21 June 2009

Searching for Truth

The events over the past week in Iran have caused great commotion within me. Even though I am on the other side of the world it was thrilling to participate in the first few days of community building after the announcement of the fraudulent election results. Twitter allowed thousands of us to go beyond informing through our blogs, or protesting at the nearest Iranian embassy to feel that we could directly contribute to the networking and mobilizing necessary to build a movement around people inside and outside of Iran who were not willing to swallow such a lie.

Many people criticize Twitter because there are so many false leads and false identities, making it difficult to find the truth and to move forward. This is true, but the alternative is watching television which is more often than not one big ideological commercial. Watching something that never even intends to find the truth is far more humiliating than taking a small portion of people-generated messages with a grain of salt.

The beauty of the Twitter generated movement, at least in this case, is that it is driven by an innate desire to know the truth and to contribute towards its establishment. I am teaching a class about this very subject now and I am encountering university students who do not want to know what they are really eating, who do not want to know that we were created inherently noble and not sinners and who do not want to know that service to others brings true happiness. However, these people are increasingly falling into the minority because a growing number of us are no longer willing to be fed lies and manipulated.

I would like to share a quote about this subject that goes to the heart of the current revolution in social media:

"The greatest cause of bereavement and disheartening in the world of humanity is ignorance based upon blind imitation. ...Man is not intended to see through the eyes of another, hear through another's ears nor comprehend with another's brain. Each human creature has individual endowment, power and responsibility in the creative plan of God." - Abdu'l-Baha.

The following video provides a brilliant analysis of how social media is taking center stage in our collective desire to know the truth. Power is truly derived from the grassroots, and social media are increasingly allowing for this power base to broaden and deepen. We build networks because we care that the truth be told. The Internet is constantly evolving to respond to our need to show how important this issue is for a unified and just world. It allows us to collaborate and to learn from each other, possibly the most fundamental step we can take to continue human evolution.

Murder with Impunity

Everybody should watch this video to understand the situation of Iran's largest religious minority, the Baha'i Faith. Although this persecution has intensified since the 1979 revolution, it has been continually carried out for over 150 years. It has taken all possible forms and its only boundaries are set by a thin veil of shame generated by constant U.N. resolutions of condemnation.

This video is the winner of a recent video contest about the plight of the Baha'is in Iran.