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ABC in the Media

The Truth about Baha'i Oppression

Ladan Boroumand
Abdorrahman Boroumand Center
August 26, 2019
Letter

It is not just that the truth of a life and death be buried by time's silence, that the only stories to remain for the judgment of society and history be the ones told one-sidedly by state officials, chiefly with falsehood and insult.

Why Omid Memorial?

The pain and sense of guilt that disturbs the souls of people under despotic regimes results from the harm that is done to them, but also from their helplessness against the tyranny they witness. They feel powerless because seeking justice seems impossible. It is true that to bring the perpetrators to justice, we need a state that is willing to protect citizens’ rights. Until then, nothing prevents us, as victims, ordinary citizens and members of civil society, from answering the call of our consciences and testifying against the tyranny that we have not been able to prevent. The perpetrators kill to eliminate their victims and pretend that they never existed; this cannot be undone, yet we have the power to bring them back in memory. The violation of victims’ human rights is a deliberate denial of their human dignity. To remedy such an outrage, we can posthumously restore their human rights. That is how the idea of the online Omid memorial dedicated to the victims of the Iranian state took root in our mind.

Omid’s goal is to systematically catalogue and document—to the greatest extent possible in every case, through all the records and eyewitness testimonies that can be gathered—the story of each and every person whom the Islamic Republic has killed, and to create a page in both Persian and English that will serve as a virtual memorial to them, one that will enshrine their stories and record their ordeals.

Omid Memorial: The Mirror of a Different Iran

Omid's citizens are of varying social origins, nationalities, and religions; they are of diverse, and often opposing, opinions and ideologies. Despite their differences, however, they are united in Omid by virtue of the natural rights and the humanity they hold in common. What makes them fellow citizens is that each was one day unfairly and arbitrarily robbed of his or her life by an unjust state, and that each is remembered. If you visit this online city, you will realize that, through their common ordeal, the citizens of Omid have created another Iran, an imaginary Iran: a democratic polity, pluralistic and diverse, free of discrimination, where citizens’ rights and intrinsic human dignity are not denied and trampled upon, but cherished and respected. Today Omid hosts the stories of nearly 25,000 victims. They are Christians, Jews, atheists, Muslims both Sunni and Shia, Baha’is, and Sufis. They are Persians, Kurds, Baluchis, Arabs, Argentines, Afghans….They are men and women, old and young, rich and poor… their stories bear witness to the unspeakable, and challenge our conscience.

Omid Memorial: A Truth Telling and Solidarity Platform

We know from treasured experience that each time a daughter, son, father, mother, sibling, or friend searches the name of a vanished loved one and find, unexpectedly, a page dedicated to them in Omid’s virtual memorial, they realize that out there somewhere are people who care, who bear witness to the harm that has been done, and who stand up for remembrance and justice. We know, again from experience, that this leaves the bereaved feeling less isolated. We have faith that through such moments of emotional solidarity run the threads—tiny and fragile but real—which will knit the “raveled sleeve” of Iran’s social solidarity, torn and cruelly shredded as it has been by state violence. Humbly and imperceptibly, Omid seeks to embody the humane solidarity that binds free citizens together and lays the groundwork for future progress toward justice, peace, and reconciliation—three essentials that our troubled homeland must come to enjoy if a durable transition to democracy is ever to have a chance there.

Join Omid’s Truth Telling Platform for the Baha’i persecution Project

ABC was the first non-Baha’i Iranian human rights organization that focused, since its very inception, on Baha’i victims and reached out to Baha’i institutions for information. But our research team is too small to complete the Baha’i persecution project, many Baha’i stories are incomplete and many are still missing. We need your help.

Bear witness to make history: If you are a survivor or know about a victim join our truth telling platform, and help us draft the story of your loved one so that the truth about his/her life is documented and published for Iranians and the whole world to know.

If you have lost a loved one to state violence and persecution, tell us your story and the impact of this tragedy on your own life. We strongly oppose death penalty and work on its impact on victims’ families. The Iranian nation must know the harm done to its Baha’i citizens. Help us inform and educate our fellow citizens about the tragedy of their Baha’i fellow citizens.

Truth telling is the first step toward justice. It is also a crucial step that changes your status from a passive victim into an active promoter of justice and human rights. Help us and become an empowered agent of history.

Volunteer to draft Omid’s Baha’i stories: ABC is willing to train qualified volunteers and enable them to do research and draft Baha’i stories for Omid Memorial. Contact ABC’s representative or call ABC’s office to volunteer.

Help us raise funds for Omid’s Baha’i project: You may also help us raise funds to hire a new researcher for Omid’s Baha’i project.