Sunday, February 11, 2007

Down with down withs

From Keivan...

Down with America

We got up at 4 in the morning; it was a dark and cold winter day. My older brother, who was most of the time sick of having me around, agreed to go together to Qom. It was one of the coldest winter mornings that I had ever felt. The winter of 1979 was one I would never forget.

The night before we had convinced our mother and older brother that we would be okay and that they should not worry. We were going to witness the arrival of Ayatollah Khomeini in Qom, right after he got back from France.

My lovely dying father, who was in bed with lung cancer at the time, tried everything to stop us from going. In a very powerless voice tried to convince us not to go. He was telling us non-stop that this revolution would bring the country backwards and that we should never trust the Mullahs. He was definitely not a Shah lover, but he had this bad feeling about everything was happening. We did not listen. We left for Qom.

It was not far from my hometown to Qom. We got there around 6 in the morning. We knew that Khomeini would arrive much later. On the ugly streets of Qom, my brother and I yelled -- not for first time -- thousand of times ”Allah-o akbar, Khomeini rahbar, marg bar Amrika.” (God is Great, Khomeini is the leader, down with America)

I will never forget that day. I did see Khomeini, and I was really happy to take this big action to witness an historical day in Iran.

I was happy about the revolution. Now I am like millions of my fellow countrymen who, like me, as young men and women went to the streets to cheer on the revolution and to shout down with America, and who now feel betrayed and devastated. Will the young people yelling the same thing today learn from me? Will they be like me? Regretful? Homeless?

My father was right about all of this. We were young and we were stupid. Maybe we were right about the revolution, but we were wrong about its direction. We did not know what we were talking about, just as my father said. Things took a turn for the worst. Me being only almost 16, I was really excited for the first time. Like people today on the streets of Iran, I did said many times Down with America. And I am really sorry about that. Not because America has been such nice friend for Iran, not because I say down with America and I don’t mean the American people, but because it is just so wrong to call for the death of a nation, and I don’t care which nation it is. This is especially true if you want to improve your image or you are internationally isolated.

I totally agree with Esther about this horrible flag burring sh*t.

Iranians should feel very sad and ashamed. I cannot imagine waking up in an apartment in New York city or any other city and looking out of the window and hearing people singing Down with Iran. It would be really painful. I know that I could not take it, and I know for a fact that it would make me sick. Hearing Down with America here is making me sick and that is not just to support Esther because she is living here with me, but because she is right. I am really sick and tired to hear how Iranians always blame others for every misfortune.

Even so I blame the British. ;-)


Vince P said...

Hi, I'm a guy from Chicago.

Thank you for your blog post.

Anonymous said...


You're openess about your past is a very large step in creating a meaningful dialog for change. There is much to be said about dialog and the impact of words, not just as symbols but as actual agents for change and understanding. With more efforts towards dialog and true understanding this generation, our generation, working with the current and future leaders can rally for, make noise for and demand a dialog that begins to understand the power of words. These words can create enemies, split us apart or, with genuine effort can forge freindships. Please continue to speak out. Your experience and the wisdom that you have gathered from it is a voice for change. It is one of the voices that must be heard in order for the dialog to move people to redefine their understanding and continue the effort towards a larger understanding that will ultimately bring us toward the goals of peace and justice and an end of prejudice, hate and bloodshed.

Anonymous said...

What should I say!?

Anonymous said...

"Treasure your good memories and learn from your bad memories." That's what I've learned from a dear one. I am an optimistic person (Sometimes, over the top optimistic, so I'm told)! Optimisticly speaking, all it takes is will power. We can change everything. Just like how it was done almost 30 years ago. But the sad reality is that there is no going back. The one option is to scrap and start from scratch. What frightens me is that it is never going to happen.

Tere are times in life that you have to accept the facts and get on with your life. I have done that long ago. Am I ashamed? Yes, every day. Do I regret it? Not for a second.

Anonymous said...

Your comments remind me of the follies of my youth during the protests of the Vietnam War, but linked to that probably trivial activity were the great movements of Civil Rights, which had started much earlier, and the added energy to Women's Liberation, which I treated very casually at the time.

Regarding the events you describe I remember somewhat reading and following their unfolding. At that time I couldn't follow the politics. And now I realize that politics is not where ultimate hope for justice and prosperity lies. Yet,
Most of the Iraqi blogs I read (only this one and Neda's and middleastyouth.comm concern other ME countries) place their hope in the rebirth of their country, and politics is the only vehicle they know.

How can one continue to be so hopeful that politics will make life any different that before? I'll bet that people look at Europe or America as models. But you and I both know they are filled with divisive issues and people are suffering. Ahh but their suffering isn't seen as great as your (our?) suffering. There is a vague belief that some form of republican or parlimentarian free-market society will bring peace and enough stabilty so that you (and I?) can do what we want, with our friends or without, as either a man or woman, as long as we don't want to hurt anyone, that we don't have to worry for our lives. I am sympathetic for that dream....but it is just a dream. There are too many elements of self destruction that the dreamer doesn't or can't yet understand. And the politics that you hope will be the vehicle for your dream's reality is also the vehicle that would destroy it, probably (I am no Nostrodamus, only a student like yourselves, you can read about me at

First the issue is a form of stability where there isn't war. This can easily be accomplished. Even Saddah Hussein or the Mullahs can accomplish this.

It is the next stage, the transition from a political system that listens only to the elite to listening to the voices of the people that we are really concerned about.

