Monday, November 06, 2006

I've been in Iran, which is why I have been away from my daily internet routines. I have too much to do these days, so my apologies to anyone who has been trying to reach me through the comments section or through email. I'll try to sit down and check all of that stuff soon.

i am currently in isfahan, one of Raed's ancestral cities (his maternal grandmother was an isfahani). though it has been many years since the city was dubbed isfahan, nesfe-jahan (isfahan, half of the world), the splendour of the city and its cultural products are such that i think it still deserves this grand title.

The only trouble i've had since being in iran happened in the airport upon arrival in tehran. i got in a fight with a guy who i guess is either a half-french, half-iranian and/or french raised iranian man who couldnt (or wouldn't) speak farsi without a foreign accent. he refused to apologize when he dropped something on the head of my very frail 80 year old grandfather, and when my grandfather protested, the balding thirty something man responded: "you are not the owner of this airplane! you should put aside this typical iranian por-rooyee (pushy attitude)"

i wanted to tell him that someone who cant even speak farsi in a proper way shouldnt be making grand proclamations about the iranian national character. i wanted to tell him that for someone who spent much of the plane ride holding up the flight attendants with his pretentious converstations while the rest of us waited patiently for our service, he had some nerve to accuse another passenger of acting like he owned the plane.

but instead, tired after a day of travel, i just barked a few things at him, he barked back, and then he ran away by going all the way around the end of the plane. oh well, at least he knows what is good for him!

unfortunately, this overgrown spoiled boy who seemed to think himself exceptional is actually an archetype of sorts. he typefies the diaspora iranian who fancies himself an expert on what iran and iranians are like, and yet he really has no idea what is going on around him. in the context of the iranian airport, he is just an aggravating asshole, but back in the diaspora, he has the potential to be dangerous, because he can sell his blither as authentic and true to a slew of ill-intentioned politicians and media producers.

as is always the case, i am intensly aware of the depth of the gulf between the range of iran material available to the english reader and the on-the-ground realities in this vast, diverse, and dynamic land.