Blogs by Bahais

A compilation

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The problem with freedom

Originally posted on FRUIT TREE BLOG

Gender and society satire from the 1890s A satirical cartoon on gender roles in society from the 1890s

In the 1920s, tobacco companies sought to increase the number of women smokers. So for the Easter Sunday parade of 1929, a group of public relations and marketing experts hatched a brilliant plan on their behalf. They paid a group of young, attractive, fashionably-dressed women to march in the parade and, in unison, light up cigarettes. The women proudly exclaimed to the parade goers that they were smoking “torches of freedom“. Photos and stories of the women circulated wildly. Almost overnight, smoking had become a symbol of female independence and liberty.

I learned about this historical event years ago when I was in grad school. But it recently came to mind once again, amid the debate about freedom of expression following the attack on a French satirical newspaper earlier this month.

Rightfully, following that event there has…

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Launching Bahá’í Chronicles

Congratulations to all those involved in Baha’i Chronicles.



Three years ago, Neda  Najibi started a series on her Facebook page titled ‘Did You Know?’ portraying stories about Bahá’í Heroes and Heroines. She  did this because she noticed there wasn’t a single online location systematically attempting to capture the heroism, struggles, victories, sacrifices, and  the dedication of  past and present Bahá’ís.

The death of Neda’s father (Nassir Najibi 1925-2013) gave her the impetus to launch Bahá’í Chronicles, to honour the many heroes and heroines, past and present, of the Bahá’í Faith.

She undertook the project to honour the memory of her father and feels he has been her guiding light for the past two years of putting this site together. 

The team that have created the site are: Neda Nassir Najibi, Co-Founder and Editor; Vanda Marie Khadem, Co-Founder. Bahá’í Chronicles intentionally does not make mention of the creators’ collegiate years, career environment or achievements but rather…

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Civil Rights, History, Now

Yvonne has this to say about her blogging:

This blog is a place of conversation and sharing. After I finished history honours at the University of Sydney in 2010 I wanted to pass on what I had learned to others who are interested. However, my learning has not stopped with the end of my university education. Since then I have worked as a research assistant on a project examining the history of teaching reading in Australia as well as some other projects. Currently I am researching the beliefs of Australian soldiers serving on the frontline in World War I. As this abstract about my initial research indicates, I am interested in what the soldier’s wrote in their diaries and letters about their beliefs.

Three elements form the core of my historical work:

  1. Thorough archival research, the bedrock of an historian’s job;
  2. The use of technology to gain historical insights and higher productivity in my work, which I discuss in my digital humanities blog, Stumbling Through the Future, and;
  3. Effective publicity of the work of historians drawing on my previous work in public relations and my professional use of social media.

I am a member of the Professional Historians Association of New South Wales.  I have conducted Continuing Professional Development sessions for their members about how historians can use social media effectively for their professional development and publicity of their work.

This blog does not merely focus on my current research.  I share the history I encounter in my everyday life through reviews of books that I read for pleasure and work, exhibitions I visit, conferences I attend, history of places I travel to as well as issues currently of interest to the public and profession.  For the last couple of years I volunteered for the Australian Women Writers’ Challenge, looking after the genres of histories, biographies and memoirs.

This blog is part of my commitment to share what I have learned with anyone who is interested, but it goes further than that.  Yes, there is much learning in the academy but there is also a lot to learn from so many other people.  Family history is booming, people love reading biographies and many are engaged in activities ranging from historical re-enactments, local history to histories of organisations such as clubs and places of worship.  Everyone has their own life story which includes knowledge of the past.  I have much to learn from all this.

