I find Mr. Mohsen Makhmalbaf’s style of softly lamenting and lovingly telling the story of the shameful plight of the peaceful Baha’i community of Iran very effective in influencing the hearts of the sincere. You can tell that he is deeply concerned and truly cares for the condition of humanity as a whole and specially troubled about what has become of Iran. His reference to his own imprisonment as a political activist before the revolution and his shattered hopes by witnessing the dark outcome of the revolution, replacing one dictator with another, is most illuminating. He wants his films which are a mix of documentary and story telling to be the real tool for educating the masses and helping to usher democracy and progress. He wants the best for his homeland and the world.
His discovery, as the result of making this film, that the Baha’i teachings are not only refreshing and futuristic but indeed beneficial to the future of Iran is most encouraging to all those who genuinely care for the future of Iran and the Middle East. Baha’is are told to keep their vision world embracing and trust that the distant future of Iran will be glorious because it is the birth place of the new twin Manifestations of God, the Bab and Baha’u’llah
Mr. Makhmalbaf trusts that it is this power of cinema and visual arts that will eventually play an important role in liberating and educating the masses not just in Iran but all around the world. His point of view sits very well with the Baha’i view of the importance of art in ennobling the human culture, character and spirit.
Religion has always meant to be the medicine that heals and makes human civilization whole. Religion is only useful if it makes us better as human beings. Religion must increase our humanity and liberate us from our own lower selves and be the cause of unity and harmony. Otherwise having no religion is better. Why should we take any medicine if it divide us into many conflicting tribes, it makes our condition worse and bring us close to the verge of death and destruction?
Baha’is are taught that their example of nobility and integrity is vital in liberating the image of religion from its dark and violent history. It is important that in this new era and for the sake of an ever advancing civilization, religious history sets a new standard for the lofty patterns of life specially when faced with tests and trials. It is to this end that the Baha’is of Iran refuse to be a reaction to their enemies and refuse to seek revenge and meet their enemies on the enemy ground and act as the Dart wader spirit dictates. Baha’i history, and in particular, the Baha’is of Iran, have given their all to safeguard the peaceful and Godlike reality of what religion must be, can be, and will be.
Makhmalbaf says; he made the Gardener to bring into focus the human right violations of the Baha’is of Iran and the peaceful role religion can play, like the Baha’i gardens do, in the world.
He says; “First I chose to make the film to support the Baha’i community and their human rights in Iran. After I started, I became interested in their ideas and how it can change the world for a better and peaceful place. He laments that we are so worried about the nuclear bomb in Iran. He thinks we should really address the explosive reality of hate amongst peoples of the world and what a role religion is playing to fan the fire of division and hatred.” Hearing him, I say, there is hope!
I wish Mr. Makhmalbaf, his family and his crew the best of success to do their share in lifting the veils from the eyes of the people of the world and help them see how the teachings of Baha’u’llah, offers a powerful map and plan in pursuit of civilization, peace and harmony amongst diverse peoples of the world. I hope his film and films like it brings hope and the vision of peace and harmony closer to the eyes of societies who are in labor to deliver progress and dream of democracy, peace and civilization.
It is so hopeful to see how light dispels darkness when we are sincere and open and ask for eyes to see, ears to hear!.