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October, 2002

A monthly newsletter dedicated to serving the principles of

physical and spiritual health envisioned in the Baha'i Teachings.

Volume 6, Issue #2




- Baha'u'llah was Afflicted with a Shaking Hand
- Human Rights and Disability
- The Exchange
- Resources for Visually Impaired Individuals
- Readers' Responses about Cholesterol and Emphysema
- Question of the Month
- Website
- Purpose of the Newsletter




Taken from "God Passes By", Shoghi Effendi, p. 165

"Desperate designs to poison Baha'u'llah and His companions, and thereby reanimate his own defunct leadership, began, approximately a year after their arrival in Adrianople, to agitate his mind. Well aware of the erudition of his half-brother, Áqay-i-Kalím, in matters pertaining to medicine, he, under various pretexts, sought enlightenment from him regarding the effects of certain herbs and poisons, and then began, contrary to his wont, to invite Baha'u'llah to his home, where, one day, having smeared His tea-cup with a substance he had concocted, he succeeded in poisoning Him sufficiently to produce a serious illness which lasted no less than a month, and which was accompanied by severe pains and high fever, the aftermath of which left Bahá'u'lláh with a shaking hand till the end of His life."




The following are excerpts taken from "Statement to the Fortieth Session of the United Nations Sub-Commission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities", Agenda item 7: Human Rights and Disability, Geneva, Switzerland, August 1988 (Baha'i International Community, 1988 Aug 06, Human Rights Disability)

"Until recently, the disabled have constituted a minority in obscurity. Unlike certain other groups that fall victim to discrimination, the disabled do not comprise a self-contained, close-knit social community. Instead, they populate every social sector, every class, every age group, every ethnic and religious community. And at every level, society has tended to ignore them, believing them incapable of participating in the community, or avoiding them as unpleasant reminders of the fragility of our existence.

Fortunately, this situation is beginning to change. Nations and localities are devoting steadily more attention to improving the plight of the disabled. Mr. Despouy's excellent interim report demonstrates the seriousness with which the international community too is finally addressing this important issue. The Baha'i International Community welcomes the Special Rapporteur's study and would like to take a few minutes to comment on his report and on some of the issues it raises.

The plight of the disabled is a mirror reflecting the shortcomings of society. This fundamental observation holds true with respect to three major topics that the Special Rapporteur plans to treat at length in his final report: first, the causes of disability; second, prejudice and discrimination directed towards the disabled; and third, measures to ensure the equal enjoyment of human rights for the disabled.

First, with respect to the causes of disability, the list of injurious practices resulting in disability that the Special Rapporteur has compiled is thought provoking, ranging from amputations to civil war. Disability can be caused by the gamut of inhuman conduct perpetrated by human beings against one another. For that very reason, the international community must take aim at all human rights violations, for they can all result in the permanent mental or physical handicap of human beings. We fully agree with the Special Rapporteur's observation, in paragraph 14 of his report, that any acts contrary to international law and violative of mental or physical integrity should be proscribed, not only those acts that rise to the level of torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

Secondly, the prejudice and discrimination that disabled people suffer is the product of the more general human tendency to label as "inferior" those who are somehow different. But the ostracism that disabled persons often experience can be even more intense, for it is founded on fear -- fear on the part of the ostracizer that he, too, may someday become the victim of disability. The only way to eradicate this fear is to educate every member of society to see disability for what it really is -- a mental or physical condition that may make everyday life more challenging, but that cannot affect the disabled person's soul, spirit, creativity, imagination or determination -- in short, some of the most valuable aspects of life. At the same time, such an appreciation will enable individuals to see through the outward handicaps of disabled persons, to their inner reality.

As we pointed out in our statements to the Sub-Commission last year, the reformation of social stereotypes and prejudices against the disabled requires education aimed at helping individuals to see the disabled as real people and to share in their triumphs. As Baha'is, we are working to implement this kind of education in our schools and in Baha'i homes....

