Date: Thursday, March 27, 2008, 7:15 PM to 10:30 PM
Location: Cafe Borrone, Menlo Park , CA 94025
Attendees: Ray, Russel, Massoud, Zenne, Mojgan, Mitra, Maryam, Yousef, Houman, Sara, Leili
1- Continue reading شاهنامه (Shahnameh)
We continued the story of Zahaak (ضحاک) till the end of page 12. Late Jamsheed's daughters, Arnavaz (meaning the country and the land of Iran), and Shahnavaz(meaning the cities of Iran) reveal to Fereydoon that the only reason that they obeyed Zahaak was for the fear for their lives. Fereydoon promises them to free Iran from the cruel dynasty of Zahaak and kill him. After that promise, they disclose the location of Zahaak. Zahaak, with a hopeless attempt to revert his fortune, is traveling from city to city in Hendoostan (old India) and killing people and swim in their pool of blood to break the spell of bad luck. In the meantime, Zahaak's trusted partner and treasurer, Kandroo, surrenders to Fereydoon and agrees to collaborate with him to overthrown Zahaak.
2- Modern Poems:
Poems from Forough Farokhzad, Simin Behbehani and one current poet in Iran who may be less popular (but equally talented) was read.
3- Discussion: Future, Present, and Past and How They Intervene And Coincide.
At the end of the session, an interesting debate started between the participants regarding the best way of defining, understanding and improving the Iranian culture. Some members tend to think that the best way is to let go of the past, and focus on the future by learning from more successful cultures and societies. Their concern was that Iranians' pride for the glorious years of the Great Iran in the past was keeping them from seeing their shortcomings. On the other hand, some people thought that there were a lot of strong points in our culture and in the ways of our predecessors that we should hold on to. They claimed that in order to improve, we had to claim and own our strengths, to overcome and change our weak points.
The two points, however different, are complementary. For that, we have decided to do both: Review our history and praise and celebrate our past achievements and identity and be proud of them; and try to understand our current issues to accommodate and facilitate necessary changes in our culture and way of life.