As I page through my latest book, “A Broad Abroad in Iran,” a memoir about living in Iran during the revolution of the 70s, I feel a need to post this somewhat revised blog to get myself in the writing mode for my next book, “A Broad in the Big Easy.”
In the 70s, with the revolution already in motion (of course we expats had no clue), the Iranian people seemed unhappy, cross, maybe even pissed that westerners had invaded their land.
In retrospect, it’s somewhat easier to look back and understand why the Iranians so hated Americans, but at the time we assumed they weren’t happy campers and let it go at that. In our ignorance, we thought the shah was all about bringing his country up to the 20th Century, and not leave it lagging in the Old Testament days.
Hiring expatriates from all over the world to help bring his country to a new global respect seemed like a generous undertaking. But, retrospection is a wondrous tool. We seem to want to look at casualties “after the fact” and then sort out the problems. But, at the time, we didn’t know there were problems.
The people wanted their country back. Back from the onslaught of foreigners hired by the shah to make more money for his coffers. I guess ignorance is bliss, as they say, because we went on our merry way thinking that we were welcome. Oh how wrong we were!
What I did take notice of was the country and the incongruity of it all:
The well-dressed driver of a Mercedes-Benz lays on his horn as he is surrounded by a herd of sheep. They slowly meander across the potholed dirt road, brushing against the front, sides and back of his gleaming car with their filthy, wet coats, while he screams obscenities at the sheep, the herder and at his illiterate countrymen that would allow this to happen.
A chador-clad woman stands in the street. As she waves her arm and tries to hail a taxi, her chador rides up revealing a forearm dripping with a fortune in gold bangles, while an ancient, blind woman squats at her feet, begging for money or scraps of food.
A towering mosque laden with gold and jade, stands in tribute to the incredible architecture of centuries past, while beggars with limbs missing seek shelter in the shade provided by its magnificent minarets.
In the capital city of Tehran, a theater marquee stands twelve feet high and pictures a female strapped to a pillar; she is wearing black fishnet stockings, garter belt, stiletto heels, and black bra with cleavage pouring forth. Lined up on the sidewalk and spilling over into the dirty streets are throngs of men, salivating as they wait to enter the theater. Walking by the theater and on both sides of the street are other figures, covered from head to toe in the traditional black chador, eyes, nose and mouth the only indication that they are women, yet having to hide every strand of hair and femininity to insure they do not cause a man to have “unholy thoughts.” Hellllooooooooooooo!
Okay, now I have to get busy and sell it.
Agents, feel free to contact me!