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I'm gonna live my life
Having some sort of Middle Eastern heritage is about the same as being Black in the 60's

By Alborz Bahmani
September 11, 2002
The Iranian

This was emailed to on September 18, 2001

I consider myself very lucky to work with an educated group of fellow Americans who judge me for myself. Below is an interesting email that my 22-year-old son Alborz Bahmani wrote me. You may posted it on the web.

-- Assad Bahmani
Dallas, Texas


It's quiet, almost too quiet. Life goes on here but there's a muted stillness in the air. Traffic seems to go slower than usual in the bayou city. Conversations begin and end on shorthand, a few words and glance is all that's needed. Lovers snuggle against one another, pausing, wondering, is this the last?

The sky is empty and clear. I now kinda know what it feels like to be living in the 19th century in the aftermath of a reign of terror. Horror, fear, and vengeance are the feelings of today. People have eyes and ears glued listening and watching the instant replay footage of destruction over and over, edited with multiple camera angles, and a voice over track. I'm glad I didn't see the MTV news version of it. It's unhealthy. Bright side at least, no view.

Christ, I can imagine those corporate pop culture spinsters trivializinng this, "Yes Meredith, it is a horrible thing. I feel bad for the families. And when we return, what's hot in Fall paramilitary fashion."

War is the word of the day. Seriously, I'm scared and shocked like everyone else. I keep myself sane with humor poking fun at the absurbity of it all, hoping Rod Serling would come out, and do his monologue explaining such terror is home to a place called the Twilight Zone. Somehow we all find our own way to cope with it.

Flashbacks of Operation Desert Storm enter my head all along the taunts "Sand Nigger", and the ass whupping I received in middle school for it. Seems like being or even having some sort of Middle Eastern heritage is about the same as being Black in the 60's, born suspect. If you have one tenth blood in you, that one tenth is all that matters.

Today mom suggested it would be all right if I legally changed my last name to her maiden Gutierrez. "It's better to do it while you're young," she says as I imagine myself "outed" for hiding half of my heritage in some congressional committee on anti-American activities. I also imagine Arab Americans buying lawn mowers, chuhuanhas, and chevy pickup trucks moving into Hispanic neighborhoods to hide from persecution. Habib is now Jesus (pronounced Hey-Zeus), and Mohamed is now Miguel.

This is not the old-school type of war, this is guerilla warfare. It's a network not a country. They are there not because they have to, but they are given the idea that they want to. Our darksides overshadowed in their heads dehumanizing us, as we do, to some extent, them. Only true way to fight that is with ideas, and facts. Just killing and bombing the bastards will create more atrocities, and more bastards to begin with.

Most of their population is under and uneducated group of manchilds under 25 years who only know how to do one thing, fight. Also we trained them in the Cold War, and left them after it ended. It's easier to fight than learn how to read, make a better life for yourself in a part of the world with no stable economic infrastructure.

Then again it's not entirely our fault, when you look at the big picture. There's always more than enough blame to go around for everybody. It takes less effort to bomb than to build something more permanent than a dirt road. Women in a small town in Pakistan had to band together in an abstinance strike to get their village to get running water as opposed to walking 3 miles to the neared well.

It's funny how the political pendulum swings. A couple days ago we were in the middle, and now it's swung fully to the right. One moment we're instrospective examining ourselves seeing what's wrong with the picture, the next moment we're clinging to what we believe is left of it. A change from Kerouac's "On the Road" to Heinlien's "Starship Troopers" or, god orbid, "Fahrenheit 451".

Then again that point may be moot. In the end after whatever is left standing, how do we rebuild? I hope I can reach my goal of being a storyteller, I still plan attending New York University for grad school. I'm not going to run either, I want to but I'm not. But in the meantime in between time, I'm gonna chill, live my life, stop rambling and risk it, telling it as I see it; sharing my perverted sense of humor performing standup Monday night at the Laff Stop on West Gray [Houston, Texas] -- if it's still open.


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