Sunday, August 9, 2009

I'm just waiting 'til the firing stopped

I don't like moping!
But yesterday, I had had two letters which terribly unsettled me. One from a past "revolution"ary and another from a present one.

The new-revolutionary and I used to be poets together. He used to rescue me from the Basiji fanatics who smelled "atheism" and disbelief in supremacy of any leader in my work and save my ass by turning and twisting the meaning of my work.

So yesterday, he pondered on the irony of life in Iran:[I translate]

"It's a bizarre story! The number of people killed in street protests is perhaps the same as those who got killed in the plane crash, travelers who were perhaps taking a vacation from the post-election cacophony. It means that in our country, death is distributed proportionally and fairly among all. No matter whose side you are on, you die in torture chambers or vacation air planes [...] When you live in a part of this world where [unexpected] death is a daily affair, morbidness becomes your daily dish. This is the tale of people who live in this part of the Middle East; every day tens of people are killed in blind and insensitive bombings in Afghanistan and Iraq. and in our own country [Iran] every now and again a young body that is smashed by a hard object turns up, and the TV is incessantly broadcasting "confessions" which are admission to charges so grave, encompassing all crimes against humanity [tongue in cheek]!! that their intensity does not even fit the [small] profile of the confessor, but they are enough to put back to sleep the half slumbering conscience of our ordinary people, seeding a little doubt in their trembling hearts: 'what if there is truth to these confessions?' ... "

The other irony is that the catastrophic air planes were Russian, one was even operated by a Russian crew. When they Russians don't give us proper aerial fleet, how can we trust them give us proper nuclear technology-he has asked me often in the past.

He sounded depressed and frustrated with all this post-election fiasco:

"Perhaps something significant is taking place, but the battle field is disastrously clouded. Today, both sides of the battle are extremely radicalized and unfortunately, there is little hope for reconciliation. Neither that AhmaGHinejad [Ahmagh means fool] has any intention of backing off nor will he stop at anything; nor the other group who has become cognizant of their power which has frightened the government. The government is afraid and is internally inconsistent and hesitant, and the average citizen is empowered and has become stubbornly demanding, but it is not clear for what objective and how far. [...] People's demands are exceeding what Mousavi and Karoubi had first promised to deliver.
What is certain is that this fight will not end soon, although I doubt it will come to any conclusion unless the poor join in. The poor are mostly Ahmadinejad supporters, although they don't know that the responsibility of their poverty falls on the shoulders of these people themselves [i.e. the IRI rulers]. On the other hand, the corruptions of Ahmadinejad's era are not the invention of his administration. The corruption was widespread during Hashemi and Khatami too. Now, only the players have changed. The script is exactly the same as it was before."

maybe Coldplay says it better: "just because I'm losing, doesn't mean I'm lost ..."


Nu'man said...


This is a fantastic posting. Especially the final two paragraphs - they expain what is going on more than any BBC so-called documentary could.

Naj said...

Numan, I pick and choose things for my blog that make sense! BBC is not evil!

German said...

Dear Naj,

The upheaval in Iran – a “terremoto”, a huge earthquake - whose seismic waves are somehow more or less shaking the whole world. No wonder that this phase in the history of your country is not only very confusing to everyone, but concussing you to the very foundations.

But: I think, things in Iran are definitely going to change to the positive - the catch is only: “in the long run”. When a nation of mass murderers like mine, Germany [and not to forget Austria] - which the Iranian nation never has been and never wil be!!- , where more or less everybody (the generation of my parents) had blood on his hand - has turned - within limits - into a more or less civilized country [in my view in two waves: a) directly and basically after the war, thanks to the occupation by in particular the [Western] foreign forces/countries and b) subsequently to and connected with the youth movement of 1968 (whatever I think of it now that I am older) [here again in Germany only a minor part of the young people took part, usually accompanied by the hatred of the average people, without any roots in and support by the ordinary man on the street, the so-called “working class” and so on - but this kind of movement absolutely changed things in the long term, after i.e. 5-10 years].

A nation like Iran - never having committed inconceivable gruesome deeds and an all-out war on humanity and all its neighbouring countries on a widely planned and widely supported mass-scale as this nation of mass-murderers, Germany, did in its history (ca. 200 years after the Enlightenment!!!!) - with that millenia-long mental, intellectual, scientific, cultural etc. etc. - you name it - and - in any case - grand history and tradition - not to be compared with [a European country like] Germany with its historically rather tender, weak, short roots in/to civilization - will definitely prevail in its efforts to continue or take up again or find back to its cultural, intellectual, democratic, tolerant, educated, humane, tradition and develop it in new, unknown, enjoyable directions - in the long run!

