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No Wonder Others Have a Problem Believing Us

By Kam ZarrabiIntellectual Discourse


One of our characteristic traits as Iranians is our great love affair with exaggeration in almost all expressions, from love and hate to pain and pleasure, beauty and ugliness, our nephew’s accomplishments or our uncle’s wealth.


Among fellow Iranians, we have learned to discount such exaggerated expressions down to a reasonable degree as required in each particular case. We all do it instinctively and have really no problem keeping a straight face in expressing or listening to such inflated claims; we have grown up with it, after all. In our culture as Iranians or Middle Easterners in general, objectivity lacks the color and excitement necessary to attract interest; it is simply too bland and boring to most of us, including some of our academicians.


While in our daily encounters within our own communities such blatant exaggerations and proportionate, subtle deflations, actually add flavor to our otherwise dry or lifeless conversations or transactions, problems do occur when we exercise this habit in dealing with the uninitiated.  Similarly, we Iranians, while we have not as yet acclimated to the cultural milieu of a host society, tend to unnecessarily discount what we see or hear, guided by our own traditions. This generates quite a bit of misunderstanding or even suspicions of mal-intent when none is intended.


A case in point that prompted me to write this note was the recent article in payvand, taken from the (CHN_URL), 20 August, 2005 article, “World’s Hottest Spot Awaits Adventurers.


First of all, Shahdad is not such an unknown spot on the map; it is an active and rather prosperous mining town in a fairly pleasant climate at the edge of the mountains near Kerman. Secondly, there is no spot on this planet, unless we go to some boiling hot springs or active volcanoes, where the temperature reaches 100 degrees Celsius. Water boils at just under 98 Celsius at that elevation!


The mythical city of Kaluts must be truly “mythical”, formed, as the article states, by water and wind erosion (!?) some 20,000 years ago (Say what?!!), and covering an area more than 100 kilometers by 100 kilometers (11,000 square kilometers!), only 40 kilometers out of Shahdad. I wonder if the author realizes that such an aerial extent covers most of the Lute Desert.


We learn later that Shahdad area “enjoys nearly permanent water resources” with mountains whose peaks “are covered with snow until May.” However, the author, Parviz Kordavani, is concerned that the “residents of Shahdad are struggling to live there having their hopes on the water resources they have.”


I don’t blame him; with temperatures above boiling point, not much water could remain on the surface for very long.


With this kind of nonsense, will there be any surprise if international tourists do not show any enthusiasm to visit Mr. Kordavani’s hallucinatory “mythical” city and boil their coffee pots and cook their meals without having to light up a fire?


With all due respect, this is not the first time that the Cultural Heritage organization has embarrassed itself by publishing an unedited article. Someone at the CHN should pay a bit more attention.



... Payvand News - 8/22/05 ... --

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