Awesome LOL

Posted On August 6, 2009

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see if this makes sense

Posted On June 23, 2009

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A Bitter Squirrel
By me

A bitter Squirrel
At a small blue bouncy ball,
And a redwood tree
Fell into

Time to sweep

Posted On May 13, 2009

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Indian elections stuff from the BBC

Posted On April 15, 2009

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Indian elections battleground map

Total constituencies: 86

13 May: Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, Punjab, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Uttarakhand, Chandigarh, Pondicherry, Uttar Pradesh

Total constituencies: 86

Voting in the Indian election takes place in five phases from 16 April – 13 May. The result is announced on Saturday 16 May. Click on the buttons below to see which states vote when.

All I II III IV V Labels
<ol class=”rd-description”> <li>1. All phases</li> <li>2. Phase I</li> <li>3. Phase II</li> <li>4. Phase III</li> <li>5. Phase IV</li> <li>6. Phase V</li> </ol> India election map, all voting phases India election map, voting phase 1 India election map, voting phase 2 India election map, voting phase 3 India election map, voting phase 4 India election map, voting phase 5


Seats: 80
Population: 166 million

Once a Congress Party stronghold, India’s most populous state is now dominated by two caste-based parties, the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) led by Dalit (formerly untouchable) leader Mayawati, and the Samajwadi Party (SP) of Mulayam Singh Yadav, which draws support from lower castes and Muslims. The two parties won 54 seats between them in 2004, while Congress and the BJP won 19 between them.

Acute poverty, rising crime, poor infrastructure and abysmal healthcare are the biggest problems in the state, often referred to as India’s Hindi heartland.

Mayawati’s BSP is looking to repeat its sweeping victory in 2007 state elections. It has assiduously cultivated upper-caste Hindus to refashion itself as a rainbow coalition of high and low castes.

Mayawati has ambitions to become a pan-Indian leader and could be a crucial player in coalition negotiations once the votes are counted. It is even possible she could emerge as prime minister at the head of a Third Front of communist and left-wing parties.


Seats: 40
Population: 82 million

Bihar is renowned as one of India’s poorest and most lawless states.

Two regional parties – the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) and the Janata Dal United (JDU) – dominate the political landscape. Both have links with the country’s main political parties, the RJD with Congress, and the JDU with the BJP.

In 2004, the RJD, led by the flamboyant Laloo Yadav, picked up more than half of the state’s seats, while the JDU managed only six. Mr Yadav went on to become railway minister in the Congress-led government. He has been credited with turning around India’s ailing train network.

But the tables have turned since 2004. The JDU and BJP swept state polls in 2005, with JDU leader Nitish Kumar cashing in on popular disenchantment with the RJD government and the deteriorating law and order situation.

To make things worse for the Congress, its alliance with RJD has collapsed this time over distribution of seats. In a curious political twist, the RJD is now contesting the election in alliance with another UPA partner, Lok Janashakti Party (LJP).

So the main battle in Bihar this time is between the JDU-BJP alliance and RJD-LJP alliance. Deserted by its allies, Congress has been reduced to a small player.

Bihar needs to catch up with the rest of India – and jobs, development, infrastructure and security are what its voters demand.


Seats: 39
Population: 62 million

One of India’s most economically developed states – and one of its most politically volatile. Known as India’s Detroit for its car making, it also has a strong services sector and a booming film industry.

The main contest will be between two of India’s most powerful regional parties, the DMK and the AIADMK. Since the 1960s, regional parties have tapped into nascent Tamil nationalism and lower caste aspirations.

M Karunanidhi, an astute scriptwriter, heads the DMK, which governs the state. Pitted against him is a controversial former actress, the feisty J Jayalalitha, who leads the AIADMK. The dominance of these two personality-driven parties is so great that no national party has been able to make substantial political headway in Tamil Nadu in the last three decades.

In 2004 the DMK coalition swept every seat. But Tamil Nadu is considered a swing state. Whoever wins there is likely to play an important role in the forming of India’s new coalition government.


