Wednesday, July 09, 2003

Happy birthday Eli!
I did not forget. I am just slow.

July 9, 2003
There is a big demonstration planned for tonight. “The government has at least 1000 guys undercover for the demonstration,” K’s friend tells him. (Does that mean we should subtract 1000 from the turnout)

K wants to go, but no one will let him. “It will take about 5 minutes to arrest you. You look too foreign now. Once they arrest you, you will be in prison for about a month.” K is disappointed, but he is not stupid.

We can hear helicopters outside. Inside and everywhere else we go, people are talking about the twins.

They wanted to see each other face to face, they said, and to pursue independent lives. And so Ladan and Laleh Bijani, 29-year-old Iranian twins who were born joined at the head, asked doctors to go ahead with a risky operation to separate them.

Neither survived. The sisters died of blood loss yesterday afternoon within 90 minutes of each other, doctors said, after a team of surgeons at Raffles Hospital in Singapore worked for 50 hours to separate their brains.

Follow the money
Our sources tell us that the mullahs are sending their money out of the country. Hmmm…
“The time for breaking out the champagne is coming,” a friend tells us.

Reap the whirlwind
When you are in Iran, you become really concerned about the price of change. People are really struggling to have normal lives. That’s all they want.

I have visions of suicide bombings. While most of the Iranians we meet are impervious to the rantings of the more hate-filled mullahs (you can easily find pamphlets that print their sermons as comedy), there must be some who are not. The thing is that it doesn’t take many to destabilize and terrorize a region.

“The mullahs are going, but they won’t go out without a fight. Their mobs will be attacking places that they think are western,” C tells us. “Coffee houses, pizza places, pool halls – those places will all be targets.”

What I have learned about judging a book by its cover
I have learned that the woman covered in a black chador that she holds in her teeth may be just as fed up with the Islamic government, its corruption, and the restrictions it places on daily life as the woman with the “diaphanous scarf” (as one of our readers wrote) and the pink manteau.

I have a dream. I dream about a day when police stop harassing women and men about their dress and marital status and start harassing drivers about driving in the wrong lane and on the sidewalk and through a red light.

“I have worked with some engineers,” a friend tells us. “We created a plan for easing the traffic in Tehran. We could implement it in less than a year, and it would relieve the traffic. The problem is that right now, traffic is the last thing on people’s minds.”

Taxi Drivers
As K says, they love to talk. Yesterday I got into a taxi alone (for the first time). The driver was really patient with my beginning Persian, and we managed to have a pretty good conversation. He asked me about K. He wanted to know if he was balding with a face full of hair (pretty standard for Iranian men.) He asked why I don’t have a wedding ring. (I told him that my fingers are too fat. They are.) I asked how he liked living in Tehran (He liked it). In the middle of this fairly innocuous conversation, he announced that the mullahs were bad. “They are bad. Dirty. They have 5 wives.”

Will I ever meet someone who likes the mullahs?

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