All The More Reason

Esfahan is half of the world
May 11, 2007, 12:25 am
Filed under: Iran, Religion

I’ve been supply teaching the last two days and in my class is a 15 year old student, whom I shall call Aram, from Iran. He’s not the only one from Iran. Amongst other things, we’ve been doing case studies as to how to prevent a terrorist attack in New York City, which has been interesting. At least one hindu in my class from India was ruthless in stating that the terrorists should never be negotiated with…

Aram’s from a city called Esfahan. Wishing to find a way to throw the olive branch a tiny bit I looked up on wikipedia to read about his city and to learn something about it. Having noticed the phrase, “Esfahān nesf-e jahān ast” I decided to memorise it and announce it to the class today to see if it would arouse something in him. At the same time, I desperately hoped that no one had hacked wikipedia beforehand and supplied some expression that was total nonsense, or worse. Sure enough, he was very happy to explain it to the class and to write on the board the way in which it’s written in persian.

Having established somewhat of a rapport with Aram I asked him during the break why his family had moved to Canada (he has not been here for long). “Because the government (in Iran) is stupid!”. Of all the talk I’ve heard and read about Islam, Islamism and terrorism etc, I have yet to read a serious piece done on the Iranian ex–pats and their motivations for leaving. I don’t even know if their story can be easily generalised. Do I worry that even my throwaway line about Esfahan is a sign of dhimmitude? Sure, it crosses my mind. Do I have a far greater fear that we’re not doing a better job of finding serious allies in our midst? Absolutely.

Jonathan Smith


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