Monday, March 26, 2007

The world is but one country

Iran and the rest of the world are in constant dispute... But, amazingly the Associated Press just published a text that starts this way: "The Christian concepts of heaven and hell originate in Iran. The Jewish holy Talmud is littered with Iranian words and ideas. And some Iranians cherish the Israeli city of Haifa as a sacred place".

Another sentence you can find in the same text is: "Concepts such as the survival of a person's soul after death, the Day of Judgment, heaven and hell, and holy angels all derive from Iran's surviving Zoroastrian faith, a 3,000-year-old religion that predates Islam and Christianity"

Attention: this is not a glorification of the History of Persia, or Iran, or anything else. It is just one of the many things that show us, humans, that our bonds are stronger than we think, that our reality is one, that our world is so strangely interconnected that we cannot deny our co-existence.

This is a way of reminding that the Earth is, indeed, one country and humankind its citizen!

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Monday, March 12, 2007

Recreating Eden - Baha'i Gardens - Haifa

Friday, March 09, 2007

Educational Genocide

As some people know, in Iran, Bahá’ís are denied some basic rights. Amongst them the right to access to Universities.

After international pressure, the Islamic Government decided to stop the policy of asking for religion on the exams to enter Universities. This way, Bahá’í youth was able to apply and access the University.

Then, a new process started. Universities didn’t accept them, despite their marks being far superior to others. At the end, from the thousands accepted only approximately 100 got in.

And now? Seventy (after other seventy during this year) of them were expelled! According to the Povo of Bahá (a Portuguese blog), the Iranian Government has denied the allegation of religious grounds on the expulsion! Asked by Reuters (published on February, 28th), a member of the Iranian delegation in the United Nations affirmed: "No one in Iran is stopped of studying because of religion".

But, then again, we also find out information (written, printed, and signed information!) about Iranian Leaders. Issued on November, 2nd 2006 by the direction of the Payame Noor University you can read the following document:

Central Protection Office

Protection Office of Region 5

(Provinces of Fárs [Fars], Búshihr [Bushehr], KahKílúyih [Kahkiluyeh] and Buyr-A:mad

[Boyer Ahmad])

To the honourable directors of all the centres,


With respect, according to the ruling of the Cultural Revolutionary Council and the instructions of the Ministry of Information and the Head Protection Office of the Central Organization of Payám-i-Núr University, Bahá’ís cannot enrol in universities and higher education centres.

Therefore, such cases if encountered should be reported, their enrolment should be strictly avoided, and if they are already enrolled they should be expelled.

Confirmation comes from God alone.

[Signature illegible]

Central Protection Office of Payám-i-Núr University

Protection Officer of Payám-i-Núr University, region 5


(Provinces of Fárs, Búshihr, KahKílúyih and Buyr- A:mad)



Mu‘allim Square-Avval-i-Himmat-i-Junúbí

Samti chap-Payám-i-Núr University, region 5

Post Office Box: 1774

Telephone: (0711) 628323809

Fax: 6283727

The Bahá’í International Community Representative, Ms. Dugal makes the following remark, with which we must agree:

"In its public face, Iran claims that it has finally opened the doors to Baha'i students, after some 25 years of keeping them out of public and private universities in Iran. But, as evidenced by this confidential memorandum from the Payame Noor central office, the real policy is apparently to simply expel Baha'is as soon as they can be identified".

And… The questions lied ahead: What are we doing to stop this Educational Genocide?

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Thursday, March 08, 2007

A bird named Mankind

“The world of humanity is possessed of two wings: the male and the female. So long as these two wings are not equivalent in strength, the bird will not fly”

(‘Abdu'l-Baha, The Promulgation of Universal Peace).

Woman’s emancipation and the total equality between genders, is essential for humans progress and the transformation of society.

Inequality slows not only the advancement of woman, but the whole progress of all human species. And, worse, our insistence in amputate the rights of more than a half of the world’s population is not only an insulte to the dignity of our species but a cancer that destroys us from inside, leaving unbearable sequels in our familiar, social and universal tissue.

And, even worse, still today, in some parts of the world, women are seen as fragile and, therefore, inferiors. Diverse cultures from yesterday and today have an approach on this issue and we, human, haven’t still understood that they all say the same!

Notice that according to Hinduism (religion with manifold millennia of existence!), human population depends of the chastity and fidelity of women and, just like children they could “be unleaded, women have similarly the propensity to degradation. This is why women, just like children, need constant protection of the family” (A. C. Prabhupáda). Krishna Himself speaks of men saying they could occupy themselves with “prejudicial and horrible works destined to destroy the world” (Bhagavat-Gita), but He doesn’t say that of women …

At the Jewish-Christian Theology, woman is that one who has conceded “the right of redemption by the glorification of Mary’s virginity” (Carr, A., 1997), having her origin at the “the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man” (Génesis, II:22).

And, of course, we could not approach this subject without talking about the Islamic World. In Iran, for instance, a country that, unfortunately as so many others, women lack basic and simple human rights (even though we can feel some progresses), it aroused a young poet, Táhirih, that “marked [her] century (…) with heroic transcendence” Conjugated beauty, wisdom and eloquence such, that attracted multitudes of men and women, inclusively awaking the interest of the Shah of Persia himself. Abandoning the use of the veil, despite the millenary costume of her motherland (…) and partaking hot debates on mystical and spiritual themes, accumulated victories after victories against the male exponents and best representatives of the thought of her age”. It was exactly because of that that the Government arrested her, lapidated her on the streets, exiled her city to city: because she defended, feverously, the rights of her sisters, women. Finally, she was sentenced to death and, according to the testimonies of that age, she was incisive: You can kill me as soon as you like, but you cannot stop the emancipation of women!” (Araújo, W., 1994).

Táhirih’s inspiration came from the Bahá’í teachings that so bravely embraced. “The Lord, peerless is He, hath made woman and man to abide with each other in the closest companionship, and to be even as a single soul” (‘Abdu’l-Bahá in Selections from the Writings). Appearing that we are encouraged to go back to that one un-sexual being, from whom the rib was taken. It is also said that “the education of girls is even more important than that of boys, for in time these girls will become mothers, and, as mothers, they will be the first teachers of the next generation” (Esslemont, J.; 1975). Showing itself adapted to the requisites of our times, we can also find on their writings:

According to the spirit of this age, women must advance and fulfill their mission in all departments of life, becoming equal to men. They must be on the same level as men and enjoy equal rights. This is my earnest prayer” (‘Abdu’l-Bahá, The Compilation of Compilations, Vol. II).

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Sunday, March 04, 2007

Can we fight our Chromosomes?

At V. Willour, P. Zandi, J. Badner, J. Steele, K. Miao, V. Lopez, D. MacKinnon, F. Mondimore, B. Schweizer, M. McInnis (2007). "Attempted Suicide in Bipolar Disorder Pedigrees: Evidence for Linkage to 2p12" in Biological Psychiatry, Volume 61, Issue 5 (pp. 725-727) one can read that there might be a genetic disposition to attempt suicide.

Investigations held by the University of John Hopkins (Maryland, USA) and others seem to agree with the idea that there is a relationship between Chromosone 2 (the 2p12 area of the Chromosone) and suicide.

These studies have tried to scan a pattern between bipolars with known attempts of suicide and their families, examining the data of 162 families and including 417 people with diagnosed schizoafective or bipolar ills.

These findings can serve to identify people at risk of suicide, according to the main investigator Virginia Willour, but then again... Once more we seem to find deterministic ways of seeing people, forgetting that we can have our last decision, despite our biological conditionings...

Or can't we?

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