Iranian Women and the Hijab

Mashhad, Iran

“We the women and girls are fed up with this compulsory hijab. We want to manage our clothes and what to wear” Women in Iran protesting the hijab

In November I was a tourist in Iran wearing a scarf covering my hair. No, I was not thrilled at the idea, but the chance to spend 8 days in Iran over-ruled my freedom. Wearing a head covering created a solidarity with Iranian girls and women. We were all following the rules of the Iranian Shiite government that were implemented in 1979 after the Iranian revolution. Maybe in the winter it would be comfortable to wear a hijab, but even in November, some days were too hot to keep my head, arms and legs covered,. There was no doubt that a woman’s identity and personality are lost wearing a head scarf and long loose-fitting clothes

Male dominated governments can be unfair to women. They need scapegoats for their problems and women can become their target!

A holy day in Iran, November, 2017

The people of Iran are very friendly, the friendliest place I have ever traveled.  They practice citizen diplomacy to welcome their visitors. Many wanted to know what we liked about their country, and they felt a strong connection to Americans. Their message was clear, ,”We both have bad governments, but we the people, we are friends!”

Read the whole story about the hijab protests here.

https://health4earth.com/2018/01/23/citizen-diplomacy-and-iran/

 

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Citizen Diplomacy and Iran

We are friends!

Ancient Persepolis

In November I was fortunate to become one of the few Americans  to travel to Iran this past year. We were there for 8 days. After hearing what an awful country Iran is for the past 40 years, I was thrilled to find a vibrant, friendly people. Their friendliness was amazing  It was difficult to go for a walk or get anywhere because they stopped us to give us candy, find out where we were from, and they would ask: “Where are you from?” “How do you like the food” How do you like our country?” I think some of it was they are so isolated and we were a window to the world, but they are genuinely a friendly people.  One couple came up to me at the historic site Persepolis and told me they loved me because I was so kind.  We heard over and over,”We both have bad governments, but we the people, we are friends!”

These soldiers wanted me to take their picture.

An interesting article from the Washington Post, five myths people believe about Iran. myths of Iran

A dry river bed in the heart of Tehran

This article blames the recent protests on water issues, and they do have a serious drought problem. Read about climate change  and a lack of water in Iran at Climate  

Hope

I am sending a message of Hope on this World Day of Peace

You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will be as one

Imagine there’s no heaven
It’s easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people
Living for today… Aha-ah…

Imagine there’s no countries
It isn’t hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion, too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace… You…

You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will be as one

Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world… You…You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will be as one  John Lennon

Four Powerful Things You Can Do

Individually we are a drop, together we are an ocean.

As 2017 rolls out and 2018 rolls in, remember to set some environmental goals for the new year. As people of this planet earth we all should be aware of our warming climate, and how we are causing it!  Yes, it is very cold in many places this new year, but it is the over all tend that our planet is warming, not just one or two events, that we need to worry about. Extreme weather events, warming and rising oceans, and drought should not be ignored. CNN has an easy list of things you can do. Read it here.

Climate Reality, https://www.climaterealityproject.org/   has a more serious and difficult list, things most of us just don’t want to do, but should seriously think about! This is their list:

The four most powerful things you can do to fight climate change:

  1. Eat a plant-based diet
  2. Fly less, or not at all
  3. Drive less, or not at all
  4. Have smaller families

 

Justice for All

The Liberty Bell in Philadelphia. Does this give some the right to treat others without justice?

The United States was founded on rebellion. Rebellion is what created the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights. This week I have been to Washington D. C., Philadelphia, and Baltimore visiting historical sites. The United States Capitol was in Philadelphia the first ten years, the 1790s, of its existence while the Washington, D. C. Capitol was being built.  According to the park ranger, protests were a constant thing.  Protesting for the right of women to vote, and protests to end slavery were often at Independence Hall, where at that time the capital was located. The protesters felt the new government was unjust to exclude women and allow slavery.

Independence Hall had many protests at the beginning of the U.S. government.

Now in 2017 we have athletes protesting police violence towards black men. Many feel the behavior of law enforcement toward black people is not acceptable. This is a way athletes can express their opinions to many people.  Unfortunately, in denial of this injustice some have changed the meaning of these protests to be about protesting against the flag and military.

We can’t tell others how they should feel, or what they should think, and we don’t all think and feel alike. In the 1790 some felt the new United States government was unjust. The same is true today, not everyone feels they are treated equally and with justice! Are their complaints justified?  Is there equal treatment for all?  Do we all have the same liberties and rights? What do you think?

 

Hate and Injustice

Everyone has rights!

Hate is not sustainable!

Last week I finished reading “The Deep South” by Paul Theroux. Theroux takes four trips into the south, works diligently at interviewing individuals, and writes serious descriptions of what he sees and hears. I loved meeting the people he meets, but was surprised by the poverty, illiteracy, and segregation that still exists in our country. I was most surprised by the white men still fighting the Civil War, and expressions that the rest of us were taking away their freedom because of rules imposed upon them.  Why they wallow in this self-pity, and that they are so discriminated against is a serious issue for all of us. I can relate “Deep South” to the events that happened this week in Charlottesville, Virginia.  Why do these White Separatists feel so discriminated against? The statue of Robert E. Lee is a symbol of something bigger? Why is hate the solution to our problems? In my work on gun violence and ATVs, I try to express that we all have rights, but I am just stomping on my opponents rights, and out to get them. They are being discriminated against! They feel they should be able to do what they want without regard to the rest of us. Why can’t we see when we violate others rights? The conversation must continue.

Read an interesting thought about the struggle to rise above our history of slavery on PBS.

 

Justice For All

Life Liberty and Happiness

Fourth of July Flowers

These words from the Declaration of Independence which declared our independence from Great Britain on July 4, 1776. Today is the USA’s 241st birthday.

It appears to me that more people than usual are thinking about what it means to be an American on this 4th of July holiday.  We grieve a lack of leadership, but  it is the people who have always made the U.S. great and we must have hope for the future!

What can you do?

On This 4th of July celebrate what is great about our country: Celebrate our beautiful landscapes and parks, celebrate our diversity and our right to speak out. Celebrate that we have a free press working hard to get us the real news, and find the truth.

Democracy is hard work and it is messy. As Americans I hope we will continue to speak out honestly, strive for truth, work for justice, and act peacefully. Continue to March, call your elected officials on issues (local, state and national), write letters to newspapers and officials, Carry signs, wear bold t-shirts, ask questions, follow the rules(we are a nation of laws), and pursue the common good for all! It is our children’s destiny. Wishing you happiness and justice on this 4th!

See Neil Young’s video below:

https://www.ecowatch.com/neil-young-children-of-destiny-2452520963.html