What Yeggia Once Told Me About Iran

I guess I’d heard the call several tmies before n my life, but it never came clear until the end of 2003, when Iran summoned me in all her splendor and despair. And I really hadn’t known many Iranians in my life, but I knew I’d fallen in love. With Iran. 

And there was a colleague of mine at the college where I taught and he was Armenian. And so I figured since he was from that part of the world, he might be interested in Iran. And so I sat down with him one day in the cafeteria and I was like a blushing bride, and I raved about all these brand new things I’d just discovered, and how I’d fallen in love wih poets like Forough and Hafez, and he was very enthusiastic about the literature and how outstanding it was and he recommended some other things I should read. And I was surprised and confused and I said, oh, you know so much about Iran, and he said I was born and grew up in Tehran, and I said I thought you were Armenian and he said I’m Iranian Armenian. 

And well, I guess he must’ve been sixty something, and so then he said that he’d left Iran in the 60’s and never looked back, and I said why, and he said that as far as he was concerned, as long as they saved the literature and music, the entire country could fall into the sea. And I was dumbstruck and felt like someone’d kicked me pregnant in the belly, and I could barely speak but I managed to say, what do you mean, why do you say that? And he said very emphatically, Because everything, everything there is ideological, and it’s impossible to have a normal conversation, and all they do is polemicize and argue. And then he peered intently and with authority deep into my eyes  (as he was older than me and also tenured and I was only an adjunct), and said again, this time more firmly,  that as far as he was concerned, as long as they saved the literature and music, the entire country could fall into the sea. 

And well, I never actually told anyone that before but for some reason today I felt like telling you. And please don’t try to  debate me about it. Because I didn’t say it.

Yeggia did.

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