Sunday, September 17, 2006

Apocalypse Not

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“There won’t be an attack on Iran,” our bearded friend says. “It won’t happen.”

“Esther is not so sure,” Keivan says.

They turn to me and wait for my response. “I am confused. I used to think there would not be an attack, but now I see that many in the West are trying to equate Ahmadinejad with Hitler and Iran with WW II era Germany.”

“Who has Ahmadinejad killed?” Mr. Beard asks.

“Yet,” Keivan adds. They laugh.

“There are also many writing that Ahmadinejad is apocalyptic – how do you say “apocalyptic” in Farsi?”

“Apocalyptic? I don’t know,” Keivan answers.

“End of the world,” I say. I can say that in Persian. Keivan offers a clearer version.

“They say that the Shi’a are waiting for Mehdi and want the end of the world to come faster. A bit like fundamentalist Christians.”

“Why do Christians want to see the end of the world?”

“Because it means that Jesus will return.”

“Aaah… But Iranians are like other people in the world, we do not want to bring about the end of the world.”

“There are some journalists trying to calm that view. The ones who visit Iran write more calmly than the ones who have never been here. Yesterday, I read an article that said that a nation that requires drivers to wear seatbelts is not dangerous.”

“Seatbelts? What does that mean?” Mr. Beard asks.

“It means that the government is worried about your health. They don’t want you to die in an accident.”

“Exactly. Now that you have been here three years, what do you think?”

“I think that if Iran were really waiting for the end of the world there would be no highway projects and no clean water projects and no sewage projects and no buildings. Anyone can look around and see that there is a future here.”

“Excellent. Excellent.”


Alex said...

Well, i find it ridiculous as an argument.. people wearing seatbelts hahah. What about plane crashes, inexistent anti-earthquake security measures, inefficient health care...
about apocalypse... Mr. Ahmadinejad prepares it, or at least he tells it nearly every week, at least for israel... if somebody tells you "I will kill you, I will kill you" what would you think about him? I don´t believe all frightening visions people have but it´s good at least to look out if there are missiles coming...

ET said...

Yes, Alex, it is ridiculous when viewed the way you are viewing it. On the other hand, it speaks to something that is continually disregarded: the pressures of governance.

Obviously, problems won't be fixed overnight. Obviously, there are men and women in positions of power who don't care one bit about your future or anyone else's for that matter.

Just as obviously, even Iranian ideologues find it necessary to govern. Governance is a responsibility that requires compromise. How can we tap into that?