Photo's of the Chapter Chapters: One - Two - Three - Four - Five - Six - Seven - Eight - Nine - Conclusion

Chapter Two - History's Trap - Date 1963 - 1971

I went upstairs and then up again till the last floor, then on the roof of the building, as high as I could go. I looked around, there was another building as high as the one, which I was on its roof, but few feet distanced them from each other. I could jump on other building’s roof, but with any mistake I could be killed easily. I felt I want to do it and I have to do it, so I jumped. I could feel sense of relief, satisfaction, emptiness and happiness. At last I had been able to do something about my anxiety and worry

            It was summer 1963 and for few weeks my mother and Ammo Jan were living in Teheran. Ammo Jan was transferred to Teheran and I was able to be with them during weekend again. I don’t know how, but it seemed Ammo Jan had lost most of his fortune and instead of living in their own house; they had to rent an apartment and live there. Perhaps it was due to the fact that none of them really cared enough about money. They were spending money easily and loved to play card and gamble. They always had some guest and when they had, they were ready to spend fortune for happiness of their guest. Their flat was in third flour of a four or five floor building in Pastor Avenue. It was Friday and I knew in few hours time I have to go back to my father’s house. As usual I was sad and worry, tired of being like a ball thrown between my parents. Apparently I had two homes, but in reality I had none, I couldn’t feel at home in neither of my parents houses. They had two different contradictory atmospheres. In one I was free like a bird without any restriction and in another one I had to live with feel of guilt all the time, as I could feel whatever which brings happiness and enjoyment is forbidden and wrong. Anyhow I stayed on the roof of our neighbour’s building for about half an hour. I was tired and there was no point staying there any more. I had been able to release my anger and somehow protest to my situation. But now I could see that I don’t have courage of jumping back to the roof of our building. It seems that when you are under pressure or anger you are able to act in a way, which you can’t do it when you are calm. From there I was able to see the window of our toilet, so I gathered some stones and start throwing them toward that window. My grand mother who was our guest, was in the toilet, she opened the window with astonishment, worry and perhaps fear. She couldn’t imagine, any body intentionally is throwing those stones and thought they are coming from sky. Her situation and her face was so funny which immediately I start laughing and couldn’t stop myself for sometimes. Any way they tried hard to punish me some how, but as no one was able to stop laughing, they preferred not to say anything and let it go by. Anyhow I had to have my unavoidable punishment. As I had to go back to my father’s house, the same evening.

            School year was finished and I was able to pass my fourth year of school’s examinations with the best grade possible. So as my summer job my father bought me books of the fifth grade to read. At the same time he let me to go to his library and arrange his old newspapers.

 

After the abdication of Reza Shah my father lost all his hopes that our army might be one day strong enough to stand against foreigners. So he resigned from army and with the help of the fortune, which he inherited from his father, he started the weekly paper called ‘ANSAN AZAD’ (Free Human). He used to believe that all our problems are rooted in ignorance and understanding of our people. So he believed if they could be educated and know what is going on, they could not be deceived so easily. Hence there would be a chance for progress and independence.

            My father’s library had few rooms, one of them was almost full of old newspapers of Ansan AZAD, he asked me first to separate them according their number and then collect a few series from them and throw the rest of them away. It was a full summer job without any doubt. The first issue was dated one or two years after Reza Shah’s abdication, and the last one was dated some times in 1953. During this era Mohammed Reza Shah, new king of Iran was so young and powerless which almost his role couldn’t be traced in any event. So one could say that real power was in the hand of Iranian prime ministers. Hence it could be implied that during this era we really had some kind of constitutional monarchy, with all its weak and strong points. From what I could see in my father’s library during these years there were hundreds of different news papers which used to be published daily or weekly in Iran. Contrary to that, my father told me; during Reza Shah era there were only few newspapers, highly under control and censorship of the government. While my father was telling me this, he joked and said, any way we didn’t need much, as Reza shah could think instead of every body and all decisions were taken by him and only by him. “We were less free, but happier than Qajar time, we had some progress and generally were stronger than before, freedom was a luxury which we couldn’t afford It.” He added when he was leaving the library.

            My father told me that Reza Shah during last few months of his reign, to neutralise British, chose Ali Mansur a well-known pro British politician as his prim minister with full power. Mansur expelled all German engineers and technicians. Hence, as we didn’t have enough educated personal to look after what was achieved by then, we lost all our hopes for further progress. Hope of having steel refinery and new factories were gone. Looking at half build steel refinery’s site near Karaj was so sad, which was so difficult to look at it and not cry.

 

I was about ten years old and was not going to be frightened as easy as before, still I was not comfortable with our old basement. Smell of damp, dark atmosphere, being large, with few rooms interconnected to each other’s, thousands of old books and magazines around. But it was an honour that my father let me to go to his library and work with his old newspapers, so it was worthy and I had to accept that horrible situation. Watching and reading Ansan Azad newspapers were fun as well. Although its language was very difficult for me to understand and I didn’t know the meaning of many words and rarely could find anybody to ask about them. As each issue had a very big caricature in its first page. They were very attractive to look at and give especial attention to. Its caricatures were very simple and meaningful. Britain most of the times was shown as a deceitful smiling fat man with British cross symbol printed on his formal hat and coat, with formal, lined trousers. Also sometimes as a dragon with British flag on its belly. Soviet Union again was shown either in the shape of a fat angry and serious man in military dress with red sickle and hammer symbol on his hat, or as a Russian bear with the symbol of Soviets on its belly. United states was as usual shown as uncle Sam. Iran was shown in the shape of a lion either in sleep or injured by arrows of its internal and external enemies. People of Iran (MARDOM EH IRAN) were shown as a bony famine man who has no energy to defend himself and only desire he has is ‘having a piece of bread.’

            In one of its cartoon, Mohammed Masoud, independent journalist who was assassinated, was shown as he was killed by few daggers. Lying down on the ground close to starved man symbol of the people. While a man as a symbol of under financial pressure, free journalist, in an old intellectual dress with pen in his hand crying for him. There were a few politician around him, all with blooded daggers in their hand hidden behind themselves, with wondered face, were saying: “who did it??!!!” Behind any few politician were standing their masters. Fat men symbols of Britain and Russia while were trying to hide their happiness, and pulling their shoulders upward as a symbol of “we don’t know” Uncle Sam was standing a bite further than others with his back toward the scene, trying not to see what is going on. In this carton clearly one could see who is following whose interest, and could characterise them.

            In another issue dated some times in 1944 there was a carton. Again with starved man symbol of the people of Iran, lying on the hospital bed, while a syringe was dragging his black colour blood as a symbol of oil. Other side of the syringe was connected to the arm of the fat British man lying on another hospital bed. Russian fat man was running toward the scene with a syringe connecting to his arm, saying “what about me “(PAS MAN CHIE). There were some strings connected to his other hand’s fingers. Other side of those strings were connected to the arms and hands and legs and feet of a dummy with look of Jafar Pishevari the leader of Azerbaijan Democratic Sect, (FARGHEH DEMOCRAT AZARBAIJAN). While the dummy was asking for independence of Iranian Azerbaijan. British fat man was trying to see the Russian man with suspicious face from corner of his eyes. Uncle Sam and French guy were waiting in the queue, with some syringe and tubes hidden behind them for draining the rest of the blood left in poor ‘people’s body’.

 

In few issues there was news of few assassination including pro Shah prime minister of Iran, Hussein Hazhir, or attempt of assassination against Shah in university of Teheran. Apparently a pro Islamic movement called FADA’IAN ASLAM (Sacrificed of Islam) were responsible for all those assassinations. Shah and cream of the society were afraid of the Soviets influence in Iran and some how wanted to get rid of pro Soviet communist party of Iran called Tudeh party, so after the university of Teheran’s accident. Mohammed Sa’ed prime minister of the time announced that this accident was organised by the Tudeh Party and issued dissolution of the party and arrest warrants of its leaders. Although the carton of Ansan Azad showed its doubt that action was really a Tudeh’s conspiracy, It was apparent that my father did approve dissolution of the party.

            Again there were few issues missing and the next one had news about resignation of pro British prime minister Ali Mansur and primer ship of general Ali Razm Ara who was hero of fight against Democrat party of Azerbaijan and Kurdistan and generally was known as pro British-American, hard working and disciplined type of politician. It was said after trip of Shah to London, British found out that he is too young to be their man in Teheran and they wanted another Reza shah to rule the country. So they picked Razm-Ara, and arranged for assassination of Shah. Britain’s problem was as usual Oil. 1901 D’Arcy’s oil agreement was never approved by Iranian parliament. Hence according to Iranian constitution it was not a legal agreement. Britain britches it as well, by not giving Iranian part of the profit, which according to that agreement was 16% of the interest of the main and sub companies. On January 1933 Iranian government informed British consulate that the agreement of 1901 is cancelled. As matter of fact British were quite happy about this, as they were looking for an agreement with better deal and for longer period. New agreement unlike D’Arcy’s agreement didn’t give to Iranian any percentage of profit of sub companies, which could benefit much more than the main company. Instead of that, there was a small fixed amount of money for every ton of crude oil, which was going to be exported. The agreement was for sixty years. This agreement signed by Taghi Zadeh minister of Reza Shah, and was approved by dummy members of parliament during tyranny of Reza Shah.

             In one of the issues of Ansan Azad there was a picture of people living in horrible situation in Abadan, my father told me that in 1946 there was a general strike among Iranian oil workers. So my father went there to inspect the situation and give a report about the general strike of the oil workers. He told me “when I went there, one of the British manager of Oil Company welcomed me and took me to the part of Abadan which was resident of British personnel and managers of the company. Seeing that part of the city, immediately reminded me of European cities. All streets were asphalt with beautiful flowers and lawn in the middle of them. Houses were built in European style, each with a big garden, without any wall or fences. He took me to a supermarket which one could find all European commodities in there; there was a dinner in honour of me and some other reporters. They gave me a private car with driver to show me around. Once my driver told me: “Mr. Banisadr do you really want to see how people, ‘ not British engineers and managers,’ but poor Iranian worker are living in this beautiful!! City?.” I replied “yes! “and he took me to the other part of the city, then I saw a scene, which I couldn’t believe my eyes. While in British side of the city, water was wasted for growing grasses and flowers and each house in that warm weather was as green as Europe with beautiful trees and flowers. Here people didn’t have enough water to drink, their water was collected from spring rain in some metal container and was kept for long time so there was some kind of warm in the water, which could live in the body under the skin of people. I saw poor children, when ever they saw head of the warm they used to take small stick and turn that warm around that stick and each day they were able to turn stick a bite more till warm was coming out of the skin. There was shortage of every thing; most of people didn’t have proper roofing above their houses. Their salary from Oil Company was not enough for day-to-day expenses. When I returned to Teheran I gave report about this side of the truth in Abadan.”

             As well as Iranian workers Iranian government and parliament were not happy about 1933 agreement as well. So Britain tried to sign new agreement to guarantee their interest in Iranian oil. Summer 1949 Sa’ed the prime minister took this agreement to the parliament for approval. As most of members of parliament were pro British, he thought he is not going to have any problem. But nationalist members of parliament didn’t want to approve it and as there was only ten days left to the end of the parliament duration. One of the nationalist members of parliament gave speech and didn’t stop talking till the end of duration of parliament. As a result this agreement didn’t approve by the parliament. Next election was arranged in a way that no nationalist be able to be elected. But through strikes of Mossadeq and other members of Jebh’e Melli (National Front) and some journalist, people became aware of what was going on and under pressure of people government had to cancel Teheran’s election and in new election, Mossadeq and other nationalist could be elected. Mansur new prime minister although was agree with the agreement but didn’t want to support it openly. He forward the agreement as an act but didn’t defend it, so under pressure of Mossadeq between resigning or withdrawing that act, he chose to resign. On November 1950 Mossadeq and his friends introduced Nationalisation bill, for nationalisation of oil in all our country, there was jubilation among people and newspapers that were writing about it. One could see in that atmosphere no member of parliament how ever pro-British, could dare to reject that bill.

            For some times Razm Ara new prime minister was hesitant to reject Nationalisation bill or defend the last bill that still was on the table of parliament and no government was prepared to defend it. At the end he withdraw the government’s bill as he knew that if he try to defend it there will be talk about the Nationalisation bill as well and most probably in that situation the later one will be passed. At the same time he ordered for closure of many newspapers and arrest of some journalist including Hussein Fatemi editor of Baktar Amroz, (). Now I was able to understand why there is a time gap between some issues of Ansan Azad.

             

            In next issue of Ansan Azad there was news of assassination of Razm Ara by one of the members of FADA’IAN ASLAM, while he was going to parliament. After his death on 20th of March the parliament approved Nationalisation Bill forwarded by Mossadeq and other members of Jebh’e Melli. In this way Iranian oil after fifty years became nationalised and for the first time Iranian could own their most precious wealth.

            Hussein Ala next prime minister, as was not able to carry on with new bill passed by the parliament resigned after few months.

            There were no more issues of Ansan Azad; the next one dated some times in winter of 1953, which was almost blank with news of closure of Ansan Azad for good. Later on I heard from my aunt that missed issues of Ansan Azad were those Issues containing pro Mossadeq news, which from fear, were destroyed by my father after establishment of the secret police of, Shah called Savak.

             

             After Ala, the only one who could be able to stand against nationalisation bill was old, well known pro British Seyed Zia. Shah was not prepared to nominate him from fear of being labelled as popped of British as well. Suggestion came from pro British leader of the Parliament, Emami. He suggested that let members of parliament nominate themselves, as there is nobody prepared to do so we will be left with our choice, so he will be elected by the parliament. He was right there was nobody prepared to nominate himself, as all knew how difficult job could be. As sure Emami was that nobody is prepared for this post including Mossadeq himself, he faced him and told him that “why don’t you nominate yourself for this post as you were advocate of the Nationalisation Bill yourself?.”

            Against his expectation Mossadeq nominated himself. Pro British members of parliament confused by this suggestion of Emami, thought that this is his trick to destroy Mossadeq. So most of them voted for Mossadeq. Against all expectation of shah, which was waiting to congratulate Seyed Zia as new prime minister, name of Mossadeq came out of the ballet.

