Thoughts from Mehrnaz Stars following the election of US President-Elect Barack Obama and introducing her debut novel WOMAN MASTER.
As a teenager, Mehrnaz was involved in the Iranian Revolution. She now lives in Europe.
All the men have beards, women wear black and risqué girls show ten millimeters of hairline.
They’re brown, they’re angry, and they want to blow us up.
Every day they get up, have their breakfast, then they go on political marches and burn effigies and flags. And it’s pretty much certain they are on the verge of possessing a nuclear capability. They make nice carpets and if you’ve tasted their pistachios you know you can never go back.
Alexander kicked their derrieres back when their beards were curly and they once took some nice Americans hostage. Their holy men have hats too but they’re not as shiny as the ones the Italians favour.
They don’t wear ties and they have all of our oil. They are a real danger to world peace and, as Hillary (Obama’s new ‘stick’) Clinton said recently, “They should know that we can obliterate them.”
But you should see what they think of us. I can tell you, they’ve got us all wrong. They think we’re arrogant bullies who don’t wash. Imagine? They’d better watch themselves, that’s all I can say.
But they’re nice people really and as long as they do as they’re told there doesn’t have to be any trouble.
And yes; I’m one of them.
What’s more, I’ve written a book about them… us?
I was interested reading Mr. Schmidt’s post and I have to say I agree with every sentiment. But what I need to know is this; is Barack Obama’s mother-in-law really going to live in the White House and if so, should he be allowed to talk back?
Obama has already said that talks ‘without precondition’ are possible between the US and Iran, and the same absence of preconditions at the White House dinner table might help steer him from that dark cocoon where decent people and absolute power meet.
It is indeed time we met the Iranians, or time we met the Amerikahns, and the signs are good that, as we slide deeper and deeper into the economic inferno carved by rich people (who wear suits and ties) our relations with Iran can exist. Simple existence would be a great leap for America, and the rest of us, who have tired of all the bombs and the righteousness. If Obama achieves this alone he will have done something good for all the evil that has been done in our name.
But, cynic I may be, and much as I am spellbound by Obama’s potential, the rest of us have to break down the door if Barack can get a foot in without someone else trying to jam it down his throat.
International relations is Obama’s chance at true greatness. On the economy he is, like the rest of them, a flea on a dog’s back arguing about who owns the dog. But he can make a difference where a difference needs to be made. He can create a context within which the rest of us get to actually see each other, and perhaps even ourselves. Obama has demonstrated the power of the internet for all to see (all that is, who have internet connections; for the traditional media is a bit like the aforementioned fleas; their ideas, and their method of delivery, are as obsolete as capitalism).
But we do know something about Iran. Like shadows on Plato’s wall, images of revolution and chaos have been offered to us by the those who had the means to flee during the Iranian revolution. There are even ‘alternate’ parliaments based around the world where boys play at being in power in a free Iran. This already happened to Iraq and the ‘leader’ turned out to be the sole ‘mole’ and he was turfed in a jiffy; soon after Mission Accomplished.
Ain’t happenin’ man; an American friend might venture. Those guys will have to stick to the carpet business or hope their kids become film directors; for that particular ship sailed up the Euphrates a while back.
After the Iranian revolution a lot of Iranians ended up in Los Angeles (Tehrangeles) and other major capitals. They went into many different walks of life. Artists and writers started to ply their trade and we got to find out about how awful it is to have to move to Beverly Hills when you’d rather stay put in Farmauniye.
But there are other Irans just as there are many Englands.
In England the culture changes dramatically by the time you get to the end of the road. There are people living in England for whom actual aliens from outer space would seem more familiar than the man who runs the chippy, or the yacht club, or the local council committee on rubbish bin management.
There are Englands beyond Shakespeare and Dickens and Ken Loach and, as Iran was producing great art and science and literature when the English thought not painting their bums blue, like the Scots, was something of an historic milestone; Iran has even more stories to tell.
After all, Iran has Persia to turn to if they ever tire of allowing people marginally more bonkers than the leaders we elect, to lead them.
So, you can see how I’m thinking that Obama had better come up with the goods as soon as they evict the incumbent monkey.
But we also have people such as the meltingly handsome George Clooney making a film set in Iran, ‘based on’ an idea he ‘found’ on the internet.
(Please Mr. Clooney, please, bear with me, I do have an idea, really.)
This is good and this is how it has to happen. The people who don’t want to commit murder and mayhem and global theft get to have a say after all?
The writer who penned the movie “Clueless” said in an interview that publishers were begging her to Iranify her work. She’s next generation ‘let’s get our asses out of this dreadful nightmare and go to America’.
Well, my work isn’t Iranified, it’s Westled (pronounced like ‘wrestled’). I wanted to write about the brothels in present-day Iran, where a man can have a ‘temporary marriage’ but I found it too depressing. I like serious stories but I don’t want to sit on a plane and read that life is pointless.
I wanted to write about Persians and I wanted to write about women.
I wanted to write about the kind of lives any of us might have had.
I wanted to write a story about a woman who married for love. A woman who married a man already married at a time when, and in a society where, marrying for love was anathema; and virgins would never become a second wife to a man with a wife waiting at home.
I wanted to write about the strangest place in the universe where love could be found. Could a woman find love in the man who consumed her earthly dignity?
But I didn’t want to write a romance or a pot-boiler. I wanted something deeper.
I wanted to write about the kind of wisdom that can only be forged in pain.
I wanted to write a story I could read on a plane.
So I did.
I wrote a novel called Woman Master and I’m currently trying to get it read at publishers. I’m hoping that some publishers may have noticed who reads novels and why they read them.
Modern Persia is about to become visible. Not for any lofty acts or ideals, no matter how far Obama can take us, but because Gorgeous George is doing a film and others will follow, to hammer at the walls of ignorance.