Monthly Archives: April 2008

baby with 2 faces

I was speechless when I read the news.  I only hope this baby’s parents will allow doctors to check her internal organs and make sure surgery is not needed for her health.  It is interesting how different communities look at an event/outcome from different angles based on old beliefs/traditions and that an extremely negative situation in one society may be viewed as a blessing in another society. 

 

12:24 PM CDT, April 8, 2008

 

SAINI SUNPURA, India – A baby with two faces was born in a northern Indian village, where she is doing well and is being worshipped as the reincarnation of a Hindu goddess, her father said Tuesday.The baby, Lali, apparently has an extremely rare condition known as craniofacial duplication, where a single head has two faces. All of Lali’s facial features are duplicated except for her ears–she has two. Otherwise, she has two noses, two pairs of lips and two pairs of eyes.

“My daughter is fine–like any other child,” said Vinod Singh, 23, a poor farm worker.
Lali has caused a sensation in the dusty village of Saini Sunpura, 25 miles east of New Delhi. When she left the hospital, eight hours after a normal delivery on March 11, she was swarmed by villagers, said Sabir Ali, the director of Saifi Hospital.

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knots of 3,000 years

I came across the following article in the Winter 2008 issue of the Middle Eastern arts and cultural magazine, Bidoun. More and more these days, it seems that many of the great artists of this world are becoming hidden and forgotten behind layers of bias and political rhetoric. How much do we really know of our global neighborhoods and the fascinating people and cultural artifacts that lay waiting for us in them?
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Qasr al-Alam
On July 31 [2007], Iran unveiled the world’s largest hand-made carpet, ordered by the United Arab Emirates for the central prayer hall of Abu Dhabi’s enormous Sheikh Zayed mosque. The carpet was designed by Iranian artist Ali Khaliqi and produced by Iran’s state carpet company, whose director, Jalaleddin Bassam, made the following remarks:

As we all know, the weaving of Persian carpets is a timeless art form. Qasr al-Alam, the carpet you are observing beneath your feet today, is the greatest example of that art, and a testament to the enduring artistry of Iran’s villager-weavers, whose skills have been honed for generations. And yet, for the first time in nearly 3000 years, our industry is in decline. It is we who must take the initiative to remind the world of the superiority of our products and traditional artisans. I was recently saddened to learn that 59 percent of Germans have never heard of a Persian carpet. Fifty-nine percent of Germans! In what work are our diplomatic missions engaged? It seems we would be remiss not to inquire about the carpeting needs of the populations where they are stationed, and also identify the latest design preferences, find out which colors are in vogue, so that we can increase orders and the visibility of Iran.
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international dance

Last week, on Sunday morning while the streets of New York City showed small signs of spring but cold winter winds could still freeze my bones early in the morning, we got on the bus to go to Manhattan for a special event.  The Iranian community in New York (and many other parts of the world) had organized a parade in the city for celebrating the Persian New Year, Norooz of 1387.  I was a part of one of the dance groups representing a nomadic tribe in Iran, the Qashgai’s.  We got ready on the bus and by the time we got to our destination, the sun began to shine to some how help us through.  The wind in Manhattan gets blinding sometimes, especially when you are used to the California weather.  When our bus approached the location of the Parade, we saw little kids with the Iranian flag painted on their cheeks, young people holding the Iranian and American flags together, yelling “Norooz Mobarak” meaning Happy New Year.  When they saw us, the color of our costumes made their smiles wider and voices louder, they waved at us showing their excitement and support.  A huge crowd of Iranians and non-Iranians were gathered on the two sides of the street, holding multi-national flags, cheering us on.  When we started dancing, I was cold in the beginning and my eyes were watery due to the wind.  After a few seconds, I forgot all about myself and immediately melted with the energy of the crowd and what was going on around me.  It was like a slow motion experience, when I was watching the crowd from above.  I looked around me to see my friends dancing with me or the people yelling “dametoon garm, thank you, beautiful” and saw many different faces.  In our group of Qashqai dancers, there was only one Iranian and one half-Iranian, the rest were from all over the world.  There I was among a group of dancers from the U.S., Italy, Japan, Mexico, Israel, Tajikistan, and Iran, dressed in traditional Qashgai costumes, dancing like the nomadic women of the mountains in Iran.  I bet the Qashgai women have no idea that such an international group was trying to be like them in the streets of Manhattan on the other side of the planet.  Next time I go to Iran, if I go to the mountains and stay with the Qashgai’s for a few days, would they believe me when I tell them about my experience in America? How would they feel about it?

 

 

 

 

 

We are living in a magical age, experiencing so much unity and having access to much information is bringing us closer to each other.  Despite the current direction of the governments that try to advocate separation while demonizing others, we are moving toward unity at a fast pace, in my opinion.  I felt this when I was in the middle of the Parade dancing and I feel it today as I see people with many nationalities here in the streets of Berkeley, protesting against the Chinese invasion of Tibet.  I felt it when an Indian taxi driver in New York asked me what this event was about and when I told him it’s for the Persian New Year, he said: “oh yes, Happy Norooz to you and to all Iranians.”  Becoming global does not mean to forget about our backgrounds, cultures, costumes, histories, and traditions.  In my opinion, unity and globalization is about being aware of what a girl my age is going through in Baghdad, what a mother needs to do to survive in Darfur, how a young boy struggles to earn money for his family and study at the same time in southern Tehran, what games children play and what they learn in school in Kabul, how many people spend their youth in prisons in China, and how Qashgai women dance in the mountains of Iran.  We don’t need to travel to all these places to know how; we only need to care and once we sit behind the magical screen and type the name, hundreds of links show up to take us to the places we like.  We only need to care and it is my responsibility to get to know you on a deeper level and go beyond our surficial differences, so that we can together prevent hatred and war in the future and among our children and grand children.  

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