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What You Can Do—Personally—to Prevent Genocide

Jaine Toth | May 10, 2017

PART 4 IN SERIES The Horrors Disunity Can Cause

The views expressed in our content reflect individual perspectives and do not represent the official views of the Baha'i Faith.

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Jaine Toth | May 10, 2017

PART 4 IN SERIES The Horrors Disunity Can Cause

The views expressed in our content reflect individual perspectives and do not represent the official views of the Baha'i Faith.

If we really want to ensure that genocide and holocausts “Never Again” occur, what do we need to do?  

First and foremost, the Baha’i teachings say, we must come to understand, believe in, and live according to the reality of the oneness of humankind.  

We can learn this deeply profound truth from examples in the natural world:

God maketh no distinction between the white and the black. If the hearts are pure both are acceptable unto Him. God is no respecter of persons on account of either color or race. All colors are acceptable to Him, be they white, black, or yellow. Inasmuch as all were created in the image of God, we must bring ourselves to realize that all embody divine possibilities. If you go into a garden and find all the flowers alike in form, species and color, the effect is wearisome to the eye. The garden is more beautiful when the flowers are many-colored and different; the variety lends charm and adornment. In a flock of doves some are white, some black, red, blue; yet they make no distinction among themselves. All are doves no matter what the color. – Abdu’l-Baha, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 113.

When we meditate on that passage, it become obvious how ridiculous, how petty—and how dire—are the circumstances of our man-made divisions.

We divide ourselves by color, religion, race, nationality, class, gender, and for yet other petty purposes, and prejudice rears its ugly head:

… prejudices, whether religious, racial, patriotic or political are destructive to the foundations of human development. Prejudices of any kind are the destroyers of human happiness and welfare. Until they are dispelled the advancement of the world of humanity is not possible, yet racial, religious and national bias are observed everywhere. For thousands of years the world of humanity has been agitated and disturbed by prejudices. As long as it prevails, warfare, animosity and hatred will continue.  – Abdu’l-Baha, Baha’i World Faith, p. 240.

We know, from experience, that this can change:

… if we seek to establish peace we must cast aside this obstacle, for otherwise agreement and composure are not to be attained. – Ibid.

We can only cast it aside when we realize our reality:

In reality all are members of one human family ‒ children of one Heavenly Father. Humanity  may be likened  unto the vari-colored flowers of one garden. There is unity in diversity. Each sets off and enhances the other’s beauty. – Ibid., pp. 25-26.

This is not just an intellectual exercise. We can all say “I believe in oneness,” But it is another thing to truly believe it and live our lives accordingly. The only way that will happen is if we change our hearts—and the only heart we, as individuals, can change is our own. We are incapable, personally, of changing the heart of another:

Now this is beyond the power of man, that he should be able by interference or objection to change the heart and conscience, or meddle with the convictions of anyone. – Abdu’l-Baha, A Traveller’s Narrative, p. 40.

If we all do just take this one step, this major step, peace will inevitably follow. The necessity to legislate rules that are fair and just to all will cease to be necessary. Baha’is believe that the way to accomplish this transformation is by turning to prayer and study of the sacred Word:

… in the realm of conscience naught but the ray of God’s light can command, and on the throne of the heart none but the pervading power of the King of Kings should rule.  – Ibid.

This isn’t to say we shouldn’t also try to reach others with this message. We need to help awaken them to this need so that they will want to pray and read and meditate on God’s message of unity and undergo their own transformation of heart and soul:

Raise ye a clamour like unto a roaring sea; like a prodigal cloud, rain down the grace of heaven. Lift up your voices and sing out the songs of the Abha Realm. Quench ye the fires of war, lift high the banners of peace, work for the oneness of humankind and remember that religion is the channel of love unto all peoples. Be ye aware that the children of men are sheep of God and He their loving Shepherd, that He careth tenderly for all His sheep and maketh them to feed in His own green pastures of grace and giveth them to drink from the wellspring of life. Such is the way of the Lord. Such are His bestowals. Such, from among His teachings, is His precept of the oneness of mankind. – Abdu’l-Baha, Selections from the Writings of Abdu’l-Baha, p. 3.

These powerful precepts can transform the world, so that the words “Never again,” will become obsolete.

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  • May 11, 2017
    I am distraught about a much larger genocide than one simply based on race. I believe that policies of unsustainable resource use, especially by the USA, will lead to the extermination of more than half of humanity by the end of this century, if continued unchecked. This is on the order of 300 times the Holocaust. I am doing everything I can to spread awareness of the problem, and the solutions. The solutions are both spiritual and technological, and will create a better world at the same time as avoiding disaster. But talking about this ...falls mostly on deaf ears, and most people seem to think that talking in such stark terms is insane. So, if I am wrong, I would like someone to prove I am wrong with facts.
  • Melanie Black
    May 10, 2017
    Hi Jaine, this has been a wonderful series of articles. I shared a couple of them on my Facebook page. What would you suggest a Baha'i community do if there was actual persecution of (for example) Muslims going on in their town or city? I personally believe that such activity is very wrong, and that justice needs to prevail. But sometimes, given the current climate, there may be some places where a blind eye is turned to this behavior.
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