Thursday, December 07, 2006

300 billion rials for Prayer Rooms in the schools

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Update: If you are here looking for information about the film: 300, I urge you to read our blog anyway. If you are not interested in us, click here for a brief historical overview of the film's story.

Stuck in traffic, listening to the radio as the announcer ticks off a list of city expenditures… “300 billion rials for prayer rooms in public schools,” she says and then moves right on to the next expenditure.

Keivan and the driver laugh.

“That’s what? About $3 million?” Keivan comments.

“About,” the driver says.

“More,” I say. “The dollar just took a plunge.”

They laugh some more.

“What about buying a couple of ambulances?” I indignantly ask. “How about a fire engine?” I realize that my indignation is genuine. “Whoops, I’ve become too Iranian,” I say.

The driver and Keivan laugh at me this time.

But I am not joking. In a country where the call to prayer is its first line of defense against a national disaster, it’s no surprise that very little money is spent on emergency preparedness.

That was so, so evident the other night when I spent five hours in traffic. That’s just a foretaste of what would happen in an earthquake people: untenable traffic combined with no emergency services: recipe for disaster my friends.

And when that happens, no one will be laughing.

2 comments:

Arashَ said...

Good question, but I think you have already given an answer to it: "a country where the call to prayer is its first line of defense against a national disaster". And that's very sad.

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