In the past few years it seems, email upon email arrives, each with a long list of who's who and who did what Iranians, Persians, or their arabicized cousins (Abu Ali Sina et al) a long litany of accomplished, culminating in the adventurism of our no. 2 Space Cadet Anousheh Ansari in outer space (no. 1 will always be Ahmadinejad), ending with Omid Kordestani's single-handed conquests in internet space (and various other positions he has been in...I mean held...I mean did...Aaaahhhh!).
Well, add to this list, one more best.
Best Hostage takers.
After oil and pistachios it seems, ransom for hostages, seems to be our best source of income. If oil is a dirty smelly disgusting substance, taking lost hikers hostage and releasing the sickest and weakest female for $500,000 a year later cannot be that far behind.
I am not going to even attempt to argue whether these 3 are spies or are innocent hikers as they claim. One would hope that we're better than that.
If they were spies, we ought to have handed them over with a smile and a wink and cock one of our famous dark eyebrows at the Swiss embassy "US Representative", and say, "Here, you are welcome!" Message sent.
But the entire proposition is a joke and points to the systemic problem that seems to be a prevalent characteristic of the modern Iranian State.
Iran today has become a paranoid schizophrenic with repeated self destructive tendencies, amplified by the deep need for acceptance and attention, willing to do harm to itself or anyone, if it gets them that center stage. Once there they blather on about ridiculous notions like Holocaust denial and the now 100 year old most boring crisis in history, namely the plight of the Palestinians.
This is an advance for Iran though, because under the Shah, we were only slightly schizo, and got as nervous as a teenage girl with new braces when the slightest spotlight was on us. Even if it was only to praise how good our caviar tasted or carpets looked in the White House. The Shah's 2500 year celebration was merely an over the top Batmizvah by an overbearing Dad for that girl.
But this recent blunder shows the extent of the internal problems inside Iran, and just how conflicted things have become vis-a-vis national identity, character and principle.
As a young college student, the agony of trying to counter my country's image among my American dorm-mates, and fellow students, was virtually impossible. Try as I might, as many cases and kegs of beer as was humanly possible to drink, I could not counter the embassy hostage taking as a justified act, or even explain how this was the reaction to US foreign policy, or that anyone else would do the same if under the oppressive hand of a dictator.
I even tried role play. I threw a "Hostage Party". My Iranian fellow students and I invited our American friends to a party. The requirement was that we would welcome them in and immediately put blindfolds on the Americans while the Iranians could stumble around free. Optional was the handcuffs which strangely enough the American girls liked more than the guys. Then we danced to the Clash's "Rock the Casbah" screaming "F**k in stead of Rock on the chorus, and "Flock of Seagulls' "Iran" with the same zeal.
That was one hell of a party, and the chaos the of next morning aside, and numerous high fives I got from total strangers that following week across campus, unfortunately did nothing to repair the national damage done to Iran.
Now today, a sort of deja-vu feeling of shame and embarrassment returns to me once again as I sit at my various local pubs, and other Monday-Night watering holes, and my fellow teetotalers who normally imbibe me with drinks in order to get me to explain the various topics even vaguely related to Iran.
Once again, the now common ugly side of my country requires me to explain it to the people in the country whose countrymen have been held without bail, without charge, without a lawyer. And I throw back another shot of Jack and start to give my best shot at explaining Sharia Law to my fellow drunks. I have to say, the drunker you get, Sharia law still does not make any sense. So you are safe Juris-America!
And just to deflect from any criticism and to preserve my many infused dissertations that usually go like this,
"No man! This is not the real Iran! Lishen, I'll take you there one day and show you myshelf, no sheriously we can go now if you want, 12,000 Americansh visit Iran as tourishtsh eash year, thingsh are a lot better now. No, sherioushly!"
I find that handling national shame goes better with Jameson (because the next day you have no recollection whatsoever), or in an intense debate with say a closet Tea Partier on a secret bender away from church, I'll go straight to a 100% pure agave Patron (because it's cooler) and never look back.
Here's the point. Iran needs to change, because it's making me into an alcoholic!
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