239 Days in America, Day 23: May 03, 1912 | Chicago
America Will Lead the World to Peace 1
On May 3, 1912, ‘Abdul-Bahá met with visitors in the hotel’s ballroom throughout the day. If he was impressed, he failed to comment. There were more urgent things at hand.
‘Abdul-Bahá turned his attention once again to the war taking place in Libya. He painted an apocalyptic scene: “Observe what is taking place in Tripoli: men cutting each other into pieces, bombardment from the sea, attacks from the land and the hail of dynamite from the very heaven itself.”
The subject of war and peace has occupied much of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s time. He has become a well-known voice in the international peace movement. In fact one of the reasons for his trip to America is to speak at the Lake Mohonk Conference on International Arbitration on May 14.
‘Abdu’l-Bahá believes that the American nation is singly positioned to lead the world to peace:
Because I find the American nation so capable of achievement, and the American government the fairest of Western governments, its systems superior to others, my wish and hope is that the banner of peace may be raised first on this continent, that the standard of the Most Great Peace may here be unfurled. 2
‘Abdu’l-Bahá often walked in the morning and evening through Lincoln Park and through the zoo, taking the friends with Him and talking on the way, sometimes calling the friends to take photographs of Him. At times He picked up a stick as He walked, using it like a cane. The friends recalled how, as He stood seemingly absorbed in watching the polar bear, they tiptoed back out of camera rage as the photographer positioned himself for a profile view, without asking ‘Abdu’l-Bahá. But just as he was about to click the shutter, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá laughed and playfully hit him across the back of the neck with a light touch of the cane.
From the zoo He led the friends toward the lake, sat on a bench, motioned to the friends to do likewise, and discussed unity with them. He said,
Some of you may have observed that I have not called attention to any of your individual shortcomings, I would suggest to you , that if you shall be similarly considerate in your treatment of each other, it will be greatly conducive to the harmony of your association with each other… 3 4
Talk at Plaza Hotel, Chicago, Illinois
The Prophets of God are the first Educators. They bestow universal education upon man and cause him to rise from the lowest levels of savagery to the highest pinnacles of spiritual development. The philosophers, too, are educators along lines of intellectual training. At most, they have only been able to educate themselves and a limited number about them, to improve their own morals and, so to speak, civilize themselves; but they have been incapable of universal education. They have failed to cause an advancement for any given nation from savagery to civilization. 5
- Sockett, Robert. “America Will Lead the World to Peace.” 239 Days in America, May 3, 2012. https://239days.com/2012/05/03/will-america-lead-world-to-peace/. [return]
- ʻAbduʼl-Bahá. The Promulgation of Universal Peace: Talks Delivered by ʻAbduʼl-Bahá during His Visit to the United States and Canada in 1912. Edited by Howard MacNutt. 2nd ed. Wilmette, Ill: Baháʼí Publishing Trust, 1982, 83. https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/abdul-baha/promulgation-universal-peace/4#683021952. [return]
- Jaxon, Honore J., “A Stroll with Abdul-Baha,” Star of the West, 3, no. 4 (May 17, 1912), 29. [return]
- Ward, Allan L. 239 Days: ʻAbdu’l-Bahá’s Journey in America. Wilmette, Ill: Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1979, 54-55. [return]
- ʻAbduʼl-Bahá. The Promulgation of Universal Peace: Talks Delivered by ʻAbduʼl-Bahá during His Visit to the United States and Canada in 1912. Edited by Howard MacNutt. 2nd ed. Wilmette, Ill: Baháʼí Publishing Trust, 1982, 84-85. https://www.bahai.org/library/authoritative-texts/abdul-baha/promulgation-universal-peace/4#219087740 [return]