This presentation is based on reflections on Bahá’u’lláh’s Tablet of the Land of Bá and ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s statement published in Paris Talks and His activities in America. ʻAbdu’l-Bahá met with people of all ethnic and cultural backgrounds and He delighted in doing so. The Bahá’ís are very proud of this, and justly so. Many scholars have investigated the travels of ʻAbdu’l-Bahá in America: Alan Ward, Hassan Balyuzi, Robert Stockman, Earl Redman, Steven Kolins, Amín Egea. The latter two concentrated their efforts on newspaper coverage. Yet despite their efforts and the efforts of more localized research there appears a void which in a real sense undermines the intentions of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s efforts toward establishing the unity and dignity of all peoples. This void concerns the hundreds of non-English newspapers which existed at that time.
Firstly there are no articles from the newspapers of the groups whom He met in their venues: the Armenians, the Jews and the Japanese. Secondly there are very few articles, less than a score, from all the other diverse ethnic groups represented in the American Bahá’í community of that time: Syrian, French, Turkish, Norwegian, Polish, German, Swedish, Russian, Hungarian, Italian, etc. The importance of these other newspaper articles is based on the statement from Bahá’u’lláh, and their demise is a reflection of the perniciousness of the virus attacking the body politic.
This presentation will attempt to explore the causes of this situation and its consequences and possible restoration and utilization of these articles.