An open letter by a group of Baha’i students banned from universities to Iranians
Noble people of Iran,
We do not see the need to tell you of our love for Iran and Iranians. Anyone who has contact with the Baha’is of Iran is without a doubt well aware of their devotion to their land and their dear compatriots.
However, as a poet put[s] it,
The guards of my cage broke my silence
They broke my heart filled with patience
The time to wait and hesitate has come to an end. The pen in the hands of the oppressive rulers writes nothing but defamation, distortion of facts, and derision. Their paper is soaked in the darkness of dogma, detestation, and despotism. My dear compatriots, you should also present a pen and paper, because you love freedom, and you love kindness and passion. The power of thought and heart is stronger than a thousand weapons.
We are Iranians of the Baha’i faith. Our desires will be reached with an Iran that is proud and Iranians that are honoured. On the contrary, we are deprived of our minimal civil rights [in Iran]. Although we do not have the right to attend universities in our country, we have not ceased to defend the dignity and honour of Iranians. We have shown compassion to this land and its people with all our heart and soul. Despite all the injustices we have to bear, this land is sacred and a source of pride for us.
To pursue our right to education, we went to many government organizations like the Ministry of Advanced Education, the Evaluations Office (responsible for post-secondary examinations), and the Presidential Office. [As a response] we were either insulted or threatened.
Conscious violations of human rights in Iran is not new. Everyone, in some way or another, is faced with it. Followers of the Baha’i faith seem to have been more stripped of their human rights than others. Baha’is have not experienced justice, fairness, and equality in the past thirty years.
The violators of these rights did not stop at insults and defamation. The regime has a dark record of burning Baha’is alive; looting and confiscating property owned by Baha’is; threatening, torturing, and imprisoning Baha’is. Despite the amount of cruelty Baha’is have endured, they have never submitted to the injustices.
Despite all these, we cannot complain about these oppressors; it is clear to everyone that power and wealth blind those who depend on it. They turn exalted feelings into hatred and violence such that one does not even recognize the humanity of others, let alone respect their rights.
The Baha’i youth who were engaged in serving their fellow citizens by helping disadvantaged children of their cities were arrested and detained for daring to assist their compatriots. The individuals who take their grievances on their right to education to officials are affronted and intimidated. Currently some are detained in prison. Mercenaries who know nothing of the Baha’i people are recruited to write whatever they want against followers of this faith to weaken their status in the society. Not a single word they write is true, and yet when we try to clarify the facts and uncover the truth, we are hit by legal prosecution on the false premises that we have acted against national security and have insulted Islam.
As we mentioned before, we do not expect much more of them. We are, however, disappointed at fellow citizens who listen and believe those who say whatever they want, distort the truth, defame and slander, and even break the law. We are heartbroken at the compatriot who harasses their fellow citizen out of religious dogma, and turns the schools attended by young Baha’i children to a place where they harass, belittle, and insult these defenseless youngsters. We are saddened by those who accept without research and review whatever they hear without seeing the impacts of such statements.
Whatever you do, you remain our compatriot and our fellow human being, and we will not cease to love you. It is not hatred and resentment, but love for you which remains in our hearts. I like you my bully and oppressive fellow citizen. We love you our oppressed and bullied compatriot. Whether you are Muslim, Christian, or you hold another belief; whatever your post and status, whether you are poor or rich; whether you are fair or unjust; whether you are educated or illiterate; whether you are black or white; we cordially love you.
The New Year is an excuse to renew thoughts and emotions. Let us celebrate it, and regardless of any dogma, let’s hold hands. Let’s rise with one heart and one soul, bonded by compassion and mutual respect, to serve the sacred soil of Iran.
A group of Baha’i students deprived of education
March 18, 2010
Source: Siavosh J. | Persian2English.com