With the hustle and bustle of classes well underway, it’s become hard to find the time (and energy) to breath, let alone sit down and write something without highlighters in the other hand.
I returned from Iran almost a month and a half ago, after spending two months in the country. Of that time I spent about a month in Tehran; and in the rest I traveled southward and eastward from the capital towards Shiraz and Mashhad. Before, during and after my trip I was asked over and over, why now?… why after all this time?… and I didn’t have a good answer for it. I still don’t. But while there is some debate to be had about fate, there was a wheel was set in motion months before the events in Iran that led me to return to the country after all these years.
I went to Iran, and I came back and the only thing I could write was: “Back from Iran. I witnessed devastating courage and found a part of myself, I witnessed ancient beauty and and left a part of myself behind.” and no more. But today there are still so many images drifting in my mind, desperately seeking to be pinned down, written about, made sense of. Thousands of pictures, thousands of journal entries, thousands of news stories later… I am wondering, what do I tell?
Do I tell you about the changes in country I left ten years ago, or do I tell you I about the changes I witnessed while I was there? Do I talk about the antiquity that permeated every alley, or the immense highways the bridged the edges of the metropolis Tehran? Should I speak of my pilgrimages to the silent mausoleums of dead poets, or of my excursions to the loud streets of chanting heroes? What do I say about incongruities, about contradictions? How do I sum up faithless believers? How do I put beauty and ugliness in a sentence?
While in Tehran, I visited an exhibition in the Sa’adabad Palace Museum complex which showcased the travels of Issa and Abdullah Omidvar. The brothers, whose last name incidentally means “hopeful”, were two Iranian explorers who starting in 1954 traveled all over the globe for more than 7 years on motorcycle. When I was leaving Montréal I wrote that I wanted… hoped to see with eyes unclouded. What I saw was this motto of the hopefuls:Permanent linkMarzieh Ghiasi