Being an Iranian, a Comedy in Three Acts
- [Out of the blue] So where are you from?
- [Pause. Contemplating, trying to digest, the smile on her face melting down, feeling kinda guilty because of something] It must be tough over there.
- [Innocent] Well, yes, it's not easy, I mean life is quite complicated, it’s an extremely complex society, especially the politics, which kinda forces people to have double lives, so things are usually not the way they look, you have to have an eye to see through stuff, so yeah, the people, the society, the life is all quite complex, and hard I guess.
- Well, that too, but I mean, geographically, you live kinda in the middle of a desert right? It must be tough, no?
- Oh sorry, my bad [coming back to reality] Hmm, yes, the desert, absolutely, just imagine waking up every morning before sunrise to milk the camel for breakfast.
- Yeah life is tough.
- [Too serious] It is!
- [with a abroad smile on her face] Hi!
- [the smile getting broader and unnatural] Where are u from?
- Ha, cool... life must be tough there, it's all very violent.
- what is violent?
- hmmm, life, all the bombings and killings and stuff.
- what bombings? Iran is totally safe and stable, as far as I know.
- [getting more condescending] Oh come on, it's been a mess since America invaded it, since like 15 years ago.
- well, I see, but that's Iraq, with a Q instead of an N, and it's a whole different country.
- [dismissive] Ah Ok. But you know what I always wonder about? I always wonder how terrible it is for women there in Iran.
- What do u mean exactly?
- Well, it's just absolutely crazy to live in a place where women are not even allowed to drive, it’s not only crazy, it's actually sick. And I'm sure it's terrible for men as well, I mean such society creates sick men.
- Oh right, yeah it is terrible indeed to live in such a place, but you see, that's Saudi Arabia, and it's still a whole different country than Iran.
- Well, maybe, I always confuse those countries, that part of the world.
- I’m from Iran.
- Oh really? I always wanted to visit Iran, maybe I’ll go next year. - Ya you should, it’s a beautiful country, and the nature is very diverse.
- Yeah… and do I have to wear a scarf there? What is that thing called? Hijab? - Yes, I’m afraid so… There’s no choice, it’s imposed on the people by a religious government.
- Yeah, but people in Iran are also very religious, aren’t they? - You see it’s a bit more complicated than that. When there’s a non-democratic government ruling over you, you learn to become sophisticated, especially if it’s a religious one.
- I don’t know if I get that, are you religious yourself? - I don’t believe in the God of any organized religion, so I guess you could call me an atheist, but you see in my birth certificate it says Muslim and I can’t change that, the choice does not exist. More important than that, do you know what this is on the cover of my passport? [showing him his passport]
- No, I mean it’s a shape, but I don’t know what it is.
- Let me help you, what is the scariest thing here in the west? What are you most afraid of? That one and only source of real terror! Yes, the Muslim God, Allah, written in Arabic handwriting, designed in a very graphical way. See, I’m an atheist with a big fat ass Allah on the cover of my passport. Just believe me, it’s all very complicated.