Sep 8, 2006
ILLUSORY UTOPIAN HOPES Imagine was a utopian song first performed by John Lennon in his 1971 album 'Imagine' released on October 11th 1971. I had been living in Australia for three months at the time, having just arrived from Canada. I was teaching in my last two months as a primary teacher and living through the last two years of my first marriage. I was 27. Although originally credited solely to Lennon, the contribution of Yoko Ono's has become more widely acknowledged in recent years. Yoko Ono said that the lyrical content of Imagine was "just what John believed—that we are all one country, one world, one people. He wanted to get that idea out."1 In the book Lennon in America, written by Geoffrey Guiliano, Lennon commented that the song was "an anti-religious, anti-nationalisiti c, anti-conventional, anti-capitalist song, but because it's sugar-coated, it's accepted."2 The song's one world philosophy had been part of my personal ethos for a dozen years by 1971 after another six of a slow introduction to this message in the fifties through the teachings of the Bahá’í Faith. -Ron Price with thanks to 1Imagine, Rolling Stone, Retrieved on 12 March 2006 and 2 Wikipedia. What was your simple utopianism back then when I was young in '71 and just left Canada, has become for humanity some desperation to believe that through some fortuitous conjunction of circumstances it will be possible to bend the conditions of human life into conformity with prevailing human desires. But such hopes are illusory and miss the meaning of the great turning point through which our world has passed, its magnitude of ruin, its catalogue of horrors and the blight of what has become an aggressive secularism, a religious obscurantism and smouldering fires of animosity. Ron Price 6 December 2006 (Jun 13, 2007 | post #1)
Part eulogy, part reminiscence, part synthesis of my times, my life and my beliefs. Thank you, Walter Shirra!---Ron Price, George Town, Tasmania--Australi a's oldest town... __________________ _ RENDEZVOUS Six months before I joined the Baha’i Faith, the then U.S. Navy test pilot, Walter M. Schirra, was named by NASA as one of the seven Mercury Astronauts. It was April 1959. Three and a half years later, On October 3 1962, a month after my pioneering life began in the Canadian Baha’i community, Shirra piloted the six orbit Sigma 7 Mercury flight, a flight which lasted 9 hours, 15 minutes. The spacecraft attained a velocity of 17,557 miles per hour at an altitude of 175 statute miles and travelled almost 144,000 statute miles before re-entry into the Earth's atmosphere. Recovery of the Sigma 7 spacecraft occurred in the Pacific Ocean about 275 miles northeast of Midway Island. Shirra died yesterday. I received the news while watching television here in Australia at the mid-point in my day of writing and reading. I usually take a break for lunch in the early afternoon about 1 or 2 p.m., watch/listen to some news and get back to the work. As I listened to the report I felt a kinship with Shirra even though he was twenty-two years my senior, had at least three honorary doctorates, a number of major awards, had been inducted into several halls of fame and had business and civic experience that was, to say the least, impressive. I was not in his league. But, still, I felt this kinship with the man and when I heard he had died, it was a cause for reflection. No tears were shed. I had no desire to meet him, talk to him on the phone, write the biography of his life, meet any of his family or indeed excavate in the inner motivations and or the outward experience of this pioneering astronaut.-Ron Price, Pioneering Over Four Epochs, 4 May 2007. You were from Hackensack1 and I was from Hamilton, but what a high-flier you were, Walter! One of aviation’s Hall of Famers in your Sigma 7 back in ’62, in ’65 in that Gemini 6 or that first manned test of an Apollo spacecraft in ’68 for the moon landing-reaching for the skies! And they say you were quite the entertainer.2 And me, Wally, just one of those ordinarily ordinary boys from one of a 1000 towns across this land. The first to rendezvous in space, you were--and it was not over, you said, until you had stopped, with no relative motion between the two vehicles.3 I always wondered what a rendezvous of my soul with its Source of light was exactly, Wally, well, you’ve given me a hint......... I wish you well,Walter, as you head to that Undiscovered Country as poet Shelley called It—from which no man ever returns—such is my belief, anyway. 1 Shirra was born in this New Jersey town on 12 March 1923. 2 “Levity is appropriate in a dangerous trade,” Shirra said to Life magazine 3 Wikipedia, “Walter M. Shirra,” 4 May 2007 Ron Price 5 May 2007 (completed: 9 June 2007) (Jun 12, 2007 | post #8)
