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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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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For America’s Spiritual Growth . . .

statue_of_liberty

This is not a 4th of July post.

That particular celebration commemorates the
Declaration of Independence.

That document includes this statement: “… as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War...” Also, certain traditional songs used at the celebration “recall images of the Revolutionary War or the War of 1812 [Wikipedia].

Our last post was about human rights in Iran and this one is about America’s spiritual destiny…

Many are unaware of the vastly important spiritual future of Iran and the United States and current events are certainly, to say the least, confusing on that score. One of the Spiritual Quotes  below addresses a future relation between Iran and the United States…

This video is a song about America that uses the words from the other Spiritual Quote

Spiritual Quotes:

“Some of the creatures of existence can live solitary and alone. A tree, for instance, may live without the assistance and cooperation of other trees. Some animals are isolated and lead a separate existence away from their kind. But this is impossible for man. In his life and being cooperation and association are essential. Through association and meeting we find happiness and development, individual and collective.

“For instance, when there is intercourse and cooperation between two villages, the advancement of each will be assured. Likewise, if intercommunication is established between two cities, both will benefit and progress. And if a reciprocal basis of agreement be reached between two countries, their individual and mutual interests will find great development. Therefore, in the unity of this radiant assemblage I behold the link between Orient and Occident. Such unity is the means and instrument of cooperation between the various countries of the East and West. It is evident, then, that the outcomes from this basis of agreement and accord are numberless and unlimited. Surely there will be great harvests of results forthcoming for Persia and America. In Persia advanced material civilization will be established and the doors thrown open wide to American commerce.

“Above and beyond all this, a great love and fountain of affection shall bind and blend these two remote peoples, for Bahá’u’lláh has proclaimed to the world the solidarity of nations and the oneness of humanity. Addressing all mankind He has said, ‘Ye are all leaves of one tree and the drops of one sea’. The world of humanity has been expressed by Him as a unit—as one family. It is, therefore, hoped that the American and Persian nations may be conjoined and united in reciprocal love. May they become one race endowed with the same susceptibilities. May these bonds of amity and accord be firmly established.”
‘Abdu’l-Bahá, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 35

“O Thou kind Lord! This gathering is turning to Thee. These hearts are radiant with Thy love. These minds and spirits are exhilarated by the message of Thy glad-tidings. O God! Let this American democracy become glorious in spiritual degrees even as it has aspired to material degrees, and render this just government victorious. Confirm this revered nation to upraise the standard of the oneness of humanity, to promulgate the Most Great Peace, to become thereby most glorious and praiseworthy among all the nations of the world. O God! This American nation is worthy of Thy favors and is deserving of Thy mercy. Make it precious and near to Thee through Thy bounty and bestowal.”
‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Bahá’í Prayers, p. 23

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Why should You care?

cyrus_the_greatWhy should you care that seven innocent people are languishing in prison in Iran with no access to legal counsel?

Well, even if they were guilty, the lack of access to their lawyer—Shirin Ebadi—is criminal. The image on the left is of Cyrus the Great. The following is from Wikipedia :

On December 10, 2003, in her acceptance of the Nobel Peace Prize, Shirin Ebadi evoked Cyrus, saying:
“I am an Iranian, a descendant of Cyrus the Great. This emperor proclaimed at the pinnacle of power 2,500 years ago that he ‘would not reign over the people if they did not wish it.’ He promised not to force any person to change his religion and faith and guaranteed freedom for all. The Charter of Cyrus the Great should be studied in the history of human rights.”

Why should you care if the prime reason for these people’s incarceration is that they hold a belief in the Bahá’í Faith?

Well, jailing someone for their beliefs is an attempt to induce mind control through force.

Nader Saiedi has written a scholarly yet scathing article called Forgetting They Are Human. In that article (which goes into great depth on the psychology of the people who would use force to control thoughts), he says:

“It is now thirty years that the Islamic regime has been engaged in a brutal, systematic and organized persecution of the Baha’is in Iran. This religious sadism, however, has recently been much more intensified. The Islamic Republic forces elementary school teachers to publicly humiliate the Baha’i children, and with utter inhumanity to insult their religion. This is one of the manifestations of their brand of ‘Islamic Justice’ whose like is rarely seen even among the most despotic and racist contemporary regimes of the world. The reactionaries, led in this ‘holy war’ against these children by the leaders of the Hojjatiyeh Association [a secret anti-Baha’i society], have opened up new chapters in the annals of courage and humanity. These brave warriors are not content with just harassing children, instead they systematically attack the organized lines of Baha’i corpses in cemeteries, and after bravely defeating the dead, burn their remaining bodies.”

Why should you care about this if you don’t live in Iran?

Well, there’s that concept gaining increasing acceptance—the one that stresses our common humanity—that holds us to the high standard of protecting any  human who is dealt with unjustly.