This blog is about listening as well as imparting.  It is about collaboration and sharing.  I hope that this site will contribute to this ethos.  This blog is a place where the general public who is interested in history can mingle with professional and academic historians.  Please feel free to share your observations and knowledge through comments on these pages

Stumbling Through the Past

The right to vote has been a struggle the world over. Agitation for the right to participate in the election of the government is a common them in the history of many nations. Associated with the right to vote are a host of related rights: the right to equal access to public venues, the right to equal access to education, to equal treatment by the law…

In recent weeks there have been many fiftieth anniversaries of momentous events of the Civil Rights era. The Civil Rights movement had its heart in the United States but pulsed throughout the world. Recently in Australia the fiftieth anniversary of the ‘Student Action for Aborigines’ freedom ride was marked by the original freedom riders revisiting the places in country New South Wales where in 1965 they had shone the spotlight on how Aboriginal people were barred from accessing public venues. Aboriginal people had already…

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The investment world’s obsession with “power” says a lot about our lameness as a society

Originally posted on the The Fruit Tree Blog

Ed has this to say about his blog:

I created this blog because I truly believe the teachings of the Baha’i Faith are destined to have a profound impact on the world we live in. I’ve always been a Baha’i, but it took me a long time to understand this. So I started writing about what I knew best — economics — and all the ways that the Baha’i teachings could improve our lives, and it kind of took off from there.

I write under a pseudonym, “Edmund Hollison”, because the nature of my real job prevents me from blogging about economics, finance, and related topics. I’m currently a publishing analyst for an investment bank, which simply means that I communicate my research and opinions publicly, including in written form. So out of respect to the bank I work for, and to avoid any possible conflicts, perceived or real, I leave my actual name off the site. It stinks, but that’s the only way I know of to be able to do both.

Random personal facts about me… I grew up in a Baha’i family and was born and raised in Massachusetts. My parents are from Iran and came to the US in the 1970s as many other Baha’is did (I guess I probably should have picked a more Iranian-sounding pseudonym, but oh well.) My educational background is mostly in economics and business. I live with my wife and two kids in Connecticut, and various dad responsibilities soak up most of my free time these days. I’m a huge Boston sports fan, mostly basketball, football and baseball, in that order. Otherwise I’m pretty ordinary.

It’s a privilege to write this blog and I feel honored by my readers. Please feel welcome, be engaged, leave comments, whatever. Please also circulate the blog to others who might be interested.


S&P Capital IQ ad

When I first started working in New York, I would often walk by the NewsCorp headquarters on 6th Avenue on the way to my office and see a huge banner outside for the Fox Business channel. “The Power to Prosper”, the channel’s slogan, was emblazoned in huge letters on the ad along with the serious, stoic faces of the channel’s flagship personalities.

As time went on I noticed that this “power” theme is pretty ubiquitous in the investment world. Not coincidentally, CNBC, Fox Business’s chief rival, has a show called “Power Lunch” that also features recurring segments called “Power Pitch”, “Power Summit”, and “Power Summit”. For about a month my train was covered in ads for something calledS&P Capital IQ, a research and analytics product for investors whose marketing tag lines were similarly power-centric. “The power to globalize your capital”, along with the image of an…

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James Taylor perfectly describes the purpose of the Baha’i Faith, by accident

Originally posted on the Fruit Tree Blog

This post has nothing to do with economics, governance, business, finance, etc. So if you arrived at this site hoping for some discussion about that sort of thing, don’t feel bad if you end up closing this window and going here.

Instead, I wanted to break the routine and share some personal reflections on what I think the Baha’i Faith truly is and its purpose. I don’t plan to provide a discussion of its teachings, a supremely useful exercise but one that has been done impeccably well already by many others. (If you’re looking for that, a great website that does this simply and eloquently is here.) Rather, I thought I’d share a song that on its surface might seem completely unrelated to the Faith, but in my opinion captures its essence better than anything I’ve encountered.

A few years ago some Baha’is I knew were hosting a…

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The Last Lesson

This article is from Ingrid Johnson’s Blog

The Two Stringed Ukulele


Scelera – Creative Commons Flickr

Scelera image link

 It was only a few weeks ago that I was walking through school and some girls from my drama class ran up to me.

