A Time for Literary Diplomacy

Friday, September 18, 2015
Ariel Dorfman

Now that recent Senate votes have guaranteed that the agreement to curb Iran’s nuclear program will go into effect, what more can America do, beyond the strictest vigilance, to build on this historic breakthrough for peace?

Perhaps it is time for the citizens of the United States to experience a breakthrough of their own, to go beyond past prejudices against their enemy and use the occasion to gently plunge into the deepest wells of Persian identity that originate in a civilization preceding ours by many centuries. We can do so by connecting with Rumi, a Sufi master born in 1207, whose luminous, salacious, mystical verses written in Farsi are carried by all Iranians in their hearts, as we do the words of Shakespeare. To read even a small selection of Rumi’s witty poems to his beloved can help shatter the blinding stereotypes that separate us from ordinary men and women in Tehran today, the very clichés of mistrust that the negotiators in Geneva had to overcome in order to reach a solution to what seemed an intractable problem.

Read the rest of Dorfman's essay at Tikkun: http://www.tikkun.org/nextgen/a-time-for-literary-diplomacy