Most of us, at least in the States, think of Iran as “the Great Satan” (in their terms). We fear her, we hate her, but most of all, we don’t understand her.
This book can go quite a ways to showing us that Iranians are just like us. And that humor DOES play a part of Iranian life.
Ghasemi has held several jobs writing for various Iranian publications annd also teaches at the Shahid Rajaee Teacher Training University. He sent me a friend request and I don’t turn those down because they usually lead to fascinating books like this.
Ghasemi calls himself a satirist and basically he is, but not in the sense most Westerners understand. He is obviously not free to slam his government or religion as our countries are, but he does point out the absurdities of Iranian life as well as he can. He is more of a humorist.
For example, in an article titled “A Similar Week Forty Years from Now – April 23, 2034” he reports the collapse of the Leaning Tower of Pisa:
“Regarded as one of the world’s top architecture masterpieces, Pisa began to tilt on one side several centuries ago, but effort made by expert architects prevented it from collapsing. A few minutes prior to sunset yesterday, however, this tower began to shake violently and then fell apart. There were discovered among the dusty ruins and rubbles of the structure a pile of body parts from a great number of construction workers a Tehran Metro. In the wake of such architectural disaster, the Iranian ambassador in Italy was called upon to offer an explanation to the Italian Ministry of Cultural Heritage.
In this regard, the CEO of Tehran Metro stated, ‘Those workers were supposed to complete the construction of Tehran Metro, but a little mistake in calculations led the stations end up way farther on the other side of the earth.'”
Or this a bit later for October 22, 2034:
“The exportation of soil over the first half of the current year has been doubled as compared to the same period last year. In addition to stating that statistical fact, Mr. Soilson, the Iranian Minister of Soil (formerly known as the Minster of Oil) announced, ‘Due to the rising sea levels, many countries around the world are in urgent need for soil so as to prevent their lands from submerging in oceans. Fortunately though, Iran is located right across a vast plain and we can quite afford helping those nations in trouble.’
Or a short blip on human nature (how many of us can say we’ve had exactly this sort of thing, explained exactly this way, occur to us!?)
*Do you have the slightest idea you’ve been swerving and maneuvering other cars out?
*No, I really don’t ’cause whenever I’m behind the wheel I try my best to concentrate on everything but driving, so I wouldn’t go nuts over those reckless drivers in this city caring little about the traffic rules.
And what teacher hasn’t gotten this excuse for a bad grade on an exam?
Dear Professor: I had studied this course too hard but I just couldn’t do the exam well because my father got a heart attack earlier. So please give me a passing grade.
Ghasemi response? I dont’ want to judge anyone, but don’t you think it’s a bit odd that out of all students about >> percent in my class lost a beloved family member exactly the day before the exam? Maybe I should inform the exact exam date to the Iranian Health Industry a few months earlier so as to help them take necessary measures to prevent heart attacks happening to those families (excluding the students themselves!) near the exam days.
Of course, as with any writer, the book isn’t all great humor, but there is so much here that is echoed in other cultures that it’s worth reading.
So, no, Iran isn’t the horrible monster we make it out to be. It’s a country just like ours with its strengths, weaknesses and foibles.