On Tuesday of last week I took our university shuttle to the parking deck where I leave my car while I am in classes. I approached my car from the back, so only when I sat inside did I see something stuffed under my windshield wiper. I figured it was a flyer for something until I paid attention and saw it was a sheet of notebook paper, I thought perhaps a friend had left a note for me on my car. So I got out and found this little gem:
Before I begin, I'd like to point out two things:
1. It is spelled “terrorist.” You'd think after seeing it day in and day out on television, in newspapers, in magazines, in textbooks that people would learn how to properly spell the word.
2. Who the hell carries an orange marker at a university?
At first I didn't understand. I mean, I understood but I didn't understand how someone had figured out that I was a terrorist! Maybe someone watched me leave my car when I first came to school and was so enraged my by obviously Middle Eastern looks that they decided to tell me about it. Then I became rather paranoid, thinking people were watching me and if they went to the trouble of watching me leave my car and writing a note, perhaps they'd sit and stalk me from afar, watching my facial reaction as I read it and then shoot me in the head with a sniper rifle.
Well, okay, maybe that's a bit extreme, but whenever I'm in this sort of situation I tend to consider all possibilities, no matter how implausible.
I got back in my car, my love note tucked safely away in my bag, I looked at my rear view mirror to back up when I realized what had happened.
A few months ago I had purchased a little flag, the old Iranian flag (pre-revolution) and at the top of the flag in green block letters it reads “IRAN” just to make it clear for people who have trouble recognizing world flags.
So someone who was arriving at or leaving school saw this flag and that it was obviously Iranian, felt so offended that they delayed their trip to class or their trip home a good few minutes to take out their notebook, grab a marker (I'm still amazed about the marker) and tell me about it. To be honest I feel sort of flattered that someone took that much time out of their day to recognize me.
When I first put the flag in my car my family told me I was being idiotic and that I'd be carjacked by skinheads or the Christian Coalition, whichever found me first, and for this reason I've opted out of telling my family, I'm not ready to hear a lecture full of “I told you so,” and “America does not like Iran, it is not a good time for us.”
I have been told on multiple occasions that it is not the proper time to attempt a political statement, but what people fail to see is that I'm not making a political statement. I did not purchase this flag to say “I am Iranian! Nuclear technology or not I support my country!” I did not purchase it in an effort to agitate the restless southern masses in the glorious state of Georgia, I did it because I love my home. No political statement intended.
Overall I found this more entertaining than anything else. Maybe, just maybe, I'm becoming immune to this sort of thing. It's strange, the more incidents I encounter like this, the less offended and frightened I become. Perhaps because I've never been physical harmed I feel that these are all empty threats, which I realize is a dangerous way of thinking, but what other options are we left with?
After September 11 th it became quite apparent that we would encounter much more hatred, to fret over every occurrence is too time consuming and I'm sure eventually leads to mental illness. So what should we do, you ask? Well, park closer to the cameras in case next time they bring spray-paint and decide to knock out the windows.
Silliness aside, I believe there is (generally) a very clear line between the government of a country and the citizens within that country, but on my not-so-optimistic days events like this help blur that line and make me wonder if I am to choose the lesser of two evils, who do I go with? The Islamic Republic or America?
As a university student Tahereh wastes away her the bulk of her life studying. In her spare time she drinks toxic amounts of tea while dreaming of a united Iran where she can raise her future children. She keeps a blog anar-anar.livejournal.com