Children are the future of our world. The progress or destruction of human civilization is wiely effected by their education and their very identity. As we know, man’s reality is truly his thought. Children come to school giving the key of the sanctuary of their thoughts to their teachers and educators. The environment of a school is just that, sacred and it must be regarded as such. There is no room and should never be for violence and violation of basic human rights of any child in the sanctuary of a school.
We invite the educators and parents of the world to speak out and not to remain silent while Baha’i children and all their school mates are exposed to the virus of religious discrimination and intolerance in the name of religion. I strongly believe that as human beings we are born neither good or bad, that we are potentially both good and bad depending on what aspect of our character gets more food for its thoughts; “Every child is potentially the light of the world — and at the same time its darkness; wherefore must the question of education be accounted as of primary importance. From his infancy, the child must be nursed at the breast of God’s love, (not punitive vengeance) and nurtured in the embrace of His knowledge, (not ignorance and prejudice) that he may radiate light, (not darkness) grow in spirituality, (not in savagery and cruelty) be filled with wisdom ( not with impulse to revenge and discriminate) and learning, (not reactionary rejection of whatever is different and new) and take on the characteristics of the angelic host. (not characteristic of an ignorant and cruel bully whose proud to criticise and condemn out of ignorance and fear).
The very foundation of trust which, is so shaky in our world today, is further at risk when we systematically and authoritatively educate children to hate and discriminate. It becomes even more dangerous when children are exposed to the virus of violence in relation to a most emotionally charged subject such as their religion which is often associated with their highest identity. Suicide bombing does not happen all of a sudden and without exposure and encouragement by those who possess power and authority in the mind of a young person. Children, by their very nature are vulnerable and do not have the independence of mind to withstand the dictate of those who they respect and look up to such as their teachers, principals, parents and clergy.
We all know that, in the US, for a person to be employed as an educator, the law requires that they be free from certain contagious disease such as T.B. lest they physically infect the children with a deadly disease. We might ask if the mind and heart of a child is any less important to be safeguard from deadly contagious diseases such as religious hatred and prejudice. I strongly believe that teaching the children about the universal human rights must be a required subject in the curriculum of all children and uphold by all those who come in contact with children. The talk by the UN Secretary general at the Holocaust remembrance day which is posted on our site speaks loudly to this global need.
My heart goes not just to Baha’i children in Iran, but all children who are taught so carefully and systematically to hate.
We invite your thoughts and comments as well as your actions.