The same wish
How children feel about events of twenty-plus years ago
August 8, 2002
When good things come along, we never have the ability to cherish them, to appreciate
them. Maybe it's part of human nature. Our one fatal flaw, bestowed upon us by the
laughing Gods, is that we forget what is best remembered and remember all the things
that any sane person would choose to forget and put out of their heads.
I am a few weeks shy of nineteen. I was born years after that fateful event that
journalist Robin Wright has called the "Last
Great Revolution" of our times. I am too young to remember the Shah's final
I was not there to cry as his last loyal subjects bowed down before him as he was
inching towards the airliner that would carry him off into foreign lands unknown,
never to come home again. I was not there to witness the tears that were shed by
those around the world who had loved him, as the man who had modernized our country
was laid to his resting place.
I wonder how you can rest in a place that is foreign
to you. Spending eternity locked amidst soil that does not smell of home. Maybe he
is like me, and all of the other "Ghorbat-nesheens" that I have ever known.
Maybe we, too, will share that same fate. From ordinary man to extraordinary king,
we will live and die, forgotten by history.
I am almost nineteen, and I was born years after the event which some have called
the greatest diplay of mob ignorance ever known to mankind. I am too young to remember
the bearded man in plastic slippers who threw thousands of years of culture and dignity
into the wind. Some think him to be a hero, who saved a peoples from repression,
and some label him as being the true Great Satan.
The fact remains that no matter how many people live in denial -- clinging to the
notion that the revolution came about by conspiracy -- no one can escape the sad
reality that we made a mistake.
Those who came before us had one tragic flaw. I mean no disrespect. I am not some
doe-eyed Republican who believes that everything in the West is just and true. But
I have watched the scenes from the past that most of you have lived through.
How can all those men with the blood-stained hands and those women with the rifles
parked under their chadors have been agents of the West? How can we ignore the fact
that so many people rioted, burning down everything that was in sight? How can we
explain how Iranian was pitted against Iranian, how brothers turned in brothers,
how mothers sent their sons off into the flames?
I don't know anything of Iranian politics in specific.
I am an amateur in the world of convoluted relations and covert deals. I am a horrible
liar. I am even worse at weeding out the ones who lie to me. I hope this article
doesn't anger anyone. I am sure a twelve-year-old in Tehran is much better qualified
than me to talk about the Shah and the revolution.
But I thought maybe it would be interesting for some Iranians to know how their children
feel about the events of twenty-plus years ago and the results that were born out
There is a picture of this boy that haunts my dreams at night. I see his face constantly
and I look into those determined eyes and I wonder what is going through his head.
As I fall asleep at night in my warm and comfy bed with a full stomach and a roof
over my head, I wonder what he is being fed, whether his sleep is invaded by nightmares
of fallen comrades, if he his hope for the future has remained intact.
He is somewhere, sitting in a corner of a prison cell. No, he is not a criminal,
not by our standards at least. He did not rape any women or slit any throats or rob
anyone of their belongings. No, those men with those crimes are still roaming the
cities at night, rest assured... He is just a prisoner of cirsumstance. The tragic
workings of the heavens put him in the wrong place at the wrong time holding up a
bloody t-shirt of a fellow college student.
I am a college student, too. I think of the past, the
present... he could be me. I could have been him. We all could have been him, and
we all ARE him. Our hearts and maybe thousands of miles away, separated by oceans
and continents, but all our hearts beat to the tune of "Ey Iran" and whenever
we watch a soccer match or read a passage from Hafez, we all posess the same wish
inside our hearts.
It is good to know the past because when you know the past, the chances are less
that you might repeat it. But, it is also important not to get stuck in thoughts
of the past. The Shah is dead. So is the man who replaced him. So are many others,
heroes and villains, children who died in war, women who were beaten to death by
their husbands, men who turned to drugs who escape from harsh realities.
They seemed worlds apart, but they are today one and the same; and so are we all.
And all we want is a little taste of home sweet home...