Seats: 42
Population: 75 million

Andhra Pradesh is marked by extreme affluence – there are vast farms and a burgeoning info-tech and services industry – and desperate poverty. The state also faces a separatist movement in the poverty-ridden Telangana region.

State and federal elections are both taking place here, with a keen contest in prospect between the ruling Congress Party and the main opposition alliance, led by the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) with the support of the communists.

Andhra Pradesh was a Congress stronghold until the TDP emerged in the 1980s. In 2004, a Congress-led alliance swept the polls, winning 37 seats. Five years earlier an alliance between the TDP and the BJP had taken 36.

Congress is banking this time on schemes like cheap rice, free electricity for farmers, free health cover for poor families and cheap loans for women.

Meanwhile, Chandrababu Naidu, the TDP leader hailed in the West as a mascot of economic reforms, is promising free electricity and television sets and unemployment benefit.


Seats: 21
Population: 37 million

State and general elections are both likely to be three-sided contests, following a split in March between the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) and the BJP – former allies who governed the state together.

Both will now fight each other as well as Congress, the main opposition in the state.

The BJD hopes to win voter support with recently introduced measures, including cheap rice for the poor, better pay for government employees and better pensions for the elderly.

Congress says it will focus its campaign on calls to eliminate corruption, which it says has escalated over the last nine years. The BJP says the deterioration of law and order will be one of its election priorities.

Analysts says the state could be heading for a hung assembly. Congress should in theory benefit from the BJD-BJP split, but it may not be able to emerge as a clear winner.

Orissa is no stranger to hung assemblies and has had them regularly since the 1950s.


Seats: 48
Population: 96 million

After last November’s attacks in Mumbai, security is a key issue in this state, which is home to India’s financial capital.

The Congress Party’s Vilasrao Deshmukh had to resign as chief minister in Maharashtra – along with deputy RR Patil – for perceived failures over the Mumbai attacks. It has formed a pre-poll alliance and seat-sharing pact with the Nationalist Congress Party of Sharad Pawar.

The head of the right-wing Hindu Shiv Sena party, Bal Thackeray, has been ill and has made few public appearances. His nephew, Raj Thackeray, meanwhile, has formed a new party, the Maharashtra Navnirmaan Sena, along similar right-wing nationalist lines but is unlikely to make a big impact at national level.

The BJP is likely to focus on security, and the suicide rate among farmers suffering financial difficulties.

A critical shortage of electricity – with cuts ranging from four to 16 hours a day in most parts of the state – is also among voters’ major concerns.


Seats: 42
Population: 80 million

A left-wing coalition has governed the state for more than three decades. The left won 35 parliamentary seats in West Bengal in the 2004 elections, with Congress winning six and the Trinamul Congress one.

But the opposition parties are upbeat about how they will perform this time and are expecting to make major gains.

But now it seems the left is in trouble. The once-loyal rural poor have turned against Chief Minister Buddhadev Bhattacharya, as he pushes ahead with his plans to acquire farmland for big industrial projects.

The opposition, especially the Trinamul Congress – a party specific to West Bengal – have joined protests against large-scale land acquisition.

But Mr Bhattacharya insists that West Bengal must rapidly industrialise in order to provide jobs for millions of unemployed men and women.

“The iron discipline of the left is wilting after three decades in power. This election will be a real wake-up call for them,” says political analyst Sabyasachi Basu Ray Chaudhuri.


Seats: 26
Population: 51 million

Congress campaigned hard in Gujarat’s state elections in 2007, but still lost to the BJP, allowing the controversial Narendra Modi to become chief minister for the third time in a row.

Mr Modi won the 2002 election on a Hindu nationalist platform shortly after the massacre of some 1,000 Muslims in Gujarat. In 2007, he toned down his nationalist rhetoric and campaigned on his economic record – the state’s economy has been growing roughly 10% per year, above the national average.

