Tuesday, August 5, 2008

The Great Escape

I have just posted a long narrative on my other blog, Baha’i the Way, which may be of interest to readers of Heaven in My Foot—even if you have no particular connection to the Baha’i Faith. The piece tells the story of my friend Margit’s (not her real name) escape from an abusive marriage. At a time when I was struggling with intense feelings of uselessness, Margit let me help her. So we each did our part to save the other. And ourselves. Margit and I have had a couple of near death experiences together, of which this was one, and I can’t think of a better person to have them with. Larry was in it too, with humor and clarity.

The Baha’i-specific elements of the story are small. I’ll give a few terminological explanations here: Local and national spiritual assemblies are the elected governing bodies of the Baha’i community at the local and national levels. The secretary of a national spiritual assembly, rather than its chairperson, is generally the most prominent, with the greatest responsibility and in some sense the greatest authority, although technically none of the members individually have any authority. All the members of all the national spiritual assemblies in the world elect the Universal House of Justice, which is the international governing body of the Baha’i community. The decisions of the House are considered infallible. There is some debate as to what that means and which of their actions it applies to, but the general understanding, as far as I can tell, is that all their actions and decisions are right. The local spiritual assemblies, national spiritual assemblies, and the Universal House of Justice all have nine members. The membership of the Universal House of Justice is limited to men.

That is all you need to know Baha’i-wise, and a little more, to understand the story. It isn’t really about the Baha’i Faith, though I do hope Baha’is who read it will reflect seriously on abuse in the Baha’i community.

But I wrote the piece simply to say, this happened. We need these stories. We must be our sisters’ keepers.

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