Monday, November 28, 2005

Taxi Talk

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Bad traffic. Our 20-minute trip in heavy traffic became a 45-minute trip in heavier traffic. Who knows why?

Our driver: tall, silver flecks in black hair. Black shirt. Big prayer ring.

He began by complaining that foreigners were screwing up the economy.

“Why do you say foreigners? We do it all ourselves,” K said. “What other country gives inexperienced and immature people such positions of power? Would you let a 12-year old manage your investments?”

“He might be a smart kid,” the driver joked.

“Yeah, but he puts all your money into candy.”

“That’s may be true.”

“All over the world, Iranians are successful. Let’s not even talk about engineers or doctors,” K said, “there are Iranian architects, Iranian designers, Iranian pop stars, Iranian journalists. Just look at CNN! But here: we can’t be successful at anything. We have everything; every talent; everything we need to be successful, and then a bunch of immature and inexperienced leaders.”

“What about Clinton? He was young when he became president.”

“The difference between a young Clinton and a young guy here goes from the ground to the sky. Clinton goes from high school to college to work. He builds his experience step-by-step. He doesn’t go from basij to oil minister in one step, does he?”

“But the West is always trying to influence us,” the driver added.

“Oh, and aren’t we trying to influence Armenia and Iraq and Afghanistan? That’s the way the world works.”

Later in the conversation…

“I was a member of the Basijee,” the driver tells us. “But it soon became clear to me that it was just a group of people out for revenge. They told me, go and get your revenge, but I told them: why should I do that? I joined because I believed in Islam and the revolution. All those guys believed in was vengeance.” (After the car ride I asked K why he kept talking about throwing bricks. K explained that that meant “taking revenge.”)

“What religion tells you that it’s okay to lie, cheat, and steal? Here in Iran, you cannot function without lying, cheating, or stealing.”

“This is not Islam,” the driver says. “This is its opposite.”

1 comment:

Ehsan Akhbari said...

I haven't been here for a long time now. Shame on me. Your blog is still as intersting as it used to be. Glad to see you have added comments feature.