             Soon I found Mossadeq primer ship was the most mysterious era of recent history of Iran, almost nobody was prepared to talk about it, and I was not able to find any written literature about it. The only things I found out at that time was that he was over thrown by an American-British coup few months before I born on August 1953. One of our relatives Abol-Hasan Banisadr went into exile and his brother, my brother in law, Fathollah Banisadr was arrested and afterward although he was very young and educated, he was retired and become jobless.

            All summer of 1963, I lived in contradiction. In the morning when I was more courageous to go to our basement, I was working with my father’s papers, which were very disappointing. Most of the times I was feeling that our country, our people and our wealth are some kind of toy in the hand of strong countries, my feeling was a mixture of hate, sorrow, pity and revenge. Contrary to that in the afternoon and night time I was reading my most beautiful and dear book, fifth grade school’s history book. It was bigger than twice the size of any ordinary book, with full colourful pictures, maps and a language, which was as easy as I could understand it fully without any help and problem. I was able to read it as storybook and enjoy it even more. Unlike my father’s newspapers, stories of this book were telling me how strong and prosper once our country was, when only uncivilized people were living in Britain or Russia or America and nobody in civilised world knew the name of those lands.

 

October always was fun for me, it meant back to school, which was much better than staying at home. I could see my friends and play with them during tea times. We could pretend that we are in ancient Persia and could make all historic events, which we were reading in our history book. Few of us by drawing could become Greeks or Roman and the rest of us Persian. Although in real world we lost to Alexander, in game we could win and put him in a jail.

            Unlike years before our teacher was a man and I couldn’t expect much kindness from his side. But against my expectation, our teacher was very nice and kind as others. He was telling us many stories that were not written in our history or geography books. Beside our main teacher we had another teacher, which was teaching us the most boring and difficult subjects, he was teaching us how to write beautifully and how to read Koran, our holy book. I loved our prophet and our Imams (saints), but I didn’t like Arabs for what they did to our country, burning our capital and killing so many people. I heard from our teacher that Omar, the second caliph after prophet, attacked Iran and captured our capital near today’s Baghdad called Mada’n or Tisfon. It was so beautiful which first they thought that the promised heaven, which they heard from prophet, is this city and its surroundings. But still what they did was to burn and ruin it fully. I heard the most beautiful and largest carpets, a historic one was in Shah’s palace. Arabs didn’t know what to do with it. Nobody could own all of it so eventually they cut it in hundreds of small pieces and every body got a piece for him. Another story was about the most famous library of the time, contained thousands of old books from Chinese to Egyptian and Greek philosophers and scientist. They asked Omar what to do with the library and those books, he said “what ever is written in these books either are in Koran which we can read it from there, or they are not in Koran which implies that they are not from God and perhaps they are from Satan and had to be burned.” So he ordered that library with its books be burned. Funny and sad is that, they came from desert and living in tents, worshipping stones till few years before their attack to Iran, and still they start calling us AJAM (dumb - barbarian) and unclean. This is why one of ceremonies in Iran is ‘ JASHN’E OMAR KOSHOON ‘ (The feast of killing Omar.), when they make a dummy of Omar and burn it.

            There was no way, which I could persuade myself to learn Arabic or learn to read Koran in Arabic. After hearing these stories about Arabs. In addition to the behaviour of that Arab in Karbela which didn’t let my mother talk to Imam Hussein and pushed her out of his Shrine. I even decided to read my pray in Farsi instead of Arabic. I remember my stepmother was laughing at me and was telling me that: “God is not going to accept your pray, as it isn’t in Arabic,” and I was arguing with her. “Why??!! ““Is God Arab too “? Once even I told her, “If God doesn’t understand my pray in Farsi and doesn’t accept it, I don’t care, and I pray for a God who understand my pray in Farsi and accept it as it is.”

            Iranian proud of their nationality and their history somehow separated Islam from Arabs; they invented their own sect of Islam to separate themselves from Arabs. We say we are Shia’a. Irrespective of what history tells us, we don’t accept Abobakr and Omar and Osman as successors of prophet and believe that Imam Ali was his real successor and after him his son, Imam Hasan, and after him Imam Hussein his brother. We say Imam Hussein, grand son of prophet was married with Shaher Bano daughter of Yazdagird the last king of Iran, after martyr of Imam Hussein by Arab ruler Yazed, their son Zain’ol Abadian, became Imam. In this way there is a tie between our religion and our glories history. So one might not like Arabs because of past history and differs in culture and traditions, but the same person can be very religious.

            Fortunately later, when I was in high school, my religious studies and Arabic teachers always were the same, hence as I was always very good in knowing religious teachings, they used to ignore my dislike for Arabic and being so poor in that subject. I remember in the third year of high school. I got best mark in religious studies but poorest in Arabic, my teacher asked me personally if I give him one reason why I am not good in Arabic, he is going to pass me in Arabic. I told him they ruined our country and they killed Imam Hussein, “Is this enough for disliking them?.” I added: “After all this is the final year which we have this subject among our compulsory subjects, so what ever you do I am not going to learn Arabic.” He Laughed and gave me a good mark in Arabic.

 

November 1963, when I was in my mother’s house, we heard from TV’s News that American president; Kennedy was assassinated, and died in hospital. Ammo Jan was watching the News as well, he shouts with anger and sadness: “Oh my God.” He said: “it seems this world isn’t build for good people, he was a real democrat and wanted to stand against dictators here and there, and look what happened for him!!.” I heard from here and there that he was against CIA and perhaps CIA’s coup in Iran. Generally we knew him as somebody who had helped us financially and was advocate of freedom in our country, he had a kind face and all pictures of him, had a kind of smile, which was showing kindness and caring personality of him. Next day Iranian flag everywhere was half raised, and in school we were talking about his assassination, and judging him by our childhood mind and according what was said about him among people. For many he was some body like Roosevelt, who could save us from British and Shah’s tyranny.

            21st March 1964 as usual was our new year and the most important feast of Iranian, called Norowz. Some people say it is the Birthday of Zartosht, the prophet of ancient Iranian. Others say this is a day which once in the future the fight between Ahora, God of goodness and Aheriman, God of evil, will be won by the former. Light will win over darkness, day over night and spring over winter. Any way Norowz always is start of spring, weather is neither cold nor warm and at its best, you can see spring’s flowers everywhere, in the streets and in the gardens and parks. On Norowz day everybody has to wear at least something new, even poorest people try to be clean and have something new. Every family has to set a table for HAFTSEEN (seven object all their name starts with “S “) and has to have this table set as it is for thirteen days. Normally they start growing some greens in a pot from few weeks before Norowz as first object which its name has an “S “as green in Farsi is SABZII, it is symbol of successful agriculture which was very important for Iranian from ancient times till our time. As usual all our family except few were gathered in our house, and had lunch with us, after that my father took us to the house of some of the eldest of the family for saying congratulation (AYED MOBARAKI). First we used to go to his uncle (brother of my father’s mother), he was very old perhaps eighty or ninety years old and had few grand grandchildren, but at the same time his youngest daughter was about eighteen, and he was complaining to my father that she has acted half naked in a TV advertisement. He was sad and paralysed to do any thing about it, he said: “thanks God I am dying and fortunate enough not to see the future, but God bless you that where we are going is promise of hell for every body.” Next we went to my father’s cousin’s house who was an Ayatollah called Sadr’o Olama, normally my father was not taking all of us to his cousin’s house, either me or my brother, as Sadr’o Olama was giving a golden coin to every body as AIDE (present of new year), we both were hoping to be fortunate enough to go with my father to his house. Strange enough his house was in two different floors, the first floor, was ANDROONI, which only women were permitted to go there, and the second floor was BIROONI. Where we used to go and were restricted to men. As I heard his two sons were pro Mossadeq, one of them, my brother in law.

            After that we went to one of cousins of my father from mother side. My father asked us to be very formal over there, not to eat or drink any thing and not to talk. They were close relatives of Zahedi family, Ardashir Zahedi was son in law of the Shah, and his father was the one who with help of CIA coup became prime minister of Iran after Mossadeq. As one can guess most of the talking was about Zahedi’s family and how Nationalist and clever they are.

            For few years Zahedi was the prime minister, while shah was not very happy with him. Firstly because after all he was a person selected by American and not by Shah himself. He had his own political view and will, generally pro American, while Shah still was hoping to keep himself in power by the help of British. Shah wanted to take Iran to where it was during his father’s era, when shah was absolute ruler of the country and every body else were in total obedient of the Shah. So some how he asked Zahedi to resign and Ala became prime minister and after him in October 57 Shah found his ideal prime minister, Manuchehr Eqbal, who used to say I am GHOOLAME’E SHAH (shah’s slave). Shah wanted to have all different tools of control of state in his hand. So he asked two of his closest disciples Eqbal and Alam to establish two different parties seen as opposite to each other, in this way he wanted to have governing party and its opposition both under his control. The first party under Eqbal called MELLIUN (Nationalist) and so-called opposition party under Alam was called MARDOM (People). About the same time horrible secret police of Iran SAVAK (SAZEMAN AMENIT VA ATTLA’AT KASHVAR - state’s security and intelligence organisation) under one of Shah’s generals and his wife’s relative Timor Baktiar was established. From then on Shah was in full control.

            When J. F. Kennedy became president of the United States. Shah who was worried by Kennedy’s elections campaign speeches and his talk about democracy and social justice in third world countries, to fulfil Kennedy’s plan in Iran, asked well-known pro American and self centred politician Ali Amini to become prime minister. Inspired by the Kennedy’s plan in different countries of Latin America, Amini chose Hasan Arsanjani strong and capable politician to start land reform in Iran. Shah who was very worried by the changes, especially after 100,000 strong demonstration of pro Mossadeq’s party, in Teheran, felt, he has to have initiative of what is going on. This was impossible without American blessing. So on April 1962 Shah with his trip to Washington changed his direction from London to Washington. He persuaded Kennedy that he is the best person for advancement of his plan in Iran. In return to Iran Shah got rid of Amini and asked his close disciples Alam for primer ship.

            On Jan. 1963 Shah asked for a referendum for his plan for land reform and other changes, called the White Revolution. As it was expected similar to other Shah’s elections in Iran that result is decided and known before the election take place, he won by ‘ 99%’ vote of ‘people’!!

 

My eldest brother, who was my mother’s sister in law as well, was an agriculture engineer who got his MSc in the same subject from America. After the start of Land Reform, he was posted as head of Agriculture and Land Reform ministry in Gilan, one of the richest agriculture states of Iran south of (MAZANDRAN) Caspian Sea. On July 64 my father let me to go there for few weeks to have my vacation.

            While I was in Rasht some times we used to go with my brother to selected lands, he brought with himself many selected seeds from America which wanted to see how they will grow in Iran, one of them was American Watermelon that unlike Iranian were much bigger and not spherical but elliptical. He was very proud of his selected lands and hoped to make some kind of Agriculture revolution in growing new seeds in Iran. He used to say what ever we want we have them in Iran, the best land, water, sun, work force, money for machinery and fertiliser. We can feed ourselves but we are able to become one of the major exporters of food among our neighbours, especially we can export different kind of products to Arabic countries. Some times I could feel he is sad that nobody is noticing what he is doing over there. It seemed nobody was caring about agriculture growth and all the time there were talking about land reform. Once he said there is a lot of talk about land reform, but nobody asks how a poor farmer can buy seeds and hire machinery for cultivation of small piece of land. After all who is going to decide what should he grow in his land. There was no pre-planed program for land reform and what should happen after that. The only thing, which Shah was interested, was that he became hero of the Land reform and his white revolution, and at the end appeasement of Kennedy administration. He didn’t care about Agriculture or welfare of farmers. Now they were some how land owner, but generally were confused and even poorer. Policies changed one after another one, some times we had to much tomato which nobody wanted them and poor farmers had to sell them with the price, which they paid for buying the seeds of those tomatoes and at the same time there was no onion in the market and we had to buy it from other countries. Next year everything was reversed, too much of onion and less other things. Soon land reform ministry became much more important than Agriculture ministry, as all Shah’s attention was toward his so called revolution, he selected one of his closest generals General Valian to head Land reform ministry. My brother was transferred to this ministry and instead of working for improvement of our agriculture he started to do office work and sank in huge marshland of new ministry’s bureaucracy.

            That summer one could feel things are changing sharply, although rarely one could find Iranian rice in the market but American one was plenty and cheap. It was the same for many other food and agriculture product. Despite of that, I heard that our farmers have started to grow asparagus which nobody knew what are they for and all used to be exported to other countries especially USA. Everyday we could taste new ice creams and American drinks. All along the road from Teheran to Karaj we could see interesting and huge bill boards advertising different products from banana to car and each week we were facing new ones.

 

 

Seeing life as history in ‘Black and White’

My mother was always very helpful with poor, I never saw any body beg her for money and be refused. Every month she used to cook different kind of food and sweat and take them either to Masgar Abad which was poor people’s cemetery and one of the poorest area of Teheran or to the so called hospital of Amin’ol dolleh which was a large place for mad people, she used to distribute those food among poor or mad people and was not ready to trust anybody else to do it. Any thing she was doing was for me a symbol of being Good, so I wanted to copy it without any hesitation. On the other hand I was not so sure about my father, I knew wealth was very important and serious for him. Once he saw me helping a beggar, he said: “you are not helping one in need, you are encouraging laziness in the country, if you act like this you will reach to nowhere, you will be poor and once when you beg for a piece of bread, nobody is going to help you. “he added: “after all it seems I am giving you more money than you need!!.” It was some kind of joke; he was giving me two Rial per day, which was price of two chewing gum, most of the time I even was not bothered to get it from my stepmother. My real money was coming from my mother and I knew she is going to be happy to see me helping Poor people with her money.