Mr Modi appointed a Muslim as the state’s police chief in February, in what analysts see as an attempt to court a secular image. But the arrest and resignation of the state’s education minister on 27 March, in connection with the 2002 riots, is seen as a major embarrassment for the party.

Mr Modi is considered a possible successor to the ageing BJP leader LK Advani and will be hitting the campaign trail in other parts of India.


Seats: 20

Population: 32 million

A communist bastion with the highest literacy rates in India. Nearly a quarter of its population are Muslim. The Left Democratic Front (LDF) alliance won 19 of 20 parliamentary seats in 2004. The Congress-led alliance won just one.

Infighting within the Communist Party of India (Marxist), or CPI(M), is likely to mean the left does less well this time. Traditional CPI(M) allies are unhappy at Chief Minister VS Achuthanandan’s links with Abdul Nasser Madani, who leads the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).

Mr Madani was arrested in 1998 in connection with an election rally blast in Tamil Nadu in which 60 people were killed. He was acquitted of all charges in 2007, but some of the mud has stuck.

Strained ties with another former ally, the Janata Dal (Secular), are also expected to work against the CPI(M).

The Congress party has been making a major push in the state, sending Rahul Gandhi to campaign. It is also fielding former UN under secretary general Shashi Tharoor as a candidate.

Phase I

16 April: Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Jammu and Kashmir, Kerala, Maharashtra, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Orissa, Uttar Pradesh, Chattisgarh, Jharkhand, Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Lakshwadeep

Total constituencies: 124

Phase II

22 April: Manipur

23 April: Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Goa, Jammu & Kashmir, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Orissa, Tripura, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand

Total constituencies: 141

Phase III

30 April: Bihar, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Jammu & Kashmir, Gujarat, Sikkim, Dadar and Nagar Haveli, Daman and Diu

Total constituencies: 107

Phase IV

7 May: Bihar, Haryana, Jammu & Kashmir, Punjab, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Delhi

Total constituencies: 85

Phase V

13 May: Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, Punjab, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Uttarakhand, Chandigarh, Pondicherry, Uttar Pradesh

Love affairs are NOT suggested in Afghanistan

Posted On April 15, 2009

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*Put on some depressing music while you read this.*

The Taleban in Afghanistan have publicly killed a young couple who they said had tried to run away to get married, officials say. The man, 21, and woman, 19, were shot dead on Monday in front of a mosque in the south-western province of Nimroz.

Are you sad? Want some stupdity? Here is some more from the BBC:

Governor Ghulam Dastageer Azad told the AFP news agency the killings followed a decree by local religious leaders and were an “insult to Islam”.

I don’t think you’re sad enough.

Mr Azad said: “An unmarried young boy and an unmarried girl who loved each other and wanted to get married had eloped because their families would not approve the marriage.”

Officials said the couple were traced by militants after they tried to go to Iran. They were made to return to their village in Khash Rod district.

“Three Taleban mullahs brought them to the local mosque and they passed a fatwa (religious decree) that they must be killed. They were shot and killed in front of the mosque in public,” the governor said.

Are you depressed?

Correspondents say that the killings took place in a remote and dangerous region, where the government has no access.

Here is a bit of an explanation:

Extrajudicial “honour killings” have been widely carried out in Afghanistan since then by conservative families angered by a relative who has brought them shame – usually by refusing to marry a chosen partner.


Posted On April 14, 2009

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Christopher Hitchens thingy

Posted On April 14, 2009

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TY to commenters

Posted On April 14, 2009

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Thank you to all commenters for, well, commenting and also for recommending my blog. Sorry about everyone’s comments automatically ending up on my spam queue.

