Raw at Red Rock

The defiant courageous spirit of the crowd shames me


Raw at Red Rock
by Flying Solo

[Persian translation]

I escaped.  I left June gloom behind and took to the road, chasing the unknown into the desert. The music is at full blast; a feeble attempt to obliterate the sounds and the images of a world that has gone mad.

And now on this balcony of a new fate I stand drowned and raw to the bone, staring at the Red Rock which is glowing in the afternoon Arizona sun.  The iPod ear buds deliver the high and low decibels to my core, so that every cell, sinew and muscle is soaked in the music. I feel my hair stand on end. The heat, the rage and the utter helplessness join forces and pound at my heart; fistfuls of deep and dark guilt deliver explosions, one after another, to my soul.  The dam opens; tears cascade down my cheeks, drenching my face, dripping on the steno pad where my thoughts scream out of my pen.

The beginning of a beautiful summer has turned into a nightmare.

I have taken refuge in this pocket of tranquility.  I am turning away from scenes of savagery, where young men and women are beaten and die right in front of my very eyes, on a wide screen, Technicolor. Lives full of promise plucked out, strewn aside, trampled – denied the passageway to pleasures of the body, mind and spirit.  The world stands and watches the carnage, but who cares? Who is taking note? Like a madwoman yelling to dull out the voices in her head; I double over and wail.

Gone is the detached, dispassionate robot, devoid of fervor.  In its stead stands a middle aged, overfed, Iranian woman, nailed to the wall by the spear of accountability begging for mercy.  These kids on the streets of Tehran, Esfahan, Shiraz, and Ahvaz could be mine – each and every one of them could have nursed at my breast, been held and loved by me.  I could be the mother scouring the streets searching for him or her.  I could be the one on that rooftop chanting Allah-o-Akbar to summon the god who has long been dead; dead for me and my ilk. The god that has turned his back – walked away – left me and my children to suffer, to be slaughtered, destroyed and pillaged at the hands of thugs, pigs - nay the Devil himself. Where is this god?  Why has he abandoned the children of Iran?

The defiant courageous spirit of the crowd shames me.  And here I am, the betrayer, the traitor, the coward walking the Red Rock paths, smelling the sweet narcissus, smiling at the cactus flowers, delighting in a lizard here and a sparrow there; all of which have more right to life than my children in Iran.

And I drink and drink waiting for oblivion to cloak me.  The fog arrives; it’s me and the “Crime of the Century” blaring in my head.  How apt I chuckle to myself bitterly - ever so bitterly.  Thoughts are now as clear and as blurred as the mind starts soaring into the absurd; looking for a home to deposit insanity.  I stare at the mountain range which, by now, has turned into a naked woman lying supine in worship of the Sun god. Her crevices and curves are enticing, promising hope and love, demanding devotion – in deep hues of orange. I wonder how red the streets of Tehran are – from the blood of Iran’s children.  And the grief pierces my heart - I cry uncontrollably.   “Beat ME you thug, hurt ME you pig, Shoot ME – ME - ME . For I have lived a life, a full one, a fulfilling one. Don’t kill the kids, the hope of Iran. Don’t kill hope - the future. I once was your future, but then I went away and didn’t look back.  I became somebody else’s future, served another master; became someone else’s pride, someone else’s crown. I will take the blame.  I deserve the bullet, the knife, the baton, so kill me and let the innocent live.

And the thug – a live Molotov cocktail.  Who is he?  Is he even human?  Or a captive like me? Caged and tamed; stripped of his conscience, bared of his spirit; given a bed and three squares; given a gun, a knife, an axe - to go and slaughter.  How different is he? How different am I?  He hits and I run away to the desert, howling in a place where nobody can hear or harm.

Roger Hodgson’s voice blurts out Casual Encounters.  Tears pour down as I stand on that balcony, staring at the Red Rock beseeching it for an answer. It quietly stills me, forces me to look at the mirror within – that ever glowing truth seeker – the conscience – hidden right there behind identity. And what do I find, standing amidst a gaping hole placed on earth by a hapless meteorite which hit the planet billions of years ago, and created this corner of peace for the likes of me to come to and fall prostrate and beg for the embrace of comfort and forgiveness.

