Tag Archives: Arab World

A Persian Poet

Books for Troubled Times in the Arab World

Destination: Iran (Persia, 12th Century)

Book: The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, translated by Edward Fitzgerald (1917)


Omar Khayyam Tomb
Omar Khayyam Tomb

The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam*, a rather slim book with its ivory slip cover and front embossed with green, red and gold twining roses held an honored position in my parent’s living room.  Inside, in my father’s distinctive sweeping handwriting, a front page bore a dedication to The Duchesss, his form of address for my mother when they were courting back in the 1930’s.  The book was gilt edged and illustrated with dreamy watercolors of beautiful and exotic scenes of women in filmy gowns and men in turbans and gowns surrounded by lush gardens. Other illustrations show white palaces, or royal rooms that set a little girl dreaming. Continue reading A Persian Poet

Afghanistan: The bad and the good

Books for the Arab World in Troubled Times

Herat, AfghanistanDestination: Afghanistan

Reading: The Afghan Women’s Writing Project, initiated by author Masha Hamilton

Just when we are beginning to think we might finally withdraw from Afghanistan–renewed fighting breaks out. The U.S. military went to Afghanistan because of the ruling Taliban’s support of Al Quaida. With the death of Osama bin Laden, and hopes that Al Quaida would be weakened, some hoped for an earlier withdrawal. News last week casts a pall on hope. Continue reading Afghanistan: The bad and the good

Living in Iran

The Arab World in Troubled Times

The troubled times that the news reporters have tagged as “Arab Spring” continue. Things are heating up in Syria, as government troops fire on mourners. (See our review of The Calligrapher’s Secret, set in a peaceful Damascus). The U.S. is sending drones into Libya and French spokesmen are calling for “boots on the ground” form NATO troops as Gadafi holds off rebels. (We talked about In The Country of Men, which helps understand the long, desperate struggle in Libya).  Although Iran is not one of the countries in open revolt right now, they went through a perilous time last year, and continue to be a thorn in the side of the Western nations. We continue our series on Arab countries with an interview from last year.  I found Mostofi’s view of her native land to be quite different than the usual view we get of Iran.

Ahmed Shah's Pavillion, Main home of Shah Rezi Pahlavi, the last Shah of Iran, Tehran

Destination: Iran

Book: Cemetery of Dreams (2010) by S. Mostofi Continue reading Living in Iran