Saints & Ruffians #SkyscraperHeavens

The title of the book is Skyscraper Heavens. Those two words came to mind before dawn the morning of December 31, 2014.
The skyscraper is a male-dominant image, a phallus, a challenging conception of engineers, developers and heads of law firms, banks and insurance companies. The skyscraper, or hi-rise is prevalent in history [See, “Tower of Babel” Genesis 11:4 et seq., the necessity of shared resources of a unit or firm {e.g. a library or intelligence unit}, The World Trade Center Attack, Manhattan, New York City, New York, September 11, 2001, as well as to objectify in concrete, glass and mirrored terms the concept of professional success in the industrial era, see also Marcuse, Herbert The One Dimensional Man (1964)]. The history of the modern hi-rise, perhaps beginning with the Eiffel Tower in 1889, includes prestige as a by-product of the partnered construction of hi-rise real estate by numerous parties: architects, builders, financiers, contractors, unions, and taxing authorities. Narration and dialogue interspersed with the backdrop of a Middle Eastern Revolution vary the time and source of the material we receive as readers of the story. Khalid, our narrator, often plays a DVD which we read in quotation marks as we proceed to the end of the book. Khalid and his two friends, the cousins Jahan and Jaleh, help us perceive the underlying events of the revolution with the help of the pre-recorded discs which are the basis of an underlying non-fictional account known as Installment 77, An Account of ‘M’, (online 2014) at
The dialogue in Skyscraper Heavens seeks to create a mosaic revealing Marcusian dialectic themes of “opposition” and “containment”. The dialogue serves to intersperse various time and space sequences and weaves them into the timeline of an unconventional, decentralized revolution in Baug, a fictitious nation. Focused research, investigation and discussion of historically significant events in Baug by Khalid, Jahan, Jaleh and their benefactors at United Corporate [UC] present an uneven chronological storyline. The underlying record of past revolutionary events in Baug is dictated to us by one of the characters live or by one of them playing the accounts from a UC provided disc. The numerous opposing parties that present themselves throughout the story form a mosaic of the dialectic.
When I was a student at Warren College, one of a cluster of colleges at the University of California at San Diego, I took a job as a janitor, cleaning dorm rooms during the transition from Spring to Summer Quarter in 1980. One day, I was browsing the cork bulletin board at the Student Center in my spare time and came across a 3 x 5 inch flash card soliciting a ghost writer for a book about the Iranian Revolution. American hostages were still being held in Tehran at the time, and being a Lit./Writing major, I took down the phone number on the card and contacted ‘M’ for the first time. ‘M’ was a newly arrived resident of the United States, a former professor and the Director General of Educational Research of the National University of Iran, Tehran (1966-1978); we started work on the book in San Diego on July 7, 1980.
I was so happy working on a book about a major media event I remember riding my brown Schwinn ten-speed all the way from La Jolla to the Marine Corps Air Station—Miramar. Stardom was just over the next hill, or so I thought. That was thirty-five years ago. We worked almost every weekend for a few hours and then his wife would cook an Iranian dish for the family which I was always invited to once we were finished working on the book. It often got hot and steamy in the dining room at dinner time, and that meant quitting time. Mrs. ‘M’ smiled as we relinquished the dining room table back to her. The whole family was called in from the other rooms in the house and we would sit down together at a big round table adjacent to the kitchen to enjoy each other’s company during the delicious supper prepared just for us.
The book was originally submitted for publication to a half-dozen publishers in the winter of 1980-1981 under the title The Iranian Revolution: Iran’s Struggle with a New Father. Although I did not find a publisher willing to take on the responsibility of publishing such a controversial work at the time, I did get two encouraging rejections, one handwritten simply stated the work was not their “cup of tea.” Again, this cup of tea is currently located at the blog under the title Installment 77: An Account of ‘M’ [Call No Man Father] copyright July 8, 2014. ‘M’’s son wrote me in 2014 telling me that his father sold the story he told me to an unidentified buyer for “not much money” after I left the San Diego area.
The names of the people, places and institutions in the following work of historical fiction have been changed to protect the innocent and a few conjectures added due to the benefit of revelations gained from continuing education and the added perspective from the mere elapse of time.
“Call me Khalid. I’ve got a story to tell you about the Baugi Revolution, or what I remember of it, but I’ll begin by relating some of the major political events that transpired some twenty-five years before that in the early 1950’s. These 1950’s events had a direct bearing on the seminal stirrings of revolution that took hold in 1978-1980 era the remnants of which still exist today.”
Father May I?
“Doctor Rahmat, a populist, led the people of Baug from 1950-1953 as their Prime Minister. He supported inclusive government but his administration became increasingly criticized because the population of Baug was disjointed and spread out over a large geographical area. The metropolis of Tealandir was the governing seat of Baug. As its Capitol, rulings from Tealandir affected every Baugi, even if they lived thousands of miles away. Many grew dissatisfied with life in Baug, and opponents of the Rahmat Administration became openly vocal about the incessant compromising that had to be done to mollify every stakeholder and citizen of the country.
“For their part, the huge oil companies of United Corporate [UC] could not stand Rahmat’s laissez-faire government and decided to overthrow him with a coup d’etat. UC supported the coup because they wanted to install a former leader of Baug named Amir, back to lead his dictatorial government. Such an installation would allow UC greater influence in the ways and means of petroleum procurement. The Amir Administration would be hailed as a model of the Common Concept of Mutual Interest [CCMI] between Baug and UC, which had been strained for as long as anyone could remember.
“A slender, scrappy and determined individual named Jahan I met in the courtyard outside our mosque told me the logistics of the 1953 coup d’etat were spear-headed by the Central Wombat Agency [Wombat] of Sargon in conjunction with the disaffected youth of Baug. He said in the ‘first salvo’ buffeting Rahmat, demonstrators shouted taunts, degrading his name while alternatively lifting praises to the Amir day throughout the day and night. The relentless derogatory chants and Rahmat’s misplaced trust in the lawfulness of the assembly allowed the demonstrators to overcome Rahmat’s Guard and enter his compound. After a brief struggle, Wombat’s people seized Dr. Rahmat and transported him to prison to await his fate once Amir’s government was firmly established in Baug.
“The success of the coup made Amir’s return to power imminent. Another rival of Rahmat’s government, the Emilians to the Southwest, concealed Amir and his extended family in order to preserve an opportune moment for Amir’s emergence and return to the Imperial Throne of Baug as His Eminence. For his part, Amir was grateful and indebted to his Emilian benefactors, and planned to lead Baug to an alliance with them and their Western allies. The designs Amir had envisioned before the last great world war, to lead a land of skilled and educated peoples as one nation could now move forward to fruition, or so he thought.
“Jahan soon introduced me to his first cousin, an attractive medical doctor named Jaleh. They looked alike with their black straight hair and tanned complexion, but while Jahan was wiry and surprisingly brutish for his lean frame, Jaleh was supple and compassionate. We were in Baug to investigate the Baugi revolution which began in the 1970’s on a grant from United Corporate. They provided us with a stipend and the essential materials, including a scrutinized expense account to conduct our research. Sometimes Jahan would fill me in on what he knew about the revolution and other times it was Jaleh, but increasingly, we used secondary sources such as DVD’s. Sometimes we would listen together and discuss what we heard and saw, other times we operated separately. The work would have been boring if it didn’t feel somewhat like a television episode of Mission Impossible. Although we were directed to destroy the DVD’s once ‘consumed’ I never did.
Let’s Flashback: Why Rahmat’s Government Was “Troublesome”
“What I have so far on the history of Baug that Jahan told me was that the Rahmat Administration gave Baugis a sense of freedom and liberty that they hadn’t had for decades. His Administration was modeled after democratized nation-states such as Sargon of the Continent of Kir and Jahangir of the Continent of Bahar. In those two democracies, citizens were allowed to retain certain inalienable rights allowing them to think and act on their own initiative and to speak out loud what they believed to be true. These freedoms were upheld as rights protected by the Baugi Constitution until the coup toppled Rahmat’s Administration in 1953.
The Bahram Party
“The numerous political parties which existed in Baug during Rahmat’s rule were allowed to co-exist and thrive in accordance with the concept of free-will embedded in the Baugi Constitution. The lax attitude in the regulation of social discourse however, created an opportunity for the Bahram Party to disrupt the delicate balance which shaped Baug and maintain the peace within its borders. The Bahram Party was determined to destabilize ‘peace’ in Baug at whatever cost, and to overthrow its opposition, whoever that might be, at any given time. During periods of unrest, Bahram was able to make inroads at fracturing the confidence Baugis still had in their free democratic Constitutional society.
“The Wombat Agency, as one might expect, did not like Rahmat’s tolerance of Bahram Party members. Bahram distributed pro-Xerxes [communist] propaganda with bravado aimed primarily against Sargon. The leaflets and tracts lambasted Sargonian foreign policy and its ‘imperialistic’ motivation to dominate the vital interests not only of Baug, but of the entire developing world, and the populace of Baug was paying at least some attention to the materials distributed. Bahram supported the leading communist nation Xerxes as well as other nations of the world less technologically advanced than Baug. It opposed Sargon’s influence and that of its allies operating within Baug’s borders.
“The Bahram Party continued to gain popularity under Rahmat until Sargon took action to counteract their propaganda drive. The Sargonian decision to dissolve the Bahram Party was two-fold: 1) to diminish its influence in Baug and 2) once the Bahram-Xerxesian influence waned, Sargon could reestablish its access to Baugi oilfields without public unrest [Sargon and Jahangir were effectively shut out of the Baugi oil industry because it was determined by the Rahmat Administration the two juggernauts were not paying a fair price for Baugi petroleum product].
“Yesterday I, Khalid, had tea with Jahan at a small café in Tealandir. The café was filled with wicker chairs and teakwood tables stained with the residue spilled sweeteners and dark infusions. Jahan said Rahmat started planning an oil embargo as soon as he assumed power in 1950 because that was the central theme of his campaign platform. Until Sargon and Jahangir paid a fair price for Baugi crude oil, Rahmat would continue to embargo their access to it.
“Many Baugis were very sensitive to oil-interested politics in the early 1950’s. Between 1951 and 1953, oil production in Baug was at a virtual standstill because the service contracts between Jahangir and Baug to extract and distribute petroleum were seen by influential Baugis as unconscionable. For instance, it was widely publicized that Jahangir only paid royalties of 16% of the profits it made on Baugi oil. For their part, Sargon bankers were driving inflation higher as the price of crude and the myriad products that relied on its production, refinement and distribution escalated.
“In response to Baugi’s oil embargo of the early 1950’s, Jahangir gave the Rahmat Administration an ultimatum: either relent and end the embargo or suffer naval occupation of the Baugi Gulf (with all the implications of a ‘blockade’). The Baugi populace reacted tout de suite [Fr. immediately]: they told foreign oil businessmen and technicians in no uncertain terms they were no longer welcome in Baug. The Baugi’s natural petroleum resources they had been exploiting since the turn of the 20th Century could no longer be accessed by the West. After the mass expulsion of the Western oil interests, Rahmat set out to nationalize oil.
“Once the oil sector in Baug stabilized, foreigners would again be able come to work in Baug, but solely for the nationalized program, not for oil companies under Jahangir’s jurisdiction. Jahangir’s workers, primarily engineers, did not like working for Baug’s nationalized petroleum industry because they were being told how to do their jobs despite their expertise and their Baugi superior’s lack of it. Not wanting the disrespect of being treated like second class citizens in a foreign country subject to the dictates of a state-controlled bureaucracy, disgruntled oil industry workers complained to their sovereigns and Jahangir’s government persuaded their foreign nationals to abandon their positions and leave the country. Baugi national engineers and technicians did not have the expertise to run the petroleum industry in their country without outside help and the industry fell into disarray. If that was not enough, no one was buying Baug’s crude oil product due to political pressure from Jahangir. Jahangir made a spectacle of Baug’s ‘breach’ of its contract with them and sued them at the International Court located in Fairhausen, a city in the Western Alliance States [WAS]. The way Jahan told it to me at the café, the Jahangiris relied too much on their outspoken political persuasiveness and economic clout than by the nuts and bolts of contract law enforceable by the Court. They thought the situs of the Court being in WAS would aid them in a decision favorable to them, or at least more favorable than the current state of affairs. Nevertheless, the International Court ruled in favor of the Baugi Government, not them.
“The ruling was based on the fact that Jahangir began exploiting Baug’s petroleum resources under alleged contracts that were not produced at trial by the Jahangir, and Jahan told me, ‘the Baugis allegedly did not have copies of the agreements to enter into evidence.’ The Court went on to point out that Baug had won a hard fought independence from Jahangir and was no longer a colony of its Empire but a sovereign nation. As such, a sovereign nation not only has the right of self-determination, but the means to ensure that right. The Holding of the Court: Baug had the sole right to all mineral resources located beneath the ground of its territories. Although the Baugi government asked for restitution, it could not prove a theft of its sovereign natural resources over the preceding sixty years. Since neither Baug nor Jahangir produced copies or originals of any ‘agreements’ the two sovereigns allegedly had been working under since Baug’s independence as a State in the late 19th Century, neither did the Court retroactively nullify said ‘contracts’ but did nullify any ‘alleged agreements either of the two countries may have thought they were working under going forward subject to the instant judgment of the Court’.”
As Jahangir Recedes from the Baugi Oil Picture in the mid-1950’s, Sargonian Oil Companies Step Up Negotiation Efforts to Win Contracts in Baugi Petroleum Interests; Baug’s Perception of Sargon as Influentially Treacherous
“Initially, Sargonian Oil Companies supported the Rahmat regime. Former Sargon President Parry West Troopman was sent as an Ambassador to Baug to discuss possible oil trade with Rahmat’s Administration in 1953. Sargon’s Acting President, though a rival of Troopman, knew it was important to send a ‘balance by imbalance’ message to Rahmat. A rival diplomat of high regard sent to meet with the Baugi Prime Minister meant Rahmat would have to be on his toes—all ten of them, in order to discern what this show of enthusiasm from Sargon, an ally of Jahangir, indicated for Baugi business concerns.
“For his part, Rahmat wanted to aggravate Sargon, but at the same time continue to sell and ultimately transport oil to them. Jahangir meanwhile urged all their allies in WAS, not merely Sargon, to boycott Baugi oil in order for their economy to suffocate. Baug suffered severely from the boycott, but did not implode. Its oil production slowed to the point they could barely supply their own people with fuel and Baug’s inability to produce that surplus oil for export acted as a catalyst to their already rising inflation and huge trade deficits.
“The Bahram Party relished the fact that Rahmat was in a bind, after all, they wanted to rule Baug in his place. On the issue of oil exports, the Bahram Party actively opposed Rahmat’s suspension of oil exports to the West and provoked public outcry over the policy. Soon thereafter, Rahmat’s once adoring public was demonstrating in the streets of Tealandir. In 1953 era Baug, Rahmat needed money more that the ‘West’ needed oil (the War in the East was also winding down, creating a slackening demand for product). Rahmat, determined to ultimately sell more oil to American oil companies at a higher price, set about to quell Bahram-inspired rumors and retain his composure, after all, the plurality of Baugis still admired his steadfast political objectivity, honesty and manner.
“Sargon and Jahangir continued to have radically intertwined economies despite their mutual disengagement with Baug. Both countries had and continued to have identical vital interests in Baug– Rahmat ‘blinked’. He was forced to sell oil to Sargon’s oil at their prices because some of his major domestic political antagonists were impatient with the rising inflation and lack of revenue from oil, by far Baug’s primary natural resource and source of income. If that was not enough, Xerxes did not approve of the Rahmat regime either. Along with Sargon and Jahangir, the former allies of the last Great World War devised a plan to boycott Baugi oil even if it was offered to them for sale below market. The three-way solidarity was enough to ensure an economic depression in Baug at the time.
“Hello fellow traveler, I hope you’re enjoying the story, there isn’t much sex, but a bit of religion and violence lies ahead. Khalid here, the sumptuous Jaleh told me once that Xerxes was like the player who likes to wait for the odds to improve at the black jack table before betting big or a clearance sale at the marketplace before buying, all the while checking the opposition as if in an ice hockey game to keep their competitors off-balance and assure their capitalization of the special circumstances. The collusion of Sargon, Jahangir and now Xerxes caused a material change in the world order adverse to Rahmat’s Administration. Their unity not only diminished Baug’s economic security and frustrated Rahmat’s trade strategy with the West, it deprived Baugis of a prosperous life.
“The Bahram Party in line with their Xerxesian overlords stepped up efforts to disenchant and launched ad hominem misinformation campaigns against Dr. Rahmat, including rumors he was a ‘puppet of Sargon’. Like bees buzzing around his head, Rahmat’s adversaries began to overwhelm him. Divisive domestic and Western factions alike attacked him for crippling the Baugi economy with his ‘out of touch’ trade policies. Inflation, along with the civil unrest that followed it, was the ‘Achilles heel’ that led the populist leader straight into a prison cell.
“As the trade embargo was finding its feet, an Emilian ship loaded with Baugi oil was seized by the Jahangir Navy in the Kasparian Ocean. Political tensions immediately heightened between Jahangir and Baug and Sargon, for its part, sought new methods of gaining access to Baugi oil. The ‘new methods’ apparently were working in tandem with their allies of degrees, Xerxes and Jahangir, measured by the loyalties they shared in past wartime allegiances.”
JASPER HOSSEIN AMIR SHAHRAZ [hereinafter Referred to as “Amir”]
“With three super-powers and global commercial interest shutting Prime Minister Rahmat’s government out of the world economy, Jasper Hossein Amir Shahraz [Amir] sent a Declaration to Rahmat informing him he was deposed of his authority and that General Arman would assume the office of prime minister. Rahmat would have none of it. He had just won his case on Baug’s entitlement to all natural resources beneath the earth’s surface within its borders at the International Court in Fairhausen and wanted to parlay that victory into something greater. He had some clout left, at least in the eyes of developing nations around the world. He could appeal to the United Patrons and Matrons [hereinafter referred to as UPM].
“Prime Minister Rahmat had it figured right this time. Amir’s Plan A, a mere Declaration of Claim, backfired and the royal contender to Rahmat’s populist government was forced to leave the country, first to neighboring Dilshad to the west of Baug , and later south to Emilio, in fear for his life. However, within three days Amir and his close associates arranged Plan B: a plot to overthrow the Rahmat-led government. Amir’s flight to Emilio provided a diversion for General Arman, who was also in hiding, to arrange the coup against the Baugi National Front [BNF], Rahmat’s political party. Rahmat continued to maintain if not enjoy a large following in Baug due to the fact that Amir and his associates were afraid of how Baugis and specifically how city folk in Tealandir might react to the coup [also known as ‘General Arman’s Plot’ or GAP].
“The principal and most vocal opponent of GAP was the Bahram Party, who had been growing progressively stronger under Rahmat’s Administration. The main supporters of GAP, according to what I heard from Hussein, a poly-sci professor at Tealandir University, were Sargon, Jahangir and Xerxes. General Arman acted as a go-between, peacemaker and benefactor to those three nations as he maneuvered strategically toward attaining the political office of the Prime Minister of Baug under an Amir-led government. In exchange for the beneficial status General Arman awarded the three super-powers, Sargon, Jahangir and Xerxes in turn agreed not to interfere with General Arman’s Plot or stage a meddling counter-coup once the effective takeover of Baug was accomplished by Arman.
“Up until 1953, of the major world powers, Jahangir had the most regulatory influence in Baugi trade matters. As the year passed, American diplomacy and persuasiveness won out as did General Arman in the coup of ‘53. Jahangir had two basic objectives in Baug: the first and foremost was the dissolution of the Bahram Party and its entrenched propaganda machine. The other, once dissolution of the Bahram Party was effected or nearly certain to transpire, Sargon could fill American oil tankers with lawfully purchased Baugi oil and redistribute it to them. To achieve these two Jahangiri objectives quickly, strategically and efficiently, Sargon promoted the concept of re-introducing Jasper Hossein Amir Shahraz, who’s family had formerly sat on the throne of Baug, as its Royal Head of State.
“Oh man, this stuff drains you? Drains me too and I’m not done yet, nowhere near done. In fact, the story has only just begun. Yeah, it’s your storytelling stranger Khalid. I hope to make your actual acquaintance someday dear reader. Maybe I wasn’t clear in detail about how the 1953 coup was effectuated. I reiterate next.”
“A rabble of pro-Amir demonstrators, led by twenty-one Baugi military officers, staged the coup which was organized by Sargon’s Executive and its Wombat Quick Squad. Some of the twenty-one officers overseeing and/or carrying out the rebellion were enemies of Rahmat held in Baugi prisons at the time. After the success of the coup, Rahmat was thrown into a prison cell, and the internal Baugi officers that helped orchestrate the coup were set free.
“The Bahram Party told its members and officers that a new Baugi government must be formed as soon as possible so that General Arman would not have the time to consolidate power in a military dictatorship. As far as the communists were concerned, anarchy and revolution were preferable to having all the authority with Arman or anyone else. Bahram had a plan of their own which did not include Amir, Dr. Rahmat or General Arman. The communists intended to ‘fatigue the new government,’ until an opportune moment would set the stage for a subsequent uprising. In this way, they would not have to ‘double-cross’ their comrades in Xerxes who were temporarily allied with ‘the West’ at the outset in the 1953 coup. Xerxes planned to allow the Wombat-devised coup to go forward and seize control of the Baugi Government subsequently, at their discretion. Bahram Party organizers wanted to install a leader who could be manipulated while consolidating their Party’s political power. In 1978, the Ayatollah Babak was to become this individual.
