Entries from 'Middle Earth'

The Strength of Her Elegance

Galina. Is a Russian girl’s name and means ‘the Goddess of Calm Seas’. We meet Galina in ‘our’ courtyard in Odessa. With Julia, but this is not about Julia. This is about Galina … who encloses me. It is hard to explain … I suppose her poise pins me down. Her serenity, her calm, her…

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Slices of Life in the Ukraine

Oh my, oh, my Ukraine. You are not in an enviable position. You seek EU membership. As Russia surrounds you in ever decreasing circles. We arrive by ferry in Odessa, a port city on the Black Sea. We go from Odessa to Kiev and to Odessa again. We didn’t expect to linger so long! Such…

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Iran – A last few Photos

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An Iranian Welcome

An Iranian welcome, for us, tops the list. For 40 days and 40 nights they call us out and soak us up. It is consistent, from top to bottom and side to side. It’s hard to grasp. In fact, it intoxicates! Just as well, as a not a drop of alcohol passes our lips. For…

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CONTRABAND

Our journey takes us to Western Iran and its border with Iraq, a predominately Kurdish region. It is a mountainous sparsely inhabited area with tracks that seem to lead nowhere, or so we thought. Numbering over 20 million, the Kurds are one of the largest non-state nations in the world. Their homeland, Kurdistan, has been…

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The Republic of Kurdistan

The Republic of Kurdistan. Sadly, does not exist. But it persists in the dreams of 20 million Kurds in the world. Seven million live in Iran, the rest live in Iraq, Turkey and Syria. They are the largest ethnic group in the world without a country. Kurds, in the past, suffer brutally in Turkey and…

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A Deafening Silence

‘A great silence overcomes me, and I would wonder why I ever thought to use language’ This is a well used line by Persian poet Rumi. He may have never been to the desert towns of north eastern Esfahan but his line could have been written specifically for them. Dasht-e Kavir is one of two…

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Sisters in Hoods

I wear a hejab in Iran. The country requires this of me. And I do, as requires. As I have done before, and as I will do again, in my life. Turns out, I dislike and like it. I dislike it; because it’s an order! The little bit of teenager that still resides in me,…

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The Cherry on Top … at Shushtar

We hear two antiquities call …. from 1000 kilometres away! We answer. And it’s up and over the Zagros Mountains we go. It’s a knotty spine of a mountain that halves Iran into a west and an east. Both these antiquities hang around a village called Shushtar. One is a set of ancient watermills from…

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Yazd – a simply beautiful Puzzle

Yazd is a Puzzle. She sits dead centre in Iran. A city of a half a million people, inhabited for 7000 years. But in a desert, with not a river in sight! Why! Why? Why, here in the glaring white of a desert? Why not, faraway there, along the green and blue hues of a…

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