Monday, June 27, 2005

Daughters, sons and fathers

The serenest suburb of Tehran-our main cemetery!
Posted by Hello

If you haven't been reading the comment section, you've been missing a few different conversations on the side. Mike T offers a few reassurances and Mr. Lake has now added a couple of clarifications. And thanks to Ali M, we also have the text of an email from Roya Boroumand about the previous post.

But all the issues that arise from those exchanges (adversarial intentions, objectivity, expertise, reliable sources, etc) have gotten me brooding about fathers again and the extent to which are the creatures of our past experiences, really.

There was nothing masked in what I said. What I wrote was an angry, unrestrained frontal assault. But in her short note, she has gone on guard defending her objectivity against the perceived charge of emotionalism.

Think about it. Even the most brilliant (woman) scholars in academia—one of those bastions of male hegemony, have had to fight the charge routinely. But see, this is the one blogger whose own very posts have rightly been characterized as jeremiads.

I've been doing one lament after another. Far be it from me to attempt to undermine anyone's credibility by charging emotionalism. But there you have it. Even with the best of intentions! The marvels of communication, I guess. It is indeed a miracle that any of us ever manage to make ourselves understood, isn't it?

Anyhow, about the past and our fathers: What is the real meaning of asserting we live in a grotesquely patriarchal society? Doesn't the past weigh a bit too heavily on our conscious? And that suffocating force of tradition?

In a way, it is nightmare that might allow no escape, ultimately! Or does it?

Note for example that we all perpetually claim that we are paying for the sins of our fathers on the one hand, and yet , on the other, we seem to be continuing in one form or another the arguments of--or often, as in my case, those with--our fathers. Even decades after the fact.

Does any of this undermine the validity of our political positions? Or do they inform our choices? Help clarify our beliefs, actions or particular persuasions? Or do they really distract from the issues?

For what they're worth, I am going to put the spotlight on my own perpetual personal broodings about father issues in our culture. The following is a piece I did a few months back for an online Spanish journal. I figure, it's as good a time as any to share:

Even insomniacs can have rituals. Every now and again, when I am feeling sad or dejected, I organize a meeting in the city cemetery. Present are my constant companions and childhood heroes, ROSTAM and SOHRAB—the two legendary heroes of Persian epic tales; your friendly story teller and some expertly disguised scotch whiskey. For some dawns, you see, are libation times at my father's grave.

The rest of Another Libation for Dad

And the Spanish version, Otra libación para papá

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