When I entered this blogging community last October people often used to ask me "Why Iran?" It's strange. Nobody ever asks me that anymore. They just say "Rosie, you're one of us."
But they used to ask me that question a lot. And there were so many reasons why. But they were all really part of one big reason, like so many facets of one brilliant diamond..And so it was very hard to answer. But one of these facets of this diamond was linguistics.
* * *
You see I'd studied no few European languages to greater or lesser extent. Germanic, Romance, Slaviic. And of course they all have relationships among them. And for quite some time I'd wanted to study a more remote Indo (Aryan)-European language to see what whispers perhaps still remained of our collective memory from when we were all one tribe wandering the great steppe of Eurasia, over five thousand years ago. So since so many other facets of the diamond were already shining, I thought I should learn Persian. And so I did.
And the first whisper I heard of those collective voices was when I learned the words zan o mard. Mard was simple. Mard, mordan, marg/martyr, mort (Fr. death), mortal, morgue. Man, he who dies.
Zan was little more complicated. Zhena (Russian, woman), gyn -- (Greek, as in misogynist,gynecology), gen -- (Latinate, as in generate). Hence, woman, she who creates, who gives life.
Zan. Zendegi. Mard. Marg.
And so the collective whispers told me that we are different. Man--finite, limited, enclosed, bound for mortality, death. Woman--open, unlimited, infinite, undying because creatrix of all life.
Zan o mard. Mard o zan. We are different, these ancestral voices whispered
Yes, we are different. Or are we?
* * *
Digging deeper beneath these depths, it is impossible not to see that this "difference" between the essence of zan and mard parallels exactly the Chinese Taoist symbol of the yin/yang, its underlying principle of all that is. The yin--female principle, open, formless, undefined, soft, circular, weak, water. The yang--male principle, closed, finite, formed, straight, hard, strong,stone.
They are different.
But in Taoist cosmology what is essential is that the yin/yang both contain the other. And are destined to become one another. Because this is the way of the Taoist, And the Tao is usually translated as The Way. This containing of opposites is perhaps most evident in the martial arts, the greatest of which is tai chi. . Where the one who can surrender comppletely is the srongest fighter. It is the way of least resistance. The Tao is they Way of Strength in Surrender, of opposites embracing each other. eternally, in endless flux.
* * *
There are parallels of course in biology. The sexual cells of the embryo after conception are still undifferentiated. And as we age, we begin to acquire the characteristics of the other sex through hormonak changes. And in between, if we are lucky enough to really be able to surrender to the act of love, there too we become each other.
* * *
I hate generalizations about any group. Ethnic, national, religious, political, etc. I hate them because they cause hate. And hatred is always a form of war. But most of all I hate generalizations about sexuality, homosexuals are this way, heteros that, men are from Mars, women from Milwaukee.. Because we generalize and categorize and hate to have power.
And our deepest feelings of powerlessneess (impotence--poder in Spanish, both to be able to and power) I believe come from inadequacies we feel about our sexual identity. Because we are different. But in reality we embody each other and both in an endless cycle of flux. .So perhaps our categorizations about sexuality are at the root of all hatreds. Because hatred is a play for power. And sexuality is perceived as power.
And there is nothing uglier than the gruesome war between a man and a woman for power trapped in polarization, in difference. When a man becomes hard and silent as stone, and a woman wet with hysterical (hysteria-Greek, wandering womb, think hytorectomy).
* * *
I thought I'd fought out these wars since my youth, first with men and then within myself and both. And I really thought I'd won them to a large extent. And achieved some balance in flux, integration. So I odn't really understand howt it could happen to me at the coming of the completion of a half century of life, I could succumb to such roles, categories and polarization. Thie old war game of we are different. Is it perhaps because I'd really made so much progress that it was time to face a far greater contender than I had ever faced before? Or is it simply that all the victories I thought I'd won over zan o mard mard o zan within and without were never victories after all? That I was mistaken all along.?
I don't really know.
All I know is you have been my greatest contender. And I've been fighting a war I didn't want to fight. The ugliest of wars I'e ever seen, of a man gone hard and silent as sstone and a woman wet with vicitimization. And the more I say the less you hear and the less you say the more I hear. And it's all so typical and so cliched and so guresome so bloody and it's all just deafness anyway.
Yes you've been a most fearsome contender. As silent and ugly as stone..
And I concede complete and utter defeat. I can no longer fight this war
And I realize it is time to go back into myself and once again face the zan o mard mard o zan within me until they embodiy and embrace each other in an endless cycle of flux. I must fight this war deep in me. Hear its whispers and cries deep in me. It is lonely and frightening to go in once again but there is nothing, nothing on earth or in hell as fightening as your silence of stone.
Yes, you've been by far my greatest contender.
* * *
I have lost. I give up.
Which I suppose must mean I have won.
In a way.
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