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.
— Robert Adams, 1974. He was speaking about photography but I think it applies pretty well to all forms of bearing witness.
Mohammad Reza Pahlavi: No, we Iranians aren’t all that different from you Europeans. If our women wear the veil, so do yours. The veil of the Catholic Church. If our men have more than one wife, so do yours. The wives you call mistresses. And if we believe in visions, you believe in dogmas. If you think yourselves superior, we have no complexes. Don’t ever forget that whatever we have, we taught you three thousand years ago.
Orianna Fallaci:Three thousand years ago…I see now you’re smiling too, Majesty. You don’t look so sad any more. Ah, it’s too bad we can’t agree on the business of the blacklists.
MRP:But can you really be on the blacklist?
OF: Majesty! As if you didn’t know, you the King of Kings and who knows everything! But I told you, it may well be. I’m on everybody’s blacklist.
MRP:What a pity. Or rather, it doesn’t matter. Even if you’re on the blacklist of my authorities, I’ll put you on the white list of my heart.
OF: You frighten me, Majesty. Thank you, Majesty.