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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