Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Taxi Talk

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“Oh, so you are American?” We have ridden with this driver perhaps 20 times. I guess I never mentioned Chicago or New York before today…

“You didn’t know?”

“I knew you were a foreigner, but I didn’t know you were American. Americans are great. I thought you were British. The British are war mongers.”

“No, they have changed. They are good people.”

“As a people they are good, but their government is always after war. Your government is not so good right now either. Are Americans happy with it?”

“No, they are not. They are unhappy with Bush and unhappy with the war. Sometimes I think that we Americans would do it all again though. We can be so, I don’t want to say stupid, but stupid.” I don’t know the word for gullible in Persian, and I don’t want to use the Persian for “simple” which also means honest.

“I don’t know what we want war for? Why should we have war with Israel or America or Iraq? There is no reason at all. Why shouldn’t we just be friends? War, what do we need it for?”

“Sometimes we use war for food, or oil, or water. You know that you have some of the best drinking water in the region. No other country in the region has as much drinking water as Iran. Forget oil. The next wars will be for water.”

“Why can’t we just settle these issues in a friendly way? We always use war instead. Didn’t God give us the water? Didn’t God give us the trees? Did God say that Iranian resources are only for Iranians? What kind of religion would that be? God gave these trees to the world, not to Iranians.”

8 comments:

David Mohammad Yaghoobi said...

It always surprises me how little the Iranians grumble about the British considering the last 100-years of intervention. The Iranians call the British "foxes" and maybe their cunning has brought the public to believe they should have beef with the USA and Israel when Britain seems like the mastermind.

Nevertheless, I too have had hundreds of conversations with taxi drivers like this and it amazes me the variation of opinion. I'm sure you like me often have the introductory question of: "Which is better, here or there (England in my case)?". Then it normally goes on to war.

btw: the Farsi for "gullible" is "Jahaani".

ET said...

Thanks David. Can't wait to use Jahaani!

You must have read Dear Uncle Napolean? Probably in the original Persian, right? Best book on Iran ever and filled with hilarious anti-English sentiment.

m said...

No, do not use Jahaani instead of gullible. David is wrong. I think he has confused global (which means Jahaani) with gullible.
For gullible I would suggest "saadeh loh".

Anonymous said...

Er, yeah, global is "jahaani". And it's called Persian.

ET said...

saadeh loh...good. Should have recognized Jahaani, that's a word i know. I just thought it was pronounced differently.

Anonymous said...

If you want to keep the Persian word for gullible in mind easier, use GOOl,GOOL KHORDAN (گول) which is a slang word for SAADE LOH

David Mohammad Yaghoobi said...

Oh, there's a joke out of my mistake surely. Sorry about my misguidance. I simply turned to the nearest bilingual person available and asked what I guess sounded like 'global' – maybe it's my accent. I too am familiar with Jahaani now I've thought about it, my eshteba, bebakhsid. I'll get back to EasyPersian.com.

Yes I've had many people refer to 'Dai Jaan Napoleon' (or whatever the order is) and will make my way round to it.

Regarding the Farsi/Persian debate, as I am living in Iran I beleive it is not wrong for me to use Farsi as oppose to Persian. But then again it's clear I'm not one to be trusted after the gullible moment. Although, I never understand why we change such nouns, I've always felt I should say Deutsche and not German.

A. M. said...

The only time an article of mine has ever prompted a reader complaint was when I used 'Farsi' instead of 'Persian'. I hadn't realised it was such a big deal. The man's letter ran to three angry pages.
I always use 'Persian' now but I'd like to understand if there is some sort of political significance over the choice of word. After all, three pages of vitriol seems a little excessive for something purely linguistic.

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