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"Problems will always torment us because all important problems are insoluble: that is why they are important. The good comes from the continuing struggle to try and solve them, not from the vain hope of their solution."

— Arthur Schlesinger, historian and Kennedy aide

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My Haft-Seen table in Dubai, set out to celebrate Iranian New Year or Nowruz - my favorite holiday of them all. Happy spring!

My Haft-Seen table in Dubai, set out to celebrate Iranian New Year or Nowruz - my favorite holiday of them all. Happy spring!

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"Hava-ye Geryeh," by one of my favorite contemporary Iranian singers, Homayoun Shajarian. Somehow pleasurably sad.

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"If the world were merely seductive, that would be easy. If it were merely challenging, that would be no problem. But I arise in the morning torn between the desire to improve (or save) the world and a desire to enjoy (or savor) the world. This makes it hard to plan the day."

— E.B. White

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Rainbow over St. Lucia. A lovely end to 2012.

Rainbow over St. Lucia. A lovely end to 2012.

Tags: travelpics
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Recent reads

Been lost in these books the last few weeks:

Hitch 22 by Christopher Hitchens

Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides

Carry the One by Carol Anshaw

Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity by Katherine Boo

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Resolved: 2013

My Iran-related/professional resolutions:

  • Pursue more challenging stories, ones that require a wider and deeper set of contacts within the country. I already have two or three story ideas that I think will stretch and expand my reporting skills.
  • Write a different mix of stories, especially more profiles
  • Become more familiar with Persian poetry
  • Learn how to properly cook rice (or just give in and buy a rice cooker!)
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"به هیچ یار مده خاطر و به هیچ دیار/ که بر و بحر فراخ است و آدمی بسیار"

— From Saadi, the medieval Persian poet. I came across this line on a friend’s Twitter feed. I’ll leave the exact translation up to the pros, but the message is not to tie yourself to any one person or place, because the world is full of both people and places to explore. It speaks to the foreign correspondent inside me :-)

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Iran’s currency crisis

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Credit: Reuters/Thaier al-Sudani

What’s going on with the Iranian rial? My colleagues and I have been following the issue closely. Here are a selection of stories that explain the rial’s huge falls in the last few weeks.

Iran launches forex centre to support sagging rial - Reuters.com, September 24, 2012

Iran rial hits record low despite new effort to stabilise it - Reuters.com, September 25, 2012

Iran rial plunges as Western sanctions bite - Reuters.com, October 1, 2012

Iranian police clash with protesters over currency plunge - Reuters.com, October 3, 2012

Tehran’s Grand Bazaar reopens, currency trade still frozen - Reuters.com, October 6, 2012

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"

Many have asked, pointing incredulously toward a sweep of tract homes and billboards, why picture that? The question sounds simple, but it implies a difficult issue—why open our eyes anywhere but in undamaged places like national parks?

One reason is, of course, that we do not live in parks, that we need to improve things at home, and that to do it we have to see the facts without blinking … Paradoxically, however, we also need to see the whole geography, natural and man-made, to experience a peace; all land, no matter what has happened to it, has over it a grace, an absolutely persistent beauty.

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— Robert Adams, 1974. He was speaking about photography but I think it applies pretty well to all forms of bearing witness.