Ethereal Whispers

Abdu'l -Baha

Centenary of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s passing:
A look at worldwide gatherings

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BAHÁ’Í WORLD CENTRE , 3 December 2021, (BWNS) — As centenary commemorations encircled the globe on Saturday, thoughts and hearts worldwide converged on ‘Abdu’l-Bahá. People in country after country, as though by a continuous thread, were connected in their love and immeasurable admiration for one Whom they turn to as the perfect example of love for humankind and of selfless service to society.

Countless people from diverse backgrounds and faiths in every land have been reflecting on ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s words and hearing stories from His life, contemplating the implications of His call for universal peace for their own lives.

As gatherings being held in honor of this historic occasion continue, the gallery of images featured on provides a tiny glimpse of the unnumbered endeavors across and within the countries of the world over the past week.


Response to comments made by Bernard Frampton about my recent Facebook post:

First let me assure you Bernard that I have no political ambition or affiliation and I therefore have no bias against or for any political party.As mentioned in the published commentary on Facebook, I was not trying to attack or defend the Prime Minister, the sole purpose of the article was to highlight the intensity of the partisan politics presently pervading Dominica.As to your question of whether Roosevelt Skerritt and Lennox Linton are engaged in some personal duel:“Everyone keeps talking about the country is divided as though it is so in a sort of abstract sense, as if Lennox Linton and Roosevelt Skerrit are involved in some personal duel that is nationalized”.

Bernard there is no “abstraction” here the division is real, It is a fact that Dominica is polarized by partisan politics, it is a fact that both men lead opposing political parties and the reverberations within this turbulent mix of different political ideologies, often translate into social antagonism.

Your suggestion that my comments “reveal a type of passiveness and mild reflection that is contributing to the malaise in Dominica”.Let me hasten to point out to you that the “malaise” I assume that you are referring to, existed before I made my comments and will exist even when the hand that presently pens this response can no longer write, it has existed before the birth of either Roosevelt Skerritt or Lennox Linton and it will continue to exist beyond the lifespan of you or I.

Your suggestion that the Prime Minister may have used state funds “in exchange for his accolade” this is totally out of the scope of my knowledge and I cannot even consider a response to that.Concerning this comment you made:“Furthermore, I challenge you to find one case in which a Head of State organized a motorcade with political constituents on receiving an honorary degree: these types of superficial public acts overshadow more meaningful engagement that all Dominicans need to have about the state of affairs of the country. When there are so many glaring and troubling things going wrong with the governance of the country and you can’t get these same people to hold their leader accountable, then of course it becomes a problem”.

My comments were not made on the premise that the celebration was organized by a “Head of State”, because I have no such knowledge.“On your third question, it is naive to think that an honorary degree can be used to help Dominica in any significant way, especially when it is received as part of a quid pro quo”.

My comments were not about what the achievement of an honorary degree could do or not do for Dominica, they were solely about the reaction to its achievement.As to whether it was received “quid pro quo” please elabourate on this because I have no such knowledge. Let me assure you and anyone who read this that I have no desire to perpetrate division and strife, my most fervent wish is to see Dominicans transcend the boundaries of partisan politics and embrace the polychromatic tapestry of our people and the beauty of our land.I have no further desire to continue this dialogue


I am responding to a Face Book post by Clem James

Clem, I have thoroughly read your post in relation to comments made by Karl Nassief and others; here are my comments:

In a crisis such as the one posed by the COVID 19 Pandemic, there will always be conflicting viewpoints on what to do or not do, I do not believe that anyone wants to deliberately facilitate the proliferation of this virus, the world is in a quandary, struggling to find solutions to stop, contain, or mitigate the effects of the disease.

I can concur with you that yes, healthier eating habits will strengthen people's immune systems, but the virus will not wait for that to happen, nor does it differentiate between those who have strong or weak immune systems.

Yes, eating in a manner to strengthen ones immune system is the most efficacious way to have good health but people have been eating unhealthy foods for generations and that will not change for generations to come.

Let us all be sagacious here and rationalize this crisis, for example in 2010, I was diagnosed with prostate cancer, I chose to take medications and radiation treatment which I unconditionally abhor, but 11 years later I am still alive and cancer free. In a population where such a high percentage of the people have unhealthy eating habits and maybe have weak immune systems, if the vaccine offers them some protection from the VIRUS, I suggest that they get vaccinated.

This does not mean that I am retreating from my position of advocating healthy eating habits, but sometimes the exigency of a situation requires a radical change in our actions.

People do not normally walk around with umbrellas but if it is raining they will use an umbrella, right now I say it is raining heavily globally.

This crisis is above and beyond Karl Nassief, the government or anyone else, COVID 19 is on a rampage to destroy people. As individuals, we have a responsibility not only to ourselves, but to our families and our communities, to do what is necessary to protect them.

I do not believe that vacation is a miraculous lodestone to eradicate COVID 19, but the science has shown it helps to mitigate the virulence of the virus, for the elderly, those with weak immune systems, underlying conditions, and people who have high risk exposure occupations, getting vaccinated should be seriously considered but it should be their choice not mandated.