“Around the same period, a network of communist military officers were discovered accidentally by General Arman’s government. A specific officer was apprehended carrying a suitcase with the names of 1200 people that had infiltrated the Baugi military service. Six hundred of the names found were part of a conspiracy of anti-Amir military officers ranging from lieutenant to colonel [hereinafter Sr. Officers]. The names of the other six hundred soldiers [hereinafter Jr. Officers] were written down in a complicated code. A major in Arman’s armed forces, distinguished as an expert code breaker, was called in to decipher the names of the Jr. Officers found in the briefcase. Unbeknownst to Arman, the code breaker he commissioned was a communist infiltrator who took the codes of the 600 Jr. Officers and fled the country, never to be found again. Fear and intrigue prevailed in the wake of the disclosures that a Baugi Major left the service of the country. Since the identities of the 600 Jr. Officers remained unknown, the secret police and informants later investigated the case in an attempt to uncover their true identities. Communist influence seemed to pervade daily life in Baug, but such was the case in almost every country of the world in 1953. Even in Xerxes, its leader Moussa Payam was said to be livid with rage at his daughter’s defection to the West and was nearly as totalitarian and brutal as he was during the era of his dissident purges.
“The Amir’s personal guard was not without its defectors. One morning before the last Great World War, Amir found a derogatory note next to him when he awoke and knew he could have been murdered that night instead of merely threatened. That incident shook his confidence so much he was visibly shaken when he appeared in public. Due to the circumstances that surrounded the coup and the warning letter, Amir was suspicious of all of his allies, even his closest friends. Il etait raison [French: “He had good reason”]. What was not as apparent perhaps, was Arman’s transfer of power back to the Amir after the coup.”
“Along with the six hundred Senior Officers that were arrested by General Arman’s forces, the Baugi Government arrested several communist politicians. Of these, forty were executed and the others imprisoned. The strong military response of Amir and Arman frightened Baugis. The aggression was seen as a totalitarian gambit and short- term strategy utilizing martial law; yet, unlike before, there were no protests over the government’s consolidative action. It was under these coercive circumstances that the Baugi oil pacts with the Western powers and Sardonian oil companies were ratified by Baugi Parliament. Baug’s Parliament decided that eight major concessionaires from different nation-states should undertake the production and sale of Baug’s oil. Rahmat’s government, and his goals for Baug were successfully suppressed and a new regime would begin to greet the populace with different goals and ideals to focus upon—and it pleased Amir’s Western benefactors.”
“The major concessionaires of Baug’s oil resources were based and/or headquartered in Sargon and paid taxes to them. General Arman made a deal with Sargon’s oil companies and was awarded a foundational fee of 60-70 million dollars to use as he pleased. In the new Baug-Sargon oil contract, 51% of the net oil profits belonged to Baug, while 49% belonged to Sargonian oil companies that owned the concession. Sargon was the Principal and responsible for exploration, feasibility studies, production, sales and distribution, including associated storage and transport of the petroleum product(s) and could deduct these expenses from the gross revenues.
“In the early 1950’s, Xerxes wanted the ouster of General Arman at any cost. In an act of goodwill, they returned eleven tons of gold it had acquired from Baug during the last Great World War. Although former Prime Minister Rahmat had demanded return of the gold while he was yet in office, Xerxes did not oblige him with the transfer at that time. Now that circumstances had changed with plans for the timing of the coup fixed, Xerxes hoped the ‘gift’ [return] of the gold would help ease relations between the two countries before the leadership change-over. Baug had the wherewithal to invest in the infrastructure, labor and expertise needed to reinvent itself again as a world leader. Xerxes’ gesture of good faith in returning the disputed gold made Baug’s ‘investment in the future’ program worthwhile.
“Although Baug did indeed become enthusiastic about the gold returned by Xerxes to its sovereign soil, trade relations between the two stalled. Sargonian and Jahanjiri concessions were already paying top dollar for Baugi oil and Xerxes could not compete with their bids. Rather, Xerxes temporarily took a ‘backseat’ to their former allies in regard to Baugi oil exports. Xerxes made it clear they would not interfere with the West’s arrangement with Baug if and only if assurances were first promised that Xerxes would receive some future benefit advantageous to its vital interests in the region (e.g. wheat from Sargon, most-favored-nation trade status, future oil contracts or defense treaties). A “divide and conquer” strategy was replaced by one of bargain and compromise—a cold war of global trade. The understanding was ‘We’ll let you have your way this time but you better make sure we get ours next time or were taking it.’
Khalid here again. The publisher wants everyone to read this book! Why after thirty-five years would I want thousands of readers to read about a revolution so current they made me change the names, places and institutions it refers to? My own mother finds it confusing. Some dude from Fallus Sextus told me his father told him, “If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing right.” Others on social media add, “If you don’t enjoy what you do, don’t do it.” Still others, university law professors from the West Coast of Sargon say, “Just do it.”
Khalid is here to tell you what Jahan told me: war is tricky business. So here I am plugging along with this account where the names have been changed to protect the innocent. Money does talk and whether you are a multinational corporation or a sovereign nation, you have to back up what you say or have hell to pay. You may end up in clown’s gear like me, in prison or dead. Sarkis Reuben has an interest in a company that will delete your history so you can start a new one. Look him up on the internet. Of course, his name has been changed for purposes of this book, but maybe he’s appeared by now, like #SlenderMan. You get the idea? Good because I don’t, this is only a story for men and women. The name of the company? #Cybercrust. His company will turn your history to dust for a fee, an undertaker. Whether you are a multinational corporation, a university, a sovereign nation, one of its agencies or departments, or just an individual like you or me, you can wipe out what you’ve said in the past for whatever reason and start fresh like an absolved sinner. So now you don’t have to back up what you may have written or said in the past. It’s not relevant anymore. “New day, fresh start” as my stock guru the gentle pirate told me time and again. “’Arrrr mates’, it’s a great time to be free on the open seas.”
“Negotiations with the Middle East in the early 1950’s became the precedent for a new type of agreement between the superpowers of the Sargon, Jahanjir and Xerxes with respect to Baug. Xerxes conceded to Arman’s policy in order to focus its attention in other areas of the world, such as Rosana, its southeast neighbor. Xerxes felt that the Northern Rosana government, an assured acquisition of theirs, could do their bidding for them against South Rosana, without getting their own hands ‘soiled’ by war. Once Xerxes found a sympathetic group to do their bidding for them, there was no reason why they should not prioritize the aid they give to comrades abroad in order to overcome their mutual enemies.
“In Baug itself, the situation was not as clear-cut in regard to Xerxes’ influence within its borders. Those that opposed a communist state outnumbered those who wanted one; that was the pluralistic sentiment. But like a boat in rough water, Baugis were unsure what their Baugi neighbors favored as far as public policy or governmental structure(s). What the plurality did agree on was they wanted change. Change was the only mantra they had any assurance in.
“As a result of the foregoing, Xerxes did not interfere with Baugi trade during the early 1950’s or threaten it with coercive tactics that would ‘rock the boat’ now being captained by the ‘West’. No, Xerxes was determined to ‘wait it out’ for the appointed time when they could tell Sargon and Jahangir, ‘Our turn now–move out of my way!’”
“In 1958, Wombat established a secret police force (secret service) for Amir called the Organization of Information and Homeland Security of Baug (hereinafter referred to as OIHSB). OIHSB was established to maintain order and keep the power in the hands of its ruler, Amir. OIHSB used totalitarian techniques and used totalitarian methods to achieve political stability. This Unit would be known to capture and detain anyone who opposed the State or who displayed dissatisfaction with the new regime.
“There were several groups of individuals, Jaleh said there were probably several khalqs, or ‘militias’ or ‘gangs’ who opposed Amir. The different types of organizations, or ‘groups’ with differing views on Amir were: 1) the Baugi National Front, or BNF of which Dr. Rahmat was a party member and who was imprisoned when Amir seized power successfully after the 1953 coup d’etat, 2) the Communist Party, aka the Bahram Party and 3) Clerics (i.e. the Ayatollahs). Amir used his secret police force OIHSB to suppress all these ‘groups’ from interfering with the State (sic) of Affairs (sic) in Baug.”
“Hey, what if they hit a high-rise?”
“What?” responded Jahan peering at me. “Who’s ‘they’”?
“Just trying to minimize losses,” I replied.
“Losses?” Jahan was still peering at me, but now he was bearing down. I wondered if he had a pistol.
I shut up and he showed me the disc with the Arabic or Farsi, I couldn’t be sure as he waved it in front of me but didn’t stop his motion so I could view the characters closely.
He took out a black leather briefcase with re-enforced leather corners and heavy-duty hinges. He gave me two shots of imported French brandy.
“You want Gran Marnier? I’ve got Gran Marnier.” Jahan peered down as he got up from his stool, seeing if I was looped yet.
“Sure,” I obliged.
It was then I noticed sound emanating from the suitcase. It was the DVD he waved before me. It must be.
What was I talking about? Oh yeah, before I knew it, I was on my second snifter of Gran Marnier and listening to the history of the Baugi Revolution of 1978 from a suitcase.
“During the Jethro Joseph Kinnet term of office (1960-1963) a wave of political ‘coup d’etats’ swept the third world especially in many countries south of the equator [hereinafter referred to as the ‘developing world’]. Political unrest prevailed. The reasons for the unrest were a general dissatisfaction with their respective governments and the widespread desire to establish a ‘better society’ even if by means of violent upheaval(s). Kinnet’s method of restraining communist governments from taking over smaller, underdeveloped countries was to influence the presiding government to respect human rights. Kinnet’s diplomacy acted as a deterrent to anarchy and revolution in Baug because Amir knew what limitations Kinnet might impose on him should disorder reign in the streets. Kinnet’s theory was that if the people were content with their government and their leaders, they would have little reason to revolt and turn to violent confrontation.
“Kinnet was a significant factor which led to many reforms in Baug under Amir’s Administration. He advised Amir in the early ’60’s to moderate the use of his power while keeping in mind his duty to serve his constituents. Baug was a model of a transition State, not entirely industrialized, yet one of the most advanced surviving ancient civilizations. In developing nations, where close monitoring of its national rulers had not been as comprehensively studied as it had been in Baug immediately after the last Great World War, communist governments would send emissaries to infiltrate and disrupt them until they became discontent with its leaders. Kinnet stressed the institution of a policy for human rights that would appease the public and decrease the chance of a revolution from occurring. The Kinnet Administration recommended Dr. Rahimi, Secretary of the Financial Ministry in General Arman’s cabinet to be appointed the new Prime Minister of Baug’s Parliament. Rahimi was very close to the Kinnet family and had represented Baug in the recent oil pact with several Western concessionaires. The Western nations of Sargon, Jahangir, Fairusa and Gaspar seemed to all agree on Rahimi as the new Prime Minister. After vetting and discussion, they found him to be an able and fair negotiator. Rahimi was ultimately appointed through Kinnet’s influence and Amir made special efforts to tolerate his rival’s presence; they were not the best of friends. Since Rahimi had been installed at the urging of President Kinnet, he had a special distinction in Parliament that none of the other members had. Thus, Rahimi was relatively insulated from Amir’s oversight and had the clout to express his personal views at Parliamentary sessions even if they were incongruous to Amir’s.”
“Amir and Rahimi worked together to reform the Baugi Constitution. The signature product of their tenuous political alliance was known as the Six Principles of Amir’s Revolution. These principles were as follows:
1) All large land owners transfer some of their land to the peasants who had worked it as lessees. Up until the reform, landlords would rent out their acreage to peasants much like European feudal lords had done with serfs in the Middle Ages. Now, peasants could be farmers, ranchers or entrepreneurs with a chance to make a living for themselves and their families and enjoy the windfall of the fruits from their labor and management.

2) Young, educated people were sent to villages to teach the peasants how to read and write. The young adults also familiarized the country-dwellers with recent technological advances in health, medicine and agriculture.
3) Medical school graduates were to spend at least two years serving poor villagers in Baug without a salary prior to entering the greater medical profession [in lieu of mandatory military service].
4) Nationalization of Baugi forests, which had been owned by private landlords before the reform.
5) Bestow women with rights equal to those of men
6) Establish new election regulations.
“Two of the six points infuriated the clergymen. They didn’t like the transfer of land to the peasants or making women’s rights equal to those of men. The transfer of land to the peasants meant they would have to rely more on almsgiving from them rather than solely from the wealthy landowners. Prior to the reforms, clerics received an allowance from the rich landlords. After the reforms, they were at the mercy of the almsgiving of the peasants who were now an intermediary endowed with the means to give back to the clerics what was once given to the clerics directly from the wealthy. The clergymen’s ‘job’ prior to the reforms had been to quell dissent among the poor so they would cause landlords a minimal amount of ‘trouble’. Clerics did not believe women should be granted equal rights to men but rather, subject themselves ultimately, to the dictates of men. Accordingly, Ayatollah Babak accused Amir of formulating the Six Principles due to feminist political influence in Sargon and Flint. Ultimately, Amir had the power to silence Babak and other clerics by imprisonment, so most of Baug’s priests obeyed him, however reluctantly.”
“Both major denominations of Islam, Shiet and Sunni, co-exist in Baug, although Shiet (also referred to as Shia) is much more prevalent within its borders. In fact, Baug is the hub of the Shiet denomination. Babak was among the Shiets since birth, and had been recognized as a Great Ayatollah at the suggestion of Sayyid Shahin Darien [(1905-April, 1986) hereinafter referred to as Darien]. Darien was a Grand Ayatollah of Northern Baug who recommended Babak ascend to the position of Grand Ayatollah during the Baugi reforms of the 1960’s-1970’s. The Shiets have a ceremonial rite in memory of Imam Hossein, the nephew of Mohammad the prophet, founder of Islam in the seventh century A.D. In 1963, during the ceremonial day of Hagation, an anti-Amir demonstration was held in Tealandir, led by the Ayatollah Babak. The demonstrators shouted derogatory remarks and slogans against Amir until he ordered his guards to open fire into the assembly. Approximately one hundred people were killed in the shooting that afternoon, although Babak went on record accusing Amir of executing 15,000 people. The Ayatollah Babak’s claim that 15,000 people had been summarily executed by Amir’s guard backfired.
“There exists an allegory known to Baugis which Amir used to persuade his people he was ‘right’ and Babak was therefore obviously ‘wrong’ about the number of summary executions at the afternoon demonstration. Jahan told me the story and it went like this:
“Once there was a very powerful king who conquered India named Nader Shah. One day, he became very angry with one of his subjects and ordered he be given 1,000 lashes and thrown into the dungeon. The condemned man was giddy with laughter when he heard the sentence.
‘Why are you laughing?’ asked the king.
‘Your Highness replied the sentenced subject, ‘either you have not had the experience of being whipped or you cannot count. If one is to endure 1,000 lashes, he certainly will not live to see his prison cell!’
“The allegory was thus used to parody Babak’s penchant for exaggeration. A videotape of the incident clearly shows no more than 100 could have perished. Thus, Babak either could not ‘count’, or made use of the puffery to impress upon Baugis his moral superiority to Amir. Since it had to be assumed the Ayatollah Babak learned to add long ago, Amir’s regime persuaded Baugis that it was Babak, and not Amir, who used malicious chicanery to shuffle facts and hide the truth of the number executed.
Similar events led by the clerics beholden to Babak occurred elsewhere in Baug, but most Baugis accepted the Six Principles because this aspect of Amir’s reform freed them from the domination of the landlords. Babak had misread the sympathies of the majority of Baugis and his reputation became tarnished in trying to defame Amir. Soon after the Hagation uprising and subsequent smaller demonstrations throughout Baug, Amir sought punishment for the Ayatollah Babak. The Grand Ayatollah Darien was instrumental in saving Babak from execution as well as affording him exile in neighboring Dilshad. The general population revered Ayatollah Babak as a figurehead of Shiet Islam and would have objected to any violent means of punishment even without Darien’s support. Pushed into a corner and wanting to absolve himself of the violent governmental responses to the Hagation and ‘after-shock’ demonstrations, Amir settled on exile as the ‘solution’ for Babak, as it would at least diminish his influence in Baug. Babak was later made a ‘Great Ayatollah’ by Darien in 1965.”
“Some months after these demonstrations, on November 22, 1963, Sargon’s President, Jethro Joseph Kinnet was assassinated during a campaign trip to Sargon’s southern perimeter, Fallas, Sextus. After Kinnet’s death, Amir removed Dr. Rahimi from office in the absence of political pressure from the Kinnet Administration. Amir had been afraid of Rahimi as a mouthpiece of scrutiny and a threat to his regime’s unquestioning control. Amir chose a relatively inexperienced man named Aspar Jesper Parviz [hereinafter referred to as Parviz] to succeed Rahimi as Prime Minister. Parviz was essentially one of Amir’s ‘yes-men’ and allowed Amir to exploit his ignorance of affairs of state. The manipulation of Parviz by Amir was so complete, it gave the public the impression the two men were coordinating the balance of power in the constitutional Baugi government when in actuality, Amir had become the virtual dictator of Baug in the wake of Kinnet’s death.
“Inflation characterized the term of Parviz’ office, and after a few months, on March 7, 1964, Navid, a more knowledgeable politician, became the new Prime Minister of Baug. Navid was supported by Sargon and the price of domestically-purchased oil in Baug rose dramatically due to the volumes sold at a discount to Western oil companies abroad. During his term in office, Navid raised the price of petroleum twice. Baugi’s were furious with Navid’s actions, especially since they were still coping with the inflation brought on by what Jaleh told me was ‘Parviz’ slipshod Administration.’ Although the international spot price of oil remained relatively constant, Baugi domestic oil prices continued to increase under Navid’s leadership and with it, the public’s temper.
“The stage was gradually being set for revolution. Public sentiment was boiling over with negativity directed at the Amir Regime and more individuals were speaking out and sharing their negativity with neighbors, friends and colleagues. The end of inflation and ‘hard times’ seemed nowhere in sight and the populace found itself of the brink of chaos. Tension over the inflation situation was causing fissures in the ancient civilization of Baug.
“In time, the ‘Six Principles of Amir’ were not enforced by his administration and the populace began to believe he had deceived them. The land that the peasants received from the landowners was rapidly being sold off to pay the delinquent loans they took out to begin farming the land. The bubble the Six Principles created was bursting. During the first year of the cooperative effort, the government stopped funding the peasants and they had no chance of paying back their loans unless they were extremely fortunate with their first harvest. There was no subsidy to save their land or a bridge program to stop most farmers from being evicted from their land. Without a ‘bumper crop’ or favorable commodities prices at which to liquidate their agricultural products, the lack of follow-through on the government subsidies caused the eviction of many farmers from land transferred to them just a year earlier. Doctor Jaleh said these evictees became known as the vagabond peasants who were forced to migrate to various cities where they could find work to support themselves and their families.
“The years started to melt together in 1965 after Navid was assassinated by a secret organization belonging to the clerics in February, 1964 and Gul, who was the Finance Minister in Navid’s administration, became the new Prime Minister in January of 1965 and served in that position until his arrest following the Baugi Revolution of 1978 and ultimate execution on April 7, 1979. Gul’s first decision in office was to decrease the price of oil to domestic buyers. This was significant in that it was perceived by the public as a goodwill gesture and eased tense public relations between them and the Baugi government.
“Gul’s political platform seemed honest and open compared to recent occupants of the Prime Minister’s seat. He criticized the way his predecessors had mishandled its affairs, and accepted the shortcomings of his own role as Finance Minister under Navid. Baugis were optimistic after he announced new governmental reforms. Gul’s dreams of effortless prosperity were short-lived however. During his former tenure as Finance Minister under Navid in 1963, Gul imposed heavy property and luxury taxes on the rich. After he became Prime Minister, Gul imposed 250 new taxes above and beyond those citizens continued to pay since 1963. For example, if an individual, group or family wanted to travel outside of Baug by air, the principal traveler had to pay a two hundred dollar travel tax in addition to the respective airfare charge(s). Subsequently, a one hundred and fifty dollar surcharge was imposed and collected for each additional passenger on the flight as well. This policy, as could be expected, infuriated the rich, but appeased the poor whom Amir was most anxious to please at this juncture because they rarely if ever flew.
“All important imports and exports were governmentally controlled under Gul’s Prime Ministry. The most important commodities traded in Baug are grain, sugar, oil and industrially manufactured items according to Jahan and Jaleh. The services the government controlled exclusively before the Revolution were the railroads, the postal service and the airlines. Managers of the various smaller divisions of commerce were bribed on a regular basis while others simply embezzled surplus money using accounting principles and methodologies enabling them to ‘skim off the top’ of the accounts without anyone being the wiser. The government was unable to supervise all the subsidiary commerce division heads and graft soon became prevalent. Division managers enriched themselves often without being called to account for their actions to the public’s detriment. For example, if an individual asked for permission to build a house, the housing office might say, ‘No, not unless you pay me this extra fee’ (as a bribe). During the rampant corruption of the division managers, one ‘Minister’ was found to have embezzled four million Sargon Dollars from an undisclosed sugar contract. When questioned by reporters about the embezzlement, Prime Minister Gul said governmental officials ‘deserved’ the added monetary job perks due to the important vital nature of the work they accomplished for the Baugi people.”
