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Tehran, Iran: Suspense

Roya's Corner...
By Roya Monajem, Tehran

A feeling of suspense since the moment the eyes open to the day rules over the spirit. Then feelings of apprehension, fear, hope, frustration, pessimism, optimism and... finally enforced oblivion by taking refuge in work. Meanwhile the impulsive obsessive temptation of using the occasion of the publication of a translation "Psychology of Happiness" to go to the publisher in the Revolution Street right opposite to the Tehran University. "Are you sure you can act as some innocent passerby if ...?" Forced absorption in the translation of an article on a "Ghodsi's family of great calligraphers and educators in Esfahan." Feeling the entire parody when reaching the sentence "the closing down of Mokaram's popular newspaper by the order of the Ministry of Information during the reign of the last regime." How many newspapers were ordered to close down by this regime? Feeling sick and frustrated that whenever something like that is said, the dominant perception of the world as black and white makes the conclusion that one must thus either be a devotee of the past regime or a spy of the foreigners. Why do we still insist on continuing this 'stone-like' logical thinking of either/or?

Anxiety becomes once again out of control. If only some news of what is going on would reach the ears or the mind! Going to the small balcony of the flat, trying to smell the air. What a shame that we have forgotten to use this powerful sense of our senses?

"If anything happens it will be after the fall of the night. Don't you know the name of the Movement? Nocturnal Insurgence." Nice term, romantic even, after all Iran is still called 'the country of flowers and nightingales', though mostly sarcastically among us now. The word night and nocturnal brings back the memory of the nocturnal cries of Alah Akbars (God is Great) in twenty four of five years ago. Another similarity is the spread of the news now mainly through the medium of radios- at least for our parents and most of our generation who are alien to the advent of internet, particularly now that the satellite programs are totally unreachable.

A visit to the office of the Tavous Magazine. Sensing the same dominant feeling of suspense in the staff there. While driving, examining the cars, the way people drove, their faces, in an attempt to find some answer to 'What is the news?' It seemed that they communicated exactly the same feeling. Can all these be merely some personal projection?

A few telephone conversations mostly on the sorrowful death of the extraordinary twins Laleh and Ladan after the operation of tearing them apart. Wondering why everybody is so involved in their story? They are now like the national heroines. Choosing death to dependency, to lack of privacy? Fight for independence, for freedom of choice? Another flash back. The whole capital, NO, the whole country trembling under the cry of millions roaring, "Freedom, Independence, Islamic Republic." Remembering the inability of the tongue to turn to utter the last one and the immediate departure from the regular lines of demonstrators, even though their feeling of 'anything other than the existing ruling system' was nevertheless felt. Why not only a democratic republic?

The night has fallen. Walking along a highway to a friend's house, sniffing the air like that lice in Patrick Suskind's novel "Perfume." "Does it smell of violence?" It seems very heavy, stuffy in a way, anyway. The friend's husband is a reformist, follows the news carefully, reads nearly all the newspapers. He and his lot may be called the political type of the apolitical lot, or passive activists. There had been some short lived inquietude in front of the Tehran University initiated by the 'baton-holders' or 'suspicious elements' or 'unknown gangs.' Could it have been a test? An attempt to assess the situation?

The day has literally ended. It is over midnight. He - the taxi driver- might have some news? Despite an air of mutual distrust, the question jumps involuntary out of the mouth? "Has the city been as quiet as it seems?" The only answer is a "Yes." It is shorter than giving one any chance of 'reading between the lines.' A deadly silence rules for the rest of the way. That is the answer! Is it not?

Are Laleh and Ladan happy to have played the game of "Either Death or Independence and Freedom of Choice?"

Would Iraj Pezshkzad or somebody write another "Uncle Napoleon?" Could Orwell write another version of "Animal Farm?" Is there really a "Big Brother" ruling the world of Politics? Is the idea of the presence of a "Big Brother" still necessary? Can't we really transcend even Nietzche's "Superman?" Meaning the one who has overcome himself? The nihilist who freed from the idea of the world after says YES to everything worldly, human? Like Jesus the person and not the Christ the Church made of him.

A suffocating feeling presses hard over the chest. Well "Tomorrow is another day" as the heroine of the movie "Gone with the Wind" said at the end.

... Payvand News - 7/10/03 ... --

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