I meet Habeeb at Dubai Airport Terminal One Lufthansa lounge; we begin chatting, killing time before flight call. The conversation develops to be extremely intense and dramatic over the course of about seven hours it takes us to get to Frankfurt, Germany. Habeeb (can’t remember his last name, something ending ‘pour’?) was born in Isfahan Iran, to a middle class family of carpet traders. A well-groomed, well-versed man of about fifty, he now calls Frankfurt Germany, his home where he has several retail carpet outlets all over the country; he is transiting in Dubai from Iran headed home. I am headed home to Sanford, FL transiting in Frankfurt.
I always find Iran / Iranians interesting, the revolution of late seventies / early eighties and dramatic world limelight she dominates influences my (and yours, I am certain) opinions and economic wellbeing. So I ask Habeeb about his take on current Iranian affairs and leaders, especially in regards to my (adopted) country, USA; I get a mouthful.
Khomeini, says Habeeb, was a world-class leader, with balls not equaled in modern history. I loved him, he was my hero and I miss him, Iran misses him. It has been downhill for Iran after Khomeini, only a miracle can save it now. Ahmadinejad did have some promise, it was nice to see him make some of you bloody khod-khah (selfish), monaafekh, (hypocrites), haaram zadeh (bastards), Americans squirm, but he has lost his mantle, caught up in struggles from where it is hard to see him come out a winner.
I want to protest the use of cuss words for a country that has, for me, given (gives) generously, where I am generally free to worship the religion I love, where I live in peace and security, where my family and I have a home; but it is almost two in the morning, I have long flights ahead of me, I want no arguments, I let it go. Habeeb however, has other ideas. He switches seats so we can be together and to my horror and dismay, orders wine as soon as we are airborne, laughs at my discomfort.
Aagha Ali Jaan, Habeeb laughs, you are not an old fashioned Muslim, are you? He flutters fingers in the air like a frantic butterfly, makes a dismissive sound only the Iranians can; thucth. I was like that some thirty years ago, like you perhaps. This, he raises his wine glass and twirls its bloody content, is jaam. It relaxes me, gives me company and is never disloyal. Never. You should try some, Aagha Ali Jaan, you will lose the troubled look that marks your face so prominently. If looks could kill, I would be a mass murderer; this look stops Habeeb cold, so he sobers and shuts up quickly, albeit briefly. The silence lasts only until he returns from the bathroom.
The current leaders of my great country (Iran, he means, not Germany) are a bunch of bloody ahmaks, nincompoops; all of them, all they yearn is power. Usurped power, at any cost, to hell with the consequences. But my people, aaaaah, my beautiful, gullible people, they are the real Aryans, the king of lions. They can take on any power in the world, including yours, the great lying, arrogant, servant of Israel’s poop, the U.S.A. Alarmed, I eye him nervously; has the wine taken hold of his emotions already? That was pretty nasty, what he just said. I keep quiet and close my eyes, hoping he would take cue and let me be.
Do you like it in the US? I mean you are not an American American, your roots are not from USA, right? Don’t you feel you are living in a monaafekh country as a Muslim, obviously a practicing one? I sigh, open my eyes and keep my face averted from Habeeb, only because the stench from his wine tainted mouth is offensive. Since he asked and been rude with his opinions, it is my turn to give him an earful.
Well, I begin; I do like it in the USA, very much. It is a country that welcomed me with open arms, made it possible to complete a quality education and appreciated my services afterwards with ample rewards, way beyond what I expected. Even deserved, sometimes. She does not look to see my skin color or national origin and more importantly, for me, the free practice my chosen religion. Yes, there are positions, especially on Middle East that conflict with my own, serious ones, but these I am unable to influence as an individual, so I use the ballot box to try and alter them. Not the most effective way perhaps, but it is the one I can lawfully exercise. No, I do not feel I am a hypocrite, not at all, just as I do not believe you, born in Iran now living in Germany hypocritical. I doubt Iran would have been as welcoming when I needed these opportunities.
Habeeb makes a face; thucth, that dismissive sound again. Please do not be angry, Aagha Ali Jaan, I am just so very frustrated with the whole Iranian situation at the moment, you know, with war looming; very bad for business. Brilliantly orchestrated lies that Western countries, led by the USA, is dancing to, intoxicated on power plays manipulated by the Zionists. Lies, lies lies, all lies, aired by Badmaash Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) and others! And the tragedy is, these lies get readily consumed the public in the West. You know what I talk about, don’t you? If you eat good, wholesome foods, you supposedly get healthy reasoning faculty. How can you guys, sorry…sorry, how can the American public not see through such falsehoods? You Americans do eat wholesome food, don’t you?
Hmmm, what to answer? Well, I am not a politician…
Aw, come on, Ali (Aagha / Jaan dropped?), that is a copout response, you know very well what I am talking about. You Americans elect the strangest leaders. That idiot Bush, the younger one, brains stunted by all the pork rinds in his genes. He appoints a supposedly very intelligent black woman who uses her brains to lie. Her lies during Iraq war…have you seen anyone so ugly? A face with teeth the size of piano keys walking around with a smile matching that of a prized horse from Aga Khan’s finest collection… Now, you have crappy Clinton, whose husband was a believable liar at least, open her mouth and a stench permeates with rotten lies she shamelessly speaks. A first class hypocrite as well, what gall! Condemning China and Russia for vetoing UN resolution on Syria! What jerks! America has vetoed over 200 UN resolutions that condemn Zionist Israel, from cold murder to usurp of land! And you say the US are not liars and hypocrites? I thought you are an intelligent man, Ali.
Ears ringing with insults, I find my blood pressure rising and want to lash out, retort. But I pause, reflect. Apart from silly personal insults he used, there is merit perhaps to Habeeb’s rant; I cannot honestly defend his accusations of hypocrisy.
My friend, I say as calmly as the irritating din from food being served will allow (why would anybody care to eat a steak at two in the morning anyway?), at a micro level, these issues do not affect my living in the US, as a Muslim. As I said, there are issues regarding my government’s foreign policies I may disagree to, but there is very little I can do except work with my Senators, Representatives and educate them about my feelings. I might not get immediate results, not even in my lifetime perhaps, but this is the only lawful way I can express my opinions.
Perhaps, says Habeeb as he attacks a slab of meat and replenishing his wine glass, perhaps. The sharks from your country and the UK, another Zionist ass-kissing country are closing in on Iran, ready to shed innocent blood. It won’t be so easy, mark my words, Ali. We’ll take a hit all right, but we have balls of steel, hardened by all your sanctions, and you guys are soft, very soft and comfortable. And very exposed.
I roll my eyes up to heavens, fully recline my seat, blanket up and leave my neighbor to his steak, wine and anger.