July 10, 2003
One of our readers complained that all of the initials I used were confusing. K and I talked and we agreed that unless the name was unusual enough to identify someone, we would go ahead and use first names. (Note to that reader: all of these names are new. I met them after I emailed you.)
Most people probably want to know what happened last night. I know that I would like to know more as well.
“The whole city was supposed to turn out for the demonstration,” Mohsen said. “This was supposed to be a big event. Last night [July 8th], the regime flew in[bused? I can’t remember] over 1000 guys from Kermeshah. They have soldiers, police, and undercover intelligence all over the city now. No one will go out.”
“It usually takes us 1 1/2 hours to make it here from where we are staying,” Farshid added. “You know, traffic and everything. Tonight it took 20 minutes. No one is out.”
They are right. No one is out. Even today, the day after, traffic is light. Right now we are at K’s brother’s house. If I look out the back window, I see a highway off-ramp. Right now, I don’t hear any traffic. That is a first. The traffic near us is always bad because once you leave the highway, the road narrows. Last night, we zipped home. When we arrived here, there was no traffic. It was eerie.
I say we zipped home. On the way, however, we passed several army checkpoints. We got flagged over at the first one. There were 2 adults there: one in uniform, one in street clothes. Supporting them were at least 15 boys in uniform (unarmed, Thank God). These were boys. They weren’t even shaving. Do you know how young an Iranian has to be not to shave?
We saw this pattern repeated at the next three checkpoints we passed. Where did these boys come from? ? They looked like boy scouts. Maybe they were. Later K’s sister explained to me that they were the Basigi (Revolutionary guard) youth.