|Bani Dugal – The Baha’i Servant working in United Nations
‘Only for the Rights of Baha’is of Iran’
I had the misfortune of attending a meeting organized by Universal House of Justice for DIPLOMATIC AND EXTERNAL AFFAIRS CONSULTATIONS in Acuto, Italy on 2-4 September 2011.
I was surprised to see that the whole atmosphere was dominated by Anti Iran feeling and very cunningly the UHJ had put forward the Persian Baha’is in forefront to act against their own country under the guidance of certain Western Powers hostile to Iranian governments.
The Universal House of Justice has initiated a series of international and regional gatherings to develop offices of external affairs in various parts of the world. The main agenda of this body was to change world opinion against Iran.
This three-day meeting addressed a range of matters pertaining to the external affairs work at the national level, including the nature and functioning of external affairs offices and various aspects of the different components of the work. The first and third days were devoted to plenary sessions on these subjects. On day two, participants came together in smaller groups – organized on the basis of either geography or stage of development of the external affairs work – to address the issues discussed in plenum in greater depth.
The main points were addressed by Dr Farzam Arbab and Dr Firaydoun Javaheri, representatives of the House of Justice to the delegates of the meeting in Acuto. The central theme for all the three days was Iran and Iran only.
- Dr Farzam Arbab, and Dr Firaydoun Javaheri member of the Universal House of Justice;
- Representatives of Offices of External Affairs and National Spiritual Assemblies of Australia, Austria, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, France, Germany, India, Ireland, Kenya, the Netherlands, South Africa, Spain, Turkey, Uganda, the United Kingdom, the United States.
- Bahá’í International Community Persian language spokespersons for Europe and North America;
- Representatives of the various Baha’i communities
AIM OF THE CONFERENCE
The key address was by House of Justice members Mr. Dr Farzam Arbab, and Dr Firaydoun Javaheri which hinted that it is UHJ agenda of training Baha’is in every country to be in contact with their respective government to:
- Work towards defaming Iran as much as possible and pursue them to favor various motion initiated by the countries like US ,Canada and Britain favoring the Baha’is
- Pressurize their government to support economic sanctions against Iran
- While trying to achieve these two major goals, try to receive various benefits allowed by the respective government.
- Introduced Baha’i Faith to them
The excuse of meeting with the government officials should be the persecution of Baha’is in Iran and the imprisonment of 7 Yaran members of the Baha’i Faith.This should be done tactfully under the heading Mistreatment of Minoririties by Iranian Government especially Baha’is.
The members selected for this committee were advised to be Iranian Baha’i ladies so that more sympathy can be generated for the Baha’is. The condition of committee members to be Ladies was for obvious reasons.
The Points discussed were
1. How to build capacity to engage meaningfully in the diplomatic work?
An essential element of activity is “READING YOUR GOVERNMENT” – which should not be underestimated
2. Methods suggested were :
- How well do you know your government and how can you get to know your government better?
- What are the forces within society that impact your governments?
- Do you know how your government operates?
- Do you know the key players within government? And which of these individuals is actually receptive to the ideas we would want to present?
- Do you know of any government officials who are dedicated to selfless service to their country rather than the promotion of self?
- How can you build relationships with key individuals in government?
- What are the resource implications of this?
- How can you introduce ideas in a practical way?
- Where are the spaces in which ideas are formed and debated?
- How will you explain the principle of non-involvement in partisan political activity of Baha’is in light of your deeper involvement with governments of your country?
- And how does your government view Baha’is? As a human rights NGO? Another small religious community?
- How can you coordinate the work with other countries and Universal House of Justice? We will probably need to start small by working with a few individuals and engage others only as our capacity allows us
- Load the National Baha’i sites of your country with Anti Iranian materials, Persecution of Baha’is etc.
As a conclusion, I could only understand that Acuto meeting was aimed to train future spies to work in interest of Baha’is in their country and work against Iran. So much for the slogan – “Baha’is do not participate in politics”