Saturday, June 30, 2007

Question 3: Are they in any way hostile to westerners?

Are Iranians hostile to westerners? This is a broad question, but we still get it all the time. What I told a group when someone asked me this question was that the first religion in Iran is hospitality. For the most part, Iranians are delightfully hospitable to westerners: particularly American westerners.

I was greeted with warmth, disbelief, and curiosity everywhere I travelled in Iran. I have never travelled anywhere else where people were so happy to see me. I cannot stress this enough. The Iranians that I met were incredibly welcoming. You can read a bit of a recap of my feelings about Iran in this post: I heart Iran.

Edo River: I have met Bahais in Iran. You might want to read this post I wrote in 2003:

The Women's Party

Next Question:
from Christopher:

Can ahmadinejad do something about the no tie with a jacket thing? it really doesn't seem to be working.

Stay tuned!

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Link to my earlier post on benzine rationing

I heard Frances Harrison tell people that taxi driving is a second job for many, many Iranian men and that many keep their second job a secret from even their families.

In that spirit, I am linking to my earlier post on rationing, which includes my prediction that this move will be disastrous for poor and middle class women:

Benzine rationing

Tomorrow I will post a response to the next question about Iran.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Question 2: Is there a chance that there will be political change in Iran?

Of course people ask us this question. What did you expect? Iran is portrayed as a pariah, arming Al Qaeda, the Shi'a death squads, and promoting terrorism. (Wait, or is the US funding Al Qaeda?[Warning to folks in Iran: a youtube video: takes lots of bandwidth!])Iran is the bogeyman.

The short answer is: Iran changes all the time. There is change in Iran today! There will be change tomorrow. There was change yesterday. Iran's path is unclear. It's future is unclear. The regime seems to think that the only way to guarantee its survival is by making sure young men and women don't hold hands in public and that women wear black and men take the gel out of their hair. I am being a bit facetious, but sometimes it really does seem that way to me.

Most people do not want another revolution (it seems)... they want slow change for the better, not the worse.

Iranians have never been happy with their governments. In Being Modern in Iran (fabulous book, by the way!)Fariba Adelkhah quotes from a source writing in the 1800s: he wrote that Iranians love their country and hate their government.

So maybe nothing will change.

Next post from me will be Jack from Canada's question: Are they in any way hostile to westerners? His question is one we get regularly.

What people we meet want to know about Iran

Question 1: Hejab

It's true. We have been a bit lax communicating with you dear readers. We have been busy and not busy at the same time. Perhaps it's best to say that we are distracted.

I thought you, particularly you Iranian readers, would be interested in what the people we meet want to know about Iran. Here goes:

Did you have to wear a burqa?

No. I have never worn a burqa, but it would not surprise me if in a few years we all were wearing one. It seems to be the perfect solution to the harsh rays of the sun. In fact, I never saw an Iranian woman in a burqa. In the south, near Bandar Abbas, I did see women in masks:

Most Iranian women wear a simple scarf:

or a fashionable scarf (left)or a chador (right):

But I never saw a burqa. I bet you could find a woman or two in Iran in a burqa, I just never saw them.

Next post... Question 2: Is there a chance that there will be political change in Iran?

Have you got a question? Post it in the comments.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Welcome to Chicago

Originally uploaded by rbgwi68

(For my Iranian readers without the most excellent Flickr access plugin for Firefox Access Flickr, the picture above is of an orange plastic palm tree: you know the type because you have all seen them.)

For those of you who have never been to Iran, one of the typical features of the roundabouts that are at the entrance and exit of just about every single Iranian city is an orange or lime green plastic palm tree or some other equally odd and most often plastic or light-up sculptural feature. So imagine my surprise as we were making our descent into Chicago, coming in on a clear evening over lake Michigan, when I looked down and saw an orange plastic palm tree lit up just outside the airport!

Welcome to Chicago!