Monday, September 05, 2005

Since we’re still on the subject of harassment, I thought I write this little story here.
Time: About twelve-ish in the afternoon on the fourth day of the Persian New-year March 2005
Location: One of those quite back alleys that go from Valiasr to Maghsoodbeik
People: No1- me, No2- My half English half Iranian cousin who is a year older than me and had not been to Iran for twelve years.
Costumes: Me: No makeup at all, a black headscarf tied tightly under my chin, dark blue jeans, black shoes and a very old German army jacket three sizes too big for me; my tramp look as my friends like to call it.
My cousin: some makeup (and she is very beautiful anyway), had some of hair out and was wearing a tight black Islamic uniform.
Shortly after we entered this little alleyway, we were joined by a third person: A man in his late twenties or early thirties in a white Pride.
‘Khanoom beresoonametoon?’
‘Miss would you like a lift?’ he mumbled as he went past. We ignored him and continued with our own conversation. He stopped about four meters down. As we walked passed we heard the, ‘Khanoom beresoonametoon?’ again. This went on three or four times until I thought he was getting a bit annoying and it was about time he got lost.
So I went up to his car and bent down a little to be able to look at him through his open passenger window. ‘Agha (Mister)’ I said trying to keep a straight face ‘stop hanging about here or I will have no choice but to smash your windscreen.’
I stayed there for a few more seconds and continued to stare at him with a look in my eyes that in my head meant, ‘I mean it shit-face’
The more I stared, the more I realised how pathetic this poor guy looked. His outfit consisted of a white pair of trousers with a black belt and a pale pink shirt with fine white stripes. His mouth had stayed in that half open position, frozen, in the anticipation of his favourite sentence (‘Khanoom beresoonametoon?’) But what attracted my attention the most about him was his freshly shaved chin. It looked as though in the process of shaving his beard he had accidentally removed a layer of skin clean off his face which had now been replaced by a new layer which misfortunately happened to be both red and flaky. And when I say flaky I mean proper flaky as in if there was such a thing as an antidandruff beard cleanser, this guy (if he had any sense) should have been first in the queue outside the shop the day it came into the market. O how sore it looked, even thinking about it now gives me goose bumps. Enough about that though because it has absolutely nothing to do with our story.
Open-mouthed, head tilted to one side, looking up at me. He stayed in this position for about a minute after I had stopped talking. Had it not been for the occasional movement of his eyeballs, I would definitely have pulled him out of the car and got him into the recovery position, thinking he was having a stroke.
His worried eyes worked their way around my jacket, studying every rip, tear and stain (made in the hands of either my father and I, or any number of German soldiers who had been its previous owners)
As I turned around and started walking, I heard the sound of a car stopping and a door opening and closing. I couldn’t believe it. I had thought I had scared him out of his wits but what was going on? Was he coming after us? What was I to do now? Was it actually possible to smash his windscreen with my bare hands?
‘Get out of the car’ I heard a man’s voice say, ‘Yallah, get out now.’
A police car with three police officers had pulled up next to the flaky guy’s car.
Talk about unlucky! As if it wasn’t enough that this guy’s whole face was about to fall off or that he was under the impression that it was ok to wear clothes that would have been considered too gay even by a gay man living in Florida during the eighties, or that he had just been threatened by a girl to have his windscreen shattered to bits, he now had to be arrested! Even I felt sorry for him.
‘It’s ok Sir’ I said walking towards the policemen, ‘It’s fine he was just about to leave.’
‘No he wasn’t’ said one of the policemen, ‘He was just sitting there. What were you saying to him?’
‘I said I was gonna smash his windscreen into pieces if he didn’t leave.’ The policeman let out a short involuntary bark-like laugh. ‘Did you hear that?’ he said to his friends, ‘We have ourselves a bit of a Karate Kid here.’ And then he made some, ‘Ooo aaa ooo’ noises as he mimicked some Bruce Lee moves. My cousin, not having been able to understand all the Farsi bits, looked quite baffled by the antics of this chubby policeman. ‘She alright?’ he whispered a little out of breath. ‘Foreigner’ I explained. ‘I see’ he said nodding his head repeatedly a few times for some reason.
Then he turned to the flaky guy and said, ‘You should be ashamed of yourself bothering young ladies in quite back alleys like this.’
Too right Jenab Sarvan (officer) too bloody right.


Anonymous said...

Hi Shirin:
I read somewhere that the way to a man s "heart" is through his stomache.( I mean the foods made me hungry)
I am not a psychologist but interested in the subject and as you know Iranians are jack of all trades.
The point is dont you think the guy(s) that harrassed you in your nightmare was/were the same guys who bothered you in the street while given smiles?
By the way,Wanna exchange links? I have already added you to my list.
PS:I wrote this comment last night for your previous post but its related:)

Anonymous said...

