Persian Tongues Three

Third in a series of blog entries out of Iran, its liberal voices seeking a new way to live proud and free from political and religious tyranny.

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I could feel the searing sun like a piece of burning coal on my veil… My veil and my long robes make me smell like a corpse… I walk on the street but can’t see the end… Far, far away, a group of trees are doing a choreographed dance…

And I on the street, I’m walking… Passersby, those in cars, can’t see me, as if I’m here but I’m not… Far, far away, I can see a mirror that has taken up the width of the street… And the nearer I get to it the more distant I become… I’m walking in a scorching heat that rips the breath out of you…

I catch a glimpse of myself, lighter, lighter, and lighter… With each step in my mind’s eye, I no longer feel the burden of my walk.

I’m wearing a white short-sleeved top, green shorts, and a scented straw hat… I no longer smell like a corpse or like my grandmother’s damp basement.

I walk freely and am spreading my fragrant sweet dreams among people who cannot see me… They’re running to get away from the harsh, searing sun… What ecstasy…

There is a hand on my shoulder that abruptly swallows my world… The toxic street voice with rage barks: “Pull your veil forward!” I hear, but I don’t want to hear it.

The street filth puts his hand in his back pocket to show he’s searching for something… His mime does not frighten me. He pulls out a transmitter from his putrid shirt pocket and this time pointing at his black patrol van, with fury, hollers: “What do you say now?”

As I was stranded between two worlds… at high noon… I was hungry and thirsty… in an endless street where right at the end the trees were doing a choreographed dance… My veil moved and came forward… A few steps away my veil moved back again.

— Atash

Posted in Anti-theism, Les invités, Political Perspective at November 16th, 2010. No Comments.

Persian Tongues Two

Second in a series of blog entries out of Iran, its liberal voices seeking a new way to live proud and free from political and religious tyranny.

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To my wife on our sixteenth wedding anniversary.

We have struggled and yet we have survived… We have been humiliated, but we have not lost our dignity…

Do you remember when we were first married? We rented this room in south Teheran and had to share a toilet with the landlord… There was no bathroom and we had to use a public bath…

Do you remember that time when we took all the money we had and went to a posh restaurant uptown? We had a wonderful meal and gave the the rest of the money as a tip to the waiter… We had no money left for a taxi… so we walked all the way home across the whole town… We had a lot of energy then…

Do you remember the time our son was born? Through all the bombing and war… in that climate of death we built a new life… And the evening our daughter was born… With two kids and work, you still went to university and you were top of your class…

Do you remember getting war rations for dried milk? To prove that you had no milk, you had to show your breasts to the “sister” at the Komiteh every week… but we would not have that… “We’ll work overtime and buy dried milk on the open market… But we’re not showing your breasts to anyone!”

I said all this stuff so you know that I haven’t forgotten… our mutual troubles, growth and love can never be destroyed. We are just starting… with more energy then ever before…

We will go forward to change a world that was unjust for our children and make it a fairer place for our grandchildren.

Posted in Les invités, Political Perspective at November 10th, 2010. No Comments.

Persian Tongues

First in a series of blog entries out of Iran, its liberal voices seeking a new way to live proud and free from political and religious tyranny.

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Your Holiness,

Have you ever fallen in love? Have you ever gazed into the crimson of the wine, when you can still feel the spot where she kissed you on your eyelids? Have you ever danced? Have you ever had Maz Maz dipped in Mast Moseer? Have you ever worn jeans? Do you know what Mum roll-on deodorant is? Have you ever cried at night? How many years did you go to school? Have you ever made abghosht? Have you ever got a barbeque going? Tell me, what is Newton’s Third Law?

How many times has the scent of springtime in Shiraz driven you wild? Have you ever kissed a dog? Have you ever listened to Persian classical music? Or what about rap? Do you ever whistle?

Have you ever kissed her neck? What about behind her ears?

Have you ever downloaded an MP3 from the Internet? Do you ever ask the guy at the kiosk selling cigarettes how he’s doing? Ever walked through town at midnight? Have they ever raided your home and confiscated your books?

Have you ever been forced into exile? Has it ever happened that you just can’t get the pattern of those tiles in your mother’s kitchen out of your head (for three nights in a row), but you just can’t remember the color? Have you ever called your mother up from far away and asked her to describe the color of those tiles – at the mention of which you both uncontrollably sob?

Have you ever longed for the windows of your apartment in Tehran?

Posted in Anti-theism, Les invités, Political Perspective at October 31st, 2010. No Comments.


How wonderful it is to hear a lover whisper a pet name into your ear. How divine it is to smell the scent of their neck and taste their lips while running your fingers across their skin. How perfect to look deep into their eyes and get hypnotized by lust.

As powerful as a drug I’d say.

So powerful that I pretended not to notice when your stories stopped making sense.

I chose to ignore the small bugs that crept into my bones when I knew you were lying.

I allowed my anger to lay dormant within me and take on a life of its own….

to slowly set traps for me….

to change who I was….

to fester….


I became my own worst enemy. I stopped battling you and waged war on myself.

Pushing it deeper and deeper into my blood, letting it flow through me. Damage me. A slow suicide.

And not unlike any addiction, recovery would be a cold bitch.

I listened to a broken record of tricks you played on me, tricks I played on myself.

It was finally time to go. And I did.

Marie Laberge


Posted in Les invités, Life at November 7th, 2009. No Comments.