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The weakest link
Sacrificing longstanding universal truths

September 21, 2004
iranian.com

"... he would not reign over the people if they did not wish it... "
-- Cyrus the Great

"The sons of Adam are limbs of one another
Having been created of one essence."

"When the calamity of time afflicts one limb
The other limbs cannot remain at rest."
-- Saadi Shirazi

It is a prerequisite for any contemporary social order to endure that it has to find a way that coalesces the trinity, which is: respect of law, importance of science and logic and religion. To expect such conditions to exist in theologically infested societies within cores of the present world of Islam, that of Saudi Arabia and Iran, is an unviable bet.

Naturally, their very theological constitution rarely helps to find themselves in an enviable position in discovering this nirvana of advancement and optimism. The issues of terrorism and barbarism arisen in the present day and age have shaken the limbs of humanity. It is however commendable that, despite insinuation and indirect intervention, Iran has not been responsible for the kind of global terrorism that finds its roots coming from extremist elements within Saudi Arabia. Iran is far too sophisticated for that.

But to see the violations in terms of human rights abuses originating from this great country is heartbreaking; particularly, a nation ingrained with the utterances of Cyrus the Great, who 2500 years ago said, "... he would not reign over the people if they did not wish it... " and declared that he would not force any person to change his religion or faith.

In very ancient times, it was Iran that taught humanity the interweavements of Law with Science and Religion. Since Zarathushtra, when human awareness was raised into the inviolability of religion and devised into twenty-one Nasks or Holy Books, one third of Zarathushtra works comprised Law, one-third Science, and one-third pure Religion.

Iran can be rightly termed as the cradle of civilization and of being a "Lawgiver"; it has a rich tradition of culture and diversity of thinking. As a region, Iran has given law to the world; laws of the Medes and Persians acquired wide-ranging prominence. Iranian history has a very close relationship to near the beginning when humanity started living as a civilised society.

The first Iranian rulers were lawgivers. Contrast it to today and one sees the 21st century Iran under clergy as the biggest violator of human rights. Its post-revolution decline from bastion and cradle of civilization to the lowest rung of civilized nation's ladder is scandalous and disgusting.

Iran's contributions to codified law, so as to dispense justice, are poignant, evidenced by the extensive corpus of pre-Islamic texts on religious and scientific laws. The ancestors of the Persians, the ancient Zoroastrians, covered texts from the laws applying to soldiers to those on the cultivation of soil. It is perhaps the tragedy that a few 'deranged ideologically motivated' leaders have wasted the histological traditions of Iran in less than three decades, the richness of thousands of years trampled in few years.

To live in peace without coercion is an indispensable human right; terror campaigns violate the sacred trust of 'live and let others live' that has been evolved over millenniums. Law started in Iran in the beginnings of human history, however, this rich inheritance has been wretchedly shattered by the in-attendance clerical tyranny in Tehran.

Although it is generally considered that the most ancient code of laws is understood by Western scholars to be the code of Hammurabi, an ancient king of Babylonia, who ruled about 2100 B.C. Babylonia, the first dignitaries to have rendered extraordinary service in framing and codifying laws was Prince Uruvakhshaya, the brother of the eternal idol Krsaspa (Garshasp) and the son of King Thrita, the vicar of medicine. They were the direct ancestry of Yima, the dazzling antediluvian monarch. This unquestionably demonstrates insistence of early Iranian rulers to codify law and provide justice to their subjects.

The other code known to civilisation popularly is the 'Justinian code' Roman law that was promulgated by Justinian, the contemporary of Khosrow, the Great of Persia who was more popularly known as Anoshervan. The influences of Anoshervan on edicts of Justinian code are extraordinarily evident. It is obvious however that the more ancient cradle civilizations of Iran, China, India and Egypt should have had earlier systems of law.

Seeing a rich traditional country like Iran deviating to these low levels of turpitude of governance is incredible. The questions today rightly being asked are: Can 16-year-old Atefeh Rajabi's execution for 'acts incompatible with chastity' be believed? Why should the mullahs be allowed to hold kangaroo courts and dispense summary justice to waste young peoples' lives on unskilled crimes without firm evidence?

