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Posts Tagged ‘Iraq’

I’m forever trying to bust myths about Iran when asked about my visits and some of the questions I’m asked seem ridiculous when seen from my eyes and with my experience. But that’s the issue. I’ve seen some of Iran myself and experienced family life over there. I’ve bought fruit and vegetables, clothes, done the tourist “thing”. I’ve been to weddings and mourning ceremonies in the mosque. I’m not a practising Moslem but no one minded. I respect their culture and dress code just as I expect visitors and residents to respect our culture and expectations here in the UK.

The picture that the media portrays of Iran  is very different and whilst I understand that the political situation is controversial, the propaganda and unbalanced approach to the reporting is very frustrating. I’m not qualified to comment on politics be it about the situation in the UK/Europe or about the latest Middle East issues. It is complex and frankly very confusing so I don’t do it. Many may think this is a cop-out, but I could spend 24 hours a day, 7 days a week trying to understand world politics and I honestly just don’t have the time.

I happen to think that there is room for more information to be made available about Iran from a non-political perspective. There is so much more to Iran than the nuclear debate, human rights issues and the religious tension and we will all get along better if we understand the different cultures and history and learn to appreciate our differences and similarities.

I found this quote on the net today. Sadly the author’s link was broken and I’ve been unable to trace its origins to give credit. I like this as it deals with many of the myths and attitudes embedded so deeply in people’s psyche. I know, as I get asked the questions.

  • No, I am not a terrorist nor a wife beater,
    I don’t live in a tent in a desert
  •  
  • I speak Farsi, not Arabic
    Iran is pronounced “EERAUN” and not “I – ran” (it’s not track & field)
  •  
  • News flash: Iran and Iraq are two different countries ,
    Middle east is a region and NOT a continent,
    And camels are not our way of transportation.
  •  
  • Iranian women are just as outspoken (if not more) and liberal as the
    European women,
  •  
  • Iran is the first country to have red white and green for a flag,
    A beautiful country ran by the wrong people
    But still the best part of Middle East
  •  
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 Freshly returned from my latest visit to Iran, “The Road to Oxiana” by Robert Byron, is my favourite book of the moment. Having seen a little of the Middle East, the hot and barren desert landscape, snow-capped mountains, the occasional lush oasis settlements, having experienced the people and their customs, the language and traditions, all means that I appreciate Byron’s writing more.

I find myself laughing out loud on the train, chuckling at descriptions of things I have seen or experienced first hand. All this despite Byron travelling in the 1930’s and me some 80 years later. Some things never change.

As well as his humorous anecdotes, Byron’s descriptions of his surroundings are so vivid that I often imagine myself there with him. His description of Mesopotamia (Iraq) is one of my favourites;   

“The prime fact of Mesopotamian history is that in the thirteenth century Hulagu destroyed the irrigation system; and that from that day to this Mesopotamia has remained a land of mud deprived of mud’s only possible advantage, vegetable fertility. It is a mud plain, so flat that a single heron, reposing on one leg beside some rare trickle of water in a ditch, looks as tall as a wireless aerial. From this plain rise villages of mud and cities of mud. The rivers flow with liquid mud. The air is composed of mud refined into a gas. The people are mud-coloured; they wear mud-coloured clothes, and their national hat is nothing more than a formalized mud-pie. Baghdad is the capital one would expect of this divinely favoured land. It lurks in a mud fog; when the temperature drops below 110 [ºF], the residents complain of the chill and get out their furs. For only one thing is it now justly famous: a kind of boil which takes nine months to heal, and leaves a scar.”

 

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