About two years ago I wrote an article in Persianmirror.com about Muhammad Ali. He is truly a humanitarian and this time he is asking the Islamic Republic to release the American hikers in Iran. Given the news I thought to write about him again and reprint my article.
I support him in this endeavor and wish him the best of luck even though he is asking Khamanei who is a villain and a dictator. Human life is precious and no one should be hesitant to ask a dictator to spare someone’s life. For example, in WWII John Rabe was a German citizen who saved more than 200,000 Chinese from certain massacre at the hands of the Japanese by remaining loyal to Nazi Germany and Hitler. He ended up paying for his good deeds both before and after the war but saving 200,000 lives is a major accomplishment. There is a movie about John Rabe as well.
In 1990 Muhammad Ali went to Iraq, shook hands with Saddam and was able to release the American hostages. At the time there were talks that negotiating on behalf of US Government is a federal crime and Muhammad Ali as a US citizen has broken the law. But who is going to prosecute Muhammad Ali? Anyone?!
I remember it was the mid 70s. I was in 8th or 9th grade when they changed the educational programs, so I was in 1st or 2nd rahnamy-ee. Lunch boxes were in fashion and kids had different kinds. There were 1 level, 2 levels and up to 4 and sometimes 5 levels lunch boxes or as we called them, ghablame-yee.
On the multiple level lunch boxes, 1st level would be for rice, 2nd level for khoresht (stew), 3rd level for salad and 4th level for deserts, and 5th level would be for fruits and other stuff. If you had fewer levels you’d bunch things up. Mine was 2 level, 1st level for the food, 2nd level for deserts and snacks and stuff.
When the lunch bell rang we would run to the yard and everyone get their lunch boxes and sit next to your friends and chow down and talk about school, teachers and sports and stuff.
Live TV was a new thing and they were showing live sporting events, such as World Cup and boxing. Muhammad Ali was a popular sports figure in Iran and people loved him. He was followed with great interest and when they started showing his live matches; interest in him just went to another level.
The live boxing broadcasts were in the middle of the night, like 2 or 3 or 4 in the morning but it didn’t matter. We would gladly wake up and follow his every move and have a great time. At times we wouldn’t go back to bed for the remainder of the night and just discuss the match and be happy when he won and sad when he lost.
In the morning when we got to school the first thing we’d talk about was Ali and his fight the night before. We could not stop talking about him and his moves and his foot dance around the ring.
During lunch we’d talk about the match exclusively and some of us would get up and start shadow punching and the rest of us would hurry up to finish up the lunches and start boxing with each other. Halfway through the lunch break, all the students would finish their lunches and you’d see everyone in the yard either shadow boxing alone or with each other! Kids would not play the usual soccer or other games and just box in the yard.
We loved him. We really, really loved him. The mornings after he lost there were no shadow boxing in the yard and we were in discussion on how the referee did not see the low blow or that he had a cold or something. We’d then talk about his early years when we were younger and had some faint memory of him trash talking. When we couldn’t remember his old days, we’d remember the TV reports prior to his new games about his past and his trash talking or clowning around and toying with his opponent in the ring. So in the mornings after his losses we’d be trash talking instead of shadow boxing.
In the late 70s I moved to America for school and it coincided with his retirement but the memories of those days are always with me. Muhammad Ali is the one man who is respected all around the world. No one is more universally known or respected than Muhammad Ali. He is in fact THE Greatest!