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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We Really Are One Big Family

RwandaOne of the comments to our last post, from a good friend of mine from Japan, said I was being “timely” in posting about Women, Rights, and Water; then, she left a link for a delightful video which is below.

The video made me review my understanding of the
Millennium Development Goals.

Don’t know what they are?

They’re a huge commitment by lots of people to resolve a host of Our Family’s problems…

Below is a list of the goals and each listing is a link. Check out the one that attracts you most… Then check out the rest so you can tell others about them!
 

MILLENNIUM 
DEVELOPMENT GOALS

 

Spiritual Quote:

“The modern national state came into existence as a unifier of diverse races and peoples. It has been a social truce observed by or enforced upon communities previously separate, independent and hostile. Historically the nation represented a great moral victory, a definite and important stage in human progress. It has raised the condition of the masses of people, substituted constitutional law for the arbitrary authority of the tribe, extended education and knowledge, mitigated the effect of sectarian disputes, and enlarged the social world of the average man. It provided conditions under which natural science could develop, inventions be put into operation, and industrialization give man mastery over nature.

“The new powers and resources made possible by the nation could not be confined within the national boundary but produced an internationalism of cause and effect in social relationships which no nation could control. The national state has reached the limits of its development as an independent, self-directed social body. A world science, a world economy and a world consciousness, riding the wave of a new and universal movement of spiritual evolution, lay the foundations of world order. Conceived of as an end in itself, the national state has come to be a denial of the oneness of mankind, the source of general disruption opposed to the true interests of its people. From the depths of man’s divine endowment stirs response to the affirmation of oneness which gives this age its central impetus and direction. Society is undergoing transformation, to effect a new order based on the wholeness of human relationships.”
Bahá’í International Community, 1947 Feb, A Baha’i Declaration of Human Obligations and Rights

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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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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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Religion & Human Rights

religious_persecution

Two Prickly Folks At The Café

PF1: “How can you say that? God intended for His servants to worship him through well-trained and devoted ministers—people called to His service and anointed with His power!”

PF2: “Bull!  You think God cares about the kind of ministers you have? Bigoted, servile automatons is what they are!!

PF1: “Well, I’d rather listen to one of my ministers than one of your so-called ‘priests’—just a bunch of puny excuses for real  men—

~~~~~~~~~
Your humble observer quickly left the Café before a fist-fight broke out…
~~~~~~~~~

That imaginary “conversation” isn’t all that different from real ones I’ve heard. People displaying highly irreligious attitudes as they fight like animals over what they claim is the “True Faith”.

This kind of religious intolerance can quickly lead to actual violence and, if sanctioned by powerful organizations or governments, roll right downhill into flagrant and physical persecution of whole groups of our human family.

From the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom:

Countries of Particular Concern:

Burma, China, Eritrea, Iran, Iraq, North Korea, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Vietnam

Lest someone think that concerning themselves with religious freedom is of low value, remember: losing one freedom erodes the security of other freedoms…

International Conventions that need global support:

International Religious Freedom Act of 1998
“The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom shall have as its primary responsibility the annual and ongoing review of the facts and circumstances of violations of religious freedom and the making of policy recommendations to the President, the Secretary of State, and Congress with respect to matters involving international religious freedom.”

Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights
“Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes the freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.”

Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
“Everyone shall have the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion. This right shall include freedom to have or to adopt a religion or belief of his choice, and freedom, either individually or in community with others and in public or private, to manifest his religion or belief in worship, observance, practice, and teaching.”

From The Guardian:
“Religious persecution can never be excused, but its causes can be explained. The haunting fear of hidden, unexpected revolution drives every dictator, sooner or later, to savage attacks on those he fears most and understands least. Dictators who claim dominion over a man’s mind as well as his body, whose regimes are based on tyranny and their people’s ignorance of the outside world, are wont to attack religious leaders, who must, at all costs, be discredited.”

Spiritual Quote:

“The activity most intimately linked to the consciousness that distinguishes human nature is the individual’s exploration of reality for himself or herself. The freedom to investigate the purpose of existence and to develop the endowments of human nature that make it achievable requires protection. Human beings must be free to know. That such freedom is often abused and such abuse grossly encouraged by features of contemporary society does not detract in any degree from the validity of the impulse itself.

“It is this distinguishing impulse of human consciousness that provides the moral imperative for the enunciation of many of the rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration and the related Covenants. Universal education, freedom of movement, access to information, and the opportunity to participate in political life are all aspects of its operation that require explicit guarantee by the international community. The same is true of freedom of thought and belief, including religious liberty, along with the right to hold opinions and express these opinions appropriately.

“Since the body of humankind is one and indivisible, each member of the race is born into the world as a trust of the whole. This trusteeship constitutes the moral foundation of most of the other rights — principally economic and social — which the instruments of the United Nations are attempting similarly to define. The security of the family and the home, the ownership of property, and the right to privacy are all implied in such a trusteeship. The obligations on the part of the community extend to the provision of employment, mental and physical health care, social security, fair wages, rest and recreation, and a host of other reasonable expectations on the part of the individual members of society.”
Bahá’í International Community, 1995 Mar 03, The Prosperity of Humankind, Section II

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