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.



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  

Simple things You can Do

Find a place to recycle your bottles, cans and paper.
Say “No” to plastic bags!
Bring you own shopping bag

We now have plastic in our water and in the fish we eat. Do we really want to put plastic fibers into our bodies every time we eat and drink?

I have three simple thoughts about litter and recycling today: First, countries that have less plastic have less litter. Second and third, if everyone would recycle more, and change the plastic bag habit, it would make a big difference on our planet.

Here is an interesting plastic comparison for you.  This is based on observation during the past month while I have been travelling through Central Asia and Iran. Central Asia uses very little plastic except for black plastic bags for purchases and plastic bottles for soda.  Iran by contrast uses lots of plastic. Beside plastic bottles, restaurant food, hotel towels, and many things that don’t need to be, are wrapped in plastic. Plastic cups and straws are used in Iran, but I saw none in Central Asia. Where would you guess there is a terrible litter problem? The contrast was enormous.  I brought Iranian plastic home to recycle.

Governments clearly need to become aware of the problem, and businesses like Coca Cola need to take more responsibility for the plastic they produce.

While I was thinking about this I came across an excellent essay by ECOwatch with great suggestions for everyone (see below) But keep it simple and by recycling and reducing  plastic bags you can make a big difference on our earth!

From Ecowatch:

  • Complain to retailers. Pressure retailers to do away with over-packaging.
  • Support plastic bag bans, polystyrene foam bans and bottle recycling bills.
  • Use natural clothing fiber rather than synthetic clothing, as synthetic cloth releases plastic fiber in every wash cycle.
  • Choose to reuse. Neither plastic shopping bags nor plastic water bottles can be easily recycled.
  • Deposit return schemes are highly effective ways to reduce plastic bottle waste. In Germany, where a bottle-return program is in place, nearly 98 percent of plastic bottles are returned.
  • Recycle. If you must use plastic, try to choose #1 (PETE) or #2 (HDPE), which are the most commonly recycled plastics.
  • Avoid plastic bags and polystyrene foam as both typically have very low recycling rates.