Okay, so Iran has a lot of work ahead in the realm of human rights, although many other countries do too. And even if this is a promotional video, we can agree that the greatness and beauty of Iran are its people, cities and countryside — and that beauty exists above and beyond its politics and shortcomings. Should we not go?
Iran is monitored for its extremely harsh treatment for narcotic-related offenses, including its use of the death penalty, and its revolutionary courts suppress freedom of speech by arresting and imprisoning journalists and bloggers. Additionally, Iran’s record on women’s rights is highly questionable, even within Islamic cultural context.
With this said, do we go to Iran, and what is achieved if we do not? Do we pass over a county that is transforming, albeit slowly, in the realms of culture, human rights, and global interaction? Is it worth investing tourism money in a country that is, on one hand, opulent, astonishing historically and filled with kind and interesting people, but on the other hand, maintains an overbearing and repressive government and leadership?
Personally, I suggest we go — the infusion of people from different cultures and backgrounds creates social change — bilateral social change. If we visit Iran, India, China, Turkey, Africa, Australia, or any other country unlike our own, our presence creates change, and we transfer elements of our cultural identity into theirs. Likewise, no amount of news, documentaries, Internet photos, or videos will introduce other cultures to us or influence our perspectives of them the same way personal exposure to them in their environment does.
And after all, what’s more impressive: to only question and make opinions about an infamous county with astonishing culture with an overbearing government that you’ve only read about, or speak about your personal experience meeting Iranians while showing off highly spectacular images from when you were actually there?
Note: Opinions expressed herein are those of the author only, and are not necessarily held by the individuals, groups, or producers of media featured in this article.