Bahai News - The other side of elections

The other side of elections

By Solomon Belay

Addis Ababa (The Monitor - Addis Ababa, May 9, 2000) - The current election and electioneering process brings into mind how much human value is lost in this materialistic world. It proves that man has strayed too far from his own reality. To elucidate what I mean, let me relate to you a story I read once in a book called Dawn over Mount Hira written by a great writer Marzeih Gnil.

There was a king in a certain land in whose dominion is thought to exist 400 holy men. One day the monarch summons his trusted servant and orders him to dispense gold coins to each of these holy men.

Having received the order, the servant sets out to look for the holy ones. A day or two pass before the king called his servant to give account of his work.

The servant says he could not get a holy one to give out the coins. The king becomes furious and shouts at the servant and asks him, "where are the 400 holy men?" The servant calmly answers, "O King! The holy ones don't need your gold.

Those who need your gold are not holy ones." If you are not grasping what I mean, let me add a point. A great figure named Abdul Baha in his historic visit to the United States of America (from Palestine in 1912) commented on the presidential election saying: "the man worthy of the presidency should have no ambition to surpass others but should rather feel that he has no strength to carry such a great burden.

If the purpose of the office is the good of the public, the president ought to be an altruist, and if he is an egoist, his election is harmful to the nation." (World Order: Fall 1971) An altruist and humble person will not have the courage to come via the mass media in front of million and millions of people to claim he/she has done this and that and he/she will do this or that if people elect him/her. Those people who took office before them said the same thing but did nothing to curb the problems facing us.

This is because of, I think, two reasons: The first is they never understood the root cause of the problem and second they didn't have the real remedy thereof. Humans are spiritual by nature.

If we want to bring a long lasting development scheme to them we have to understand this nature-and its root has to be fed. Spirituality is the fear of God and developing qualities like humility, truthfulness, trustworthiness, self-effacement, sacrifice, practicality, vision, steadfastness etc.

"Those who have not the fear of God are neither trustworthy nor truthful." They don't have the capacity to manifest the above mentioned qualities which are crucial to solve the current crisis facing the country. If you have these qualities, you want to be the servant of the people.

You understand service is of the essence of greatness. You serve your country best by serving your profession best.

Faithful leadership entails sacrifice. Unfortunately, we didn't have many leaders who dedicated their lives to the benefit of the people.

Assuming office in Ethiopia has become synonymous with prosperity for the bearer. I am afraid that those who want our votes for election have this wish in their hearts of hearts.

But in the media they pay lip-service to our sufferings. If they were really interested and capable of doing what they say, there was no need to appear in the media, to prepare posters and give discourse in big halls.

Their deeds would have spoken more than their words about themselves. If they have to speak about themselves, they may not be men of deeds.

©Copyright 2000, The Monitor - Addis Ababa

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