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Unhappy campers
Iranian athletes should have dressed in black and beat their chest as they marched

August 16, 2004

What a great disappointment it was watching the Iranian contingent at the Olympics opening ceremonies the other night [See pix]. They seemed by far the most dejected, most depressed, and the worst dressed group of athletes among the 200 nations who paraded before the eyes of the world that night.

The opening ceremonies are always a joyful event and the one in Athens was no exception. Athletes from the four corners of the world march before a jovial crowd, smiling and waving their respective flags and responding to the cheers from the crowd of enthusiastic spectators. It is somewhat of a carnival atmosphere.

I watched as the small Afghan contingent passed by. They seemed happy to be there. There was a girl among them with no head cover. They were all smiling and waving to the crowd and to the cameras.

The Iraqi Group too, was handsomely dressed and in great mood. The crowd's reaction to them was very positive. Let's not forget that they are an occupied country.

Then there were the small African countries, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Gabon, and others. They are all great friends of the Islamic Republic. The Iranian government is their hero because it stands up to the 'arrogant' powers. But their contingents were happy to be there too. Clad in their colorful local costumes, they were dancing and singing and having a jolly good time.

I think the Iranian athletes should have dressed in black and beat their chest as they marched, like we do while mourning during Moharram. Instead of the national flag, the flag bearer should have carried the familiar alam and kotal. Better yet, when they came across the Israeli contingent, they should have started a fight with them because the Zionists didn't lower their flag as a sign of respect.

Shame on us for having allowed ourselves to be lowered to this level of existence. The fault is ours, ours alone and nobody else's. For as long as we put up and shut up, this will remain to be our fate.

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By Shahriar Zahedi



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