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I am suspending my Facebook notice until June, for two reasons.

1. I have exams, so don’t need the unnecessary distraction.
2. I want to test if Facebook truly is an unnecessary distraction by being detached from it for a while and see if my life is enhanced or not, through its absence.

I am not a hypocrite, I have had Facebook for a few years now, and I’m what you might call a ‘heavy user,’ with over 40 photo albums, regularish status updates, admin of about 10 groups, one of them having nearly 2000 members (http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=2218692770) and over 1300 friends (not showing off here, trying to make a point!)…

So I have definitely ‘done’ Facebook…

At the moment, logic tells me I don’t need Facebook and its to my detriment, so I’ll put my money where my mouth is and test not having it.


Next Entry: Facebook? Do I really need it?

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I conducted my first fashion photoshoot at the weekend for my friend Sahar’s hat business; ‘Uglylovely.

Another friend, Doroty, modelled, whilst Sahar’s friend and make up artist, Amber, did some of the make up.

It was learning for me, learning how to use Nikon’s wireless flash system creatively, as well as flash under daylight.

Twas great fun for all, and I explored the surrounds of Loughton, Essex, where the shoot took place. In particular, ‘Epping Forest.’

Here are a couple of the shots:

Clowning around

Old School

The Chinese proposal, outlined this week by central bank governor Zhou Xiaochuan, calls for a “super-sovereign reserve currency” under IMF management, turning the Fund into a sort of world central bank.

The article above, in the Telegraph Newspaper, is reporting on suggestions by the Chinese government, with some support from America, for a type of ‘World Currency’.

It is interesting that the readers below it, who’s comments can also be seen, are comparing the ‘one world currency’ with ‘one world government’ ‘the end of days,’ and ‘Christ’s Return’

One Country, the Baha’i International Community’s newsletter, in 1999, ran an article on this very theme, quoting Shoghi Effendi, Guardian of the Baha’i Faith, in 1936:

In an age when international interdependence and integration are increasing on all fronts, a “uniform and universal system of currency” is one of a number of complementary measures that will help to “simplify and facilitate intercourse and understanding among the nations and races of mankind,” as Shoghi Effendi, who led the worldwide Bahá’í community from 1921 to 1957, wrote in 1936.

The entire article is very interesting as it talks about other aspects of a world currency, including the ‘spiritual dimension’:

The Telelgraph article comes as the G20 summit in London, comes to a close, led by British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, hails the coming of a ‘New World Order,’ as coined by Baha’u’llah, the Founder of the Baha’i Faith in 1873…

As Bob Dylan sings…. “the times they are a-changin‘.”

NYLON PARLA

Nylon Parla is back, this week’s theme is ‘Streetlife’

We have entries from New York, London, Paris, Boston and Chicago…..

Check it out here.

Slim-Fast

As I write this entry from my iPhone I sit on an overland train, traversing the urban jungle that is South London.

I am currently fasting.

Fasting mentioned in the Kitáb-i-Aqdas (The Most Holy Book)

The Bahá’í fast is a period of prayer and detachment. This means no food or drink (including water) from sunrise to sunset for 19 days, ending on sunset of the 20th March, the beginning of Naw-Rúz (Bahá’í new year) and Spring.

I have fasted every year since 1996, when I was 15. I’m now 28.

This fast, however,I have observed new things about its effect on me.

One is that I feel my senses to be heightened, and I don’t just mean my 5 senses, but even my 6th sense, my inner eye, the power of ‘spiritual perception.’

Fasting is the cause of awakening man. The heart becomes tender and the spirituality of man increases. This is produced by the fact that man’s thoughts will be confined to the commemoration of God, and through this awakening and stimulation surely ideal advancements follow…

(`Abdu’l-Bahá, Star of the West, vol. 3, p. 305. )

Why is this the case? I believe fasting systematizes detachment and a prayerful attitude, which I think go hand in hand. By fasting, you are detaching yourself of 2 out of 3 things you cannot live without; food and water. Air, the 3rd, is not something we could detach ourselves from on this plane of existence. Nonetheless, I am sure if a lustful appetite for air was possible, that too would be on the list of no nos.

