Can't keep still in one country
March 17, 2000
"If I see that S.O.B. who convinced me to come to Canada I know
how to deal with him! Oh! I so miss being in Spain!"
This is what Agha Mehti told me in Persian last summer during my visit
to Canada. We were introduced by a mutual friend, who told him I was coming
Agha Mehti is a small man with a curved body and a a typical northern
Persian face. When I asked him if he was a shomali, he said: "What?
Are you kidding me?!". So, he corrected me and said he is from Tehroon!
He then told me that he lived in Spain for a while before heading for
Canada, under the impression that Canada is the lost paradise and all foreigners
are happy and prosperous there. I read between his lines that he felt he
is being wasted in this crude country.
As he was talking, I thought to myself: Have I ever met any Iranian
abroad who was satisfied with his/her situation? I honestly don't think
so. Agha Mehti wasn't the first and surely he won't be the last.
"What have you done in Spain?" I asked him.
"Everything that you can imagine!" he replied.
"And what do you do here?"
He wished he could go back to Europe, the land of "culture"
and "history", as he put it. "Europe has got class!"
he said. I wondered, What has European history got to do with him?
Agha Mehti is a no nonsense, straightforward man. He is not like those
Iranians who claim they have lost their Ph.D. degrees during Iraqi bombing
raids and now have a hard time driving cabs. He is not like many who claim
they had a chance to go to the U.S. right away (sar-zarb!), but went to
Agha Mehti, who got himself smuggled into Canada, shares a common characteristic
with many of us. He is a boaster (gondeh gooz). I do not know why so many
of our sayings about boasting are compared with breaking wind, i.e. "gondeh
gooz", "baa gooz derakht shekoondan", "man aan-am keh
Rostam bovad pahlevaan" (Oops! The theory doesn't hold for the last
I wonder if Agha Mehti knows any of the Iranian chatrooms I frequent
on the Internet? I have seen his problems discussed often. If Agha Mehti
does chat online with other Iranians, he could feel better and realize
that he is not alone.
"You know? I was reading an article a couple of days ago,"
I told Agha Mehti, "that said we Iranians are a 'rider nation'. Maybe
that is the reason why we cannot sit calmly in one place," or as my
mother says: "Koonemoon neshast nadareh!"
Agha Mehti looked doubtful and said nothing. I felt ashamed and tried
not to continue. The third friend smiled.
On my way back to Vienna, I thought about Agha Mehti. I knew his likes
in Iran before they left "hell", as they put it, and I saw them
in Turkey, Bulgaria, Japan and India where they were waiting to get into
any country. Many of them arrived in their dreamlands but are still not
Our Agha Mehti forgets where he is coming from. He is always thinking
about where he wants to go. Here and now apparently do not mean anything