Nothing better to do
Heechee kam nadaaran
By Jahanshah Javid
When are we going to recognize Bahais?
July 3, 2002
The reason I'm writing is that my Internet connection has been down for the past 11 hours. I have already edited (well,
browsed through) five opinion pieces (my brain needs some serious rest). My work is done for the day, basically. But I have
to wait for the connection to come back on.
Of course I've thought about writing something about Bahais for some time. I'm just fascinated by the fact that we -- nearly
every non-Bahai Iranian -- do not really consider Bahais as Iranian. We consider them bastard children of British colonialism
aiming to destroy Islam, specifically Shi'ite Islam. They're not even "other" Iranians. We see them as something
else. Or maybe we don't see them at all.
Okay, okay! Not EVERY non-Bahai feels that way. But come on... who are we kidding?
As far as I know, and please correct me, Bahais in Iran have no rights whatsoever. Think about that. We bitch and moan about
the condition of women and lack of freedoms under that good for nothing theocracy and meanwhile we totally ignore what's been
happening to the Bahais. Yes Bahais. Remember them?
Why do we treat Bahais so badly? Or at least why aren't we concerned when they are treated badly? Is it that we don't care?
Yes. It's because we don't give a damn what happens to Bahais. Haqeshooneh, we say.
For a people who care so much about their aaberoo, we don't seem to get it that the biggest aaberooreezee of all is the way
we have tolerated the persecution of Bahais. May I suggest a change of attitude? A little consideration?
I can't make heads or tales out of the Bahai faith or religion or whatever they call it. But what's the difference between
that and Islam and Judaism, or Christianity, or I don't know... Hinduism or any other faith? Who's to say which one is
more authentic? To me, all religion is hocus pocus anyway.
(God... I hope my Internet connection comes back soon.)
We can argue all we want about how Bahaism started and what it stands for. In the end, what we are dealing with is an idea.
No one should be stripped of human rights for believing in something we don't. We can't eliminate a whole group of people
because we don't like how they think.
What I'm trying to say is that a person's beliefs should not bring punishment. It's a really simple concept. And yet we
ignore it - especially when it comes to Bahais. Why is that? Why should they be excluded from all public spheres and
discriminated against on every level? Don't tell me it's all the government's fault. And no, you can't blame it all on Islam
or the mullahs either.
What about you and me? What's our excuse? What have Bahais done to deserve our scorn -- and most of all, indifference? Dard o
We, as a nation, have passively, carelessly, callously watched this inhumanity for decades. We respect Jews (when we're in a
generous mood) only because they are people of the Book and all that crap. But when it comes to Bahais... I don't know what
it is. They don't even exist.
This is an important issue just by the fact that non-Bahais don't think it's an important issue. A whole group of
people, hundreds of thousands of them in Iran, have been persecuted in the most deliberate and cruel fashion for three
generations (is my math correct?) and yet our dissident literature is virtually silent on this atrocity.
Go ahead. Go and shed a tear for Palestinians. They deserve it. Israel is crushing them like ants. But when you get a chance,
do give a shit about Bahais too. You want a noble cause? You want to scream and shout about injustice? I'm telling you...
Bahais have been really underrated as far as causes go.
Don't you think we need to care? If we don't care, if we don't support and demand human rights for Bahais, who will? The
government? The mullahs? The fanatics? Why should the American government care and not us? When are we going to wake up
to this terrible tragedy? Oy! Baa toam!
Don't send emails that Islam is the root of all evil or Bahais have themselves to blame. I most certainly don't want to see
rehashed British conspiracy theories filling my inbox. Take responsibility for a change. Just open your eyes to what these
people have been going through JUST BECAUSE THEY BELIEVE IN SOMETHING DIFFERENT. You and me are every bit as responsible.
Because we don't care.
(Where's my bloody Internet connection?!)
You would expect that a century and a half of persecution and a quarter of a century of systematic dehumanization under the
present clowns would make Bahais a bit insecure or bitter. You would have a huge chip on your shoulder if you were a Bahai,
no? And yet Bahais don't have an inferiority complex at all. So it seems.
I mean if there are Bahais with a victim mentality, I haven't met any (bar akse maa!). And while Bahai-bashers are busy doing
God's crooked work, Bahaism is spreading like no other religion. Why wouldn't it? It's harmless. It's inclusive. It welcomes
you with open arms. It's all nice and sweet and goody goody.
Look. If you wanted to pick a religion these days, what would you choose? You would think about the symbols associated with
that religion. You hear and read their main slogans and catch phrases. You observe and interact with their followers. And
you do a bit of research (even though facts have very little to do with how you come to accept a particular faith. It's all
What are the most prominent Islamic symbols floating around? Angry faces, violence, chador, stoning, revolution, martyrdom,
blood. And more blood. And what about the Bahai symbols? I don't know... Peace, love, tolerance. Happy faces?
Now, if you knew nothing else about either religion, which one would you pick?
(Somebody save me...)
Even if you don't like Bahaism, at least be fair. Give credit where it's due. Bab or Bahaulla or whoever started the Bahai
faith should be recognized as a very significant (if not great) historic figure in Iranian history. For God's sake his
movement is flourishing in every corner of the world. And he wasn't an Arab like the other fellow. Okay that was a cheapshot.
I better shut up now. I'm going jogging. Ageh barnagashtam halaalam koneen.
©Copyright 2002, The Iranian