RENDEZVOUS Six months before I joined the Baha’i Faith, the then U.S. Navy test pilot, Walter M. Schirra, was named by NASA as one of the seven Mercury Astronauts. It was April 1959. Three and a half years later, On October 3 1962, a month after my pioneering life began in the Canadian Baha’i community, Shirra piloted the six orbit Sigma 7 Mercury flight, a flight which lasted 9 hours, 15 minutes. The spacecraft attained a velocity of 17,557 miles per hour at an altitude of 175 statute miles and travelled almost 144,000 statute miles before re-entry into the Earth's atmosphere. Recovery of the Sigma 7 spacecraft occurred in the Pacific Ocean about 275 miles northeast of Midway Island. Shirra died yesterday. I received the news while watching television here in Australia at the mid-point in my day of writing and reading. I usually take a break for lunch in the early afternoon about 1 or 2 p.m., watch/listen to some news and get back to the work. As I listened to the report I felt a kinship with Shirra even though he was twenty-two years my senior, had at least three honorary doctorates, a number of major awards, had been inducted into several halls of fame and had business and civic experience that was, to say the least, impressive. I was not in his league. But, still, I felt this kinship with the man and when I heard he had died, it was a cause for reflection. No tears were shed. I had no desire to meet him, talk to him on the phone, write the biography of his life, meet any of his family or indeed excavate in the inner motivations and or the outward experience of this pioneering astronaut.-Ron Price, Pioneering Over Four Epochs, 4 May 2007. You were from Hackensack1 and I was from Hamilton, but what a high-flier you were, Walter! One of aviation’s Hall of Famers in your Sigma 7 back in ’62, in ’65 in that Gemini 6 or that first manned test of an Apollo spacecraft in ’68 for the moon landing-reaching for the skies! And they say you were quite the entertainer.2 And me, Wally, just one of those ordinarily ordinary boys from one of a 1000 towns across this land. The first to rendezvous in space, you were--and it was not over, you said, until you had stopped, with no relative motion between the two vehicles.3 I always wondered what a rendezvous of my soul with its Source of light was exactly, Wally, well, you’ve given me a hint......... 1 Shirra was born in this New Jersey town on 12 March 1923. 2 “Levity is appropriate in a dangerous trade,” Shirra said to Life magazine 3 Wikipedia, “Walter M. Shirra,” 4 May 2007 Ron Price 5 May 2007 (completed: 9 June 2007) (Jun 12, 2007 | post #1)
It has been 16 months since I initiated this thread and 14 since my last contribution to its development. As in life's conversations and activities, one never knows where your words and actions will lead, where life will take you next. Of course, some things in life are as predictable as the sun getting up, but threads are not in the predictable category. Like gambling, where "you pays your money and you takes your chances," internet posting is a serendipitous and chancey exercise and almost anything can turn up: from the sublime to the ridiculous, from the course to the fine, from words with an etiquette of expression or words in a language of dissention, a language which lacks restraint and a language which is like unto a blight "which causeth the blossoms and flowers to wither." Thus endeth a meandering thread: perhaps this posting will bring closure. We shall see.-Ron Price,George Town(not Hobart), Tasmania, Australia (Jun 5, 2007 | post #90)
A Quasi-Eulogy: In 1959, the year I joined the Baha’i Faith, the year I turned 15, Kurt Vonnegut published his second novel The Sirens of Titan. By the late 1960s this novel had become a cult-book of the counter-culture. The genre is novel, sci-fi, space-opera, black humour, satire and fabulation. The story-line, the narrative is based on a world where machines have taken over. The story is told by a future historian. Faith in science, technology and progress is undermined as is humankind’s ability to shape its future. Vonnegut questions the very nature of reality and argues that individuals have the ineluctable responsibility to make meaning out of their lives by looking within not without at organized religions. Looking back after more than forty years, I would place Vonnegut among the first of a "New Wave" of science fiction writers who appeared in the 1960s and who have inhabited one of the many backdrops of my life.-Ron Price with thanks to Herbert G. Klein, "Kurt Vonnegut’s The Sirens of Titan and the Question of Genre," EESE 5/98. I had heard those enchanting sirens1 back in the fifties; little did I know about their sharp rocks, the perils of chronic and committed rapture, growing dedication, deeper belief-- that would be later. I’ve seen many draw near to those voices and, yes, I’ve seen them shipwrecked. For these sirens were daughters (so the myth goes)2 of the sea and river gods, Nymphs partly bird and partly human. Yes, their voices enchant, but be warned: this journey to their island home is not for the timid & overwrought, not for the vainly pious, the pusillanimous of spirit, not for those who think this is some kind of vacation, who seem somehow to have missed the point that: this ardent, often tiring, voyage on this unvariable storm-lashed brig with the unseasonable rains, the sweet song of the dove, the bird, the clear beauty of the siren’s notes is mostly distant, on some far-off island, faintly heard, but they sweep me out to sea and in full consent I drown, though I do not like all the journey.3 I wish you well, Kurt, in your journey which, as Shelley called it. now goes to that undiscovered country. __________________ __________ 1 I first heard the Baha’i Writings in the years 1953 to 1959. These are the sirens, for me. 2 This poem also draws on the Greek myth of the Sirens, part bird and part human. 