ he said, referring specifically to suicide bombers in Iraq.”

That report made me have  to revise and reprint this post from February 4th:

Imagine  a child deciding to join an army because it’s the only choice that will assure food every day…

Imagine  a male child being abducted to fight a war or a female child being abducted to be a sex slave for the male child-soldiers…

Now, Imagine  more than 300,000 such children…

This is an extremely sobering fact about our human family.

In 1959, 50 years ago, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights of the United Nations published a Declaration of the Rights of the Child  and yet, today,  we can read in a report from the U. S. Department of State:

“Some children have been forced to commit atrocities against their families and communities. Child soldiers are often killed or wounded, with survivors often suffering multiple traumas and psychological scarring. Their personal development is often irreparably damaged. Returning child soldiers are often rejected by their home communities.”

Imagine  a country in which “…shooting video, owning a video, speaking in a video, sharing a video, or even shouting out in glee after watching television, can earn you years in jail.”

That country is Burma…

Imagine  a web site that uses video to not only bring international crimes to the public’s attention but is noted for having its videos become central to the arrest of a warlord in Africa that is alleged to have used child soldiers in his conflicts.

That site is The Hub, “The global platform for human rights media and action: See It – Film It – Change It.”

That warlord is Thomas Lubanga Dyilo and his trial is the first for the International Criminal Court, “… the first permanent, treaty based, international criminal court established to help end impunity for the perpetrators of the most serious crimes of concern to the international community.”

You can follow the trial at The Lubanga Trial at the International Criminal Court.

Often, in my scanning the news for current issues and crises of our global human family, I’m totally devastated by what I find…

This is one of those occasions………

All I can add to this report is:

A Spiritual Quote:

“O Thou kind Lord! These lovely children are the handiwork of the fingers of Thy might and the wondrous signs of Thy greatness. O God! Protect these children, graciously assist them to be educated and enable them to render service to the world of humanity. O God! These children are pearls, cause them to be nurtured within the shell of Thy loving-kindness.

“Thou art the Bountiful, the All-Loving.”
‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Compilations, Baha’i Prayers, p. 34

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Father Law ~ Mother Mercy


When did the Law become our parents?

Why aren’t parents protecting their children?

Why do the powers-that-be feel it’s their job to protect everyone’s children?

I’m not talking about situations when the Law needs to intervene in criminal acts against children—physical violence in public spaces, kidnapping, physical abuse, and other such crimes.

What those questions relate to is the Importuning Law; specifically, importuning on a telecommunications device—soliciting sex on a computer from an underage person…

If you like to twist your mind around legalese here’s Ohio’s Importuning Law.

The most startling part of the law is where it says the “offender” is guilty “…whether or not the offender knows the age of the other person.”

This seems to mean that someone could be in an Internet chat room, believing the other person is 21 years old, and, if they’re only 14, the “offender” is guilty of a felony…

Sound twisted to you?

Also, police are permitted to pose as underage persons and entrap “offenders”. This has been challenged in court.

There are a great variety of opinions surrounding these situations. One example is on waspohio.org.

Here are those questions again, in a slightly different order:

When did the Law become our parents?

Why do the powers-that-be feel it’s their job to protect everyone’s children?

Why aren’t parents protecting their children?

I’d love to have your comments and I hope the comment section becomes a riot of conversation!

Spiritual Quote:

“…it should be recognized that the ultimate solution to the problems of humanity lies not in penalties and punishments, but rather in spiritual education and illumination. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá has written:

“It is incumbent upon human society to expend all its forces on the education of the people, and to copiously water men’s hearts with the sacred streams that pour down from the Realm of the All-Merciful, and to teach them the manners of Heaven and spiritual ways of life, until every member of the community of man will be schooled, refined, and exalted to such a degree of perfection that the very committing of a shameful act will seem in itself the direst infliction and most agonizing of punishments, and man will fly in terror and seek refuge in his God from the very idea of crime, as something far harsher and more grievous than the punishment assigned to it.”
The Universal House of Justice, 1992, Violence and Sexual Abuse of Women and Children

And, in a more detailed format:

“Proposal submitted by the Bahá’í­ International Community at the Pre-sessional open-ended Working Group on the Question of a Convention on the Rights of the Child, Forty-first session of the Commission on Human Rights New York, USA 25 January 1985 Revised Article 16

1. In addition to academic education, the child shall be entitled to receive guidance training and education designed to promote his social, spiritual and moral development and well-being. 2. The fundamental objectives of such guidance, training and education shall be: a. To promote the harmonious development of the personality of the child and the realization of his full potential; b. To protect the child by developing his ability to resist outside influences or pressures likely to lead him into lawlessness or delinquency, or into practices injurious to his physical or mental health or to his social, spiritual or moral well-being; c. To prepare the child to exercise the rights and undertake the responsibilities of adult life in a manner consistent both with his own well-being and with the well-being of others; d. To foster in the child a respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms and an attitude of understanding, respect and friendship towards all people, regardless of race, sex, class, colour, nationality, ethnic origin, religion or belief. e. To foster in the child an awareness of and a desire to promote the principles of universal peace and brotherhood proclaimed in the Charter of the United Nations. 3. The States Parties to the present Convention, bearing in mind that, in accordance with article 8, the primary responsibility for the upbringing and development of the child rests with his parents or guardians, shall use their best efforts to: a. Raise the level of public awareness of the importance of the social, spiritual and moral education of the child, particularly during his early years; b. Promote recognition and understanding by all those concerned with the upbringing of the child, most particularly his parents or guardians of their indispensable role. and the primary importance of their example, in the social, spiritual and moral development of the child; c. Encourage schools to develop guidelines and courses of instruction designed to foster the social, spiritual and moral development of the child.
Bahá’í International Community: 1985 Jan 25 Question of a Convention on the Rights of the Child

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