only different

26 Apr

once, i tried learning Farsi
(for a woman, of course)
it was the year of living dangerously
it was the year i did not know anything about politics
i had met a refugee: an Iranian girl named Shada, and together
we read old Persian poets and writers: Rumi, Hafez, Nesami, Ferdowsi
texts from the time their land was invaded and looted by the Arabs
Shada was the daughter of a prominent Iranian architect
who had fled with the Shah when Khomeini and the rest of the Imams took over
i was invited finally to her house and i saw how well these immigrants were living
nothing like what we’d been through
this house had servants, dish washers, nannies
and Shada’s father, the prominent architect, showed me his buildings back in Tehran
and spoke vivaciously of democracy, of Reagan, of the wonderful work of CIA

later…many years later…my mum had a dinner party for one of the Tehran hostages
a lady who came through the door barely but nevertheless barreling
there was no sign of 444 days spent in captivity; her girth was impressive
this lady held court at our table at our house
there were subtle digs and quick glances at our furniture
to ascertain our position in the Washington diplomatic community
and i remember thinking these fuckers never learn anything
these rich fuckers these privileged pigs: the upper class
Fitzgerald pegged them right
it doesn’t matter whether they’re architects
monarchy
hostages
refugees
immigrants
tortured
they will always be privileged
and will tell you that

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4 Responses to “only different”

  1. Erin O'Brien 26/04/2010 at 6:41 AM #

    Because I cannot help myself and because I am probably a bad person, I must do this. Sorry.

    In another (bad) world, the first two lines of this piece would have read:

    once, i tried learning Farsi
    (for a woman, of cours-ie)

    erf!

  2. (S)wine 26/04/2010 at 7:30 AM #

    that’s fuckin awful EOB. awful!

  3. Ismail Kamel 26/04/2010 at 8:35 AM #

    I have tried to learn many languages but the only ones I have any fluency in are the ones I learned for some woman or other.

    I knew an Indian architect who worked in Iran as the Shah’s days were ending. He smoked heroin and designed US-funded airbases for the Shah. After the Revolution he moved back to India and became a wandering sadhu. He sat by me for three days and mopped by forehead the first time I went through cold-turkey opiate withdrawal, sitting by the rushing upper reaches of the Ganges.

    Mmmm. If my luck holds maybe I will meet a beautiful and intelligent Persian emigré woman soon.

  4. (S)wine 26/04/2010 at 8:36 AM #

    you might. and she’ll ruin you proper.

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