One year ago today, January 29th 2011, my friend Zahra Bahrami was hanged by the neck until she was dead. Murdered in cold blood, in Tehran’s Evin prison, by the evil regime that is still ruling Iran. And in all likelihood will continue to rule it for some time to come. While if it falls (or is taken out by…oy veh, please not them!), what will replace it? They thought the Shah was bad, now look what we’ve got. Has Libya been ‘liberated’? Well, the militias certainly think so. Or Egypt? Or…? Tja.
Life is precious. There is so much beauty in the world. And many truly beautiful people. But let’s not kid ourselves. The bad has always been with us. And always will be. The Horn of Africa is starving. Syria is in the throes of pain and chaos. The agony of Darfur (remember where that is?) refuses to abate. A senseless war rages in Afghanistan. Ordinary folks in Iraq keep getting blown up in droves (yet another ‘liberated country,’ right?). North Korea remains in the clutches of a gang of paranoid goons straight out of a nightmare version of Looney Tunes. Hyenas and vultures vie for the chairmanship of USA Inc. And so on, ad nauseam and ad infinitum. China executes people, Japan executes people, India executes people, Pakistan executes people, America executes people, Saudi Arabia chops off people’s heads, etc. And Iran, the Iranian regime, killed Zahra Bahrami and hundreds of others like her. Killed them for opposing the mullahs and the ayatollahs. For criticizing extreme rightwing fundamentalist Islam. For speaking their minds. For being who they are, or rather were.
Was Brion Gysin wrong in saying, “Man is a bad animal”? I’d like to think he was, but… When even guys like Obama are, let’s face it, ‘just another brick in the wall.’ Nelson Mandela is a good man who made a difference, at great personal cost. Olaf Palme had both guts and high moral standards, which also got him assassinated. Politicians and statesmen of their caliber come along very seldom. Meaning we’re pretty much on our own. To help whomever we can when we can. To resist being co-opted by the System. To grow in maturity and awareness, and become better persons. To look reality in the eye and deal with it. Are petitions worth signing? Rarely. Do demonstrations change anything? It’s been known to happen, but I shouldn’t count on it. When William Blake was once asked what he did in times of real trouble, he turned to his wife and put the question to her. She replied: “Why Mr. Blake, we pray.” I too am a firm believer in the power of prayer. But I’m not about to bank on it saving the world.
The day of Zahra’s death I sent out a mass mailing, which many of you received. Not long afterwards I wrote a definitive summing up of the tragedy, that was then published online in Parisiana magazine. If you haven’t yet read it, or want to read it again, you’ll find it here
Ah, today is a very dear and close friend’s birthday. A friend who recently wrote me saying, “I never like the days around my birthday.” Well, dear friend, whyever you feel that way: a) HAPPY birthday! b) Give thanks that you are still here to even have a birthday! You know? Of course you do!
* Talk about bad. Read this, for how an officially-sanctioned killer thinks
“Oh the dead stalk the corridors of airports / It’s the dead who rule this world / It’s the dead, it’s the dead, it’s the GOL-damn dead / It’s the dead who rule this world.”
– from “Rock Song” by Jack Micheline