An American in Tehran

Tehran. (image: matthew cassel)

An American in Tehran
The ‘Green Revolution’ won’t come as soon as we think it will.
by Matthew Cassel

I awoke as the plane’s wheels touched the ground. Two women in the row ahead of me secured their scarves over their heads, and I popped some gum into my mouth to cover up any lingering scent of alcohol on my breath. Pulling up to the gate, I glimpsed the red, white and green flags with the distinctive “Allah” logo in the middle, welcoming me—I hoped—to the Islamic Republic of Iran.

I was going to Iran in the midst of ongoing protests that began following last June’s contentious presidential elections. As an American journalist who has worked in the region for years, I was invited to give a talk at a media conference on the Western media’s coverage of the Middle East.

Venezuela pics online

image: matthew cassel
image: matthew cassel

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Finally! After many months I’ve uploaded images I took in Venezuela back in April of this year. It was not an easy trip, I was only in the country for about a week and tried to do way too much. It usually takes me that long just to get a feel for a place before I feel comfortable walking around taking photographs, which was very hard to do on this trip. I brought only one fixed 35 mm lens so as to not stand out too much, and I also kept my camera in my bag most of the time since having uninsured gear in a tough city like Caracas is not fun — everywhere we went Venezuelans told me to be careful because I would get jumped for my gear.

Crime is high in Caracas, but I was really impressed meeting those organizing against it. In many communities in Venezuela, there is an energy similar to one I felt in Palestine earlier in the intifada, or even in Chicago in 2003 when tens of thousands were organizing against the war in Iraq. Another thing that impressed me was that just walking around we came across health clinic after health clinic that I could just enter and be treated for free by well-trained Cuban doctors. This made me feel constantly safe — the complete opposite to being in the states with no health coverage. Needless to say, I will be back in Venezuela soon.

Many thanks to my sister for her initial invitation to visit and her assistance with everything thereafter.