“In an act of goodwill toward his people, Amir had the corporate status of all foreign concessionaires in Baug dissolved. Oil resources within Baug’s borders were to be henceforth the natural resources of the sovereign nation of Baug. The foreign oil companies would continue to sell and distribute oil, but the petroleum products themselves were declared a state-owned public trust.

“The nationalization of Baugi oil meant both increased revenues and greater political leverage within the OPS cartel, of which Baug had recently become a member.”
“International leader and investor Amir placed large sums of money in foreign accounts and bought foreign denominated securities to assure the safety of his family’s assets were he to be thrown out of Baug as he had been during his confrontation with Dr. Rahmat in the early 1950’s. Among Amir’s holdings was a 25% ownership in a German-based corporation named Roulet, and a relatively large position in Parapet World Airways. Amir also built oil refineries in Ponce, Irdut and Padistan and put Baugi management in charge of them. He gave financial aid to the United Mind Republic, Jahangir, Padistan and several developing countries of the continent of Ponce with whom Baug shared diplomatic relations. In 1976, the economy of Jahangir was in recession and in dire need of economic stimulation. Amir’s immediate investment and the currency float between Baug and Jahangir spelled increased Jahangiri employment and a shot in the arm for Baug financially.”
I stopped the player and thought to myself, “Go see Jahan before he goes to Dilshad. Cousin Jaleh was a silent third party most of the time when we met. Doubt she’s coming this morning. I knew whatever I told Jahan would get back to Jaleh, but on the rare occasions I did speak to Jaleh alone, there was no indication she would be obliged to tell Jahan anything about it. I wonder if one or both of them is a spy for Xerxes? ‘Why do they want to meet so early on a Sunday?’ I repeated in my mind. We were supposed to meet in the Jahreel Café at the Hotel Tealandir. On the way there I saw a woman in a white mini showing leg up to her hips. I’ve been sleeping in Sunday mornings too long. She’s a lurid example of an ear-plugging rehabilitated wind-up doll—all you need is the time, the money and the inclination; but not on Sunday. I wonder if it’s still Saturday night for her. No bags under her eyes. They working shifts in front of the Café? Oh, she’s probably a zealous hospitality hostess out on the sidewalk.” As I was daydreaming of what the encounter would be like (my approach would be to ask her if she wanted a drink), I continued briskly toward the Hotel Tealandir.
Jahan wasn’t there yet. Just like him, I made him wait last time. Instead of ringing the buzzer to get into the hotel, I waited outside by a fire hydrant. Nicer than it used to be. Kahane Construction read the sign on a new condominium complex across the street from the hotel. Somebody’s got to get rich in this recession. I wonder if the real estate crash was planned so these developers could make a windfall on new construction and comcomitant control.
“Khalieeeeeee!” Jahan announced, calling me by the nickname he gave me.
See how he smiles—a cocoon smile, I thought to myself. “Hey, Jahan.”
“Jaleh said to give you this”—Jahan handed me a small brown Sargonian joke book entitled The Bathroom Joke Book. I didn’t open it—I could barely get my eyes open despite the testosterone jolt when I passed the hostess in the white mini in front of the Cafe. My wife had kept me up until 2:45 in the morning watching obsolete movies from the year 2000.
“Thanks…tell Jaleh thanks.”
“You look good. Keep wearing these,” he said, pointing but not quite touching my cotton chemise. I had bought it at a bargain-style French-themed boutique in Tealandir last winter but never wore it more than a few times so it kept its new shape and bright plaid design of red and black.
“Thanks Jahan. What time you leaving this afternoon?”
“About 4:57 , something like that. What are you doing today?”
“Going to church. My significant other wants me home,” I replied, hoping my time with Zareen was important enough for him not to ask me for a ride to the airport or take him to a nefarious hideout on the wrong side of Tealandir before his trip to Dilshad, and why am I standing in front of him at 9:00 a.m. on a Sunday?
“Your ‘significant other’. Some significant other!” he said under his breath.
“What?” Why don’t they like each other? I know but don’t want to admit it. She see’s right through Jahan and he knows it. They are two of a kind and are as repellant to one another as two positive sided magnets. What will he be doing for the next six hours before getting to the airport? Why’d he insist on me being here at nine?
“Well, I guess that’s it then,” he said.
“You’re going?”
“Yes,” he smiled. I could see the thoughts playing out like a checklist as he went over the “to-do” items which didn’t include me.
“I’m sorry I didn’t get to see more of you this trip” I said before we shook hands instead of embracing as we had the day before at the demonstration against police brutality after not seeing each other in almost a year. “It’s in the book?”
Jahan looked at me, sizing me up. “Don’t work too hard Khalid. It’s easier for me to get to your level than for you to get to the Transfiguration. Jaleh told me to tell you that.”
“Bye Jahan” I replied with a little more volume as we retreated from one another.
Jahan replied curtly with a sharp sweeping wave of his right hand over his head. I wonder if he knows jiu-jitsu? He gave me a used t-shirt once that had the name of a jiu-jitsu studio from a Baugi region about a hundred and fifty kilometers south of Tealandir.
“Show up with the worst epilepsy fit and join-in.” That was the advice of the streetcorner agitator I met along the sidewalk about how to incite a riot. Shuffling through the Tealandir Airport, I read part of a sign as I stepped onto the escalator, “Increase the potential of your…,” I didn’t bother pausing to hear what the punch line may have been that day. The escalator was taking me back to street level and I had plenty of punch lines from the book of jokes Jahan gave me. Five-hundred Sargonian, not bad for a couple days work in Baug. Of course, I had to pay my own airfare to Daumishka and back. Still got a hundred-and-fifty in my wallet. Oil, oil, oil. Guess there’s more money in it than I thought. Whatever happened to fuel cells and electric motors?
Where were we, oh yeah, economics: Jahangir, international trade and educational subsidies. I put the DVD back in the drive.
“The domestic policy of Amir was far different than his open-handed foreign policy. To attain the pre-eminent international status he wanted for Baug, he served those sovereign powers whom he believed would give Baug a step up. In conjuction with a policy of service to international powers greater than Baug, Amir was keen to enrich and expand Baug’s educational standards into the modern age. In the scholastic year of 1973-1974, Amir allotted $1,500,000.00 per day to feed all students under sixteen years old, and gave $100.00 per month to each university student. In the elementary and high school programs for students under sixteen, the money for the food was sent in large quantities to the several different supervisors in the various districts of Baug. The supervisors in charge of distributing the lunch money for each child often found ways to withhold some of the money earmarked for the students. The district supervisors allowed skimpier lunches as time progressed and in doing so, were able to divert more and more surplus money to themselves as an unsanctioned ‘reward’ for their thrift and ingenuity. Sadly, the ‘unused’ portion of the lunch money that was embezzled often surpassed the amount used to buy the student lunches to feed the children.
“Of the 150,000 students in Baugi Universities, at one point 80,000 students, more than half, were not Baugis. The adult students who were not Baugi nationals received four-hundred dollars a month to study in Baug if they were sympathetic and receptive to goals of the Amir regime. Their Baugi contemporaries, Baugi’s who had reached the age of majority would garner only a one-hundred dollar a month allowance from the Baugi government. Although foreign students were presumably without family in Baug and could possibly incur more living expenses while in Baug, many Baugis saw the discrepancy in the amount of the allowance for foreign students grossly disproportionate. Rather than mollify the parents of Baugi students, the subsidy of foreign students by Amir infuriated them and the public at large as well. Despite the displeasure of the general public, foreign students continued to be subsidized by Baug to ensure their participation in Baugi Institutes of higher learning. Perhaps Baugi’s got an unspoken message from the prioritization embedded in an education subsidization program skewed to benefit foreign students that they could be replaced in a future workforce by non-nationals who remained in Baug after completion of their studies.
“Of the utmost concern to the general public was lower prices on food, but it seemed Amir’s was a top down approach to ‘educating’ future Baugi leaders and functionairies. Foreign students would be the lateral replacements for many Baugis who failed to find a position in a ‘reformed’ Baug. The subsidies caused some stress on Baug’s Treasury and food prices rose steadily since Amir’s reintroduction to power in 1958. Baugis became discouraged with the amount of support they received from the central government and grumblings began among Baugi citizens that Amir was depriving them of their birthright. In retrospect, if Amir had known beforehand the financing of the educational sector would break down and embezzling would occur, he might have used the student allowance money differently, to fight inflation, for instance. However, many of his top aides and directors were out to garner privileges for themselves in spite of Amir’s altruistic sentiments toward the underprivileged classes. Since the administrative directors did not share Amir’s altruism in regard to the poor, they may have felt underprivileged in a counter-inclusive sense. A ‘me-first’ mentality gripped the nation during this difficult time and blatant selfishness prevailed. At the turn of the twenty-first century in Sargon for instance, this sentiment was expressed colloquially as ‘I got mine, screw you.’
“Embezzling fever spread all the way to the top of the political arena in Baug. One classic example of the government’s misuse of funds was discovered when a large sum of money was deposited into a Swiss bank account under the name of Baug’s Federal Police Chief. As an alibi, the Chief said that he sent the money to the bank in his name so that no one would suspect it was actually Amir’s money. The Police Chief claimed he had every intention of giving the money back to Amir when it was prudent to do so. It could be assumed Amir was under extreme scrutiny and criticism by the free press at the time. Amir accepted the Chief’s alibi, and kept the money for himself. People continued to demand lower food prices while concurrently, economists recommended that Amir lower the price of gasoline instead of funding educational nutrition and foreign aid. The savings from cutting the educational subsidies would cover a wide range of goods and services for the benefit of the general population in Baug. The diversion of funds would ease overall inflation, increase employment and raise Baug’s standard of living. For whatever reason, Amir did not follow the advice of the economists but continued Baug’s education-financing and nutrition program. As one might expect, heightened civil unrest ensued and the rally cry of this particular anti-Amir campaign was ‘the government is Amir—the economics are Amir’s’.”
“Amir was interested in Baug becoming a modern democracy and demanded that citizens have respect for the Constitution. By giving lip-service to the Constitution, he pleased those for whom he was benefactor, and brightened the appearance of his nation in the eyes of the West.
“There were three primary political parties in Baug. The leaders of each party were pre-selected by Amir’s inner circle, primarily relatives, in-laws, or trusted friends of his family. The three parties during Amir’s domination of Baug’s Constitutional political system in the early 1970’s were: 1) the Baug-Sowin Party, which was Prime Minister Gul’s party and had the majority in Parliament, 2) the Sardom Party, and 3) the All-Baugi Party. The parties were structured in a way that benefitted the Amir’s regime. Individuals Amir and his council trusted were appointed as leaders of a particular party. In the three-party system, Amir believed he might manipulate the government through ‘divide and conquer’ tactics within a balance of powers Constitutional framework. If he could juggle the limbs of the branches of his relatively small nation relative to the other industrial powers of the time, the citizens might be none-the-wiser, but Amir may have underestimated the intelligence of the citizens of Baug. They knew the three-party system in Baug was ‘fixed’ and many declined to vote or participate in Baugi-style democracy. As a result, Amir’s secret police strike force OIHSB forced people to vote or face the consequences of incarceration or worse. Despite Amir’s insistence that Baugi citizens vote, intense scrutiny of his constituency continued and terror tactics utilized by his police force. If the requisite number of votes were not sufficient to elect a certain individual, OIHSB would see to it ballot boxes were stuffed with the requisite number of ballots needed to ensure that the name of the preferred candidate tabulated higher when votes were tabulated after the polls closed.”
“In 1962, OIHSB ordered some lesser members of Parliament with little seniority to criticize some minor aspects of Amir’s Administration in hopes it would start a constructive dialogue with Baugi’s and get them involved in government policy. They must have been reading their Marcuse. The theory behind the criticism was also to get citizens in the habit of seeking constructive rather than destructive changes in their democracy. OIHSB’s plan backfired and the ‘little criticisms’ began to irritate and snow-ball into gigantic ones.”
I paused the DVD. I read in the funny papers when I was a kid about a king who reigned long ago in Bahar. He believed the people in his kingdom needed something to complain about to motivate them, so he started rumors about himself that were untrue, but his subjects believed them and he was ultimately murdered because they did. Looks like some brazen citizens of Baug took the same tack. Some in a population can smell a lie more acutely while others are simply less tolerant of the stench.
Turning on the DVD player, the narration continued: “Underground coalitions distributed pamphlets criticizing the Baugi government, saying such things as ‘Even the government itself knows it is corrupted.’ Propaganda tracts sent anonymously to houses and apartments aroused public interest in the alleged political corruption and/or gross mismanagement.”
“Baugistan is in the far north-east corner of Baug. The inhabitants of Baugistan are made up of primarily of Moslems of the Sunni denomination of Islam and have practiced a quasi-independent self-government sometimes at odds with the interests of Baug’s centralized political machine in Tealandir. Like their predecessors who led Baug into weak oil deals with Western oil companies, centralized Baugi authorities stationed in Tealandir made oral or other secret ‘agreements’ that were fluid, or in Western legal terms, vague and ambiguous and perhaps tainted by fraud or illegal kick-backs, also known as bribes. Events such as a water shortage in Baugistan, depended on the circumstances and were adjudged in Tealandir on a case-by-case basis. In the instant water shortage crisis, Baugistanis requested recognition of their inalienable rights as Baugi citizens or in the alternative, sovereignty as an independent Baugistani Sunni Nation. Prime Minister Gul demurred and told Baugistanis in response to their incessant pleading that he had no direct jurisdiction in the matter. He inferred that the outlying region of Baugistan, at the furthest reaches of Baug, was essentially under the jurisdiction of Amir, and that due to the nature of Baugistan’s demands, he no longer had jurisdiction in the case. When asked at a parliamentary session in Tealandir why the people of the outlying provinces were not allowed to fish in Baug’s territorial waters, Gul replied “I am not your prime minister. Under the dictates of my appointment by Amir, I have no jurisdiction in the matter. If you have any questions pertaining to that problem, you will have to seek redress personally from Amir.”
“Relations between the Central Government of Baug and residents of Baugistan continued to be strained as Gul gave a deaf ear to their incessant requests of assistance. There was a lack of bi-lateral communication and in its wake, infrastructure development in Baugistan hiccupped. For instance, one summer Baugistan was caught unprepared for drought caused at least in part by the damming of the Kojak River. Paperverum, a nation bordering Baug to the southeast, dammed the Kojak at the request of Xerxes. The Kojak which was widely recognized as an ancient holy river and cultural monument by the three countries it ran through, Baug, Paperverum, as well as Padistan to the northeast. The people who lived in these three nations bordering the Kojak, which ran south to north, depended upon its resource value. Baugistani farmers found themselves on the ‘wrong’ side of the dam in terms of water availability during the crisis and were forced to migrate to another province or neighboring country where they were essentially evacuees seeking water to irrigate their crops and provide for their livestock. The Kojak was to Baugistan both a source to meet the temporal needs of its people (sustainability), and a recognized sacred site, whose source literally ‘spilled over’ national borders. The Baugistanis argued they were not given sufficient notice of the building of the Kojak Dam in Papaverum, upriver from the Baugistan border, nor of the devastating effects the dam would have to their livelihood and culture. If they had notice and a grant of humanitarian aid, they could have drilled for well water and survived the water shortage, but as it was, many became displaced refugees.
“For its part, Papaverum was asserting its sovereign rights and had a higher elevation geographically than both Baug and Padistan. The fact that Papaverum could increase its capacity to generate hydro-electric power and store water for itself and at its discretion, water and electricity for its neighbors, was advantageous to its vital interests. As the upriver nation, it could legally collect some share of the water and generate electricity, enriching Papaverum. ‘Let the bean counters divide the spoils,’ Xerxes told Papaverum. This was progress. This was an efficient improvement of their country and at an appropriate site to build such a dam.
“One of the two members representing Baugistan in the Baugi Parliament stood up and spoke at an Assembly meeting asking Prime Minister Gul for the necessary funds to help villagers in his region to dig water wells in the northeast to enable them to survive the summer drought. As it was, farmers in northeast Baug had been relocating to provinces that had sufficient water for crops and livestock for some time now. The population of Baugistan dwindled to approximately 900,000 people during the water crisis due at least in part to a lack of proper federal land management and public works by the central authorities in Baug. Gul remained indifferent to the plight of the northeastern farmers and their legal representatives. Baugistan was geographically distant from the prosperous capitol of Tealandir, which made it convenient for the prime minister to ignore them. Gul thought he could get by with the flattery he espoused in the capitol of Tealandir by saying such things as, ‘Amir takes care of his people’. It was inconceivable to the prime minister that the farmers were in as desperate a situation as their representatives in Parliament claimed. When Gul refuted the honesty of the representatives from Baugistan, he exacerbated the strife which already existed between the federal government and those empathizing with the Baugistanis. Nevertheless, Gul made his position clear–no aid of any kind would be sent to the northeast region of Baug.
“The general public later found out Gul was in fact the dishonest party in the water dispute. He either had not performed his due diligence on the needs in the region of Baugistan or he was simply lying. As soon as refugees from Baugistan reached Tealandir, they told their stories of hardship to those living in the capitol. Tealandiris now began to wonder if they would be the next to be ‘thrown under the bus’.”
My wife Zareen and I were late for church services which were being held at a community compound that held such events in limited engagements. The regulating authorities did not like permanent Christian installations, but as long as the proper fees were collected for the event, the Christian services were allowed to proceed. Although we were both Sunni Moslems, we went to a Christian service the week before. This limited engagement service was of the Roman Catholic denomination and near Kaspar Square in Tealandir. Being late, we sat at the first available seat, making as little noise as possible. Zareen looked up at the priest who was giving his homily now.
“And why is it new age values in Western society would tell us there is no inherent evil in the world but only gray areas of right and wrong? Oh, he wasn’t evil when he raped a teenager; he may have been foolish and weak, but not evil. Or he wasn’t committing an evil when he stole a box of apples from the supermarket; he was hungry and lacked clear judgment. Why?
“What is it about calling an evil act evil which Sargonians and the rest of ‘em object to? Because if they called evil for what it was, they would have to consider that the individual does not control one’s own destiny. There are other powers at work in this temporal world of flesh and blood besides their western psyches and behavioral processes. There is a greater power! God is great!”
“God is great,” the assembly responded. Zareen and I heard some in the crowd start to chant “Allah Akbar!” We left without socializing with anyone. The next day I was scheduled to meet with Jaleh. We hadn’t seen each other in months. I had been corresponding solely with her cousin Jahan.
The next morning there was a mist in the air and some warm rain had fallen overnight in Tealandir. I could smell the fragrance of fruits, nuts and flowers waft from the open market in sunlit Kaspar Square nearby. I felt a tap on my right shoulder and turned around—it was Jaleh. She had on a brand new red, green and blue Adidas windbreaker with matching dark blue Adidas sweatpants that shined like silk. They fit her curves exactly, but not so snuggly as to bring undue attention to her in the neighborhood.
“Ha ha ha—Jaleh,” I replied in a start.
Jaleh laughed her all but silent circus cackle. The kind a sibling might utter after a successful practical joke. “Want to go to the South Pole together?” she asked.
“South Pole?”
“Oh, what did I say?” catching herself, “I meant South Ponce,” she gleamed as if to flirt.
“You ever hear a ‘Hottentot Story’ Jaleh?”
“Yeah, my father and grandfather used to tell us Hottentot Stories at bedtime. They are a tribe of South Ponce.”
“I’ve heard of Hottentots but never was told a bedtime story about them. Are you going to tell me a bedtime story Khalid? Hmm?”
“There is always a mystery to each Hottentot Story told that resolves itself on the subsequent night of storytelling. One of the first bedtime stories our father told us was about the Hottentots walking through the jungle after a day of adventure when all of a sudden they heard a shrieking cry ‘cut your head off; cut your head off.’ That’s how the story ended two nights in a row. He got a lot of mileage out of that line with us guessing, ‘Where did that cry come from?’ Who was crying ‘cut your head off; cut your head off’ and why? We eventually found out it was a mynah bird warning the Hottentots of an impending ambush by a neighboring tribe. The Hottentot Stories were a ruse my dad played to get us to go to bed in the summer months because it didn’t get dark until 9:30 p.m.”
“Okay” Jaleh said, looking down and away, a little disappointed the story didn’t include her and ended up with my siblings in bed.
“There was another episode where the Hottentots heard a thumping sound under a huge log that blocked their path through the woods. Father would distract us and knock on the wood frame of one of the beds, scaring us. I don’t remember what caused the thumping though. I think it was anti-climactic.”
“Kind of like your stories,” Jaleh teased.
“Yeah, and my missions…no, I don’t want to go to South Ponce. As far as I’m concerned, both my father and grandfather have already been there, done that,” we laughed.
“Fine, then let’s talk about the decentralization project we roll out next year in Baug, starting with Tealandir.”
I looked at Jaleh and listened to her blueprint for the stabilization of Baug by transferring distribution points from the center of Tealandir to a peripheral axis round about the city. She went on to explain how the decentralization project would free up more land in the center of Tealandir by the efficient use of land in the suburbs, increasing Baugi employment and facilitating enhanced transportation networks. The network idea could be duplicated in other cities she said, once an assessment proved its feasibility and preferential use of resource allocation. “Manufacturing and distribution belong together in the periphery,” I would recall her saying yesterday morning in the Square.