Why should you care, even if you wished they weren’t being treated badly, when you might feel it to be impossible for you to do anything to protect them?

Because you can  do something to protect them…

You can pray for them.

If you don’t believe in prayer, have the courtesy and maturity to respect those who do believe in it.

From an open letter entitled, We Are Ashamed, from a group of more than 200 prominent academics, writers, artists, journalists and Iranian activists throughout the world to the Baha’i community come these words:

“In the name of goodness and beauty, and in the name of humanity and liberty!

“As Iranian human beings, we are ashamed for what has been perpetrated upon the Bahá’ís in the last century and a half in Iran.
We firmly believe that every Iranian, ‘without distinction of any kind, such as, race, color, sex, language, religion, politics or other opinions’, and also without regard to ethnic background, ‘social origin, property, birth or other status’, is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. However, from the very inception of the Bahá’í Faith, the followers of this religion in Iran have been deprived of many provisions of human rights solely on account of their religious convictions.”

Why should you care about these Bahá’ís if you’re a Christian, Jew, Muslim, or member of any other Faith?

Well, true religion upholds justice and instills unity.

Spiritual Quote:

“All the divine Manifestations have proclaimed the oneness of God and the unity of mankind. They have taught that men should love and mutually help each other in order that they might progress. Now if this conception of religion be true, its essential principle is the oneness of humanity. The fundamental truth of the Manifestations is peace. This underlies all religion, all justice. The divine purpose is that men should live in unity, concord and agreement and should love one another. Consider the virtues of the human world and realize that the oneness of humanity is the primary foundation of them all. Read the Gospel and the other holy books. You will find their fundamentals are one and the same. Therefore unity is the essential truth of religion and when so understood embraces all the virtues of the human world. Praise be to God! this knowledge has been spread, eyes have been opened and ears have become attentive. Therefore we must endeavor to promulgate and practice the religion of God which has been founded by all the prophets. And the religion of God is absolute love and unity.
Abdu’l-Bahá: Bahá’í World Faith

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Involuntary Wandering

Homeless. Most often starving. Raising children in squalid conditions. These are our global family’s refugees.

From Refugees International: Stateless People “More than 11 million people around the world are stateless….The 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights asserts ‘Everyone has the right to a nationality’, but stateless individuals generally do not benefit from the protection and assistance of governments, the United Nations, or aid agencies.”

By no means were refugees necessarily poor or uneducated before their forced migration.

From OneWorld.Net: Searching for Identity in an Ethiopian Refugee Camp “While thankful to be safely outside of Eritrea, Emmanuel explains that in addition to the general problems of refugee camp life such as insufficient food rations and health concerns like malaria, it is not easy to get out of the camp to carry out normal activities such as using the internet. First, a person must obtain a day pass, only 25 of which are issued every day. A bus to Shirraro, the nearest town, needs to be arranged and one must be able to cover the cost of bus fare and internet fees, which start at 15 Birr (US$ 1.56). He would like to continue his studies. ‘I have read the same physics textbook several times, but I would really like to study meteorology.’ ”

I searched Google images for quite awhile to find that picture of the mother and child. It was one of the absolutely saddest searches I’ve ever made…

I happen to be a United States citizen with a small veteran’s pension: not rich or particularly comfortable. I’ve also served time living on the streets, mostly due to a severe lack of self esteem. Yet, none of the suffering I’ve gone through comes anywhere near these peoples’ plight !

Bringing this post to an amazing end is a bit of the story of a remarkable refugee, Bahá’u’lláh. He lived in 19th Century Persia and was banished to Iraq, Turkey, and what is now Israel. This excerpt was written by His son:

“He upraised this standard of the oneness of humanity in prison. When subjected to banishment by two kings, while a refugee from enemies of all nations and during the days of His long imprisonment He wrote to the kings and rulers of the world in words of wonderful eloquence, arraigning them severely and summoning them to the divine standard of unity and justice. He exhorted them to peace and international agreement, making it incumbent upon them to establish a board of international arbitration—that from all nations and governments of the world there should be delegates selected for a congress of nations which should constitute a universal arbitral court of justice to settle international disputes. He wrote to Victoria, Queen of Great Britain, the Czar of Russia, the Emperor of Germany, Napoleon III of France and others, inviting them to world unity and peace. Through a heavenly power He was enabled to promulgate these ideals in the Orient. Kings could not withstand Him. They endeavored to extinguish His light but served only to increase its intensity and illumination. While in prison He stood against the Shah of Persia and Sultan of Turkey and promulgated His teachings until He firmly established the banner of truth and the oneness of humankind. I was a prisoner with Him for forty years until the Young Turks of the Committee of Union and Progress overthrew the despotism of Abdu’l-Hamid, dethroned him and proclaimed liberty. This committee set me free from tyranny and oppression; otherwise, I should have been in prison until the days of my life were ended.”
‘Abdu’l-Bahá, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 203

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