Skyscraper Heavens Unproofed [64623 Words]

SKYSCRAPER HEAVENS
Introduction:
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 material we collect as readers of the story. Khalid, our narrator, often plays a CD or DVD the contents of which we read in quotation marks. Khalid and his cousins, siblings Jahan and Jaleh, help us perceive the underlying events of a 1978-1980 revolution.
The dialogue in Skyscraper Heavens seeks to create a mosaic exposing dialectic themes of “opposition” and “containment”. The dialogue serves to intersperse various time and space sequences, weaving them into the timeline of an unconventional, decentralized revolution in Baug, a fictitious nation. Dialogue, internal and between entities, regarding a United Corporate [UC] funded research project of historically significant events in Baug reveal there may be an ulterior motive behind the project, but Khalid, Jahan and Jaleh are employees tasked with an assignment and any ulterior motives of UC are not on the assignment. The main assignment as far as UC is concerned, is study of the chronological events leading up to the Baugi Revolution of 1978 and how its “molten lava” has cooled in the subsequent decades leading to their “present”. The historical record of past revolutionary events in Baug is dictated to us either in person or by one of the characters playing accounts of analysts from a UC provided disc. The numerous opposing parties mentioned throughout the story form a mosaic of the dialectic.
Prologue:
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 rejection letters, one handwritten simply stated the work was not their “cup of tea.” Again, this cup of tea is currently located at the blog johnrubens.wordpress.com 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 inserted due to the benefit of revelations gleaned from continuing education.
“Have we not all one father? Hath not one God created us? Why do we deal treacherously every man against his brother, by profaning the covenant of our fathers?” Malachi 2:10 [King James Version modified with capital letters beginning a sentence].
Prelude:
“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?
Call No Man Your Father on Earth for One is Your Father Which is in Heaven. Matthew 23:9 [Original King James Version].
“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.”
THE COUP D’ETAT: 1953
“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.”
AMIR TAKES THE HELM OF BAUG
“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.”
MAJOR PETROLEUM CONCESSIONAIRES FROM SARGON
“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.
XERXES BEARS GIFT
“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.”
BARGAINING WITH THE BIG GUYS
“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!’”
AMIR AND THE FOUNDATION OF HIS SECRET POLICE FORCE O.I.H.S.B.
“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.
“PRESIDENT JETHRO JOSEPH KINNET’S INFLUENCE IN BAUG (circa 1960-1963):
“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.”
REFORMATION: THE SIX PRINCIPLES
“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.”
THE AYATOLLAH BABAK AND THE SHIET DENOMINATIONS OF ISLAM
“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.”
AFTER PRESIDENT KINNET OF SARGON
“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.
THE SIX PRINCIPLES: THEORY VS. PRACTICE
“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.
GUL AS PRIME MINISTER
“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.
GOVERNMENTAL CONTROL OF IMPORTED AND EXPORTED ITEMS
“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.”
NATIONALIZATION OF BAUGI OIL; BAUG’S MEMBERSHIP IN THE OIL EXPORTING SOCIETIES (OPS)
“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.”
AMIR’S DOMESTIC POLICIES, FOREIGN RELATIONS COMPARED
“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.
A CHAMELEON HATH A SMALLER BRAIN, BUT FITS RIGHT IN—NO BRAINER
“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’.”
POLITICS OF DEMOCRACY IN BAUG
“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.”
OIHSB REVERSE-PSYCHOLOGY
“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.”
PRIME MINISTER GUL AND THE NORTHEAST PROVINCE OF BAUGISTAN
“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 Papaverer um, 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, Papavererum was asserting its sovereign rights and had a higher elevation geographically than both Baug and Padistan. The fact that Papavererum 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 Papavererum. ‘Let the bean counters divide the spoils,’ Xerxes told Papavererum. 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.
“Boo.”
“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?”
“Hottentots?”
“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.
AMIR’S CONTAINMENT OF PUBLIC UNREST: IOHSB CRACKDOWN circa 1975
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.
“Yes.”
“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.
A NEW BOARD OF DIRECTORS APPOINTED IN THE PUBLICORPZ PARTY–1977
“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.”
BABAK BECOMES AN AYATOLLAH FOR PURPOSES OF DIPLOMACY AND SELF-PROTECTION
“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.”
THE AYATOLLAH BABAK’S ROLE IN THE BAUGI REVOLUTION OF 1978-1980
“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.’].”
OIHSB ON THE “WHIPPING POST”
“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.”
OIHSB’S RETALIATION AGAINST AYATOLLAH BABAK
“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.”