There is nothing casual about my encounter here; nor the ones being had on the streets of my motherland.  My children march the streets each and every day – voices only , flesh offered for sacrifice, a sacrifice that cowards like me know nothing about. What do I know? What do I do? A cry, a howl , a shriek – words – words – but now I must be quiet and this is my punishment – to watch, the doing of my undoing – turning my back on my people, my khaak – my khoon.  And the music goes on.

Crime of the Century

Now they're planning the crime of the century
Well what will it be?
Read all about their schemes and adventuring
It's well worth a fee
So roll up and see
And they rape the universe
How they've gone from bad to worse
Who are these men of lust, greed, and glory?
Rip off the masks and let's see.
But that's no right - oh no, what's the story?
There's you and there's me
That can't be right


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more from Flying Solo

Dear Solo,

by MiNeum71 on

I've been sitting in front of my notebook for more than an hour, I don't know what to write. I've been suffering a lot for the past weeks, I'm not able to find any words to describe my thoughts and feelings. Today I read //www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/jul/01/iran-p... and was even to stunned to cry.

On the other hand, this is the situation I have been predicting since March. And this is exactly what I wanted. Demoracy costs blood. I know, you could consider me a cocky fair-weather Iranian, who lacks humility. But this is the only way to achieve freedom.

I guess the only thing one can do is to be prepared to seize the
future and possible oppurtunities. When you've lost hope, what else do you have? What else is there?



Dear Solo, there can be

by jamh on

Dear Solo, there can be another answer to tyranny, and it is grace. The period we are living in now is not crueller than a dozen more sorry episodes in the life of Persia. This too shall pass. As my father always said, worry about small things, big things are just wind.


Mirza Asad,

by Anonymously on

interesting and acute analysis. I agree Solo internalized her reaction to this awful event, and turned the spotlight squarely on herself -- that's a telling comment on the essence of her character. I have to disagree with you in stereotyping MANkind, or apekind, to use your nomenclature. I realize you said "average member of our male species," but i can assure you my thoughts did not go the way of beating up those thugs. And judging from the reaction of many female commentators, they DID want to beat those thugs to smithereens. What happened to the motherly instinct?!

I'm afraid the distinction between the sexes is not so clear cut. We are of the same make, and share the same flaws and traits to lessor or greater extent.


ping you and ALL

by moo (not verified) on

You're right. I think those who are experienced in matters such as this should organize and lead this effort otherwise it will be too late for thousands of innocent people.

We should call our Senators and Congressmen and ask Americans and other ordinary people to help us.

We should write in Dailykos, Huffington Post, Daily Dish to ask for their assistance. We can't sit idly by and expect things to not go the way of Khavaron.

I think the world should be educated about Khavaron first and foremost. Then we can proceed from there.

Please write your ideas and solutions in regards to organizing such a global movement.

We need your help:

Nazy Kaviani,
Masoud Kazemzadeh
David ET
Flying solo
Azadeh Azad
Setareh Sabety
Mehdi Kia
Khale moshe
Niloufar Parsi
Laleh Gilani

Anonymous Observor
J Rashidian
capt ayhab
and everyone who cares about the fate of thousands of Iranians in jail.


Brace for a Taliban-Style govt and War

by moo (not verified) on

Moaddel Guest Op-Ed: Iran’s Crisis and the U.S. Option: Support Mousavi now or fight Ahmadinejad tomorrow

Mansoor Moaddel writes in a guest editorial for IC:

The current civil uprising in Iran reflects not just a protest against a rigged election. Nor is it primarily a symptom of contentions for power or clashes between opposing perspectives on the nature of the Islamic regime. It is, rather, resistance against a political coup, whose engineers plan to impose a Taliban-style Islamic government on Iran. The coup has been organized by an alliance between the supreme leader and the most militant and fundamentalist faction within the ruling establishment, backed by the Revolutionary Guard.

