By Syma Sayyah, Tehran
As we approach the end of the year I have been thinking of all that we have experienced through the year that is coming to an end. Whether good or bad, an experience can only be positive and strengthen you.
Our beloved Tehran
The chaotic Tehran traffic is even more powerful and effective in disturbing the life, time, health and the energy of citizens as never before. The only thing that makes it worse is when it rains or even worse snows and then everything freezes afterwards, then it is absolute hell and maybe the best thing is not to go out, if you don't need to, which is a great luxury at such times. The weather has been so gloomy these last few days that a couple of times I mentioned to Paul, "Are we in Tehran or in Oxford?"
Syma and Paul in Spain
As if our lives were not difficult enough, recently the Tehran municipality for some unknown reason decided to change all the house numbers! Our house number has changed from 34 to 32, which is not that bad and as we have a reasonable relationship with our neighbors we can easily exchange our bills and letters. Nobody seems to have told the utility companies yet, so there has been huge confusion throughout the city. But my office has changed from 127 to 304! What can I say? We only moved to this new building last year and now have had to have new business cards and letterheads printed.
Life goes on
This aspect of Tehran bureaucracy brings me to the upcoming Iranian presidential election and the hot topic of who are the guys who will be standing. (At the moment no woman's name has reached my ears yet, but there is still time!).
Syma continues with her coverage of charity causes
Before all this number changing and the Tehran pavement project saga I was going to vote for Mr Ghalibaff, the present Tehran mayor, but now I am not so sure. We have heard that Mr Larijani may not be running but the hottest piece of news is that the former president Mr Khatami may run!
I am one of those who are gravely dismayed about this news and I do wish that he would not run. Although he is a good man he is not enough of politician or leader, and many, especially the young, feel strongly that he has betrayed them; after people gave him the highest poll result in history they feel he let the nation down, justifications and excuses put aside. I have been asking around and I was surprised by some ordinary people's reactions, one taxi driver said, "We will show him like we showed Mr Rafsanjani if he stands!" A housewife said "No, I won't vote for him, if he was any good he would have done something the last two occasions". There are a few others who like the idea and say that he is good and he may be able to do something this time and that we should give him another chance! Because he is respected and still carries some weight here and there, if I was his friend or professional consultant I would recommend that he should put his full support behind another candidate and thus influence policies indirectly but should not stand himself as the cost of his possible defeat would be enormous and destroy his credit and influence as well. But we will have to wait and see who besides President Ahmadinejad will stand.
New friends from across the world
We said goodbye this year to many dear friends who left Iran and we welcomed many new faces and had many guests staying, among them Jo and Gus, two cyclists from the UK who stayed with us for a week before continuing their bike journey to India.
People that matter to us
We became grandparents together for the first time as our Danish god-daughter Marlene brought a new baby girl, (named Sima!) into this world.
Friends who are not with us
We also lost some dear friends, among them was Simin my yoga friend, but the saddest loss at the beginning of December was our dear friend Mr Martin Ebbing, the correspondent for a number of German news agencies, who was also writing a book and was married to our dearest friend Zohreh Soleimani the internationally known photojournalist. Martin, who was always full of life and enjoyed living so much, had a severe heart attack in Tehran and remained unconscious after he was taken to hospital where he was put on a mechanical heart massage unit. But the doctors were not optimistic from the beginning and a week later, once logistics were sorted out with the German embassy, he was flown to Germany where he passed away the next day. We shall all miss him and his "vibrant personality" as Jon a mutual friend said about him. We all wish strength and endurance at such a very sad time to his family and specially his wife Zohreh. May his wonderful soul rest in peace.
Syma and Paul in Yazd
Many of you must have shared my joy that Mr Obama is the next US president. During the election fever, people in the streets of Tehran kept murmuring Obama and continue to say "ou baa mast", meaning he is with us. Well maybe I am putting too much hope in him, but the fact remains that his election is about change. He is an intellectual who thinks, plans, makes decisions and then carries them out. He is also bringing serious women into his cabinet and I do hope and pray that he and his office can sort out the Middle East mess soon and in a serious way, offer the Palestinian people at least a fair if not a just final and peaceful solution. This would be a good start and then the Iraq and so on and on amen!
Syma continues with her coverage of charity causes
What did I learn new this year that I did not know before, but really learn? The first was that forgiveness is the best thing you can do for yourself, so I have managed to forgive a few who truly hurt my feelings. But cut those who give you bad vibes, so take the courage and cut out if necessary some who bring too much baggage with themselves no fault of either side, it is simply bad luck. Finally carry on doing good, for no reason except the joy of doing it.
Well this is life and I go on as I have for many years doing my own thing, having meetings, going to conferences, making new friends and enjoying the autumn leaves in one of Tehran's most beautiful gardens or the clear skies on rare occasions that we see it or the beauty of the last rose in our garden this year, discovering new artists and exhibitions, going to places, learning new approaches and doing new things or repeating some old ones, well what can I say it is not what you have but what you do with what you have that counts.
The Art Scene
Happy 2009 and may the New Year bring us all good health, a better world and the joy of being together and for each other the whole world over - inshallah!
May all the flowers you wish reach you in the new year
... Payvand News - 12/30/08 ... --