Monday, July 18, 2011

100 Years Ago, July, 1911, Egypt:

 - 100 Years Ago, July, 1911, Egypt:

    ‘Abdu’l-Bahá turned His attention to Europe. He had been invited to address the Universal Races Congress in London at the end of July 1911. -- 

    “London Bahá’ís in anticipation of the congress and the attendance of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá were uniting in prayer  and concentration each evening at 9 o’clock, upon love and unity, that we may be fittingly prepared as a fertile soil to receive the seed which ‘Abdu’l-Bahá will sow in our midst; also other Societies of those who desire ‘Abdu’l-Bahá to come are joining us in this 9 o’clock concentration.”
            Star of the West, Vol. II, #7 & 8, pg. 11. 

The Christian Science Monitor issue of June 16 editorialized about  the East and the West:  
    From July 26 to July 29, inclusive, there will be held in London, England, a universal races congress, the first in the history of the world. Today and tomorrow there will be held in Washington, D.C., the annual conference of the Persian-American Educational Society. This will be the last meeting of that body under its present name and limitations. Hereafter it will be known as the Orient-Occident Unity Association. 

    The Washington and London gatherings have one great object in common—the bringing together of the East and West. The universal races congress has the support of thirty presidents of parliament in all parts of the globe, of a majority of the members of the permanent court of  of the delegates to the second Hague conference, of twelve British governors and eight British premiers, of over forty colonial bishops, of hundreds of professors of international law, and of learned men in all countries. In the program arranged for the Washington conference appear the names of many eminent American men and women and some distinguished foreigners.  

    It will thus be seen that what J. H. DeForrest regards as the greatest international problem of  the twentieth century—how to get the populous and historic East into sympathetic relations with the aggressive West, so that the two halves of the human race may make one fairly peaceful whole—has already been brought forward for serious discussion under excellent auspices. The London congress proposes to take up the question of race in its widest possible aspects. The immediate object of the Washington conference is to establish closer relationships along all lines between the people of the East and West; to create a better mutual understanding and international fellowship among the citizens of the world; to uphold the beneficial laws of peace and arbitration between different nations—in short, to cultivate a better acquaintance and a clearer understanding between the two great branches of the human family than now exists, than has ever existed.

    The law of separation between the races has come down to our period from the ages. Kipling has voiced it in the lines —

        For East is East and West is West and never the twain shall meet
        Till earth and sky stand presently at God’s great judgment seat—

and it has come to be taken for granted by millions as fixed and indisputable and  insurmountable fact.  But modern thought is opposed to this theory. Tremendous advance has been made in an opposite direction even within the last score of years. A great light has broken in upon the Caucasian, for instance, as to the intellectual capacity of the man whose skin happens to be of another tint. Not only individuals, but nations, are now being judged, not by origin, race or custom, but by their achievements, upon their merits. In both the London congress and the Washington conference efforts will be directed toward showing the enormous debt of western society to the East. In both gatherings facts will be brought forward with the view of showing how unjust, how foolish it is for a single wing of the human race to attempt to claim a right to or possession of, all the credit for the worlds’s advancement.

    The hope of the present, the hope of the future, is that “the twain” shall meet—not in some far off, remote time or place, but here on this earthand that they shall meet in high apprehension and recognition of each other’s worth, in friendship, fraternity  and peace.— TheChristian Science Monitor. 
                                        Star of the West, Vol. II, Nos. 7&8, pp. 16-17

Although for some time it seemed as if ‘Abdu’l-Bahá might actually attend the universal races congress,  He finally sent a message to the congress and decided to travel to Europe later in the summer. He sailed for Marseilles in August, 1911. (For the next four months He visited Switzerland, England, and France. Then He returned to Egypt for the rest of the winter.)
                To Move the World, Louis G. Gregory and the Advancement of Racial Unity in America,by Gayle Morrison, © 1982 by the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’í’s of the United States, Bahá’í Publishing Trust, Wilmette, IL, USA. p. 50
 note---The latest in this series from John Conkling in the States. He notes that the use of capital letters is as per the original manuscripts, not necessarily current usage (for example, “universal races congress” instead of “Universal Races Congress” in the second quotation.

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