Friday, December 30, 2005

Breaking News - NSA Orders Boycott of Kalimat Press

Just today, the US NSA released a letter announcing that all LSAs should stop distributing books from Kalimat Press.

Kalimat Press has played a pivotal role in developing a Baha'i intellectual life and Baha'i scholarship -- particularly through its *Studies in the Babi and Baha'i Religions* series. And it has had to tolerate the interference of the Baha'i administration on many occasions. Even as early as 1982, the UHJ demanded that passages from Salmani's memoires be censored -- as I understand it, Kalimat was required to literally "stop the presses" because of this demand, as the book was just being printed.

However, there are many occasions that have been connected to events in recent years. Kalimat co-owner Tony Lee received a threatening letter in 1999 because of his distribution and advertisement of Juan Cole's groundbreaking *Modernity and the Millenium* -- a letter which warned him of penalties in the afterlife if he continued to do this. Just this last summer he was warned about carrying Abbas Amanat's *Resurrection and Renewal* -- the best book out there about the Babi era. Amanat, like a lot of other Baha'i scholars who experience the administration's wrath, had some pointed criticisms about it in the new introduction to this book -- and the administration cannot abide any criticism.

Kalimat also carries Sen McGlinn's *Church and State*, which has been condemned by the administration and its author disenrolled.

Well, it is no longer news that the Baha'i administration is unalterably opposed to new ideas, creative thinking, or solid academic scholarship. The talk is that, along with the LSAs, most ordinary Baha'is will avoid even the non-controversial publications of Kalimat Press. I hope this isn't true. Kalimat's customers, overall, probably represent the most intellectually curious segment of the Baha'i community. Baha'is who don't like history written in an academic style probably aren't buying from them anyway.

Besides the *Studies* series, Kalimat offers devotional materials, children's books, books on Christian issues and spirituality, and introductory materials. Next on my list to get is the book of translations of Tahirih's poetry -- which is a groundbreaking effort in itself.

So, I would ask my readers not to allow this effort to drive Kalimat into the ground to succeed. The Baha'i community needs this publisher -- buy a book or two from them, as soon as you can, to show your support and put this blatant effort at censorship in the toilet where it belongs.

14 comments:

Anna said...

Another reason for my resignation from the Faith.

Does the Administrative Order truly believe we are incapable of reading and evaluating for ourselves? Or are they just afraid that we aren't as stupid as they hoped we were?

Anna

Anonymous said...

Karen, I suppose you are quite informed to call this “boycott”, but I doubt you have all the information to say that.

What I know is that you always have an incredible opportunistic way to open your mouth when some action by Bahá’í Institutions “seem” an excess.

Baquia said...

boy·cott Pronunciation Key (boikt)
tr.v. boy·cott·ed, boy·cott·ing, boy·cotts

To abstain from or act together in abstaining from using, buying, or dealing with as an expression of protest or disfavor or as a means of coercion.


The definition fits the situation, as you can see.

Perhaps you have some information which Karen does not have or has, perhaps, overlooked. In that case, please share it.

Failing that, things are just as they "seem" to be and you are practising the all too common technique of shifting the focus of discussion from facts and knowns to personalities and ad hominem insults.

That, I can say honestly, isn't too surprising.

Karen said...

Dear Baquia,

It's one of the oldest ploys around. From my
Net Games
page:

"From Ignorance: Because something is not known to be true, it is assumed to be false.

Example: You do not know all the reasons the Baha’i institutions have made their decision, and are therefore unable to prove that those affected are innocent, therefore they must be guilty.

Response: This is also a sort of false dilemma, where the person I’m debating essentially is saying that because I can’t know everything, I really know nothing, or at least too little to make a judgment. This is, of course, ridiculous. It is very rare that one knows every last detail of any issue or case in non-Baha‘i matters, even when they become public, yet we vote and express opinions on those things. It’s part of living in a free society. This sort of argument simply sets up a situation where one must accept the status quo if an impossible condition is not met."

Basically, unless one is privileged to sit in on NSA meetings, you are supposed to shut your mouth "because you don't know what's going on." What we *do* know, however, since the NSA itself made it public, is that it doesn't want any Baha'i institutions in this country distributing Kalimat's books -- which a good many individuals are also likely to follow. The other dealings of the institutions with Kalimat I mentioned are also documented.

And, yes, I think attempting to destroy a major publisher of Baha'i scholarship is an "excess". My big "sin" is "opening my mouth", which is actually a human right that I cherish and choose to exercise at my discretion.

Buy Kalimat!!

Anonymous said...

How is it a boycott if individual Baha'is are allowed by the NSA to order books from Kalimat???

Anonymous said...

Search for truth?????? Joe

Baquia said...

Yes, Anonymous is right, we should be sending giftbaskets to the NSA thanking them for allowing us to buy books according to our own peccant wishes. They have not deigned to take this privilage away from us and that shows just how just and merciful they are, and how base and worthless we are.

Anonymous said...

Many people enjoyed the Beatles
music for many years. Many who were
born after their "manifestation" did also
listen to their "sounds" and lived under
their "spiritual" influence, dressed like them,
and wear longer hair, even some touched dope
like they did, and went on a spiritual journey.