The political attitudes of one of its most notorious ideologues, Ayatollah Mesbah Yazdi, demonstrates the danger Iranians and the world would be facing should this militant faction get its way. Mesbah Yazdi does not believe in the republican aspects of the Islamic regime, but rather views Islamic law as supreme and must be unquestionably followed. The supreme leader, he says, is not elected but rather discovered by the clerics. For him, Ayatollah Khamenei is the exemplar of such a leader. He has characterized the ideas of representative government and legislative functions as belong to the decadent system of Western liberalism. He has likened reformist ideas to the AIDS virus. He has publically endorsed the construction of a nuclear bomb.

These ideas have much appeal for Ahmadinejad, who claims that the past governments were corrupt and deviated from the Islamic path. Some of the former leaders, people like Rafsanjani and Natiq Nouri, have abandoned the ideals of the revolution. Ahmadinejad argues that for the sake of Islam, such individuals must be sacrificed and the society must be restored to the principles of the Islamic revolution. Under his presidency, be claims, this restoration has been launched, ushering a new beginning for a truly Islamic state in Iran.

Ahmadinejad’s deeds are Islamic extremism in action. He has already restricted the freedom of Iranian citizens, expanded men’s authority over women, increased political persecution, undermined the rights of religious and ethnic minorities, and supported terrorism and political adventurism abroad. He has also recruited members of the Revolutionary Guard to fill key governmental positions and awarded them lucrative government-sponsored projects. These actions, and his administration’s economic mismanagement, promoted the formation of a broad coalition in Iran comprised of reformist politicians, conservative pragmatists, and ordinary citizens representing the majority of the Iranian public.

Realizing the growing strength of this coalition in the run up to the election, the Revolutionary Guard acted to stifle the movement and the ruling party awarded itself a landslide victory – an uncontestable mandate for four more years of growing religious extremism and global isolationism.

The outcome of the current civil uprising is certainly consequential for the development of democracy in Iran. It has also far reaching implications for regional stability, international peace efforts, and the security of the United States. At this point, the regime cannot secure its rule without unleashing a reign of terror. And if this coup succeeds, the regime will forge ahead with its expressed plans for nuclear development and support for religious extremism abroad.
It would be a mistake to think that people like Ahmadinejad are reasonable. It is counter productive to base policy on the untenable premise that he would be amenable to a cost-benefit analysis on the nuclear issue. Time and again he has announced that the nuclear issue is off the table. To believe or hope otherwise would be a profound and resonant error.

The option that is left for the United States is either to effectively support Mousavi’s camp today or risk a military confrontation with Ahmadinejad tomorrow.

Mansoor Moaddel, Professor of Sociology, Eastern Michigan University
Research Affiliate, Population Studies Center, Institute for Social Research, The University of Michigan

Shazde Asdola Mirza

Out of character

by Shazde Asdola Mirza on

 Needless to say, it is magnificently written. Full, lively and engaging expose of your feelings and thoughts in this sad June of 2009. Well, by now, we all need an escape and you deserved it too. Great thing, you put it to such a good use: a breathtaking scene as magnificent as the Red Rock! A mother's red tears! 

  There are many layers and aspects to your “Raw” piece, but the motherly instinct is most prominent. It’s the single common thread that makes you feel raw, experience guilt, suffer anger and even offer forgiveness. As an average ape-headed guy, I can understand but of course, lack that instinct.  

Don’t take me wrong, I feel awful seeing the kids beaten in the streets, by the Hezbollah thugs, but my sadness is projected outwards, as anger. Agreed, you show anger too, but it’s just a fleeting moment in your train of thoughts, which quickly vanishes into the “what if” those thugs are similarly victims of such and such conditions. Mine does not!

  Like the average member of our male species, my anger goes to work at how can those thugs (surely someone’s son, like every creepy crawly has a mother) be beaten up, be smashed into a bloody pulp, be torn into pieces, be bombed to smithereens! That’s the great difference between men and women. And believe me dear, for all that you may be taught in the finer schools and societies; it is still a man’s planet. You may even call it “the planet of the apes”.  

 Now, what is going to come out of our apish behavior? Are we bound to kill one another till the kingdom come; use all the Earth’s resources for our wars and glory?  My hope and wish is that one day mankind will emotionally and intellectually evolve out of its primal cave of killer instincts. Till then, I don’t envy our mothers, sisters and daughters who will suffer at the scene of our savagery and barbarous attacks, back and forth.

