Chronicles from Iran
Chronicles from Iran
The English and The Americans
Iran, February 2006
When one is an Iranian from the diaspora returning home for a couple of weeks' holiday, one is happy to meet up with family, to go to many parties, MEHMÃNI  , and to believe, into the bargain, in the rosy picture of the Iranian society as his hosts depict it: "You see, everything's changed, we know what's going on in the world, we go to the theatre, to exhibitions. We want for nothing. You'll find everything you need in Iran and even better stuff than in Europe. Why did you pay two thousand euros for your PC in Paris? We could have gone to a comparable neighbourhood of Teheran and bought the same for eight hundred. We have as much fun in Teheran as we could have in London; naturally for a better price."
The visiting Iranian is not an idiot. He can detect lies, secrets and half-truths. But Iran is not the society in which he lives, in which his children go to school. After all, he is on holiday. He makes the most of his time and leaves his critical side to lie dormant. In a short time, he will be back in Europe where he can go to the library, choose his book without fearing censorship, read any paper in a pub and peacefully drink a pint of beer. His children follow a lay course of studies and not an imposed set of religious instructions which will tell them how to pray, how to wash, how to hate other communities and how to idolise the EMÃMS  , especially the last one, Khomeiny.
When the Iranian decides to go home for a long period, to settle and work, his point of view changes and the critical sense stays awake, for a while anyway. The rose-tinted illusion of Iranian society soon fades. Of course, things change or have changed, but often for the worse. In Teheran, a western consumerist lifestyle is embraced, but it is nothing but a travesty, as the PC for eight hundred euros along with many hardware parts and as much software are counterfeit or illegal copies.
I was in Iran a little while ago and I found everything covered by a dusty shroud and cobwebs: people, ideas, ways of thinking and social relations.
Nepotism, inaction, self-satisfaction, permanent fear, corruption and conservatism have been the ingredients of the Iranian society and politics for thirty, fifty, a hundred or more years. They are the same today and, in the last thirty years, we have added arrogance to top it all. Iran is in a state of decay despite a young and resourceful population. The Iranian revels in nostalgia and drowns himself in a pathological negativism for the present and the future. Iran under the Islamic Republic of ÃKHONDS is dying, turning its potential to liabilities.
The Iranian is more often than not, dedicated, welcoming and bright, but he is deficient in public or socio-political matters. Intelligence or even mere education is no evidence for strength of character. His preferred expressions are: "INSHÃLLÃH" , "it'll pass"  , "it cannot be helped"  . For at least two hundred years the Iranian has been expecting a Godot  , a Messiah, the Mehdi  , to gain access to justice, liberty and social peace. He refuses to understand that for all these, he has to roll up his sleeves, sweat, defend himself, get on with his fellow countrymen, compromise, and open himself up to dialogue.
If at parties in Great Britain, the British are masters of holding conversation on the weather, good or bad, in Iran the weather is normally sunny, so that the Iranians are denied the opportunity of discussing it. In many parties, MEHMÃNIS , the subject which calls up an audience is the government. That, with the sole aim of flaying and reviling the government: