First there was a lot of work… then a grant proposal for Mideast Youth… then party after party after party…plus Hannukah, Shab-e Yalda, and Christmas. Certainly, the most satisfying of the holidays is Shab-e Yalda which makes no secret of its meaning: welcoming the sun back into our lives. No baby Jesus, no miraculous flame, just the sun. Welcome back, sun.
Eating red fruit and nuts is a Shab-e Yalda tradition. Shab-e Yalda is celebrated on the longest night of the year.
Last week, one of my faithful readers invited me for a delicious dinner of Arabic delights. Thanks! I ended up spending most of the evening talking to a Libyan and an Egyptian… odd how that works, isn’t it? We had a good time making fun of Iranian food (I like it, but it’s not quite the brilliant cuisine that Iranians think it is) and Iranians themselves. Hey, I like you guys… don’t worry! You’re simply the majority and deserve the teasing you get from the likes of us.
I asked the tall Syrian man what he felt about the religious convictions: “Convenient,” was the short answer. I was reassured. Convenient is healthy. Committed is strange.
Convenient is important to remember. The other day I read somewhere that most Iranians agree that Israel is the source of many of the region’s problems. I believe that this is convenience speaking once again. Every single time an Iranian makes some argument against Israel, such as today when my cab driver said that Israel controlled the UN’s vote on sanctions, I make a counter argument (when there is one). I have never heard a counter-counter argument, which makes me think that there is not real depth to general anti-Israel sentiment. For instance today I told the driver that Israel did not vote on UN sanctions. He just said, “Oh. Well nothing will come of it anyway.”