Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Rick Steve's Iran Visit: one of the BEST documentaries on Iran to date!

And the reason is because it is made by a man who is a traveller, not a political reporter or peace activist per se.



Also see this: Iran, the most poorly understood, yet fascinating land he has ever visited.

29 comments:

goatman said...

I certainly agree as to the attraction of Persia (if I may be given the license) Your history is rich and mostly undiscovered for the most part as I read about it. I just read of the Mosques of Isfahon and was taken to beautiful places.
Oh, I go to see the inside of a Mosque near our home as they had an open-house to welcome visitors. Talking to a young woman, I was dismayed to find that she could only worship and pray behind a one-way mirror behind the men's chamber, but separated. Its going to be a long time before she sees religious equality ; all the time enjoying political and workplace equality here in US.
I was told that they prayed facing in a more or less northerly direction since that was the shortest distance to Mecca. Interesting!! Unfortunately I saw no specific beauty inside the Mosque , except for the people themselves,(tilework or any trim) as even the inside of the dome was hidden by the ceiling over the prayer area.

Naj said...

Goatman,
" was dismayed to find that she could only worship and pray behind a one-way mirror behind the men's chamber,"Watch the link I posted!

There is a perfect explanation for that and you don't need to be dismayed. This "prayer" seggregation is not about equality! It is about protecting men and women from having to stare at eachother's asses when they pray. If you have noticed, muslim prayer involves lost of bending and facing one's behind up in the air, against the direction of mecca ;)

Once the westerners learn to appreciate that muslims have a different idea about "respect" and equality, then they will begin to understand a lot of things better!

To give you an example, for a woman to HAVE to work (so they can buy themselves new designer shoes) is "disrespectful". "RESPECT" means that a woman/wife be treated like a provided/pampered princess and be offered all she wants in exchange for bearing beautiful/healthy children! (yes this is old times ... but I, as a modern educated "westernized" woman WANT that past! ;) ) ... (well okey I am lucky, my husband lets me have all I want even without having children, doing house work and etc.! ... wait a minute ... almost all my friends live the same kind of a life style ... must be cultural!)

nunya said...

I caught part of one of the shows. I immediately lost interest because of the Death to Israel banners in the mosque and the martyrs cemetery. The worship of martyrs is disgusting, I don't care what brand your religion is, and who foments that kind of hatred in church?

Naj said...

Nunya dear, then you are a fundamentalist yourself :)

Think about it! I don't need to debate it with you!

goatman said...

So I (as Muslim) must stare at a man's ass!! Thanks alot, some equality! I hope that you know I am only kidding and not making fun of religious precedent.
And your culture is to be respected as are all others in the world, but things change. We used to be a woman-in-the-house, man-at-work culture too. But the need to buy more, build more, get more and achieve "the American dream" meant that woman must work also, to buy all of this crap. Perhaps your culture will not fall to this same sloth.

I thought that one prayed FACING Mecca??? Was I told wrong?

Naj said...

Goatman:

we we have inter-gender equality: men watching their own gender's bottoms while facing Mecca ;)

nunya said...

Naj,

I am a fundamentalist? Would you mind explaining how you came to that conclusion?

Naj said...

Nunya: you are a fundamentalist in the set of values that you subscribe to; without the "ability" or the "flexibility" to look beyond your own tunnel vision, and looking at things from multiple facades.

That the first few minutes of a program "turns you off" speaks volumes about your unwillingness to learn "new" and "different" things!

Anonymous said...

naj:

Actually, women have to be protected from men in crowded taxis and buses.

This is an unpleasant feature of Iranian society - specially in Tehran.

Even my own mother was once molested in a taxi years ago when she was in her 50s.

That is why we have women-only buses and taxis. And that rear of the bus is restricted to women.

Even under the Shah we had this problem.

Egypt is even worse; has been worse.

pen Name

Naj said...

Pen,
you don't have to tell me!
Sexual perversity is one of those paradoxical features of Iran. Suppressed sexuality turning absurd!

I for one was happy when they separated the buses. I don't mind standing in a crowded bus say in Montreal; but not in Iran! Euuh!

By the same toke, I would be very happy to dress scantly in America or Europe, because no one will SEE me; but not in Iran! No way Jose!

In Iran, I feel more comfortable and invisible when dressed; in America more comfortable and invisible when less dressed!