“This afternoon is our last class with you, isn’t it Miss?”
“Yes sweetie, it is.”
“We have a surprise for you!”

“Oh God,” I thought as they hurried away giggling.
“They’re going to prank me again…”

This class in particular had earned themselves quite a track record in this respect.

But they didn’t! Not this time.
They bought me a card.
Adorable, right?

Let us take a brief moment to acknowledge this. A bunch of 13 year olds, who most of the time couldn’t remember to bring a pencil with them to class, had actually gone out, found a card, written inside of it and brought it all the way to their last lesson with me.

And okay, this may not sound like the hugest of deals…
But it meant a lot to me. 🙂

So I had thought that was the surprise, and maybe even they thought it was, but by no means was it the most precious thing they gave to me that day.

I told them that because it was our last lesson, I wanted them to think back over our year together and choose some of their favourite drama games to play!
You know, for the last time.
They were quiet for a moment (which is always suspicious), before one girl put up her hand (also suspicious) and asked me,
“Miss, do you remember the first game we ever played?”
I didn’t. So she reminded me.

The game was called Pukanah.
I remember playing it in our very first drama class thinking that all the rowdy Maori chanting, clapping and stamping would get us energised and be a fun way to break the ice!
Instead, what I ended up with was a roomful of nervous 13 year olds, clapping awkwardly and BEGGING me to choose another game.

So we didn’t do it again.
I’d just figured it wasn’t their thing.
But now they wanted to play!
So that’s exactly what we did.
But this time was different!

They stamped,
They chanted,
And they sang!
They sang LOUD!

So much so, that as soon as we’d stopped I gathered them around to tell them all how incredibly proud of them I was. But one of them interrupted me.

“Miss Johnson! Do you remember what happened the first time we played that game?
We were all so nervous and shy…
And we all just kinda stood around looking awkward!”

Everyone started giggling and nodding at the memory.

“But Miss! Did you see us just now!”
“We’re totally confident!”

Then they were all talking…
And telling me things.
Things like much more confident they felt,
How happy they were,
And how much they loved me.

So I listened and I let them,
Because I loved them too.

But here’s the thing…
They could tell me all about how much I had taught them,
But by no means were they the only students in the room.

The fact is that for the 7 months I’d been at that school, I didn’t always know what I was doing.
And let’s be honest, I still don’t!
But there are a couple of things I’ve figured out.

Just one, simply, is that there is one thing you see a lot of when you’re a teacher,
And that’s beauty.

It doesn’t always look the same,
And sometimes you don’t understand it until much later.
But it’s there, in front of you.
All the time.

Sometimes it looks like a hand in the air,
As the ‘quiet one’ in the room begins asking questions.
Sometimes it looks like a student copying the notes down twice,
So her friend with a sore finger won’t fall behind.
Sometimes it looks like a ‘thank-you’,
A held door, a smile,
Or an emotional group selfie.

But it’s there,
You just have to look.

And so here’s my resolution,
As late as it is!
That no matter how far I wander,
Or where I end up,
And regardless of how time and trials changes me,
I will always remember this lesson.

And I will never stop looking.

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It may be too late

the Book of Pain


Resolution is the accuracy of what you know,
latency the pause to grasp it,
hesitation the wait to action
and duration how long you understand it.
Clearly, time is, at best,
an awkward fellow to know.

He is, at first, all bluff noise and bonhomie,
good-natured and full of laughs. But then
he grows shiftier the longer you know him,
until with a slap of shame and a wink of wonder
he’s off, and you, you’re just left there,
bemused, knowing you’ve bought into
something that you’d perhaps rather not have,
but left holding it still, not quite sure what it is,
knowing only that it must be valuable
and thinking there’s something that’s yet undone.
It’s not until the end that you see him not for him,
for his own sake, but you for you, for your own,
immediately, instantly and forever. And by then…


The photograph was taken in Bodie State Park, Bodie California…a very real ghost town. To see my photography blog, please visit the Book of Bokeh.


Photograph, poem…

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