Wednesday, April 11, 2007


A while back, when my grandmother and granfather were visiting from Iran, I went around and made the entire house grandparent-proof to ensure their safety and comfort. I tucked away loose wires, pinned down the fraying edges of rugs, made sure sharp corners of the furniture were not exposed, put nightlights in the hallway, and placed everything they would need in the morning for breakfast within immediate reach. I even put a few reminder notes around the house to make sure all the bases were covered.

When there are young children or elderly folks around, the whole landscape of a place changes. You start to look at seemingly harmless spaces as dangerous obstacle courses where ordinary objects can cause large scale disasters, which brings me, oddly enough, to why I haven't been blogging for a while.

I've been buried in deadlines, it's true, but that is not the whole story. The problem is a broader one having to do with how in the context of dominant discourses in the U.S., discussion of the most basic issues can get you twisted in a huge mess of accusations, harassement, and a whole lot of other troubles.

In other parts of the world, in the lands of the "unfree", people know exactly what the red lines are: they speak around them or develop sophisticated languages for addressing the very things they are not supposed to be talking about. Most importantly, no one has any illusions about the limits imposed on their speech and actions, and so they are more clear-headed about how to strategize towards their goals.

It gets exhausting when you feel like broaching the most simple topics can land you in a minefield. I just needed some time to recover from that fatigue, I guess. I will try to write more, if not here, then in the few remaining outlets where one can get away with relatively little self-censorship.