It is OK, the driver is a doctor!
Screams one of the passengers in the belt-buckle-free overfull car from the mid eighties, when I in near despair ask them to slow down, the car looks more like a sports car the way it is driven up the mountain roads than the pile of crap it actually is. I give up in my tries to howl down the radio which plays “Dance the night away” in a country where women are not allowed to dance in public. The city down below throws a distorted beautiful light through the car window. The only thing revealing reality are the circulating military helicopters which are heard as the car comes to an abrupt stop in front of a mosque. The wonderful men in the car are Iranian, I am in Tehran. It’s the days between Christmas and new years, only one dressed Christmas tree I’ve gotten to see.
My passport is at the Indian embassy, they are keeping it for three weeks, long visa story, and there are protests all around Iran, especially the north where I am. I wanted to cycle around in Iran but now it is no longer possible. It’s not the safest situation I’ve been in with a video camera and as a freelancer for a newspaper, on top of that I’ve spent a year in America, not very favorable in Iran. To cite George Clooney – Damn we’re in a tight spot…
The few minutes of available internet has to be VPN-tunneled for access to E-mail and all bigger social media channels, everything is shut down. My friends are in despair as they have no clue what is happening around their town. We get informed that among many others, an eleven-year-old boy has been killed by military in the protests. On the radio nothing is said about the numbers of casualties. TV shows, on best airing time, during half time in one of the biggest football-games, how people are protesting against protesting the government, all shown accompanied to pompous music.
In the middle of all this chaos surrounding these ten days of protests I find a bigger love that I have ever met. We take off our shoes while my friend smiles as we enter the mosque. In the silence to bowing men I get hit by the contrast, how strangers guided me through the streets, offered food I’ve never imagined could taste so good and asked to stay for the night in never entered homes. Many of the people I met in Iran has divided opinions on what has happened in the country since the Iranian revolution in 1979. The biggest fear they all have would be the one that we from the western world see them as terrorists. My friend explains:
– Not a single terrorist attack has been carried out by people from Iran.
I won’t say that this is true, but I would be much surprised if it wasn’t. It is unsure if I can ever return to Iran due to me writing this, but I have to write it, since the people of Iran are the most amazing people I have ever met. It is one of my highest whishes to return and meet the people once more.
The protesters eventually give in to the military and the week peaks as I wake up in the middle of the night getting thrown out of my bed due to an earthquake. I don’t know what’s up or down, in or out. The chock I experienced during those seconds is still light years away from what the people experienced the last days of 2017.
In may 2018 Iran suffered a huge inflation, bread went up over 300%. I only whish that the country and its people stand strong, they deserve it.