Archive for June 7th, 2017

The plight of the seven imprisoned Bahá’í ‘leaders’ continues. So does the campaign to secure their release. The latest development in the UK  is described at this link.

As the ‘Yaran’, the seven Baha’is in Iran who have been unlawfully imprisoned since 2008, enter their ninth year of incarceration, a campaign all over the world has begun, bringing attention to the plight of these friends and calling for their immediate release. From India to the United States to South Africa to the United Kingdom, the hashtags #ReleaseBahai7Now and #NotAnotherYear are being used across social media to highlight the efforts made.

This year much focus has been given to the ‘years missed’, reflecting on the fact that “…during these nine years, the seven have endured awful conditions that are common in Iranian prisons. In human terms, they have also missed out on the numerous day-to-day joys – and sorrows – that make life sweet and precious” (Baha’i International Community).

In the UK, in response to this campaign, various artists have come together to participate in the ‘Prison Poems Project’, a series of short film clips that give voice to the poems of Mahvash Sabet, one of the seven prisoners.

Over the next few weeks, a poem will be recited once a day by a different artist. This is Bahiyyih Nakhjavani’s explanation of the origin of the English translations.


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In the light of yesterday’s post, which sought to convey how hard it is going to be for us to work at healing our broken so-called civilisation, how important a spiritual perspective is to rising to that challenge and included a story about ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, it seemed appropriate to re-publish this post from five years ago. This is what materialists would, I know, dismiss as merely an anecdote with no scientific validity, but as I outlined yesterday there is a wealth of evidence to confirm that such feats of spiritual discernment occur frequently. They might well occur more often if our culture did not pathologise them.

Leroy Ioas, a young boy in 1912, was blessed to meet the Master on His visit to Chicago. One day, on the way to the Plaza Hotel to hear ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, he decided to buy Him some flowers. Though he had but little money, he managed to find a large bouquet of flowers which he himself especially liked – white carnations! But in approaching the hotel, he had a change of heart: he would not give ‘Abdu’l-Bahá those flowers after all, he told his father. His father was genuinely perplexed. Why, when the Master so loved flowers? Young Leroy gave his answer: ‘I come to the Master offering Him my heart, and I do not want Him to think I want any favours. He knows what’s in a person’s heart, and that is all I have to offer.’

With that for an answer Leroy’s father went upstairs and presented the flowers to ‘Abdu’l-Bahá. How the Master enjoyed them! Their fragrance delighted Him and He buried His face in their midst, as He was inclined to do. During the talk, Leroy sat at the feet of this great Teacher, completely fascinated. Those dynamic, ever-changing eyes! Those ‘majestic movements‘! That charm!

After the talk, the Master stood up and shook hands with each guest. To each He gave one white 
carnation. Finally only a few remained. Leroy, standing behind ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, thought, ‘I wish He would turn around and shake hands with me before they are all gone!’ With that thought, the Master turned and saw him. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá wore a lovely, red rose, which He then pulled from His coat. pricking his finger in the process, and gave the rose with a drop of His blood to Leroy. Leroy knew the Master was aware that he it was who had actually  brought those carnations.

(Adapted from the accounts in both Annamarie Honnold’s Vignettes from the Life of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, – page 98 – and in Earl Redman’s ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in their Midst – pages 109-110)

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