My Birthday Menu

Posted On March 14, 2009

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Salad made from lettuce with feta cheese, my favorite salad sauce, and apple slices

Gluten free pizza

Chocolate cake
Ice cream

Fruit flavored soda
Orange juice

Bahais in Iran (part 3)

Posted On March 14, 2009

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4 March 2009

Ayatollah Qorban-Ali Dorri-Najafabadi
Prosecutor General
Islamic Republic of Iran
Your Honor,
Your recent announcement regarding the administrative affairs of the Bahá’ís of Iran has
brought to the arena of public debate issues which not only affect the safety and livelihood of
the members of that community but also have profound implications for the future of every
citizen of that esteemed nation.  The steps that have been taken to formulate the response of
the Iranian Bahá’í community to your announcement have surely been communicated to you.
The Yaran and the Khademin, the small groups that have been attending to the spiritual and
social needs of the several hundred thousand Bahá’ís of Iran, the former at the national level
and the latter at the local, have expressed their willingness to bring to a close their collective
functioning.  This decision has been made for no other reason than to demonstrate yet again
the goodwill that the Bahá’ís have consistently shown to the government of the Islamic
Republic of Iran for the past thirty years.

The Universal House of Justice has assured us that the disruption in the functioning
of these groups need not be seen as a cause for concern.  There is no doubt in the minds of
millions of Bahá’ís residing in virtually every country around the world—nor in the minds
of many others who are watching these events with impartiality and who are aware of the
historical development of the Faith—that the Bahá’ís in Iran will find ways of managing the
spiritual life of their community, as they have done for generations over the past one hundred
and sixty-five years of persecution.  However, given the gravity of the accusations leveled
against the Yaran and the Khademin, we feel obliged, as the representatives at the United
Nations of one hundred and seventy-nine National Spiritual Assemblies encircling the globe,
to bring certain fundamental points to your attention in an open letter and request that you
examine them with the sense of fairness they deserve.

In reference to Article 20 of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran pertaining
to the rights of its citizens, as well as Article 23 related to freedom of belief, you have stated:
“Adherence to a principle or belief is free [to anyone], but to openly express and proclaim it in
order to cause deviation in the thoughts of others, to manipulate, pretend, disseminate [ideas],
and otherwise attempt to deceive and confuse people will not be permissible.”  Such a statement
tests credulity to an extreme.  It is widely recognized that similar statements have been used by

United Nations Office
866 United Nations Plaza, Suite 120, New York, NY 10017 USA
Telephone: 212-803-2500, Fax: 212-803-2566, Email: Ayatollah Qorban-Ali Dorri-Najafabadi

4 March 2009
Page 2

repressive regimes throughout the centuries to justify the arbitrary suppression of conscience
and belief.  The suggestion that it is possible to separate the convictions held by an individual
from their expression in words and action begins an entirely false line of reasoning.  To see its
absurdity one need only ask oneself what it means to have faith if it is not consciously
manifested in one’s relationships with others.  Qualifying the argument by implying that only
those expressions of belief which cause deviation in the thoughts of others are objectionable
may appear reasonable at a first glance.  In reality, of course, it is a means of granting license to
those in authority to suppress whomsoever they wish, for it leaves open the possibility of
labeling any action or comment not to their liking as a cause of deviation in the thoughts of
others.  In any event, the record of the Bahá’ís of Iran is clear in this respect.  They have never
sought to cause such deviation, nor have they ever attempted to deceive and confuse people.
Since you have raised the issue of freedom of belief in the context of the articles pertaining to
the rights of Iranian citizens, knowing full well the Bahá’í record, we can only assume that you
have made curtailment in the functioning of the Yaran and the Khademin a condition for
according the Bahá’ís at least some of the rights which they have been denied for some thirty
years now.