‘Some Doctor’, I thought to myself.
Back at home with Zareen, I brought a tablet into the bathroom and continued listening and watching the images on the DVD Jaleh had given me the day before.
“The people of Baug felt that the representatives of the several parties should convene to discuss and perhaps to litigate the country’s myriad problems. Amir felt such a convention would be counter-productive and weaken Baugi morale. It would take aim at the country’s deficiencies while disregarding the tremendous benefits his regime had introduced to the nation through industrialization. Accordingly, Amir denied his people a ‘representative’s forum’ and called for an all-inclusive one-party political system, the Publicorpz Party, in which all Baugis had to join. This, Amir hoped, would quell controversy and strife by putting an end to factions hell-bent on victory or nothing for their respective allegiant followers.
“It was these allegiances that were becoming a problem. Several government ministers perceived Baug’s political system was top-heavy and believed that whosoever held the supreme office in this ‘land of sand’ as it was sometimes referred to, had a ticket to riches beyond belief. Amir surmised as much when he noticed factions ally against him as they had against Dr. Rahmat during his term of office years earlier. Amir proceeded to proclaim publically that membership in the Publicorpz Party would be mandatory. No dissenters, abstainers or other parties would be tolerated. All Baugis would join the Publicorpz Party or be exiled from the country in disgrace.
“In the wake of Amir’s proclamation, an engineer refused to become a member of the party and instead of being exiled as most dissenters had been, the government sent him to an asylum to be tortured and beaten. The courage and steadfastness of the engineer drew nationwide attention and OIHSB was put on high alert to quash anti-Publicorpz rebels. OIHSB used this period of suppression to consolidate their power and learn about the workings of their people whom they were assigned to watch. OIHSB brazenly demonstrated how they would deal with dissenters and non-conformists. No longer afraid of the public, OIHSB all but boasted about their power to incarcerate and torture if necessary to achieve Amir’s ends of a peaceful, prosperous and educated Baug. Dissenters would be singled out and beaten at will. All would be members of the Publicorpz Party. All had skin in the game.
Amir declared the Publicorpz Party would have three principles:
1) The belief in an Imperial Regime with allegiance to Amir
2) Respect of the Baugi Constitution
3) A strict belief and conformance to Amir’s “Six Principles” [see “REFORMATION: THE SIX PRINCIPLES” above]

“During the course of the next two years, Amir asserted almost absolute control of the Publicorpz Party. Even though Gul was supposed to lead Party as acting prime minister, it was evident he did little to oppose Amir and to keep his power in check despite the Party’s principle to ‘respect the Constitution.’ In the summer of 1977, after two years of this disruptive state of affairs in Baug, the public grew increasingly frustrated and intolerant of the tactics of their government. Amir sensed it was time for a leadership change within the Publicorpz Party and named Omid Koushar, who had been interior and finance minister in Gul’s cabinet and Chairman of the Board of Directors of Baug’s OBS delegation, as the new leader of the Publicorpz Party chosen to succeed Gul, who had been prime minister for the preceding fourteen years.
“Political life however, was not over for Gul, for as soon as he left the prime minister’s office, he became the chief minister of justice. The chief minister of justice coordinated negotiations between Amir and his cabinet. The new position, somewhat like a ‘Chief of Staff’ in the West, suited Gul. Coming off fourteen years of criticism for not recognizing the Baugi people’s demands, he welcomed not having to dodge their complaints in public. As Chief Minister of Justice, Gul could enjoy moving closer to Amir’s ‘inner circle’ and further away from public scrutiny. Gul set out to transform the office as soon as his predecessor, Parviz, vacated the post of the Chief Minister of Justice. Chief Minister of Justice Gul was able to rub elbows with the other ministers, glean information and exercise his power in Baug more than ever before. During negotiations between Amir and his ministers for instance, Gul was often a useful mediator and Amir’s go-to man to get deals done. Although he had to share power with the monarch Amir and Prime Minister Omid, he was certainly a major figurehead of the Baugi government during Omid’s Administration [August 7, 1977-August 27, 1978].”
“It was interesting what you said about the children being ‘racist’ and didn’t even know it,” I told Jahan. “I wasn’t there but discrimination isn’t always bad. For instance, you said I played the “shady character” better than anyone else,” I reminded him. “That’s good enough for me,” I told him. “That’s good enough for me!”

Jahan gave me a CD in an old “Walkman” with a pair of bent headphones that still had the earcushions on them from the 90’s. The CD was already playing. I could tell the material was ancient, but not quite obsolete.

“The new one [DVD installment]’s still in production,” Jahan said. I guess there was no frosting on this cake. “Audio only”, was printed on the face of the CD when I opened the player-cover of the walkman.

I recalled what the defense minister had said at the time, “We go with what we have.”

After a few minutes of yogic deep breathing, I found a quite place to sit down in the nearest café and began listening to the older mode CD.

“In 1976, the Baugi Parliament approved a bill that would raise the price of domestically produced gasoline indefinitely every year by sixteen cents a gallon. The Baugi National Front and certain clergymen exhorted the populace to protest the terms of the bill. The lynchpin of the protest was to maintain a boycott against the buying or selling of petroleum products for one day. Clergymen were told to spread the word, ‘people are not to work or drive their cars during the boycott in order to demonstrate to those in favor of the price hike we can do without gasoline for one day.’
“Most people in Baug were afraid to miss work because of the consequential retribution delivered care of OIHSB. Traffic in Tealandir the day of the petroleum moratorium was less than usual, but not so scant as to attract significant attention to the boycott. Because the clergy and the BNF had placed such importance on honoring the boycott, when it failed to generate across the board participation, Amir believed the worst was behind him. The clergy and the BNF did not have the Baugi populace in the palm of their hands thought the Amir regime.
“The clergymen of Darivsh demanded that Amir permit Ayatollah Babak to return peacefully to Baug. The people of Darivsh, led by their representative clergy, demonstrated publically to make their position clear to Amir and those administering his regime. After being provoked by the demonstrators to violence, the police attempted to intervene, when rioting broke out. The police tried to disperse the crowd with machine gun fire before the rioting escalated and spread to the local neighborhoods. People from all Baug’s provinces mourned for the dead after the unrest and brought up fresh protests against Amir’s brutal regime for the fatalities.”
OMID AS PRIME MINISTER OF BAUG [August 7, 1977-August 27, 1978]
“In 1977, Omid raised the price of nationalized commodities such as petroleum. The increase in prices nationalized products riled the public, which had been growing increasingly discontent with Amir’s Administration. The people of Baug wanted to change the one-party system and moved to incite passionate demonstrations accusing the government of the injustices of economic hardships of the urban poor and the outlying peoples of Baugistan. In response to the demonstrations, Amir’s Publicorpz Party sought to protect itself through the use of surveillance and OIHSB police enforcement. Amir used the Publicorpz Party as a tool to keep peoples’ thoughts and actions within the confines of one political ideology—his own. Amir was eventually able to establish and retain his one-party system through the use of his secret police, OIHSB, who continued to use totalitarian tactics against Baugis.
“OIHSB used brutal forms of psychological conditioning upon individuals (including its own members) to maintain an authoritative influence over them. Baug’s system of repression was paternalistic and ‘top-down’ which, although a constitutional monarchy on its face, included a savage secret police force answerable ultimately to Amir alone. Execution, exile and imprisonment not only petrified individual citizens from opposing Amir’s police force directly, but also prevented professional reactionaries from organizing groups for the purpose of inciting widespread contempt of the Baugi monarchy. Without leaders to coordinate a counter-offensive force against the Baugi government, citizens opposed to Amir became nothing but timid ‘sitting ducks’ ripe for an OIHSB crackdown. As the years of Amir’s reign passed, the thin fabric of his actual authority frayed. He became desperate, fearing that the public’s discontent and hatred would be unleashed upon the regime all at one time, ripping it apart. He began to delegate more and more of his authority to OIHSB as the cohesive yet brutal force to regulate public behavior and corral its movements away from the ambit of their authority. Despite their Herculean efforts, an unsettled social environment and chronic civil unrest continued. The pressure on Amir was too much and he showed visible signs of suffering a nervous break-down. As Amir lost his bearings, the thread-like tentacles of OIHSB’s organization began to lose their grip on the civilian masses and more and more individuals set their faces against Amir. A unified, consolidated opposition had not become part of the general Baugi psyche as of yet, but various alternative forms of government were being explored and openly discussed in public despite the OIHSB crackdown.
“Oh, you’re going to church today, isn’t it?” Jahan asked in the best English he could conjunct.
“Yeah, why don’t you let the 500 media outlets know about it,” I replied, wondering why he was raising his voice in the café filled with men, half with turbans. “The preacher is gonna give a sermon on the ‘Great Whore of Babylon’” [Rev. 17:5] I lied. “The mother of harlots”, I saw one turbaned man turn his head to look at me briefly, another next to him gave a start but didn’t look up. I wondered how many cared enough to listen.
“Ever see the film The Planet of the Apes Khalid?” he asked.
“You might not like what you find there Taylor” he teased, referring to the film’s Dr. Zaius warning astronaut George Taylor not to investigate the forbidden zone with the human woman Nova.
“The mother of all wars…” I replied, thinking of a well known adversary of Baug’s, a tyrant neighbor named Shahin Shahraz who coined the phrase. I wondered then if Shahraz got the idea from the New Testament book of Revelation. Maybe he was wondering in his own mind what the attributes of a “mother of harlots” were. Somehow, Shahraz came up with “the mother of all wars”. I was stumped yet mystified. “You heard from your cousin?” I asked.
“Jaleh? She’s out on assignment in Aspiria. There are clashes. Finding out if any can help us.”
“What your end-game in all this?” I asked after a brief pause, while sipping my tea.
“End-game?” he laughed. “What is your ‘endgame’”?
“To get paid and laid I guess,” I said, while thinking of further possible reasons.
“Keep getting paid and laid. I like that Khalid. Paid and laid. That’s my end-game too. Paid and laid,” Jahan said. He must have been in a bitter mood today. Probably didn’t get laid.
“I saw a hostess in a white skirt last time I met with you over on the sidewalk over there.” I pointed to the spot where I saw her advertising her legs to me.
“Don’t know Khalid…getting paid and laid.” We laughed and drank our tea. There were worse things in life than killing time in a cafe sharing tea. I should have been happy but I was getting homesick. Refugees were streaming into my home country of Dagastan from the armed conflict with Aspiria. Eighty Aspirian soldiers and sixty militant rebels were killed in fighting only yesterday on the border according to the newswires. “Khalid, don’t worry, we’ll get you home soon to Zareen,” Jahan assured me. He was usually right. Never known him to be wrong yet.
Are my thoughts that transparent to Jahan and easy to read? I thought to myself. What a wimp he must think I am.
“Just don’t have too many kids; take it from me—it can get complicated. No more time for tea in the Square with Zareen…or Jaleh,” he chided with a chuckle.
I went to the library to research education in Baug and how the students were allotted a stipend which was supposed to pay for student lunches. What I found was a maze of political intrigue. Besides the cleric Babak, who had just become an Ayatollah, factions fought amongst and against each other like the great tribes of pre-colonial Kir, or many of the major law firms, lobbies and political parties of today.
Two fronts staking out positions against Amir’s Publicorpz Party were the Baugi National Front [BNF] and the Bahram or “communist” party. The BNF was more moderate and business-oriented than either the clergymen or the Publicorpz Party. It was comprised mostly of merchants, middle-class citizens and students. Its leaders were the colleagues of the former Prime Minister Rahmat, who by 1978 was deceased. These colleagues carried on the traditions of the party in secret since Amir had placed a moratorium on freedom to associate in a political party other than the Publicorpz Party.
The “communist” or Bahram Party, whose members were primarily students, workers and educated people dissatisfied with Amir, democracy and capitalism in general had their base of operations at Tealandir Technical University [hereinafter referred to as TTU]. All three movements, the clergy, the BNF and the Bahram Party worked from different vantage points (loci) against Amir: the clergy with Khomeini’s followers at the mosques, the BNF in secret and the Bahram Party from the universities, and specifically TTU. OIHSB could not be everywhere at once.
The Bahram Party’s centralization at TTU gave them immediate recognition and widespread notoriety in the public eye. So much was their popularity among the people from that location that the government thought it necessary to transfer TTU out of Tealandir into Estera of Baug, a suburb of Tealandir. The move was designed to disrupt the triad aligned against Amir and the lines of communication among TTU faculty, students and administrators.
Amir and his cabinet made the claim that the move was not essentially political in nature but would enable the universities to be closer to the metal smelting factory near Estera of Baug. The closer proximity of the smelter to TTU had several advantages but the timing was not lost on the Bahram Party. During pre-arranged demonstrations, the communist speakers used the university relocation as political ammunition and blasted Amir. University students and faculty resisted the move even before the demonstrations began and now they had communist mouthpieces going to bat for them. As a result, the faculty and students sensed a ‘solidarity’ and empowerment. The TTU relocation was another example of Amir’s program of bullying. For his part, Amir had dissenting university faculty ‘laid-off’ for their disregard of his decision to relocate TTU. Laid-off professors gained the support of factions who felt the relocation to be yet another underhanded scheme of Amir’s. One of these factions was the merchant’s lobby of Baug. The merchant lobby wanted the university professors who were laid-off paid their forfeited salaries. Merchants donated to professors stipends from their own personal wealth to recompense them for their lost jobs until they could be reimbursed by the central Baugi government. In a show of unity and self-respect, the professors did not accept the merchants’ offer of money but rather opened a bank account and distributed information about the account, including the account number, and asked that all teachers and educators in the country donate whatever they could to the account. Their colleagues responded generously to the request and the unemployed professors limited themselves to only half of their former salaries although the donations far exceeded the capacity to pay them a full paycheck.
The restraint of the professors in utilizing the charitable trust account demonstrated their suffering and self-sacrifice. They wanted to show the attentive and anxious people of the country that the time to revolt was at hand. Their restraint of material livelihood came down to a quiet impression of a collective fast. The fasting, its demonstration of self-sacrifice and suffering, showed a deepening resolve to overthrow Amir’s regime. Removing Amir’s Administration from Baugi leadership meant single-minded thinking of the people needed. Like the communists and merchants before them, the teachers were beginning to tell their stories and they were getting their message through to a point where it seemed a threshold had been reached. Baugis desired more than ever to unify in protesting the mishandling of their government and its leaders in the Publicorpz Party, of which Amir was a member. In order to make the daily demonstrations more effective, the professors implored everyone daily to live a frugal existence in order to strengthen in solidarity against Amir.
I woke up late the next day. Zareen had gone to her mother’s house and I was alone. I meditated, ate some rice left over from the night before with my tea and watched the news. After an hour, the mail came with a package containing six shiny new DVD’s of the Baugi revolution.
I put the first one in the player and began to listen.
“Many of the lawyers working for the revolution wanted to re-elect a new board of directors because they were dissatisfied with the party’s ‘pro-Amir’ constituents, especially Amir’s closest friend, who happened to be the party’s Chairman of the Board. The lawyers were unhappy with Amir’s hand-picked board representing them and sought someone else who would represent their interests more succinctly. They finally succeeded in getting a new Board of Directors and with it, much of the clout Amir had enjoyed vicariously through his crony. The echelons of lawyers clamoring at the Chairman’s door disappeared; they didn’t need him anymore. All of the new members of the council were persons who had previously fought against Amir, and they didn’t like the Chairman of the Board of Directors he had selected. The political transition made a transformative change in the psyche of the population of Baug and more particularly, the Publicorpz Party. It was a significant blow to the strength of Amir’s regime.
“The new Board acted as the liaison between the citizens of Baug and its government officials. They defended the Baugi Constitution and the moral rights of citizens and prisoners of the country by working in conjunction with various reform programs in the penitentiaries. The new Board or Council as it was sometimes called, sent people to investigate the OIHSB’s treatment of prisoners and to interview and evaluate those that had been released from incarceration, to tell their stories of atrocity. The findings of the investigators revealed that the prisoners had been tortured by the secret police illegally while under arrest for political crimes. The Board defended the prisoners and ‘ex-cons’ while at the same time, prosecuting the OIHSB and its use of coercive tactics beyond the pall.”
“In 1965, Great Ayatollah Darien invited six religious leaders to elect Babak to a top religious position, making him insusceptible to execution under the law. Babak was elected as one of the “Great Ayatollahs” (translated as “Word of God” or “Imam”, one of an oligarchical council of Islamic leaders, similar to the Papacy in Emilio where the rules and regulations of the faithful are promulgated). In Baug, it is law that the Ayatollah proclaims the word of God and is therefore immune to any governmental intervention that is a threat to his bodily person. Once regarded as an Imam, Babak’s fear of state-ordered execution vanished.”
“In 1978, Ayatollah Babak used the geographical distance during his exile in Baug to launch sharp criticism directed against Amir’s regime. The attention of the Baugi population quickly focused on Babak’s speeches as he was the only Baugi leader familiar enough with Baugi politics and religion to speak openly about Amir’s regime. Before his exile, Babak could not speak out against Amir and draw the huge crowds as did in 1978 because OIHSB maintained jurisdiction over him.
“Without OIHSB breathing down his neck (and perhaps with the aid of Shiet supporters in Dilshad, Baug’s western neighbor), Babak’s following grew. He denounced Amir on a regular basis and the crowds were enthralled as they listened. Now here was a leader. They were looking for ‘reform’ and a new father, and Babak fit the bill in 1978. Before Babak arrived on the scene and became popular, most had wanted to follow the political leaders who were already well known. Amir’s regime suppressed these well known voices, while allowing the less popular Ayatollah Babak’s voice ring clear over the air waves, in print and by word of mouth. His words played to the peoples’ heartstrings the songs of religion their souls longed to hear. They were tired of empty speeches that led to dead-end reforms—they wanted action and to get one over on Amir’s secret police force OIHSB.
“Babak’s political, social and religious platform became ever more popular among the people of Baug because his proposals became the will of the people: most wanted Amir and his regime ousted. Babak promised the ‘uprooting and removal of the evil tree’ that was growing stronger, sapping the strength of Baug and providing no meaningful fruit to its people. ‘Amir,’ Ayatollah Babak would proclaim contemptuously, ‘took more goods than he gave back. Amir was a one-way ticket to a disintegrated, demoralized Baug.’ The people wanted the Baugi economic tree to flourish and they were optimistic Amir’s resilience and Islamic-focused doctrine could return them to prosperity. After removal of the ‘evil tree’, Babak believed he would become the fertilizer for a petro-plenteous tree to be shared by all of Baug. Amir’s movement toward counter-dictatorship was increasing in momentum like a huge boulder rolling down a hill destined to crush Amir at the bottom of its trajectory. The bulk of Babak’s support came from peasants, lower-class city-dwellers and illiterate disciples of the Islamic clergymen. The illiterates were subservient to the cleric’s will and did not question their methods, credibility or authority. They had limited capacity to discern what was happening around them and relied on the clergymen to be their ‘eyes’. The power of the Ayatollahs was centralized in the mosques and that is where they organized masses of peasants against Amir and his regime. The mosques imbued a sense of sanctuary even the OIHSB might not breach. Babak became the archetypal savior and Amir his evil counterpart [Compare parables of the good and evil trees from the Bible, as well as ‘fertilizer for the new tree’, above, versus the Christian ‘holy communion’ and ‘I am the vine, you are the branches.’].”
“Judicial proceedings were instituted wherein the Publicorpz Party’s Board members would represent mistreated prisoners pro bono (for the public good without a fee). Published newspapers articles of the proceedings helped incriminate the illegal and inhumane activities of OIHSB.
“OIHSB was the main cause of Amir’s problems from which all others followed like his own shadow. The shadow seemed (‘mother I know not seems’, Hamlet from Hamlet) to follow Amir as a reminder of the self-perceived horror that his people did not love, respect, nor obey him. Amir used the OIHSB to achieve his own ends in keeping his grip of control over the country. OIHSB began to conduct themselves atrociously in beatings and totalitarianism as far as the end justified the means. Coercive tactics were left to the discretion of the police without proper review, checks or balances. They used a subjective view of ‘reasonable force’ when interrogating, executing or incarcerating their arrestees. Perhaps it was Amir’s distrust in his countrymen and women which led him to implement brutal methods of control. The more force and violence the OIHSB used to suppress dissidents after the new Board began to assume more political power in Baug, the stronger the retaliation and non-cooperation by the public against OIHSB and other elements of oppression in Amir’s regime. In fact, the people began to think of the OIHSB and Amir as one entity, although the two were not one. OIHSB, one of the strongest, most expansive and expensive organizations of its time, did not communicate well with Amir and his cabinet. This did not help either Amir or his secret police because each was now under an intense scrutiny of the Publicorpz Board. Amir’s lack of a peculiar coordination with the OIHSB which would be necessary in order for his government to prevail despite Publicorpz scrutiny was woefully lacking. Not only lawyers, but prisoners, ex-cons and the collective will of an entire nation was determined to oust Amir the dictator. It was not only the Amir’s inability to adequately control his subjects that brought on his exile from Baug in 1978 but also the means he used to achieve his vision for the Baugi people, the OIHSB, proved to be a dysfunctional ally that helped topple his Administration.”
