Sunday, November 04, 2007

The Divine Martyrs

Tonight we are winding down after a hectic week of meetings in Tehran. Althugh the days were busy, we did get a break most evenings for a dinner or cultural performance.

The highlight of this trip to Tehran was definitely a performance of ‘The Divine Martyrs’ by the IRIB Symphony Orchestra at the National Library. It was the most incredible piece of music that I have heard in a long time. It was composed by Hooshang Kamkar and was performed in ‘Mahour’ – a style of traditional Iranian music featuring the ‘santoor’ and ‘daf’ as accompanying instruments.

The words of ‘The Divine Martyrs’ are from a poem by the famous Persian poet and philosopher, Molana Jalal-e-Din Mohammad Molavi (who also called Jalal al-Din Muhammad Mevlana in western literature and commonly known as ‘Rumi’). The singer for the performance I attended was Mohammad Abdolhosseini who was very impressive. (I must check to see if he has recorded any CDs next time I am in Iran). The orchestra was conducted by Mohammad Bigleri Poor and the choir by Razmik Oohanian.

A highlight of a different kind was meeting the Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. He was a smaller man than I expected, but he had a long and warm handshake, and came across as a very friendly person – so different from the impression of him that is gained from the western media. After his speech to the conference I was attending, the delegates crowded around him for photos – somehow I couldn’t imagine George W. Bush’s secret service bodyguards allowing people to get that close to their President.


As is often the case when I visit Iran, many of my memories of the trip relate to the wonderful meals that I had in different places. I remember the delicious plate of fresh pomegranate that I was served during one of my meetings, and the tasty freshly-baked Iranian bread, that I had hot from the oven for lunch one day in a restaurant down town. I’m not a big meat-eater (in fact I’m almost a vegetarian), but I can never resist the lamb kebabs when I am in Iran – so tender and tasty. And the salads are so fresh as well – eating in Iran is very healthy compared to many other Asian countries.

One of the British delegates remarked to me that it was probably doing him a lot of good not to have access to alcohol for a few days. He said the non-alcoholic beer was surprisingly good – only he couldn’t get used to not waking up with a hangover the next day!

1 comment:

Martin said...

Unfortunately I haven't been to Iran. Last year I visited Dubai, it was my second trip to UAE. First was 15 years ago!
Dubai is the city of the future. It is the city of wonders, this city came from no were to be one of the most important cities in the word. Dubai has many projects that seem unreal, but they made it real. I have heard a lot of about amazing and breathtaking Dubai property constructions, that is why so many tourists are really willing to visit Dubai, to see the masterpieces alive. I visited Dubai last summer. I was impressed with Dubai's progress and magnificent buildings and architecture. These Burj Dubai,World and Palm Islands, Dubailand, and other projects like the underwater hotel etc. are wonderful. I really liked this city!