We haven't changed a bit
Iranians fell for Khomeini. Now they're falling
September 30, 2004
The whole thing about Ahura Yazdi has brought back so many beautiful
childhood memories and I would love to share them with you and
I hope they will be as meaningful for you as they are for me and
Kobi was Khomeini's ambassador to our house. I was thirteen at
the time of the revolution. Growing up in an upper-middle-class
family in Tehran, enjoying a lively and beautiful childhood, never
knowing anything about the poor or the sick. My life was filled
with each and every kind of refreshment a 13-year-old boy in the
late 1970 could have. But the very first breeze of the revolution,
which was brought to us by Kobi, changed it all.
Kobra, our old maid, was so dear to us that the children of
the house called her Kobi. She was always there for us whenever
we needed her. I can still feel the nice smell of her clothes when
she took us in her arms and told us stories about her birthplace,
Aligoodarz. She could not read or write but knew many poems
by heart and would teach us proverbs.
While my mother was
strict about table manners and polite talk, Kobi was always
relaxed. She let us be ourselves and do whatever
we wanted -- when my mother was not present. She also used to
make us a little bit superstitious.
For example she used to tell
say asstaghforellah whenever we saw a crow. In her
opinion, crows brought bad luck and must be dispelled by saying asstaghforellah.
Mind you I still say that whenever a crow flies overhead after
all these years and I don't know
why. Maybe because it
reminds me of Kobi and my magnificant childhood. Or I am
of "bad luck".
It was Kobi who first brought us news of demonstrations. I remember
one day she told my mother about thousands being killed in
Tehran's Jaleh Square and then I heard my mother whispering
to her "Shhhhhhh, do not ever say these things in front of
the kids again."
But kobi would not stop. First she taught
us to how to perform prayers. She used to come to our rooms every
day and tell us things about kheyr o shar (good and evil).
At dawn she would wake
the morning prayers. She did not even know that a thirteen-year-old
boy is not mature enough to say prayers. Of course all these things
were done behind my mother's back because we never wanted to make
our parents get wind of these things and fire Kobi.
Kobi was heedless to my mother's nagging and continued to smuggle
news of the revolution. Whenever she was sent to
buy tomatoes and potatoes she would make a bee line to the nearest
demonstration and get back home after four hours. And later at
our nocturnal meeting with Kobi in the kitchen she would tell us
about the things she had seen and heard during the day. It was
on one of those nights when I heard about "Agha" Khomeini.
I wondered what this Agha looked
like and why so many people had so much faith in him.
night Kobi looked red-faced and jittery all through dinner, as
if she was dying to tell us something. But my mother
and father were present
and she could not say anything. When she was serving us food
I could tell we were going to have a very exciting discussion in
later in the kitchen.
After a few hours she told us
everything. The exciting news was that she had seen
Agha's image on the moon that evening. I could
not believe my ears. My 9-year-old sister asked her how come she
image belonged to Agha since Kobi had never seen him. Kobi remained
and told her it was obvious it was him. Whose
else would it be? Then she took us to the yard to see for
ourselves. And we saw him. All of us. We went out of our way to
You know the rest of the story. Daily arson attacks and demonstrations
here and there. My older brother was the first member of the family
who officially joined the revolutionaries. His footsteps were carefully
followed by the rest of us and soon all the kids openly announced
the trend to our parents. Kobi was so happy. She was the
coordinator of our recolutionary activities in the house. It was
she who would tell us where to go during the day and what slogans
to chant. My poor mother fumed with anger but could not do anything
To show us that she still has the upper
hand, my mother played a trick. One day she packed a lot of
stuff and took us all to our family property in the north. She
told my father she would not get back until things calmed
in Tehran. She made sure that
Kobi remained in Tehran to take care of our father and virtually
separated us from our dear Kobi.
When the Shah left the country
my mother was
the only person in the family who cried and when Khomeini arrived
she was the only one who locked herself in her bedroom, pretending
to be asleep, while the rest of us were glued to the TV to catch
the first glimpse
The old man came down the steps of
plane and we were then convinved that we were looking at
the face of the same "man on the moon". Even my aunt
Shahla, who had graduated from a very good university and was
modern woman, rubbed Khomeieni's beard on the TV screen and kissed
it. Aunt Shahla fled
So the big changes happened and we experienced things we had
never dreamt of. Executions, war, daily bombing, red alert, anti
aircraft fire, missiles, rationing of fuel and food, Sarollah revolutionary
patrols, basijis and komitehchis ... And we developed a new
vocabulary; words like mostaz'af, mostakbar, taaghoot, sahyonist, and emperialist
Kobi died 10 years
heart. In her
final days she told me she was not sure that the image on the
moon really belonged to Agha.
Now after 25 years of hardship and living under the reign of
this and that mullah, a new phenomenon has turned up. A guy called
Ahura who, like Khomeini, wants to free his nation from tyranny.
Like Khomeini he is a spiritual leader and takes his power from
a super natural world called Hakha.
Khomeini's face was seen on
the moon (maah) while Ahura's face is beamed into TV
sets via satellite (maahvaareh). Like Khomeini, Ahura
can gather people and make
known. And I am sure if he is given the power he would be as
ruthless and reckeless as Khomeini. Most interesting of all are
and thousands of ladies and gentlemen who like my aunt Shahla
are probably educated, but call Ahura's show and tell him
love him. Just a few hours ago a lady called the show to tell
Ahura how she would like to die for him.
The whole fuss about Ahura, however baseless and insignificant
it may be, clearly shows one thing: Iranians have not changed.
All the pain and suffering we went through did not broaden our
mind. Iranians still see faces on the
moon. Iranians are gullible and can be easily fooled and shaped
in the hands of charlattans like Ahura.
Believe me if another Khomeini
shows up somewhere on the face of the earth, this nation
will fall for him all over again. And my mother, still a dazzling
at the age of 80 despite suffering from alzheimers, remains seated
in her favorite chair before the TV all day long listening to
all these things on LA based media, never knowing what is going
God knows I would give my right arm to know what she thinks