We now turn to our third topic; ensuring equal rights for the disabled. Like many other groups, the disabled have been stigmatized and victimized by prejudice, preventing them from assuming their rightful places in society. As pointed out by the Special Rapporteur, the elimination of traditional stereotypes and prejudices against the disabled is a sine qua non for their full enjoyment of fundamental human rights. We agree wholeheartedly with the Special Rapporteur that all sectors of society must work to integrate disabled persons into the life of society and give them equal opportunities in schools, the workplace and the community at large. Society will be the loser if it fails to benefit from the talents of disabled persons. Their resolute determination to overcome problems that most of us will never be forced to deal with should be a shining torch for us all. We would only suggest that the Special Rapporteur emphasize the ideal of rehabilitation in the family as well as in the community. Family members should be trained, where possible, to help provide the support and encouragement that the disabled person requires to surmount his impairment....

Thanks in part to the devoted efforts of the Special Rapporteur, disabled persons will no longer have to cope with their handicaps in isolation, hidden behind a veil of intentional ignorance on the part of the society around them. We applaud efforts worldwide to help them surmount their disabilities and become fully-functioning members of their communities. Indeed, we all have much to learn from the disabled persons. Theirs is often an example worthy of emulation."





How can the Baha'i and surrounding communities become more accessible to persons with disabilities/illnesses/struggles?


I am 71 years old and have been a very active Baha'i in Singapore ever since I accepted the glorious Faith 30 years ago. After being afflicted with a rare eye disease "RP", retinalitis pigmentosa, from birth, I have gradually experienced the loss of my vision and had to suspend an active Baha'i life a few years  ago.

About one and half years ago, I was presented with a computer equipped with a special voice program known as "Jaws", job application with speech. With this wonderful modern hi-tech invention, I am able to work my computer entirely via 'keyboard" commands and have all my emails, date base, web information, etc read for me. I do not need the mouse or even the monitoring screen.

One good thing is that I have in my folders, many Baha'i quotations and books like the "Century of Light", "The Institution of the Counsellors", etc and I am able to surf the net to access other Baha'i references. This is the only way I am able to read. Hard copies are totally useless. I even receive my local and national newsletters by email and the "Healing Through Unity" newsletter is another precious item. I believe that being handicapped in whatever way does not restrict you from a full life as a Baha'i.

- Freddy Tan, Singapore


I am interested in the question of the month...regarding accessibility for those who have disabilities. This is rather timely for me, as I was just thinking last week about the need for the community to address the different situations of its members and friends.

Now, what I was thinking was triggered by the busy-ness of our lives, and that perhaps we needed to consult within our communities about having activities during hours other than evenings, etc. Some of us work evenings, and some work 6 days a week. Some have more than one job, and have to be flexible. Some have children in all kinds of sports activities.

Combine that with other limiting factors, such as disabilities, and we have lots of reasons to be creative. The Baha'i Faith is for everyone, including people with these types of lives.

I believe that honesty and not taking offense, just because someone isn't aware of our needs, are key. I am a person who has both physical limitations, and also the type of scheduling challenges I listed above. I can't expect people to know what I need, but I can expect willing consultation on a topic I bring to light. I can' t expect the community to alter its schedule totally for me, but perhaps by bringing up a consultation, I will find others who would like to have activities also, when I am able, or the type of activities that I am able to participate in. I will never know that if I don't ask if someone wants to join me in them. And...if no one wishes to or is able to, I must not take offense. Maybe another time, another situation.

- Nancy Lee, Ontario


Your projected subjects concerning handicapped, disabled or chronically ill members of the community comes at the perfect moment for our family. One week ago today (this is Sunday/Feast of Izzat), we received an approximately two-and-a-half year old girl with very evident disabilities. The little one had been found in the bush and brought into the hospital in Massakory, a town about 150 Km north of us. There are no facilities in Massakory to deal with handicapped children and the orphanage located here in the capital city has one handicapped child in worse straights than "Christina" and is unable to accept her. As we have adopted a number of children here in Chad, most recently five months ago, the delegation from Massakory who had hoped to leave the foundling in the orphanage brought her to us.

