Dream of: 07 October 1999 "In Iran ... Again"
after lifetimes of
mistakes determined artists
still create beauty
As I walked through the streets of a dilapidated city with deteriorating brick buildings on both sides of me, I became aware that I was in Iran. Dozens, then hundreds, of other young American men were also thronging through the streets. Suddenly our passage was blocked by rifle-wielding Iranian soldiers, dressed in brown uniforms, directing us down another street. Slowly the other Americans and I became aware that we had been captured by the Iranians and that we were now prisoners. We were herded along to a high bridge, where some of the Americans tried to escape by jumping over the concrete rails along the bridge. The Americans had not realized the bridge was high above the city, and they plummeted to their death on the earth far below. Another American fellow carelessly lay on his back on the concrete railing, then suddenly slipped over the side, disappearing in the distance beneath us.
All of us were forced off the bridge and soon led into a complex of buildings, where I was directed into a room with about 100 other Americans. Everyone sat down in fold-up, metal chairs arranged in rows. We were all worried and unsure why we had been captured or how long we would be held.
A discussion began about whether the United States would attack Iran in order to free us. Someone mentioned Ronald Reagan in a disparaging tone. Normally I was not a Reagan fan, but I joined the conversation and chimed in that at least the Ayatollah Khomenei had respected Reagan. I continued arguing that in 1980 Reagan had achieved the release of the American hostages because Khomenei had respected Reagan. In my mind I thought about whether "1980" was the correct year. I concluded that Reagan had been president from 1980 to 1988, and that the hostages had been freed when Reagan had first become president, so 1980 must be correct.
Although I did not mention to the others that I had once before been in prison in Iran, the thought of my previous incarceration was heavy on my mind. I especially did not know what had possessed me to return to Iran again. I knew I should not have come back, yet here I was. How could I have been so stupid?
I stood and walked to the back of the room, thinking I might go crazy if I had to be locked up for a long time again, especially if I did not have any books to read. Some magazines were lying on a small round table. At least I could read those. I would probably read every story and article in them.
I slowly became aware of something which I was carrying in my hand – a black, electronic device like a radio, but actually a communication device. I thought of the device as a fax machine, although it was actually more like a small computer with which I could send email. After I examined the device more closely, I realized I only needed a phone line to send messages anywhere in the world. I immediately thought I would send a message to my old friend, Steve Weinstein, telling him where I was and asking for help. I could also tell him which Americans had died and which were still alive, so he could pass on the information to the proper authorities. In fact, I concluded, the Iranians had allowed me to keep the machine so I could send out information about the dead Americans, so the families of the deceased could be notified.
Before I could find a phone line to connect to the two wires on the back of my machine, however, an Iranian woman walked up and asked me what I was doing. A tall, slender creature in her 20s, she spoke perfect English. I immediately worried she would take the machine from me, and I tried to explain that I had been allowed to keep it. She led me over to a desk which looked like something in a library. I quickly concluded that devices such as the one which I had were to be stored here on the shelves behind the desk. Deciding I should try to avoid making the woman suspicious, I handed her my machine, which she immediately put on one of the shelves. I was under the impression that I would be able to retrieve my machine later, at a more appropriate time, but I was unsure, and I was worried.
When I handed the machine to the woman, she again spoke to me in English. I made a comment to her that her English was perfect, and she seemed pleased by the compliment.
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