A lot of Iranians I’ve talked to have expressed their discontent with the fact that they haven’t been to any countries besides Iran. And all of them seem to been keen, longing almost, to explore whatever it is that lies beyond the horizons they are used to being surrounded by.
They are all immensely well-read when it comes the the world though, being active and loyal users of social media. Some of them even have twice as much knowledge about certain places and cities as the people who actually live in them, but yet they do not even feel half as content.
They should not fret though, because there are faster means of travelling than by plane or train. Ways that can take us far above the highest of mountains and teleport us behind the most skilfully locked of doors. I am, of course, talking about books, man’s most loyal friend.
I could be wrong (since I do not have any statistics to base this on), but the number of literary enthusiasts in Iran seems to be really, really scarce. Some have told me that neither they nor their friends ever have read anything besides their course literature. All, or at least the lion’s share, seem to read only if they have to. And that saddens me. By browsing through our instagram feeds or following a bunch of channels on telegram we may learn an awful lot about other destinations, but books include the journeys to them.
And they keep inviting us back.
Books function as tickets to worlds to which none of us need a passport. And by diving into literature we let the world enter our minds, and we equip ourselves with tools to better deal with the fact that the we, for the time being, are not able to enter it ourselves.