Saturday, November 19, 2011

Isfahan, The Beloved

I was surprised to see so many foreign tourists in Isfahan last weekend. The  calm and mild weather convinced us to take off to Isfahan for the weekend and visit some relatives. We took part in some family gatherings. It is interesting how Islamic teachings, dated centuries ago, have emphasized on family relationships and visits (sele arham). As if the Religion had predicted that due to industrialization and urbanization, human beings would loose family ties and relationships would ultimately disintegrate. These relationships set the basis of social integrity and moral development of the society which are at stake in the industrialized lifestyle pursued by many Western societies.
Isfahan was more beautiful than ever since, after several months that Zayanderood the major river of the city had dried up, water was let into the river once again and the beautiful SyoSe Pol or the bridge with 30 openings was once again crowded with tourists. Every part of Isfahan is part of our national and even global heritage, its beautiful mosques with exceptional tile works, the historical  bridges and the exceptional artwork seen in many buildings . Isfahan is a symbol of the love artists and architects have displayed through out human history for the Beloved.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Peace for the Environment

The civil society is not very active and outspoken these days but the occasion of November 6 , the day designated by the UN as the International Day for Preventing the Exploitation of the Environment in War and Armed Conflict was an important event that could not be missed. The Center for Peace and Environment convened an international seminar on this occasion last Wednesday.
The diplomatic community in Tehran, academia , NGOs and members of the press attended this event. Dr. Babran welcomed the invitees and I made an opening address, this was followed by the message of Seyed Mohammad Khatami the former President  and the speech of  Salah Zawawi the Ambassador of Palestine  and Mohammad Reza Tabesh the Head of the Environment faction of the Parliament . After the opening,  a panel session with Ambassadors of Afghanistan, Croatia, Japan, International Red Cross  and an Iranian academic was moderated by  Dr. Kahrom, the renown Iranian environmentalist. The Japanese Ambassador made a very interesting comparison between the  nuclear disaster in Nakasaki and Hiroshima and the recent Tsunami and nuclear fallout. The resilience and hard work of the people of Japan was noteworthy, while the natural environment will take a much longer time for restoration.
In the opening, I stressed upon the importance of resolving international conflicts by dialogue and  refraining from any act that would aggravate the very volatile conditions in this part of the world . The Persian Gulf has suffered excessively from war and environmental degradation during the past decade and it would be a disaster if any new military venture would occur.