The unworthy.

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"Big news... Ahmadinijad is telling the people of big news tonight" exclaimed my unlikely friend at a local fast-food joint whilst forcing a burger through the hole between his beard. Glaring at the big screen in the corner that prompted the statement, over the heads of consuming Iranians, I studied the screen - it could have been one of many things. Rapidly accessing possible scenarios, combined scenarios and sub scenarios, I arrived at a couple of likely situations, both of which raised the pulse a little. "It's good news" replied my friend, leaving me less reassured.

It's a tense time, a complicated time and a confusing time. It might also be an illogical time and nearing a dangerous time. The president announced a technological advancement which seemed less a statement for Iranian ears and more of the continued word play between the paymaster that surrounds this nation. This news came with a smile for me. Although anything involving the word nuclear troubles me, I can see some merits. On the night of Iran entering the "nuclear club", I conducted a research session regarding the related issues and was kept awake in horror till morning prayer. Beyond the obvious, my ear pricked to the very real scenario that is the ironic possibility of a nuclear strike within Iranian border.

"Seed [nuclear] energy is our right" is chanted in support of these advances yet perverted by children and adopted by elders: "Seed [nuclear] energy 200 toman [£0.12] a pack" is one of many. Among the circles I dance between the preferred term is said with a waiting smile, a jape with solidarity showing no illusion as to the wavering fate of the nation.

A few days after, my unlikely friend managed to lure me into what was presented as spectatorship of the not too uncommon scene of gifting the public with cakes and drinks. The day coincided with the anniversary of prophet Mohammad's birthday, which also conicided with the anniversary of Jesus' resurrection, yet my interest lay with seeing a possible celebration of the nation's controversial technological advancement. Our arrival at the patisserie to pick up the order for 100 kilos of cakes informed me of the real plans and the role that was assumed of me. Nonplussed by this turnout, I excitedly joined a team of five men in throwing together an attempt of a display table part-way into an ally off a busy street. There was no beginning to this event and certainly no opportunity for display - no sooner had cake boxes opened than hands attacked. I fell into the role of cup-filler, receiving top-ups to my copper kettle and supplying to plastic cups. The swelling crowd forked at us with their wanting fingers while shunting the table forward and shouting requests - "Two people", "six people", "three people" instructed the people, who's faces I had no time to see. "You've given me too little" announced a displeased recipient while returning his cup. Angry at the developing greed, my unlikely friend spoke out, "You are being ugly before god" as we witnessed people walking off with six cakes per hand and passing two-litre bottles for filling.

We had surprisingly few operational issues during the handing out and I happily ate my first and only cake as it was informed that we'd managed to fill two thousand cups. I had little time to rejoice though, the aftermath added to my upset at the peoples' behavior. We'd managed to destroy the street - I could hear the repeated crunch of plastic cups under pedestrian feet. We fed the unworthy, littered the streets and paid a lot of money for the privilege. I tried not to imagine the scenes should there be a real need for food, should the nation be forced to defend itself.


  • Iranians are strange in that during times of true crisis, they do seem to bond together. The Imposed War brought together the religious, the secular, the young, the old (at times the very old), pro-Shah, pro-Khomeini, etc. etc. to fight a common enemy. It is sad that it seems ONLY in these times Iranians band together, but the fact remains that they do. There is a much greater sense of national identity among Iranians (and other people in the region) than in Western countries as culture and national identity are sometimes, but only sometimes, interrelated. For this reason I do not worry so much about how the people will be taken care of should the nation need defend itself, but I worry that there simply will not be enough resources, not because the greedy have managed to snatch it all, but simply because there ISN'T enough food (among other things), with sanctions and ports being closed off.
    I am both happy and frightened at the latest development. Iran has not broken any rule of the NPT nor have they even mentioned the thought of withdrawing from the NPT (as North Korea did), yet they are still hounded by the public and threats are being made against a country which does not have nuclear weapons, and even by U.S. and Israeli intelligence will not have for at least ten years, if they choose to produce them. Despite my twisted sense of pride in Iran's accomplishment, I cannot help but fear what actions the West will take to destroy it, and indeed I feel, like you, as if words from Ahmadinejad and Larijani and Mottaki) are often aimed more toward those living outside of Iranian borders rather than within and sometimes are said only to instigate trouble. Despite threats presented, the focus should always be on the people because if they are not equipped with enough or proper information, who is to say another revolution (funded by the West, obviously) is not on the way? Though I wish for such a change, it is not with the help of American hands who will afterward feel entitled to a large dip in our oil fields.

    By Anonymous Tahereh, at 12:26 AM  

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