The facts of the matter are, of course, well known to you:

• Following the Islamic revolution in 1979, the Bahá’ís of Iran, who had long been the
victims of periodic outbreaks of violence, the later rounds of which had been instigated
by the notorious SAVAK, were subjected to a fresh wave of persecution.
• In August 1980 all nine members of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of
Iran—a national council whose election and functioning are prescribed in the Bahá’í
teachings and which forms part of the Bahá’í administrative structure in all countries—
were abducted and disappeared without a trace.  Undoubtedly they were executed.
• Members subsequently elected to this council, as well as scores of individuals with
influence in the Bahá’í community, including several members of Local Spiritual
Assemblies—councils operating at the local level—were executed by the government
in the years immediately after.
• In response to the announcement made by the Prosecutor General of Iran in 1983
calling for the dismantling of the Bahá’í administrative structure, the National Spiritual
Assembly of Iran dissolved itself and the rest of the administrative structure in the
country as a demonstration of goodwill towards the government.
• Subsequently, ad hoc arrangements were made to tend to the spiritual and social needs of
the 300,000 Bahá’ís in Iran through the formation of the Yaran at the national level and
the Khademin at the local level.
• For some twenty years, government agencies had regular contact with the Yaran and the
Khademin—some times friendly and other times in the form of unreasonably long and
aggressive interrogations—consulted with their members and were entirely aware of
their activities.  The possibility of some degree of dialogue between the Bahá’ís and
government agencies seemed to be emerging.
• During that same period, however, a 1991 memorandum signed by Hujjatu’l Islam
Seyyed Mohammad Golpaygani, then Secretary of the Iranian Supreme Revolutionary
Cultural Council, came to light.  It called for the “progress and development” of the Ayatollah Qorban-Ali Dorri-Najafabadi

4 March 2009
Page 3

Bahá’ís in Iran to be “blocked” through a number of specific measures it advocated
and for a plan “to confront and destroy their cultural roots outside the country.”
• While the harassment and ill-treatment of Bahá’ís continued uninterrupted during this
period, they have been taken to new levels of intensity in recent years as certain elements
that have historically been bent on the destruction of the Bahá’í community have assumed
growing influence in the affairs of the country.
• The official campaign to malign the name of the Faith through the mass media—through
newspaper articles and Web sites, through radio and television programs and films—
escalated around 2005; it has proceeded unabated to this day.  There can be little doubt
that systematic steps are being taken to implement the provisions set out in the 1991
• In March 2006 a confidential letter from the Iranian military headquarters, dated
29 October 2005, asking various intelligence agencies and police organizations, in
addition to the Revolutionary Guard, to identify and monitor Bahá’ís around the country,
came to the attention of the UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief,
raising great concern throughout the world for the safety of the Bahá’ís.
• For more than two decades young Bahá’ís were barred from entering university through
an application process that would require them to deny their faith.  Though a modification
in the process, achieved through worldwide public pressure, enabled a few hundred to
register at the start of the 2006–2007 academic year, their hopes of pursuing higher
education were soon dashed.  That same year the Ministry of Science, Research and
Technology issued a letter to eighty-one universities, instructing them to expel any
student known to be a Bahá’í.
• The abovementioned letter was followed by another in April 2007 from the Public
Intelligence and Security Force restricting the involvement of Bahá’ís, already barred
from employment in the public sector, in some twenty types of businesses.  The
document reinforced ongoing efforts to strangle the economic life of the Bahá’í
• In these past few years, the number of Bahá’ís arrested without cause has climbed; the
confiscation of Bahá’í personal property has grown; attacks on Bahá’í homes have
escalated; acts of arson against Bahá’í properties have proliferated; the desecration and
destruction of Bahá’í cemeteries have spread; the sealing of shops owned by Bahá’ís
has increased; refusals of bank loans and business licenses to Bahá’ís have multiplied;
harassment of landlords with Bahá’í tenants has intensified; threats against fellow citizens
who associate with Bahá’ís have mounted; and the vilification of Bahá’í children in their
classrooms by teachers has been on the rise.  That such acts are being systematically
orchestrated city by city is unquestionable.
• Then last year the seven members of the Yaran were imprisoned, one of them in March
and the remaining six in May.  For some time they were held in solitary confinement and
denied access to their families.  Although eventually family members were allowed brief
visits under strict observation, the prisoners have yet to be given access to legal counsel.
The conditions of their incarceration have varied in degree of severity over the course of
the past several months, with the five male members confined at one time to a cell no
more than ten square meters in size, with no bed. Ayatollah Qorban-Ali Dorri-Najafabadi

