Last year I received an invitation to attend a festival of storytelling in the country of Iran for 2012. I haven’t spoken much about it since almost everyone I encounter seems to think it would be a horrible idea for me to go.
At odds are two trains of thought. On one hand I know that the average person, in any country, is much like the average person in any other country. We all dream, desire and love in similar fashion. If my travels haven’t taught me anything else, they have taught me this. Citizens of most countries are preoccupied with trying to put food not the table, create a better life for their children, and balance the various responsibilities of friends, family and community. On the other hand, there are the political realities of the world that we’re forced to digest even if we would rather not.
Recent events have motivated me to write to my readership and, hopefully, get some feedback from you.
I had made up my mind that I was going to the International Storytelling Festival in Iran next year, 2012, and then, while here in Brazil I was watching the news and heard that a terrorist plot backed by the Iranian Government had been intercepted in the U.S.
Attorney General Holder announced that authorities had foiled a plot by men linked to the Iranian government to kill the Saudi ambassador to the United States and bomb Saudi Arabia’s embassy in Washington. This announcement was followed up by a stout condemnation by Vice President Biden.
I sat in my hotel room thinking about the areas of the world that I’ve traveled. Many places I’ve been aren’t exactly tourist destinations and, part of my purpose for traveling is to offer my friends, family and community back home an alternative perspective on the world. A perspective not filtered through the lens of popular media. I had made up my mind to go to Iran next year because I know the people who’ve invited me and they are genuinely kind-hearted and gentle souls. They have hosted this festival for years now and people from all over the world have attended.
As I sat in my room staring up at the ceiling ceiling thinking about the political repercussions of my travel, the issues of instability due to recent events, the opinions of family and friends, I found myself at a cross roads, unable to gain any moment in thought.
Do you have an opinion?