            Any how this was my impression from my father till once he took me to the poor area of Teheran while a big lorry full of coal and other goods was following us, then he distributed those goods among those poor people. It was for a first time which I could see so many poor people living close to each other in houses build by thin boxes or mud. Some even used to live in some large caves made in the hills around that place. It was a cold rainy day, but children with worn dresses were playing with water and making some kind of small damp in front of running water which was going to run every where including their houses. They were competing each other for reaching to the lorry and get some of the goods, which were inside of the lorry. I did not believe my eyes, my heart was going to burst, I wanted to cry, but I couldn’t. Cry for me up to that age was a personnel reaction to my misery or fear of what might happen to me. Now I could feel that although nothing is going to happen to me, still I was getting sad, as sad as possible, and felt that I wanted to cry. My father told me if you want to help any body, you help these people, but there is no need any body knows about it. Well certainly he made life difficult for me, I was not able to judge him as easily as before.

 

I had three half sisters from my mother side. I had not seen them since I was six years old, so I had a faded memory of them, but still I felt as they are from my mother side I like them very much. It was the same summer, summer 1964 which I heard they are coming to see my mother. I was very happy and as they say I couldn’t move in my skin from happiness. Eventually they came, they were grown much more than my expectation, but as I could guess, I felt, I like them very much and vice versa. Strangely all of them as their father was a religious man were wearing scarf, and had a long dress and thick socks, my mother’s first reaction to their dress was “what are these you have worn?! “she said. “Take them off, you are not in Kermanshah any more, now you are in Teheran! “she continued. I was surprised to see my mother’s strong reaction; it was for first time, which I could see her so hard on something. Normally she was very flexible and understanding, my sisters were not ready to change their dress, obviously my mother was not happy about that but she said no more.

            During summer time my father was ready to let me to be with my mother longer than usual instead I had to be with him on Thursday and Fridays to see my relatives and go to Karaj. For few days my sisters were with my mother, then they said that they want to go to their aunt (sister of their father) house, first my mother said “OOh No “, then she didn’t say any more. Their aunt’s husband was Al Agha; he was preaching every day in Radio program few minutes after 12 o’clock. I guess they were very religious, and now my sisters wanted to go and stay the rest of summer with them. I was in total disagreement with their decision and start objecting with all my might, but as my mother was happy with that I couldn’t change any thing and they went. It was rather strange for me as I was not able to see my mother’s general kindness especially toward her children, I was not able to keep this to myself and told her, she replied that “they wanted to go to their aunt, what could I do?.” Later I found out, my youngest sister Farzaneh who I liked her more than any body else next to my mother has passed her exam for entering to university and is going to study in the most famous university of Iran the Teheran University. So she was going to stay in Teheran. She told me that she is going to stay with one of our family’s friends instead of staying with my mother or my grant parents. She told me in private: “Look Masoud our mother doesn’t like us as much as she likes you.” I was very disappointed and some how angry, I always used to think my mother likes me as much as she does, firstly because she is a kind person, and secondly because she is very caring and kind mother, now I could see some how I was not quite correct. I went to my mother and told her that if you let Farzaneh goes and stays with other people, I am not going to come here anymore as well, I don’t believe you don’t like your children all the same. She starts doing her best to persuade my sister to stay with her, but my sister and I were able to feel that this insistence isn’t a genuine one. For the first time I could see that my mother isn’t that angel which I had in my mind. Even for her, sometimes, her own idea and beliefs comes first to general kindness and caring. Again I found out people are not as black and white as I used to think.

            After few weeks staying in Teheran Farzaneh took her scarf and didn’t wear it any more and after some times start wearing pretty dresses which girls used to wear on those days and was getting more and more according latest fashions of Europe. Next time when two other sisters of mine came to Teheran, the middle one was married and had a very pretty small son, and the oldest one did stay with my mother and after some times married in Teheran. Both of them took their scarf and were wearing dress-according day’s fashion. I felt that their first persistence was mostly due to their habit not fear of their father or their own believe. Soon they found out that in modern society of Iran, which according to the Shah’s desires was going to be like American and European countries, there is no place for their own traditional dress code.

 

 

Back to history, invasion of our country by Arabs and change of our religion

Our Sixth year history book was the same size as the fifth year one, but not as colourful, and as beautiful as that one. After invasion of our country by Arabs during Omar and Osman, second and third ‘ Moslem’s caliph’, many Iranian changed their religion from Zoroastrian to Islam. As it was fashion of the day, many starts talking in Arabic, even common people start using some Arabic word in their day-to-day vocabulary. Our scientist, our writers, even our poet, wrote their books in Arabic. Their work and even their name became part of Arabic culture and history. They were known as Arab scientist or writer or philosopher. I think it was because people used to think, science, literature, And even their culture, their religion and their own language, were all properties of Shah and cream of Society. Common people were not permitted even to educate their children. There was a story that Anoshirvan, the famous king of Sasanian needed money for one of his battles. He was suggested to borrow it from a rich farmer. When he asked. The farmer was more than happy to give money to the Shah; instead he asked that his son be able to study. Although he was rich, as he was from cast of farmers, his son was not permitted to have education. King needed money badly, but eventually found looking after their ‘principals’ is prior to any thing else. So he preferred not to get that money from the farmer and find it from somewhere else. Now there was no Shah to look after our culture and our language. A shah who could hold every thing in its place as it used to be. Perhaps in this sense Arabs were right, and we were more primitive than what they were. Their culture was more backward than the culture of elite of Iranian society, but at least whatever it was, it was owned by every body. Religion, culture, language and literature were every body’s property, and every body’s responsibility to look after it and help it to prosper. So I think I can understand why common Iranian didn’t resist against Arabs and I believe most of them changed their religion by heart, and not by force.

            After death of prophet Mohammed, four caliphs were elected one after another one by ‘ Bya’at ‘ (one could be nominated by himself or any body else and people used to vote for him, this democratic system with all its disadvantages, I believe was very progressive for its era.). Iranian used to kingdom and inheritance of kingdom, from one hand and on the other hand because of invasion of Iran by Omar and Osman, never accepted the first three Caliph, and believed prophet did choose Ali his cousin and son in law as his successor, and after him his sons and their descendant. After assassination of Caliph Osman aged 80 in Medina. Ali cousin and son in law of prophet was elected as fourth Caliph (656). He had to fight against many internal enemies including some close disciples of Prophet and even Prophet’s wife, who were not agree with Ali’s way of distributing the wealth in equal term, between Arabs and non Arabs.

            In 661 a fanatic Muslim assassinated Ali. After Ali his oldest son Hasan became caliph. But soon he made peace with Muawiya, his father’s rival and did accept him as caliph. Those who believed in right of Ali’s family for being caliph of Moslems, called themselves Shia’a of Ali (Party of Ali) generally known as Shia’a. They didn’t accept Muawiya as caliph, and after Imam Hasan was poisoned, they recognised his brother Hussein as his successor. Hussein did respect his brother’s peace treaty with Muawiya, but after his death in 678, Hussein didn’t accept Yazed, Muawiya’s son as his successor. As he was invited by people of Kuff’a to go there and revolt against Yazed, he travelled from Medina toward Kuff’a. But people of Kuff’a didn’t come to help him, and from here comes an expression in Farsi which we says ‘don’t be like people of Kuff’a’ or when we say Kuffei to some body we mean, the one who promise and doesn’t fulfil his promise. Hussein not helped by the people, fought with 72 of his close relatives and disciples with Yazed’s army and all were killed. As it happened near Karbela in 10th oct.680, is called incident of Karbela and has influenced all Iranian and Shia’a followers all around the world for generation and has given incentives and courage to all revolutionaries among Moslems. We believe he fought not for governing of the Empire but for the main goals of Islam, which he believed, were going to be forgotten. Freedom, equality, social justice for all human beings and brotherhood among all Moslems from different races. We say although he knew he and his close relatives and disciples were going to be killed, he accepted dying in battlefield to living but not being free. They say many times during his journey he told his followers that most probably all of them are going to die, and asked them to leave his army if they are not ready to fight. They say he used to ask every light be turned off so if any body want to leave doesn’t be ashamed of it in front of others.

 

 

Shah’s ‘Great Civilisation’

One day in January 65, we heard from Radio that Hasan Ali Mansur prime minister was assassinated and is death. I was in my grand parents house. Again Ammo Jan was transferred from Teheran, this time to northern port of Iran called Bandar Pahlavi (Bandar Anzali), so I was going to my grand parents house on weekends. My grand father was telling us that the assassination has been done by the followers of Khomieni, he told us: “After so many people were killed by the order of Shah in the streets of Teheran on June 63, Khomieni was for sometimes silent or at least ordinary people were not able to hear from him. It seemed his uprising had been crashed and he was not going to show any more objection and resistance to Shah’s plan for the future of Iran. Shah used Alam his loyal prime minister, as scapegoat and, to say every thing has been done by the order of Alam transferred him to a lower job as head of university of Pahlavi in Shiraz. Then Mansur son of late pro British prime minister of Iran during Second World War became prime minister. But after Shah’s selected members of parliament voted for extra territorial capitulatory rights for American personnel and technician working in Iran. Khomieni started to show his objections and in one of his speeches said: <these American can do any thing, they can rape our women and kill or young men and one can not do any thing about it, are American going to give us the same right if we go to their country?!> Shah was very angry of this old man and didn’t know what to do about him, so his prime ministers exiled him to Turkey.” (Nov. 64)

            Everything was changing in Iran very rapidly. We were going to be as “civilised “as Shah said in one of his speeches. He said: “we are going to be one of the most progressive countries of the world within twenty years. Then we are going to enter into era of the ‘Great Civilisation’.” So Mansur start changing the whole structure of the government, one could see new generation of politician among his ministers, people who were educated in western countries especially America, and were more Technocrat than politician. This changes were not taking place only in ministerial level, one could see it everywhere among government employees. Religious people, lead by Khomieni’s supporters were especially unhappy about things which were changing in social activities, customs and relationships of people and their behaviour, their dresses, relation ship between boys and girls, opening new discos. So they had to do something about it. So when Mansur wanted to present new bill about oil’s agreement to Parliament, he was shot death.

             After Mansur death immediately Shah as next prime minister chose Amir-Abbas Hovida, an educated close friend of Mansur. He was prime minister till nearly end of the Shah’s era. People used to say he is puppet of Shah, he didn’t mind to be known as shah’s tool. Once he answered to question of one of the ‘members of parliament’: “I am not working for you, I am servant of his majesty.” Perhaps because of his father who was Bah’aie, people used to say he is Bah’aie and have brought all Bah’aie’s in power. I heard from one of our relatives, who was Bah’aie herself that this was not true and as his mother was a Moslem, and had more influence on him, he was Moslem. Any way his father Ayn al Molk died when he was only ten years old.

 

By the end of Spring 65 I finished my school and passed my examination with good marks. Principal of my school persuaded my father, instead of sending me to state high schools, send me to Hadf high school that was perhaps second best high school of Teheran. Although my father was very against sending his children to private school, at the end registered me in Hadf high school, which was close to our house. Soon my father bought a house in North of Teheran, which was area of the upper middle class of the society. Anyhow as now I had to take bus for going to school, my father start giving me and my sister ten Rial instead of two Rial per day. Our life changed some how for better. We were having our lunch in school, as we couldn’t go back home during lunchtime, so most of the times I used to be in school and have fun with my friend. Although travelling with bus for many people was some kind of misery and torture, for me was fun, they were always full of people that nobody could breath easily, we used to run after them and hung ourselves from the iron bar of their entrance, the ticket collectors were next to God, they were so powerful, they could let us in or not, if they were happy they could, not to take our ticket, sometimes when they were angry they could push us with their foot out of bus while it was moving. Once I saw a boy who was thrown into street in this way and while bus moved from there, people found poor boy dead or nearly dead.

 

Summer 66 my father let me go to my mother for vacation. So I spent most of the times with her family in Bandar Pahlavi. Its old name was Bandar Anzali and as many other things now was named after shah’s family, ‘Pahlavi’. It is a Persian name and they say is the name of our ancient language. Reza Shah who wanted to say that he is pure Persian chose Pahlavi as his family name.

            Although by then many times during vacations I was staying sometimes with my father in different parts of the northern Iranian seaside, I have to admit this was totally different vacation, which I had. Navy personnel were living there like movies. There was special part of seaside restricted for them, very clean and perfect sands in the sea, there were different kind of toys for children and even for grown up over there. Food was perfect and cheap. Every night there was some kind of program organised over there, either dance or some singers where there to sing. Part of it was for people to play cards and different kind of gambling, women were pretty and strangely were wearing two-piece swimsuit, which was rare in seashores. Every day since morning till late in the night me and my step brother and sister were there playing and swimming. Soon I learned how to play cards and some times my mother was letting me to play instead of her. While she was playing, she was using some French and English words, which I was not able to understand them. Soon I found out using these words are fashion of the day. Like when Arab was in our country that could show how intelligent and modern one is. Her playmates where not very happy to see me playing instead of my mother, as I used to win most of the times. My mother used to give me part of what was won by me, and I could spend it for sweet or playing children game. By then I found how my mother and Ammo Jan have lost their money, they loved to play and most of the times used to play and lose. Ammo Jan was next to first commander of navy over there, despite the fact that, he didn’t have any naval education and most of the time his service in navy was different kind of office work. I don’t think he ever travelled by ship. One day he took me to the shore and show me some boats, they were all very beautiful, he took me inside of one by one of them, and told me that, the biggest one is Shah’s boat. We could see inside of it, shah’s bedding and his sitting’s room, his lounge etc. The next boat I was told was crown princes one, though I couldn’t understand what is use of a boat like that for a six-year-old boy.

            One day Issa who was living in Rasht close to Bandar Pahlavi, came to us and got my mother’s permission to take me to Mordab Pahlavi (Marsh land of Pahlavi). Over there situation was different again, people were poor, children were playing with bare feet in the street, women either had scarf or chador, most of men were fisherman, which later on I found out that most of the time they fish illegally. We saw French wife of one of navy personnel with her swimsuit while driving her husband’s army roofless jeep, she recognised me and waved hand to us. All men and women were looking at her and Issa was a bite embarrassed to see her waving to us. He hired a small boat and we rowed toward Marshland, it was so beautiful, we rowed all morning, noon and afternoon, I was so tired although it was some kind of adventure, which I could tell to my friends. But soon I could feel bad pain in my arms. Then when we wanted to raw back to where we start, we were not able to find our way back. Issa was very tired of rowing, he didn’t want me to raw any more, but he himself was not professional rawer as well, he was worried very much, this time not from my father, but from being lost over there. Fortunately we found one fisherman who told us to follow him and in this way we could find out our way back to the shore. As when you are happy, time flies, summer past very soon and I had to return to my father again, it was like going back from heaven if not to hell at least to earth with all its realities and its problems.

