“I have watched many documentaries about human suffering and violations of human rights that has saddened, shocked and angered me but I have never been moved and empowered after I watched a documentary of this sort”; shared one young man attending the screening of the Education Under Fire yesterday.
His was not the first time I had heard from the viewers of the documentary that it was surprising to see how different was the spirit of those who spoke about their horrific experience of being oppressed, denied their rights and violated by their government. “They looked refreshingly strong, serene, staunch, with almost an empowering resolve”; agreed another student joining us in conversation. “The calm and almost radiant spirit of the witnesses in the documentary, their gentle smiles as they were talking about their plight and the horrific things happened to their families, their resolve, and their hope and expectation of being respected as citizens by their government of Islamic Republic of Iran, was a refreshing surprise and gave me another picture, a novel view of the experience of being wronged but not defeated”; commented another participant.
That look of feeling empowered, of wanting to stand up and defend the rights of the wronged with confidence and conviction is apparent in the radiant faces of the participants in the picture above. Everyone seemed uplifted and determined to do more for the human rights to education of the Baha’is of Iran. There is almost an irresistible psychological and spiritual force in motion when the victim of an injustice remain firm on the ground of objectivity seeking solutions instead of vengeance. Justice, in those situations, puts its weight on the shoulders of others to make sure the injustice is out of the way and out for good. It is an amazing sight to behold. Those who are wronged choose the privilege of being merciful while the supporters hold up the banner of justice for all humanity and not just for that particular incident or victim. In this magical manner, the oneness of all humanity gets activated and everyone feels loved and supported. It is a magnetic moment. You see the effect of it on the faces of the participants in the above picture.
Many action items were generated by the discussion groups facilitated by young students from the Five C Claremont Colleges, Cal Poly Pomona, Cal State Fullerton, and Claremont High School, at each table and volunteers moved to the front to carry them out. A brief list is as follows:
1. Think about our own circle of friends and show video/have a discussion with them.
2. Show video in junior high and high schools, not only for awareness, but also so they have an appreciation of their educational freedom and opportunities.
3. Parents can accompany their children to talk to their teachers and principals about the EUF program.
4. Get family and friends to sign the “Drive to 25” petition.
5. Create a feature on the WolfCast announcements at the high school about the EUF program.
6. Print an article about the EUF program in the WolfPacket newspaper at the high school.
7. Email the EUF website to your friends.
8. Go and talk to the administration and faculty at colleges – there are many useful materials at the EUF website.
9. Go to the Claremont Public Library and show film.
11. Use social media – blogs, facebook, etc. to raise consciousness and social discourse.
12. Offer to help teach English online for prospective BIHE students so they are prepared to take graduate level courses in English.
13. Talk to the faculty that you know, and ask them to teach a course online for BIHE.
14. Go to the EUF program at ULV tomorrow (Mon. 4-23-12) at 7:00 pm.
The screening continues around the country at different location and people are moved to stand up for each other’s human rights. Baha’u’llah has truly ushered in a new age where our humanity is the mark of our distinction and no longer our nationality, our religion, belief or disbelief, our ethnicity, our other material attributes or powers speak for the reality of us. We do see our highest identity as being human, a spiritual being having a physical experience for a limited time. Indeed a spiritual revolution for all humanity is before all of us.
Many thanks to the organizers, sponsors, panel of experts and participants of the event; Professor Kuehlwein of Pomona College, our belove moderator, the Baha’i Club of five C Claremont Colleges, Amnesty International and its representative on five C Claremont Colleges, Center for Global Integrated Education and its interns, Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of Claremont, David Tuman our talented photographer, Howard Kunz, Nick our wonderful videograhger, to mention a few.