Tuesday, December 28, 2004

The military police

This is something that I have wanted to write about for awhile: the uniforms of the Iranian military police. They wear these outfits that look like they were designed for the Tintin cartoon strip. And the worst part of it is, they know how frigging silly they look. It’s clear that they are embarrassed by their uniforms. The worst part of the uniform is their white boots. In combination with their red hats, they become doubly silly looking. The young men slink in their uniforms. They appear as though they are trying to make themselves smaller. They look like they *know* they have “kick me” signs taped to their backs that they are not allowed to remove.

They are out in force these days assisting the traffic cops with their efforts to improve the driving habits of Iranians. Today, as I strolled to do my shopping our corner was just filled with these guys. There were three of the guys in the silly uniforms looking with envy at their colleagues, the traffic cops, in their sleek black boots, shiny black jackets, and helmets. One of the traffic cops had a microphone on and was urging drivers to follow basic driving etiquette. When a motor biker zoomed through a red light he called, “Hajh Agha, Hajh Agha!” (Mr. Hajh – doesn’t really translate well). The biker paid no attention. Those calls were joined by, “Faster! Move on! Drive on! Stop! Make your turn!” and other helpful hints.

Just to ease your mind… I’ve been told that Iran is getting new uniforms for the military police. (I don’t really think they are the military police, but Iranians tell me they are.)

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