Tuesday, June 01, 2004


Who doesn't like a song they can sing along to? Having a good voice doesn't matter. It's just singing that matters.

Iranians love their music. They love their own pop music and their own classical music and their own folk music. On a bus crowded with hip, young students, the driver was playing Haida (I am sure most of my transliterations of Farsi or incorrect. Just say them aloud with an American accent, and you may have an idea of what I am hearing), and the students were all singing along.

In an intercity taxi, our driver was playing a selection of Iranian tunes, and everyone was singing. On one cross-country trip, I heard the pop star Mansour so much that my dreams were permeated with his lyrics for weeks (Divuneh shod divoneh: I am going crazy; Beza bereem: Let's go; Azizah delehman: My sweetie).

Music does not divide generations (yet) in Iran. Sure, people listen to Western and Arabic pop, Electronica, Haitian and African music, and too much Celine Dion,… Sure Eminem graffiti is everywhere along with Metallica grafitti… but most Iranians also listen to and love their homegrown music as well.

The day after the earthquake, threats of aftershocks kept everyone running in and out of their houses and places of work all day. First our neighbor walked up and down the street getting people out of their houses. "They say an earthquake is coming." Everyone came out of their houses. I tried to explain that I thought earthquake prediction was not quite possible, but apparently there was a small quake that only I and the seismograph noticed. (There are probably tons of those small quakes every single day.)

Second, K's brother called to tell us that the police were calling schools and telling them to take the students out, so we went outside again. Then a friend's mother called… then the tv news said to leave your house. The next day's news said: don't worry. This news made everyone worry more.

People are scared of Tehran. K's family keeps telling me to come visit them. "No way are we coming to Tehran," people outside the city say. It's not hard to imagine an earthquake destroying Tehran. In fact, it is hard not to imagine it.

I have been terrified of earthquakes my whole life. I blame it on my Old Testament childhood. All those Bible stories must have seeped into my unconsciousness somehow. Not that being scared of earthquakes is not smart, just that I don't really know why I have always been scared of them.

Thanks to Kaveh for this link:
To the USGS info on the quake in Iran.

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