What kind of justice is this where Atefeh Rajabi was executed for a crime when the man she allegedly had relations with was only given 100 lashes? Is human life of a 16-year-old equal to 100 lashes on the hard bottom of a grown up paedophile?

We need to reject this grave attack on 'human civility and dignity' by a handful of ideological thugs. It is the string of 'civility' that connects our human village together, this source of respect towards each other is a fountain of wellspring of mankind, and Iran has definitely been the source of the universal tradition of civility.

Efforts to erase the Bahai minority from the Iranian mosaic are gruesome. Nearly 1,000 Bahai university-age students in Iran were recently shocked and betrayed by the new government regulations requiring that, in order to attend a university this coming year, they must accept identification as Muslims. Equality is a right of every human being; Cyrus the Great granted that right, and literally figures like Rumi and Saadi have structured within the Iranian genre by saying:

"The sons of Adam are limbs of one another
Having been created of one essence."

"When the calamity of time afflicts one limb
The other limbs cannot remain at rest."

By that token, are Bahais not the sons of Adam? Unfortunately the Bahais of Iran still face, day after day, methodical denial of their rights, not only as Iranian citizens with regard to their civil and political rights, but also in terms of their economic, social and cultural rights as members of a world-wide religious faith. The trample the customs of Cyrus the great and adage of Saadi to annihilate a vibrant community that takes pride in its Iranian roots is poignant day for Iran.

On July 1, 2004, an Iranian newspaper, Etemaad, published an article headlined, "It is now the turn of the House of Mirza Buzurg-i-Nuri to be destroyed." Mirza Buzurg was the father of Baha'u'llah, the founder of the Bahai Faith. The demolition of the house of Mirza Buzurg took place openly and quickly.

This was an act of wanton desecration comparable to Talibans' vendetta of the destruction of two priceless Buddha statues in Bamiyan. To obliterate the heritage of minorities is not a service to Islam; rather, it is an affront to the religious convictions of pluralism.

The lack of respect for human life, in Iran in particular, and the collective flippant attitude of the world of 'political Islam' towards mass human rights abuses in general, stems from sacrificing longstanding universal truths like strings that have connected the 'necklace of mankind' together.

The potency of these 'strings' that connects our universal village together lies in the potency of the weakest link. These longstanding universal truths of respect for life and availability of justice are codified as a part of broad-spectrum civility in our genes. What has recently happened post revolutions is that some have discovered the weakest spot in the string that holds the global village necklace.

Rediscovery of 'political Islam' in Shiite and Sunni worlds has led to the redefinition of our human social contract evolved over thousands of years through a process of survival of the best idea. The legacy of thousands of years' human richness has been sacrificed on the altar of holy interpretations of how we should administer our life; unfortunately these interpretations are led by the likes of Khomeini and Mullah Omar.

Ideologically provoked 'terrorism' has plunged a dagger into the heart of our social contract, that of basic respect of human life. It provides, through its ill-founded medieval judgment and jurisprudence, the 'right to kill innocents' without hearing. The heart and mind of every terrorist has become the 'temple of justice', with so many elevated to dispense summary justice as they please the 'high priests' with a 5 kg dynamite belt strapped around their waist, out to avenge and settle scores with those who do not believe in their vision of Dark Age living.

The suicide judges have rewritten the rules of engagement prevalent amongst combatants; the 'holy repugnance' of taking one's own life has been redefined as the revenge of the weak. With new ideological jurisprudence in practice, we are living in a two-tiered world of justice, one where justice demands evidence before someone is convicted, the other, where convictions are handed by 21st century's new inquisitors, those who are quick to dispense justice and are able to craft and interpret the worst of atrocities in the name of 'moral equivalence and ideological justifications.' 'Jihadi and ideological instincts' are regrettably in dissent with the contract of basic respect for life that works in concert with rich traditional and cultural diversity of our society.

Human beings have overcome a lot of this adversity in the past and our combined human heritage is strong enough to accept this new challenge. The holy inquisitions of the present age, like the inquisitions of the past, are bound to fail. We as human beings have shown that conscientiousness time and again.

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