Slim Fast

If we can detach ourselves from our desire for food and drink, something which is hard-wired into our D.N.A.,

then we can theoretically detach ourselves much easier from things not hard-wired into our D.N.A. like a desire for money, material objects, people, drugs etc.

I call this post ‘Slim Fast’ because like the slimming product, by sticking to its regime for a short part of your year, you will lose weight. In this case however, I am referring to the weight of attachment, what Baha’u’llah calls the ‘fetters of this world.’

O MY SERVANT!
Free thyself from the fetters of this world, and loose thy soul from the prison of self. Seize thy chance, for it will come to thee no more.

(Baha’u’llah, The Persian Hidden Words)

nineteen days

Nineteen days, much like the last initiative I was involved in, ‘morn and eve,’ is a photoblog collaboration.

Taken by Amy Sahba

However….the difference with nineteen days is that it is one specifically for the nineteen day long Baha’i Fast.

Starting on the 2nd of March and ending on the 20th March, ‘nineteen days’ will feature 3 photographers (and 3 photos) everyday. Two photographers will always be the same. Amy Sahba and Leila, whilst everyday will feature one new ‘guest’ photographer.

I am one of these ‘guest’ photographers, and my slot is on Wednesday the 4th of March.

Check it out here

The persecution of the Baha’is in Iran has reached crisis point with the unfair trial of seven of its members, on ‘espionage charges for Israel,’ which carries the death penalty.

The Baha’is are being defended by Iran’s only Nobel Prize winner (for peace), Human Rights lawyer Shirin Ebadi.
However, Shirin has been threatened and had her office shut down for defending the Baha’is.
An interview with Shirin, regarding her defence of the Baha’is, can be seen on U.K.s Channel 4 News here (at 18:41 into video)

Shirin has been denied access to them and their files.

This persecution has also been condemned up by the European Union. Their statement can be seen here.

However, interestingly enough, members of the entertainment industry have joined in the plight of the Baha’is being held in Iran on these unfair charges.

In today’s Times Newspaper, what could be called an ‘A-List’ of British Comedians have joined forces to sign a statement condemning this persecution. The statement is here and quoted below

Voices from the arts call for the imprisoned Baha’i leaders in Iran to receive a fair trial

Sir, We are deeply concerned at the continuing imprisonment for more than eight months of seven leaders of the Baha’i community in Iran. No formal evidence has been brought against them.

They have not been given access to their legal counsel, the Nobel laureate Shirin Ebadi. She has had no access to their files and has suffered threats and intimidation since taking on their case.

Spurious charges now look likely to be filed against these Baha’is in the Revolutionary Court. “Espionage for Israel, insulting religious sanctities and propaganda against the Islamic republic” are their alleged crimes.

In reality, their only “crime”, which the current regime finds intolerable, is that they hold a religious belief that is different from the majority.

As artists who strive to uplift the human spirit and enrich society through our work, we register our solidarity with all those in Iran who are being persecuted for promoting the best development of society — be it through the arts and media, the promotion of education, social and economic development, or adherence to moral principles.

Further, we join with the governments, human rights organisations and people of goodwill throughout the world who have so far raised their voices calling for a fair trial, if not the complete release of the Baha’i leaders in Iran.

David Baddiel

Bill Bailey

Morwenna Banks

Sanjeev Bhasker

Jo Brand

Russell Brand

Rob Brydon

Jimmy Carr

Jack Dee

Omid Djalili

Sean Lock

Lee Mack

Alexei Sayle

Meera Syal

Mark Thomas

Only last week actor, Rainn Wilson, who recently played the lead role in the film ‘The Rocker’ and plays ‘Dwight,’ in the American version of the Office (Mackenzie Crook’s role in the U.K. version) voiced his concern to CNN as can be seen here

Additionally, Robert Wood representing the U.S. State Department, Bill Rammell representing the British Foreign Office and Amnesty International have all made statements showing concern about the wrongful persecution of the Baha’is in Iran, especially with regard to this trial.

So in a spirit of unity, media and politics mix, to stand ground against oppression and persecution by governments who take away basic human rights, like freedom of religion.

I applaud those defenders of human rights and these comedians for taking a stand for something precious to us all.

That is the right to follow which ever Faith we choose (or choose not to).

Ironically, something Iran voted in favour of; the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (specifically Article 18).