Let me be clear here, I am vaccinated but I do not believe that being vaccinated makes me or anyone immune to COVID 19, there are many other things we need to do to protect ourselves and others.

Finally Clem, even if all the supermarkets suddenly start selling all organic and healthy foods tomorrow, COVID 19 will not immediately become less truculent and pernicious.

I 100 percent support your recommendation to adopt healthy eating habits and lifestyles but that will take years of education to accomplish, right now the world is wallowing in the putrid sea of COVID 19, if vaccination is a lifeline to those who are drowning, let them grab it, if they choose to do so.


Insightful and thought-provoking: ABS conference casts light on wide array of social themes

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OTTAWA, Canada, 3 August 2021, (BWNS) — The 45th annual conference of the Association for Bahá’í Studies (ABS), held last week, brought together over 2,500 people to reflect on their efforts to contribute to a wide variety of areas of thought and discourse.

As was the case last year, the conference, which is usually held at a physical venue, had transferred online because of the pandemic. Julia Berger, the secretary of the Association’s executive committee explains how the ABS took great care in organizing the program to ensure greater participation in sessions.

“Despite some challenges and limitations from not being able to gather in person, the conference featured thought-provoking and lively discussions.

“Many sessions were held in two parts, with the first featuring pre-recorded presentations made available in advance and the second as live sessions during the conference itself, allowing more time for rich discussions.”

The 9-day conference took place at a time when the global Bahá’í community has been preparing to commemorate the centenary of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s passing later this year. Titled “In the Footsteps of ʻAbdu’l-Bahá: Contributing to the Discourses of Our Time,” the conference program drew inspiration from His life and work as a champion of social justice and upholder of the principle of the oneness of humanity.

Participants called to mind ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s unifying approach to contributing to the intellectual and moral life of society. His application of Bahá’í principles to contemporary issues and problems of the age informed discussions as attendees consulted on a wide variety of themes, including the role of journalism in contributing to social progress, the power of film in helping people to overcome prejudices, contemporary efforts to create just and sustainable food systems, and the dual knowledge systems of science and religion as being necessary for the advancement of civilization.

One of the sessions brought together attendees and the directors of the Center on Modernity in Transition (COMIT) to discuss the Centre’s experience with interdisciplinary research on the intellectual foundations of modern society and their possible transformation. The Centre’s work is animated by the idea of modernity as an age of transition toward a future world civilization—one characterized by unprecedented levels of peace, justice, and material and spiritual prosperity.

Speaking about the future of the conferences, Dr. Berger states: “Our hope for the evolution of the conference is that it becomes a punctuation point along a process of learning so that each year participants can explore in-depth Bahá’í teachings, correlate them with perspectives across diverse fields of knowledge, and attempt to apply them to humanity’s current issues and challenges.”

Recordings of selected conference sessions are available online at the ABS website
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“A significant experience in our country”: Faith leaders in the UAE foster coexistence, build unified vision

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ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates, 22 July 2021 , (BWNS) — A unique forum initiated by the Bahá’ís of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is allowing religious leaders of the country to go beyond building mutual respect to fostering coexistence and unity of vision on questions of common concern.

The forum was established at the outset of the pandemic as a space for representatives of the diverse religious communities of the UAE to pray for the well-being of the people of their country, but quickly evolved to become a means for religious leaders to explore the role of religion in contributing to the material and spiritual progress of society in tangible terms.

“What has made these gatherings remarkable is that participants consult together about how they can stimulate further discussions within their faith communities to build unity of thought and to support collective endeavors that contribute to the betterment of our society,” says Roeia Thabet, representative of the Bahá’ís of the country.

She continues: “We also explore profound concepts and themes related to social transformation and reflect on how religion can inspire action among larger groups of people.”

At a recent gathering focused on the Bahá’í principle of the equality of women and men, a participant stated: “All of us, as religious leaders, have a significant role in shaping the culture of true understanding of equality between men and women.”

In a paper prepared for the discussion and distributed to participants, the Bahá’ís of the UAE highlighted that equality between women and men is an aspect of human reality and not just a condition to be achieved for the common good.

The paper reads in part: “The search for meaning, for purpose, for community; the capacity to love, to create, to persevere, has no gender. Such an assertion has profound implications for the organization of every aspect of human society. That which makes human beings human—their inherent dignity and nobility—is neither male nor female.”

This and other themes examined over the past year are part of an overarching conversation on coexistence in Emirati society, a discourse that has gained significant prominence in recent years not only in the UAE but in the whole Arab region.

“This group has raised the bar on coexistence and tolerance by bringing everyone of different religions together and commencing valuable discussions,” says Ashis Barua, representative of the country’s Buddhist community. Referring to the unified spirit of the gatherings, Mr. Barua continues: “It is truly rare… in our lifetime.”

Dr. Thabet of the Bahá’í community describes the strong bonds of friendship that have been fostered among the participants: “We have become much closer through these gatherings, sitting together for hours with real focus on how to foster greater coexistence in society and promote the welfare of communities. This kind of dialogue among leaders of different faiths is a significant experience in our country.”

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