Sunday, May 19, 2019

The War

Yesterday afternoon, while selling my work at a festival, an old friend came into my booth. I hadn't seen her in quite a few months. After a brief conversation about what she's been doing, and where she's moving, she asked me about my writing. Naturally, I told her about my latest project with this blog, showing the relevance of the stories about the early Babis, and began to tell her a little bit about Zaynab.

I could see that my friend had never heard of her, and so I began to tell the story, in brief.

I told her about the attacks on the Babis in Zanjan, and how they retreated to a fort in the middle of the city when they began getting persecuted. As you can imagine, being at a show, selling my wares, I didn't share too many details, but gave just the barest outline.

I told her about the military surrounding them, and how they were overwhelmed by something like 10 to 1 odds. They had swords, while the military had muskets and cannon. Naturally, all seemed hopeless. But as the army attacked, the valiant defenders would rush forth and repulse the attack. Time and again they drove the ruthless army back. And Zaynab, a young woman, wanted to lend her share of assistance.

This maiden cut off her long locks and disguised herself as a man. She picked up a sword and rushed to help defend the fort. Hurling herself at her enemies, shouting out the cry "Ya Sahibu'z-Zaman!", "O Thou Lord of the age", she fought with such valiant bravery that all were amazed.

Hujjat, the leader of this band, recognized her and called her to him to talk. This was when he recognized the Hand of God at play. And so he allowed her to continue to fight, encouraging her for over five months to help out the sore-tried defenders. He never assigned her to a particular post, but encouraged her to fight wherever she was needed. And so history finds her always in the thick of it, at the forefront of the turmoil that raged around her.

At this point, my friend's friend joined her and heard the end of this story, and I could see that her interest wasn't quite as strong. And so I said that I bet they wondered why this story might be relevant today.

Simple, really.

Women, and women in particular, are in a state of war. Amidst the old and decaying structures of our society, a new community of forward thinking individuals are coming together. They are the ones that recognize the importance of human rights, of women's rights, and they are building a new and better society for themselves. And now the attacks are coming.

All over the world these rights, which have been so hard won, are coming under assault.

And this is not just a metaphor. It really is a war. People are suffering. Many are being arrested. And even more are dying.

In recent days, down in the US, we have seen laws being passed that make women's rights a criminal activity. If a woman has an abortion, they say, they will be convicted of a felony. If someone helps them get that abortion, by either driving them or supporting them in any way, they, too, will be tried for a felony.

And you know what? A convicted felon is denied the right to vote.

This is not about the rights of the fetus. It is about denying women the right to have a safe place in their society. It is about stripping anyone who is forward thinking, and concerned about the rights of the human being, of their right to vote. You can easily see where this will lead, if it goes through, over the next few voting cycles.

This, by the way, is but a single example of the recent attacks on human rights, and especially women's rights, around the globe. It is not confined to a handful of States south of the border. It is a global resurgence of the forces of evil that are striving to maintain the old order of dominance.

And at that point, it seemed as if my friends were stunned.

Now is the time, I told them, that we all must arise and defend those people in that fort, no matter where the attacks arise. For it is a concentrated attack, and those inside are vastly outnumbered.

People are suffering.

People are dying.

And it is, quite simply, a war.

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