“In the months immediately preceding Ayatollah Babak’s return to Baug from Dilshad in 1978, OIHSB was busy devising a scheme to degrade his reputation. OIHSB had an article printed in the daily newspapers alleging that Babak was not a descendant of Mohammed, the prophet, but rather, the descendant of an untouchable from Irdut. OIHSB claimed Babak’s brother, who was born in Irdut, carried the name Beghendah. ‘Beghendah’ was a name given to his brother because OIHSB alleged Babak’s grandfather was a worthless prince.
“Citizens of Darivsh, a holy city of Baug, were aggravated with OIHSB’s accusations regarding the Ayatollah Babak’s heritage. It didn’t take long before the aggravation of the masses turned to anger. The clergy led a rally in support of the Ayatollah Babak against the government’s subversive activities that stood contrary to Islamic doctrines. A police squad was called in to confront the clergy-led demonstrators at the rally and at some point opened fire on them. Some in the crowd fled to the nearby home of the Great Ayatollah Darien for asylum (aka sanctuary). Amir’s police squad followed the rabble into Darien’s house in hot pursuit, killed a clergyman and wounded others present.
“The aftermath of the affair left the government much to explain to its people…and the Board. Because the Great Ayatollah Darien was a very popular figure in Baug, it was difficult for OIHSB to justify the event without some degree of taint due to the death of a clergyman in the Darien compound. High ranking officials in Amir’s government apologized for the unfortunate occurrence. The argument Amir’s advocates and lawyers made was that the police that stormed the Darien compound were not local police and did not know the home they entered was that of Great Ayatollah Darien himself. If the police were locals, they would have known the house belonged to Darien and would not have followed the rabble in hot pursuit and would not have attacked anyone there.”
“Ayatollah Darien is from the Morvarid Province, the capitol of which is Javed. On August 11, 1978, the people of Javed, in empathy for the recently martyred of Darivsh, demonstrated in the suburb of Mahtab. More than 100,000 people were involved in the demonstration, making it large enough to shake the government’s confidence in itself. The demonstration was so successful that it began to tip the scales of domination away from the government and towards an anti-Amir movement of the clergymen [compare “Movement of Jah People” by Bob Marley and the Wailers]. For the people in this ‘anti-Amir Movement,” Amir was perceived to be the one taking their away their privacy rights and freedom of religion.
“In hopes of quick stabilization of the civil unrest in Baug, OIHSB escorted 200,000 peasants from all over the country to demonstrate Amir still had the populist support of a majority of his people.”
I stopped the DVD and had a salad. Then I went to the water-closet, looked at the dirty shower, and decided I’d have to clean it later. Zareen was still out shopping with her mother and wouldn’t be back until dusk which was still three hours away. That would give me time to review more of the disc and scrub the shower.
After reading a Psalm, I put the DVD back into the player.
“On September 7, 1978, students joined together to protest Amir’s move to send university professors to Mahtab, a city 300 miles south of Tealandir. As soon as school resumed in September, the students became active in the socio-political affairs of Baug as never before. They often argued with visiting government officials on ways to support the former professors of TTU who had been laid-off. This topic of financial support for the professors was only as a ploy used to weaken the political fabric of the country and shake the regime’s confidence in itself. The fighting and hysteria had already begun unbeknownst to ‘anyone over 30’. Whenever students demonstrated in the streets, Amir’s anti-riot squads attacked the crowds and beat them with clubs. The brutal activity angered the students and fighting often broke out between them and the riot squads. Students continued to riot day after day, breaking windows of government banks and office buildings. The people looked at each violent event as an accomplishment and one step closer to their liberty, freedom and victory.”
“In an interview broadcast over national television, Amir blamed Prime Minister Gul for the most recent “mishap” in Darivsh concerning the police entry into Darien’s home. The monarch said that he knew nothing of TTU’s demands and accused Gul of mishandling the affair. Amir centered his attention upon Baugi shop-keepers because during the time in which Gul had been prime minister, the Baugi Trade Commission aggravated shop-keepers by imposing fines upon them if certain trade regulations were not adhered to. Because there were over 250 different kinds of taxes in 1978, Amir felt that the financial strain of the people was caused by the Trade Commission, and played some part in the social unrest. Somewhat like the colonies of North Kir in 1765, the piling on of taxes and fees by the Baugi government was a precursor to disillusionment, outrage and general revolt of those burdened by the new taxes. Amir hoped the latest demonstration was simply a matter of ‘shopkeeper discontent’, but he underestimated the counter-current pounding against the walls of his regime, until they all but collapsed.
“There were several causes, acting together, which effected the outbreak of the Baugi-Islamic Revolution in 1978. In Baug, the situation was different than for Kir in 1765 because back then, there were many causes of the people’s hardships. The problems in Baug accumulated to the point that the excess tension let loose a massive Marcusian explosion. Like a spring that can absorb only so much shock before it reaches capacity of movement, the Baugi people were nearing the end of their patience and ability to cope with the restraints put upon them by the government. They had been compressed to the limit, and were ready to spring back upon the regime .
“The pressure directed against the government had been building for decades. It first began with Amir’s father, Roshan Amir Shahraz, and continued through the broken expanses of years that Hossein Jasper Shahraz, Amir’s son, held temporal political power. In reaction to public frustration and dissatisfaction, common civilians joined radical students in demonstrations and protests. They shattered governmental
buildings’ windows, burned movie theaters, liquor shops, dance halls, bars and restaurants; anything that represented Western influence. For their part, the clergy found many night clubs immoral places where evil was found and may have given a tacit approval to their destruction.
“The OIHSB took no rash action against the marauders, it would have been difficult to curtail anarchy on such a large scale. In Nima, a key city for oil production in southwestern Baug, OIHSB was suspected of setting fire to a theater filled with 600 spectators. OIHSB first accused the clergymen of setting the fire but then the clergymen as many anticipated, placed the blame squarely at the feet of the OIHSB. There were motives on both sides for setting the fire, but no party could prove the guilt of the other.”
The DVD conducted me into one of the government buildings that had been vandalized and looted as described earlier in the presentation. There was an air conditioning duct at eye level without the grate on it. I peered down the duct channel to reconnoiter whether I could fit. It was rather dusty, but I was wearing my workman’s clothes anyway. Creeping and crawling my way between the sides of the vent tunnel which to my surprise became a narrow crevice where it appeared to have been smashed by the marauders. I heard voices and stopped my progress to listen. I couldn’t go any farther anyway without making noise.
“How short a story?” asked a voice about 5 meters away.
“Devil in details?” was the response with a deeper voice, as if he were listening as he was responding. They were both listening. There was a shuffling of feet. The men sounded as if they were in the adjoining room, but I knew they were speaking from within the still ransacked building—not outside. I backed out of the AC vent and circled around to where the men were but they were gone. I felt like I was being time-punked.
A time-punk is a sleight-of-hand variety of trick, but is played on the psyche of the individual. Here, those fierce-sounding men in the next room may have been staking their territory, telling me nicely to go away. I did get spooked. What a whimp! [sic]. Now I wasn’t just a wimp. I was a full blown Whimpy- boy wanting a hamburger today to gladly pay next Tuesday. Who were those guys? Maybe it’s all in my imagination.
Zareen called me at home and told me I was a jerk for indulging in wine and beer. When we got married, I had promised to follow Islam and not drink, but she had promised to quit smoking cigarettes, which she never did. At least she made me angry enough to play the revolution disc. I clicked on the “MASSIVE COALITION OF DEMONSTRATORS INCLUDE THE SELF-STARTING AS WELL AS THE PEASANTS MOTIVATED AND LED BY THEOLOGICAL CLERICS OF ISLAM” heading.
“Students, merchants, industrialists, businessmen and industrial oligarchs led one huge faction of the grand coalition standing against Amir’s regime. The other massive front in the coalition against Amir, led by the clerics, consisted largely of uneducated ‘common folk’ or ‘peasants’. The peasants for the most part, could neither read nor write and those that could often had trouble analyzing political events in context and relied on clerics to guide them. The discerning clerics, the revolutionary leaders, were shepherds of the largely illiterate, but they themselves were university or seminary-trained.
‘Call no man Father.’ [Matthew 23:9]
“Amir became perplexed about the political situation in Baug and had Prime Minister Omid Koushar replaced by the Chairman of the Senate, Emson Kaspar [hereinafter referred to as Kaspar]. Kaspar was an engineer and had been in Amir’s cabinet as the Financial Secretary for many years. He monitored many of Amir’s private investments such as hotels, restaurants, farm acreage–and oversaw the businesses connected to the real estate of the business situs[es]. Under Kaspar’s oversight, the businesses were well run and Amir had the utmost trust in him as a manager. Some of Kaspar’s family were clergy members with whom Kaspar kept close relations. Kaspar’s appointment signaled a ‘wind of change!’—friends of the clergy were becoming prime ministers!
“During the last Great War, Kaspar was a member of the fascist Krude Party of Baug and helped Gaspar’s fascist party distribute propaganda throughout Baug. In 1942, the Allies occupied Baug. Kaspar and other Krude fascists were captured by allied agents and placed in prisoner of war camps under Allied military jurisdiction.
“When Prime Minister Kaspar was in office under Amir he suggested candidates to form an entirely new cabinet for Amir. Yet, Amir had a different idea in his mind. He ordered Kaspar to shuffle the ministers of the various departments around but not detach any of them from a ministry. For example, the Minister of Arts would be transferred to the Ministry of Education. Many of the newly appointed transferees were not qualified for their new positions in government, but this was of secondary concern to Amir. His primary concern was not whether the appointees were qualified, but whether they were loyal.
“Amir’s display of political deceptiveness was an insult to the people of Baug’s intelligence and another reason to oppose him and his regime. The public was excluded from the affairs of State to such an extent, they concluded the only way they would ever be ‘heard’ was to try and overthrow the government. The developing image of Amir as a domineering father figure and his constituency but prattling, submissive children focused into a sharper negative picture in the collective unconscious of many Baugis.”
JAHAN: “That fucker Amir.”
JALEH: “That Jahan fucker.”
JAHAN: “Fuck you.”
JALEH: “Fuck you.”
Such was the attitude of my compatriots when Baug was in its 1978 turmoil; and what of Amir? I left to go clean the house, which was currently a mess so I could listen to my DVD’s in peace.
When I got home, scrubbed and polished the refrigerator, swept, mopped and vacuumed, dusted and tidied up the isolated tea service, the phone rang.
It was Jahan and Jaleh, they had an updated version of the events of the Baugi revolution.
“We’ll play it for you over the phone line,” I heard Jaleh say through the receiver.
“Don’t worry, we won’t be listening,” Jahan spoke up above her in the background.
“Amir’s ministers were either personally close to him or to his wife, Empress Sarah, whom he married in 1959. One example of the nepotism Amir displayed was the appointment of Empress Sarah’s brother to the position of the Minister of Culture and Art.
“For his part, Kaspar told newsmen that all political parties were free to actively consider appointments to his new cabinet. Kaspar’s purpose to welcome candidates from all parties to his cabinet was intended to tamp down some domestic tensions and rivalries at hand. However, perhaps as a precursor of the Xerxesian glasnost of the early 1980’s, the broadly circulated political candidate invitations only delayed the collective psyche from its wrath to come.”
The Demonstration of Ramadan, Tealandir, Baug, 1978
“September saw the rise of more frequent public religious-themed protests against Amir and his family. In 1978, the Moslem Holy Day of fasting and prayer, Ramadan, fell in the month of September. On Ramadan nothing is to be ingested from 4:30 a.m. until dusk (approximately 6:30 p.m.). The extent of the fast is so formal that bathing in water above the head is not allowed because drops of fluid could be taken into the body by the tongue or nose. During Ramadan, even the sick and injured must not take medication for their illness(es). This religious day of penance and reflection was a golden opportunity to bring people together to unite in solemn solidarity against an overly-commercialized government.
“…ever notice how martial law rhymes with molestation? I mean, who are the targets of them both?” Jahan asked us.
“Wild and crazy guys like you,” quipped Jaleh.
“You got a point there Jahan. All that fervor and passion!” I added.
“They all get fucked.” Jahan ended definitively and we started to listen to the DVD together.
“During Ramadan clergymen led their followers down the main boulevard of Tealandir and people assembled at the central community square to sit down and pray. The clergy announced that they would repeat the march the following day and invite all Moslems to attend the procession and the prayer following it at Farzin Square, one Tealandir’s largest.
“Amir became frightened by the assembly of over 300,000 participants and declared martial law. The new military restrictions on the people included a moratorium on associations of more than three people in a public place for any purpose. If more than three were engaged in an assembly, the militia could arrest the ‘transgressors’ without further ado. All those placed under arrest as a result of the new restriction on association were tried in military, not civil or criminal forums. Martial law also forbade citizens from being up and about in the streets between the hours of 9 pm and dawn. At serious junctures of martial law imposed during 1978, Amir’s staff extended the curfew one hour to include the period of 8 pm to 6 am. Promoters of the Farzin Square assembly did not abide by Amir’s anti-assembly laws because they saw them as overbroad restrictions of the freedom of assembly and not reasonable under the circumstances.
“Amir’s suppressive plan for martial law in Baug backfired and as a result, Baugi’s were up in arms with their monarch like never before and wanted vengeance for depriving them of their basic human dignity, freedoms and inalienable rights. 900,000 people gathered the following day, three times as many as the previous day, under the direction of clergymen. The approach of the 900,000 people to Farzin Square could be described as amassing into a great “huddle”. Men stood, sat or reclined next to each other in the center of the square while the women and children stood around them to prevent the militia from attack—an interesting defense later colloquially referred to as a ‘human shield’ defense.”
“No wonder it drives the armed forces of the aggressor up the wall,” I said like the novice of war that I was. “Maybe I’ll be a cowering man someday. I like the idea of female protectors,” I said to Jaleh. “But children? What brave women in Baug to do that,” I continued, looking at her.
“This ain’t no picnic,” Jaleh said, quoting a foreign minister of Dilshad. She went on to give me a live lesson on the Baugi civil disobedience of September, 1978:
“As expected, the armed militia showed up to meet the gathering public at Farzin Square with megaphones announcing, ‘Martial law prohibits these unlawful assemblies. If you do not leave the premises, we will begin to open fire.’ All at once, the people sat down in silence as though it were a pre-staged play. The unified act of defiance had a pronounced, threshold effect on the militia officers, turning their frustration into rage. An order was made to open fire on the uncooperative civilians.
Shooting ensued for four straight hours via tanks, helicopters, machine guns and SWAT (special weapons teams formed and organized to deal with public rioting and hand to hand combat). At the end of the day, approximately 4,000 people of the 900,000 demonstrators were killed, although the government reported that less than 100 had perished in the conflict.”
“Four thousand…” I said as I was trying to conceive the number of lifeless bodies at the end of the day.
“All doctors, nurses and medical personnel had to attend to the injured patients privately in their homes or Amir’s militia would apprehend them once discharged from the hospital.” She looked at me and must have seen I was getting bored and she raised her voice. “When the newsmen got word that OIHSB was arresting wounded demonstrators from their hospital beds, it was too much!” she said. She had been there on duty and treated the wounded and dying that day.
“Newspapers ran stories and people read them,” Jaleh would go on to tell me that day. “The newspapers provided a unified forum of reporting targeted primarily against Amir’s regime. The propagandists did not have to exaggerate; people were actually being taken from their hospital beds to dark and damp jail cells. Whether they were well enough to face trial and imprisonment was a matter of debate. When newspapers published daily accounts of the hospital-bed arrests throughout Baug, the Baugi National Guard was called in to occupy cities and towns with enough soldiers to suppress any more potential uprisings, with their concomitant violence, injury and more often than not, death.
“Prime Minister Kaspar cast a new wave of political influence over Parliament. Of the 300 parliamentary deputies, fifteen opposed Amir’s regime. These fifteen dissidents blamed governmental policy as the major cause of the gap between the nation and Amir. When the prime minister came to Parliament after the massacre of the four thousand, the fifteen deputies shouted in unison “Your hands are stained with innocent people’s blood!”
“Fifteen voices together is a nice sized chorus,” I remarked sardonically to Jaleh, although internally, I was stunned by the horror of the events Jaleh related to Jahan and I as we listened. I suppose I wanted her to take a break.
“Fifteen…you into numerology Khalid?” Jaleh asked me.
“Not really, but I do take notice when it’s the end of the month or the New Year is rung in with bells, whistles and kisses,” I replied, knowing I must sound like I don’t know the first thing about what I am talking about. “The Ides of March!” I cried out desperately. “I believe in different powers and in competing theories,” I continued, “But there’s something to numerology like there’s something to astrology. I just don’t like to assume they are fatalistic in any way. With God, all things are possible.”
We took a break after all and decided then after tea, decided to call it a day.
I woke up the next morning on Saturday and looked at the papers. Zareen was in the kitchen talking to me through the beaded doorway. I guess I didn’t scrub the floors thoroughly and promised to do better Monday.
In the meantime, I told her we were almost done with the research project for UC and that I’d have a lot of time for cleaning the house when we were done.
I went to the den and put the next disc in sequence into the player which read as its first segment, “DEMANDS LODGED AGAINST JASPER HOSSEIN AMIR SHAHRAZ’ [AMIR’S] GOVERNMENT BY THE CITIZENS OF BAUG”.
I adjusted the volume down while looking at the screen and listened quietly, “Baugis were weary and upset with the present totalitarian type of leadership in their country. They demanded three fundamental changes to occur, or threatened more radical demonstrations going forward:
1. Amir shall no longer hold the position of supreme governor and law maker of Baug. His position in affairs of government shall be primarily ceremonial in nature as those of the supreme monarch of Great Britain, influential albeit ‘without a pen’ to sign treaties or bind the State with contracts and/or conventions.
2. Amir and all governmental representatives shall obey and respect the Constitution.
3. A grant of asylum to the Ayatollah Babak upon his return to Baug from abroad.
“Three days after the massacre at Farzin when the three demands were made public, most observers were still in a state of shock over what happened to their countrymen and women just days before. In an address to the Baugi Parliament, Deputy Ardashir expressed dismay that Amir should be allowed to stay in the country at all. At first, people thought Ardashir’s ruminations of having Amir leave Baug were another of Amir’s reverse-psychology tricks because the idea of Amir’s exile sounded far-fetched.
“During a lull in activism after the massacre, lawyers began to establish a new front against Amir. Th new front emphasized human rights, the dignity of the individual, and other freedoms for all Baugis under international laws, norms, conventions and treaties. Ardashir declared publically that he was not a member of the Publicorpz Party but was forming his own party called the All-Baugi Party.
“The organization for the defense of political prisoners was actively defending political offenders for both past and present offenses. Those individuals arrested for political crimes had formerly been tried in civil courts of law not in a military tribunal. As a result of the lawyers’ actions, all of those convicted in military forums were able to appeal any conviction and/or sentence they received from them in the appellate courts. The lawyers’ legal efforts removed a great deal of authorization from Amir’s regime to try alleged offenders in military court. Amir could no longer be described as the man with ‘all’ the power in the country.
“Formerly, political enemies of Amir and so-called ‘undesirable’ clergymen were exiled by a five-member panel of magistrates, to far-reaching corners of Baug where climate, and or living conditions were poor and generally miserable. The Organization for the Defense of Liberty and Freedom alleged court martials of civilians violated international law, human rights norms, as well as Baug’s statutes and Constitution. “
“Experienced lawyers who represented clients who had been forced out of their office or businesses were making head-roads in the criminal courts and the defendants were often acquitted and many also received restitution and re-instatement to their jobs. Amir’s regime had sentenced judges, teachers and government officials harshly in the past for what his government alleged were ‘serious political crimes’. Private lawyers usually charged astronomical rates, but chose instead to defend their clients pro bono (free of charge, as many clients were unable to pay while in prison and the defendants’ need of representation was great). Legal victories for individual defendants and appellants were becoming commonplace after a long dry spell. Rather than sending people to prisons to live in a cell, defense attorneys were liberating droves of the incarcerated from prisons, setting them free.
“When those who had been exiled were again brought to trial in Baug, their ‘criminal’ file was drawn and the appellate case would proceed. The public seemed to celebrate the successful appeals of the lawyers and welcomed former exiles home when their convictions were overturned and they gained back their freedom. These acts of amnesty given to the many political prisoners and exiles freed in Baug seemed to bring joy and gladness to the whole community welcoming them home in those days. The re-integration of the former prisoners and exiles into Baugi society demonstrated that the lawyers’ political adeptness had now transmuted into clout and their swagger bolstered the general sense of rebellion they and the Baugi people felt toward some of Amir’s more notorious recent activities. Amir’s influence began to slip away to a point of no return on the Baugi political horizon. He became ever more desperate to carve out a legacy for himself and his family before he completely ran out of leverage—and luck.”
“Ayatollah Bahman, a seventy year-old leader, was one notable figure who returned to Tealandir after his imprisonment. More than one million people went out to greet him. People stood, while others marched in the streets of the capitol city. Bahman spent over ten years in a prison so there was a season of celebration upon his return to Tealandir. [During Bahman’s detention, he was tied to a tree and forced to watch IOHSB agents rape his daughter because he did not succumb to their demands. He was whipped with cables for his non-cooperation].
