« These are strange times Mr. Ahmadinejad »
by Abbas Kiarostami:
One day as my son was busy eating cookies a friend of mine asked him for one and I also asked him to give me one. However Bahman only had one cookie left. He looked at us undecidedly, not knowing who to give his cookie to. My friend simplified the problem and told him, “Give the cookie to the person you love the most.”
Bahman gave us each a look and said to me, “Father I love you more, but I want to give my cookie to him.” I still don’t know what went on in my son’s mind that day, 20 some years ago, that he gave his cookie to that person, whom he was less fond of than me. But I have a reason for why I am giving my vote to someone else.
Mr. Ahmadinejad, there are tremendously simple reasons for why I like you more than him.
You remind me of 1979 era. Back then morality, ideals, and sacrificing to better people’s lives were not abstract notions;, they were natural and everyday components of the spirit and conduct of millions of faithful, healthy, and honest youth, who sought to improve the lives of the disadvantaged through the revolution. 23 years later as I look back, I understand your dissatisfaction and melancholy clearly. You continue to forthrightly awaken the “us” of ‘79. I like you because I can’t be dishonest to myself that I know what you say is right. It is true that in today’s world the wealthiest, by entangling the path to power, have left no room for people to progress.
In the midst of this, however, there is something about this 2005 world Mr. Ahmadinejad that makes for an awkward relationship with you. Sadly, therefore, you are only suited to grieve the uninspired, superficial world. A world that has been built in 27 years, and which we are too a part. The world has created difficult circumstances for the honest, though the like minded are able to read each others hands and…
Dear friend, let me plainly state that we can not stop at ‘79. The convictions from then are now absent from everyday experience, and in dealing with today’s difficult decisions we are not the only players of the game. You are better and more principled than to allow yourself to play the intricate game of politicians corrupt with power, so as stated by Modares, “What we currently need is someone educated on the rules of today’s world’s game.”
That’s why I am giving my vote to someone whom I am less fond of than you but is better able to grasp today’s realities of life. My entire hope is that acknowledging your votes he will at least know that our deprived people are still in waiting. To have a corner of an eye on the poor and improve the management of the country.
My dear friend, I have voted twice thus far and been disappointed both times. Better prepared this time I return to the ballot box, only I will be giving my vote to someone else whom I do not like as much as you. These are strange times brother.
Translator: Ramin Joubin