Share Your Memories: 30 Years of Islamic Republic

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With the emergence of the Islamic Republic, the situation of the Baha’i community in Iran went from bad to worse.  Iran Press Watch is interested in learning how the past 30 years has impacted you personally and what challenges or opportunities it presented.

We invite you to share a short note describing the most significant aspect of your memories of these years and we will select some of these submissions for publication on the site.  Submissions may be sent to:  comment@iranpresswatch.org or posted below.

Thank you in advance.

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6 Responses

  1. Ahang

    March 10, 2009 8:35 pm

    No deadline. As we receive such short essays, we plan to publish them. Encourage Iranians in your community to write (or share with you) their memories and reflections about the last 30 years. This can grow to become an important source of the Baha’i community’s oral tradition.

    Reply
  2. Glenn Franco Simmons

    March 15, 2009 6:05 pm

    I had a Bahai friend whose father was “arrested” on trumped up charges. He was the manager of a factory.

    My Bahai friend never heard from his father again and my Bahai friend lost all of his assets that were in Bank of America.

    Because of that, even my wife and I were young with a young child and barely making it, we allowed him to stay with us for a while.

    Over the years, I lost touch with him, and I don’t know if he ever heard from his father again. I believe his family survived the initial pogrom, but I don’t know if they made it through to today.

    When my friend did have some money, before everything collapsed, we went to buy a car at a car dealership in Eureka, Calif., and the salesman refused to sell him a car because he was from Iran, and Iran had held Americans hostage.

    We attempted to explain to him that my Bahai friend did not support that, and that Bahais were being killed in Iran at that time, but it was to no avail.

    So, as his family and religious brethren were being persecuted in Iran, in America, land of the immigrant, land of the free, in Eureka, Calif., a salesman, who eventually became the owner of this longtime family owned business, although I don’t know if he still owns it, was so prejudiced that he refused to sell a car to an Iranian Bahai simply because he was Iranian.

    This man said he was a former Marine, if memory serves me correctly, and was very patriotic, yet his prejudice was an insult to the very flag and country he so proudly said he protected. It was disgraceful.

    Such guilt by association is repugnant and I could never understand why my family continued to buy cars from this person, who otherwise was an honest, good man, but very prejudicial at that time.

    Hurtful beyond belief but as true as the sun rises.

    I would mention his car dealership, but my family continued to buy cars from him throughout the years and were very pleased with him, but I never went back, after having purchased two cars from him, because of this incident.

    I hope he now realizes that his scapegoating, stereotyping and prejudice were wrong.

    However, prejudice is nothing new in Eureka, California. Just ask the Chinese who were forced out of Humboldt County. There are regions in China where they know the name of Eureka, California, because of the forced “removal” of all Chinese. (There are many sources to fact check this.)

    Or ask Native Americans whose relatives were murdered in the 1800s and many of those who survived were then placed in corrals at Fort Humboldt. (For fact check on that, you can purchase Genocide in Northern California by Jack Norton Sr.)

    Reply
  3. Nasser

    March 15, 2009 11:02 pm

    “Among the teachings of Bahá’u’lláh is that religious, racial, political, economic and patriotic prejudices destroy the edifice of humanity….If this prejudice and enmity are on account of religion consider that religion should be the cause of fellowship, otherwise it is fruitless. And if this prejudice be the prejudice of nationality consider that all mankind are of one nation; all have sprung from the tree of Adam, and Adam is the root of the tree. That tree is one and all these nations are like branches, while the individuals of humanity are like leaves, blossoms and fruits thereof. Then the establishment of various nations and the consequent shedding of blood and destruction of the edifice of humanity result from human ignorance and selfish motives.”

    “As to the patriotic prejudice, this is also due to absolute ignorance, for the surface of the earth is one native land. Every one can live in any spot on the terrestrial globe… Therefore all the world is man’s birthplace. These boundaries and outlets have been devised by man. In the creation, such boundaries and outlets were not assigned… God has set up no frontier between France and Germany; they are continuous…”

    Lawh-i-Hague (TABLET TO THE HAGUE) A letter written by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’ to the Central Organization for a Durable Peace, The Hague, December 17th, 1919.

    Reply
  4. sb

    March 19, 2009 6:48 pm

    I am working with Iranian friends in my local community to compile some of their recollections. Putting them together may take time, perhaps after Naw Ruz. Last month my local community held an LSA sponsored devotion to which the local press and a two interfaith organizations were invited. The response was good. The local press mentioned the seven Baha’i prisoners in two separate issues, at length. Interfaith members either attended or sent supportive messages.

    After praying, the Iranian friends were encouraged to tell their stories. This was new for them. The tide of suppressed trauma was amazing and brought tears to the eyes of all. I can’t help but think that the wider community could benefit by learning some of these stories. Also, younger members of the community who don’t recall the period after the Iranian Revolution could learn much from reading these stories. Many recollections were made of family and friends in Iran who were killed during the persecutions of the 1980’s.

    One woman described walking to Turkey from Iran with her small children after her business was closed and she was threatened with prison (she was saved by a kindly Muslim neighbor who warned her). She nearly died from lack of water during her journey. A young man was with us who had entered prison with his Baha’i family as a baby and wasn’t released until he was five years old. Many remain reluctant to speak of losing their country, homes, possessions, and livelihoods, because they consider it unworthy to mention! Such is the nature of the Iranian Baha’is who are my companions. Their only crime was membership in the Baha’i Faith. We must work to tell these stories before it is too late.

    I wish “Naw-Ruz Mubarak” to everyone, especially to Iran Press Watch!

    Reply

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