“Bahman believed that the clergymen must lead their followers in the struggle against the present government, but not to seek political office after the revolution had run its course. [Several times after Amir was eventually deposed, Bahman had told the clergymen to return to their ‘rightful place’ in the Mosques and allow the Baugi people to adopt their own form of government: their right of self-determination.] All the other clergymen were opposed to Bahman at this time due to his democratic-oriented position on how the Baugi government should be structured after the revolution. Some Ayatollahs believed Bahman too naïve and idealistic in regards to his support of the UC’s concept of the “self-determination” of peoples to establish their own government, and threw their weight behind backing an Islamic Republic instead. The Ayatollahs besides Bahman had powerful leverage in the legislature at this time and everything that passed into law most certainly had the Ayatollahs’ ‘supreme influence’ if not tacit approval.
“Despite wide-spread opposition and even contempt from the other clergymen, Bahman remained the most respected Ayatollah in the nation. Because of his sway over the people, his adversaries were fearful of him. There is some indication of foul-play in the religious leader’s death. He passed away one night after eating dinner with several Soviet diplomats. He suffered from excessive heart palpitations late in the evening and was not properly attended to by physicians. His fellow clergymen neither sent for an ambulance or a heart specialist, but sat idly by waiting for the seventy year-old to perish. Bahman had addressed four million people in a speech earlier that day, and many felt the timing of his death peculiar and mysterious. In the speech, he expressed the opinion that people should establish their own government and the clergy should not intervene in the electoral process.
“The Fraternal Order of the Baugi Central Bank published a list of government officials who had sent money out of the country to have exchanged for foreign currency. Bank employees told newsmen that 60,000,000 Sargonian dollars had been diverted to foreign banks during a two month period. The Fraternity took advantage of the news by organizing a worker’s strike against the government. The reason given for the Fraternal Order strike was the exodus of Baugi foreign cash reserves out of the country, but this turns out to have been a planted alibi—misinformation. Anarchists, working in Baug for the past 30 years, were devising more and more ways to destabilize Amir’s languishing regime.
“During the reign of Amir, all major banks were government owned and operated. When the employees of a bank went on strike, it weakened yet another strand of cord holding his government together. When the banks did not function, the injection of money into the economy slowed to a dangerously low level. It was not allowed for Baugis to repatriate large sums back into the hands of the domestic investment community, but it would have offset the money leaving the country and forestalled Baug’s stagnating economy in the seventies.
“One of the deputies during a Parliamentary session said that the Minister of Education, Mr. Azar, sent five million dollars to a Mirza bank in his own name and the deputy provided written evidence to show Azar embezzled the money from an earmarked government Fund.
“This news made it an opportune moment for the public to demonstrate. They burned government buildings, buses and troop carriers. The rioting mobs used psychological warfare by igniting rubbish and causing rubber tires to smolder, emitting profuse amounts of nauseous, billowing smoke. The demonstrators’ tactics worked: the soldiers became scared and did not react against them. Of all the methods that the anarchists used to fight Amir, it was their psychological putsch (Ger. push; see also blitzkrieg) of invading and ransacking government buildings and property and setting it on fire which demoralized and frightened Amir’s soldiers. The mobs did not stop after the government’s property was burned because private property could provide Amir with tax revenue. So cinemas, salons or and any other establishment that would not join the cause against Amir was burnt to the ground. The anarchists wanted to fatigue the governmental fabric and they were succeeding.
“Meanwhile, the educated and elite membership associations inquired of the clergymen whether they intended to attain political positions of power in Baug. The clergy responded they had no aim or interest in political affairs per se. To assure the skeptics and to put to rest the fears of the prominent citizens of the country that the clerics wanted to establish an Islamic Republic, Ayatollah Babak said point blank that the clergymen were not interested in Baugi political affairs in the least. He said politics were outside the realm of their ‘duty’ to the greater Shite congregation. Baugi political experts however, were convinced by Babak’s Firuzi Declaration he formulated while in exile, that if he did come home to Baug and rise in Shiite ranks as an Ayatollah, he would have more power than any politician presently leading the country post-Amir.”
“So Amir is already out by this time?” I asked.
“He’s still within the borders of Baug, but for all intents and purposes, yes, he’s out,” Jahan replied.
I put some red caviar and some spreadable white Brie on a cracker and bit into half of it. A few crumbs fell down my chin, hitting my shirt and falling to the floor as I made a half-assed effort to catch them. I’ve done worse. “Ah, shizeh” I exclaimed, seeing a bit of the cheese put a grain-sized spot on my chemise.
“When are we supposed to leave?” I asked
“You’ll see. Jaleh will contact you—get you up to speed. You look good. Stay like that.”
Stomach in, chest out I thought to myself. “Stay like what?” I asked him anyway.
“I don’t know. Keep your tummy in or ya look like an old flatulent tire,” he said.
Oops, I knew I shouldn’t have asked for too much information. “An old flatulent tire”?
“A tired old fart?” he quipped.
“Oh, that’s better.” I responded to the compromise. Incredulously, I said goodbye, even though I wanted him to get me near Jaleh. “You know how to make me laugh Jahan.” ‘Ready to fight: stomach in, chest out,’ I thought to myself.
“Okay, until next time?” Jahan responded.
“Until next time.” I said holding out my hand. Jahan looked at me as if to say ‘no hug today?’ and grasped my hand, returning the cordiality, shaking it briefly. Before I knew it, he vanished around the corner of the sidewalk café around the block from Farzin Square in Tealandir.
Jaleh came up to me like jasmine in the June wind. Knocked me over. I can’t spell.
“You contend with nothing, you dominate nothing.” Word. Better write that down.
Jaleh had dyed her hair jet black and those breasts! She must be in that female cycle they’re really filling out the button-down blouse. Got a rise out of Mr. Roboto. The sheer blouse carried with it a slight hint of perspiration that evaporated with the breezy hot day. I never saw her rack bulge out like that before. Summer weather, or something else? Inspiring motivation factor? What’s she want? Be cautious and watchful Khalid. Damn I’m getting dizzy. Get down Roboto—Khalid’s got work to do—Zareen’s at home waiting for me. You come home clean dude. Those breasts aren’t going to wait much longer where they are—she’s not going to let them go to waste dog—be happy Roboto got a raise and I’ll still have a wife that won’t exactly follow me on my missions—that would ruin everything! No more Jaleh. No more…I wonder what her pussy smells like? I bet it’s sweet for a Baugi brunette. Brunettes usually aren’t that SWEET down there but I bet she is. I think I’ll call her ‘Leh. “Leh, let’s have tea and discuss your history.”
“My history?”
“Baugi history,” I replied.
“Alright,” she said, not letting me take my eyes from hers.
We walked as if stumbling blind to the nearest café but somehow we didn’t run into anything and gently fell into two seats that happened to be available. Once we chatted and the tea brought me back to my senses, she began to speak more quickly, snapping me out of my pheromone- induced hypnotic quasi-comatose state.
“You contend with nothing, you are nothing,” I thought to myself. Word modification? You are nothing? “Reduced to seed without distraction in order to blossom.” Some kind of negative feedback loop philosophy and religion they are. What am I? Who am I? Where do I come from? Ya-da Ya-da Ya-da.
“They had no shame, no foresight, no patience; others had no conscience.” ‘Leh blurted out. She glared at me and held the look. I didn’t know what to say. She seemed to have all the answers and me, all the questions. She asked me up to her room for more tea. Just as well; this café was expensive. We walked up the red carpeted double-back wide staircase to her flat on the second floor where she continued to tell me about the 1978 revolution…the part about the lawyers, Babak, Amir and the hostages.
“Stomach in, chest out,” I reminded myself. I wish there were more Christians in this country. Ah, they have to keep their chests out and stomachs in too. Words of Jesus came to mind “For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
“Prime Minister Kaspar was fired and Amir handed the power of managing the government further away from parliamentary councils and towards the expeditious military. General Gazsi, commander-in-chief of all armed forces was appointed by Amir as the new prime minister. This cabinet appointment was designed to frighten the people more like a snap of the whip than that a military crack- down was imminent. Amir and his advisors were worried that a coup, a very savage coup may be staged very soon against the regime and they intended to take action against it. His military arm, some might say totalitarianistic arm, was established to curb attempts to overthrow his regime. This new tactic of Amir worked for a few days as there was no unrest and the opposing forces led by Babak were devising a plan against the new government. Basically and fundamentally, the country was for all intents and purposes operating under martial law. Amir was a nervous wreck fearing the absolute stability he desired was not only not forthcoming, but was being actively disrupted! He implored clerics in a radio and television broadcast to reassure their members that a new, more liberal government would be considered if calm prevailed. For his part, Babak used the down time to consolidate his front and mobilize the various factions into one common aim: the clear and present ousting of Amir. Their scheme to undermine Amir’s power began with the new prime minister, General Gazsi.
“It was evident to many a qualified observer that Amir wanted to maintain order and control over his subjects more than anything else. When General Gazsi, the highest ranking officer in the armed forces went to Parliament to introduce his new cabinet, he acted the role of a religious man, not the vengeant totalitarianistic-tyrant Amir would have him be. Gazsi’s statements to the people and his acceptance speech for the prime ministry were meek at a time when Amir could have him use swagger. Gazsi was conciliatory to the clerics and deferred to their religious zeal, whether it be publically, at the time of the speech or not. As could be expected, a few days after Gazsi’s acceptance speech the public demonstrated in the streets. They saw a weakness in Gazsi’s character and knew he would not use force to attack them during any demonstrations. The anti-Amir rebels felt as if they were given free reign and one of the four holy months in Islam, that of Moharam was near. Had Gazsi’s acceptance speech been more hard-nosed and included warnings that expressed the gravity of Amir’s determination to purge all dissidents, the revolution may not have come with Moharam.
“Traditionally, on the first day of the holy month of Moharam, people asked the government if they could assemble in honor of Saint Hossein, who was slain during Ramadan near the time of the inception of Islam in the 7th Century. In the year of 1978, the request proved to be a touchy subject for both Amir and his people. For Amir, martial law had just been imposed and forbid Baugis to assemble. On the other hand, if he refused the rights of association of his citizens, they might lose control of themselves and try to overthrow him. Who knows the result of that? ‘NBTO knows certainty. Amir is done in Baug’ 1978.”
Brief History of Islam
“Mohammed, the ‘founder’ of Islam, had one daughter who in turn, had two sons. The younger grandson of Mohammed was called Hossein and the older one Hassan. Hassan was a weak ruler and allowed his cousin Yazid, his mother’s nephew, to call the shots in his kingdom. Even when Yazid was cruel and unjust toward those in Hassan’s kingdom, he did not rise to their defense. When Hassan finally died, Hossein became the new leader of the people known as the Imam in the Shiet sect of Islam. But also surviving Hassan as leader was a former joint-underboss and cousin Yazid who vied with Hossein to be the new Caliph, successor to Mohammed’s throne. Yazid was known as the ‘prodigal ruler’ and Hossein as the noble and proper heir to Caliph. However, Yazid had ruled over Hassad and was practiced in leadership among leaders. Yazid assumed the position of Caliph based upon his will to assume it, not any absolute vested authority of kinship, intestate succession, nor by what was considered dignified or proper by the citizenry. They were in new legal and religious territory analyzing the theme of succession to political power in an educated way, in the face of armed opposition.”
“The building blocks of nature are variety?” I asked Jaleh, alone with her in her room, sitting on her bed. She laid like an angel stretched out on her Fairusa upholstered loveseat. I would have loved to have jumped on top of her. I might crush her and the jasmine perfume seemingly everywhere would evaporate. I moved toward her and she kicked a dossier I hadn’t noticed from the backrest of the red velour loveseat to a stainless steel cylinder we used in the business to transport top secret documents, microfiche and anything else that needed to be sealed and transported across water. I heard the dossier hit the cylinder and begin to tip it over. If it tipped the wrong way as it see-sawed back and forth, it might hit the lamp and knock it over. I lunged for the cylinder just as it started to fall to the floor. Knowing the precision with which the cylinder was fabricated, I slid my hand low along the carpet below the falling object. My fingers began to scrap the carpeting as whack! The cylinder hit me right on the second joints of my 4th and 5th fingers. ‘Great, I guess I deserve it God.’ I thought to myself. The cylinder was like a heavy dough roller crashing down on my pinky and ring finger like a girder falling from a dilapidated Tealandir apartment building. “Ouch!” I exclaimed.
“Oh!” Jaleh exclaimed.
She really was beautiful, and she cared for me. My fingers started to go numb. I was in love—or infatuation. It feels good when someone cares.
I could tell her hair was faked. Instead of ‘jet black’ it looked dull and teased. When a man considers death, he marches up. We were soon back in our seats. A new disco-song started playing on her bose “One Night Only, One Night Only; We Only Have Until Dawn.” I was a bit chagrined and I’m sure she saw me blushing.
“I can always tell what you’re thinking Khalid. I can see right through you. You’re transparent!”
Soon, Leh [Jaleh] and I sat down together on the loveseat and she resumed telling me her story of the difference between Sunni and Shiet Moslems. How Islam was severed into two strains by a dispute between two parties over inherent authority to succeed to a throne. Should the will dominate as in the case of Yazid or shall blood relations dominate as was Hossein’s strong suit. Who would be the parallel successor to supreme leader of Baug this go round in 1978?
“Hossein challenged Yazid’s authority to assume the throne as Caliph and Yazid ordered Hossein and the men supporting him in said challenge to be killed by his men. To this day, the story of Saint Hossein’s murder is told as a cruel reminder of the strong overpowering the weak, however unjustly. Since then, in the Shiet sect, Hossein has taken on the symbol of a popular underdog who was slain because he fought for a just cause against his cousin, the tyrant Yazid. Baugis have always been sympathetic toward underdogs because of this central lesson they learned from childhood on the relationship between Yazid and Hossein.
“Because this legend is embedded in Baugi culture and is inherent in the foundations of Islam, the anarchists and clergymen used the parallel of Hossein as an underdog figure to symbolize the present-day relationship between Amir versus the Baugi people as led by Ayatollah Babak. Amir was portrayed as the wicked Yazid and Babak and all those who fight with him for justice as Hossein. A holy demonstration in memory of the martyred Saint Hossein was planned for the first day of Ramadan, in September of 1978. At the demonstration, the clergymen reiterated publically what had been spread in private: that Amir was a tyrant paralleling Yazid and everyone who opposed him was like the martyred Hossein, who, though perhaps not victorious in the flesh, would come back to avenge his death and establish justice in the world.
“So it is like Christianity?” I asked. Jaleh looked at me dubiously and continued the history of the split of Islam into two denominations.
“After the speech, the citizens gathered together every night in Ramadan, many with megaphones, to chant ‘Allaho Akbar’ [God is Great] toward Amir’s palace.
For one hour every night, Amir and all others within earshot of the chanting were forced to listen to the frightening howls. The new method of psychological warfare debilitated the government and gave impetus to an oil workers’ strike which the opposition forces led by Babak hoped would make the national economy of Baug effectively bankrupt.
“The strike did in fact crush the government’s power over the population. On the ninth and tenth days of Moharam, the days in which Hossein was killed at the inception of Islam in 600 A.D., the people of Iran demonstrated in huge numbers crying, ‘Amir is the symbol of Yazid in our time!’ Martial law was ineffective when three million people had taken to the streets demonstrating against the government.
“Communist guerrillas arrived at 5 a.m. one morning and ransacked a central police station in Tealandir. They killed several guards in the attack by bombing parts of the station with grenades and Molotov cocktails. The guerrillas distributed tracts asking for individuals’ cooperation during the transition to a new government by violent means. These guerrillas had access to the weapons and small bombs needed to carry out the revolution. Sometimes these guerrillas attacked soldiers as they rode by in personnel carriers, killing many of them, and making them wary of future troop movements along main thoroughfares and corridors. The lorries [personnel carriers] carrying soldiers were inconvenienced and strategized out of relevance.
“This type of guerilla activity sparked a flame of concern in Amir’s quarters and they were perplexed about ways they could bring back law, order and freedom of movement. The daring of the communist guerrillas in their confrontations with Amir’s guard gave people the courage to carry on with the coup–the communists’ tactics were effectively working step by step towards an end–the ouster of Amir with them in pole-position. The communist’s desperate, hasty attitude to bring about the revolution quickly was contagious and spread throughout the country as the month of Moharam progressed. Newspapers went on strike because Amir had tried to control their content, denying journalists and readers freedom of the press. The television media was not allowed to write or broadcast what they wished, and as a result, many of the radio and television stations joined the print journalists and publishers in a general strike.”
“Here’s the rest of it in a memo Khalid. Try not to knock over any tables with cylinders on your way home,” she said, handing me the professionally bound “Memo of the Moharam –Ramadan Demonstrations 1978”. I continued reading about the demonstration on the train on my way home where Zareen was waiting. Maybe I shouldn’t take Zareen for granted so much.
Political Instability Is Corrolated With Price Instability
“What do you do all day?” Zareen asked the next morning.
“I’m reading a book online. Let me read it to you in Baugi, ‘As winter progressed, heating oil became unavailable to the public due to increased demand and a virtual stand-still in production due to strikes.’ You like?” I asked.
“No,” she replied, enthusiastically blunt.
When we got back from the eatery and the café, I got back to study the DVD data on the discs. The disc said “NBTO Study Led by General Alborz” and I put it in the broadcaster.
“General Alborz, a high ranking officer in the North Bahar Treaty Organization (hereinafter NBTO) studied the political unrest in Baug for one month. Alborz’ report was sent to Sargon President Riymi Dauber and NBTO chairpersons meeting in Western Bahar. It advised the support of Ayatollah Babak instead of having the country further disintegrate into chaos and allowing communist guerrillas to re-organize a Xerxes-controlled Baugi government. If the communist forces assumed power in Baug, the people would follow them like another of Xerxes’ socialist satellite countries which existed in the late 1970’s. The NBTO committee concluded that a religious government in Baug would tend to counteract any communist infiltration since one of the Xerxes Communist Party’s main tenets is a determinant disbelief in God and that religion is “an opiate of the people”. If a religious republic replaced the Amir monarchy, it was believed by the NBTO analysts that monetary support and/or military intervention would be less likely to be required from the international community to circumvent extreme Xerxesian influence in Baug. Part of NBTO’s conclusion was based on the presumption Ayatollah Babak would institute rigid adherence to an Islam code of conduct with severe internal consequences to those who opposed him while governing the newly proposed Islamic Republic of Baug.
“Amir, knowing his situation as the countries continuing monarch was growing dire, asked Dr. Javed, the leader of the Baugi National Front, to become the new prime minister. Dr. Javed flew to Paris to meet with Babak, who although exiled, was now constructive ruler of Baug by the de facto fiat of NBTO. If Babak approved of his appointment, he could become the next prime minister. There was some argument at the outset of their discussion, but it was decided between the Ayatollah and Dr. Javed that as long as Amir was in power, Javed would not become prime minister nor would he take responsibility for the acts of Amir’s government retroactively or going forward. General Alborz, in the company of the Sargonian Ambassador to Baug as well as several members of the international press, went to Amir’s palace to discuss the monarch’s departure from Baug.”
Jaleh showed up with the DVD and handed it to me. It had her smudgy fingerprints all over its face. She looked tired—probably stayed up late studying the disc—she even looked more intelligent—damn she’s got a head start on me.
“Here you are Khalid,” she said, looking into her handbag for something then added, “I’ve got to go.”
“Go?” I asked.
“Yes Khalid, you take care, I’ve got to go now.”
She hurriedly sauntered down the Tealandir sidewalk and into a hair salon.
I went straight home to play the disc. Zareen was home.
“Zareen, mind if I play the disc out here?”
“In the living room?” She responded. “Go ahead, I don’t mind.”
I used wireless earphones and listened.
“After a press conference, Amir asked Dr. Saleh Roshan to become the new prime minister of Baug as Javed had declined the post. Roshan consulted leaders of the BNF, but they refused to throw their support behind him. After repeated attempts to persuade his colleagues to allow him to take on the job, Roshan became dejected and reluctantly turned down the office of prime minister. Having failed twice to appoint a prime minister now, Amir asked Dr. Moravid Arash of the Baug Party, a sub-party of the BNF, to act as prime minister. The Baug Party was established during the last Great War. Only Dr. Javed held more prestige than Dr. Arash in the BNF-Baug political party structure. Dr. Arash accepted Amir’s offer, but the BNF and the Baug Party drove him from power and the alliance. Arash was known as a brilliant and experienced politician, possessing a fluency in three foreign languages: English, French and German. A well-travelled man and proficient orator, Arash sought to quell the seemingly ever-present discord in Parliament.
“When Arash was 17 years-old and a student in Fairusa, he joined the Fairusa Republican Party and helped fight Pankco’s dictatorship in Vesper. During the last Great War, after Fairusa had fallen and come under fascist occupation, Arash joined the Fairusa resistance to combat their fascist occupiers. When the last Great War came to an end, Arash attained a rank of honor in the Baugi National Front [BNF] which fought off Jahangir oil companies interested in exploiting Baugi oil. Arash was a very close companion to Dr. Rahmat who led the BNF in the early 1950’s. After the coup d’etat removed Rahmat from power in 1953, Arash was also arrested and sent to prison without trial where he remained for the next five years. The same man that jailed him was now exalting him to the second most powerful position in Baug: prime minister.”
“Arash’s father was the leader of the nomadic Arashi Tribes. In 1900, Arash’s father fought against the dictatorial monarchy in Baug in favor of a democratic form of government. After a dozen years of democracy at the turn of the 20th Century, Roshan Amir Shahraz, Amir’s father, reinstated the royal dictatorship of Baug with himself as the leading monarch, the king.
