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Author: Abdu'l-Missagh Ghadirian

Why Do Baha’i Babies Go to Prison in Iran?

Why Do Baha’i Babies Go to Prison in Iran?

The persecution of young and innocent children whose parents are unjustly imprisoned due to their religious beliefs is a brutal expression of the violation of human rights.

May 19, 2013.  Barmaan was only one month old when his mother began serving a 23 month term, in July 2012, in the overcrowded and oppressive women’s prison of Semnan, a city in northern Iran.  The crime of this young mother and her husband was belief in the Baha’i Faith, a religion which seeks nothing but peace and unity for humankind. His deplorable plight began earlier when his mother was about seven months pregnant with him.  After a harsh raid by guards on his family’s home, his mother was so emotionally affected by the disturbing situation that she gave birth to Barmaan two months prematurely.  His father had also been previously imprisoned in another section of the prison for men so the baby had to be taken into prison with his mother.  It was as if a cruel and unjust world had no room for him except in the confines of a terrible prison.[i]  One may wonder why a young mother was forced to endure prison with a nursing baby in her arms?  When she is released Barmaan will be two years old.

Science and psychology consider the first two years of the life of a child to be vital in its development.  Being deprived of proper care and nutrition as well as a safe environment are but a few of the hazards imposed by prison life for a child of this age.  Babies who are born in prison or brought into this kind of detention centre after birth may face dire consequences from malnutrition, infectious diseases, emotional problems as well as developmental challenges.  Jailed mothers are often subjected to psychological and physical insults and brutality.  But how long can mothers and infants survive in such an oppressive environment?

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Science, Medicine, and Spirituality #3: Creativity and Resilience amidst Adversity

Science, Medicine, and Spirituality #3: Creativity and Resilience amidst Adversity

Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experiences of trials and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired, and success achieved.

Helen Keller

Nov 9, 2012: Why do we suffer and what is the meaning or purpose of suffering? What does it look like to live in a world completely free from pain and suffering? People are so scared of suffering and death, yet like birth, death comes whether we like it or not.

Imagine a world where there is no death and people keep aging and life goes on. What kind of life would that be? It would be like living in a world in which the day never ends, no night, no circadian cycle of day and night. Unless there is darkness we cannot appreciate the significance of light and vice versa. Likewise, in disease and suffering we begin to appreciate the moments of healthy life, free from pain and distress.

There are things in life that we can change and other things that we are unable to change. We can conquer disease and delay death but we cannot eradicate death and live an eternal physical life. Traditionally suffering has been perceived as a morbid experience and a sign of doom and gloom. But there are increasing research findings which suggest a potential relationship between creative development and life adversity. This shows that through suffering we do not always end up devastated, but rather amidst or soon after a calamity or tragedy we may build a creative resilience. In the face of severe stress like physical injury, the body immediately reacts physiologically by releasing a hormone which blocks the perception of pain for the initial moment. Study of soldiers during the war shows that when they are shot in the leg, for example, the initial reaction is numbness and later, pain begins to be felt. In this situation the body releases endorphin which has an analgesic effect and protects the person from excruciating pain and shock until help arrives.

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Materialism and Discontent

Materialism and Discontent

“Since we cannot get what we like, let us like what we get.”

(Spanish proverb)

Abdu’l-Missagh Ghadirian

May 11, 2012. What is materialism?

Or to be a bit more specific, what is moral materialism?

Here is what the dictionary says: “moral materialism” is “a desire for wealth and material possessions with little interest in ethical or spiritual matters.”

We can elaborate. Materialism is a state of mind and a lifestyle chosen by those who believe that acquiring and owning material possessions is the most important ingredient in human happiness and well being.

Matter Over Spirit

People who hold to moral materialism often depend upon the possession of worldly belongings to build a sense of security and comfort. Matter takes precedence over mind and spirit, and life revolves around material satisfactions. Often, there are expectations that possessing more will result in a happier life.

But these expectations are not always met, and this leads to frustration and, often, a cycle of neediness. Consider the American dream and think how many have sought success, wealth, and fame through hard work and thrift. But now, with the development and progress of industrialization and the rise of modern forms of capitalism, this dream has eroded. It is increasingly replaced by a “get rich quick” philosophy.

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Science, Medicine, and Spirituality #1: Medicine and the Soul

Science, Medicine, and Spirituality #1: Medicine and the Soul

Abdu'l-Missagh Ghadirian

In recent years debate about the interrelationship between medical science and spirituality has been flourishing.  Modern medicine, despite its unprecedented discoveries and progress in identifying the cause and treatment of disease, has been viewed as overly “scientific”, and consequently “the healing bond between patient and physician” has been weakened (David Rosen, “Modern Medicine and the Healing Process”, Humane Medicine, 1989).

The world-renowned Canadian physician William Osler, over a century ago wrote,

“Nothing in life is more wonderful than faith – the one great moving force which we can neither weigh in the balance nor test in the crucible…Faith has always been an essential factor in the practice of medicine.”  (Osler W, The Faith that Heals, BMJ, 1910)

Medicine and spirituality/religion are complementary and not mutually exclusive or contradictory.  Human consciousness, the expression of which is mediated through neurophysiological processes, is basically a spiritual phenomenon.

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