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Story

Human wave
He saw over his head the Air France Boeing 747-200 touch down at Mehrabad

 

Filipe Barini
June 29, 2005
iranian.com

I am from Brazil. I wrote this short tale a couple of months ago but only now translated into English. It's a short story which takes place during the revolutionary unrest.

During the rule of Shah Abbas, they used to say that Esfahan was "half of the world". Giant squares, magnificent buildings, great poets whom in the city's endless gardens declared love and devotional poems. However, none of these features could impress Munir. Legitimate son of that land, he despised from birth that shattered opulence glorified by the members of the Rastakhiz. He used to say that the best view from Esfahan was the one you can see through the aircraft's window.

He survived in that city until he was 15, when his father, a Savak officer for a few, a Ministry of Education bureaucrat for many, was transfered to the capital city, Tehran. Left behind a home at the city where Hafez rests his soul Munir, his father and sisters: Benafshé, Yasmin and Zahra.

The house in Tehran was near the Soviet embassy, a cozy 2-storey high house in German style near a candy shop. The young boy loved to walk by Gandhi Street, checking on the latest European fashion trends, the latest Rolling Stones album, side-by-side with a grafitti by the Tudeh militants, asking for the end of monarchy in Iran. His school was near the campus of the University of Tehran. He admired those beautiful girls in those short skirts, colorful shades and carrying Nabokov and e.e.cummings on their arms, or the other ones, discussing the works of Stendhal walking unworried by the sidewalks of the now called Esteghlal Ave.

Just like the snow on the base of the mountains melts, the life of the kids turn into the life of boys and into teens' and then, in the future, they will always meet the implacable hypocrisy which is the adult age. But they were not thinking about that. After all, it was Nourooz, happy 1356 (1977). After the festivities and the days off, the return for the usual day-by-day life is unavoidable.

Munir left home every day towards his new studying address: the Literature Department at U. of Tehran. He walked into the tense light-grey building holding tight his 5-page dissertation on "The Rose Garden", his favourite book, side-by-side with Turgeniev's "Fathers and Sons". There was some animosity at the department because of a severe discussion between some religious students and a teacher, who, in a moment of rage against the class, issued that the Qoran was the best work of fiction ever written.

There were about 30 boys outside the class screaming and literally asking for some blood. The only thing missing was a lamb for the sacrifice. All eyes turned to the hall, where the happy Munir was walking. Someone recalled a comentary, made by someone who told somebody that Munir was a Savak informant. A suspect in a moment of rage becomes immediately guilty. They grabbed him by the shirt, threw away the dissertation on "The Rose Garden" he had typed for hours, yelling angry words and hitting him in all the ways a person can be hit. The young Esfahani couldn't get it, why?

That was a daily routine, for a year. Until that Bahman in 1357 [February 1979]. A given day on this month he got home bleeding (as usual), however yelling at his father. Even though the commitment of the Savak officers was said to be high, this father couldn't take lying to his son and watch him suffer every single day. He confessed: no to educational specialist for Vanak area, yes to student activities agent.

The crying went through for two days and two nights. The black marks couldn't hurt more than the marks on his soul. The lie he lived for almost twenty years. On the second night of tears, he heard that Imam Khomeini was going to return from his exile in France. Munir looked at that figure, the bearded cleric. He was the synthesis of his problems, he was guilty, guilty of his suffering. Instead of calling for a fatwa, he issued himself the decision: capital punishment. He was going to wash with blood his pain.

The next day he told his mother that he was going to spend a few days with his cousin, Fereydoun in Rasht. However, the taxi went somewhere other than the road to the Caspian Sea. Heading to a low-class suburb in South Tehran, where he was offered some opium for a couple of American dollars and women would swallow his lust for a couple of tomans, he found his fate at a blue door. Opening it, he led to an ill-iluminated room, where a fat man with a Yazdi accent asked him to sit down.

The smell of cheap arak was intoxicating. The man with an Armani suit in his 50s pulled up a 007-style suitcase and offered him the merchandise: a ZK rifle with telescopic aim. Wrapped it on the pages of Zanerooz women's magazine, got the money and smiled with a couple of teeth missing. "Enjoy it", said a really thin Turkoman sitting by the wall, holding his AK-47 and smoking a pack of Benson & Hedges.

Holding his package as if it was the last flame of the temple, he headed towards Mehrabad Airport, along with the crowd, hundreds of journalists coming from every corner of the globe, to witness this historical moment. As the bus stopped, he headed in the other direction, where there still was an empty field.

He saw over his head the Air France Boeing 747-200 touch down. It was a matter of time. He settled at a good point, where he could see his enemy rise from the plane into the arms of the crowds. Protected under an old outdoor ad, he laid on the ground, armed the weapon and waited. And then he only felt a hard hit and things faded out.

He woke up several hours later, thrown into a sticky cell at Evin Prison. Minutes later, he would be hanged along with three other people. He looked right and saw his father, the betrayed Savak officer. The last sight of this Googoosh and Rolling Stones fan.

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