A diverse offering twixt the interesting, the unusual, and the amusing.
Wednesday, 13 June 2012
Fellow blogger, Mr Tom Stephenson, recently reminded me of this odd, and slightly worrying, tale from the distant past.
Back in the 60's a very good school friend of mine spent several years living in Iran. His father (a senior RAF officer) had been sent to Tehran under some secret skulduggery between governments; passing on sensitive RAF radar know-how, in exchange for something much more sinister. I am not allowed to say more.
My friend's family became very friendly with the Shah, his wife, and their extensive family. They skied together in the mountains, and picnicked together on the beach; they were on intimate terms.
But my tale does not concern the Shah, it concerns the society he had inadvertently created; one of extreme rich and poor, and nothing in between.
My friend had noticed that the few cars that cruised around Tehran were all very big, very new, and very expensive. At that time there were no older cars being driven around, nor were there any second-hand dealerships. So, what (my friend asked) happened to all the 1 or 2 year old cars?
The answer was provided by the family's chauffeur, who took my friend out into the desert where hundreds of cars had simply been dumped. Almost brand new cars, still with fuel in their tanks, and keys in the starter; they had all been driven well away from the city, and abandoned, simply to be replaced by the latest model.
To a young man of my friend's persuasion, this was heaven. He drove them around, crashed them into one another, and sped across the dunes until they became ensconced knee-deep in soft sand. There were no bounds to his destructive invention. It was evil wastage on a ridiculous scale, and no-one could give a damn. He proudly brought back photos as proof of his endeavours.
Elsewhere in Tehran at that time, there were regular public hangings (some things never change), imprisoning and torture of political opponents, endemic fear of authority, and of course massive corruption. And as we all know, the Shah's reign ended only to be replaced by an even worse regime of religious fanaticism that continues today in the same style.
I was lucky to meet several charming ex-pat Iranians when I lived in London's Bayswater during this same period. Most of them were students, and they lived under constant surveillance. One amongst them even suggested that there were probably as many Iranian Secret Service men in London as there were students, and it was impossible to tell which was which. What was their fate on returning home, one can but imagine. I quite expect it's the same today.
The difference between an optimist and a pessimist, is that the optimist enjoys himself whilst waiting for the inevitable! I AM that optimist!
This is a daily, optimistic, 'photos and comments' blog. I make no judgements (only occasionally), just notes. If you wish to comment in any way at all, please feel free. Everything and everyone (except the obdurate and dictatorial) is very welcome.
I was born just south of London, but for the past 46 years I've lived in S W France. I am a painter by profession, and writer by desire. Lady Magnon and I live in an ancient cottage, in a tiny village, in perfectly tranquil countryside. We have a vegetable garden called 'Haddock's' (this may crop up from time to time), plenty of fruit trees, and a view that takes the breath away; we also have a Border Collie called Billy. I try to treat our planet with respect, and encourage others to do likewise (without preaching).
Contentment is a glass of red, a plate of charcuterie, and a slice of good country bread. Perfect!