Updated: Sep 29, 2022
Following a shocking terrorist attack in 2019 the spirits of New Zealanders were uplifted by coming together in large numbers to celebrate the words and music of Yusuf Islam (Cat Stevens). This softly spoken musician, admired by all generations of my family and yours too probably, had made a special visit to help our healing. In the process he addressed a question explored here in a previous post: How Can We Make a Safer World for our children?
He shared his dream of a better future and his hope that some day the world will be as one, our hurt and horror replaced with happiness;
Now I've been happy lately Thinking about the good things to come And I believe it could be Something good has begun Oh, I've been smiling lately Dreaming about the world as one And I believe it could be Someday it's going to come
Speaking later, he addressed the cause of terrorism, saying;
"Ignorance is the enemy. That's the place to start. We are being educated in all sorts of ways. The media, social media; all that is contributing to how we behave and the social norms we begin to accept. Part of the big problem is to make sure freedom of speech is valued but truth, peace and harmony are kind of more valuable."
The cure for that ignorance of which he sang is knowledge, a cure that the Bahai Writings say is most effectively spread by mothers, who are the first educators.
"...suckle your children from their infancy with the milk of a universal education, and rear them so that from their earliest days, within their inmost heart, their very nature, a way of life will be firmly established that will conform to the divine Teachings in all things.
"For mothers are the first educators, the first mentors; and truly it is the mothers who determine the happiness, the future greatness, the courteous ways and learning and judgment, the understanding and the faith of their little ones." -- Selections from the Writings of Abdul-Baha - 96 -
Historically women have not had the same advantages of equality and education, so their potential to foster the freedom of speech, the truth, peace and harmony of which Yusuf sang, has been greatly limited.
"War and its ravages have blighted the world; the education of woman will be a mighty step toward its abolition and ending, for she will use her whole influence against war. Woman rears the child and educates the youth to maturity. She will refuse to give her sons for sacrifice upon the field of battle. In truth, she will be the greatest factor in establishing universal peace and international arbitration".
--The Promulgation of Universal PeaceTalk ‘Abdu’l-Bahá Delivered in Pittsburgh 7 May 1912
Women have the greatest capacity to train their children to respect diversity of culture, colour, and religion, and enable them to become world citizens, participating fully in the creation of a new future.
A recent statement from the Bahai International Community (BIC) reads, in part:
"Given that many of the systems and structures of society were designed precisely to reinforce domination and inequality, significant resources must also be channeled towards learning about effective models of governance, education, and economics structured around an entirely new set of principles:
that human beings are one,
that women and men are equal,
that the emergent powers of the collective can be released through cooperation and reciprocity, and
that humanity’s progress will be greatly bolstered by the full participation of all people in creating the world anew."
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