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Back to Newspaper articles archive: 2000


Israeli-Arab Peace Performance below the Shrine of the Báb broadcast live around the world

United States, Denver - In the first hour of the new millennium, the BBC/PBS 25-hour broadcast, “PBS Millennium 2000” with an estimated 800 million to one billion viewers -- moved to Haifa, Israel, with the stirring announcement, “We’re going to start with the golden-domed Bahá’í temple.” This date information appears at the PBS.org Web site, which reckons the millennial broadcast events according to North American Pacific Time.

United States, Denver - The following e-mail message from Richard Hutchins describes one person’s impression of this broadcast:

“I would like to share with you my reaction to what happened to the World today, January 1, 2000. These reflections are my own response, and should be viewed as thoughts I wish to share with my friends. I am sure each of us had our own reaction. With that said:

“At 1:45 (Mountain Standard Time) this morning I beheld, as every other eye on this Earth beheld, the fulfillment of the prophecies of the Christian Faith. At that moment, as the camera and the world circled around the Primal Point [the Shrine of the Báb on Mount Carmel in Haifa], we were the closest we possibly could have been to the prophecy of ‘every eye shall see Him.’

“At this moment, in the 23rd hour of the worldwide broadcast, all but a few areas of the earth were sharing this same significant day. In the West, the new day was beginning, Europe was experiencing its dawning, at the Bahá’í World Centre the splendour of the midday sun was approaching, and in the Far East the sun was setting. At this moment, the world beheld the Crowning Glory, the Shrine of the Báb, and heard the name of Bahá as the commentator referred to the ‘golden-domed Shrine of the Bahá'í Faith.’

“A few of us were gathered at the Metro Denver Bahá'í Centre to do an inventory of the stock in the MDBC Bookstore on December 31, 1999. As we did our work, we were able to catch glimpses on the television of what was happening as it became January 1, 2000, throughout the world.

“We agreed that we were watching no less than the Proclamation of the Lesser Peace not by the leaders of the world, but by its peoples. During this day, we the people of the world, have told our leaders that we are tired of war, that we are one people, all sharing the same common fatherland, the planet Earth.

“Following the segment filmed in Haifa, the PBS commentator in the United States, ‘in fulfillment of their Mission Statement,’ educated the viewing public as to what the Bahá'í Faith is. He introduced the Báb, and the suffering that the early followers faced, and finally the execution of the Báb Himself. And then he proclaimed the Name of Bahá'u'lláh throughout our country in the first possible moments when all of the United States was able to hear the New Name on this day. He introduced us to the high principles taught by the Faith, and its ultimate goal of uniting all of the peoples of this earth.

“My heartbeat increased, and tears welled up in my eyes as I heard the name of our Lord and knew that it was being shared throughout the United States, nay, the entire globe at this same moment. On this day of significance the media, which was created for this moment, has proclaimed the name of Glory to the suffering earth.

“Many of the Bahá'ís slumbered, others missed it because they were watching CBS. Before viewing it I thought of how ridiculous the hour was and how it could have been shown at a ‘better time.’ But as we saw the Shrine, and heard joyous voices singing ‘Halleluya’ at the gate of the ‘Kings Highway’, [the avenue traversing the terraces upward toward the Shrine of the Báb] my paradigm began to change. I felt the call of the ‘shofars’ (the horn used on the Jewish High Holidays) and the ‘Darbucas,’ (Arabic clay drums) inviting us to join the hundreds of dancers in ‘a celebration of peace and harmony between Arabs and Jews and among all nations.’ Then I heard and saw the song, ‘Small World,’ sung and danced by hundreds of children. As the segment closed with ‘Shalom Aleichem’ ‘peace be with you’ I came to a realization of the moment.

Praised be God, the Lord of all the worlds!

In loving service to humanity,
Richard Hutchins

Will Durst in Washington D.C. announced the event “... in an Israeli city where Arabs and Jews live side by side. The good news is that this is ecumenical celebration. Here’s how it shapes up: Jews and Arabs are going to whoop it up over a Christian date in front of a Baha’i temple.”

A Haifa announcer said during the performance: “Haifa, by the way, is the third largest city in Israel, and the only city that is a truly mixed population of Jews and Arabs coexisting in peace and cooperation ... The message of this particular event promoting peace and harmony between Jews and Arabs in this region and among all nations.”

Following the final performance, danced to “Small World,” Will Durst explained the Bahá’í Faith:

“Haifa is the world headquarters of the Bahá’í Faith.

“In the mid-1800s in Irán, a Prophet known as the Báb an Arabic word for ‘the Gate’ began preaching a new Revelation that was to replace the Koran. The Báb’s Message ended polygamy and other Islamic customs and predicted the unity of all religious faiths under one roof. The new cult ran into political problems, as you might imagine, and six years after starting His mission, the Báb was executed. He left a prophecy that a new Manifestation would soon arrive and show the world a new path.

“In 1863, Mirza Husayn Ali, called the Glory of God, Bahá’u’lláh, announced that He was the man that the Bab had predicted; and a new religion, Bahá’í, was born. In the first 20 years, 20,000 Bahá’ís were martyred in Irán for their beliefs. Exiled to Baghdad, Bahá’u’lláh spent the rest of His life as a political prisoner of the Ottoman Empire, and finally was sent to Acre not far from Haifa.

“The Bahá’í Faith aims to be a universal religion. Its tenets include abolition of racial and religious prejudice, equality of the sexes, development of an international language, universal education, universal faith based on the identity of all the great religions. It’s kinda like a one-world religion. It’s a small world, after all.”

The following statement appears at the pbs.com Web site:
“A winding uphill street links Haifa harbor with Mt. Carmel where the gold-domed Baha'i Temple is situated. Six women singers stand on the steps, performing part of the ‘Halleluya’ in Hebrew. A ‘shofars,’ the horn used on the Jewish High Holidays, sounds its call. ‘Darbucas,’ Arabic clay drums, invite hundreds of dancers to join a celebration of peace and harmony between Arabs and Jews and among all nations. They sing ‘Small World’ and ‘Shalom Aleichem’ ‘peace be with you.’”

The dances were performed on Ben Gurion Avenue known to the Bahá’ís as the “Avenue of the Kings” at the foot of God’s Holy Mountain, with the Terraces rising majestically behind them. The Shrine of the Báb, the “Queen of Carmel,” sat enthroned near the top, its golden dome shining in the midday sun, while hundreds of Arabs and Israelis performed joyful dances promoting peace among all nations in the street.

(Ed. Note: The Bahá’í offices of public information request that individuals not approach the media if errors of fact are noted in broadcasts or publications. Any corrections to be made in connection with any broadcast or publication should be made only by the Baha’i elected body concerned.)


©Copyright 2000, Enlighten
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