"My esteemed fellow countrymen and women"

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Almost 30 years ago, Manousheed Bagha’s mother was executed for the sole purpose of being an adherent of the Baha’i Faith. Upon hearing that the cemetery of Khavaran, where her mother was buried, faces the threat of destruction, she wrote the following heartfelt letter (via HRA Iran) to her countrymen.

With sadness, dismay, a heavy heart and disappointment, I turn to you for refuge and justice. I turn to you who have inherited a nation whose “power and glory shone out like the morning about the world’s horizons.” I turn to you who are the children of just kings such as Cyrus the Great. I implore you to be the guardians of justice.

A few days ago, just by coincidence, I came across an article covering the destruction of the Khavaran cemetery in Tehran. At first glance, I overlooked this article because the destruction of Bahá’í cemeteries in Iran has become a common occurrence during the past few years, but after reading the article more thoroughly, I realized that this was the place where my mother had been buried.

It has been 27 seven years since Shidrukh Amirkia Bagha was killed secretly in our land. Her only crime was being a Bahá’í and refusing to recant her faith. She and a few other Bahá’ís who had been arrested with her were killed and buried, in secret, without the knowledge of family members, in a plot designated for “infidels.” Evidence shows that if only she had recanted her belief in Bahá’u’lláh she would have been released, but she was brave, determined, and steadfast in her conviction.

Her faith in Bahá’u’lláh taught her to love without expectation and her goal in life was to serve whoever crossed her path – for this she believed was the crown on her head. Her faith taught her to sacrifice her life for the good of humanity and to “contribute towards building a society founded on enlightened spiritual and social principles…” How could anyone recant a faith that inspires such principles, even when faced with death?

Alas, they snatched the life from her tender limbs and took her from us. They deprived her grandchildren of knowing her in this mortal life and seeing their grandmother grow old. They took away the bounty of receiving the tender compassion a grandmother so often bestows upon her grandchildren.

I have so often dreamed that I would one day be able to visit her gravesite and tell her about the lost moments I did not get to spend with her, and to be able to convey how much I missed her, but without a gravestone over which to cry, this is regrettably no longer possible.

I am well aware that many loved ones were buried there, and I extend my sympathies to their relatives. I pray and hope that the members of my noble birth land will once again receive the bounties of God and return to the days of glory and justice.

Manousheed Bagha

[Source: HRA Iran at http://hrairan.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=479%3A54&catid=66%3A304&Itemid=293. Introductory Note by Muslim Network for Baha’i Rights]


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