This past week was spent carrying the tot between doctors and the centre for the physically handicapped trying to determine what can be done for the little one. We are handicapped ourselves by not knowing what precisely is wrong with Christina . We have no facilities for testing or evaluation. The doctors, not having any information about Christina's history aren't able to say for certain whether she was born damaged or was insufficiently treated for meningitis within the past six to eight months. In the many cases similar to Christina's, the dysfunctional child is kept only until the family's hope for recovery or cure runs out - usually between one and two years of age. When the family is no longer able to care for the child, it is abandoned. Occasionally the children are found still alive by a third party, but this doesn't necessarily improve the lot of the little one because of the lack of treatment or care centres here.

Clearly we need help and support. Why Baha'u'llah brought this child to our door, I cannot understand as yet, and perhaps never will. I had just finished my last day of work as a Budget and Financial consultant for an Embassy operating here in Chad the previous Friday. I wanted to be able to devote more time to Alexandra - the five month old baby mentioned above - whom we are in the process of adopting... Taking on Christina is going to be a challenge for all of us in many ways as she will have to be integrated into our schedule and we will have to alter some of our plans in order to accommodate her development and care.

My intuition is that Christina is not mentally retarded, but there must be plenty of trouble in her little head that will have to be dealt with at the same time as we begin working on physical rehabilitation...Christina also seems to have done most of her communicating by shrieking at people. Obviously, it was not in her long term best interests. We are going to have to agree on a new system quickly if our future together is going to be a positive one. Yesterday, her lovely smile was a rarity and after hours of screeching, we were all of the opinion that handicapped or not, her parents had done a rotten job of educating her. She is able to make a variety of pleasant sounds, seems to hear within normal ranges and although she does not have proper eye muscle control, she is able to see and to follow moving objects. Her neck is very weak and her arms and legs are spastic - though I have seen many children, far more handicapped than she is, who have learned to walk and to operate quite efficiently. So, although we do not have access to good professional doctors and therapists, Christina's future is not nearly as gloomy as it is for many other sick children in Chad.

I would appreciate very much hearing from parents who have faced similar challenges with their children. I need to know from experienced parents who have had to deal with handicapped children and at what point do we make allowances for "handicaps" and when we just deal with our "special" child as we do with all of our others.

- Lynn Whitehouse, Chad

(Editor's note: You can send your responses to the newsletter and/or send them directly to Lynn Whitehouse at Some of the information may be useful for everyone.)





The services are available to those individuals whose handicaps prevent them from using normal print so this could apply to others than those who have a visual handicap. They provide materials in Braille, large print and on cassette tape. They maintain a lending library (for US & Canadian residents only) of the Braille and tapes. They also make available on tape the issues of 'The American Baha'i' -- United States newspaper. Bill Peary, who is the secretary of Baha'i Service for the Blind, advises that you contact them first to see if the tapes or materials already exist before doing them yourself. For more information and assistance, you can contact Bill Peary at:



The Service for the Visually Impaired Committee (SVIC) is a committee appointed by the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of the United Kingdom and is here to help anyone with a visual impairment who is already a Baha'i or interested in learning more about the Baha'i Faith.

The services offered by the SVIC are as follows:

* Baha'i books and other literature in Braille
* Baha'i books and other literature on tape
* The UK Baha'i Journal on tape and on-line
* Liaison services for the friends for all their concerns relating to their visual impairment and Baha'i activities.

Please visit their website at for full details.