“Although all parties and factions seemed aligned against him, Dr. Arash accepted the prime ministry provided Amir leave the country. During the search for a successor to Amir, General Gazsi remained the acting prime minister of Baug. General Samir Hossein Yesfir, Superior Commander of the Baugi Air Force, invited all military commanders to attend a conference organized by General Cyrus Moshah . Moshah met General Alborz at the conference, who favored Amir leaving the country. Alborz referred Moshah to three or four other individuals who coordinated Babak’s activities in Tealandir. General Alborz later met with Ayatollah Shahin as well about the expulsion of Amir. At the time of these discussions, General Gazsi had a heart attack and immediately left the country for ‘treatment’. Dr. Morvarid Arash stepped into the position of prime minister after these ‘coincidences’ came about and Amir made it apparent he was leaving the country on a ‘long vacation’. “Behind the domestic scenes of everyday life among the peasants, NBTO members met in Bahar to discuss Amir’s desublimating predicament and decided it would be best if he left his throne immediately. As soon as Parliament officially elected Arash as the new prime minister, Amir was on a plane to Farhoud where he was given political asylum. Arash declared he supported the Baugi Constitution and the rights contained therein protecting individual freedoms of Baugi citizens. General Samir, who was instrumental in arranging the expulsion of Amir diplomatically, was tried for crimes committed during Amir’s Administration immediately after Amir fled the country.”
“Ten Thousand [10K] Baugi demonstrators chanted in the streets of Tealandir to show their support for the new prime minister. Some of the clergymen, including Ayatollah Darien, supported the newly drawn Baugi Constitution, but Babak said anyone who supports the new Constitution is his enemy and an enemy of all Moslems [A Catholic priest had downplayed the significance of any nation’s constitution, compared to a Catholic living by faith and the grace of God in a recent homily given at the Christian compound in Tealandir]. Babak further claimed Arash was a tool of Sargon of Greater Kir, which should enable him to return Amir to Baug once Baugis tired of demonstrating in the streets.
“Babak had previously told journalists one month prior to Amir’s exodus that he condoned the Baugi Constitution except for the Article allowing Amir to hold the highest position in the country, allowing him to make laws by executive order and using his veto to defeat proposed legislation. When Amir fled Baug, Babak changed his platform to suit his new taste: he wanted the Baugi Constitution to be scraped and rewritten [without a completely new draft of the Constitution, Babak could not take the country’s power into his own hands. Prime Minister Arash would retain supreme control over Baugi policy while he, Ayatollah Babak, would fade helplessly into the background, another feeble clergyman sent out to pasture].
“When Arash became prime minister, he returned freedom of the press to publishers, released all political prisoners, dissolved OIHSB, discontinued martial law, cut exorbitant taxes and gave exiles the right to return home. However, when the newspapers began to roll the presses again, they did not praise but attacked Arash, aye and that severely.”
“Babak gave a signed declaration directing an engineer named Ferdows Farhang to proceed to Southern Baug and speak with designated oil production workers in order to arrive at a suitable oil production quota designed to meet solely the domestic needs of the country. After one week, the workers agreed to produce about six to seven hundred thousand barrels of oil per day for soley Baug’s needs. After the limitation was established, the electric company in Baug went on strike to protest the appointment of Arash as prime minister. Without electricity, the oil could not be distributed adequately and shortages were widespread. The strike was another ploy used by employees to mobilize revolutionary forces around Babak and drive Arash out of office. The electricians’ and laborers’ strike succeeded and all political parties followed the advice of the Ayatollah Babak. The strikers believed, as Babak had informed them, that Arash was a puppet of Greater Kir and Flint.
“Three weeks after Arash’s appointment as prime minister, Babak decided to return to Baug from Firuz, Fairusa. Arash asked one of the political leaders, named Paiman to give Babak advance notice so that he and the Ayatollah could meet upon his arrival in Baug. At first Babak accepted, but the next day, he retracted his acceptance and said Arash must first resign as prime minister or he would not meet to discuss the matter further with him. The reason that Babak would not meet with Arash was because Babak wanted to appear to the public that he, not Arash was in control of Baug. He would not concede his inherent ecclesiastical power nor legitimize the office of Arash as prime minister.
“During the revolution in Baug, Babak revealed a lack of self-confidence when confronted with issues by the media especially during televised public appearances. He would not debate with other leaders whether they be Baugi or foreign. For instance, Babak did not accept an audience with the renowned Burt Salmeini of United Corporate, to negotiate the release of fifty-two Sargonian hostages who had been captured by ‘students’ from the Sargonian Embassy in Tealandir.
“Babak did not meet with foreign leaders because he did not like to compromise if he didn’t have to and he didn’t have to. As long as he held ultimate power in Baug, his diplomatic style tended to be stubborn and unyielding. If Babak found himself in front of television cameras, he often looked down to his knees or his hands deliberately in a show of non-cooperation, but no one knew for sure the purpose of his solemn, under-stated determination. At times, it seemed to some that Babak had faith, but lacked self-confidence while others noted his ‘stage fright’ was probably due to lack of experience in front of cameras on a world stage. Too much was at stake for him to make a blunder. He was not a ‘humble’ man it was said about Babak, and any reserve he showed in speaking ad hoc to reporters was not due to shyness or modesty but rather a strategy of silence. He had learned the hard way his words must be measured and chosen carefully for the occasion. Rivalries with other Ayatollahs and and Amir himself taught him to restrain rhetoric in the face of victory. God had granted Babak a role in the leadership of Baug. There was no need for his words as a man. Now, only his words as an Imam were of any importance, and his followers doted on every word. He was speaking for God now and chose his words to reflect that assignment.”
“The three people who backed Babak in his quest for dictatorship were Dr. Harved Sarahim, Payam Gulzar and Casper Basir. These three men planned to groom the Ayatollah for the coming riots, strikes and demonstrations. Sarahim, a naturalized Sargonian citizen and Gulzar, who was educated in Sargon were interrogated by various interviewer who asked the two whether their primary allegiance was with Sargon or Baug. Newspapermen were suspicious of the duality expressed by the bias Sarahim and Gulzar, who have Sargonian credentials, would have in backing Arash, a Baugi political figure. They had Sarahim and Gulzar in a Catch-22 —if Sarahim’s allegiance was still with Sargon then his allegiance could not be said to be entirely supportive of Baug. Many also thought Sarahim was a member of Wombat because he swore an oath to Sargon when he became a citizen of that nation, but if his allegiance was not with Sargon, Baugi journalists could not take Sarahim at his word since he renounced a Baugi oath of allegiance when he worked for Wombat, an agency of a foreign entity. If he ‘lied’ to Sargon, he could not be trusted to keep his word of allegiance to Baug. Sarahim and Gulzar were never popular politicians anyway and it appeared to some they used Babak as a tool for their political opportunistic maneuvering. Gulzar lived in Sargon on two separate occasions. Once as a young student where he was expelled for mischievous conduct and later on, after jumping into politics and becoming a naturalized Aspirian, he returned to study psychological warfare at the prestigious Sargon Intelligence University and eventually, after writing a couple of dozen briefs for his colleagues, he had become a noted expert in the subject. Gulzar’s interests led him to acquaint himself with Rosnef Terradat, leader of the Basir Liberation Organization [hereinafter BLO], and the two men became close collaborators and friends.”
“Arash hatched a plan to begin a liberal republic designed around the Constitution, and not based on Amir’s whims. People were relieved after Arash gave a speech delineating his plan, and they hoped their freedoms and the government’s liberal attitude would continue. The public’s attention however, soon became transfixed by the savior of Baug, who promised instantaneous results: the Ayatollah Babak!
“Arash sought to hamper the free functionality of the Tealandir Airport surrepticiously in an effort to delay Babak’s actual arrival in Baug. Baugi Air Force officials and/or functionaries offered to pick up the Ayatollah Babak in Firuz, Fairusa. The Fairusa Government did not allow foreign military jets to land on their airstrips at the time, but understood the Baugi military was now taking orders from Babak, not Arash, who continued to take orders from Amir. The news of the air force officers’ proposal to pick up the Ayatollah in Firuz also emboldened rising Baugi dissent indicating a Baugi military rebellion in the works. After the Firuz escort incident, insubordination and outright flagrant failure to follow orders spread rapidly throughout the Baugi military services. More servicemen than ever were opposed to Amir’s authority over them. Within Amir’s special guard unit, one soldier utilized a machine gun to kill more than twenty Baugi officers while dining. A number of other soldiers deserted their encampments and fled to neighboring rural villages Absent Without Leave (AWOL).”
“I’m getting sick, let’s take a break,” I told ‘Leh.
“Have it your way, but this briefing has got to be done or my ass is grass as you say Khalid.”
“Your ass ain’t grass,” I tried to assure her.
“Covered in it. Cover my ass with grass,” she cooed
“The people gave Arash an ultimatum: if he does not allow Babak’s arrival in Tealandir, they would begin firing ammunition on all government agencies and their employees. The threat against his administration was one of guerrilla-type warfare. Moreover, Arash could not overcome the public’s insistence on bringing the Ayatollah Babak home to Baug. After a week of negotiations, Babak arrived in Baug by plane at the Tealandir Airport. Seemingly every business and organization had a secret plan designed to weaken Amir’s control and influence over them by weakening his functionairies, including Arash. Another example of factions arising in Amir’s government was an organization set up among members of the Baugi Air Force to co-opt the military commanders. The defecting air force officers recruited others in the ranks to break from Amir and Arash and join them in loyalty to Babak. Once the threshold of defectors to loyalists in Amir’s regime was met, the political power of Amir was siphoned off to Babak. The defectors were able to convert other air force officers to their organization by emphasizing service to Islam, not Amir.
“Rebels who organized the mission to receive the Ayatollah Babak at the airport ran like clockwork. Babak’s arrival marked his first time on Baugi soil since he was exiled by Amir in 1963. At his arrival in the capitol, Babak’s visage revealed its all-too-familiar signs of grim seriousness. He had presence. It was arranged that he go to Tealandir University to meet with professors to discuss plans for the revolution. Babak’s council however, advised him to go to Goudarz, a public cemetery, instead. A meeting at the university with the revolutionary coordinators would only weaken the Ayatollah’s power at a ‘petit summit’. If he agreed with their suggestion to go to the cemetery, he would give clerics more power once the revolution was over. If he disagreed, it might erode his power as a supreme leader in the post-revolutionary political structure and then all of Babak’s supporters might find themselves taking orders from lay professors. The inner circle of the Babak clan leaked a missive that the streets of Tealandir were too crowded to meet with the professors right away, but they (all the clerics) would do so as soon as time permitted.”
“Do I have to hear this?” She looked at me; kind of felt sorry for me like a mother would when her boy left her side to test his bravery against an adversarial challenge.
“Comes a time…? Is that it ‘Leh?”
She smiled and nodded her head ‘yes’ slowly and gently. Walking over to a safe hidden in the closet she paused, turning around to look at me. Seeing I was paying attention, she beckoned me nearer. I watched as she turned the combo: 04-34-7. A hailstorm would not quash my bullets.
“Morphine?” I ventured a guess.
“I’m a doctor,” she surrendered.
“Doctor? Medical doctor?” I asked.
“That’s the one. If we need this during the rout, I wanted you to know where you can find it. Did you get the combination?”
“Yes.” After falling into a black leather loveseat, he realized he didn’t love her anymore in a romantic way.
“It’s time for you to go,” she said.
I picked myself out of my seat and called 911.
“911 Operator, What is your report?”
“There’s a gathering at the Goudarz Cemetery out front and it looks like “good nite Amir.”
“What is your report Sir?” the operator asked pointedly.
“You might want to send police to the Goudarz Cemetery. There appears to be another gathering building. A demonstration against Amir,” Khalid reported.
“Your name?” the operator asked? The Creation Party and the Democratic Shaheen Front.
“What was that?” the operator asked.
“A contest,” Khalid replied before hanging up the phone.
Jaleh tells Khalid of the Presentation of the Ayatollah Babak in Baug
“At the Goudarz Cemetery, Babak was able to impart a religious significance to all those who perished in the recent spate of guerrilla warfare and to emphasize that there was nothing more important for him to do than honor of the first fallen in noble cause of freedom. His supporters advised him to pacify the crowd in order to reflect upon the freedom fighters who made the present moment possible at the cemetery and to bring them together in solidarity. The Ayatollah Babak had come a long way from Firuz to mourn the dead at Goudarz and nothing, neither the up-and-coming rebellion nor matters of State would make him divert his focus,” Jaleh related in a lesson to Khalid. She was recording the lesson to disc which would be mailed book rate to a classified UC destination. She continued, “Babak’s speech at the cemetery made it clear that he knew very little about politics. He spoke like a parrot, dictating the points told to him by his handlers.”
“Sounds like electioneering,” I volunteered.
“It is. He’s seeking legitimacy at a graveyard,” she added. She went on to say off record Babak held preparatory rehearsals for the address at Goudarz, then started recording the lesson again.
“He renounced the Baugi Constitution and said their ‘forefathers’ had no right to dictate the way of a ‘new Baug’. In renouncing the old constitution, Babak proposed the adoption of a new constitution, one in which he will ‘choose his own prime minister.’”
Doctor Jaleh continued, “Ayatollah Babak rejected life in a palace and resided in a school dormitory. He led a simple life just like the ancient prophet Mohammed. Different groups of people went to visit the Ayatollah in his apartment, and they passed by the austere black-robed figure with waves and cheers of admiration. Throughout the cheering, Babak remained motionless.” Jaleh added off record that no one must get a view of Ayatollah Babak’s new Baugi dental work, as it had not quite been completed. There were gaps. She continued, “ In the days of the prophet Mohammed, the oral orifice was often closed for hygienic purposes to hide decayed teeth and their odor from bystanders. In the 7th Century A.D., it was regarded as indecent as it was now in Babak’s case, to show the interior of one’s mouth. ‘Did he have dental work or didn’t he?’
“Babak was soon transfigured into a demigod among the citizens of Baug. The five other Ayatollahs who were more learned in Islamic doctrine that Babak were forced to pay homage to him as their leader or be accused of high treason. In due time, the five other Ayatollahs recommended Babak as the new leader of Baug with hopes that in time, his power would diminish.”
“Babak appointed Ferdows Farhang as the new prime minister of Baug. He requested that Farhang, the leader of the BNF, resign his post as President of the Baugi National Front Party and follow him unconditionally. Political power could then remain under the clergy’s umbrella. Although the BNF did not foresee Babak’s tactical move to consolidate power and neuter the independent decision-making capabilities of their politicians, they continued to show support for the Imam.
“Political power over the country began to change hands when the Ayatollah’s staff did not allow former Prime Minister Arash’s appointees to be installed in their posts. All previous appointment orders made by Arash were revoked and any such further orders would be made by Farhang, Babak’s ‘First Officer’.
“Havoc brewed in the military ranks as well. When a regiment was out on patrol, soldiers would often disobey their commanders’ orders to execute dissenters of Amir by turning around and shooting their commanders!
“One week after his arrival in Tealandir, Babak’s revolutionary council began to spread the rumor OIHSB soldiers appeared at his dormitory residence to frighten and intimidate him. The rumor was unfounded, but it attracted the public’s attention and gave Babak’s camp additional impact in criticizing the existing government. On February 10, 1979, a clash arose between the government soldiers and the general public due to the rumor and many casualties ensued. The next day in a town east of Tealandir, Babak supporters met at a local air force base to discuss plans for the revolution. Amir’s guard was still in the country trying to maintain order even though Amir had departed from Baug. They attempted to break up the meeting once they found out where it was being held at the base. Within half-an-hour, news of the confrontation spread throughout the city and martial law was re-instituted by the new prime minister. People were told to vacate public streets from 6 pm until noon the following day.
“Babak became apoplectic at the private meeting on the air force base. He was angry due to the use of force Amir’s soldiers exercised on the public; it also happened to be convenient and advantageous to do so while on the base. Babak ordered everyone to demonstrate that evening in protest to show the government that they were not to be bullied by Amir’s guard or other kind of martial-law oppression-procedures. He also unloaded the ‘bombshell’ that Amir’s covert guard hiding within the military were planning a coup to reinstate Amir! Babak and/or his advisors thus used psychological warfare to frighten Amir’s last remaining loyal guardsmen. His forces burned all flammable material and filled the streets with smoke. The smoke-screen terrified Amir’s guard because they were unaccustomed to the eerie gloom cast upon the city from the smoldering red flames and putrid chemical smoke. On the main street of Tealandir, the crowds shouted out to Babak that he allow them permission to engage in holy war. The crowds were ecstatic over the prospects of fighting for their beloved leader, the Ayatollah Babak.
“Meanwhile, in the east corner of Tealandir, a group of Baugi Air Force soldiers were found demonstrating against Amir. When the pro-Amir commanders heard this, they ordered a nearby outpost to quell the demonstration and punish the transgressors. ‘Punishment’ for the Baugi high command meant deploying tanks and automatic weapons in a police action. The commander at the scene used an army installation on the outskirts of the city as a forward base to organize the systematic assault on the mutinous soldiers. The commander envisioned that if the staging headquarters of the counter-attack was on the outskirts of the city, the motorcade of army personnel would not have to traverse the streets of Tealandir which were constantly full of rioting people and smoke.
“Communication of the attempted ‘punishment’ was quickly intercepted by Babak’s forces. Two politically active military organizations that had been in hiding, Rostam Khalq, a religious-socialist group and Saiar Khalq, a radical communist organization, heard that Amir’s guard were soon to attack the air force installation where Babak was in conference. They took the opportunity to intervene, supplying Babak’s rebels with Molotov cocktails, rapid-fire machine guns and various automatic rifles. Guerrilla-like warfare ensued. Molotov cocktails were thrown at Amir-loyalist tanks, setting them afire and eventually debilitating their forces. Guerilla warfare brought death to all infantry men in Amir’s tanks. The Khalq rebels salvaged whatever working weapons they could and distributed them among the people with the proviso they were to fight off what remained of Amir’s decimated army.
“When Amir’s guard was all but defeated by the guerrillas, the Guard commander in Tealandir asked for the assistance of the commander in Hoomanshah, a city about 400 miles west of Tealandir, to fight the mounting aggression of rebel forces. The newly summoned regiment moved toward the districts of Tealandir from Hoomanshah, but were halted when they came upon Faraz, a city 20 miles north of Tealandir due to an angry, uncooperative rebel mob. Residents were told of the reinforcements headed their way and were ready with machine guns and Molotov cocktails to greet them. The citizens put up such a persistent and effective fight that the soldiers never did arrive in Tealandir.
“In all of Baug, most of the civil police stations were seized by the guerrillas and people of all walks of life defied any and all civil authority departments affiliated with the government. Women had important roles in fighting the troops as well. They made sand-bag barricades for the rebel fighters and nursed the hungry and wounded in their homes. At the end of the day, eastern Tealandir was occupied and controlled by the rebels.
“The next day as could be expected, the city was in a shambles and the political tension rose to an alarming degree, one could probably say redline. Dr. Arash, the former prime minister, spoke in the Parliamentary Senate asking all the commanders of the legitimate army to return to their posts and carry on with their usual duties. However, many of the commanders already sympathetic to the cause of Babak saw opposition to the growing rebel forces both unwise and unproductive. Soldiers having heard of the political rhetoric in parliament, were seen placing flowers in the muzzle of their gun barrels as a gesture of peace, indicating they would not shoot their own fellow citizens.
“At two o’clock in the afternoon local time, the national emergency broadcast station issued a report describing the Faraz showdown. ‘Hoards of citizens, led by the two guerrilla organizations, attacked both military garrisons and police headquarters in downtown Tealandir. General Khosrow, the former Chief of Police and commander responsible for enforcing martial law was taken captive in the raids’. After Khosrow was arrested, the entire city was engulfed in chaos. No one from Amir’s former government held any position of authority or even influence in the capitol. Each sector of the city had an organizing arm represented by committees who made their headquarters in the local mosques of each strategically significant neighborhood. Armed youths, taking their orders from various committees, began to control the affairs of Tealandir. Armed confrontations and skirmishes that befell other major cities in the country were similar in nature to the conflict transpiring in the capitol; it was after all, a revolution.”
“The street rioting was well staged by the two guerrilla groups: Saiar Khalq and Rostam Khalq. In one instance, when a rabble of angry demonstrators arose, trying to take over a police station, two experienced commandos from the Saiar Khalq crashed down the station door with the rear end of their military truck. The ruptured entryway allowed rebels to overtake the police station despite the non-stop firing by guards within the installation. The newly formed ‘district committees’ took over governmental installations in their respective jurisdiction to serve as outposts for the two khalqs operating either tacitly or explicitly for the Ayatollah Babak.”
“So any jerk that got to the head of a committee was untouchable,” I said.
“As untouchable as Elliot Ness,” Jaleh replied.
She continued, “At the end of the two days of all-out rebellion, one could not distinguish Tealandir from any large city of Bahar following a blanket bombing raid in the last Great War. The sight of the devastation only furthered the rebel population’s enthusiasm to overtake the ailing Amir government. The rebel peoples demolished buildings impulsively so that all forms of the old regime would be removed from their sight and minds. They placed steel girders across the thoroughfares to prevent tanks from traversing the territory guerrillas had newly won. Buses and lorries were continually burnt by the rebel marauders in protest and payback for the bitter years of oppression under Amir’s previous administration. The prevailing attitude among the active revolutionaries was annihilation now, reconstruction later; two separate and distinguishable steps. The Baugi Revolution was like a civil war without a president presiding over the troops.
