Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Getting Ready to Go: Reality Check

Today I leave for Nyack, NY, to the headquarters of The Fellowship of Reconciliation for a short orientation before we leave for Iran Wednesday night. The past few days since my return from London Saturday have been busy; but the frosting on the cake was learning that UPS had not picked up my passport from the store I’d mailed from with overnight postage to get the visa. Learning this Monday, about 11:00 a.m., I rushed to the store and picked up the passport (forfeiting the $25.00 postage!). The challenge then was to find a way of getting the passport to the courier who would take it to Washington D.C. The man lives in Albany, I was in Port Jefferson, about 7 hours away. After several phone calls we decided I’d meet him in Nyack at 2:00. So I drove the 2+ hours to Nyack, getting there a quarter of an hour before the courier arrived!

Slouched in a chair in Nyack, resting, I learned that not every member of the delegation had received visas. The Iranians delayed until yesterday morning to issue visa numbers from Tehran, and they denied 4 members of our delegation; two others have not yet received numbers but indications are that they will in due course. What a shock! There is no apparent reason or pattern to the decision as the four include Jews and Muslims, male and female, experienced travelers to Iran, and first-timers. We may never learn; this is the way it is traveling to Iran.

This reality check will be the background to the work we do. I believe it will be important to let go of the anger and disappointment, and try to meet the people with open hearts and minds. Yet our governments are not in synch. They are suspicious of Americans and America is suspicious of Iran. The only way to dissolve the suspicion and the jostling for power is to talk, to reach across the divide and make relationships. Other delegations have made tremendous contacts, and the reports we read are that “ordinary” Iranians are enthusiastic about meeting Americans, dismayed by the nuclear competition.

1 comment:

Barbara said...

Thinking of you and all others on the delegation as you travel to Iran on your mission for peace and reconciliation.