LOOK at history, any culture's history. Has politics, any kind of politics been the harness of human greed for power?

Second, There is only one force in human history that has shown its power to harness human greed, and that is .......Religion. And so too religion eventually become poluted or infected with poltiics and so it becomes what most of you generally experience now in Iran and elsewhere. However despite this current state of the situation, the observations and experiences you have, and I have, do not negate the principles I have stated in my 2 questions.
Just because you cannot come up with the answers doesn't mean there aren't any in this wide wide world, does it?

Edo River rising

Anonymous said...

Hi Keyvan,

I am one of those Iranians who lost much because of the revolution. at times, I sit down and blame people like you (or my husband), who were young, and stupid, and didn't listen to your fathers ... but in all honesty, I think the revolution, the war, this new stand off against the empire, the slow transformation of Iranian regime ... are all lessons we had to learn to mature into a meaningful democracy.

I think nothing has done a greater service to Iran, than the Islamic republic, in terms of uprooting religion from the hearts of the youth. When I hear they call Iran a "fundamentalist" country, I feel the same disdain that Esther feels of hearing Down with America. These are all propaganda; to call Iran axis of evil is propaganda, to say down with USA is propaganda.

But you see ... this time around, Iran wants peace, and America is sending more fighter carriers to the Persian gulf ... why IS America not leaving us to our own problems?

Anonymous said...

Your father was not right . you were young and we were learned about revolution.really you were right about the revolution, but some persons were wrong about its direction. its directions were good.we meann the Islamic direction anyway and compeletly.
we dont mean for many times "Down with America"the American nations But mean animals who like to kill other people in all over the world in islamic and non islamic countries. And I am really not sorry about that. because America has been such bad friend for Iran,and Iranians .not because I say down with America and we don’t mean the American people,we only mean wiled animals such as Killers os Muslims and non muslims in all over the world .they must stop killing they must stop enmity with muslims,they must stop arrogance on all over the world,they must stop and so... we are very sorry to cosider "Down with America"the nations of America we like them more.we honore them more.we want to have good relations between two countries safetly.nice and butifull sense we have about American great Scholars,and fashions.
so we believe on USA ,and its peoplesand they would respect us too.and finally we hope them to honore us too.So be carefull on:
peace be on America
peace be on Iran
peace be on Islam
peace be on Christianity
peace be on Judaism
peace be on Budhism
peace be on Jains
peace be on Humanity
peace be on all over the world
peace be on forests
peace be on seas
peace be on heavens
peace be on moon
peace be on sun
peace be on stars
peace be on being
peace be on peoples
peace be on promiseds
peace be on the last hope,
the Savior,the redeemer,
the restorer,
the one who will come and spread the peace all over the world,
the one who dont like killing ,
the one who dont like sowrd,
the one whom we are waiting for,
the one who muslims are waiting for,
the one who Christians are waiting for,
the one who Budhists are waiting for,
the one who Jews are waiting for,
the one who World is waiting for,
the one who Peace is waiting for.
We all are waiting Imam Mahdi "PBUH".
We all are waiting for appearance of Imam Mahdi "PBUH".
We all are waiting for Universal State of Imam Mahdi "PBUH".
We don’t like dead we like life,
we hope that time,
we like the End of the Time,
When He will come.willing God.

Islamic Republic of Iran "IRI"
the holy city of QOM

Anonymous said...

Alot of Americans are tired of hearing "down with Iran, Iraq, Muslims, Arabs"...and on and on. And you are tired of hearing "down withs", and other groups are tired of hearing "down withs". Say...what if...we put all our leaders in this small room. And uh, accidentally locked them in (give them good food and water of course, etc.). Hmmm. They would have to learn what they had in common that was good; and in the process maybe their eyes would be opened to the bad things they had in common too. Then, maybe. Maybe. One day, they would learn cooperation, honest cooperation. They would comprehend what Ghandi tried to teach the world. The world would let them out, and they would see a different world. Of course, the world would see leaders with changed hearts.

But, like most of us, our leaders are climbing all over their own logs in order to fight to death over the splinter in another's eye.

So a different tactic is necessary. The principle law of "The 100th Monkey". In essence it is a fact that if enough percentage of the human race sets their heart to a certain specific thing -- the energy will carry over to millions of other hearts. Many groups are striving, using this one law of the universe, to do just this. Praying for peace, sending love out into the ethers, toning to the earth healing energetic frequencies, etc.

So how about it? All the rest of us that are tired of all the fighting this and fighting that....(I am NOT saying give in to American ways or ideals -- far from it)....tired of leaders doing their own thing and not listening to their peoples, tired of leaders plucking the emotional strings of violence and ignoring the heartstrings and the coherence of rational thinking -- leading people by the nose (in ALL countries).

(the idea is to See/Feel/Taste GOOD. Don't say 'there is no bad blah, blah because your subconscious does not recognize the word "no":)

If enough people do this all over the planet -- this law has no choice but to manifest. Right now it is manifesting negatively because of the 'fear this', 'fear that' campaigns leaders are throwing out to their peoples. We need to let go of this fear -- don't let IT control US. Let us choose what we want to manifest on this planet. Let us think for ourselves for once in history!

Anonymous said...

Always worth remember some of Hermann Goerings' last words at his Nuremburg trial:

"Why of course the people don't want war. Why should some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece? Naturally the common people don't want war: neither in Russia, nor in England, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country."

Anonymous said...

Down with war.

Anonymous said...

hi i think it is good that you are so open to how you felt at thet moment