foreignness

Much of what is published on this site relates directly to the question of foreigness: or thinking of people as being “foreigners”. Because of its pervasiveness it is important to challenge the assumption that it is OK to treat non-citizens differently – that they are somehow less entitled to human rights. Many articles explore how we unconsciously think in this way.

Civilization and its Excesses

Bahá’u’lláh called on all human beings to work for the advancement of civilization, yet he also warned of the danger of carrying civilization to excess. All men have been created to carry forward an ever-advancing civilization.[1] And yet: If carried to excess, civilization will prove as prolific a source of evil as it had been of goodness when kept within the restraints of moderation. Meditate on this,…

We are One – Bahá’u’lláh’s Teachings Against Violence

peace dove - church window - against violence

Human beings are not inherently violent. But that we have a problem with violence is undeniable. How many times have prophets, poets, philosophers and philanthropists of all kinds called us to love and peace? Yet how many times have human beings found (indeed continue to find) excuses for violence? In this article five aspects of Baha’u’llah’s teaching…

We are One – Overcoming Racism Part 2

As introduced in yesterday’s article, racism is entirely incompatible with Bahá’u’lláh’s thought. “Close your eyes to racial differences, and welcome all with the light of oneness.”[1] As westerners began to join the Baha’i Faith early in the 1900’s, it was clear that racism would need to be addressed, and Abdu’l Baha, Bahá’u’lláh’s son, set out to do so.…

Silence

Silence

Silence. One day I visited a bookstore. It’s one of those clinging to survival in an increasingly post-book world. Aimed at a “discerning” audience it carries a rich diversity of titles – fiction and non-fiction on virtually every topic.  It is particularly well stocked with historical works – Europe, America, Australia, Germany, Britain, France  and others.…

Peace Bell

Peace Bell Cowra

In Cowra, the Peace Bell tolls a warning, And magpies caw their raucous and wry chorus in reply. Their voices reach a quiet graveyard, An unusual place, Here Japanese mothers and children sleep. So far from home – they are not forgotten. ANZACS sleep nearby -almost – almost – beside them. They too attract the living –…

The Middle West hiding in the Middle East

Dubai

There is something wrong with the term “the Middle East”. To come straight to the point, it should really be the Middle West. Of course it won’t escape the reader’s attention that this thought bubble occurs in a moment angst about the relationship between the “West” and “the Middle East”. And in the western public…

Beginnings Old and New

It might seem odd to start an article about beginnings by talking about the end, but that’s the whole point. Our assumption is that time is linear. The beginnings are behind us, and, inexorably, we will arrive at “the end”. And culturally, much of our story telling encourages us to have the sneaking fear that our collective end…

The Poetry of Langston Hughes

Langston Hughes

Racism and problems of race relations continue to generate injustice and racial animosity around the world. The problem is not confined to any one people or country, but the case of the United States is better known in the English speaking world. The poetry of Langston Hughes comes from a period in which racism had…