For more information about visual impairment, what services and equipment are available, please contact the Royal National Institute for the Blind's website at:

To contact the SVIC, please email Robin Christopherson at:





I am a Baha'i physician, a pathologist to be specific, as well as an artist and designer. The reader that asked about high cholesterol needs to be well informed about cholesterol and it's role. Web MD on the internet has very good information about cholesterol. One question the individual needs to ask their physician is "What is my HDL level?" The HDL is the "good" cholesterol. If it is high (well over 45 -50 mg/dl) then they should continue their exercise and low fat diet. There is no need to be in a panic if the HDL is very high also. It sounds like from what they wrote that they may have the hereditary form of high total cholesterol. If so then the only way to lower the cholesterol is to take one of the newer statin drugs such as Zocor or Lipitor. There are studies that show that individuals on statin drugs have lower incidences of Alzheimer's disease. As far as diet goes, they should continue a high fiber diet and include oatmeal cereal, high dose vitamin E (mixed tocopherols 800 IU daily), garlic tablets three times daily and low fat protein sources. The old quote "An apple a day keeps the doctor away" is good advice for folks with high cholesterol.

The other question was about curing emphysema. Unfortunately emphysema is not curable. Emphysema is loss of lung tissue in the tiny airsacs of the lung as opposed to asthma which is a reactive airway disease and is due to inflammation of the small airways. People sometimes confuse emphysema and asthma because both lung diseases may have wheezing and mucus production. We cannot regenerate lost lung tissue but avoiding exposure to things that cause emphysema can keep it from progressing. The major cause of emphysema today is cigarette smoking but long term exposure to coal smoke or industrial irritants or heavy smog can also cause emphysema. If the emphysema is mild the person can become functional and lung function itself can return to fairly normal levels as long as they avoid the original cause of the emphysema. If other readers have personal experience with emphysema they might have good suggestions for maintaining good functional status.

- Dr. Crumbaker-Oldham, U.S.A.


There can be a real danger in looking for one thing that will cure you. You are asking here for a particular substance that is reliable. This never exists. Each one of us functions in a unique way. There is no single remedy that will work for every individual. Our health problems are a result of our unique way of functioning combined with our unique set of experiences in life. The latter being the most important.

What you have done so far is great. Modifying one's diet and beginning to exercise are very important aspects of good health. If you haven't already done so I would encourage you to get your nervous system evaluated by a subluxation based chiropractor. (A subluxation is when one or more of the bones in your spine move out of position and create pressure on, or irritate spinal nerves.)

Understand that cholesterol is not a good or bad thing. It is a substance that is produced and regulated by your body. It is the building block of many hormones and a substance that the body needs. It can certainly be affected by what you eat and your level of exercise but that is more of a secondary effect.

The nervous system is responsible for the coordination of all functions in the body including chemical balance. Subluxations are disturbances to the nervous system. These disturbances are certainly capable of disrupting the normal regulation of the production of cholesterol thus causing high levels in the body. When you get your subluxations corrected you will allow proper regulation to return.

If the cause of the problem is a subluxation interfering with your regulation system it will not matter how you change your diet or what type of exercise you do. The body will keep thinking that there isn't enough cholesterol and it will keep making it.

The correction of subluxations is very reliable in that you always function better without subluxations. The manner in which your overall health improves will still be a unique experience. If you need help locating a chiropractor who specializes in subluxation correction, or would like any further information, please feel free to contact me at

- Dr. Dan Boyle, DC, Ontario, Canada


"The powers of the sympathetic nerve are neither entirely physical nor spiritual, but are between the two. The nerve is connected with both. Its phenomena shall be perfect when its spiritual and physical relations are normal." (Tablets of 'Abdu'l-Baha, p. 309)

"... You should not neglect your health, but consider it the means which enables you to serve. It - the body - is like a horse which carries the personality and spirit, and as such should be well cared for so it can do its work ! You should certainly safeguard your nerves, and force yourself to take time, and not only for prayer and meditation, but for real rest and relaxation..." (From a letter written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi, dated 23 November 1947 to an individual believer, Health and Healing, p. 40)


I have been taking an over the counter herbal treatment for cholesterol that my medical doctor had prescribed for me, Red Rice Yeast. My cholesterol (LDL) was 239! I had tried changing my diet which was healthful, yet the numbers have continued to climb. My physician ordered me to take a prescribed amount of Red Yeast Rice capsules once a day with a meal. She told me that [all of] her patients that tried this herb had remarkable results with no side effects. Lipitor and other cholesterol lowering medications have a negative effect on the liver. On Wednesday, September 18, 2002, my physician called to tell me that my LDL had fallen to 141! She asked that I continue the regimen and be ready for another blood test next month (October).

