It is 9:30pm July 4th. I'm looking out of the window of an airplane and see balls of fireworks coming up towards us. It is a sight, if you haven't seen it. Amongst other things, I realize that I have never seen fireworks like this before. Last time I saw anything like this was the day I flew out of Los Angeles during the 1992 riots. That wasn't anything fun to see.
But what these two “fiery” days had in common was a sadness that came over me. For the first time I was envious of Americans. Americans have a true Independence Day, a day they can really celebrate as a “real” day. A day, the forefathers fought for and gained it with honor and blood.
Yeah, a lot of other countries, such as Iran, have such bull shit days, but that's what they are, “bull shit days”. None of them are really independence from anything. They are either made up, or built up from a tiny revolution or an unreal event, usually orchestrated by Americans. They're happy to call it Independence Day.
But 4th of July is real. True Americans, white ones, really do celebrate it and are happy. I'm not talking about Iranians in US who celebrate it because it resembles Char Shanbe Soori (last Wednesday of the year for us), or Chinese, who are proud they invented gun powder, or many other immigrants who have no idea what day it is, since they just memorized the question for the citizenship examination.
Now, I was envious, because I wished it for my people, Iranians. Not a whole hell of a lot to ask for, just a day when our people can celebrate independence from something, fire up some fuse and bend their head backwards towards dark skies and say “wow!”
I was in the middle of a horrific trip back from Iran. I was landing in JFK and for the first time in my life in America, I wasn't on the ground with my head bent, saying “aaaaahhhhh”. I still had to figure out a way to get to California and had no idea when, if any, my next flight was going to be. All of these stupid delays for a piece of luggage that was left behind in Heathrow.
I was suppose to be at a friend's drinking and watching fireworks like any red-blooded American, but instead I was flying around.
The feeling of envy mixed with the beauty of fireworks with a view quite unique had me all screwed up, especially since less than a day before I was hugging loved ones and trying to answer why I'm so upset about leaving this time. This trip to Iran started well and good times were plenty while in Iran, but the end was too much.
I saw Iranians sit around and quite unable to figure out what they were going to do with three liters of gasoline a day, after the rationing the gasoline. It was a look of desperation and total confusion, all across. Most, if not saying it, were thinking that the second oil producing country in the world is rationing gasoline for its citizens, an unreal three liters a day, which will allow you to travel less than 20 kilometers a day with the smallest cars.
That was just one of many problems an Iranian had to deal with on a daily bases, but a huge one. That moment in the sky over New York City, I wished for a day, a simple, proud day, where an Iranian could stand on roof tops, in the fields, sit in stadiums and walk along beaches with their heads bent backwards, looking into dark skies and say, “bah bah, ajab atish bazie ghashangi”… “wow, what beautiful fireworks”. Now that's not too much to wish for is it?