Editor’s Note: Following is a translation of an open letter from a group of Iranian Baha’is in response to the open letter from a group of Iranian human rights activists and intellectuals, known as “We are Ashamed” letter (see http://www.iranpresswatch.org/2009/02/we-are-ashamed/)
Your defense of the rights of the mistreated and persecuted Baha’is is a reason to be “Proud” not “Ashamed”. We, a group of Baha’is inside Iran, are filled with joy to see you take part in one of the most significant renaissances in thinking among Iranians. We see progress occurring toward a new stage of understanding — recognizing the truth irrespective of its source. This is a new stage of human development where cruelty imposed on anyone, in any place, is shunned — a stage of defending individuals against ill-treatment, regardless of their belief system, sex, race or ethnicity.
We acknowledge that the Baha’i community’s level of tolerance in the face of adversity may have been the cause of the late response from you, dear brave, strong-willed Iranians. You were observing a community whose reaction was contrary to what one would expect, but in accordance to the teachings of their Faith — teachings that would not allow the hatred of tyrants to linger in their hearts, or permit them to seek revenge of any kind.
To combat oppression, they would appeal to the tyrants, in utmost kindness, giving them the opportunity to reconsider their misbehavior. All the negative energies resulting from the wounds inflicted upon them were focused on the act of cruelty itself and not on the perpetrator of the cruelty. The acts of savagery inflicted on successive generations spanning over 160 years have been tolerated by the Baha’i community with patience, pride and perseverance.
Seeing such a historical statement from you Iranian free thinkers has been a soothing balm to the injuries long suffered by this victimized community. We are also obliged to take responsibility for upholding the lost rights of our brothers and sisters in Iran, irrespective of their beliefs, sex, ethnicity or race.
We hope that this spirit of closeness and unity may increase, and that the dark clouds of cruelty may dissipate. Let the sun of justice shine upon our Land, which has been deprived of light for so many years.
A Group of Iranian Baha’i