Sunday, June 28, 2009

Light Upon Light...

The Seat of the Universal House of Justice
23 June 2009

To the Bahá’ís of Iran

Dearly loved Friends,

With hearts grieved by events unfolding in Iran, we address this letter to you, the steadfast followers of Bahá’u’lláh in that land. To the concern for your safety that has long weighed on us is now added mounting fear for the safety of millions of Iranian men and women, so many of them at the pinnacle of their youth, their vast potentialities yearning to be realized. How rapidly have veils been rent asunder! Cruelty meted out in calculated measures to you and others over the years has been unleashed in the streets of Iran for all humanity to see. No matter what the turn of events, we are confident you will adhere firmly to the fundamental principle of our Faith that strictly prohibits any involvement in partisan political activity by individual Bahá’ís or by Bahá’í institutions. Yet you cannot remain aloof and insensitive to the suffering of your people. Decades of hardship have prepared each of you to stand as a beacon of strength in the circle of your family and friends, your neighbours and acquaintances, radiating hope and compassion to all those in need. Keep alive in your hearts the feeling of confidence that the future of Iran holds bright promise, the certitude that the light of knowledge will inevitably dispel the clouds of ignorance, the conviction that concern for justice will protect the nation from falling prey to calumny, and the belief that love will ultimately conquer hatred and enmity. You have demonstrated in the example of your lives that the proper response to oppression is neither to succumb in resignation nor to take on the characteristics of the oppressor. The victim of oppression can transcend it through an inner strength that shields the soul from bitterness and hatred and which sustains consistent, principled action. May the words of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá resound: “Iran shall become a focal centre of divine splendours. Her darksome soil will become luminous and her land will shine resplendent.” You and your compatriots are in our continued prayers.

[signed: The Universal House of Justice]

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Curious and Curiouser...

Haifa skyline....
Still having an introspective mood - I've been listening to a lot of Beatles today, interestingly enough. You probably knew this already, but I'm bad with names of all kinds - so it was news to me. One of the Beatles best songs (in my opinion) is called A Day In The Life.... Interesting, no?

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

It Takes a Village...

So I've been doing a lot of thinking about the current state of affairs in the world, particularly in Iran. If you've been checking in every-once-in-a-while, you'll know that, although my coreligionists in Iran have faced near constant persecution from the various authorities in power in that region, Iran has a special place in my heart because it is the birth place of Bahá'u'lláh, the Prophet Founder of the Bahá'í Faith.
Friends - I think that a precedent has been set. Anywhere you look in news media - online in papers, blogs, youtube, facebook, twitter, or the like - we see the mass persecution of an entire group of people. Today it is Iran, but let us not think of this madness, this oppression and negation of basic human rights as a one-off. This happens everyday.
You may have also noticed from a recent post of mine that Bahá'ís do not participate in partisan politics - particularly because the single greatest aim of the Bahá'í Faith is to unite humanity....
But then what is this community to do? What, in fact, are any of us to do?
In each of the following two posts I have included a quotation that I find to be powerful and timely. The first is from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh and speaks to the roles and responsibilities of governments, rulers and leaders. The second is a poem by Gwendolyn Brooks and addresses, through the narration of a seemingly isolated and yet completely relevant event, the position that the people of the community must take. ...interestingly this poem is narrated by a person who failed to act.
Let that be a lesson we learn here and from other shameful moments in our collective history - not one that we repeat.
Disclaimer: Normally I'd do something like apologize for writing so much, and etc. But I'm not sorry. This is important - educate yourself on the world around you; don't wait for others to distill the interweb for you.
"Behold the disturbances which, for many a long year, have afflicted the earth, and the perturbation that hath seized its peoples. It hath either been ravaged by war, or tormented by sudden and unforseen calamities. Though the world is encompassed with misery and distress, yet no man hath paused to reflect what the cause or source of that may be. [...] The evidences of discord and malice are apparent everywhere, though all were made for harmony and union. The Great Being saith: O well-beloved ones! The tabernacle of unity hath been raised; regard ye not one another as strangers. Ye are the fruits of one tree, and the leaves of one branch. We cherish the hope that the light of justice may shine upon the world and sanctify it from tyranny. If the rulers and kings of the earth [...] arise and resolve to dedicate themselves to whatever will promote the highest interests of the whole of humanity, the reign of justice will assuredly be established amongst the children of men, and the effulgence of its light will envelop the whole earth."
- Bahá'u'lláh, excerpted from Gleanings From the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh

Gwendolyn Brooks, "The Boy Died in My Alley"

to Running Boy

The Boy died in my alley
without my Having Known.
Policeman said, next morning,
"Apparently died Alone."

"You heard a shot?" Policeman said.
Shots I hear and Shots I hear.
I never see the Dead.

