Category Archives: Testimony/Anecdotes

The big bird comes to Shiraz……

Shiraz: coming to terms with the future



The gleaming turbo-jet touches down lightly on the new tarmac which has recently replaced the dirt runway at Shiraz airport.   It is all neatly ironed out in the wasteland beyond the city.   A new terminus building is still a skeleton with promises of things to come.  An old Dakota is dumped beside the runway. Right now sheets of rough raffia work  perched on struts keep the malevolent sun from the heads of the waiting passengers.   A low shack marked “bar” stands close by with a few bottles, two tables and a box full of cigarettes and chocolates takes up the corner.  A small  bevy of  Mercedes taxis are drawn up by the perimeter.  A languid soldier moves correctly but slowly to the salute as an official emerges through the wire barrier. Near the gleaming transport tube a few women pull ever more tightly the black robes around their heads.  One suckles a small child, her white breast emerging from the folds of her black her robe to bare itself to the sun.  Under a bench shaded by the straw roof a child lies motionless passively letting the flies play on his face.  Businessmen with watery moustaches awaiting the call to board squat heavily on a bench.  A mother appears and with one swift movement sweeps the child from the dust beneath the bench into here arms.  No one bothers to look at the gleaming bird squatting on the runway.   They are used to strange things entering their lives day by day and have reached the time when no innovation of alien conjuring could surprise them any longer. “They” could bring anything into Iran;  they could bear children fitted with wheels and the surprise would only be short-lived.


An old man nods before his Quran.  Is the Quran as so embracing as once the fathers believed and as they teach their children? Not only the intellectuals are pestered by this heresy.  These weird western innovations are proving not to be ephemeral nor succumb to the old order.


Further away the old man who grunts and growls to spur his donkey through the bazaar is not so convinced.  His body has been wracked by time and likewise his donkey who plods his sullen way past the stalls and the beckoning merchants.  The old man’s eyes flash indignantly from beneath the charred folds of skin of his face as they light upon an evil eye before a white face.  The eye clicks with a smart metallic clunk and is lowered;  the northern meddler into time and faith disappears into the crowd.