Tuesday, November 28, 2006

The Irony of Change!

(Mbeki, Mandela & de Klerk)

While Egypt continues to struggle with its current issues in treating its minorities--a deviation from its past history of tolerance and acceptance--South Africa, a nation long known for its past discriminatory practices and apartheid, is moving in the exact opposite direction with its openly tolerant society and support for minorities. It is ironic indeed that each of these nations hold the continent of Africa as the two jaws of a giant dinosaur, one to the far north and the other to the far south.

The report posted below clearly illustrates the direction South Africa is taking:

"The National Spiritual Assembly of South-Africa hosted a banquet for the Birth of Bahá'u'lláh on the 11th of November in Johannesburg where some 170 guests and about 110 Bahá'ís attended. The occasion not only celebrated the Holy Day but also the 50th year of the anniversary of the election of the first National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of South Africa. The Bahá'í Community was indeed privileged to receive a message of congratulations from the State President of this country, Mr. Thabo Mbeki"


I am most honoured to have this opportunity to extend warm greetings to the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of South Africa on this important day, the 11th of November, in which you celebrate your 50th Anniversary.

That you are today turning fifty testifies clearly to your steadfastness and to the pivotal role you have played and doubtlessly will continue to play in advancing the cause of unity and amity in our beloved country, South Africa.

Since its formation half a century ago, on 11 November 1956, the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of South Africa untiringly has promoted the spiritual, moral and material development of Bahá'ís in this country as well as that of the South African society in general. In this regard, your notable participation in the National Religious Leaders Forum has also contributed immensely in ushering in an age of hope in our country.

The fact that your anniversary falls in the same year in which we commemorate our country's land-marking events, such as the tenth year of our democratic Constitution which recognises and promotes religious freedom, points further to the historical position you occupy in our country.

Accordingly, on behalf of the Government and people of South Africa we say congratulations and best wishes to the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of South Africa on your 50th Anniversary.

May you have more successful and fulfilling decades ahead!


[Arabic translation of the letter can be accessed here....]


  1. Dear Bilo,

    Thanks for posting the letter. I translated it and posted it on my blog From a Different Angle

    I wish that the religious leaders sincerely investigate the contributions of the Baha’is to the countries they live in, including their contributions to Arab countries. This might help them recognize the positive role Bahá’í individuals and administration play in promoting education, prosperity, development, and wellbeing of these countries and their citizens.

    Maybe then they will realize that they should be welcoming the Bahá’ís to their countries and not force them to leave!

  2. this is not surprise for me to find this progress in South Africa which related to democracy ,accepting and respecting the diversity between the human kind ,
    we pray that the Arab area accept this principles to participate
    of the world new tone.

  3. Nesreen,
    As you point out, sincerity is a key factor. Most well informed people know what the Baha'i Faith is all about. It is sincerity that would make them acknowledge its positive influence on society.

    I think it is a question of time. Ultimately they will....

  4. Hi bilo,

    I published a similar comment on نسرين 's blog before I saw your entry here. Sorry for the repetition, but for your non Arabic-speaking readers, I just wanted to say that this recognition and appreciation by the South Africans is not unique, as there have been many other such occasions for showing recognition in other world parliaments and by several world leaders. A few days ago on November 18, a reception/ devotional meeting was held in the Senate Chamber in Parliament Buildings in Northern Ireland to honor the Baha’i community. In addition to the politicians, there were also representatives of faith-based organizations, and voluntary organizations present. The Speaker paid tribute to the Baha'i community, praising Baha’is for their contribution to peace-building initiatives during the Troubles [in Ireland]. A short, but very moving period of music, prayers and readings in the Senate Chamber followed.

    A few years ago, I also remember the Brazil parliament dedicating a whole session to recognize the effects of the Writings of Baha’u’llah on bringing the people of the world closer together.

    Of course, these are just a couple of examples for this comment space.


  5. Your site looks wonderful, Bilo! The quality exudes in both appearance and content. You have maximized the advances of Google.beta.

  6. Ghanim,
    Thank you for reminding us of these important events. Hopefully, the Middle East will follow, and if its leaders can apply the teachings of Baha'u'llah to their administration (as some have done before), much progress can be accomplished and the hope for peace can be realized.

    Thank you for your kindness. I enjoy reading your site on a daily basis. You bring it all together. Blogger Beta made it much easier for changes to be applied.

  7. CONGRATULATIONS BILO and other commenters.
    I recently received a copy of the Japanese article published on Nov 23, by THE largest circulating newspaper in Japan, the Asahi Shinbun, and your blog is mentioned. I personally belive the got most of their information from you, but it is about the Bahai Faith's struggle recently in Egypt.
    Edo River rising

  8. Edo River,
    Would you please email me a copy of that article?

    Thank you for checking........


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