One of my favorite shows on TV is “Don’t tell my mother I’m in…” on National Geographic Channel, hosted by Diego Buñuel, grandson of legendary French surrealist cinema filmmaker, Luis Buñuel. Diego travels to countries with bad reputations as potrayed by western news and countries, such as North Korea, Afghanistan, Colombia, Congo, and Gaza. He gets a behind the scenes view of those countries. Some of those countries do have and stands up to their bad reputation (such as North korea for example), but most are nothing like their bad reputation.
Last night I watched his latest episode on Iran, and it is really nothing what you may have heard or seen in the news. Iran is a country full of colours, nice warm people, tolerant, and very very democratic.
Not only do we see the country from Diego’s point of view or his Islamic Iran guides, but half of the series Diego was guided through Iran by a Jewish Iranian. This is something I never knew, a Jew in Iran??
In fact, the 2nd largest population of Jewish people in the Middle East is in Iran, and they also have seats in the parliament both as representative of 25.000.000 Jews in Iran, and also as party members. Yes, Iran is a democratic country where everyone has equal rights no matter of their religion. It is the biggest democratic country in the Middle East.
Iran is also home to many temples, synagogues and churches. People in its society are given freedom to pray according to their faith, freedom to do anything as long as it is under the Islamic Law. And get this, the synagogues have speakers outside, and their chanting can be heard by everyone. This is something we just never thought possible in a country like Iran.
What is Islamic Law? The Islamic law is a law like any other laws. It doesn’t force the people who live under the law to be Muslims, but to just governs their daily life to be halal/kosher to live in.
A Jewish store keeper told Diego about living under Islamic Law. He likes it, low crime he says. He is able to do everything he likes to do as long as it doesn’t break the law. He can drink Vodka and get drunk as long as it is in his home and he doesn’t bother the neighbours.
Almost of the end of the series, Diego talked to a Jewish parliament speaker about the conflict between Iran and Israel. The parliament speaker answered: “It is not the Jews that Iran is fighting against, but the tyranny of Israel towards Palestine and how it is becomming a bully to everyone in the region.”
To find out more about the series, watch “Don’t Tell My Mother I’m In…” every Tuesday nights on National Geographic Channel.