GREAT AYATOLLAH DARIEN
“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.
STUDENTS ARE QUICKER THAN OLD MEN: STUDENTS ACT AGAINST THE DICTATORSHIP OF AMIR
“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.”
AMIR’S LAST TELEVISION INTERVIEW FROM BAUG
“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.
ANALOGY OF THE SPRING TECHNOLOGY
“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.
JASPER HOSSEIN AMIR SHAHRAZ [AMIR]—BAUG’S ROYAL FAMILY
“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 AYATOLLAHS’ REIGN BEGINS WITH A SEPTEMBER RAMADAN
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. “
LAWYERS’ ROLE IN THE REVOLUTION
“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
“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 REMOVED FROM OFFICE, GENERAL GAZSI, COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF OF THE ARMED FORCES INSTALLED AS LATEST IN A STRING OF BAUGI PRIME MINISTERS
“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.”
DR. MORVARID ARASH ACCEPTS THE OFFICE OF PRIME MINISTER OF BAUG’S PARLIAMENT–1978
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.”
DR. MORVARID ARASH’S ANCESTORS WERE OF THE ARASHI TRIBES
“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.”
AYATOLLAH BABAK CLAIMS ARASH A TOOL OF AMERICA
“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.”
THE AYATOLLAH BABAK ACTS
“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 MEN BEHIND BABAK
“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’S SHORT TERM OF OFFICE
“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
GREAT DEMONSTRATION OCCURS
“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.”
VIOLENCE AT THE DEMONSTRATION: CREATION PARTY vs. THE DEMOCRATIC SHAHEEN FRONT [DSF]
“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.
THE GOUDARZ CEMETERY—AYATOLLAH BABAK PRESIDING
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.”
FERDOWS FARHANG AS PRIME MINISTER
“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.”
TWO GUERRILLA GROUPS: TIP OF THE SPEAR
“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 accentuate 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 included a disconnect 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.”
ISLAMIC COURTS
“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?’ they pled, but the Ayatollah Babak was not moved. In his mind, it was God that won the victory, not the Saiar Khalq.”
Zareen would be home soon so I took a taxi there. She was in the kitchen having a 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 mineral water as well and put a sliced lemon peel in the glass with two ice cubes.
“Mind if I finish watching a disc on the tele?” I asked in British lingo.
“Not at all,” she replied, glad to get me out of the kitchen 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 conference call from the den. “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 added. 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 over the phone, not caring whether they heard me or not. “Thanks,” I said audibly before hanging up.
I went back into the kitchen, hugged Zareen and gave her a neck massage then rubbed her back muscles as I always did.
“Oh yeah, right there” she responded.
The next morning, I got up with the sun as Zareen slept. I put the disc in a tablet and used earphones so as not to awake her. I started the player with a light tap on the screen.
“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 as I made my move toward the hot meat.
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? I like pouring extra virgin olive oil over her labia when she asks for the endurance test. We’ve fucking been married eighteen years. Even after ten years, I remember the Doc asked me, “How long you’ve been married?”
“Ten years,” I replied.
“That’s why,” he said, in response to my question about the usefulness of Viagra or a comparable as a chemical substitute for foreplay. There was always Yohimbe.
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, there’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 Ayatollahs 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 others’ 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 as well as 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?”
“Baug’s recent intensive and strict orders disturbed the Baugi people because they felt that all citizens should have equal status under the new government, but it did not play out that way. So, throughout the Baugi business world, employees refused to obey their superiors. Banks began to open, but because former business owners had fled the country, the acumen of the business managers and their subordinates was woefully inadequate. Due to a challenged functionality, the government gradually consolidated all of the private banks into a nationalized fund and promulgated their existence to interested parties, but even this did not significantly help alleviate poor economic conditions in Baug. The Army too became discombobulated and government officials reduced mandatory military service from a two-year stint to only one year.
“In spite of these changes, many of the higher ranking officers (colonels and generals) were leery of returning to their garrisons due to their possible arrest and execution care of the Revolutionary Guard of Ayatollah Babak. The new regime established the Revolutionary Guard to protect itself as there was no other police force equipped or organized to do so at the time. The conditions for membership in the Revolutionary Guard were simple, yet demanding: a strong belief in Islam, and an unconditional devotion to Ayatollah Babak as their ruler. The Guard was rapidly formed and aided by Barbadians who benefitted from Babak’s government. Babak came out in support of the Barbad Liberation Organization [BLO] and was very supportive of their measures.
