Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Minorities of the World, Unite! My article in Kurdistan Tribune


Minorities of the World, Unite!

By Ava Homa:
David Hoffman
David Hoffman
David Hoffman, the American Film Producer, Calls for Solidarity between the Kurds and Baha’is
A stigmatized Jewish child who is bullied for a religion he has only inherited and has not chosen and/or understood, David Hoffman turns into an atheist at age 12. “A God who lets people be violent towards each other in His name, either does not exist or is out of his mind,” his young, rebellious, and thirsty-for-justice mind declares. He remains a curious atheist until the age of twenty when he meets a very active American family who are Baha’is and introduce him to this religion.

“I thought it was just another group, like any other religious group but I attended their meetings anyways,” Hoffman says.
“Every person has to dig for and find their own truth rather than looking for a pre-determined one,” is the first sentence that draws David towards this religion. “In an extraordinary way,” Hoffman says, “I converted to Baha’ism after six months and I have stayed one for over thirty years now.”
Hoffman studies film at USC, marries an Iranian woman and ends up in South Carolina where he becomes a successful developer. In 2006, at age 50, he sells his business, semi-retires and starts campaigning to save Baha’is that are persecuted in Iran. He starts a project called Angels of Iran to raise awareness in the world regarding the brutal oppression of the Bahia’s in Iran, including the denial of their right to education in their own country. Baha’is have been “subject to torture, arrest and execution for refusing to recant their beliefs,” Education Under Fire announces which is a documentary co-sponsored by the Amnesty International and portrays a persecution that has been going on for 170 years now.
Soraya Fallah
Soraya Fallah
“For Kurdistan,” is a section of Education under Fire that recounts the story of Soraya Fallah, a Kurdish human right activist who is detained four times in Iran and tortured even when she is pregnant. Inevitably, her child dies in her womb.
Hoffman says that he has always been aware of the persecution of the Kurds; he believes what both groups have in common is that their very ethnicity and religion are criminalized in Iran. Even if they aren’t activist or writers, even when they do not express their identity, they are denounced, demonized, persecuted.
Hoffman who is thinking of creating another project to bring more people together says: “When people are busy with their own issues, the differences with other groups become bigger and create obstacles. When people come together for a cause, to further humanity, they automatically become united because they will discover similarities. We all need to be protected and have the desire to protect others; when we unite, we are powerful, humane and happy.”
Hoffman adds that a form of resistance Baha’is thought of has been creating an Institution for Higher Educations. This is, he believes, a much more positive and influential protest and empowerment than taking to the streets or taking up arms. Hoffman warns minorities from allowing to be turned into “victims.” Instead, we should prove our resilience and find the smartest and the most effective ways to strengthen our people and follow our cause.

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