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The Embassy

Yasmin woke us up this morning as we made final preparations for the plan. I had invited Mahmoud and Habib over to spend the night at our house, a short walk from the Embassy. I wrap my turban around my head and leave my sister Leila with my wife as we head out the door. I take the familiar route to Zhaleh Square in the heart of Tehran. There, hundreds of us have gathered.

I twirl my pocketknife in my hand and glance around the square. A little over a year ago, 1978, both my father and mother were brutally murdered by the despicable Shah’s forces on the day we attempted a revolution: Black Friday. I had gotten away with only a small scrape on my arm, but it throbs whenever death is in the air.

Mahmoud does a headcount. I eagerly peer over the crowd for a glimpse of the Ayatollah but he’s not there. I put the knife in my pocket and join the rest of the crowd in a prayer. Our heads touch the cobblestone; we praise Allah, asking for blessings for our day. The protestors are slightly bundled for the chilly November weather. I do not wear a coat. Hate feeds my warmth.

Mahmoud joins me at my side.

“Are you ready?” he asks. I bow my head.

“Of course.”

“Good. I will lead the crowd to the Embassy. You follow up with the rear.”

I glare at Mahmoud. He does not look at me. He knows I despise being a follower; I have tried constantly to take control of the protest, but the Ayatollah and his son favor Mahmoud. Everyone believes he will one day lead Iran to greatness. Mahmoud turns to me and asks, “Where is your wife?”

“Yasmin requested to be an eagle; often invisible to the eye, but willing to put up a fight. She’ll provide refuge if anything goes wrong.”

“Nothing will go wrong, Rahman, if you man your post. You take the rear!”

“And if something does go wrong?”

“If anything, one of us will die. A stupid death, it will be, but we can’t expect the Embassy to peacefully welcome us, can we?”

Mahmoud walks off. I scowl at his back. I never trusted Mahmoud but desperate times result in necessary alliances.

‘He will run this operation into the ground!’ I say to myself, ‘I hope the Ayatollah refuses to look favorably upon him!”

The Muslim Student Followers of the Imam’s Line begin the march to the United States Embassy. Dozens of posters of the wise Ayatollah Khomeini hover above the deafening crowd. We march down one of Tehran’s largest streets until Mahmoud has reached the gates of the United States Embassy. I chant with the rest,

“No more Shah! No more Shah!”

I stare at the mural on the concrete wall, the red, white, and blue stars and stripes culminating together to form the renowned flag of the wretched United States, the Great Satan. I take my pocketknife and drag it across the surface of the mural. Dozens pound at the depiction of the Statue of Liberty, mocking its very being.

We remain at the Embassy gates, waiting for an official to emerge from the doors, for someone for which we can divulge our demands, for someone to clearly and undeniably acknowledge our protest. But no one comes out of the yet placid embassy.

“Ayatollah! Ayatollah!” the crowd chants. Mahmoud rattles at the bars of the gate. I surge through the crowd to the front. I make the decision to act, to take charge of this crowd, to earn the well-deserved respect and admiration of the Ayatollah.
The empty courtyard infuriates me more than the heretofore lack of American acknowledgement. I turn around, rip open a woman’s burqa, snatch the concealed pliers and clamp them down on the lock of the iron gates.

Mahmoud grabs my hand but I wrench it away.

“You’re straying from the plan!” he screams over the angry chants of Iran.

“To hell with your plan!” I yell back and shove Mahmoud back into the crowd. Mahmoud swears at me, but I divert my attention to the Embassy of the hateful country. Behind me, I feel the crowd coursing forward, trying to push their way into the Embassy, as if they can slip through the iron slats and take revenge on the nation that has forever supported the autocratic rule of the Shah. I sense the power and control as I stand at the front of the throbbing crowd and the admiration flowing toward me. The scar on my right arm throbs as I wrench the lock off the iron gates and it falls to the ground with a loud clank two students rush forward and rip the metal chains off the bars. I fumble with the latch, wrench it open, and the seething citizens of Tehran sprint towards the soon to be unlocked doors of the American Embassy.



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Sybcyb said...
Feb. 10, 2013 at 12:31 pm
You are just not reading or listening to the world news - the author brings you there.
 
koalas said...
Jan. 14, 2013 at 6:49 am
So good and thought-invoking!
 
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