There is a lot of information regarding Red Rice Yeast on the internet and in medical journals. If you are interested in trying this I suggest you search for information, and if it is for you, consult with your competent physician.

- Cheryl Martin, Western Washington, U.S.A.


In response to the 23 year old person, I will relate my personal experience being a believer in natural healing myself. I am 70 years old and my cholesterol was around 220, however it was the bad cholesterol (LDL) that was high. So my dietitian gave me the following prescription:

Become a vegetarian which means,

1. No meat ie beef, pork or chicken, because of the wrong fat, Omega 6 and antibiotics that are fed to the animals.
2. No fish because of the Mercury content.
3. Eggs are OK, up to six a week (preferably fertilized).
4. Take fish oil (purified from Mercury thru distillation), it has Omega 3 - 2 pills with every meal.
5. Grind up flax seed and or flax oil, one table spoon with every meal, also contains Omega 3.
6. Use olive oil for cooking or salads.
7. Eliminate soft drinks and minimize fruit juices.

The above should bring your HDL up and LDL down, as well as your overall cholesterol. It brought mine down to 151 in 2 weeks and stabilized at 180. I also lost 20 pounds in the process. The idea is to increase Omega 3 in your body.

To spice up my food I use a lot of garlic and spices as well as barbecue sauce.

A good source of information on the WEB is

- Walter Klein, Florida, U.S.A.


>From my experience for the friend who is looking for a non-traditional medicine solution for cholesterol can be improved by:

1) Trust in Baha'u'llah and apply His teachings.
2) Try to live according to His prescription.
3) Pray and read the Writings so that we can learn more about ourselves and others and how to relate to God.
4) Be happy so we can have success in our lives.
5) Improve our qualities and capacities so we can live better lives.
6) Encourage all human beings.
7) Improve our faith.

- Eduardo Santos, Portugal




The focus for the upcoming issues will be on how to improve accessibility in the Baha'i and surrounding communities for persons with disabilities, illnesses and diseases of various kinds. This may include removing physical barriers, changing our attitudes and providing relevant support or available technology to ensure that everyone is a part of community life. Working together to provide basic information and accommodations as well as typical solutions will hopefully enable those struggling with a disability or illness to be involved in the community. After all, we all have disabilities/struggles of various forms. This information may also apply to the workplace. We will continue this consultative process.

Some of the disabilities/illnesses we will consult are (if there are others missing, please let us know):

1) Hearing Impairment
2) Visual Impairment
3) Mobility/Physical disability
4) Learning Disabilities /Attention Deficit Disorder
5) Developmental Disabilities
6) Brain Injuries
7) Physical Illnesses such as cancer, arthritis, heart condition, back impairment, alzheimer's, etc.
8) Psychiatric Disabilities/Mental Illness
9) Emotional

For the November issue, we will focus on hearing and mobility/physical disabilities. Please share your experiences, stories and comments on this subject. We look forward to learning from you!




You can visit the website, obtain back issues and the Healing Through Unity Course at:




"Healing Through Unity" is published for the purpose of sharing thoughts, comments and experiences on how the teachings of the Baha'i Faith are being applied to physical and spiritual health. Other than the quoted Holy Writings, the material in this newsletter represents the thoughts and opinions of the writers and has no authority. You are free to copy articles, provided you indicate the source of the article. There are 10 issues per year; it is not published during July and August. The newsletter is produced in Ontario, Canada.

Please send your stories, comments, suggestions or "Question for the Month" ideas to Frances Mezei by e-mail:


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