In fact this was an imitation, a sort of idolatry,
an external show to show our facade was
beatle-like. Some also collected their photographs.

Another sort of people was interested also
in the history of the Fab Four, when and where it
did start, where they travelled, , from the "Cavern" (surah 18, ah ah ah)
to Germany, Philippines, America, Canada, India (Maharishi stuff)
and so on.

Some did both, they learned their history and listened to
their melodies. Whatever happened in history, what remains
inside people is the songs they wrote.

---------

Bahai's have a Fab Four too.
Our "Fab Four" also have an interesting history,
and their spiritual influence over people of the world is
as profound or more, than the Beatles, for those
who know. Even tho some collect the photographs
of them (Bab, Baha, A.A and Shawqi),
the spiritual voyage here is not to imitate them
externally, but to catch their subtil ways of thinking.

History and events surrounding the lives of
the messengers has a certain importance for us
to know, to see the places they were living in,
to see their photographs, their wives and kids,
where they traveled, from Shiraz to Nûr,
to Baghdad up to Akka, to Europe and America, Germany,
New-Zealand, and onto the rest of the world. Some appreciate
learning this historical path.

Some do both, they learn their history and listen to
their melodies. Whatever happened in history, what remains
inside people is the songs they wrote.

Majnun.

nathaniel said...

Karen said:

"And it has had to tolerate the interference of the Baha'i administration on many occasions."

Dear Karen, If not the central Institutions of the Bahá'í Faith then who can be the authority on editing material concerning its history and facts in general? In every publishing house there are editors - individuals - who decide what should and should not be published. Should any person who establishes a publishing trust be the authority in the end? Who has such credentials? We know how these Institutions were established if we study, and no individual or other group is so established. Kalimat can publish whatever it wishes. The central authorities of the Bahá'í Faith can decide on what should be distributed through Bahá'í channels. Many materials are considered and many are selected or denied distribution or endorsement. This is not unusual. Individuals can order what they wish or buy from a store. Such is a personal view on the matter.

Anna said:
"Another reason for my resignation from the Faith."

Dear Anna, Resigning from the Bahá'í Faith means that a person no longer believes in Bahá'u'lláh. There is no other criterion according to the Universal House of Justice. Many are the believers who never attend Bahá'í functions. One is always free to enroll again if they believe in Bahá'u'lláh as the Manifestation of God for this Day.

Nathaniel said...

PS to Dear Anna, concerning membership in the Bahá'í Faith. It might be considered a threat to individual rights that loss of faith be the criterion of withdrawal from the Bahá'í Faith. However, this is not a church. In Christianity many change churches during their lives yet remain Christians. However, surely if one denies being an actual Christian it would be as if saying s/he no longer believes in Christ. The Bahá'í Faith, having no sects, is just that, the Faith itself. "I am no longer a Bahá'í logically translates into "I no longer believe in Bahá'u'lláh". Just a qualifier by an individual and not meant to over-do-it.

Nathaniel said...

PPS Sorry I haven't found an edit button. I just wanted to add that, of course, if someone wants to consider themselves a Muslim without believing in the Prophet that's their world, even if it is illogical to 99.9% of Muslims. About leaving the entire Christian Faith being a denial of Christ, this would obviously not be the case if one were to become Muslim, for example. Progressive Revelation is a belief in all the previous Manifestations of God. There's more that can be discussed, but I firmly believe that each individual is free to investigate things with their own hearts and eyes. Hopefully, it is the ultimate truth we are seeking and not merely a focus on temporal matters. If we would just consider Bahá'u'lláh more so many things would become clearer.

Anonymous said...

Individuals have no authority in the Baha'i Faith. How refreshing and how timely of Baha'u'llah to abolish the clergy. And since our last, infallible(can't fail) blessed leader, Shoghi Effendi passed in 1957, the Institutions have instructed, praised and admonished us, and as we are told, we have yet to see justice unfurled in its true glory.

Our Institutions for so long have been patient, forgiving and very loving towards us. According to the Covenant of Baha'u'llah's stupendous Cause, it is incumbent on every devout Believer to be obediant to the Law and the great Institutions. Abdu'l-Baha said to never criticize, and though Spiritual Assemblies do make errors, we're reminded that there is a wisdom in this.

As Nathaniel so aptly put it, those who leave the Administrative Order are no longer Baha'is. Karen is no longer a Baha'i, and has deemed herself arbiter of what is right or wrong, a job specifically intended for our legislative Institutions and God alone.

I really wonder if Karen was ever a confirmed believer, since she has complained about her experience as a Baha'i and continued her mean-spirited assualt on the Faith ever since.

Anonymous said...

I don't know. Karen seems to shine more of the love and justice of Abdul-Baha than you two self-righteous individuals. Maybe you all aren't the 'real' Bahais.

James said...

Let's all just breath a moment, shall we?

There's not enough *breathing* going on here. Perhaps we need to hit a *rock* and partake of it's *water?*

Who has good hands? I say we break bread and relax.