Saturday, May 31, 2008

An exciting moment in Tehran!

Islamic dignitaries from around the world are convening in Tehran to commemorate the death of Ayatollah Khomeini, and many of them are staying right here in the Laleh Hotel. Late this afternoon, Ryan and I were leaving the hotel to conduct interviews, when we noticed that the police were setting up a metal detector, and x-ray machine and a bag search at the entrance to the hotel. In our bags, we had several still and video cameras, recording equipment, and a large microphone! We're here on a tourist visa, so we didn't really want to have to explain why we were so laden with professional audiovisual equipment. Uh oh!

Fortunately, we were able to come up with a solution. After conducting several interviews (and enjoying ourselves) at a house party outside Tehran, we asked one of our Iranian friends to keep much of our gear overnight. He dropped us off (at 2 am) around the corner from the hotel, and Ryan and I strolled through the search with no problem. Just a few hours later, our trusty friend met us outside the hotel with all our gear and escorted us to a full day of interviews -- and was kind enough to help us with some translation as well. Very impressive for a man who had been out partying until the wee hours!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Sunset in Tehran

I had a very exciting trip to the airport in Denver, thanks to a delayed Federal Express package containing my passport. It arrived just after 10 am at my hotel just south of Denver, and one hour later I was through security and boarding my 11:25 flight. Quite amazingly, my bag made the flight too, and after a brief spell in the Houston airport, we were off to Dubai and then Tehran. Now I am looking out my hotel room window at a few remaining spits of snow on the mountains above Tehran.

It's good to be back!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Once More to Persia

In just a few days I travel to Iran with Ryan to capture the last few things we need for our fall installations. We will be doing something new on this trip: video. If all goes according to plan, we will be able to show what a warm reception visitors receive in Iran! But for now, my mind is taken up with the things that must be accomplished before I can depart.

At times like these, I am so thankful for the support of the Manjushri Project! Without those dedicated souls, it wouldn't be possible to realize the vision.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Know Your Candidates: Barack Obama

Responding to Hillary Clinton's threat to "totally obliterate" Iran, Barack Obama observed, "It's not the language we need right now." This seems in keeping with his plan to negotiate with Iran over disputes between the two countries. In today's supercharged environment, the tone of rhetoric has a powerful effect -- not just on Iran, but on Americans. I believe that peaceful language promotes peaceful conduct, and applaud Mr. Obama for the position he has taken.

As always, click on the title of this post to link to a story which inspired it.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Know Your Candidates: Hillary Clinton

It's troubling to me when U.S. politicians use aggressive rhetoric concerning Iran. I understand that Iran is officially on the U.S. government-approved boogeyman list, and therefore fair game to be demonized. But Hillary Clinton threatening to "totally obliterate" Iran seems beyond the pale. How far is to from statements like this to armed conflict? Not far enough for my comfort level.

As always, click on the title of this post to link to the article which inspired it.