Hi again:
I read somewhere that" people dont think,they just rearrange their biases".By that I mean you may have the same feeling toward other other nations too inwardly without expressing them in public.Do you really and honestly have the same bashar doostaneh feeling for every people from every nation around you?
Dont you think that Irans government should really do something some of these immigrants who do all sorts of crimes?
Here is one of my previous posts ,you may get a better feeling as why I hate mostly arabs or their government or both.
I keep your link it is:

You should keep in mind that regardless of West's involvement in Iran-Iraq war, it was Iraqis with the help of other Arab countries, both militarily and financially as well as in forms of so called volunteer personnel, who invaded Iran and caused enormous death and damage. It is natural to “hate” those who killed your friends and destroyed your hometown!we are the ones with the 3000 years of civilization...we are PERSIANS...not arab.
of course we all are human and equal, physically and chemically... but the main difference in people from different countries is cultural and some things are undeniable.
most of the iranians who hate arabs are raised in educated families and know their history. they know how Persia was sieged by the arabs. how barbaric we were treated. how the women were raped. how the persian language and persian names were banned so that our own alphabet was forgotten and how todays arabs are proud that the rest of the world thinks all the persian scientists and writers was arabs since they had arabic names... all these are reasons to hate the arab culture
many arabs hate iranians too...
I hate what arabs did to us! we should never forget the history...we are the only people in the world whose language and culture has survived the arab invasion and siege!!!!
sure, we have taken influence... but we still have our own language and culture.. Not as individuals, as a cultural unit. That is a fact!!!
Iraq-Iran war made it very obvious that Arab governments do make it a policy to fan anti-Iranian racism. Time and again they have made it clear that Iranians are not in the club. Both for being non-Arab (less then 3% of Iranians are Arabic speakers) and for being Shi'a.
Also, there are racial differences. It is undeniable that majority of Iranians are indo-European, while Arabs are semitic. Culturally the two groups are different. For example Norouz (the name of iranian New Year)is far more important for us than Fetr festival.
Regarding the name Persia, Iranians always referred to their country as Iran (Eran Shahr, Eran Zamin). Persia was the name that Greeks, Romans and other Europeans used for the country. It was used in official documents of the government of Iran up to 1935. Reza Shah changed it to Iran for all to use.
I am Dariush, the great king, the king of kings
The king of many countries and many peoples
The king of this expansive land,
The son of Wishtaspa of Achaemenid,
Persian, the son of a Persian,
'Aryan', from the Aryan race

"From the Darius the Great's Inscription in Naqshe-e-Rostam"(Shiraz)

The above scripture is one of most valid written evidences of the history of the Aryan race, and as can be seen, Darius I (Dariush in persian), the Achaemenian king, in the 5th century BCE, declares himself a Persian and form the Aryan race. Herodotus, the father of history, writes (in his book: "History of Herodotus") at the same times: "In ancient times, the Greeks called Iranians "Kaffe", but they were renowned as Aryans among themselves and their neighbors". In another part of his book, Herodotus writes that the Medians were known as Aryans during a certain period. So in two of the oldest written human documents, the race of the Iranians have been mentioned as Aryan.Arabs have always liked to see us (persian) proclaiming ourselves arabs it is always confusing for outsiders to distiguish between us). we always refuse to do so , just because we are not!!in these days they(Arabs)need us more than ever, pressure from US mounting up and all of sudden they are saying persians are their muslims brothers!!! well i say "let's be their brothers" get whatever economic benefits that would otherwise go to west and then cheat them at the right moment because they would not hesitate to cheat us if they get a chance. A reminder of what they might do: hajj procession 20 years ago.(they killed so many of their fellow "brothers "in hajj)
I dont mind other people reading your comment about my post so,I didnt remove it as well.

Anonymous said...

Last posts are for an absent minded teacher:

Azad said...

That guy was pathetic and unlucky for sure, but you and your cousin have been lucky in that you may have faced a ruthless bahaviour from a rude person.

I am not sure how long you have been out of the country, but many have turned into devils and everyday I hear stories that I wouldn't have believed if I didn't hear them from people I trust.

Farzad "Cat" said...

Hi Shirin - I liked the story. The detailing is great. That helped me to follow the scenario step by step. In regard to the point of your story I should add that I thought this kind of harassment is obsolete nowadays in Iran, since the IRI has been so hard on the issue. But I guess I was wrong. It seems like even Jail and slashing cannot stop the perverts. Thanx 4 the story :)

Anonymous said...

Dear Mr. Teacher, what does it have to do with what Shirin had said about the incident?! Or you just have learned all these elementry school history recently and were dying to say it some how some where, but without excuse by the way, to tell people that you still do not know the difference between Persian and Iranian.
Persian is the person who is a native of Persia, PARS, Fars state. I guess you know what Iranian means though. And believe me you have the same amount of Arab blood as the Arab who lives in Ageria and Iraq and Khoosestan. Did you know that Iraq was a part of Iran till almost a century ago like Afghanestan. Take it easy, don't kill yourself over the things you know so little about.