 

That October I start my second year of high school, two subjects that were the most difficult one for me were English and Arabic, other subjects were not so difficult and I didn’t have any problem with them. Two of my best friends were Ghoolam, who was from Azerbaijan and we were friend since second year in school, the second one was Mohsan, who was from Kermanshah, and we became friend from first year of high school. Most of the times we were together, during those days there was a custom in our high school that pupil used to make wall newspapers and during teatime every body used to stand and read them. On January 67 we decided to start making one of those newspapers. As the first issue was out on Christmas day we called it NoŽl. At the beginning most of it was story from different storybooks, but gradually we started to make it historical and eventually political. I was very in fond of books and was spending all my money, my mother used to give me, for buying books. All my books were historical one, Iranian and latter European.

            Once I found a bookshop, near University of Tehran. Shopkeeper who looked kind and intellectual offered me books, which were not in open bookshelves of his shop. The first few books, which he sold me, were all from Kasravi. The first one was: ‘ Constitutional Revolution’s history ‘, in this book he was talking about mistake of revolutionaries and why they lost. The second book was ‘ What can be expected from United Nations ‘, in this book I could see that United Nation is just a tool in the hand of big powers to control small countries and destroy any of their struggles for liberty or independence. Another book called “Varjavand Bonyad “, Kasravi who was very against Arabs and their influence in our culture and language, in this book had tried to introduce new words to substitute those, which had Arabic roots. In our Alphabet there are many letters with similar sound but different shape, for example we have two different type of ‘ T ‘, three different type of ‘ S ‘, four different type of ‘ Z ‘, two different type of ‘ H ‘, and two different type of ‘ GH ‘. Many of these letters along many words are not Persian, they have entered into our literature by invaders of our country, either Arabs or Turks or Mongols, if they be subtracted from our Alphabet it will reduce from 32 to something close to 23, so our writing will be much simpler and people can learn to read and write much faster. During Reza Shah era, and even now, most of the people of our country were illiterate and main obstacle was and is confusing Alphabet of Farsi, people who wanted to do something about it were looking for a shortcut. Reza Shah wanted to copy Ataturk in Turkey, and change our Alphabet from Arabic into Latin, but there was strong resistance among our intellectuals and Ayatollahs, as we could lose our links from our rich past history and literature and religious books. My father while was in the army-faced problem of illiteracy among soldiers and even army personnel, so he wrote a book about our writing and how it can be simplified. Well the main problem as changing into Latin was our link to our past, if we were doing that nobody was able to read our valuable literature books. Any way what ever was wrong with our language, I was proud of it compare to Arabic and even English, I believed it was more progressive as there was no gender in our vocabulary, it was very funny for me to say which object is a male or female, or when I wanted to talk about third unknown person I had to specify its gender, or talk about him as he was a man. In this way God had to be a man as well. I used to say Iranian believed in equality of men and women, this can be seen from our language and even in our history we had two women as Shah. While during that era women didn’t have any right in any part of the world. I believed the difference between men and women who can be seen in Iran are as a result of influence of Arabic culture in our country.

            Although Kasravi’s writings were a bite difficult to understand, but they were interesting as they had strong sense of nationality, and were giving me some information which were not available in our history books. Once I was reading one of his books, my father saw me, and asked me what am I reading? I told him. He asked me if I do believe in what ever I read? I answered, “Well I judge them according my knowledge and understanding,” he asked me: “how far is your understanding and your knowledge?” I had to admit “not much.” Then he told me that he used to think Kasravi is a very nice and clever and fair man, and was very in fond of his writing and his thinking. Till once he had to fight in court against one of his neighbours who possessed part of his land, by changing position of his land’s fences. My father said: “in the court I found out that Kasravi is going to defend my neighbour, I was happy as I thought he is a fair man and will find out who is right and will tell his client to solve the problem in peace. But when I start talking with him, I found out that what is right or wrong is not important for him, as I was in the army, in his view I was aggressor and he had to fight with me, apart from what is right or wrong. So after that I felt perhaps his judgement about history and other things is influenced from his idea of good and bad and not from what is reality and what is imagination and stories.” After that he added: “any way I thought you are religious, did you know he was very against Islam and at the end was killed by a fanatic religious man (March 1945)?!! I hope you don’t want to have the same end.” Well as I was not agree with my father in many other issues, I heard him, but he didn’t change my view about Kasravi and his writings and didn’t stop me reading them.

             Another book which I read was Hitler’s ‘ My struggle’ (Mien Kemf), there was not much talking about what did Hitler against Jews in books which I read about him, the only thing which I knew was that he stood against all our enemies, British, Russian, and later American. He was considering himself as Aryan, and in his book he talked about glorious days of Aryan race, namely ancient history of Iran.

 

By Autumn Ammo Jan was transferred back to Teheran and my mother bought a small house by instalment, in Hasan Abad close to my school. Hasan Abad was on strip boundary between north and south of Tehran, once the end of the city was there and after that towards north were gardens of riches and were considered as rural area of the city. One of the Main gates of the city which one could see its reminder was in Hasan Abad. Going toward north from there. One could see big stores, very pretty and clean, full of lights with latest fashion of cloths and home equipment. Modern and big Cinemas with latest movies from different European and American countries all dubbed into Farsi. High buildings with offices of different companies and branches of famous banks. Streets full of modern and most expensive cars. Houses were build according to new fashions. Even people were different, most had latest fashion of cloths, and some were even ahead of ordinary European. Girls and boys were walking in the streets hand in hand.

            On the contrary was south. When ever I was feeling depressed I used to go toward south. It is said that our prophet used to say: “when ever you feel depressed and unhappy from life, things aren’t according to your expectation. Go to cemetery” Over there you can see you are not here for ever, there is an end to life, those things which seems are very important will vanish and new things will replace them. Few years after your death, nobody even remember your name. Then you will find life isn’t so difficult and there are many things which can be loved and live for. Well although by going toward south, I never reached to main Tehran cemetery located there. But I could see misery of people, which were forcing me to forget my own problems and find a reason to live. My hope was one day I be able to do some thing for those people. I could feel this is enough reason for being alive. In south every thing was different. Dirty streets, canals of water were full of rubbish dark and smelly. Shops were small, dark and old, most of their goods were second hands including cloths, even some times food was second hand too. There was some body that used to put a small cooker in the street and during winter he used to cook some kind of stew, called Aash, or Tripe. In summer time he used to have some kind of rice, called ‘Ghati poolo’ (mixed rice) every body knew that, this is reminder of northern restaurant food mixed together. Close to his cooker he had a pot full of water, and other side he had small plates. People used to Que. for food, he used to take a plate or small pot and full it with food, for small amount of money, which still for poor people of that area was, a lot. People after taking their food used to eat it over there while sitting in the street, then he used to wash the used plates in the other pot which was full of water as greasy as the food itself. Close to him was another man called ‘ Gigaraki ‘ a man who had small brazier, small pieces of cows long called ‘Gigar safid’ were put on the iron sticks, he used to kebab them on the fire and sell them each stick as two Rial. Alleys were narrow and dark, houses small, old and some times made by mud. In each room of each house there was a lucky family, some times up to ten people, living. Lucky compare to many others, who were deprived of having any kind of place to live with roof above their head. I could see children barefooted playing in dirty channels or in the streets. Cloths of people were old and ragged with big patches. Men walking in front of children and women wearing chador or scarf. Even cinemas which one could find there were old, small and most of the times either had an Old Iranian or Indian film, which were cheap. To see huge gap between rich and poor was only half an hour walk from north to south.

 

 Most of the times during lunch times Ghoolam, Mohsan and I used to go to my mother’s house and have lunch over there, then we used to go to my room which now I had in my mother’s house, and we three used to read new books which I used to buy every week. As well as books I was interested to read newspapers, but rarely one could find reliable source of information in Iranian media. There were many magazines printed every week, magazines for children, teenagers and women, all full of different colourful advertisement of new fancy product, speech about fashion and some fantasy stories which I liked as well, some had scientific articles and some had different type of news about Europe and America. But there were few newspapers and magazines talking about politic. Two main daily of Iran Kyhan and Etla’at as all printed papers were under total censorship, but one could see that these two dailies are completely controlled by the government. My grand father used to say: “the only page which are reliable in these papers are pages related to the announcement of deaths. One can be sure that they are death, and there is no lie about it.” So the only page he was reading carefully, were those pages. He used to say the rest of articles most be read upside down. My favourite weekly paper was a political humour One; called Tofigh, like Ansan Azad of my father it was full of cartoons. In each caricature the magazine said many things. In one cartoons there were two offices of two main Shah made parties of Iran, which were connected to each other from back door, while some people in front of them were showing that they are fighting each other. Caricatures of prime minister always was on cover page of magazine, one could feel that he is a dummy and has no power at all and most of the times his role is to be escape goat of Shah. There was an imaginary party invented by Tofigh called ‘ party of donkeys ‘ what ever they wanted to say about political system of Iran could be said under pretext of party of donkeys. Another caricature was abut corruption, there was map of Iran all people standing around it while every body’s hand was in the pocked of person standing next to him. Increase in corruption and bureaucracy was as much as it was noticeable even for us as children. The only way, which one could go around this horrible bureaucracy, was by bribery. During those days one could see corruption and bribery as law of survival in Iran, if you wanted your job to be done, you had to prepare yourself to bribe, you had to know how and how much you have to pay. With the growth of inflation and specially amount of the rent which people had to pay for small room, there was no way, which an office employ could survive without accepting bribe.

            In other carton one could see spirit of Takhtti Iranian wrestler, our hero which people believed was killed by Savak, but was announced that he suicide. On top of his carton was written “they suicide me!!.” After every two or three issues there was one or two missing, which was clear that Savak has banned the magazine? We could see and feel that all our political system is superficial and all politicians are Shah’s toys. Apart from Tofigh’s political jokes, there were two other characters in all Issues, one was a girl with mini skirt which was new fashion for girls, and the second one was a building worker called Amallah, with these two characters one could see the difference between culture of north and south of Tehran. This story start when a worker busy working in one of the building in north of Tehran faced a girl with mini skirt, it seems when girl bend to take his fallen books from ground, the worker sexually attacked her and later was arrested.

 

Through our history books we could see that our country always had been victim of attack and invasion of foreign tyrants and colonist powers. From west, Alexander and Roman and later Ottoman’s empire. From east, Central Asian Turks, Mongols under Genghis Khan, and Timor and later, Ozbacks and Afghans. From south Arabs and later on British. From north Russian. All the time we could see defend of our country was in the hand of kings and rulers of the country, rarely we were able to witness resistance from people against new enemies. If they had strong king or leader like Korrosh or Shapur or Nadir. They were able to hold their independence and progress. On the other hand if Shahs were weak, like Third Darius, Yazdagird, Shah Safi or Fath Ali Shah, our country could easily been captured and invaders were able to ruin our country and stop our progress. It seemed people never saw themselves as owner of the country and didn’t mind who rules them, as long as the ruler could bring some kind of peace, stability, law and order and respect for our culture. Hence we were quite happy to accept some Mongols or Turkish kings as our own kings, when they accepted our religion and our language and our culture. This was not the same for Arabs who wanted to impose their culture on us. We had to resist against them and find different means in dealing with them and gaining our independence. Now, since hundred years ago, situation was totally different, nobody wanted to change our language or our religion, or our culture. There was no foreigner as our ruler. But we could feel we are under domination of the foreigners and everything including our culture, our religion, is going to be suppressed and lost step by step. Mohsan, Ghoolam and I, thought like Germans after loosing the First World War, strong nationalism can unite us and save us from exploitation of foreigners and domestic tyrants. So one day we decided to create a party. We called it Iranism. I wrote about sixty pages about everything, which was understood by us as our hopes for the future of Iran. We called it Agenda of Iranism Party.

 

 

 

Mossadeq, Seyeh Tir uprising

One day on winter 67 (4 Th. march 1967) I read very small printed news in the daily paper. News was very brief: “Mossadeq died.” Up to that time I even didn’t know, he was alive, no body around me was ready to talk about him and all my information had been collected by chance and through different people which occasionally were ready to overcome the fear of Savak and talk about him. It was a very sad time, but there was nobody whom I could talk about it. Next day I told the news to my friends Mohsan and Ghoolam, I found out that they didn’t know that he was alive either. For the moment we thought to write about it in our Wall newspaper. But we knew that our head master, which used to check all newspapers before letting us to stick it on the wall, is not going to permit us to write some thing like that. As well as that there was danger of he telling our parents and stooping us to have our newspaper as well. So we didn’t do it, although after some times we found out that there is no point of having that newspaper if we are not permitted to write what ever which we think students most be informed about. So we stopped writing that Wall newspaper after all.

            Once I asked the shopkeeper of my favourite bookshop, if he has any book about Mossadeq’s premier era. He looked at me, with some doubt and fear. After few minutes thinking, “told me let me go and see if I have any thing for you?” He sold me an old book, which didn’t have cover page, I presume for security reason it was torn of. So I never could find out what was the name of the book. That night I start reading that book and hardly was able to leave it and go to sleep. I found out that after Mossadeq did accept to become the Prime minister, first he broke any negotiation with the Oil Company and British. In reaction to this, by September 51 the company evacuated its technicians and closed down the oil installations. At the same time the British government reinforced its naval force in the Persian Gulf and put sanction on Iranian oil.