3 I thank Roger White and his poems "Parable for the Wrong People" and "Sightseeing "(Pebbles, pp.69-75) for some of his phraseology. Ron Price December 20th 2004 Updated: 13/4/07. (Apr 14, 2007 | post #1)
This discussion could go on forever as the opposition to the baha'i Faith has gone on in Iran since....forever...the last posted here from Calgara said things well. for now i bow out and go to my home in Tasmania where there is a community of 250 Baha'is. (Apr 14, 2007 | post #13)
I have been in the Baha'i community for 48 years. Let me say a few things in response to the above: __________________ _____ In Iran, repression of the Baha’i community is official government policy. This policy is outlined in a previously secret memorandum that was uncovered and published by the U.N. Human Rights Commission in 1993. Written by the Iranian Supreme Revolutionary Cultural Council in 1991 and signed by Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, this document provides a blueprint for the suppression of the Iranian Baha’i community. It contains specific guidelines for dealing with the Baha'is so that “their progress and development are blocked.” Some 300,000 Baha’is live throughout Iran, making the Baha’i Faith the country’s largest minority religion. Baha’is have been targets of discrimination and violence in Iran since the religion began there in the mid-nineteenth century. More than 200 Baha’is were killed in Iran between 1978 and 1998, the majority by execution, and thousands more were imprisoned. Today the Iranian government regards Baha’is as apostates and “unprotected infidels.” Baha’is in Iran have no legal rights, and they are not permitted to elect leaders of their community. The Baha’i Faith has no clergy, and community affairs are coordinated by democratically elected governing councils called Spiritual Assemblies. Baha'is in Iran are systematically denied jobs, pensions and the right to inherit property. More than 10,000 Baha’is have been dismissed from government and university posts since Iran’s 1979 revolution. Bahá'ís had been barred from institutions of higher education since 1980. In recent years, Bahá’ís were permitted to sit for the required qualification examinations. In the fall of 2006, Bahá’í students were admitted to a number of universities and colleges in Iran. Ultimately, out of 369 Bahá’í students who successfully passed the examination, 178 were accepted into universities in Iran and began their studies. Out of these 178, 43 students were expelled when the universities concerned became aware that they are Bahá’ís. It is too early to know how many students will ultimately be permitted to remain in university and obtain their degrees. All Baha’i cemeteries, holy places and community properties were seized soon after the 1979 revolution. None have been returned, and many sites of the greatest historical significance to Baha’is have been destroyed. In November 2004, the Baha’is of Iran wrote a courteous letter to then-President Mohammad Khatami in which they requested that their civil and human rights be respected. Since that letter was distributed, Baha’is throughout the country have been arrested and detained for varying periods of time. __________________ ______ Regarded by many Iranian government leaders as evil and misguided heretics, and/or partisans of the Shah, agents of Zionist and Western imperialism, or whatever, the Baha'is have been systematically persecuted and pressured to convert to Islam. Action against the Baha'is have included the execution of over 200 of their leaders, the imprisonment of several thousand others, the use of torture so as to force recantations of faith, the sacking and fining of Baha'is formerly in government employ, the expulsion of Baha'is from schools and colleges, the seizure of property, the desecration of graveyards and corpses, and the prohibition of all Baha'i activities and organizations. The Baha'is have protested their innocence, but to no avail. Thousands have fled the country, but for most Baha'is this is not an option. For more go to:"The Situation of the Bahá'ís in Iran " (Mar 2, 2007 | post #6)
