Saturday, July 5, 2008

A Knight Long Gone

You begin to wonder what he might have thought were he alive these days...

The Shah of Iran is buried in a small mausoleum in the corner of a mosque in Meydan Salah-id Deen here in Cairo... The area was locked off while i was there, but telling the guard I had come from iran to see this (+5 pounds) allowed me access to the tombs..

It was vaguely emotional standing there and seeing the ornate tomb (far above what egyptian king farouk had received in the next room) with freshly laid flowers, the peacock crown adorning it.. To imagine, the man who did so much, who inspired so much anger and so much emotion and captivated millions, today sat useless beneath the marble. it was kind of like seeing the mummies of Egyptian pharoahs at the Egyptian Museum the other day- they all just look useless, frail, defenseless- you can't imagine them ruling over great empires. At the shah's grave I felt the same.
If anything, it's the personal tragedy of the matter that captivates me (for at the end of the day we're all just little stories caught up in the waves of politics, right?). I try to imagine what he would think, 30 years later- if he ever thought he would be buried in relative obscurity in a far off country with no visitors and no family.. i can't imagine it would have crossed his mind how his life would change in it's last 2 years, to become a refugee after decades of greatness, of ruling over an empire with 2500 years behind it. And now, looking at his family- spread across the world, one daughter having committed suicide, one son still a delusional "prince (of what? Connecticut these days?) and iran on the brink of a war with the world that's hard even for myself to justify (despite being the great ahmedinejadist i've become)- it's very sad, on some level of national tragedy.

but who in iran has time to think about the personal tragedy of some delusional, dead monarch?

I recently realized that the arabic word for Farsi also means "domain of the knight".
I feel ridiculous, cliche, and overly emotional saying this, but i have to- and where is our knight now?