            To get some financial help to overcome financial difficulties arose by the stop of the oil export and also to present Iranian case to the Security Council of the United Nations, Mossadeq travelled to New York, but couldn’t get any financial help. British and their followers and Shah’s family all the time were plotting against Mossadeq and his government, hence he was under great pressure from within and without. Eventually by the end of 1951 he closed down all British consults. To neutralise any Shah’s plot against his government, he asked for the premier’s constitutional right to nominate the war minister. When Shah refused to accept his nomination, Mossadeq resigned and in his message to Iranian people said: “ . . . In the present situation, the struggle started by the Iranian people can not be brought to a victorious conclusion . . . I will resign and permit some one who enjoys royal confidence to form a new government and implement his Majesty’s policies.” (Etla’at 17/7/52). Royalist and Pro British members of the Parliament, elected Qavam as new prime minister. But soon people angry of Mossadeq’s resignation poured in to the streets, demonstration and general strike took over all Iranian cities, especially Tehran. The Shah at first tried to deal with the crisis by calling in the military, but after five days of bloodshed, asked Mossadeq to form a new government. This uprising as it happened on ‘ Seyeh Tir ‘ (July 21st. 1952) was named ‘ Seyeh Tir uprising ‘ and became part of our history and one of rare resistance of our people against tyranny. Mossadeq in his message after Seyeh Tir asked people. To look after their unity and co-operation without any hatred and feel of revenge, he said if not, we might start fighting with each other and forget about our main target. Which were Nationalisation of Oil, Independence and freedom and prosperity of our country. As he knew we are going to face a lot of hardship, with stop of production of oil and not being able to sell it, he asked people to prepare themselves for this hardship if they are looking for having freedom and independence. At the end he said, he is sure that our hope for independence and re-establishment of glory days of our past ancient history eventually will be fulfilled again. Although in Seyeh Tir uprising almost 250 people were killed by the army, the whole city of Tehran even rich northern part stood firm and united. Encouraged by this uprising and firmness of people in defending him, Mossadeq start to restrict Shah’s family and British advocates from one hand and on the other hand his progress toward his plan for social progresses. He transferred Reza Shah’s lands back to the state, cut the palace’s budget and allocated the savings to the health ministry. He renamed the war ministry as the defence Ministry. Cut military budget and announced that we are going to buy only defensive equipment. With emergency power given by the parliament, he decreed a land reform law that established village councils and increased the peasant’s share of the annual product. Through his Tax reform he shifted the burden of taxation away from low-income consumers. My aunt was telling me that to get help from people Mossadeq printed some governmental bonds. She told me they used to sell it in their school and even young students used to buy it with their savings. Soon he found strong resistance toward his reforms from Parliament. Majority of Parliament’s members almost all of them Pro British and pro Shah, were opposing Mossadeq, and there was no way which he could get any approval for any of his plans through Parliament. Eventually as a reaction to the Parliament’s attitude toward Mossadeq’s reforms, all members of parliament belongs to Jebh’e Melli resigned and in this way reduced the assembly below its quorum. Mossadeq with this argument that Law is for the people and not people for the law, ceased the activities of the parliament, and arranged a referendum on July 53, asked people for abolishment of the parliament or not? After he won in the referendum and parliament was abolished. Mossadeq felt he is strong enough to go ahead with his reforms, this time he didn’t feel he is obliged to be lenient toward Mullahs demands neither. Up to now many of his reforms were in death lock because of opposition from religious figures especially Kashani, reforms concerning issue of women or land reform or social freedoms and even economy and nationalisation of big companies. As a result from then on he found new enemies. Religious figures, who up to then were supporting him, suddenly changed direction and started to help Shah and Mossadeq’s oppositions. They called him Fascist, dictator, worse than Hitler . . .

            While Mossadeq was losing his traditional supporters, Royalist officers were secretly planning military coup. Military commanders retired after Seyeh Tir formed a secret committee with its leading figure General Zahedi. They had contact with British secret service through wealthy businessmen, Rashidian Brothers. About the same time new administration in United States under president Eisenhower reversed its policy toward Iran and decided to support Britain against Mossadeq. They sent Kermit Roosevelt of the CIA to Teheran to finance military coup. Helped by Roosevelt, Zahedi won over officers holding crucial positions in the army. They start creating alliance with the Mullahs. Eventually on August 19 Zahedi, commanding 35 Sherman’s Tanks, surrounded the premier’s residence. They ruined Mossadeq’s house and looted it and eventually captured him. Lufti, justice minister was murdered. After military tribunal Fatemi foreign minister of Mossadeq along 40 members of Tudeh party were executed. Another 14 were tortured to death and about 200 members of Tudeh party were imprisoned for life. Many members of Jebh’e Melli were arrested and sentenced for different length of imprisonment. Shah was clever enough not to execute Mossadeq, as he knew how much Mossadeq is loved by the people and if they kill him they never be able to overcome its consequences. I heard different reason and arguments why Mossadeq lost to the coup, although he could predict it and perhaps he knew it for fact. Why people and Tudeh party didn’t help him. Some say Mossadeq’s reform in army was not enough and he had to do more, even killing few high-ranking army personals. Some say he had to realise people are not ready for democracy and his enemies could benefit from the freedom more than people themselves. Some go as far as saying he had to give arms to the people so they could be able to defend themselves against army. Eventually some say his problem was that he didn’t have strong organisation to support him and neutralise conspiracy of his enemies. But Ammo Jan had straight answer, he said: “MA GHABEL MOSSADEQ NABOODIAM “(we were not worthy of having Mossadeq), he used to say: “we, at least majority of us were not ready for Mossadeq. We didn’t know any thing about democracy, for long time we were under dictatorship, so we didn’t know what to do with democracy and how to defend it. Main problem of common people in villages and even in cities apart from minority in Tehran was bread, and Mossadeq was talking about democracy and independence. One day all our streets were full of slogans such as hail to Mossadeq and next day death to Mossadeq. Majority of people were ignorant and passive about what was happening and silent about it. Some were ready to get money and changing slogans of ‘death to Shah’ into ‘long lives Shah’. They were so ignorant which some changed just the first words of these slogans and some of the slogans came like this: ‘ long live Shah, the traitor’ or ‘Shah the criminal’, ‘ ZANDEH BAD SHAH KHA’EN’ or ‘ `ZANDEH BAD SHAH JANIIE’.” Any way now I felt I knew enough about Mossadeq’s era but still there were thousands of questions, which I wished to find some body and ask him about. I felt as an Iranian I never can forgive American and British for what they did against Mossadeq, they ruined the only chance which we had for many years to come for having freedom and a democratic government, I wished some time in the future, we be strong enough to force them at least to express their apologies for what they did in our country. To neutralise these sort of question, which my generation could have, there was another war and enemy to make us busy with.

 

 

Creation of an internal ‘enemy’! Bah’aie’s

One of the people which we used to go and see in Norowz was my father’s cousin, her name was Mrs. Roshan Zamir, strangely although she was our relative but she was Bah’aie, she was very kind, old woman. Mrs. Roshan Zamir and her sister who was Moslem were living in a very old large house, inherited from their father. House almost was divided into two sections, not by wall or something, which could be seen except a carpet on the flour of the entrance. It was divided by believe, in front of each side of the entrance there were some shoes for every body, first we had to change our shoes and go to Moslem section of the house and see my fathers Moslem cousin. While we were there we could have tea and some sweets, then we had to go to the entrance door again and change our shoes, this time we could go and see Mrs. Roshan Zamir, there was a special chair in her living room which nobody was permitted to sit on that chair, only her sister could sit on that chair, so after few minute we saw her coming while walking on special carpet on the flour which obviously was kept there just for her. This two sisters could talk about their childhood and laugh, they could love each other and cry for each other, but were not ready to touch each other not even in Norowz which all the people used to forget their differences and kiss each other and start fresh kind of relationship. My father although was not a religious man but always was teasing his Bah’aie cousin on religion. He told her: “how came you say that you do believe to what ever Moslems are saying and do consider yourselves as Moslem as well and at the same time you don’t believe Mohammed was the last prophet of God which is written in Koran.” She replied: “well he was the last prophet of his era. Bob before our prophet came and said I closed that door and opened new door to new era of human being’s history. So our prophet is the first messenger of this new era.”

 

One day Mr. Hojati, our religion and Arabic teacher start talking very strangely. In our classroom in front of all students he start swearing at British and saying that all our misery is because of British. Then he added that British made Bah’aie faith and their prophet was an agent of British. They wanted to destroy our faith and our unity. Baha OL llah, prophet of Bah’aie’s said, people shouldn’t involve themselves in politic so British and their dummy politicians could do every thing they want. Now most of our rich families are Bah’aie and although it has said that they shouldn’t involve themselves in politic, many of our politician and army personnel are Bah’aie. Well I was surprised very much to see our teacher talks about politic and Britain so openly. I was one of his good students in religion, so I thought I had to follow him and see what is going on and what is behind Bah’aie faith and their supper kindness attitude. Two of my friends were Bah’aie from rich families. I start talking with them, they were not much aware of what was going on. In our school they were not harmed or teased by any body. They were free not to attend Religious studies and although they were not attending the examination, normally could have good marks in this subject. Zoroastrian, Jews and Christians didn’t have this subject at all, as their religions were recognised according our constitution, but Bah’aie were not recognised and were considered as Moslem, so they had to have this subject. They gave me their holly book called Aghdas to read, I read it but couldn’t find much wrong in it, to discuss about. Then I found a book by Kasravi called: ‘ Shia’a Gary, Shiech’i Gary, and Bah’aie Gary ‘, well after reading that book I felt all these sects are made by us, Iranian, for different reason. Now not only I was not able to argue against Bah’aie but I felt if I continue I will lose my faith too. In Islam I was mostly influenced by our own Sect’s believes, ‘ Shi’ism ‘. I used to adore our Imam (saints) who all stood for freedom and justice and all were martyred for their believe. They were my heroes and I wanted to follow their path. Now I was reading that their stories might not be all true and might be made by us. Now I could see even our believes are not as black and white as I used to think they are. I felt if we say creation of Bah’aie faith has had political reason and we reject it with this argument. Who is going to separate our own believe from politic. Who is ready to deny influence of politics in our believes and vice versa.

            Husband of one of my mother’s cousins was Bah’aie, some times they used to come to my mother’s house and we used to go to their house. Once when we were there I raised the subject with him. I found out he is quite clever, educated and intellectual man. Instead of arguing with me about origin of Bah’aie faith. He asked me what is the benefit of having a faith? I replied: “It helps one to keep himself far from badness and being good.” Then he asked me, “what is good and what is bad?.” I told him that these are things which are defined according to your own believe. For example drinking Alcohol according to our believe is bad and for Christians is not. He laughed and said: “and gambling?!.” I replied immediately well it is forbidden. My mother and Ammo Jan who were playing cards at the same time start laughing. Ammo Jan while laughing, said so all of us, including you, have to prepare ourselves for going to hell?! I laughed and while was laughing said, “well they say all artist and singers and most beautiful people are going to hell so after all it can not be a very bad place to be “, then I continued: “I don’t consider any of us as bad people, as we don’t harm any body and as I have seen that we do care about welfare of others we even might be considered as good ones.” Our Bah’aie relative replied: “so now you are giving me new definition for being good and bad!? You say bad are when somebody harms another beings or violate somebody else’s rights. And good is when you help others or defend their right.” I replied: “yes I think so.” He said well in this case is it very important if one’s religion is man made or God made one, as long as they invite their followers to follow the good path generally recognised by me and you at this ‘ juncture of historical time’?.” I said: “I don’t think so.” Then he asked me: “have you ever thought why there are so much information against Bah’aie and some times against British and what they did in our country. “ Then he add: “knowing past history is good but one should not give all his attention and his feelings to the past events and history, while some thing new is happening every day, we face new enemies and old enemies some times became new friends.” At this time Ammo Jan stooped him and said well you are reaching somewhere, which can be very nasty.

 

On June 67 Arab’s lost the war to Israelis, although I was considering myself among anti Arabs, but I could see that, not only I am not happy of their failure, but even could feel sad and angry of American for helping Israelis. What ever Arabs did to us thousand years ago had nothing to do with what was happening now. After all they were human beings and Moslem. Israelis didn’t have any right to occupy their land and force them to leave their home and become refuges here and there. One of my mother’s neighbours were Jews, we were friends, we used to go to their house, and they used to come to ours. Once when after the Arab- Israelis war they came to our house, I tried to show my anger of what has happened there. They told me: “we don’t approve what Israelis are doing there, but do you approve what Hitler did against Jews? Then they told me about Hitler’s crimes against Jews, which were shocking, as a result without any hesitation I replied: “of course not. Hitler’s action is condemned without any doubt as what Israelis are doing now.” I told them: “do you really believe, as ancestors of Jews were living in those lands, now they have every right to come back from Europe and other countries after thousand years, and occupy the land of poor Arabs who for many generations used to live there?” They said: “no, but what about those who could not live in Europe during second world war and immigrated to Israel, do we have to whip them from earth?” I didn’t know what to say, I could feel some thing is wrong in both sides of this discussion, but I was not able to argue about it. After some times they immigrated to Israel too, by then I could see what was wrong, they had every thing in Iran, wealth, friend, comfort. For generation, they were living in Iran in harmony with others, they were considered as Iranian, their mother language was Farsi, still they were ready to transfer part of our wealth to Israel and push some poor Arabs from their land. This was not hardship of living in Iran, which pushed them to Israel. It was their ambition of creation of large Israelis Empire, which forced them to immigrate. I felt they were captive of their history, other wise those genuine immigrated Jews could live with Arabs with harmony like past thousand years. I wondered if I was prisoner of our history too?!!

