Monday, December 25, 2006

Busy week and Happy everything

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.”


Roba said...

How convenient is it, exactly?

ET said...

Good question.... I do not mean to imply that there are not Iranians with extremely deep convictions. I believe there are. I just have not met them. Everyone I meet who *should* have deep convictions about religion, let's say, and policitcs, let's add, seems to be deeply conflicted about both.

It goes with the Iranian culture of inside/outside: when you have two very different manners of presenting yourself then it is bound to lead to questions.

I actually find this healthy: the questioning, the conflicts...

What do you think?

Anonymous said...

red fruit? isn't it called pomegranate?

Anonymous said...

seems to be deeply conflicted about both.

1) One of the reasons for Iraq's problems is that politics is infected by religous leaders who want to be politicians, and politicians who want the religous fevor of "the true believers" to be their supporters.

2) GREAT photograph of the pomegranate!!!!

Edo River rising

Anonymous said...

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