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Troubling time

PHOTO Renugaa Cabot, left, and Pegah Vahdati, staff members at Green Acre Baha'i School in Eliot, Maine, stand near a poster of the Shrine of the Bab, which is located at the Baha'i World Center in Mt. Carmel in Haifa, Israel.
Photo by Rich Beauchesne

ELIOT, Maine -- The 5 million followers of the Baha'i faith worldwide come from more than 2,000 different tribal, racial and ethnic groups in 235 countries. They are united in the belief that all people, no matter their religion, race or social status, are part of one human body.

So when guerrilla rockets struck Haifa, Israel -- home of the Baha'i World Center and a city known for its peaceful co-existence of different religious and ethnic groups -- on Sunday, killing eight, the effects were far-reaching.

"We pray for the protection and safety of all the inhabitants and the employees of our world center that are there," said Jim Sacco, co-administrator at Green Acre Baha'i School on Main Street, one of three national training centers that hosts Baha'i and prospective Baha'i from throughout the world. "Were concerned for the people of Haifa, but provisions are made for people to go to bomb shelter in the area so there is certain comfort in that."

One of the school's students, Mary Lincoln of Portsmouth, was particularly frightened once news of the attacks reached the U.S. Her son, Albert, and his wife Joany live in Haifa and hold prominent positions in the Baha'i community. She said she talked to Joany the day of the bombings, but Albert was in Lithuania on business.

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Why I believe David Kelly's death may have been murder, by MP

David Kelly

Mr Baker has called for a new public inquiry into the death of David Kelly (above)

David Kelly did not commit suicide and may have been the victim of a murder and subsequent coverup, according to a campaigning MP.

Norman Baker has spent six months investigating the death of the Government weapons expert, found dead in an Oxfordshire wood three years ago.

Mr Baker - who stepped down from the Liberal Democrat front bench to carry out his investigation - published his preliminary results and called for a new public inquiry.

His concerns begin with the method of Dr Kelly's supposed suicide, cutting a minor artery with a blunt gardening knife.

He would have been the only person that year to have successfully killed themselves that way in the UK.

The scientist's family and friends insist he had shown no sign of feeling suicidal. Emails and the minutes of meetings he attended also showed him behaving perfectly normally—and he was looking forward to his daughter's wedding.

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Boundaries shift - Haifa now in Lebanon?

Courtesy of the Harmsen Family: Wanda, Debra and Jack Harmsen earlier this spring before Debra boarded the Navy Ship Iwo Jima, now off the coast of Lebanon

Falmouth Family Awaits Safe Exit From Lebanon

As for the Harmsens, they are concerned and a bit nervous about their daughter’s safety, though the fact that she is on an enormous Navy ship is a comfort.

Ms. Harmsen teaches fifth grade at Morse Pond School and Mr. Harmsen is a counselor at the Gomes School in New Bedford.

Petty Officer Debora Harmsen, 23, is an electronics technician third class serving on the Navy vessel, USS Iwo Jima. Having grown up in Buzzards Bay, she graduated from Tabor Academy in 2001 and joined the Navy in 2003. This is her first deployment.

The Iwo Jima carries 4,700 personnel and several helicopters.

The Harmsens have been watching on CNN this week as the massive boat makes its way to the coast of Lebanon. That’s the only way they knew where their daughter was, since she is not allowed to reveal her location. They last heard from her in an e-mail on July 13, the day the violence started.

“We’re not losing sleep at night, but as soon as we get up in the morning, we turn on CNN,” Mr. Harmsen said. “We feel badly for the innocent civilians on both sides.”

{josquote}...they are members of the Baha’i faith, which has its seat in Haifa, Lebanon{/josquote}

The Harmsens are also following the developments in Lebanon because they are members of the Baha’i faith, which has its seat in Haifa, Lebanon. The Harmsen family has been to Haifa twice on pilgrimage.

The bombing of the country hits them close to their hearts. “It reminds me a little bit of 9/11 for me personally,” Ms. Harmsen said.

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Article on the Baha'is of Morocco

From Assifa:
البهائيون في المغرب يعتقدون بنبوة زعيمهم وبنسخه للإسلام,يصلون ثلاث مرات في

اليوم,ويصومون تسعة عشر يوما في شهر مارس, ويحرمون الحجاب...

The Bahais of Morocco believe in the prophethood of their leader and in its abrogation of Islam, pray three times a day, fast nineteen days in March, and are forbidden...

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The Lebanese Tragedy from a Jordanian Persian Baha'i Londoner's eyes

Is it too much for Lebanon to ask for solidarity from the Arab nations?

Not again!

Fifteen years of civil war would challenge the character of any nation. No doubt the resolve of the Lebanese people was tested. No doubt they emerged from the ashes of war a stronger more unified people.

Every Lebanese person, from San Paulo to Paris to Saida experienced the first Lebanese tragedy of modern times, first hand. Residence did not define the nation. Blood, cultural ties and common experiences & ambitions bound the Diaspora with those inside Lebanon . Cutting across the religious and racial lines emerged a common will and belief in the destiny of a great Arab Nation. In many ways Lebanon symbolized the melting pot of cultures and religions that defines our time. This proved to be its curse in conflict...and its blessing in times of peace.

The current crisis is not about politics. It is about the personal tragedies that are taking place every day inside Lebanon. The plight of those who can not, or chose not to leave their homeland. The calamities of our brother & sisters; aunts & uncles; cousins; friends; neighbors and fellow citizens of the world. Praise to my friend in Beirut who's working to alleviate the pain of her brethren by helping students in the most hard hit areas relocate to northern parts of the country so that they may continue their education. If we were all so focused on deeds rather than words, the World, the Arab World in particular, would be a better place.

As an Iranian national growing up in Jordan, I was unable to visit Lebanon during its moment of need. I would hear via my uncle and cousins in Beirut of the resilience of the Lebanese people. Urban legend or fact, stories of army troops complaining about poorly equipped tanks not having stereos inspired us all. The simple - often petty - pleasures of life define our humanity and help keep us ticking. No one understands this better than the Lebanese.

Typically, I prefer not to comment on the political or military aspects of conflict. But galling hypocrisy gives me no choice. July 18th: 11 Lebanese soldiers killed in an Israeli air strike on a Lebanese Army base. These are the Lebanese soldiers Israel expects to reign [sic] in Hizbullah. At least that's the official line. I guess disarmed dead soldiers can finish the work that Israeli laser guided missiles fail to complete. Tough job!

A parallel can be drawn to the systematic incapacitation of the Palestinian Authority by the Israeli Army. The Israeli government chastises the PA for not reigning in Hamas and their military wing. You can believe one of two things: the Israeli government has no control over their own army; or they're both taking the piss.

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