Part 3: Expulsion of Baha'i Iranian Students: __________________ ___ "Accounts we have received from those who have been expelled or denied registration at the university of their choice clearly indicate the issue is their Baha'i identity," said Ms. Ala'i. "One student, for example, received a phone call from Payame Noor University on 18 October, asking whether he was a Baha'i. When he replied in the affirmative, he was told that he could not be enrolled. "Later, after visiting the university, the student was told that the university had received a circular from the National Educational Measurement and Evaluation Organization, which oversees the university entrance examination process, stating that while it would not prevent the Baha'is from going through the enrolment process, once enrolled, they were to be expelled. "Another Baha'i student at that same university was told that students who do not specify their religion on registration forms would be disqualified from continuing their education there," she said. Ms. Ala'i also said that the Baha'i International Community has learned that all universities in Iran except one still include a space for religion on their own registration forms. "This raises the grave concern that the 191 additional Baha'is who passed their examinations this year but were refused places may in fact be the subjects of discrimination, " she said. "We call on the international community to continue to monitor this situation closely," said Ms. Ala'i. "We would also ask for the continued efforts of educators and university administrators around the world who have participated in a campaign to protest the treatment of Baha'i students in Iran." __________________ __ To view the photos and additional features click here:http://news.b ahai.org/index.cfm ?src=se ------------------ ------------------ ---------------Adv ance release: Please check our website for the final version of this article. ------------------ ------------------ --------------- Copyright 2007 by the Baha'i World News Service. All stories and photographs produced by the Baha'i World News Service may be freely reprinted, re-emailed, re-posted to the World Wide Web and otherwise reproduced by any individual or organization as long as they are attributed to the Baha'i World News Service. For more information, visit http://news.bahai. org. ------------------ ------------------ --------------- If you have questions about this list or wish to unsubscribe, contact email@example.com g ------------------ ------------------ --------------- (Mar 1, 2007 | post #3)
Part 2:Iranian Students __________________ _____ The largest religious minority in Iran, Baha'is of all ages have faced systematic religious persecution since the 1979 Islamic Revolution. More than 200 Baha'is have been killed, hundreds have been imprisoned, and thousands have had property or businesses confiscated, been fired from jobs, and/or had pensions terminated. According to a secret 1991 government memorandum, Baha'is "must be expelled from universities, either in the admission process or during the course of their studies, once it becomes known that they are Baha'is." One of the chief means the government has used to enforce this policy was to require that everyone sitting for the national college entrance examination state their religion on the test registration forms. Test forms that listed "Baha'i, " or that had no listing, were rejected. In 2004, apparently in response to continued pressure from the international community, the Iranian government removed the data field for religious affiliation. About 1,000 Baha'i students successfully sat for the examination that year and hundreds passed, many with very high scores. Later that same year, however, in an action that Baha'i International Community representatives characterize as a "ploy," exam results were sent back to Baha'is with the word "Muslim" written in, something that officials knew would be unacceptable to Baha'is, who as a matter of religious principle refuse to deny their beliefs. Government officials argued that since the Baha'is had opted to take the set of questions on Islam in the religious studies section of the test, they should be listed as Muslims. Baha'is contested the action and were rebuffed; no Baha'i students entered university that year. The same thing happened in 2005. Hundreds of Baha'i students took and passed the national examination, only to find that the government had listed them as Muslims. Baha'is again contested the action, but without successful redress, and no Baha'is matriculated in 2005. Last summer, again acting on good faith, hundreds of Baha'is took the national examination. This time, as indicated in the figures above, hundreds have passed, and some 178 were accepted into universities. Throughout the fall, reports came out of Iran indicating that many of those who had been accepted were being refused entry or expelled once the universities learned that they were Baha'is. As of February, the confirmed figure totaled 70 Baha'is expelled. (Mar 1, 2007 | post #2)
