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Do be sure to read The Green Zone - the Environmental Costs of Militarism by Barry Sandars.

"But poetry resists academic pretensions, just as the mystery of religious faith evaporates on contact with dogma. Here, more than in the mosques of Esfahan or Mashhad, it is still possible to experience the occasional "lifting of the veil": - as long as one enters without guides and without preconceptions."

"In the middle of the courtyard is a series of steps descending into a deep qanat whose waters are considered holy. When I visited the complex recently, there was no-one there. I descended alone to wash my hands and face. Then I took off my sandals and entered the tiny mosque behind it. As I stood there, light fell onto my hands from somewhere far above my head, and for a moment the presence of something supremely precious and powerfully benign beamed down upon me."

"The Sufi brotherhood that built this remarkable building found wisdom in all the religions; and all were respected. For hundreds of years they lived shoulder to shoulder with the Zoroastrians, whose fire temple stood just metres away from them. The little town of Natanz is an oasis for the spirit. It is a pity that today it is virtually ignored by tourists, and known only to the world for its controversial nuclear power facility, 30 miles away in the emptiness of the Kavir desert."

Ryszard Antolak, Persian Journal,
© Morag Emmerson 2007. oil on linen canvas, 26" x 32".
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