The Shot that killed him yes I heard
as I heard the Thousand shots before;
careening tinnily down the nights
across my years and arteries.

Policeman pounded on my door.
"Who is it?" "POLICE!" Policeman yelled.
"A Boy was dying in your alley.
A Boy is dead, and in your alley.
And have you known this Boy before?"

I have known this Boy before.
I have known this boy before, who ornaments my alley.
I never saw his face at all.
I never saw his futurefall.
But I have known this Boy.

I have always heard him deal with death.
I have always heard the shout, the volley.
I have closed my heart-ears late and early.
And I have killed him ever.

I joined the Wild and killed him
with knowledgeable unknowing.
I saw where he was going.
I saw him Crossed. And seeing,
I did not take him down.

He cried not only "Father!"
but "Mother!
The cry climbed up the alley.
It went up to the wind.
It hung upon the heaven
for a long
stretch-strain of Moment.

The red floor of my alley
is a special speech to me.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Timely, I Think...

My friend, and Miss Extremie's soon to be brother-in-law, Bobby Aazami made this video highlighting the daily persecution of the Iranian Bahá'í community.

Let me be clear that Bahá'ís do not participate in partisan politics; rather Abdu’l-Bahá, the son of Bahá'u'lláh, has said that "Bahá'ís are the well-wishers of the government, obedient to its laws and bearing love towards all peoples."

However, my prayers and well wishes go out to the people of Iran....

Friday, June 19, 2009

There Is Always That...

Image courtesy of Samimi-Extremie
Miss Extremie is getting married soon - congratulations!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

While I'm On The Subject....

...who am I kidding - I'm never exactly off topic with this one.
p.s. You should really check out A Glamorous Little Side Project - or (and?) This Is Glamorous - but only if you like pretty things.
{insert cheeky grin}

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Until Further Notice...

Image courtesy V
(new and improved - go check it out)
So ... yeah. The old world is still on track - crumbling away in order to make room for the new world order. But sometimes (honestly) being stared in the face with that e.v.e.r.y.d.a.y makes me sad and tired - so today I thought we could (I mean me?) take a break and focus on the ways in which love and a bright sense of hope for the future are already streaming into our lives - even (or especially) on the streets.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Pausing to Reflect...

So today I had some uncomfortable thoughts.... Unfortunately, I'm not at a point where I can do more than think out loud at this point - but I'll let you in on some of the questions that occured to me today.
How much of a woman's 'value' is tied up in her perceived sex/sensuality? Or, on a purer level (I suppose), on how well she fits any role - her perceived ability to fit into another persons life.
In Ways of Seeing, John Berger posits that women are simultaneously aware of themselves as they are - and as they are to other people. He argues that, on a certain level, all women are aware of themselves as art - or, I suppose, of our commercial value. The problem with this level of commodification is how complicit we - as women - are in it all.
*Remember your "Gasp! I am NOT" the next time you judge another woman for wearing x.y.z*

Sunday, June 14, 2009

On This Day...

Today is my sister Merilee's first wedding anniversary! Congratulations Merilee & John - I'm very happy for you! [insert cheesy 'grin' icon]
Merilee & our dad
*Isn't she beautiful?!?*
Photo courtesy of my mom. ...I just got this picture - a year later. Yes, I know - it runs in the family.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Mi Familia!

This picture is almost exactly one year old - it was taken when I was home last, for my sister Merilee's wedding....
Jude, Aimee, Sean
2 Gallaghers and a Piper...
These young men are my cousin Dana's oldest children: Jude and Sean. It's amazing to me how quickly kids grow and learn and change.
A little secret for the masses? The kids I know, the children of my cousins and friends? They make me really excited for the future - I l.o.v.e. to see the way they explore and discover new things - and then what they do with their new knowledge. I think that watching children learn about the way their world works is one of the most exciting things going.

"O Thou kind Lord! These lovely children are the handiwork of the fingers of Thy might and the wonderous 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."
From the Bahá’í Writings.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

International Girl of Mystery....

So I got a cute email from my Nana this morning - she pointed out that my blog hadn't changed in a while (maybe a week - I loose track of time, sometimes) - and she wondered if everything was okay with me. Then she said - and this is the best part - "You’ve probably stopped blogging and started twittering (or whatever they call that) by now. Personally, don’t get the significance of that, but the rest of the world obviously does."

You know what, Nana? Neither do I. I clearly have difficulty finding things to talk about on a somewhat regular basis - or the time to post more regularly than I presently do.... Besides (deep sigh) I'm pretty positive that y'all (oh. hey y'all!) don't care what I do!

So I know that I don't drive a fancy car, wear fancy clothes, or spend my weekends with the tabloid 400 (not dissimilar to the last century's New York 400) - but you can call me the International Girl of Mystery.
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