Vote Male

Vote Male booth
My booth outside the Haifa International Convention Centre.

I’m off to Haifa for a week to be part of the activities surrounding the 11th International Bahá’í Convention in Haifa. No, I won’t be one of the more than 1000 delegates, but I will be assisting them carry out their sacred responsibilities.

Those delegates come from all over the world and my job will be to remind them of the important stuff, so that their vote counts. That’s got to be pretty important, right?

This Joke left a Bab Taste

One of the
One of the “offensive” posters
– Haaretz

Haifa to change offensive Independence Day posters

Source: Haaretz newspaper, Haifa
Date: Sun, April 18, 2004 / Nisan 27, 5764
By: David Ratner, Haaretz Correspondent

The Haifa municipality and local media in the city on Sunday moved to change posters advertising the upcoming Independence Day festivities that caused offense to the Bahai community, which is based in the northern city.

The large colorful posters were placed all around the city, inviting the public to next week’s Independence Day celebrations, and featured a smiling man and a woman with text underneath listing the shows that will take place in the city.

A closer look revealed that the graphic design artist added “hats” on the heads of the two. The woman was depicted wearing Haifa’s unique missile-shaped municipal building, while the man was wearing the golden dome that sits atop the Bahai shrine built on Zionism Boulevard years ago.

Representatives of the Bahai community on Sunday telephoned Haifa Mayor Yona Yahav to demand a change in the posters. Although the golden dome has been a symbol of the city for years, they said, they reject its use in a such a secular and commercial manner.

The mayor instructed teams to conceal the image of the shrine on the hundreds of posters throughout the city.

The status of the Bahai community in Haifa has increased considerably over the past years. This partly down to the huge investment, estimated at hundreds of million of dollars, spent on the construction of the hanging gardens between the Carmel and the lower area of the city, which today are one of Israel’s top tourist attractions.

More on the Swiss Guard (Happy 500th birthday!)

I still can’t help thinking that the Swiss Guards would secretly love to work in Haifa, and are ripe for a hostile takeover:

New members of the Swiss Guard file into St. Peter’s Square to take their oaths at the Vatican. (Photo from Catholic Press Photo)

The commander also was asked—and not for the first time—whether the Guard ever would include women.

“I cannot imagine that we ever would have women in service,” he said. “We live in a very small barracks, and there would not be room for women.”

“The men are young,” he said, “and I would not want to recruit problems” for discipline.

“Obviously, women are capable of providing security services. That is not the point. It is a matter of discipline,” he said.

Mader said his men have a variety of reasons for seeking a place in the corps.

“It is a mix of motivations, although you will find in all of them a certain religious sensitivity” and a desire to serve the church, he said. Many of the young men say they want to learn another language and culture and meet people from all over the world.

While there is a sense of prestige and honor in being a guard, Mader said, “it is not like it was 30 years ago, when a guard would return home and be seen as one of the pope’s men.”

Swiss Guard to mark 500th anniversary with stamps, Masses, march

I’m convinced these guys will fit right in at the Baha’i World Centre, and they’ll certainly relieve some of the recruitment problems there.

Never mind the Spanish Inquisition…

Papal Swiss Guards in their traditional uniform. Photographer: Arnaud Gaillard.

What the Arc needs, to go along with its rainbow make-over, is a contingent of Swiss Guards. On January 21 2006 the Swiss Guards will have been doing guard duty at the Vatican for exactly 500 years. I’d be ready for a change of job about then.

In 1998 the Swiss Guards had a spot of bother when one of them apparently killed his commanding officer, the officer’s wife, and himself. But you just want to forgive them for anything they’ve done when you look at those uniforms. Aren’t they stunning? And doesn’t Haifa need a bit of colour just as much as the Vatican?

My thanks to an as-yet-un-named contributor for suggesting the Papal Swiss Guards as delightful accessories for the Arc.

Rainbow colours for the Arc!

Rainbow Blocks

“Although the pure white marble of surviving Ancient Greek temples appeals to the modern aesthetic, the Parthenon, like all ancient buildings, was at least partly painted, though scholars dispute the extent and the colour scheme. It is known that the internal ceilings were painted a deep blue, and that the statuary groups on the pediments were painted in bright colours. Some scholars believe that the upper parts of the Parthenon were painted bright red and blue, so that the sculptures would stand out in greater relief when seen from below.”
“Parthenon – Decorations”. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Fascinating, huh? I reckon the buildings on the Arc would look great painted in rainbow shades!

Rainbow Uniform

Rainbow Team

Top right is a model of the proposed new Centre for the Study of Unity in Diversity.

Think of the benefits! Young folk thinking of doing their year of service at the Baha’i World Centre will really be enticed by photos like this one…

…particularly when the new uniforms arrive.