Posts Tagged ‘elections’
Hi, Have not blogged in a long time for probably obvious reasons- while in Iran i knew that was a no-go. In Lebanon & Syria I did not want anyone there to be able to track me or know where I was- call me paranoid ; ) I feel i have to address a few questions that have been raised following what happened in Iran:
1. What happend to me is NOTHING compared to what the Iranian people live with- especially now.
2. I have been to Iran three times- the past three years my focus has been on fostering understanding between the everyday people of America & the everyday people of Iran (not our governments- i am not a politician). Having everyday people understand eachother when we have few opportunities for real life ineraction is a massive undertaking, that of course i know i am not able to single-handedly tackle-but- as I wrote here long ago- this is just my tiny meagre contribtion to that. Iran is a very different place than what was portrayed in the media the past few decades (since June that is changing).. I wanted to let everyday Americans know the truth about Iranians-since they are truly hospitable kind people- quite different from what we saw in teh media. I have written about this before, been interviewed by journalists in the past, and have also spoken at events such as the Axis Of Friendhsip festival in 2008 regarding my hopes. I did not go to Iran in June as a novice who was ”swept up” in the “trendiness” of the green wave. I have many friends there -some of who are like family- I like to see them- they mean alot to me. I wanted to be with my friends there during what potentially could have been a positive time. No one predicted the situation to deteriorate as quickly as it did. No matter, the real reason i was abudcted by the Basij is because they & the government do not want ANY foreign eyes there to witness the atrocities happening. They were trying to intimidate & scare ousiders to leave. They saw me read CNN- a news site that their government has conveniently deemed ”terrorist trouble maker.” it really had far less to do with teh interaction i had wit the undercover Basiji & more to do with their zero tolerance policy that started the day before (ironic since i was trying to read CNN to find out just what was said at the Ayatollah’s prayer- and what did it mean- for me- a foreign tourist, ie: should i leave?).
3. When you see a brief clip of a much longer interview focusing on the fear I felt when abducted I know it may appear naive & foolish- to trust someone in Iran. Fact is human beings make decisions based on what they have been conditioned and actually experienced in life. Would I let a stanger hail a taxi for me in Moscow? No. Would I agree with negative comments about the government in say China? No. Would I walk home in the dark a half mile from my own apartment in San Francisco? No. However In Iran- by all means yes. In my past experiences in Iran the vast majority of people there verbally bash their government- all the time. In hindsite i see that it was a hyper sensitive time and i could have exercised more caution- but lesson learned. Unfortunately now i think there wil be many more secret police. Don’t feel sorry for the tourist- feel sorry for the everyday ppl who have too live there under such renewed oppression of all divergent thought & idea.
4. I am now in Jordan- I let a young man (stranger) hail a taxi for me yesterday. In this part of the world hospitality is unparalelled- much different than in a western nation. As i have said here on my blog over the years- I find Iran to be THE most hospitable and one of the safest nations I have ever visited. The custom there is “the guest is next to God.” We stand so much to learn from this. I am sorry if it seems naive – because in reality it is not. if you are paranoid- you are the one who misses out. I and many others travel b/c we like to experience something different from our own culture. I do not travel with my guard up in places which have proven that they could be trusted- this was literally the 1st time i have ever been stung by trusting too much in the middle east. Granted, i now have adjusted how I travel and have been far more cautious. I am sure I am missing out on positive experiences with people as as result, but it is just where I am at in my head right now. Fact is most of the world is a very friendly place with good people- a small minority of people are bad eggs. The bastard Basiji who got me was just that- a minority in a nation of good people. The only way to truly know that and trust this though is to get out & experience it.
On 6/20/2009 I was abducted by a militia group, the Basij, in Tehran. They thought I was a spy. Here are some CNN & ABC links:
ABC interview segment & link:
- Some photos from Misrata… stories to follow.
- The Boat to Misrata (Libya): Men’s quarters vs. Women’s quarters
- Why I had to visit Misrata (Libya).
- Greetings from Benghazi, Libya
- Just another day in Cairo…