Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Iran's World Peace Carpet

April 2009 I traveled to Iran as the first American to weave on their World Peace Carpet, a project sponosored by UNESCO. Please see my Weaving in Iran webpages for photos and details about my experience in Tehran for this event. Last week I received news that the carpet has been completed. It will travel to 30 countries on 5 continents before arriving at its destination at the UN.

I believe the image in the center of the carpet is a representation of the clay tablet upon which Cyrus the Great, ruler of ancient Persia, had written one of the world's first human rights declarations. I am thrilled and honored to have been invited to weave on this carpet. I hope that each of our knots increased the light in the world.

Look closely, perhaps you can see threads of my sheep's wool, which the head weaver Mr. Jafar Shahabi promised to weave into it :)

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Rockin' at the Prophet's Birthday Party

When traveling in Syria my friend Janet and I visited the town of Ma'loula, a village cut into rock about an hour from Damascas known for its preservation of the Aramaic language, the language Christ spoke. The place has a long history, which includes the refuge of Thecla, a woman who led people to Chrisitanity as a follower of St. Paul. A larger-than-life statue of The Virgin Mary overlooks the valley and a monastery on the mountaintop celebrates Mass every morning in Aramaic. Please see my website for a video of the local priest reciting the Lord's Prayer in this ancient language.

The day we arrived in Ma'loula, the townspeople were busy setting up chairs, shade tarps and mega speakers. Soon, rocked-up versions of Sufi music echoed off the bluffs. As we passed by the crowd, men waved to us to join them, handing us small cups of hot tea and bags of roasted nuts. They directed Janet and I to the women's side of the space. Women covered in veils and others wearing black chadors stood up to greet us, kissing us on both cheeks, and others reached out to squeeze our hands. We could hardly hear their greetings over the music. We soon learned that we were in the midst of a birthday celebration for The Prophet Muhammad, may peace be upon him. "We're celebrating about a month late," someone with English told us. "because of the weather."

The mix of religions coexisting in this town felt mirrored in Damascas and every other town we visited in Syria. As if everyone is equally appreciative and proud of a shared rich cultural heritage.

For more information visit: www.MeghanNuttallSayres.com