  Love your work, Asad


Brave Iranian People

by sbglobe on

Beautiful Solo jan! I do not want to forget about what is going on in Iran for even a moment, even in my sleep.  I feel the pain very deeply and overwhelmingly feel helpless and powerless but not hopeless. We all discovered something that was hidden for 30 years – the power of people. What Iranians did in the last few weeks, we in diaspora could not do in the last 30 years – to change Iranian image. When was the last time that we hard “Brave Iranian People” . I am proud and deeply grateful to the brave Iranian people. Only if I could somehow repay my share   


moo, you are right

by PingYou (not verified) on

Now it is time to urgently act for protecting those who are detaind. Otherwise, the same scenarios will repeat. The arrested ones will be tortured to sign a false confession and Seda o Seema will bring the well known shows of "Yes, i was an agent of . . . and wanted to destroy the country". Then in the third step the executions will come certainly.
Torture and beatings and killings are taking place right now there.
There are thousands of people arrested. Many of them even under 18.
We iranian expats at least have to take action urgently to inform the public and force the Governements of our countrys of residence to put pressure on Khamenie-Gang to free the aressted iranian citizens. I Think the big iranian comunity in US should rather focus on this issue.
The bravest of our Nation are under Torture. We have to take action.


Dear Friend..

by faryarm on

Dear Friend “Solo”,

Your despondent cry from the heart  is heard loud and clear; we are all deeply hurt and struggle to find meaning to the disappointment and human loss; we are all trying to fathom what our greater family in Iran has to endure under these brutal and seemingly hopeless conditions.

I still have faith in a Greater Power and a victorious humanity and receive hope and comfort from the following words of wisdom in a world that seems to many as ignored by God;

I invite, even the non believer to try and get some comfort and inspiration from the its hopeful and authoritative certitude; wisdom that has sustained The Iranian Bahais all these years to remain steadfast without any compromise;  in the face of all the arrests, torture and  executions.

The same brutal repression has now being experienced by the general Iranian population, exposing the true face of Injustice to the whole world.

I truly consider the unexpected change in the way the world views Iran and Iranians, in such a short time as simply remarkable, and remain optimistiic as to the fruits of these hardships.
As the saying goes: God acts in mysterious ways....and history has proven this.

best wishes


23 June 2009

To the Bahá’ís of Iran

Dearly loved Friends,

With hearts grieved by events unfolding in Iran, we address this letter to you, the steadfast followers of Bahá’u’lláh in that land. To the concern for your safety that has long weighed on us is now added mounting fear for the safety of millions of Iranian men and women, so many of them at the pinnacle of their youth, their vast potentialities yearning to be realized.

How rapidly have veils been rent asunder! Cruelty meted out in calculated measures to you and others over the years has been unleashed in the streets of Iran for all humanity to see. No matter what the turn of events, we are confident you will adhere firmly to the fundamental principle of our Faith that strictly prohibits any involvement in partisan political activity by individual Bahá’ís or by Bahá’í institutions. Yet you cannot remain aloof and insensitive to the suffering of your people. Decades of hardship have prepared each of you to stand as a beacon of strength in the circle of your family and friends, your neighbours and acquaintances, radiating hope and compassion to all those in need.

Keep alive in your hearts the feeling of confidence that the future of Iran holds bright promise, the certitude that the light of knowledge will inevitably dispel the clouds of ignorance, the conviction that concern for justice will protect the nation from falling prey to calumny, and the belief that love will ultimately conquer hatred and enmity. You have demonstrated in the example of your lives that the proper response to oppression is neither to succumb in resignation nor to take on the characteristics of the oppressor. The victim of oppression can transcend it through an inner strength that shields the soul from bitterness and hatred and which sustains consistent, principled action. May the words of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá resound: “Iran shall become a focal centre of divine splendours. Her darksome soil will become luminous and her land will shine resplendent.” You and your compatriots are in our continued prayers.

[signed: The Universal House of Justice]


Stunning piece of writing.

by moo (not verified) on

Stunning piece of writing. Thank you.

