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2,500 years of tamaddon
Soccer and other manifestations of "civilization"

By Chiva K. Tafazzoli
October 24, 2001
The Iranian

It was another lazy Sunday and I was kind of bored. I had waited far too long for this match. I had checked fifa.com several times and was angry about the match being postponed twice. Many scenarios were wandering in my sick mind...

Iran would win, we would qualify for the World Cup for the third time... Crowds would invade the streets of big cities in Iran and express joy mixed with life's frustrations... We would all be happy and united, at least for a little while...

The phone rang. My friends were giggling: "concerte Dariushe emshab, miyaai?" And then other images popped into my mind. Dariush in concert. Wow... That's going to be fun... All the Iranian girls dressed up, looking for potential husbands... All the boys trying to show off and impress the girls... And probably it would all end in a big fight -- another reason to be ashamed of what we call 2,500 years of "tamaddon"...

"No thanks,"I said. "I'm going to watch the match via satellite but I'll send you messages on your cell phone to keep you updated about the score. Go ahead and have fun."

Then came the big moment. Everything was ready: The chilled bottle of Diet Coke, pistachios, the remote control, the big screen TV and the beamer, dolby surround sound and a cozy sofa in front of the screen.

Before I knew it, the score was 1-0 in favor of Bahrain...

Well, here we go... I sent a message to my friends keeping them informed of the score. I got a message back: "Concert gharaar boodeh nim saa'at pish shoroo besheh, vali hameh hanooz montazerim." By the way, my friends had no seats since the baghghaali where they bought the tickets had sold the same seats twice.

"Well, good for me, at least I'm home with a place to sit," I told myself and, optimistic as usual, I said to myself that the match had only started, and Iran had some 80 minutes to play... changes happen quickly in a soccer match...

The longer I watched, the more I got the feeling that even my late grandmother would play better than any of those guys in white. And of course, by the end of the first half, the score was already 2-0 against Iran. What a shame. Who would they blame this time?

And then, the catastrophe of the second half: there were only 9 of our boys left on the field and boy, what a disaster...

I turned the TV off. My thoughts had changed....

Now the images in my mind were those of Iranian masses, not able to let out their frustrations.... And I thought it would probably be better not to qualify for the World Cup at all, rather than make a joke out of ourselves in front of the entire world. What those guys did, was anything but worthy of an Asian group leader.

I took the phone, called my friends, reported the sad score and asked them about the concert.

"Jaat khaali bood, kheili khosh gozasht. nazik bood kotak-kaari besheh. Vaaghean heyf shod nayoomadi."

I asked myself, Is it better to be ashamed of watching Iran being killed by a lousy team like Bahrain, or a concert audience almost killing each other? Both of them have made me proud of 2,500 years of "tamaddon". Much more to come...

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