 

Our literature teacher in third year of high school was Mr. Sobhhi, we liked him very much as he was very caring teacher. He wanted us to understand things instead of just being able to write and read. He was not forcing us to remember useless poems; instead he wanted us to understand the poet and their poems. One of poem was like this ‘ HAN AI DELL ABRAT BIN AZ DEDE’H ABAR KOAN HAN - EVAN MADA’N RA AYEINEH ABARAT KON HAN’ (O you the heart (centre of understanding and feelings according old Persian believe) which are able to learn lessons, pass through what you have seen. - Learn from Evan Mada’n (the palace of old Persian Empire close to Baghdad which was ruined by Arabs and only its main arch of its entrance is standing.) as a mirror to see the future. (So one can see what has been left from the largest and most powerful Empire. nothing will remain as it stands. Many who are powerful become weak and weak will become powerful.) . Well there was long discussion about this poem. For the first time I was able not to blame others for our failure but us. We used to call Anoshirvan, ‘ the just’; he was the most powerful king of Sassaned Empire. This palace was build during his era. My teacher asked me: “why do you call him just?” I answered him by telling him the story of old women, which I was heard. He told me that I am wrong, and said: “He was called just because he promised Moghes (priests of Zoroastrian religion) to create a jungle from Mazdakyan.” He told me: “history always is story of winners but has another face which nobody want to talk about. Story of losers, and crimes which winners committed for winning.” Then he add: “During kingdom of Ghobad, Anoshirvan’s father, there was a prophet called Mazdak, he believed in equality of mankind and was against Sassaned way of casting in Iran. He believed there must be equal opportunity for all people. Ghobad was one of the Iranian kings who were brave enough to change old system, and accept new Ideas. He ordered nobody can harm Mazdakyan people (followers of Mazdak) soon they could flourish and many changed their religion and became Mazdakyan, including Ghobad himself. Iranian Moghes (Zoroastrian Priests) were very angry, so after Ghobad’s death, they asked Anoshirvan to do some thing about it. Anoshirvan ordered for arrest of all believers of Mazdak. He ordered to put all of them, thousands of them from head to waist into the soil close to each other so only their feet could be seen like trees. This is why ‘just’ winners ‘Zoroastrian Moghes’ not losers ‘Mazdakyan’ called him ‘just’. Although as a result of his action, we all changed into losers. Mazdak was talking about some kind of class equality without bloodshed, some thing that had to happen in Iran. People were tired of tyranny and difference between different casts of society, we were flourished enough and then were time for some kind of social progress and reform, and we had a chance of having it. But as it was rejected. When less than hundred years later, Arabs attacked our country with message of Islam, ‘ Brother hood and equality and social justice. ‘ No Iranian was disagree with those slogans. So nobody resisted against Arabs and Shah had to fight with them alone and at the end was killed by one of his own countryman. “Mr. Sobhhi told us about Alexander too, he told us that he burned Persepolis in revenge of what Khashayar shah did in Greece. He burned a city as well. I felt we didn’t care much about what Khashayar Shah did in Greece and were very angry of Alexander for what he did in Iran!!

 

There was a book called Enghalab Safid (white revolution) written by Shah which now was one of our subject and we had to have a good mark in it, otherwise it might meant something!! Mr. Sobhhi as well as being our literature teacher was our teacher in that subject as well. The first six point of Shah’s reforms were: 1- Land reform. 2- Nationalisation of forests and grasslands. 3- Sale of shares in government-owned factories to the public. 4- Profit sharing for workers employed by industrial and service companies. 5- Reform of the electoral laws to give women the right to vote and be elected to parliament. 6- Creation of Literacy Corps in which army conscripts with higher education would serve as teachers and be dispatched to rural areas.

            Of course every year or some times every month Shah added another article to articles of his ‘ revolution’. For us these articles were meaningless. Rarely I could see any body believing them and defending them. We were tired of in winter and summer time going by force to the streets to wave our hand for Shah or his Queen and some times his foreign guests. Especially as most of the times we had to go to school on Fridays to replace missing day, which we went for waving. My aunt who was head master of one of the schools, used to complain about waving days and demonstrations which they used to organise to hail for Shah. Especially as she was headmaster of a school for girls, they even had to attend these ceremonies more often to show their appreciation, for freedom of women, which Shah wanted to be hero of that. She used to laugh and say: “I don’t know what our men have done with their ‘freedom’ and ‘right of voting’ which now they expect us to be proud and happy about it.” In those days every body with any amount of knowledge and understanding knew how meaning less elections are. Shah approved all members of parliament and number of votes for any referendum and elections before voting take place. So rarely any body could bother to go for voting. It was job of SAVAK to create rumour among people that if they don’t vote and haven’t got voting stamps in their birth certificate, what is going to happen for them and what will be the consequences. In this way some people were forced to go and vote.

            Although Mr. Sobhhi could benefit from time of teaching ‘ White Revolution ‘, to teach us some thing about social justice and even forbidden word of ‘ Socialism’. Still this subject was very boring, and we hated to remember so much useless materials.

            Perhaps the only thing, which we learned from that subject, was the opposite objective of its writer. We learned colonisation is not as simple and as open as it used to be. To understand it we had to know more and search more. Now instead of reading big titles of newspapers we used to search for truth among small prints of the papers. My stepbrother while was waiting for result of his entry examination of universities, found a temporary job as translating some articles from American and British media for Kyhan newspaper. They used to give him some of these newspapers which most of the times were not available in the open market, some times he used to tell me about these news which I was very curious to know about them. Now I could here what ‘nice’ and ‘kind’ American are doing in Vietnam. I even heard about Castro and Chi Guevara. And heard about how Chi Guevara was murdered by CIA agents and Bolivian soldiers. Now I was able to see the real face of people like Kennedy, which we thought, might be our saviour. I heard about assassination of Martin Luther king in America and American students demonstration against US war in Vietnam.

            Gradually I was able to see American role in different events in our country and other countries. Now I could see why we are so free to talk against British and there is so much information, even in our history books, about their committed crimes in our country. Once I went to my secret Bookshop, this time among its hidden books of the bookshop, I found a book called ‘ MIRAS-KHAR ESTAMAR’ (INHERITOR OF COLONISATION) written by Bahar. It was about six or seven hundred pages small printed book. Full of information, there was full explanation of old colonisation by British, and how they lost to American, then there was news about what happened in other countries for example how Sokarno in Indonesia was murdered and Sohartoo became protector of American interest over there. There was news about big American companies and their crime in South America. I even was able to understand what is behind Shah’s so called ‘ white Revolution ‘. Well I felt I know now that how hating Alexander, Arabs and Mongols and even British is useless, while American are ruling in our country and are master of our king and his government and his dummy members of parliament.

 

 

Facing realities of life

One day when I went to my mother’s house. Unlike other times which my mother was present by the door to kiss me and welcome me and some times surprise me with a present or some food or fruit which I liked most. I found only my stepbrother present in the house; he told me my mother has asked him to take me to a cinema or where ever I want too. He said well let us go and enjoy ourselves, we have plenty money to spend. I felt some thing fishy is going on. Some thing most be wrong, I asked him where are my mother and Ammo Jan. He replied in my grandparent’s house, I told him OK let us go first over there, then we can go where ever you say. He hesitated, and when faced with my insistence, and threat that if not ‘I am going alone’. He accepted to take me there first. When we reached there. I could feel everything was different, as we say ‘ Sadness was raining from sky ‘. My mother’s aunt in black clothes opened the door to us, she was surprised but didn’t say anything and instead called my mother, and said “Fari “as everybody called her. When my mother saw us, she was surprised and looked to Ghoolam, my stepbrother, and asked him, why am I there. Ghoolam replied: “what could I do, you know Masoud, when he wants to do something, who is going to stop him?!.” My mother while was trying to have her usual smile, at the same time not to be able to hold her crying, took me to a private room, the room that during my childhood we used to live there together. She said Masoud, you are a grown boy, and you know the facts of life, including death. Your grandfather is dead. I was not surprised, I was prepared to hear a bad news like that, and I knew an accident has happened, but what? I didn’t know, and now I knew. My mother knew how much I liked and used to respect my grandfather, so she wanted to let me know of this news gradually, and now was forced to tell me at once. While I was crying silently I left the room and went to our basement, where in summer time my grandfather used to move there. I stayed there and tried to remember him, His kind and gentle face, his wordings, his laugh and his jokes about money. I think for half an hour I was there remembering and crying. Then my mother came, she told me that he died very calmly, he came downstairs and told my grand mother that he has a pain in his chest, my grandmother told him lie down after I pried I will boil some thing for you to feel better. When she finished her pray, my grand father was death already. They say: “good people die easily and silently without much pain.” I felt even I want to die like him. For next few days I was there and hundreds of people including my father came to express their condolences. It was for the first time for long times I could see him and my mother in the same room. I kept the announcement of my grand father’s death in the paper for long times as some thing to remember.

 

Although Ghoolam, (my friend) and Mohsan and I were not in the same class, and my beliefs about our past history and nationalism was shaken badly, still used to see each other and talk about our ‘ party ‘. We used to give our booklet to close friends of ours and ask about their idea and if they want to join us. Up to then about ten of our friends were attracted to our goals. One day when I went home, I found my father angrily is waiting for me. He showed me a photograph, which was taken by me. We had a Mask of Shah, which was made of copper. Once I took that and put it on the head of our dog and took its photo. One of our optional subjects in High school was Photographic, I and one of my friends printed that photograph, although I showed it to Ghoolam and Mohsan. But I believed nobody except myself had a copy of it. So I was surprised to see it in the hand of my father I used to keep every things like that in my mother’s house and there was no way which my father could knew about my books our other things which I had. Apart from that my father had my dear book, about Mossadeq. My father asked me for an explanation, he told me one of the students gave these things to our principal in high school, as he was kind to me instead of giving them to authorities he gave them to my father. I could see that one of my friends has done this, one, which had our booklet as well, the booklet that we didn’t see it again. My father asked me if I know what am I doing, and what is eventual result of my actions?! Then he said: “do you really want to spend the rest of your life in the prison of SAVAK?! And perhaps to take me with yourself!” He was not as harsh as I was expected, although he burned that photograph and the book, which I liked so much.

 

This incident was a turning point for me. Most of the things which I used to believe and accept them as pure truth, gradually during last few months, were shown to me that are vain. Now my friendship was under question mark. I was sure of Ghoolam and Mohsan, but who did give our booklet and the photographs to our principal? And where was our booklet? None of us knew. I felt how childish we were and immature our action was. Perhaps for us it was another childish game, but in real world it meant some thing else. Once one thinks he knows every thing. He is on the lowest point of not knowing any thing. Once as a child I felt I knew every thing and have a solution for all our problems. Now I could see I know nothing, not even any thing about myself. So I had to look around and learn again, first I had to learn to be human like others and then any thing else which I may want to be!!

 

Once one of my classmates came to me and gave me a paper. His name was Shahram; the paper was my answers to our English examination. As our English teacher was some how idle. He used to correct papers of some clever students in English and divide the rest of examination papers among them to be corrected. He used to put a number on our paper according to our name, so nobody knew whose paper is he correcting. Shahram was one of the clever students in English. He could recognise my handwriting, as I had many mistakes, he told me to correct some of them and give the paper back to him. This was an unexpected kindness and committing a great risk from a person, which not even was close friend of mine. Shahram unlike me and many of my friends was not interested in politic or even reading books. Instead he was in fond of music and movies and new fashions. Soon we became close friend. Although Mohsan was trying very hard to hold his close friendship with me. Rarely I was with other old friend of mine.

            When we finished our third year of our high school, we had to choose our subject for further education. Mohsan and I both wanted to be physicians, but as two of my brothers were medical students, my father told me, it is enough and we do need engineers as well. So Mohsan chose natural studies and I chose Mathematics. Mohsan used to play as my concise and reminding me about what I used to believe. Any way we never stopped to be good and close friends, till I left Iran and we lost trace of each other. Year after that Shahram and I both chose Mathematical studies and were in the same class. We used to study together, and help each other in our study. We didn’t have any problem in any subject and normally had good marks. During this era, I could see my character is changing rapidly. Near our school there was a hawker, which I used to buy old books and pictures of old kings of Iran from him. Every body used to think he is a Savak agent which spy’s on students of our school. There was common believe or rumour that from any ten people one is a Savak agent. In this way all people were paranoid about each other, and were not ready to trust each other easily. According this rumour which Savak itself was the main source of it, they used to wear different kind of dress and employ themselves in different job, spying on people. Even Police officers were afraid of them and didn’t dare to go close to them. He used to put pictures of Shah and Reza shah in front of his books and magazines, so no officer dared to stop or question him. Once he told me “do you want to buy any foreign magazines?.” I replied, “Let see them.” Then he showed me some old ‘ Play Boys ‘, although the sell of this kind of magazines were not forbidden, but still they were not sold openly, at least not to young boys like me. Later on an Iranian kind of playboy was published which it’s office was bombed. I bought one or two Play Boys, and from then on, occasionally he used to bring new ones, which I used to buy. On Thursdays Shahram and I used to go with some of our new friends to cinema and afterward used to go to my mother’s house, see my magazines, talk and play cards.

 

Although now I had new hobbies, still I liked to follow news. Normally there were much news against Russians and communists in the media. I was not very fond of Russians, not even after they became Soviet Union. Because of what they did against Mossadeq, their demand for Iranian oil, and recently, establishment of having good relationship with Shah. But still if we wanted to choose between bad and worse we used to think, they are Socialist and at least they are good for their own people. So generally we were happy to hear their victory over American. Whenever there was a Pro Soviets, Socialist coup or revolution news, we used to consider it as good news. On the other hand, we used to react very sadly to any news of pro American actions in any country. I think about the same time I heard from Shah our read in a newspaper, about Islamic Marxist, though it was said to discredit some revolutionaries, but for me it was interesting to see some people have been able to create a bridge between Islam which was religion of majority of our people and generally was considered as an ideology of hope for freedom, social justice, and some kind of socialism, from one hand and on the other hand Marxism with the same promises, but not believing in God.