It took my boss 8 days to REALIZE the dress code in Iran was not "disrespect" towards women. That most of us feel comfortable in it. But, perhaps those "khaharan-e zeynab" and their "cheshm cheroon disgusting filthy "brothers" could get real jobs instead of harassing people in North Tehran!

But again that has its roots in economic grudge against the rich; another form of suppressed sensuality imposed by ugly, lonely and deranged individuals.

Interestingly, I have a cousin who is a "khahare zeinab". She is an outlier in our family. She had an accident when she was 1 or so, and I think her brain's frontal lobe got a bit damaged! She underwent personality change. She grew up to turn against my father, because he wasn't handing her money! She then attempted to report me and my sisters to her other "khaharane zeynab" to have us excluded from university and etc ... quite a piece of work she is!

But, it is really hard to explain these socio-economic complexities to the western mind. They are simple, good and relatively straight forward humans (minus the Brits!) A russian or a chinese will understand what I mean, but never an American!

Anonymous said...

naj:

vey true about Sisters of Zeynab - but they are no longer that prominent.

Their wings have been clipped.

But they are still there.

While I do not consider myself "cheshm charoon" I do enjoy the presence of attractive young women. I do not think that has to do with my economic setting or social setting. Just being a man.

[I know: "az ma degar in gozashte-e ast."]

pen Name

Naj said...

You can enjoy as much as you wish, as long as you behave respectfully and don't grope anything!

But there is something in Iranian men which is "heezi". which is different from flirtatious gaze of say European men. American ones, well they are just teddy bears and blush :)

Women like being looked at, but not by heez men! So you better not be in that category!

Anonymous said...

When I was young some people told me that I was "heez" (other men).

A number of Americans called me "sexist".

I, however, consider myself a man who likes women - for what they are. Like the Prophet himself.


pen Name

Naj said...

Euuh!

It is because prophed was a cheshm-cheroon that muslim women have decided to cover themselves like that. In presence of people like you, I will be happy to live in a bucket!

Anonymous said...

naj:

Do not sully the Prophet.

He was the Perfect Man.

He was a Man's Man - a Real Man.

And he liked and appreciated women.

Ask yourself how many men do you know who actually like women?

pen Name

Naj said...

You sully the prophet by saying he was heez like you!

Men whom I know who like women also know how to behave with etiquette; and are never confused for sexism or are called heez by older men!

Heez men and women equally disgust me. However, I quite enjoy people who flirt!

Anonymous said...

... نعوذ بالله من سوء

nunya said...

Nunya: you are a fundamentalist in the set of values that you subscribe to; without the "ability" or the "flexibility" to look beyond your own tunnel vision, and looking at things from multiple facades.

That the first few minutes of a program "turns you off" speaks volumes about your unwillingness to learn "new" and "different" things!


Come on Naj, you know me better than that. What turned me off was the hatred in the mosque towards Israel. Is that new? I don't think so, it's old, and quite frankly it's boring. Why won't the government of Iran do something practical there?

Either acknowledge the country of Israel or take in Palestinian refugees. Providing the Palestinians with arms and explosives just makes their lives harder.

Naj said...

"what" hatred?!!
See, you missed the point of the documentary. It is made specificaly for people who jump to such quick conclusions. If you find time, watch it! It's a fun delicious documentary! or alt least listen to his interview in the link I give.

Anonymous said...

naj:

You are being too hard on Nunya.

She is a dissident progressive.

She even has a rudimentary sense of right & wrong.

Her heart is in the right place but perhaps not her intellect.

Protestant Americans support Israel because of deep religious sentiments. That is why they are not amenable to reason on this issue.

We have chosen our side in this war and they have chosen theirs.

The war will go on until the Liberation of Al Quds.

pen Name

Naj said...

Anon: Nunya is my friend and we have our own style of dialog; so I am sure she needs no defense! :)

Also, "WE" have not chosen anything, you and I, in common!

I want NOTHING to do with Qods! I want nothing to do with your Islam, or any religion for that matter! The fight between arabs ane jews is NOT a religious fight; it's an intra-racial hatred for the "self". Arabs and jews can kill each other all they want. My support for Palestinians is not a support for ISLAM, it is a protest against racism!

I protest to this racism when it happens in Iran too. I protest to ANYONE who categorizes any one group of people based on religion or race.

