We very much appreciate that our kind readers bring to our attention important documents pertaining to violation of human rights of Baha’is of Iran, or other important news or interesting commentaries. One such commentary that caught our attention was posted on the Persian Negah site (http://www.newnegah.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=584&Itemid=15) and we offer a summary translation below.

This posting appeared to be an essay by a Baha’i in Iran and made us reflect on the plight of so many innocent people throughout the world! As always, we welcome comments and reflections by our dear readers.

Summary translation follows:

Night before last I saw a poignant clip on television. It showed that several fully armed Israeli soldiers, along with a bulldozer, had gone to a small farm in the Palestinian area and were in process of uprooting a tree.

A Palestinian woman who owned that farm was wailing and weeping, and with bare fists attacking the armed soldiers, crying, “This is my land. Why are you uprooting my tree? This tree is older than my son!”

In the midst of all commotions and protestations by villagers, someone made a comment that I thought was most amazing, perhaps it was the same woman. Anyway, it was said to the soldiers, “If you’re man enough, put your submachine gun away and we’ll fight with fists!”

When I saw this, I started thinking. First it occurred to me that a fruit tree like this must be so vital to a poor family in Palestine that its removal must have prompted this wretched woman to hopelessly confront the soldiers. Obviously she felt that there was no place for her to take her complaint. There was no administration of justice that would come to her aid. No one that would listen to her and protect her right. No one that would tell soldiers, “For what purpose are you uprooting a fruit bearing tree that supports a penniless family?”

I was thinking about the harsh economic and psychological pressure on that Palestinian family through the removal this tree when I remembered Faraj Abdi, a Baha’i who lived in a village in Kurdistan. It was some years ago when someone named Hadi (a governmental representative) had come to Abdi’s village and began anti-Baha’i activities and defamation. In no time, the Muslim villagers attacked Abdi’s orchard and uprooted all his grapevines – his sole source of income. But I don’t remember Abdi ever raising slightest complain or attacking anyone with his fists!

As I thought some more about the Palestinian woman and the manifest injustice brought upon on her, I thought of a situation in Nayriz (a small town in south of Iran). There was a certain Muslim cleric named Sayyid Muhyi’d-Din Fali who was particularly antagonistic towards Baha’is. This Sayyid wanted to build a mosque. For this purpose, he asked Tehran for a grant from the Islamic endowment funds, but was told that he needed to place as indemnity the title of a parcel of land. Since the lands around the fort of Khajih in Nayriz belonged to Baha’is who had cultivated them into walnut orchards, he sent words to one of the Baha’is named Ali-Akbar Rawhani that he wanted to “purchase” his land for a nominal fee, and if he did not do so, then his orchards would be uprooted in no time. Rawhani did not heed this warning and decided not to “sell” his land. Next week when Rawhani visited his orchard, he saw that the Sayyid’s men had uprooted all his trees, including precious walnut trees that were nearly a hundred years old and were most productive. Not only were the trees removed, but the land was ploughed so thoroughly that he was unable to tell the exact location of his orchard. This is how the Sayyid confiscated his land and used it as surety to build a mosque! But Rawhani never complained – and he certainly did not use his fists!

If Palestinians are using every means at their disposal to establish their rights, including desperate suicide bombings and other forms of armed struggles, Baha’is are not doing any of these things. No Baha’i in Nayriz ever confronted the Sayyid for destroyed a magnificent orchard and outright theft of a fine Baha’i-owned property.

No Baha’i in all these long years of intense persecution has ever raised a fist against the attackers. When hundred of thousands of Baha’is are deprived of the most basic human rights, when their orchards are confiscated, when their homes are taken from them, when their dwelling are set on fire, when their children are thrown out of schools, when their youth denied education, when their hard-earned pensions are seized, when their bank accounts are impounded, when their businesses are commandeered, when their loved ones are imprisoned, tortured and killed, when their holy sites and places of worship are destroyed, when their cemeteries bulldozed, when their fathers and mothers are taken away in the middle of night and shot to death, when their very survival hangs by the thinnest threads, when all of these things are done to them, not one Baha’i – not ever! – has raised a fist against the perpetrators of these crimes against humanity.

Baha’is do not say, “Put down your submachine guns so we can fight by fists.” They say, “Put down your guns so our hands are free, and hand-in-hand we can build and develop this nation and create a better future for children of all humanity.” They say if uprooting a tree on a Palestine farm is a shameful act and deserves our condemnation, then how much more so when homes, orchards, livelihood, education, and the very existence of a body of people are threatened and often uprooted merely because they are Baha’is! Does this not deserve the attention of the entire world?

End of summary translation.