Every reason [for Iranians] not to feel downhearted, not to feel inferior to anyone or any nation. On the contrary!

An afterthought:

In the Augustan Age, i.e. during the peaceful term of office of the Roman “princeps” Augustus, after a long phase of bloody civil wars [amounting to more or less 60 years, or rather continuing - with some short interruptions - over a period of nearly 90 years], the great and grand Roman poet Horatius, Horace, wrote the following lines, of which I would like to quote the first one and a half lines:

Quintus Horatius Flaccus
Liber II
Carmen III
23 a.Ch.n.

SERVÁRE MÉNTÉM, [nón secus ín bonís
ab ínsoléntí témperátám
lǽtitiá, moritúre Déllí,]


The Odes
Book II,
“Aequam, Memento…”

[as in fortunate and happy situations you should remember to keep yourself in the same way level-headed, sober, down-to-earth and safe from overexcessive joy.
For you know: you – like everybody of us - will depart this life one day, my dear friend Dellius!]


Conveying the best wishes to you



Nu'man said...

The BBC is very awful, but I wouldn't say it is evil. It's agenda as one would naturally presume, is pro-British interests.

Once again, this posting is very good. The final two paragraphs have cleared up certain things for me.

Anonymous said...

Am I the old, who unsettled you? I hope not. You might have misunderstood me. The choir I was referring to is the group of people, who never change and do not allow for others to change.

History does not repeat itself. But we have to assume that humans remain the same. We still aspire for the same things we did a hundred or a thousand years ago. We grieve and are happy for same reasons, regardless of time and space. Therefore we can learn from previous attempts to reach those goals, from the mistakes and the successes.

My reservation stems from the simple fact that nobody wants to be cheated twice. Trust is difficult to revive. I think the Iranian people have learnt that unconditional trust can backfire.

For what it’s worth, I don't think Iran is losing or has lost. And I don’t think the script is the same, it might look like it, but it isn’t. The turmoil makes some people hesitant and scared (especially those who stand to lose) others draw strength from it (those who stand to gain). It is natural. But when emotions get hold of you, they affect your judgment, which can cause great damage. Then the lessons gained from past experiences are gone.

It is not a question of descending from standards. Iranians come in many shapes and forms and all should be able to live and shape their futures in Iran. This is the only standard I have.
If I am to blame for your moping, it was unintentional and I am sorry.

Naj said...


You didn't make me mope; you made me mad ;)

The A who wrote the letter which I translated made me mope because he doesn't have a choice; he doesn't have any of the accesses and excesses we have. And I got sad with his letter because he, like many in Iran feel trapped; trapped between no good options. This is why we periodically turn into a tar-&-pajama nation; into irrationally martyr-worshipping creatures.; into a "religious" nation. You know better than I how to articulate all of this. I can only sense it.

What I love about Iran is in fact its schizophrenic creativity; it's a land for passion; and despite all sorts of good or bad leaders; one thing has remained consistent in Iran and that is art. It's not a kind of place you can understand, explain or rationalize; it is a kind of a place that moves you, that touches you, that grabs you! And this is why we cannot let it go.

If I were ever to live in Iran, I would be a total misfit. Yet, I cannot let it go. And I moped because I just needed to forget, and needed to catch a breath from the intensity of the experience of this green roller coaster.

I shall be back blogging soon; I need inspiration.

German said...

Dear Naj,

I hope you will recover soon, [so to speak]. After that titanic amount of work you and Pedestrian have performed/are performing, with these giantly/extremely emotionalizing and still enduring times and events in Iran it would be a surprise if you were not deeply exhausted. I don't know how to console you. -
Being a bit slow on the uptake: I haven't got any website of my own. Im just a simple teacher (of Geography, Latin and English on Secondary Level, i.e. pupils from the age of 10 to ca. 18/19 at a German comprehensive school) - so things don't make it a necessity to have a website.

Of all conceivable good wishing you only the best
your German

Nu'man said...


BTW, you say that this person is depressed. From your translation, this is not how it comes across to me. Your friend cearly states what needs to be done - the poor must join - if this clerical tyranny is to be overthrown.

Is there any chance of having a full copy of your friends letter so I can pass around to friends?