Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Years of Silence: Bahá'ís in the USSR 1938-1946

Asadu'llah Alizad's Years of Silence: Bahá'ís in the USSR 1938-1946 is a moving memoir regarding the experience of Bahá'ís in Russia after the 1917 revolution. How the world's first House of Worship was built and how the community flourished. It also shares, in devastating detail, how the community was persecuted, imprisoned, and exiled. While reading this memoir, I couldn't help but remember this striking letter addressed to a believer in Isfahan by Bahiyyih Khanum:

"Your letter has come, and I myself and the Holy Family were infinitely grieved to learn of the sufferings you have undergone, being made as you were the targets of such injustice, malevolence and aggression. Since, however, you stood firm and steadfast and unchanging, as the arrows of tyranny came against you, and since this happened for the sake of the Blessed Beauty, and in the pathway of the One Beloved, it behoves you to thank God and praise Him, for having singled you out for this great bounty. For this clamour and uproar, the blows, the abuse, the taunts, the curses, when borne for love of the All-Bounteous Lord, are but festive days and times for jubilee. God be praised, you have been given a drop out of that ocean of tribulations that swept across the Exalted One and the Beauty of the All-Glorious, you were granted a droplet out of the seas of calamity that engulfed 'Abdu'l-Bahá. The evil ones did not destroy the Mashriqu'l-Adhkar, nor will they ever; it was their own house that they brought down in ruins and gave to the winds. They did not burn down the school, they put the flame to their own roots. . . . (The Greatest Holy Leaf, A Compilation. Haifa: Bahá'í World Centre, 1982. p. 186-187)

No comments: