27 April 2007I'm going on holidays on Sunday.
In itself, that is not something very amazing, as lots of people do so. But the next question of many people is the naturally, "Where to?". When the answer is then, "To Iran", people get silent for a while, question-marks start growing over their heads and silly questions come up like, Is that safe?" or, "Are you going on a terrorist training camp?". I tend to preempt those questions stating that I am interested in nuclear plants, but that does not help the situation very much.
In all truth, Iran is a badly understood country. Well, honestly, they don't do a good job in marketing it, given President Ahmadinejad's remarks about Jews, the US, their "right" to enrich Uranium, etc. But what many people do not realize is that there are also millions of people (most of them under 30 - the rest was killed in the Iran-Iraq war) living in that country. That the education level in Iran is extremely high. That they build upon one of the oldest cultures on earth (sadly depicted in the "300" movie, though - http://300themovie.warnerbros.com/). That their language (not Arabic, but Persian!) has been the standard for any literary expression in the region for ages. And that the Persian Empire used to stretch from Greece and Egypt in the west until Kazakhstan and India in the east. Enough reasons to find out more about the country, I guess?
So that's what I am going to do and I know I am not going to be disappointed (well, I prepared for this trip for years, my best friend having an Iranian background, having learned the language up to a point and having delved into the culture on several occasions).
And for those staying behind: check out the pictures at: http://www.pbase.com/k_amj/throughout_iran for a preview.