"WE", pen name, are not on the same side of the fence! You are a conservative who thinks war is an inherent part of nature! I think war is below "humanity" ... war belongs to the realm of monkeys ... not humans!

nunya said...

"what" hatred?!!
See, you missed the point of the documentary. It is made specificaly for people who jump to such quick conclusions. If you find time, watch it! It's a fun delicious documentary! or alt least listen to his interview in the link I give.


Ok, I looked for it on YouTube, and I can't find the part with the big sign in the mosque in Tehran that said "Death to Israel," but you know it was there.

The whole four part series is cut up in little pieces, but for you Naj, I'll do my homework, ok?

Not that my neighbor hasn't told me stuff about Iran anyway. She and her husband are excited that his mom is coming to visit from Iran soon.

It's funny that you mention "groping," because my sweet neighbor says she likes it that she does't get groped here, even when the stores are very crowded. :) I agree with you Naj, I think the more that repression is forced, the more it sort of pops out all over the place.

I just read a blogpost by a woman originally from Pakistan who lives here, but recently visited Europe and she was comparing the ogling she gets from American men, and European men (not that she dresses slutty or anything) and she wrote that American men are much more subtle about it. She was happy to be home. America is her home now, and she loves it and she missed it.

That doesn't mean that I think America is the greatest country in the world, it just means that we do have some pride in our country. A lot of us were happier when Bush and hs cronies didn't disregard our Constitution.

Naj said...

I think America "is" a great place.
Every country has its perks and peculiarities; but America is an honest place; and the best place for people to migrate to and build it further.

Americans need to become a little more self-aware; and then everything will be great :)

nunya said...

Naj,
Americans need to become a little more self-aware; and then everything will be great :)

Yeah, I'll go with you on that one. Unfortuantely, they are trained to be consumers, and pumped up with fear by the media. By that I mean, to look outward for approval instead of inward.

example:
"Are you fat?" Buy our diet food.

"Are you discriminating?" Buy our luxury car.

"Can't get it up when the woman wants it?" Buy our Viagra.

"Is your smile not white enough?"

Buy our dental bleaching services...

You know what I mean? It's annoying to watch television, and I don't think cable and a tivo are worth the money.

Naj said...

Nunya, yesterday in Amsterdam I went to some Iran-film fest and watched a documentary made by an american LA-boy (I.e los angeles, rich iranian kind) called Tehran, the other side!

The film made me CRINGE; because it was made from the POV of a totally materialist, consumerist American-Iranian, who was seeking his kind in Iran, to prove to the west that look Iranians are just as wasteful, materialist, car-sex-play crazed creatures as the rest of us!

Consumerism, however shall come to a halt; and we have this economic depression to thank for!

I think history repeats itself, nature balances itself. And I think we are as individuals responsible to do the best we can, given our conditions, our human conditions, to live in symbiosis with nature ...

And at the end, look at so many civilizations gone, and tribes surviving BECAUSE of their proximity to the nature elements ...

nunya said...

Naj,

I was in LA last week. Waaaaaaaay different than San Diego, except for the car culture. That is a result of suburban home developers, car dealerships and the oil that is still pumped out of the ground in LA, pretty much running the S Cali govts since the 1920's . LA is a strange place, so full of contradictions. I had many of my suspicions confirmed when I read "City of Quartz." by Mike Davis, a real live American socialist, lol :)

If you want to understand Los Angeles, and it about San Diego that is the book to read.

He also wrote "Under a Perfect Sun, the San Diego the tourists never see" which is about San Diego. Being that I was born and raised here I can tell you it is spot on.

nunya said...

The Rick Steves show episode that is loaded up on YouTube I've seen. I watched the whole thing again. Other than actually seeing things I haven't seen before, I didn't learn much from this particular show. I think his point was "Hey, America, look, they're people just like us." I got that. I didn't need to be taught that. I've always been interested in other people's culture. I don't like being told how much "superior" or "inferior" their culture is, just the similarities and differences, shared in a level, equal way.

There is a BBC show called "Taste Of Iran" that came up when I looked for the Rick Steve's show that I'm watching now.

Naj said...

well i hope you just learned that iranians are not america- or Israel-haters! Yes they are people like others.

nunya said...

well i hope you just learned that iranians are not america- or Israel-haters! Yes they are people like others.

Come on Naj, I already knew that, I just like to rattle your cage once in a while, lol

"Taste of Iran" by the BBC Is more in depth and frankly, more interesting.