            Once when we were returning from Karaj. My father was talking with my aunt’s husband about socialism and communism. He was talking about his trip to Soviet Union and the things which he saw over there some times after Russian revolution. He was telling story about a poor Russian farmer which was not ready to give up his farm’s crop, and red army soldiers wanted to take it by force, it seems eventually, he burned his crop instead of giving it up, as a result he was shoot death by the red army soldiers. I heard my father and couldn’t stop my self. I told him what ever they have done in their own country, at least they don’t have corruption which we have in this country, there are not this number of rich thieves in one hand and on the other hand so many starving and homeless people. My father who was angry but in front of our guest didn’t want to show it start reasoning with me. He said so you say who ever is rich is a thief. I answered yes other wise how one in this poor country can become so rich. He said, “So you say I am thief as well.” I said: “well I don’t say you have stolen any thing from any body or from government, but I feel buying a land and doing nothing in it and in short time selling it few times more is some kind of stealing as well.” Now he was very angry, he faced our guests and told them: “look what he says he calls me thief!” Then he told me: “What do you know? Do you think I didn’t want to produce something instead of buying and selling land? I tried to establish a factory for making structural material, but its land was bought from me, by force, because Reza Shah wanted to make railway close to that and wanted all lands around it for him. I tried to establish a paper factory with the help of a Swedish friend. The day which we wanted to start line of production, we found poor Swedish guy among woods crushed by our machine, It was sign of dissatisfaction of foreigners of what we intended to do. Recently when we bought a land for growing fish, we were told we have to give half of our shares to princes Ashraf, other wise one day we might find all our fishes death. What do you think I could do, yes we sold the same land after few months with the amount of profit, which we could gain after years of hard working. But I was ready for that if there was any chance for us to carry on.” I said: “at least you could resist.” Immediately he said: “and let our country be overtaken by Russian communists. No I am proud of asking my students in Azerbaijan to resist against communists and didn’t let one part of country be overtaken by Soviets.” It was end of discussion.

            About the same time I was able to witness new reality, it seemed people of Soviet allies are not very happy of the governments, which they have. Once in the media there was some news about what was happening in Czech and Slovak. I heard before Czechs, Hungarian wanted to change their political system and in both cases Russians by invasion of these countries stooped them. I was believer of freedom and used to believe. Living in hell freely is better than staying in heaven in chain. So it didn’t matter if Socialism could offer better life to people of these countries as long as they were not free to choose their own destiny.

            Although still I was in fond of historical and political books, but my taste of reading was changing very fast. Now I was in search of truth. I was not considering my self as a religious person any more. I was not praying or fasting any more and generally used to think of our Imams as good people, which one has to respect them. Now I was in search of a Guru, who could tell me what is right and what is wrong. There was nobody around me. I start reading Sadegh Hadayat books, although most of them were depressing, but still they were interesting for me. I think after so much misery which Iranian had in their past history, to adopt themselves, their culture somehow has mixed with sadness, and strangely many of us enjoy from sad music, movie or story. I could see myself in many of Sadegh Hadayat’s stories, or at least I could find common grand with his characters. Some times I could feel he is picturing our situation. Hopelessness and passiveness was result of reading of his book. One of his books was called ‘ Boof Koor ‘. He was an artist of mixing contradictory elements with each other. Mixing joy with sadness and ugliness. While I was reading that book, gradually I felt I was going to believe that death is the real freedom and life is some kind of test, full of misery and hardship. Once when I was reading that book my father saw me, and asked me about it. Then without any preliminary steps, he asked me: “do you want to kill yourself?!!.” I replied “of course not!!.” Then he said, “so why are you reading his books, my brother in law was one of his friends after his suicide in France, your aunt’s husband killed himself as well and left your aunt and his children without any body to look after them, this is influence of him on people.” Well although seldom I could agree with my father in any subject, I had to admit, I was falling in the same trap myself. Any way I stopped reading his books, but I didn’t stop searching for truth.

 

I loved my mother very much so any news about her health had great effect on me. Once I heard she has some kidney problem, which might result in losing one or both kidneys of her. For some times I was so depressed, I heard about transplanting Kidneys, as matter of fact Mohsan did some transplanting of kidney on guinea-pig which as a result of that, our school became very proud of it, and there was news about it in papers. So I told my mother if this is the case I want to give one of my kidneys to her. She laughed and cried at the same time. She told me even if I found a Kidney, who is going to operate it without money. I think for the first time she let me know about their financial problem, which was deteriorating badly. I felt I might lose my mother without being able to do any thing about it. I remember whole that week every night, this thought was in my mind, and I slept while crying about it. Fortunately soon it became clear that what she had was a kidney stone, which was cured easily. I was relived but during that week I had to face my mother’s death and being left alone without any protector. Still I was too young to understand the way, which my father used to show his love and his care for us. Soon I found out my mother’s health and financial problems are my problems and I had to worry about them more than any thing else. One late night in summer time when Ammo Jan was not in Teheran my sister Farzaneh who was with us called me and asked me to hurry to come and see our mother. When I went to them I found out my mother has almost lost one of her fingers by Electric fan which was on. Even then my mother was thinking about us and was trying to laugh and not to show how much in pain she is. I rushed toward street and took a Taxi, and then we took her to the nearest hospital to our house. Strangely they were not prepared to do any thing about her finger, there was blood every where and there was a chance that she lose her finger if nothing was going to be done about that. I was so angry and start shouting at the receptionist of the hospital, we were so much in rush which neither of us had any money with ourselves and they were asking for money before doing any thing about my mother’s finger. Although I was still a child but I was so angry, which they saw no alternative except surrounding to my demand, I promised them, while they are helping my mother I will go to our house and bring the money, which they were demanding. While we were returning from hospital, Farzaneh and I were talking about if we didn’t have money, what could happen, and what poor people will do in this sort of situation.

 

Summer 69 there was talking about Bahrain in most of the news in TV or Radio. They were referring to a bill passed by the parliament in 1944 claiming that Bahrain is part of Iran, and even there was a member similar to others, for Bahrain in the parliament, as usual selected by Shah!! Well we were Nationalist, but first we had to have some kind of feeling that we own our country as it was, then claiming for parts, which used to be ours. My feeling was that still foreigners are ruling in our country, although they were cleverer to show themselves like Arabs or Mongols. Apart from that, Shah never left us to feel any kind of sense of ownership of our country. He was absolute ruler. He used to feel he own the country and was not hesitant to admit it. Still no one amongst intellectuals was ready to buy Shah’s propaganda, and as usual we used to read it upside down and try to find out, what is behind it. As we say we wanted to see (CHEH KASSA’EH-EI ZIR NIM KASSA’EH AST) (What kind of (big) Bowl is hidden under small one.).

 

One Thursday when I went to my mother’s house Ammo Jan surprised me by being home earlier than usual, normally Thursdays were half day work, but still he used to come home after me. I found out he was not in work after all. Suddenly he was retired. He was retired although he was not old enough to be retired, and there was no warning or any sudden fault from his side to be retired so suddenly. He was very depressed and later on, became more and more depressed. He tried to find another job. But he was about fifty years old and after being in army for so many years, and not being expert in any subject or job, he was not able to find any proper job. He told me he has been retired by Shah himself along all Admirals and senior officers, in navy. Why?! Days before there was a lot of noise in news that Shah has saved another Island of ours in the middle of Persian Gulf, which was going to be captured by Arabs. They called it Farsi. It seemed the island itself didn’t have any value for Shah. So there were some navy soldiers left there without any food or drink for several days. Before they die of hunger and thirst, they were saved by a British oil Tanker. It seemed a newspaper in Britain had an article saying that: “How Shah want to claim for Bahrain while they can not look after their own soldiers in a tinny island!!.” Shah angry and depressed ordered for retirement of every Admiral and all officers ranking above captain, and replaced them with lower ranks. Any way I never saw Ammo Jan as happy as he used to be while he had a job to be proud of and to feel being useful.

 

In eleventh year of high school, we had to have ‘ Enghalab Safid ‘ (White Revolution), Shah’s book again as one of our compulsory subjects. This times every body new that our teacher is a member of SAVAK. I think he himself knew that every body knew about his membership of Savak and perhaps he was proud of it and was enjoying from power and ‘ obedience ‘, which was coming with that. As Mr. Sobhhi our teacher of the same subject in ninth year of high school, our new teacher was not able to find any thing interesting in this subject to discuss about. We had to remember some slogans and repeat them in our final examination. So most of the times he used to talk about politics from his point of view. I believe he wanted to test us as well and perhaps to find name of some rebels among us.

            Any way one of the discussion, which always we had, was about Arab-Israelis war. Some of us used to defend Arabs for resistance and their struggle for defending their homeland. Our Savak’s teacher was trying to defend Israelis. He used to say: “here are Israelis who once have pushed by different forces out of their homeland, now they want to return and live were they used to live for generations and on the other hand there are Arabs who are living over there and want to keep what they have. It is difficult to judge who is right and who is wrong. This is fact of life, who is right and who is wrong is not very important, what is important is that who is able to defend his own right and who is not! Powerful ones will win and history’s judgement will be in favour of them. Losers have to accept it and find new way of life and new tools to defend themselves. Now why we should worry about what is happening for Arabs? Did they worry about us? Didn’t they ruin our country? Still our ancient capital is under their occupation. Many of our country men are under their rule and can not have their basic rights.” He was referring to Kurds in Iraq which we considered them as Iranian, as they are from the same race as us and have the same culture as us, and most of them up to perhaps two hundreds years ago were living with other Iranian in the same country. Even some believed they are more Persian than us as their language and their look is perhaps much closer to the ancient Iranian than us. During those days Shah was trying to portray himself as defender of Kurdish struggle in Iraq, and there was a lot of news about Iraqis atrocity against Kurds, of course nobody was talking about what Shah’s army did against Kurds after world war two!

            Another time our teacher raised question of big American companies, called cartels and trusts, then he mentioned name of Seven sisters oil companies and how they control oil sells and exports in whole world, he talked about power of big American companies in different parts of the world. He talked about strength of United States and their military might. He mentioned that if they want they can destroy the whole world for several times and keep themselves alive for ruling the world afterward. What he intended to do was to impress us by the power of Americans, which recently were able to land on the moon and walk over there. Result??! Forget about resisting against American domination in our country and start finding a way for ‘ progress ‘ in our imposed frame work, while appeasing Americans. But how could we forget that one day we were strongest as well? We fought and we fought till one day we were so weak that a weak, backward, small nation but with strong believe could win over Roman and us both at the same time. What happened to Arab Empire? What happened to the British Empire, which their Queen used to say her country, is as large as there will be never a sunset in her Empire!!?

 

I didn’t know much about what is happening in outside world, but as many Iranian I had a tool to judge international events. I could translate everything, which was portrayed as good in our media as bad event and vice versa. So in this way although I didn’t know much about Nasser In Egypt, but I was in fond of him, so I became very sad when I heard about his death and felt, there must be an involvement of American and Israelis in his death. When I heard about Colonel Gadaffi who gained power in Libya or Salvador Allende in Chile or American failure in Vietnam and their withdrawal, I became very happy. On the other hand it was sad news to hear about arrest of Papa dopoulos by Greek’s colonels, or massacre of many Palestinians in Jordan’s civil war. In this way many students were aware of what is happening in the world. Especially Vietnam war had lesson for every body, a weak nation, bare handed was able to break American might, and won the war. At the same time we could hear about demonstration of American students in the United State and European countries and could see that they are able to make a change. As a result of awareness among students, everyday we could witness fresh demonstration in our universities too. Shah and Savak were very worried about those demonstration and strikes and wanted to suppers them as soon as possible, and perhaps crush its embryos in High schools. In one of those demonstrations two of my brothers who were medical students in Pahlavi University in Shiraz were arrested, later on my brother Saeid told us the story. He was very tall, perhaps around two metres. When Savak took photograph of demonstrators he was seen in all of them. They charged him as one of the leaders of demonstrators, claiming that he always was stood on a chair and was directing others. Because of him they arrested my other brother as well who was not interested in politic at all. Saeid told me they kept him in cold weather with bare body in an empty room for several days, they didn’t let him to eat or drink properly, and worst of all, not permitting him to sleep. He said when ever I wanted to sleep they used to pure a bucket of cold water on me. My brother was among lucky ones, as one of our relatives who was one of the high ranking Savak members dealing with American and European living in Iran, could prove that he was not standing in any stool, his problem was that he was taller than many students.

            Once when we finished our school and wanted to leave we faced many armed soldier and officers standing near our school’s entrance door. We were surprised to see them over there, they were very rough, with angry faces, and their commander ordered us to leave the school as soon as possible. I don’t know who started it but soon, I found all of us are hooting them. The commander became very angry and ordered his soldiers to attack us. They entered into our schoolyard and started to beat us. In few minutes while all of us wanted to escape and pass through a narrow front door, as a result few fall and were crossed by others. One of the pupils who was fat, could not run as fast as others and was fallen on the ground. Soldiers attacked him and start beating him, we never saw him again, later I heard from one of my friend that he was killed by the soldiers. Any way we were running without looking behind, soon I found my self in my mother’s house. After ward I heard what was the story, it was about increase of bus fares, which was decided by the Shah without realising its consequences and as usual, like an order from God, came to power immediately. Following to that there was demonstration in universities, but this time as interest of people was involved, people came to help students and demonstration spread to schools and streets. As a result, Shah had to withdraw and they changed the bus fares to what it was before. This was a lesson and a victory for people and especially for students.

 

By the end of sixties every thing was changing in Iran for good. There were many American serials and movies on TV, Payton Place, Maverick, Perry Mason, Fugitive. My father was not restricting us to watch these films. They were going to become part of our culture, some times we used to talk about them in school, I even heard Aghbajie, my mother’s wet nurse vowed seven Rial to Shah Abdul Azim (one of our saint) that Radney and Allison in Payton place marry each other. Some people by now used to act and talk like American. Even shape and Architecture of our houses, our furniture, colour of our walls, wallpapers, was changing and becoming more American. There were new fashion shops everywhere in the north of Tehran. Once Shahram took me to a new famous boutique of Teheran, called ‘ No. One ‘ I bought new cloths from there completely different from what I had before. My Trousers were light blue, as it was new fashion; it was very tight in waist and buttock, and very wide near ankle. My shirt was very tight as well, and my coat was long and tight in waist. I start growing my hair as fashion was directing us. I was not prepared to wear factory made shoes as it was called Mali Shoe, and had to buy my shoes from western type of boutiques as well. It was not only I, rarely one could see any young boy or girl not having clothes according to the latest fashion. Once while I had my ‘ No. one ‘ clothes on as I used to, start walking toward south, after five or six minute walking I found out, I can’t walk any further, as every body was looking at me strangely. Few even started to make snide remarks about my clothes. Now the boundary between south and north was sharper than any time. If you wanted to go toward south you had to change your clothes, walk and talk differently and act differently, and opposite to that if you wanted to walk toward north.