Let's do something concrete. I've heard that there are about 50,000 people in detention. I also heard there was a major crackdown today in Park Laleh where many family members of the freedom martyrs were savagely beaten and most arrested and moved to a garrison south of Tehran, near kahrizak.

How can we prevent another Khavoron?

Are we going to let history repeat itself?

I feel so utterly powerless.

Azarin Sadegh

You're not solo this time, dear Solo!

by Azarin Sadegh on

Dear Solo,

I have to confess that this evening, I couldn’t finish reading your moving piece at first …I was crying so hard and my eyes were so red that the words turned blurry, indistinguishable…Yet, I couldn’t escape the sharp and painful meaning that emanated from these words, and from your heart.  

I finally finished it a minute ago. I guess I have drained my tears’ reserve for the day.

I’m just writing to you to tell you that, at least this time, my dear Solo, you’re not “solo” in this pain. Many of us, I’m sure, share this same daunting flight with you.

Please take care of yourself and keep writing!



Dear Solo,

by Another Iranian Woman (not verified) on

Thanks for verbalizing so beautifully what we all feel at this corner of the earth watching "the crime of the century" unfolding in front of our wide open eyes. I too am in awe of Iran's brave children, feel helpless and ashamed.



by sima on

This is how we all feel. Interesting that most people who have left comments here are women -- the sight, the idea of young people massacred and brutalized has a very primal effect on us. It brings out the caged she lion who turns against herself while watching her cubs slaughtered. 

But it's only a matter of time before the cage comes down. Then who's going to stop us?


Change of Hearts Not Change of President!

by Noketh! (not verified) on

Thank you for expressing what we all feel outside of Iran. We need a nation that needs a change of heart not a change of president. The crimes that you have seen in-front of you, has been taking place for minorities throughout the IRIs totalitarian government and it wasn’t because they went out and protest what was happening to them unjustly, no, simply because they want to be alive and contribute to the society. And finally the silence of the majority throughout these years has caught up with them and now that they want to protest and make their voices heard, they are dealt by the same animals that roam around the earth that kill and rape from Mogadishu to Tehran to Kabul to Karachi and around the globe. Welcome to the Human Race that forgot about the organ that keeps him alive, the heart.



by bahram9821 on

Solo , absolutely wonderful writing, thanks for sharing this great piece with us.


What a powerful piece!

by Anonymous this time (not verified) on

Your writing style and honesty is inspiring to me. Thanks for sharing your emotions.

I Have a Crush on Alex Trebek

Flying Solo, thank you for expressing yourself so well

by I Have a Crush on Alex Trebek on

Thank you for being so honest. Thank you for this amazing experience. I really appreciate this. This must have taken so long. There's a "lifetime" of emotion in here. Wow.

"I once was your future, but then I went away and didn’t look back.  I became somebody else’s future, served another master; became someone else’s pride, someone else’s crown. I will take the blame.  I deserve the bullet, the knife, the baton, so kill me and let the innocent live." 


How touching and contagious...

by Monda on

is the space you allowed yourself, escaped to grieve for our children in Iran. 

Beautifully heartfelt, thank you Solo. 




by Anonymously on

"Come on you target for faraway laughter,
come on you stranger,
You legend, you martyr, and shine!"

My gift to Neda and to all who lost their life was/is to live a little, live a little better, a little more conscious, and a little less quite!.

And to listen a little better.

Then i think she/they will not have died in vain.

"If we were meant to talk more than listen, we would have two mouths and one ear."

— Mark Twain


Beautiful writing

by IRANdokht on

Dear Solo,

I think this is the first piece I read from you and I am in total awe of your ability to describe the simultaneous helplessness, outrage and guilt that I feel too.

Thank you



I can't stop crying

by Princess on

For them, for us, for all of us. 

Nazy Kaviani


by Nazy Kaviani on

Solo, this is a wonderful piece of writing. Watching from afar, the events of Iran have left many of us desolate, helpless, and ashamed. I read your words and I see your sincerety, your pain, and your rage, but not for a moment do I believe that you have ever put Iran out of your heart. Iran and love for Iran beat through your heart and they flow like a red ink from the tip of your pen onto that steno pad. I have now read it. And it's beautiful.