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

May Tyranny and Oppression Cease

Rodney Richards | Mar 22, 2022

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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Rodney Richards | Mar 22, 2022

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

I’m angry. I know I’m supposed to turn that anger into love and understanding, or at least patience and hope for change, according to the Baha’i teachings:

… to you my first admonition is this: Associate most kindly with all; be as one family; pursue this same pathway. Let your intentions be one that your love may permeate and affect the hearts of others so that they may grow to love each other and all attain to this condition of oneness.

I try to follow this beautiful admonition from Abdu’l-Baha. Sometimes I succeed. However, I am human and, like all humans, I get mad.

I have not yet acquired the natural ability to control my feelings and turn all negative ones into positive ones. I am still working on that spiritual virtue. Talking it out, reading inspiring writings, and praying calms me, and I’m heartened by the enlightened steps of many wishing and working for peace.

But I am sick and tired of the bloodshed spilled by megalomaniacal men posing as leaders of their people. Their actions make it clear they only seek power for themselves, legitimately or not. I hate their wars and threats of war. I despise the disunity, oppression, subjugation, and the curtailment of just and fair liberties they bring about, whether in their own countries or against other nations. To them, power only means a greater stage to acquire wealth, prestige, and the ability to expand their influence. To us, it means death and destruction.

There, I’ve said the worst. 

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I find it hard to turn the other cheek when it comes to unnecessary human suffering at the hands, mainly, of power-hungry men. As a man I see and feel no need to dominate others, no matter their station or relationship to me. I was trained by my Mother and others to show respect and not judge others’ conditions, nor to elevate myself above others’ needs. But I’ve yet to develop the 100 per cent natural ability to transmute thoughts of anger into peaceful ones, like Abdu’l-Baha enjoined upon us:

I charge you all that each one of you concentrate all the thoughts of your heart on love and unity. When a thought of war comes, oppose it by a stronger thought of peace. 

A thought of hatred must be destroyed by a more powerful thought of love. 

Thoughts of war bring destruction to all harmony, well-being, restfulness and content.

Thoughts of love are constructive of brotherhood, peace, friendship, and happiness.

When soldiers of the world draw their swords to kill, soldiers of God clasp each other’s hands!

Right now, as I’ve been throughout my life, I am sick and tired of tyrants scaring us and worse, maiming and killing their own citizens or those of other nations with their armies of order-taking soldiers and killing machines. I don’t want to see them killed, but in self-defense, allowed by God, I and others must take action against anti-human policies or physical aggressions or we will all be subjugated, maimed, displaced, and destroyed.

What can I do? I can’t take it anymore, and don’t understand why I or anyone else should have to. Why do we let these tyrants control the world? The world does not need another Holocaust, yet it is now happening daily on smaller scales.

Let’s be clear, the Baha’i teachings say over and over that war is an abomination, and that the actions of tyrants and warmongers are evil. The central figures of the Baha’i Faith denounced and called all of them to account for their civilization-killing actions. Whenever we seem to move forward in our efforts for peace, prosperity, and cooperation, tyrants destroy it and set the world back.

Abdu’l-Baha went so far as to say this:

And should he direct his anger and wrath against the bloodthirsty tyrants who are like ferocious beasts, this too would be most praiseworthy. But should he display these qualities under other conditions, this would be deserving of blame.

So Baha’is do believe that I, you, we, the world, can take action. We can and should love peace and cooperation, and do everything in our power to bring them about and sustain them. On an individual basis we can ourselves exhibit love and peace toward others. We can assist causes that fight injustice and tyrannical pogroms. We can raise our voices and support movements and policies that promote human rights and democracy, like the U.N. Declaration on Human Rights, and encourage our elected representatives to enforce peace treaties. 

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We can defeat these tyrants, if we unify. In that sense, possibly the greatest action we can take is to work to ensure that nations endeavor to humbly and generously serve their citizens, and also do not encroach on other nations’ sovereignties. Toward that end, the Baha’i teachings emphasize, we can join with others who are busy building the framework of global governance – as the Baha’is of the world do every day.

Baha’u’llah wrote The earth is but one country, and mankind its citizens.” To stop tyranny, Baha’u’llah also said, we must make that call for oneness and unity a global reality:

In these days the tabernacle of justice hath fallen into the clutches of tyranny and oppression. Beseech ye the One true God – exalted be His glory – not to deprive mankind of the ocean of true understanding, for were men but to take heed they would readily appreciate that whatever hath streamed from and is set down by the Pen of Glory is even as the sun for the whole world and that therein lie the welfare, security and true interests of all men; otherwise the earth will be tormented by a fresh calamity every day and unprecedented commotions will break out. God grant that the people of the world may be graciously aided to preserve the light of His loving counsels within the globe of wisdom. We cherish the hope that everyone may be adorned with the vesture of true wisdom, the basis of the government of the world.

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  • Gary Scott
    Mar 23, 2022
    Thanks Rodney, I really needed this at this time of violence in Ukraine. I have to keep my mind on a future moment when memory of this war will have caused nations to create the system for working out differences and ensuring international peace.
    As Bahá’u’lláh penned:
    "Be united, O kings of the earth, for thereby will the tempest of discord be stilled amongst you, and your peoples find rest, if ye be of them that comprehend. Should any one among you take up arms against another, rise ye all against him, for this is naught but ...manifest justice."
  • Zeke Bertrand
    Mar 23, 2022
    Thank you for addressing so many things that have been on my mind lately with such a well written article
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