4 March 2009
Page 4

• Finally, after some nine months of imprisonment, during which time not a shred of
evidence could be found linking the members of the Yaran to any wrongdoing, they were
accused of “espionage for Israel, insulting religious sanctities and propaganda against the
Islamic Republic,” and it has been announced that their case will soon be submitted to
court with a request for indictment.
• This announcement was followed almost immediately by news reports which indicated
that you had written to the Minister of Intelligence stating that the existence of the Yaran
and the Khademin in Iran is illegal, while at the same time raising the question of the
constitutional right of Iranian citizens to freedom of belief.  You then made an official
announcement to this effect.


Your Honor, the events of recent years and the nature of the accusations made raise
questions in the mind of every unbiased observer as to the intent behind the systematic
perpetration of injustice against the Bahá’ís of Iran.  Even if there might have been some
misunderstandings about the motives of the Bahá’í community during the early turbulent days
of the revolution, how can such suspicions persist today?  Can it be that any member of the
esteemed government of Iran truly believes the false accusations which have been perpetuated
about the Bahá’ís in that country?  Are not the following facts well known to the authorities in
the various branches of the government?

• In whatever country they reside, Bahá’ís strive to promote the welfare of society.  They
are enjoined to work alongside their compatriots in fostering fellowship and unity and in
establishing peace and justice.  They seek to uphold their own rights, as well as the rights
of others, through whatever legal means are available to them, conducting themselves at
all times with honesty and integrity.  They eschew conflict and dissension.  They avoid
contest for worldly power.
• It is a fundamental principle of the Bahá’í Faith that its followers strictly refrain from
involvement in any partisan political activity, whether local, national or international.
Bahá’ís view government as a system for maintaining the welfare and orderly progress
of human society, and obedience to the laws of the land is a distinguishing feature of
their beliefs.
• To take any action in willful violation of allegiance to one’s own country is explicitly
proscribed in the Scriptures of the Bahá’í Faith.  Adherence to this principle has been
amply demonstrated by Bahá’ís everywhere.
• The Bahá’í administrative structure, which is established in more than one hundred and
eighty countries worldwide, is a means for channeling the energies of Bahá’ís in service
to the common good and for organizing the religious and social affairs of the Bahá’í
community itself.  For Bahá’ís, the concept does not imply in any way the existence of a
political agenda or any kind of interference in the affairs of the government.
• The international headquarters of the Bahá’í Faith is located within the borders of
modern-day Israel as a result of the successive banishments imposed on Bahá’u’lláh in
the mid-nineteenth century by the Persian and Ottoman governments.  Exiled from His
native Persia, Bahá’u’lláh was sent to Baghdad, Constantinople and Adrianople and
finally to the fortress-city of Acre in 1868, eighty years prior to the establishment of the Ayatollah Qorban-Ali Dorri-Najafabadi

4 March 2009
Page 5

State of Israel, where He eventually died in 1892.  That Bahá’ís in all parts of the world
are today in contact with the international headquarters of their Faith regarding their
individual and collective affairs is entirely natural and is a well-established fact.
• Bahá’ís have the highest respect for all religions.  Our Writings refer to Islam as “the
blessed and luminous religion of God” and the Prophet Muhammad as “the refulgent
lamp of supreme Prophethood,” “the Lord of creation” and “the Day-star of the world,”
Who, “through the will of God, shone forth from the horizon of Hijaz.”  The station of
Imam Ali is described in terms such as “the moon of the heaven of knowledge and
understanding” and “the sovereign of the court of knowledge and wisdom.”  In the Tablet
of Visitation revealed by Bahá’u’lláh Himself for Imam Husayn, He refers to him as “the
pride of the martyrs” and “the day-star of renunciation shining above the horizon of
• Bahá’ís are exhorted to evince a high sense of moral rectitude in their activities, chastity
in their individual lives, and complete freedom from prejudice in their dealings with
people of every race, class and creed.


