My visit to Iran was not supposed to be a holiday. It was intended to be a one-month-long family time in which I was expecting myself to finish all my term papers. Only one was completed.
I had intentionally planned my trip to coincide with the wedding of our good family friend’s son. These friends were like family to us. Knowing them for as long as I can remember, I was excited to see the guy who was like a brother to me become a groom. The week prior to my departure from Frankfurt Airport, my mother called to tell me there was another wedding while I was in Vera Moda shopping for the right heels to go with my navy blue dress I had randomly bought and kept in my wardrobe knowing it was meant for some wedding someday. My suitcase was packed with dresses and high heels, waiting to be tried on in the room that was once mine and had become my father’s study when I moved out at 18. I decided to take that one suitcase only, being naïve enough to think I could persuade my mother to not provide me with too much goodies to bring back to my German home. Little did I know that the majority of the items were already bought before I had even stepped into Frankfurt Airport.
The five hour something flight did not go by quickly. I am a terrible traveler. My hatred for sitting still may be inherited from the ADHD issue that I had while growing up. My knees start aching and there is only so much plane noise my ears can tolerate. Add to that fussy airhosts and airhostesses who find it incredibly difficult to lend you a pen for some peculiar reason. I have always gotten in trouble with my parents who have a problem with me getting into verbal fights with people, telling me “you don’t need to discipline the whole world.” I agree, the world is a rotten place, yet I refuse to accept impoliteness, injustice and irrationality. So when I suspected one of the airhostesses not doing her job in a manner that was expected (which would not be a high expectation as she was employed by IranAir), I found no reason to ignore her attitude. When I was deprived of a second cup of tea, telling me “you can’t keep that cup for tea. We don’t serve tea anymore”, she insulted me in two ways. I’m a traditional Persian when it comes to tea. I like it black, I like it several times a day. You can’t rob me of my basic Persian roots. It’s like telling a Bavarian he can’t have beer during Oktoberfest. Her second insult was her lack of motivation to do her job properly and lie about it. “What is this? Grade school? Break is over and we’re not allowed to eat anymore?” The laughter coming from the row behind and in front of me, including the seat next to me did not make her any happier. I realized that I had a little audience encouraging me to challenge the hostess’ tolerance. Yet I was granted full access to black tea. I was a content Persian. She did not allow the remaining hours to bore us. Her drawn-in eyebrows would have more situations to be raised, while her pointy nose inhaled heavily every time she divested us of a minor detail of comfort. We weren’t asking for much, blankets, pillows, water, not to be yelled at for not having our seats in an upright position or not folding our tables. We had to get fueled up and that day Hungary was the kind nation ignoring the sanctions and giving us fuel. The ludicrousness of the situation was just as absurd as the sanctions itself. We had to hop from one country to the next begging for fuel that we provided them with in the first place. I had taken a thesis on Iran’s Islamic Revolution to read. Being a messy reader, I need my space. With each landing and take off, not only did the risk of an accident increase, but the number of times we were supposed to have our seats upright and tables back in the initial position increased as well. I was told off six times.
The weddings were what you would call “paaaaaaartaaaaaay”. I don’t remember dancing more at any other event in my life. All of that partying was done sober, for the majority of the guests. And while the older audience would enjoy some traditional music outdoors, the younger portion (my parents, aunts, uncles and basically everyone under seventy included) danced indoors. When the footage was shown to a couple of friends later in Germany, one viewer could not believe people were not drunk as skunks. I had one response to his astonishment: “We do know how to have a good time.” And in between stuffing our faces with mouth watering food and washing them down with drinks made of every summer fruit one could imagine and dancing to the blasting music from the tens of speakers, I looked at my mum and said “Remember that picture I posted on Facebook a while ago about different reactions to Israel’s attack on Iran?” Before I could continue she said “It’s true, isn’t it?” It was true. I was living in fear of an attack, checking the news every morning each morning before starting my day, getting worked up after each speech of any of the officials from the countries involved, wondering how people were dealing. And there I was, back home after a year and a half, on a dance floor filled by beautiful people in designer outfits, perfectly adjusted hair, full of enthusiasm dancing to songs from the charts, singing along to every word. I could not help but smile. That’s how we deal. I would be ignorant to call it ignorance, just a method of escapism. Ignorance would be that American sitting in his house that parades the American flag on the porch saying “Iran must be bombed” or “War should not be off the table”. All I want to tell that retarded fool is “F*** you! Think for one measly second that your family would be bombed. How would you like that?” And yes, this goes to all you who want to vote for Romney.
I needn’t go far and give myself the trouble of crossing the pond for further examples. Back here in Heidelberg a German told me that he can’t wait for Iran to be bombed. Racist much? I took that as a bitter reaction to my rejection to date him. Still, when it comes to violence and politics you should watch your mouth. Though my world has not much room for such idiotic superficial freaks, I must constantly remind myself that the world is filled with them. One American told me “I’m American. I’m ignorant.” I don’t recall what upset me more; the fact that he was ignorant to any issue that did not directly influence his country, or the fact that he was ok with being ignorant and helping the stereotype strengthen. Fortunately for me I have Samuel to talk to about politics. His hunger for news cannot be quenched, leaving me with a friend who not only understands politics and culture, but challenges me to question anything and everything that I am fed by the media.
My father refused to leave me until the very last second when I had handed in my passport for check out.
“It’s not my first time” I whispered.
“I want to stay” he kept on insisting. The couple behind me was smiling at his attempt to stay till the very last moment, making it just as much harder to say goodbye.
The officer wished me a pleasant journey, and I waved goodbye to my father who was now standing by a couple who were staring at him. And all I could think about was when I will be able to see my family in my own country again. Cursing the monsters responsible, I bade my country farewell, this time for an unknown period.
My “No War on Iran” T-shirt was no attempt at hippiness as some suggested (probably due to my headband). I do get positive reactions from strangers every time I wear it. I am not the one to beg, because a lady never beseeches, yet I am willing to make an exception when it comes to peace. I beg for no war, not on my people, not on anyone anywhere. My pleas will be smashed into a million little lights when the first bomb is dropped. I shall wish on each and every of those lights… Yet my plea will be sent out as a cry against violence and ignorance…
No war on Iran. No war on anyone…