My road to Iran began with the flames of September 11 and led me two years later to Forough’s poem on light. And so it has been a road suffused in light, albeit two different kinds of light.
The history of Iran has been suffused in light but it has also been veiled in darkness. I am an Eastern European Jew so I know well the ways of both darkness and light, and still I believe that Light will find the way.
I wrote these lyrics at the end of 2003. two years after the burning of the towers in my home city of New York. It was several months after the invasion of Iraq, and shortly after the earthquake in Bam. Because it is a song, it lacks the cogency of poetry, but gains thus in some ways in simplicty. This is the song I wrote and sang for you:
A story was told of a land filled with gold
But then all of her waters ran red.
So the people felt called to build a great wall
For all those who shall bleed or have bled.
Always at night I hear you calling my name
But the fault lines still remain.
Salaam Iran you are so much like me
A child crying iin the dark for your history.
But it could bathe you in its light but first you have to want to see.
When will you learn to dance?
There was a princess who cried for her father’s pride
And then finally she died all alone.
Well I’d heard your Messiah would emerge from the fire
So why does he speak out of stone?
Always at night I feel the fault lines.
When will we try for the gold mines?
Salaam Iran you are so much like me.
You’ve fallen captive of your own mystery.
But it could bathe you in its light but first you have to want to be free
So tell me, when will you return to dance?
All the conquerors came but they never could really conquer you.
They could build walls of your skulls, seal your soil with salt, but some things never change.
Like your names, like your hiding golden flames,
These things can never change.
They lie far too deep inside.
So why should you stop now?
The wind has taken you this far.
It still can carry you
Far beyond your walls.
Salaam Iran I am so much like you.
You lit so many candles for me that night,
Now here’s one for you.
It is time to tell your story, time to go and find your truth.
Time to grow, time to let it flow,
I feel the Light trying to shine through you.
And I know it can so come on Iran!
I said Salaam, ooh, turn it on, the whole world is waiting for you!
How our colors will play on the brand new day,
We’ll put on all our jewels
And I promise you we’ll dance.
* * *
It is now four years later, and you and I and the world have seen much darkness. And the eyes of the world are now upon you. Tell them who you are, find out who you are. Stand up, Iran, and dance.
Zire shamshir-e-ghamesh raqs konaan bayaad raft. Under the sword of our sorrow we all must dance. Under the sword of the atom bomb we all must dance. Under the sword of global warming we all must dance. Under the sword of bush and khamenei we all must dance. Under the sword of our history we all must dance. Dance, Iran, dance, the world is watching you.
It is the second coming and the time is coming, and the second coming has always been coming and the time is now and nas always been now, and the time has come, and it is YOUR time, Iran. Water your dead and grow a new world. It is the only way you can honor them. Remove your hijab, ALL your hijabs. Stand up Iran, and dance.