“Everybody, when they are young, knows what their personal legend is. They yearn for everything they would like to see happen to them. But as time passes, a mysterious force begins to convince them that it will be impossible for them to realize their personal legend. The mysterious force is a force that appears to be negative, but actually shows you how to realize your personal legend. It prepares your spirit and your will - It's your mission on earth. To realize it is a person's only real obligation. And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it." From The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho My younger son is leaving on a trip to Amsterdam. A trip he dreamt, planned, and financed himself for a whole year. Part of me wants to protest the distance that is separating him from me. Part of me wants to wish an excellent wind in his sails to go and see and learn. I am reminded of the first day I taught him how to cross the street in Tehran. “Look to your left, look to your right, look to your left again, and go…run.” I waited for him to cross the street, as his little hand slipped out of mine, and off he went. My heart was beating so hard. It would have been so much easier to hold on to his hand and to walk him across the street. So much safer it was. But, he needed to learn to cross the street for himself to be able to get to the other side of the street, where his world was going to begin. Part of the pain of parenthood is to help your children go, go cross that street, go cross that ocean, go look for their “personal legend.” As he bounces around with joy and excitement, getting ready to leave, I brave the pain and hold still with a reassuring smile on my face. He goes to find the world and his personal legend, and I feel lost, staying on my side of the street.
Today I had to run to San Francisco Airport to pick up a dear package, containing two works of art for which I have been waiting for months (I will say no more, because I want to tell you about it in a happy piece soon, containing pictures, words, sentiments, and all—so please no pushing and pulling for getting it out of me sooner than I’m ready!). Though I feel harried these days, with too many commitments and deadlines hanging over my head, I felt really happy and positive today, as it is such a beautiful and warm day in the Bay Area. So, if you want to know just how brazen (por-rou) I am, take a look at this picture. Please note:
- I am not a good photographer.
- I don’t have a good camera.
- I am not a good driver.
- I just had that car accident, and at the time of the accident I wasn’t even doing anything (you know, I wasn’t talking on the phone, talking to someone in the car, smoking, changing CD’s—I was not doing anything other than driving when I ran into that car in front of me).
So, I know you would appreciate my por-rougi when you see that this afternoon at 1:00 p.m. I took a picture with one hand, without focusing or looking at my subject, from inside a moving car, through the closed window. Not bad, ha? I did it to show you that it is a day to love living in the Bay Area. It is a good day to be me.
For me, there were three points of appeal to Carter’s presence at the University: I believe Jimmy Carter to have done very well as a human rights activist (so much better than he did as a US President, I believe). Additionally, he is a man very much hated by a group of Iranians who hold him directly responsible for the regime change of 1979 in Iran. I don’t actually agree with the second point, but it intrigued me enough to want to hear this man talk. The last point is that I believe whether he was good or bad, effective or useless, a servant of human rights or a traitor to them, history will have until eternity to judge Jimmy Carter and other leaders to measure and evaluate them; however, in my limited lifetime, whenever I have a chance to go see major figures of our contemporary history, I never pass it up.
Jimmy Carter talked about his book, and the plight of Palestinians. The overall premise of his book is that while he criticizes suicide bombers and those who "consider the killing of Israelis as victories,” he says "some Israelis believe they have the right to confiscate and colonize Palestinian land and try to justify the sustained subjugation and persecution of increasingly hopeless and aggravated Palestinians." He said Israel will never find peace unless it withdraws from its neighbor’s lands and stops persecuting Palestenians.
He then had a talk with Orville Schell, Dean of Berkeley's Graduate School of Journalism. Schell asked Carter several questions, including what he thought about US taking military action against Iran, and he replied it would be a catastrophe, worse than Iraq.
Another interesting day in Berkeley, wouldn't you say?