            One day one of my friends called Farokh asked me “do you want to become a man?.” I said “yes but what do you mean?!” He told me: “I want to take you to ‘ Shaher No ‘ (new city) it was a name which was given to part of south of Tehran. One of the poorest and richest parts of Tehran. It is said that it was built during General Zahedi primmer ship; He placed all prostitutes among the walls of this so-called city. It had an entrance door with two policemen guarding it and stopping anybody under aged to enter into the city. We wore proper dress for going there. We had to show some how that we are older than what we were. We took a taxi to go there. After about 15 minute, I faced new scenes, which I could hardly believe, even if some body told me before. We could see a dead man in the street while people were passing him without any reaction, children selling Hashish, and opium. Old and ruined houses, every thing which one could imagine could be sold and bought in the streets by poor men and women covered by their chador and barefooted poor children. Eventually the taxi stopped near the main gate of Shaher no. We were not stooped by policemen standing by the gate, and could enter the city. It had two or three parallel death ended alley, in any of them, houses in both side, of course there was no car in the streets and very few people either. Every body was in the houses. Farokh knew a house with younger women. I was feeling sad and depressed and even thinking of having sex over there, it almost made me vomit. I told Farokh, that I am not going to become a man, at least not this time. We went there and I saw poor women, from different ages some as young as fifteen or sixteen from poor villages and some as old as forty or fifty. I felt even sex here is sad and painful. I was not able to look in the eyes of those poor women, and wished Farokh finishes his job and we leave that place as soon as possible. Then I felt I never could accept sex without love.

 

As I was changing from a child into an adult, I found new area of disagreement with my father. He was very against my new dress, even colour of my shirt; he had his own dress code, according to his taste and culture. Colour of boy’s shirt had to be light white, blue, or brown and suit’s colour must be dark blue or black or brown or grey for winter and the same colour but light for the summer. He was very angry to see me in Green suit and shirt. But most of all my long hair was not acceptable for him. On the other hand I could feel that I can’t dress as he wants me to do, all my friends and class mates were having dresses according to latest fashion and I didn’t want to be seen as old fashioned one. So I found a way to adopt myself with the situation. Each morning I used to brush my hair as hard as I could and push them behind my ears, wearing the clothes, which my father liked me to wear. Then I had my fashioned dresses in our servant’s room close to entrance door. I could go to their room change my dress, brush my hair and go toward my school. In return I could change my dress and brush my hair again in their room and go toward my father to say ‘Salaam’. Once when I rung our bell to enter our house. Strangely my father himself opened door. He looked at me with strange look and anger. He asked me? “Where were you and where are you coming with this look?.” I felt this is the end of the story, so before letting my father says any thing else. I said: “well I have come to say Good bye!.” He shocked and was taken aback, asked me: “where too?.” I replied: “where I can be free, at least have a freedom of what to wear. “He said: “and where is that?.” I answered: “I don’t know. Perhaps my mother’s house.” He said: “your mother’s house? Doesn’t she or her husband feel ashamed to see you like this? Doesn’t she ask you to cut your hair?.” I said: “no but if she does, certainly I cut my hair.” He said “OO is that the fact?!! So if she asks you, you will cut your hair and if I do you grow it even more?! !” I said “yes because if she asks me for any thing, she has a reason for that and she persuade me that what she wants is in my interest, but you ask me because you want me to act according to your taste. If all of us wanted to act according to the taste of our parents, still we had to wear skin of animals and live in caves.” He was sorry of this conversation and pointed to me to go to my room and not to say any more. For some times we didn’t talk to each other. I stopped having any food in our house. Even I start buying oil separately for my heater. For lunch I used to go to my mother’s house and for dinner I used to take some thing from there and have it in my room. Once my brother and his wife, (my mother’s sister) were our guest, they came to my room and asked me to say sorry to my father and forget about what has happened. I told them there is nothing to be sorry about. I was not impolite and didn’t say anything wrong. My brother said you know our father; he is old and even when he talks to me, he wants to order me as he thinks I am his child. He is sorry as well, but of course you can’t expect him to admit to that. He was very sad to hear from you that you are ready to obey your mother but not him, my aunt laughed and said: “by the way how did you say such things to him.” They said; “Come down stairs kiss him and forget about every thing.” I did and after that as unwritten law we didn’t talk about our differences, he pretend not seeing me whenever I had a dress not according to his taste. And I had my dress according to fashion but its colour according to his taste. Soon my sister Sorya who used to live with us stood against my father too, although she was six years older than me and was in final year of university, still my father was letting himself to talk with her as a child and tell her what ever he wanted. She used to come to my room, crying and saying that she wants to run from there. I used to calm her and tell her that her misery is going to be ended very soon, as soon as her study is ended. By then she can find a job and afterward she can live wherever she wants too. Once my father asked her to do some thing and she did it wrongly, my father as usual without any hesitation slapped her on her back. She turned back and while was crying looked at my father and said this is the last time, don’t ever again think of beating me. And left the scene toward her room. That was the last time my father beat her.

 

Despite every day news against Arabs in general and Iraqis in particular, by now we were going to be more pro Arab, perhaps not because of our common religion and more because of Shah’s propaganda against them. Enemy of Shah had to be our friend. Although no Arab countries and many Moslem countries didn’t have any relation with Israelis and to play with them in any game was boycotted. They had an economical interest section in Teheran, and our sport’s men had to compete with them in different fields. In April 1970 as part of Asian football cup there was a match between Israel and Iran in Teheran. Iran won the match by 2-1. People interpreted this victory as victory of Moslems over Israelis, and later victory over Shah. It seemed every body was in the streets except army and police personnel. There was a jubilation and celebration everywhere till dawn. There were slogans against Israel and shah, and nobody could do any think about it, we were able to shout as loud as we wished and say what ever we wanted too. Things, which for long time were choked in our trout. For one night we could feel the taste of freedom.

 

Although my view about many things was changing, still every now and then I used to go to the bookshop, which I knew, to find new books. Once the old, kind, shop keeper, showed me few volume of a thick book called ‘ Freemasonry Dar Iran’ (Freemasons in Iran) by Ismail Ra’ain. It was very expensive, but I couldn’t stop myself not to buy them. All summer I was not able not to read them. My father had heard about that book, but still was not able to find them, especially last volume of it which was very rare as it had names of all freemasons in Iran from start till our time, including most of ministers and our prime minister. I was surprised to find name of one of my mother’s relatives over there, his name was Majid Auhei, he was one of Reza shah’s minister, I heard when Reza Shah ordered for seizure of people’s houses for building first airport of Iran called Gahla’a Morghie, he resisted and as a result lost his job and was transferred as ambassador in the Soviet Union and died over there. Once my father saw me reading that book, he was surprised and asked me if he can buy it from me and I can use it in our library. Like my father I was very fond of books and wanted to collect them for myself, so I told him no please you can read it and when you finished it you can return them to me. He starts laughing I think he thought he is not dealing with a boy any more. Any way although in that book I could find answer to all my questions about British involvements in Iran, later I felt this is history. I heard its print was encouraged and perhaps sponsored by American as a revenge to Bahar’s book ‘ inheritor of colonisation’ which generally was considered as a book by remnant of pro British politician against American influence in Iran.

 

In the beginning of our school year, One day we heard news that few of our students have been arrested because of long hair and ‘ improper ‘ dress. We were shocked to hear some thing like that has happened. We used to feel if we are not politically free, at least we enjoy personal freedom and now we could see even that is going to be threaten. The story was that police of Tehran with blessing of Shah, attacked some houses, residence of some rich hippies and as he was commanded by Shah. He found enough courage to go few steps forward and ordered for arrest of any boy with long hair. Obviously he was in this impression that he might be praised even more if he goes one step ahead according to Shah’s wishes. Well he was wrong, by then he had to know that Shah does not look for initiative, he want full obedience, some people like machine, without any ability to think. Thinking was for Shah and only for him. So soon the chief of police for his initiative was sacked and Shah condemned his action.

 

One day in February 1971, all Iranian newspapers were covered with news of new victory of Shah and SAVAK. It was when thirteen young men armed with rifles, machine guns, and hand grenades attacked the gendarme-Erie post in the village of Siakal on the edge of the Caspian forests. With this attack, later to become famous as the ‘ Siakal incident’, they sparked off eight years of intense guerrilla activities. In this attack all of them were killed and we heard about it in Iranian newspapers as another victory for Shah and SAVAK against “Marxist”, “Terrorist”, and “tools of foreign enemies Although the affair was a military fiasco, the Feda’ian, the group born after this incident, took it as a great propaganda victory in that they had shown the public that a small band of determined men could frighten the whole Pahlavi regime. Not surprisingly, Bahman 19 (February 8), the day of the Siakal incident, has gone down in Iranian history as the birth of the guerrilla movement. As if to confirm the importance of the Siakal incident, Shah followed up the executions with a series of dramatic measures. It launched a major propaganda war against the guerrillas, accusing them of being atheists, Tudeh agents, and tools of the PLO and the Arab imperialists. It rounded up fifty-one left wing intellectuals in Teheran, none of who had Feda’ian connections; granted a week’s unscheduled vacation to the universities in Teheran; and outlawed as an international conspiracy the Confederation of Iranian Students based in Europe and North America. It also increased government salaries, decreed the current year to be the civil servant’s year, raised the minimum wage, and declared that in the future May 1 would be celebrated throughout Iran as Worker’s day.

            Final year of high school past very quickly, most of the times we used to study and prepare ourselves for final examination which was not going to take place in our own school and we had to attend examination organised by ministry of Education. I was very depressed, the end of high school was the end of being with my good friends, after that every body was going some where far from each other. I passed my final year examination of high school, although not with very impressing marks, as I was in very depressing situation and just wanted to get over of that examination. I remember in any subject I used to stay in examination as long as to make sure of my passing marks and a bite more to guarantee any mistakes or misjudgement, which I could have. After that apart from did I know the answer of the rest of the questions or not, I used to leave the examination.

            Although my high school’s study was finished, I was not so sure about my own future, or what I wanted to do. I knew my father could not decide for me. Not that he didn’t want to, but he knew, he can not as there was new system of examination for acceptance of students in all universities including private ones, called ‘KONKOOR SARASARI’. According to the result of the examination it could be decided in which university any student should go and in which subject he or she should study.

            As I was afraid of not passing that examination, Ammo Jan suggested me to attend examination of entrance into Navy, as well; they were going to send us to United States for further education and were prepared to offer us the highest salary in the country from the start. I told him: “you know about my idea of Army, how can I go there?!” He answered: “don’t be a fool, who has said to go to the army, after you were sent to America or Italy or Britain, you can leave the army and stay there and enjoy yourself, like my son and his cousin. I will be your guarantor, they can’t do any thing against me, they have subtracted as much as they could from my salaries because of my son and his cousin. I have no property or money, which they are able to seize. So I don’t have any thing to lose.” At the same time, My brother in-law who was general in Air force gave me the same idea for joining the Air force, when I went there for interview, I was surprised to see so many American over there, funny was that on many doors were written strictly restricted and only Americans were able to cross those doors. Any way I passed both examinations. So at least I knew like hundreds of thousands of students after high school I am not going to be jobless or without any future and hope for higher education, ended up in military service in one of our villages.

             

            It was the beginning of summer time. I and my close friend Farzad were preparing ourselves for the University entrance examination. We had to study all of our subjects of last three years as there could be questions related to any subjects of past years. It was hot and our study hard. For past few months, I was in my mother’s house, as I told my father that I want to study with my friend day and night in my mother’s house. We were studying very hard, as hard as we were going to be mad from study. One day my mother told us: “enough is enough, if you study a little more, there is no use of it as you will be mad and I have to take you to Amin’ol dolleh Hospital (Hospital for mad people.)” So she asked Farzad and I to go with them to my aunt’s house. Farzad refused and said he prefers to go to his house and be with his family. I was hesitant, I said: “perhaps is better we go to cinema, or something.” Farzad said: “no I think is better after long time we stay for a change with our families and forget about study, when ever I see you I remember chemistry formula and perhaps I remind you of Physics laws.” At the end I went with my mother to my aunt’s house. When we reached there. I found out that some of my aunt’s neighbour is there as well. My aunt’s husband told me there is no need of you staying with your mother and ruining our game of cards by winning it, it is better you go to the living room and stay with your own generation. Over there he introduced me to their neighbour’s sister Anna and her cousin who was their guest. Immediately when I saw Anna I felt some thing is wrong with me. Latter on I found out what was wrong with me! I was in love.

 

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My mother and amo jan and I about 1963

 

 


 

با تشكر از شما بخاطر ورود به این وب سایت  در معرفی آن باید بگویم که آنرا به تشویق دوستانم با اهداف و ملاحظات زیر طراحی و ایجاد کردم:

  • با توجه به چاپ خلاصه خاطرات زندگیم به انگلیسی  و ترجمه آن به فارسی اینجا محلی است برای مشتافان تا اصل آنرا ملاحظه نمایند.

  • از آنجا که کتاب تنها داستان زندگی من بدون جهت گیری و نتیجه گیری خاص و جامع سیاسی و فلسفی است. اینجا محلی است جهت پاسخ به سئوالات و بیان نقطه نظرات من.

  •  امیدوارم در آینده این سایت محل برخورد آرا و عقاید افرادی شود که انسانها را سیاه و سفید ندیده و طرفدار تحمل پذیری میباشند. همچنین محلی برای ارائه آرا و عقاید دوستداران و کاوشگران فهم آزادی و دموکراسی در ایران و اسلام شود.

  • در این وب سایت و در مقالات نوشته شده بوسیله من، از بکار گیری وذکر القاب، تیتر و عنوان افراد که میتواند بکارگیری آنها حمل بر تأئید و عدم بکارگیریشان حمل بر رد و مخالفت با آنها شود معذورم مگر در مواردی که عنوان بخشی از نام فرد شده مثل "ستار خان" و یا " باقر خان" و یا "ملا صدرا" و..

  • در فاکت آوری از دیگران و در مقالات ارائه شده توسط دیگران کلمات و صفات توهین آمیز حذف میگردد.

  • استفاده از مطالب اين وب سايت با ذکر ماخذ و نام وب سايت بلامانع است.


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Last updated: 12/31/07. x