I’d Like To Leave a Wake-Up Call For the Morning, for Iran….To Free the Hikers


Tree of Life stories.

Nomads and their survival in the inhospitable desert, with air as hard to breathe as the sand.

When you inherit the desert and its emptiness. Or, if you were in your 53rd week of detainment, involuntarily, amidst the emptiness. In Iran. Without any bubble bath.

Heredity and environment for the descendants of nomads. And so in the vastness of the desert comes the nomads. The Wasteland, T. S. Elliott called it. Devoid of inhabitants. Particularly nomads who had taken barren wives. The stories of barren women of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, dealing with their anguished loneliness. The conflict of the interior and the exterior worlds, amidst a fragile economic recovery. Awakening in that darkest part of a desert night with fears which bring me to the state of being desolate. Desolation, with fears about my own future; with fear of anguished loneliness living without the ones whom I love; with fear something important is due and is unfinished; and the one big surrounding fear of the human condition without borders–the fear in the silence and emptiness of a barren land of not having done enough, of being incomplete.

Formed in God’s image. The God of these nomads whose environment, in all of the time before the creation of the universe, was nothing but vast emptiness. His vast emptiness. And so out from the vastness of the desert comes stories of identity and purpose.

Barren women and the unanswered question of the timing. And all of the expectation for suffering. Looking for evidence. That God is love. In birth. In death. In desert desolation, devoid of inhabitants. With an emptiness so vast, the desert and its barrenness becomes you. Nomads and their fears in the barren desert, where the desolate imagination is given body. Anguished nomads at night, in the frigid and inhospitable desert. In the prison of desert desolation, where the only thing left for the nomad is to meet God, and find herself. Or himself. “Amid the anguished loneliness,” writes an author named Saldaña.

The choices of Chosen People. The stories about the children of prophets. The parents who always thought and worried over their children and the choices of their children. On issues of birth, death, and fertility by the descendants of nomads. Or on issues of hiking.

The compelling stories of life’s ongoing intersection with the Tree of Life, and coming to know a Living God. Filling the emptiness. Coming to know God, in the desert. Where the desolate imagination in anguished loneliness is given body. Discovering that the only things left to meet here in isolation and silence are the self and God.

Trying to fill the emptiness. In the Wasteland. Looking for evidence. Devoid of inhabitants. With all of the missing visible goodness. And so little evidence of life.

Desert desolation. With an emptiness so vast, the desert becomes a prison. To nomads.

Belief in a lover. Belief in fidelity. In any land. Promises fulfilled. Belonging. To each other. Tree of Life stories about a Promised Land. With ritual and ways of life based upon belonging to one place and to one God. In any nation. To somehow find yourself in the Tree of Life story. With knowledge of God, some knowledge of God, in those Tree of Life stories about nomads and their barren wives. In the Book of Genesis. Overcoming their own barrenness. with some knowledge of God. To come somehow to know God, in both the interior and the exterior worlds, from the Tree of Life stories in the desert, devoid of life, in the Book of Genesis.

Knowledge and belief. In any land. Even when you were only 28-years old. Belief in the Supreme Leader’s Advisor for International Affairs, because you always ordered the supreme pizza when you were at home. Yeah, but you still were not home. But in your 53rd week of detainment. In an anti-semitic republic. But you were not Jewish, and you just dreamed of getting home for a pizza. And the Islamic provisional Friday Prayers Leader, Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami, seemed about as holy as Father Guido Sarducci, but not as funny. And you hoped someone still was at the front desk of this prison. With the keys. Because this place had long ago run out of bubble bath.

Free the hikers. One journalist who had moved to Damascus, Syria to convey personal stories which promoted justice and empathy for those of cultures different from his own, to improve relations with the Muslim world. One woman enrolled at the University of Damascus learning Arabic, writing articles which focused on the plight of women affected by the Iraqi war and upheaval in the region, as well as teaching Iraqi refugees English. One teaching fellow, part of a group of faculty and students with the International Honors Program in Boston, officially traveling to Asian and African countries.

POST SCRIPT:
According to the Los Angeles Times, the Iranian Labor News Agency on September 10, 2010, quoted Abbas Jaafari Dowlatabadi, Tehran’s chief prosecutor, as saying the “legal procedure” to secure the release of 32-year-old Sarah Shourd as a gesture of goodwill to mark the end of the holy month of Ramadan, at Eid-al-Fitr, was not yet complete and she would not
be released Saturday morning at what had been the Hilton Hotel in north Tehran that is now used as a protocol office by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The move suggests a kind of factional infighting within the political establishment under the jurisdiction of President Ahmadinejad that bedevils the Islamic Republic, with a judiciary under the control of Sadegh Larijani, whose brother Ali is speaker of parliament, opposing Ahmadinejad’s populist economic policies and locked in a political war with Ahmadinejad. Officials of Iran’s Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance and Foreign Ministry had earlier announced the planned release of Ms. Shourd. Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast had said that President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad intervened to secure Shourd’s release because of the “special viewpoint of the Islamic Republic of Iran on the dignity of women.” And currently, the internal struggle within Iran politically was over the volatile nuclear status of women in their society. When it might seem safe to conclude the Larijani family is not allied with the cause of the western concept of the rights of women, there is the case of Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani. In other news on September 8, 2010, an Iranian foreign ministry official confirmed that the sentence of stoning against Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani was suspended, though she still faced death by hanging. Reporters in Iran have been banned from reporting on the case. The conflict between performance versus ideology. In 2008, draft legislation was submitted by Iran’s judiciary to parliament for approval to scrap the punishment of stoning. In July 2010, the Iranian judiciary spokesman Jamal Karimirad was quoted as saying “Stoning has been dropped from the penal code for a long time, and in the Islamic republic.” Following the election of President Ahmadinejad, reports were of judges handing down stoning sentences in 2006 and 2007, and 2010. The Iranian judiciary has indicated that stoning will no longer be practiced in Iran. In Iran, the ancient form of execution punishment stoning did not exist until 1983, when the contemporary Islamic Penal Code was ratified.


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