MLK leaves an impression on the mind of an Iranian youth!
|We had a whole cupboard of VCR cassettes at our old home in Tehran. There was a section that was labeled English. So when I was home alone I used to take out the cassette that said “English Music” on it and forward the cassette, past Prince, past Kenny Rogers and stop on Madonna and watch her contrast my culture on the MTV stage; redefining a woman to my virgin mind. One day I decided to pick another tape that had no tag on it, it was dusty and neglected. I pushed PLAY and the images were black and white, just like the people in it. I didn’t understand the language and I didn’t quite relate to the people on the screen. It was the first time I had seen a man who was black, all black. He was saying something and people were cheering him. Then there were images of black and white people being thrown around, beaten up, by white people in uniform, and yes there was blood. So much color expressed in black and white. All I understood from that video was that the group in uniform was saying NO and the other group would not take NO for an answer.
I decided to learn about the new language and was very proud of it. A few days after that at the school assembly the principle asked in Farsi, “Are you all doing well?” Everybody said “yes” in Farsi. I paused and decided to be different and shouted a new word “YES” in English over everybody else’s voice. I was learning a new language, was I going to be praised or scolded? They all heard me and the assembly became quite. I was pulled out of line and made to stand in front of the assembly in humiliation every morning for a whole month. Even though I wasn’t black like that man on the Video nor was the man in charge white, I was changed by what I had seen. All the eyes staring back at me from the assembly lines, and the occasional downgrading gaze of the principle could not humiliate me. Because I was proud of myself and a proud person cannot be humiliated. Thank you Martin!