Wednesday, March 23, 2005

The amazing wondrous enigma

I'll be back soon. Another repost from last April.

The ancient civilization of ours occupies a region that is simply stunning in its diversity.

With the largest lake--the Caspian to the North surrounded by lush jungles, colorful pastures and farm lands and the Gulf to the South and an amazing number of rivers, water falls, and expansive Marsh lands, Iran can be quite wondrous.

Whether you watch a sunrise in a high place of your choosing atop the vast Mountain chain of Zagros, or gaze at the midnight sky in a location close to one of our two large Deserts, the experience is bound to leave an indelible mark.

You will sense it almost possible to touch the stars, the moon or the sun.

Counting the shooting stars can become addictive, you know. Besides, climbing mountains or exploring caves and watching endless rows of date trees, palms or pines and violet orchards can be infinitely more preferable to dealing with nasty, obnoxious, money obsessed folk in this purported spiritual land.

The Iranian Plateau is visually sublime. Our ancestors had a knack for choosing beautiful peaks, valleys, and meadows to settle in. Unfortunately, however, we have not been as discerning in recent times in our entanglements with Nature.

So the cities that masquerade as the official faces of our culture are either devoid of character altogether or just a nasty collection of kitsch architecture.

The ostentatious abodes of the nouveau riche can be quite taxing at times-- especially since they are mostly built after what is left of our shrinking jungles are cleared to make room for these occasional weekend getaways.

Our national heritage, it seems, is also being systematically devastated by looters. Go here and use the search engine to see what happened at Jeraft. There is a vast network of smugglers slowly stealing artifacts and selling them abroad.

Every once in a while someone gets caught, but I must admit, I had no clue this was such a systematic effort, so sophisticated, well organized, financed and armed. What the future may hold is more of an enigma for me today than in the years past.

I am becoming more convinced everyday that what we need here is freedom, freedom, freedom, and more freedom. It will get terribly nasty and our society may not really recover for a long time.

It is a gamble for sure. For an authoritarian and religious society, ours is one of the most lawless and appetite driven already. People have a fetish for things and don’t mind doing whatever it takes to get what they want.

Ours is the land of the silly expectations and so I often wonder if any regime can really deliver to what we think we deserve. That said, I am convincing myself that there is no escaping the inevitable remedy.

A regime whose scruffy reach is limited to bare essentials might disappoint a majority of our entitled population, but it might offer us a chance to pause, to breathe, to learn to cooperate, and to rediscover inquisitiveness, and the joys of wonder and of discovery again.

Perhaps then, we might begin to understand that life offers great many more possibilities beyond the chance to babble incessantly, perambulate inebriated/smoke opium/do drugs, abuse others, and crave inane accumulation of objects at whatever cost.


In an informative, poignant Haaretz piece about our revered ancient Queen Esther said to be buried in the shrine in Hamadan (name derived from Persian astaar, star), scholar and writer Haideh Sahim wonders, "who will take care of our Esther?"

A very good question indeed! (link via payvand)

I am falling progressively more behind in readings which is probably why I missed Emily's witty, irreverent, soigné treatment of another one of our legendary heroes, Rostam-- one of my favorites and an inseparable companion since childhood.

Damned multiculturalism! As if we really needed one more mischievous fiend fiddling with our Pre-Islamic legends. Oh well, collision over heroes it is then and culture wars. One good turn deserves another, don't you agree? Evil Asad on various American comic superheroes.

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