“Yet, despite the disorder, people united in the difficult days of the revolution to help one another through the shortages and casualties that beset the population. Signs of improved conditions began to appear after a relatively short time and people shared what little they had with their comrades. Youth Volunteers distributed motor oil and gasoline among the people in rationed amounts and shopkeepers sold their food inexpensively in temporary kiosks set up in make-shift tents and at regular marketplaces. The entire country helped to rebuild the broken nation. People considered themselves ‘brother and sister’ because they were all fighting for a common cause, the expulsion of Amir’s ugly regime.
“However, Babak’s Revolutionary Guard was faced with a problem. They had distributed thousands of guns to help in the revolution against Amir and his guards but now that the fighting was over, they wanted to get them back to avoid possible use in any ‘counter-revolution’ staged against the Ayatollah Babak. The threat of a second coup against the new revolutionary government prompted Babak to demand the return of all guns to the mosques.”
“When there are so many guns ‘assassinations come cheap’,” Jahan said, stepping into the room unannounced.
“Overabundance of anything is bad news, especially assassinations, ” I added snarkily, thinking his original statement about the connection between gun access and killings was snarky and too blunt as an entrance statement, but that was typical Jahan. He’ll see. Some jackass will become upset with his almost rude comments. Everybody seems gets their commupance in this business, or a lot of pain.
Jahan looked at me intently–then looked away. He took over the telling of the story for Jaleh.
Jahan continued, “The main focus of the government and its people was still the elimination of the former regime, and the execution of its officials. Babak used the element of revenge and concept of justice to keep his people spirited as they began to rebuild the new republic. Most people knew a sense of unity was required if they were to successfully establish a new government, so they returned the guns they had received from the guerillas to the mosques, and followed the orders of the clerics without hesitation. It had been seven months since manufacturing production acheived full capacity, and when Babak’s new regime was quasi-established, it was time to step-up production quotas again. New and old employees alike needed a salary for their labor, the Ayatollah needed capital to strengthen his fledgling regime, and everyone needed energy. When it was safe, the two major organizations that worked underground to overthrow Amir’s regime, the Saiar Khalq and the Rostam Khalq, came out into the open for the first time. They believed they would be thanked for their accomplishments by the clergy as well as the people.
“When they came out into the open, they encouraged employees to choose their own administrators from among themselves, like labor unions. The elected council would then represent the organization as a whole and would facilitate achieving the objectives of the union by acting as coordinators, advocates and influential spokesmen. Each of the ‘councils’ pledged their allegiance to the Imam and his welfare, for the support of the Ayatollah’s political entourage, and national unity assured by the strong arms of Saiar Khalq and Rostam Khalq. Operatives of the Ayatollah’s new political party asked factories to dedicate their companies to the Ayatollah. The council in each factory named itself ‘the committee of the Imam’ to excentuate the respect to be given to his Eminence, the Ayatollah Babak.
“Thereafter, Babak and his committees had vast control over all private and public companies. Members of his political party would infiltrate companies’ labor forces when voting time came for the election of their respective company council. To insure that the leaders of each company were faithful to Babak, the Revolutionary Guard pre-selected the possible candidates for the position before nominating them. The voting procedure became a corrupt ritual of formal appearances. Instead of private balloting, voting was carried out in vast assembly halls, with the prospective leaders chosen by Babak’s collaborators and presented to the workers as ‘good and able men’ in the service of the Imam, considered as infallible as a Pope might be to a Catholic. After a random show of the employees’ hands, whether one or one-hundred hands counted for the candidate, the candidate who was pre-selected to lead the organization wound up winning the election. These newly elected leaders often knew nothing of managing a large corporation. The only prerequisite to acquiring a leadership position was a zealous loyalty to Babak’s new regime and contempt for all those who dared to oppose it. The Imam’s party wanted to change the whole structure upon which businesses, governmental utilities and the general economy were based. The former hierarchical business structure that had been adopted from ‘Western capitalism’ was declared obsolete and replaced by a new strategic management and production blueprint of the Imam Committee. The new economy was based on a ‘union superstructure’ which gave some of the savvy committee heads an advantage over the Ayatollah Babak, whose knowledge of leadership was mainly steeped in Islamic clerical hierarchies. A large union like those existing in ‘the West’ were formed by the committees calling themselves a ‘council’, and the Imam Committee incorporated the idea into their own governing structure. The union’s council theoretically based its corporate decisions on the will of the laborers within that Union. The main glitches in the new superstructure were a dis-connect between managers who knew little about a particular industry’s operations and the workings of the industry itself. Due to poorly organized logistics following the insurgent revolution, management expertise was again lost as it had been decades before, during the transition to a new Baugi government after Rahmat came to power in the early 1950’s. The resulting outcome of the loss of expertise was a chaotic and volatile, yet functioning Baugi economy in the late 1970’s.
“Laborers working for large companies in Baug objected passively to the Babak Committee’s high-pressure prodding by slowing the pace of their work production. The mainline workers knew an outright strike or revolt would not be wise at the time since human life no longer seemed sacred. The Ayatollah would just as soon execute dissenters than allow them to meddle in his plans. Members of anti-Babak forces were massacred by the dozens every day in Baug, so company employees mostly kept quiet and to themselves to avoid incrimination and charges being brought against them.”
“299th Precinct—the end of the road.” I blurted.
Jaleh picked up where Jahan left off, “Babak somehow found out about slacking employees and declared that working was a religious duty for all Moslems and that ‘anyone who does not work hard is not only anti-Moslem but could be considered an agent acting against the Imam’. If someone was accused of being a spy within a particular organization or company, he could count on joining the former high-ranking officials of Amir’s regime on execution day.”
“The new justice courts were incorporated into an Islamic-based court system. Although many of the Baugi people were practicing Moslems, they were unaccustomed to such quasi-religious procedures infused in court procedures and found them strange. In the former judicial system, courtroom protocols were structured like those found in Firuz, Feroze and Caztleland, by a model civil law instituted by statute which had its origins during the reign of the Firuz’ Emperor, Corsean . The reason for Baug’s judicial system possessing similarities to those in Western Bahar was that most of the attorneys and judges who practiced law in Baug had been educated in countries within Western Bahar. Many followers of Babak’s regime were against the civil judicial system because they saw it as an unfair tool in the hands of the OIHSB. During periods where ‘martial law’ was imposed on civilians and civil law suspended, military courts could often determine the fate of military personnel as well as civilians. When military courts tried defendants, OIHSB prepared the evidence in such a way that the accused would invariably be proven guilty.
“I thought that’s how it always is,” I said, then laughed at my own joke. Jaleh joined me in laughter but I didn’t hear Jahan. I got the feeling levity was not in the cards tonight.
Jahan took over as master of ceremonies and invited us for tea, coffee and cakes. Not only were Jahan and Jaleh my mentors and (sometime monitors) they were my teachers too. I didn’t think of myself as their student before. It hadn’t occurred to me until now. A humble feeling filled my soul. I felt like a Clint Eastwood character who finally discovered humility after a life long battle with the gun. After a brief recess, Jahan resumed the lesson.
“Since the military court was largely, if not entirely under OIHSB’s control, no one undesirable to Amir’s regime could escape its peculiar forum of judgment. Under Babak, the Islamic courts, as defendants, lawyers, professors and journalists soon discovered, the ‘reformed’ methods of civil and military justice could carry with it harsher scrutiny and sentencing than the maligned legal system that preceded it.
“In the new Islamic Court, clergymen preside as both judge and trier-of-fact as opposed to a court judge or a jury as is common elsewhere. The Islamic Courts were not a new invention but rather were created fourteen centuries earlier during the founding of Islam. The due process given the defendant is expedient: the Islamic ulama (priest) simply asks the accused various questions and decides if the person is guilty or innocent of the charge(s). Once a Decision is made, the ulama will still need two people to confirm the accused’s conviction and sentence. In capital cases, if an individual, in the cleric’s opinion is assisting ‘corruption on the earth’, the defendant is entering into a battle against God and the Islamic brotherhood, and should be executed. In the laws of Islam, a condemned individual must be executed immediately without being given food or drink. To give a condemned person ‘good things’ that God has provided is a sin and as far as Islamic doctrine is concerned. God’s blessed creations are meant to be partaken solely by the faithful and not the corrupted.
“Shiet law dictates that the judge in a particular case should not let emotional states such as sadness, worry, sleepiness, hunger, thirst or nervousness affect his objectivity when judging an individual. The trial therefore, is held during the day and the accused is given the right and opportunity to defend his or her self. Though the public disapproved of the former judges and judicial methods of Amir’s regime, they felt the new court system could prove even worse as it lacked the checks and balances of a ‘Western’ judicial system. One individual or group of complicit clerics could decide a defendant’s fate. The clergy may not always abide by their own religious codes of mercy and consistency regarding their interpretation of judicial procedure while weighing the factors and circumstances of the case.
“Dissatisfied, the people wanted the right to an impartial jury and an attorney as they had been in the past. Babak, ignorant of modern legal procedure, said that no other judge is as important or as necessary as the clergyman. He claimed it is the clerics alone that should decide the fate of a man, since it is God’s Court which the cleric presides over. As the supreme leader of the nation, Babak was also establishing himself as the final arbiter in the courts of law in Baug. Babak’s belief about the administration of justice however did not necessarily parallel the Islamic (especially Shiet) codes of justice they sought to replicate by statute. Some of the other Ayatollahs rebuked Babak’s view on legal procedure, saying that in capital cases, everyone had the right to defend his or her self from execution with a more comprehensive form of due process, but Babak remained firm; the clergy alone would adjudicate justice. The clerics used the courts as a platform from which they could express their disapproval with Amir’s regime. Their propaganda was effective in labeling Amir as evil and his legal system unjust.
“Ayatollah Mahbod, imprisoned during Amir’s regime, believed that the rightful place of all clergymen was the Mosque, not the courts or parliament. He stated religious leaders should not delve into political affairs but be content with the simple life of a clergyman. His views correlated with the one expressed by Ayatollah Bahman, who stated that clergy should interfere with the process of government only when necessary to correct poorly managed or corrupt institutions, their officers and/or functionaries.”
After a two more hours of the session and a brief discussion, I was given the disc, SAIAR KHALQ AT TEALANDIR UNIVERSITY.
When I got to the library, I put the Saiar Khalq disc into the disc player and waited to listen with the headphones attached to the earphone terminal.
“Saiar Khalq declared they wished to demonstrate at Tealandir University. From there, they would march to the Ayatollah Babak’s residence located some two miles away. Babak refused their proposal because they were communists (and by implication, ‘irreligious’). Because of the Ayatollah’s refusal to allow the march, Saiar demonstrated at the university and prepared speeches for the 150,000 people who would attend. They did not march to Babak’s home, nor did they carry his picture on placards, exalting his image and name. The Saiar Khalq was angered that Ayatollah Babak would not allow them a greater reign of influence after all they had done to put him where he was politically.
“’Without us, where would you be?’ typical Shiet.” I muttered to myself.
Zareen would be home soon so I took a taxi there. She was in the kitchen having an ice cold l’eau gazeuse [Fr. sparkling mineral water].
“Hi Zareen,” I said.
“How was your day?” Zareen asked.
“Fine,” I replied. I helped myself to a sparkling mineral water as well and put sliced lemon peel in the glass with two ice cubes.
“Mind if I finish watching this disc on the tele?” I asked in English.
“No, not at all,” she replied, glad to get me out of the small kitchen and out of her way while she was preparing supper.
I put the disc into the entertainment center’s disc player and waited for the transmission: “One could observe those who gathered at Tealandir University for the Saiar organized event were of the educated classes worried about Baug’s future. By joining the assembly organized by the Saiar Khalq Party [Saiar], they demonstrated their unhappiness with Babak’s agenda which was launched by his affiliated political party. They felt left out of Babak’s vision for Baug which was opposed to their own and they were discontent.
“The core constituency of Saiar was comprised primarily of students and educated laymen. Although a small political party, they were very experienced in organizing political activities. Babak’s goals opposed those of Saiar Khalq due to the fact that inter alia, Baug retained elective democracy in the midst of its Islamist reformation. Saiar’s vision of a Baugi Republic did not include elective democracy. The bottom line for Babak’s democratic regime was to lead the illiterate of the country, as there were more of them than literate peoples. Having the majority of illiterates voting for their team assured victory at the polls for the clerics. At a meeting with illiterates and peasants of the Islamic faith, Babak spewed out his disgust for the knowledgeable and intellectuals of Baug saying, ‘[This country belongs to you, the illiterates. Knowledgeable people do not have a share in the Islamic Republic. We need faith, not knowledge. The knowledge of the scholars belongs to Western science and we will have no part of that here! Let the scholars confide in (their former Prime Minister) Arash!’]”
I telephoned Jahan and Jaleh on a secured conference call. “Why are we going over the past?” I asked them.
“So we know the present,” responded Jaleh.
“Islamic State?” I asked.
“ISIL, Al Queda—religion is rising Khalid,” Jahan joined in. I imagined his wide smile now. I could hear it in his voice.
“Yeah, religion is rising like a balloon ready to pop,” Jaleh added.
“There will be wars and rumors of wars?” I mumbled.
Zareen would be home soon so I took a taxi there. She was in the kitchen having an ice cold l’eau gazeuse [Fr. sparkling mineral water].
“Hi Zareen,” I said.
“How was your day?” Zareen asked.
“Fine,” I replied. I helped myself to a sparkling mineral water as well and put sliced lemon peel in the glass with two ice cubes.
“Mind if I finish watching this disc on the tele?” I asked in English.
“No, not at all,” she replied, glad to get me out of the tiny kitchen and her way as she prepared supper.
I put the disc into the entertainment center’s disc player and waited for the transmission: “One could observe those who gathered at Tealandir University for the Saiar organized event were of the educated classes worried about Baug’s future. By joining the assembly organized by the Saiar Khalq Party [Saiar], they demonstrated their unhappiness with Babak’s agenda which was launched by his affiliated political party. They felt left out of Babak’s vision for Baug which was opposed to their own and they were discontent.
“The core constituency of Saiar was comprised primarily of students and educated laymen. Although a small political party, they were very experienced in organizing political activities. Babak’s goals opposed those of Saiar Khalq due to the fact that inter alia, Baug retained elective democracy in the midst of its Islamist reformation. Saiar’s vision of a Baugi Republic did not include elective democracy. The bottom line for Babak’s democratic regime was to lead the illiterate of the country, as there were more of them than literate peoples. Having the majority of illiterates voting for their team assured victory at the polls for the clerics. At a meeting with illiterates and peasants of the Islamic faith, Babak spewed out his disgust for the knowledgeable and intellectuals of Baug saying, ‘[This country belongs to you, the illiterates. Knowledgeable people do not have a share in the Islamic Republic. We need faith, not knowledge. The knowledge of the scholars belongs to Western science and we will have no part of that here! Let the scholars confide in (their former Prime Minister) Arash!’]”
I telephoned Jahan and Jaleh on a secured conference call. “Why are we going over the past?” I asked them.
“So we know the present,” responded Jaleh.
“Islamic State?” I asked.
“ISIL, Al Queda—religion is rising Khalid,” Jahan joined in. I imagined his wide smile now. I could hear it in his voice.
“Yeah, religion is rising like a balloon ready to pop,” Jaleh added.
“There will be wars and rumors of wars?” I mumbled. Hanging up, I went back into the kitchen and hugged Zareen, gave her a neck massage and rubbed her back muscles.
“Oh yeah,” she responded.
The next morning, I got up with the sun as Zareen slept. I put the disc in a small portable and used the earphones so as not to awake her, and started the player with a tap.
“Ayatollah Bahman, who had a following of educated individuals, met with Babak to discuss his upcoming trip to Darivsh, a Moslem holy city in Baug. Bahman believed that if Babak left Tealandir for Darivsh, it would signify a shift away from the political scene in the capitol city. However, Babak’s trip effected just the opposite result. It aroused Baugi’s to celebrate the Ayatollah’s coming reign over the entire country! The factions that opposed the Imam dared not speak against him at this time for public support for him was too great. Upon Babak’s arrival at the Sepehr School in Darivsh, he would deliver a speech that laid out the groundwork for the future government of Baug. [The Darivsh School was a centuries old institution where Babak and four of his collegial “great Ayatollahs” had been educated in the Islamic Theology.]
The major aims of Babak’s speech at the Sepehr School were:
1. To re-establish an Islamic government as it was during the period of the great prophet Mohammed.
2. To remove Western influence(s) from Baug as completely as possible.
3. That Baug shall act independently, and resist impositions of foreign powers for political, economic and/or military reasons. [Although he vaguely referred to Xerxes in his address as “the East”, the main thrust of his argument against foreign influence was directed against the Sargon of Kir and Flint.]
4. The State emblem of the lion and the sun must be removed from the Baugi flag to be replaced by new symbols representing the Baugi Islamic Revolution. The emblem of the lion and the sun was a symbol of royalty, and the revolution did away with the monarchy’s role in governing Baug.
5. Babak and his collegial Ayatollahs wanted to establish a special ministry to direct others to do what was dictated to them through the written law of the Koran, the Holy Scriptures of Islam, and to avoid that which was contrary to the Islamic doctrines contained therein. These two points: to do what was right and avoid what was wrong, were the most important duties a Moslem had, according to Babak. Babak went on further to state that it was every Moslem’s duty to watch out for one another’s brother on the spiritual road. After catching someone in sinful behavior, a mild reprimand is in order. The second time one is caught in sin, a strong reprimand, and physical beating is called for on the third offense.
“In a nationally televised broadcast, Babak was seen with other clergymen that had less than stellar reputations among the people. One of those accompanying Babak for instance, was a known smuggler. Another, Babak’s son-in-law, was known as a real estate tycoon who sold lands set aside for the religious and diverted the proceeds of the sale to his personal benefit. Merchants had sold him land below market prices and wrote off the discount as a charitable tax deduction. In turn, Babak’s son-in-law resold the parcels on the open market to the highest bidders and made a tidy profit from the sales. Babak remained silent about these real estate sales of his son-in-law during the broadcast although he had a place in his administration’s cabinet. The son-in-law was valuable to the Ayatollah for his worldly knowledge and shrewd business savvy.”
The Liked, the Well-Liked, the Silent, the Ruffian and the Despised: A Baugi Family Has Only One Father
“Babak broadcasted on national television he would break up the Department of Justice in Baug.”
“Now that I can agree with!” I yelled down the hall to Zareen in the kitchen. “Justice Ministers would no longer be allowed to eat or drink out of silver tableware or have female secretaries.” I heard from the speakers. Meanwhile, Zareen was ladling hot lamb soup into liter-sized porcelain bowls. I turned off the stereo and thought of eating lamb.
After dinner, we sat in front of a fire. I put Vaseline on my dick and let it melt a little before probing. I think she liked it. She always says she does when I ask so I’m not asking. Why bother with foreplay or an endurance test. We’ve fucking been married eighteen years. Even after ten years, I remember the doc asked, “How long you’ve been married?”
“Ten years,” I replied.
“That’s why,” he said, in response to the usefulness of Viagra as a chemical substitute for foreplay.
There’ll be plenty of time for foreplay…Zareen doesn’t like foreplay…maybe it’s my foreplay with her? Big deal, right? She gets off, that’s all that matters as far as my husbandly duty goes, that and making her lunch and a smoothie every morning. Once the historical study and operational games are complete, ther’ll be plenty of time for more pounding…arrgh…and there’s one for the hi-skirt broad.
I slept in. The melatonin is a two-edged sword, especially because I threw in an Advil kicker. Zareen wanted coffee so I rolled off the futon and into the kitchen. I started up the Krups and hoped for the best. My eyes were half-shut, not half-open. Zareen was going shopping today so I had some time. After the kitchen was clean and Zareen went to the outdoor market in the neighboring square, I turned on the DVD and listened.
“A few days after Babak made his formal statement forbidding certain Western ‘luxuries’, the engineer, Prime Minister Farhang noted the rif-raf that accompanied the Ayatollah’s on television and became concerned with the import of the public display of Islamic political unity; he may have wondered if it was ‘authentic’ or merely ‘staged.’ Farhang told reporters that the clergy were gossiping about him behind his back, perhaps wanting to get feedback on whatever scuttlebutt they may have been privy to regarding his reputation.
“The prime minister and the clergymen were trying to debase each other’s reputation because their political views did not mesh. After Farhang accused the clergy of spying and gossiping on him, the clergy openly told journalists they were referring to the lifestyles of Farhang and those like him. The clergy claimed that the prime minister had a young female secretary, drove a Mercedes-Benz automobile, and worked in an office covered with expensive Tahmoureese carpets. Farhang retaliated by saying that at the present time, even a shopkeeper can afford a Mercedes, and having female secretaries was not that unusual, even in Baug. He asked the clergy point blank: “Is it unusual for me to have my own personal secretary?”

70 of 150 pages

Compilation Copyright John Rubens March 23, 2015


About johnrubens

B.A. ; J.D. ; author of anti-novel "Skyscraper Heavens".;
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