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Shahin & Sepehr

Sehaty Foreign Exchange

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April 1, 1999
The Iranian

Part III

September 1978

Babak was now a senior in an international high school. He had grown into a likable young man easily making friends across the many cultural borders in his school. He had met so many people from different countries and each person he met filled his curiosity a bit more. In the last few years he had met people from Communist Russia, Yugoslavia, Poland, and Bulgaria and had debated their styles of government and had understood them better. He had sat next to a pretty blonde girl from South Africa and came to understand the very fragile nature of the Afrikaaners and their justification for apartheid.

He was most curious about Americans, however. At once they both excited him and appealed to his growing sense of adventure and love for intensity and fun, and at the same time disgusted him with the scent of their cigarettes and fabric softened clothes. They seemed so vulgar and sexual. As a result he met and dated several American girls, mostly out of curiosity. He found them to be eager, flirty and aggressive at the onset of a new relationship, but feelings soon waned as things became predictable and routine. They became indifferent and the constant urge to move on to new excitement eventually doomed the relationships.

The Iranian girls, in contrast were mostly polite, well bred, hardly giving any boy a passing glance except to make sure you were looking. They were sweet and cordial, and Babak wished deeply to get to know them more. But the trend amongst the Iranian girls was a competitive streak as each tried to to outdo the other. Claims of older boyfriends who had cars and went to other schools and junior colleges around town flew through the classrooms. The ultimate popularity prize, to be picked up from school by a boy in a BMW 2002 wearing one of the beards made popular by the Pop singer Sattar!

Malek meanwhile had become fully embroiled in the religious training he was receiving in Qom. The sweet sorrow of Islam embraced him so fully that he felt happy, sad, elated, lost, full and void, all at once. This thrilled his need for stimulation so greatly that he had quickly risen to the top of his class. Encouraged constantly by the clerics who taught him every subject expertly, he soon developed a leadership role among the other students and the younger classmen looked up to him full of admiration and respect.

On his weekend visits home, Malek was attended to reverently by his family. Their pride and social standing had been enhanced greatly by the continuing accomplishments and success of Malek's father, but now even more so by Malek's achievements at school. Malek wore the traditional collarless shirt, robe or abaa of a molla along with small turban and his beard was beginning to come in more fully, although he had never shaved it since going off to school. Many said he was the spitting image of the popular portrait Ali, the revered nephew of the prophet. There was an overwhelming serene sadness about him that instantly attracted anyone he came in contact with. He had it. And knew it. Soon after graduation he would be able to have everything he desired and the thing he desired most was power.

January 1979

Things around town were exploding. All hell had seemed to break loose as the religious class had grown louder and louder in their protestations of the government and unions had gone on strike, the government troops had now gone and made the fatal mistake of firing on the unruly crowds that grew larger and larger each day.

Everyone seemed to think the madness would eventually end and they could all go back to the way things were. But that was impossible now. Whether instigated or tricked or out of self preservation, one side had spilled and tasted the blood of the other and there was no stopping it now. Malek had been pulled from school at the request of one of the mollas in school who had contacts with the underground movements. He had been chosen to help the cause through organization, running money to where it was needed and gathering information.

Malek had felt for a long time now that the vast difference between the opulence of the rich in Tehran and the south city poor was a crime that now needed punishment. His father had gone completely mad in this regard and had all but given up his business, not that he needed to work, and had gone completely underground as he and others in the bazaar had begun to pave the way for His arrival.

Tapes of the fiery speeches of the man had been distributed around town and even Babak's father had gotten a hold of one on one of his trips through the villages. The speeches were patriotic, the logic compelling, and there was no getting around the truth. He was right, this system had to go.

Malek had begun carrying a small revolver as the riots had built up to a fever pitch and the military had not hesitated in responding with the best equipment American ingenuity had to offer. It wasn't a matter of whether there were other options such as riot gear or water cannons or even the nice friendly rubber bullets from Israel. It was a matter of who had decided to use 60mm shells. Babak had quickly grown another year older when he found one in the tappehs one day.Nightly you could watch the Tehran skies light up with red and green tracers flying from one side of the sky to the other. These shells were about 6 inches long and the tips a good 3 inches beyond. These tips when fired could easily cut through a crowd of about 30 or 40 bodies before they stopped. Effective one would think, except for the fact that when used by an Iranian on an Iranian had a consequence that no military manual has yet to point out. The revolution had begun.

End of part Three. Go to part four
* Part one
* Part two
* Part three

* Part four
* Part five

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