My brother sent me this illuminating and exhilarating commencement speech by Angela Merkel as I was finishing the end of semester of my BIHE on line psychology students in Iran quietly moving on!!.
As I listened to the hindsight and wise words of this powerful and celebrated woman saying; “nothing has to stay the way it is, Baha’i students in Iran continue to be barred from attending university at the hand of their Islamic Republic Regime of Iran for over 40 years.!!! Things have stayed sadly the same.
As I listened to the list of the thoughts and wishes of Chancellor Merkle, I felt a rush of sadness and also hope seeing a sea of future leaders of thought and multitude of people of wisdom and knowledge giving her a standing innovation for her forward thinking and vision which rests at the heart of Baha’i teachings and principles since its inception 175 years ago. I thought people of knowledge and wisdom are giving a standing ovation for Teachings of Baha’u’llah.
Forty years the Islamic republic leaders carefully and maliciously crafted policies that indeed is a “betrayal of all civilized values” in the name of Islam. They have systematically plotted to suffocate and strangle the Baha’i community of Iran. Their ignorance and injustice has pained, not only the Baha’i community, but has taught many in the country of the birth of the Baha’i Faith, that not only we cannot take our freedom, our prosperity, our safety and our peace for granted but that our own humanity will be tested and many will fail to uphold the standards that indeed make us human.
In 1912 Abdu’l-Baha, at an advanced age and physically frail, having lived a life of exile and imprisonment in Palestine for over 40 years at the hand of Persian and Ottoman governments, lead the way to warn and educate humanity about what must be done to ward the dangers that a few years later, sadly assaulted humanity in two World Wars and beyond. Chancellor Merkel said to the Harvard graduates; “Each of us must play our role.” Abdu’l-Baha, likewise admonished humanity in His Paris Talks saying;
He also has said:
At the time of my graduation from Tehran University, in 1963 the young Baha’i community served as a beacon of progress, equality, knowledge, unity in diversity and hope with many luminous examples. Many of these luminous scholars, scientists, philanthropists, teachers, entrepreneurs, humanitarians, researchers, physicians, lawyers, social justice activists, etc. lead the greater community in the inalienable values of the oneness of all humanity, independent investigation of truth, the oneness of God, oneness of all religions, equality of women and men, world peace, respect and love of nature and world’s natural resources, harmony of religion and science, and that truthfulness is the foundation of all virtues. Many of these noble souls were also arrested and executed at the hand of the ignorant and malicious Islamic Republic Regime of Iran making it very clear that we cannot take the force of good amongst us for granted. We must remember, as Chancellor Merkel said, “changes for the better is possible if we tackle them together. We must think global rather than national, outward looking rather than isolationist.” I can imagine how empowering it would be for the Baha’i students in Iran to hear the talk of Chancellor and witness the standing innovation of a multitude of the best of humanity she received for her very Baha’i like ideas!
The Baha’i students in Iran and indeed the Baha’i community of Iran has persevered to love and treat even the powerful enemy, the ignorant Muslim clergy and the malicious and merciless judicial authorities with truthfulness, compassion, honesty, integrity, viewing the well being of their country from the eyes of all humanity, seeing all religions as one, because it is a matter of principle for them even though it is next to impossible to be safe and to enjoy their basic human rights such as education and work as they stay meek!!
Chancellor Merkel said we must not accept walls of ignorance, narrow mindedness, as well as walls between nations and religions. We must work together to break the walls that keep us from envisioning a world of oneness, unity in diversity. The Baha’i student in Iran find much hope and courage to see that a waving sea of fellow graduates, parents, administrators and educators at Harvard graduation ceremony, give a standing ovation for the ideas of oneness of all humanity which is at the heart of their religious belief.
I hope one day my students of BIHE can give a standing innovation for a speaker like Chancellor Merkel in a ground such as Harvard University from the depth of their heart for as long as it takes to dispel the heavy clouds of sadness they have patiently endured for all the years of inhumanity and violation of their basic human rights they suffered in the name of Islam in Iran.
A licensed Marriage and Family Therapist for over 20 years, specializes in using the Bahá’í Teachings to identify theories, techniques, and approaches that produce the best results for her clients. She is the founder and executive director of the Center for Global Integrated Education, a non-profit Bahá’í-inspired educational organization.