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Rahmat (Mercy) – In Remembrance of Loved Ones

June 23, 2024, in Articles > Baha'i Blog, by

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This past month we shared two very different videos that both deal with the deaths of loved ones.

The first is Minoo’s story, as filmed by Sam Irwin. It is a short, sweet, heart-stirring video where Minoo tells us about the recent passing of his wife, Marjorie, to whom he was married for 64 years. The video conveys a sense of peacefulness and tranquility and it shares a perspective from the Baha’i teachings that, at the moment of death, the soul is freed from the body just like a bird can be freed from a cage.

The second video is a much longer conversation and it deals with murder and the violent extinguishing of human lives. We hear from Olya Roohizadegan and a young Baha’i from her community named Donna. Olya was unjustly imprisoned in Iran in 1983 along with other Baha’i women. While ten women were hanged on the night of June 18th, Olya was inexplicably freed and she has since devoted her life to telling their story and raising the world’s awareness of the persecution of the Baha’is in Iran. At the end of their time together, Olya expresses her pride in Donna for her services to the community. She tells Donna, “You are Mona. You are Mahshid. You are Shirin. You are Akhtar for me. Honestly, they were all ordinary people. You are all of them.” She looks to Devina, the young woman who is filming the interview and says, “40 years passed but still it was like yesterday.”

The 40th anniversary of the execution of Mona Mahmoudnejad, Shahin (Shirin) Dalvand, Ezzat-Janami Eshraghi, Roya Eshraghi, Zarrin Moghimi-Abyaneh, Mahshid Niroumand, Simin Saberi, Tahereh Arjomandi Siyavushi, Akhtar Thabit (Sabet) and Nosrat Ghufrani Yaldaie has passed and we are now in the 41st year since they were hanged. Efforts by the Baha’i International Community, national offices of public affairs, and Baha’is around the world to shine a light on the long struggle for gender equality lived by women of all faiths and backgrounds in Iran will no doubt continue. If you would like to see glimpses of how the 40th anniversary of the deaths of these steadfast ten women have been commemorated around the world, please visit the special website of the Baha’i International Community called Our Story Is One.

Baha’i Blog was humbled to participate in the #OurStoryIsOne campaign. Since last June, we have shared a poem called “Ten Nooses in the Night”, a personal reflection from an Australian Baha’i who remembered what it was like to hear the news of the hanging of the ten women in Shiraz, and a video that briefly told the women’s story. We posted an interview with a Persian-American artist, Maryam Safajoo, who uses her visual art skills to depict the recollections of those who suffered persecution in Iran because they are Baha’is; she listens and pays close attention to the details shared in order to bring remembrances to vivid life in the form of a painting. We also published a short video that captured a commemorative event held in Melville. And lastly, two of our Studio Sessions offer musical renditions of different prayers for martyrs: Julie Iraninejad from Marbella, Spain chants a prayer, and Tom Francis of Brisbane sings with guitar accompaniment.

Tom sings these words of Abdu’l-Baha:

O one and only God, O matchless Creator! Praised and glorified art Thou for having placed this splendid crown upon the brow of these helpless ones, and this mantle of eternal glory on the shoulders of these indigent ones. The rays of Thy sanctity fell upon bodies of clay, and the lights of the world of eternity shone forth.

Participating in the #OurStoryIsOne campaign has been deeply moving. It has also been incredibly touching to witness a flourishing of artist endeavours online. I am sure that these songs, plays, ceramics, textiles and other visual art pieces, and so much more will continue to fuel the efforts of Baha’is all over the world in the name of their spiritual brothers and sisters who gave their lives for the cause of peace and universal love.

Posted by

Sonjel Vreeland

In her innermost heart, Sonjel is a stay-at-home parent and a bookworm with a maxed out library card but professionally she is a museologist with a background in English Literature. She currently lives on Prince Edward Island, an isle in the shape of a smile on the eastern Canadian coast. Sonjel is a writer who loves to listen to jazz when she's driving at night.
Sonjel Vreeland

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