In light of these well-established facts, Your Honor, it is difficult to understand how
words such as “manipulative” and “deceitful,” “dangerous” and “threatening,” can be applied to
Bahá’í activity in Iran.  Do you consider dangerous the efforts of a group of young people who,
out of a sense of obligation to their fellow citizens, work with youngsters from families of little
means to improve their mathematics and language skills and to develop their abilities to play a
constructive part in the progress of their nation?  Is it a threat to society for Bahá’ís to discuss
with their neighbors noble and high-minded ideals, reinforcing the conviction that the
betterment of the world is to be achieved through pure and goodly deeds and through
commendable and seemly conduct?  In what way is it manipulative for a couple to speak in the
privacy of their home with a few friends confused by the portrayal of Bahá’ís in the mass media
and to share with them the true nature of their beliefs, which revolve around such fundamental
verities as the oneness of God and the oneness of humankind?  What duplicity is there if a child
at school, after listening to offensive language about the Founder of her Faith Whom she so
loves, politely raises her hand and requests permission to explain to her classmates some of the
teachings she follows?  What deceit is there if a young person, committed to the acquisition of
knowledge and learning, seeks the right from the authorities to enter university without having
to lie about his faith?  What harm is done if several families gather together periodically for
communal worship and for the discussion of matters of concern to them all?  Given that the
human soul has no sex, is it so alarming for someone to express the view that men and women
are equal in the sight of God and should be able to work shoulder to shoulder in all fields of
human endeavor?  And is it so unreasonable for a small group of people, in the absence of the
administrative structures prescribed in their teachings, to facilitate the marriage of young
couples, the education of children and the burial of the dead in conformity with the tenets of
their Faith?

These are but a few examples of the various endeavors for which the Bahá’ís of Iran are
being so grievously persecuted.  It is the right to engage in such activity that has been denied
them for thirty years.
Ayatollah Qorban-Ali Dorri-Najafabadi

4 March 2009
Page 6

Your Honor, many times over these twenty years the Yaran and the Khademin have been
told by government officials that they are in fact protecting the Bahá’í community from those
who regard its members as a negative element in society.  It is true that there may be a small
fraction in any populace who, succumbing to the forces of hatred and enmity, can be incited to
perform acts of cruelty and oppression.  But, in the main, our vision of the Iranian people does
not correspond with the one projected by such officials.  Narrow-mindedness and pettiness are
not the qualities that we attribute to them.  Rather do we see the staunch commitment to justice
evinced by the citizens of one town who petitioned the government when several shops owned
by Bahá’ís were closed without reason.  We see the fidelity shown by the young musicians who
refused to perform when their Bahá’í counterparts were prohibited from playing in a recital.
We see the courage and tenacity of university students who stood ready to prepare a petition
and to forgo participation in examinations that their Bahá’í classmates were barred from taking.
We see the compassion and generosity of spirit exhibited by the neighbors of one family, whose
home was attacked with a bulldozer, in their expressions of sympathy and support, offered at all
hours of the night, and in their appeals for justice and recompense.  And we hear in the voices
raised by so many Iranians in defense of their Bahá’í compatriots echoes from their country’s
glorious past.  What we cannot help noting, with much gratitude towards them in our hearts, is
that a majority of those coming out in support of the beleaguered Bahá’í community are
themselves suffering similar oppression as students and academics, as journalists and social
activists, as artists and poets, as progressive thinkers and proponents of women’s rights, and
even as ordinary citizens.

Your Honor, the decisions to be taken by the judiciary in Iran in the coming days will
have implications that extend well beyond the Bahá’í community in that land––what is at stake
is the very cause of the freedom of conscience for all the peoples of your nation.  It is our hope
that, for the sanctity of Islam and the honor of Iran, the judiciary will be fair in its judgment.
Bahá’í International Community
cc:  Permanent Mission of the Islamic Republic of Iran to the United Nations

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