IRANIAN BAHA'IS FACE CONTINUING DISCRIMINATION IN HIGHER EDUCATION(Part 1) NEW YORK, 28 February 2007 (BWNS) -- A growing number of Baha'is admitted to Iranian universities this year have been expelled, powerful evidence that Baha'i students in Iran still face severe discrimination and limited access to higher education. After more than 25 years during which Iranian Baha'is were outright banned from attending public and private universities in Iran, some 178 Baha'i students were admitted last fall to various schools around the country after the government changed its policies and removed religious identification from entrance examination papers. As of mid-February, however, at least 70 students had been expelled after their universities became aware that they were Baha'is. "The high percentage of expulsions - which are all explicitly connected to the students' identities as Baha'is - suggests at best that the government is turning a blind eye to discrimination in higher education, and, at worst, is merely playing a game with Baha'i students," said Diane Ala'i, the Baha'i International Community's representative to the United Nations in Geneva. "While we are happy that for the first time since the early 1980s a significant number of Iranian Baha'i youth have been able to enter and attend the university of their choice, the government's long history of systematic persecution against Baha'is certainly calls into question the sincerity of the new policies," said Ms. Ala'i. She noted, for example, that another 191 Baha'i students, having successfully passed national college entrance examinations last summer, were unable to enter university this year, either because of the limited number of places for the course of their choice or for other reasons unknown to them. "Internationa l law provides that access to education is a basic human right, and Iranian universities have no excuse for denying students who have successfully passed their examinations the right to attend simply because they are Baha'is," added Ms. Ala'i. "As long as any Baha'i is unjustly denied access to higher education, we can say that the years of systematic persecution and discrimination against Baha'i students has not yet ended, and we must call for this injustice to be rectified," she said. (Mar 1, 2007 | post #1)
(a little more context on O'Neill) INTERREGNUM YEARS In 1959 when Edward Albee was 31 his play The Zoo Story, which he wrote in three weeks, had its premiere at the Schiller Theater Werkstatt in Berlin. It was September 28, 1959, about a week before I joined the Bahá'í Faith. I was 15. Four months later Albee’s play was paired with Samuel Beckett's Krapp's Last Tape at the Provincetown Playhouse in Greenwich Village. I was in the middle of my 5th winter-hockey season in Canada and in grade 11. I was also in love with Susan Gregory, sadly with no romantic success. The reception of The Zoo Story was favorable and it won Albee recognition as a formidable writing talent. In 1960 Albee won the Vernon Rice Memorial Award for this play. Albee's major "hit" was Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? It opened at Broadway's Billy Rose Theater on October 3, 1962, a month after my pioneering life began. It starred Uta Hagen and Arthur Hill as the battling George and Martha and ran for 664 performances. In 1966 it was also made into a popular film starring Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton just as I graduated from university. This was the first major play in the West just before, during and after the election of the Universal House of Justice in April 1963. Like Eugene O'Neill, Albee nabbed three Pulitzers: for A Delicate Balance in 1966, Seascape in 1975 and Three Tall Women in 1991. -Ron Price with thanks to Elyse Sommer, “An Overview of Edward Albee’s Career,” CurtainUp: An Internet Theatre Magazine, 2001. Back in ’62 and ’63 I was about as far away from plays on stage as you could get as the tenth stage of history was getting underway and I was finishing-up my adolescent life and readying myself for my twenties which proved both more successful and more painful than I could have imagined. ’59 to ’63 were very big years, interregnum years as they are sometimes called, warm-up years as I came to call them for my pioneering life which began just weeks before Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf opened on Broadway and my life opened on a mess of pottage beyond my imagination. Ron Price May 26th 2006 (Sep 8, 2006 | post #2)
Q & A with RonPrice
The World is One Country
George Town Tasmania
South George Town
The bush, the beach,the river and the mountains---country road.
I Belong To:
The George Town Baha'i Group and I have been a member of the Baha'i Faith for 48 years.
When I'm Not on Topix:
I could not possibly summarize what I do in the other parts of my day and week.
Read My Forum Posts Because:
They may inform and entertain you.
I'm Listening To:
light classical music
Read This Book:
Too many, teave it to you
too many to list here.
On My Mind:
the filling out of this form.
Blog / Website / Homepage:
I Believe In:
...a list of things too long to place in a little box.
Copyright © 2015 Topix LLC