“Under BLO direction, the Guard raided the homes of the rich, took their valuables, and executed many of their inhabitants. After the evacuation of the rich families from their homes, the clergymen, accused the wealthy of committing the crime of ‘self-indulgence’ by having an overabundance of luxurious and superfluous possessions. Evicted from their homes and without a forum to redress their grievances, the clergy were facilitated in their usurpation of the houses and expensive cars of the ‘self-indulgent’ in order to run their own ‘meaningful and important’ duties for the new regime. The clerics rationalized that they were the best recipients of God’s good gifts as they were involved in His mission. The clergymen brought many priceless and rare articles, antiques and jewels to their homes for their own use or sold them for a very good price at market.
“Prime Minister Farhang expected Babak to give him more freedom to run the government than former Prime Minister Arash, but on the contrary, Babak gradually took power away from Farhang. Babak and his savvy son-in-law made laws and issued orders that suited their peculiar tastes. What ‘tasted’ good to the Ayatollah Babak did not always ‘taste’ good to the next person seated with him at table. Rules and regulations were constantly promulgated and repealed. Babak’s regime organized a Revolutionary Council composed of clergymen directed to help control the proper functioning of Islamic Baugi society. All but three of the council members had the discretionary authority to order commandos drawn from the Revolutionary Guard to enforce executive authority—their authority. The Revolutionary Council or ‘Committee’ was often referred to colloquially as the “Roammittee“. The Roammittee used gunman at their disposal to exercise authority in matters of State. When they thought it necessary, they would take appropriate weaponry to initiate armed government reprisals against the opposition. The Roammittee would target the particularly wealthy residents to be thrown out of their homes and executed. It was not necessary for the Roammittee to get a warrant or injunction. The fleeting whim of one of its respected members was enough to sentence anyone to death.
“They attacked homes in the dead of night in surprise raids. When the wealthy occupants were arrested, they were offered the ultimatum to give up their homes and possessions or face the death sentence. The Revolutionary Council brought individuals to court and accused them of financially aiding Flint. The punishment for such a crime was death, and the only remedy to avoid capital punishment was to bribe the Chief of the Revolutionary Guard with all the worldly possessions he could muster.
“Newspapers informed people that the Revolutionary Council was taking bribes from wealthy defendants in lieu of criminal prosecution. To prevent a scandal, Babak spread the rumor that OIHSB had influenced members of the council. In point of fact however, all of the former members of OIHSB had fled, been imprisoned, or executed. Babak selected one of the clergymen as the chief coordinator of the Roammittee squads in order to prevent corruption and ensure justice and accountability. It took a lot of time to control the factions within the Baugi Revolutionary Council because allegiances shifted as factions dissolved or were impacted by disruptions and anarchy occurring daily.
“Babak gave newspapers the freedom to write anything they wished; they were not censored or repressed. Babak wanted Farhang to promulgate a republic based on Islam. The adherents of political party rule and the generally educated population believed in the separation of church and state: that religion and politics should be kept separate when governing the nation and not intertwine, but stand side by side as a balance to power. Those who supported the separation of church and state reasoned that there was no recent model of an Islamic Republic in Baug and that it was risky to embark on such a great dislodgement of Baug’s reliance on a constitutional government. Without a proven track record of whether an Islamic Republic would function as planned, many Baugis were reticent about handing government leadership over to Moslem cleric overlords.”
I went to the compound on Good Friday and sought out a Jesuit priest. A secretary in the rectory office told me where to find him. I knocked on a six panel colonial door. The mahogany brown wood stain was cracked from the arid temperatures and a lack of maintenance and air conditioning. A small man with grey hair and a gracious smile mirrored mine.
“Hello, the secretary told me I could find you here. My name is Khalid. I was born Sunni but my wife has brought me here several times to go to your seasonal masses. One of the Jesuit priests said, ‘If Satan translated mean ‘adversary’ and not ‘the Devil’, what does that indicate about whose ‘side’ one is on, dialectically speaking?”
The priest thought for a moment and replied, “Remember what our Lord said to his apostles, ‘Follow me…Come and see’…and… ‘Get behind me’.”
After the three phases sunk into my hot and perspiring head I saw it was that “we contend not with flesh and blood” stuff from Paul’s letters in the New Testament.
“Oh yeah,” I replied and smiled widely. “Thanks,” I said, and gave him a hand shake and a small donation before turning to leave. He didn’t try to stop me and I was grateful for that. “Goodbye,” I added and turned to face him as he slowly closed the panel door behind him.
The next day I resorted to my research on the Baugi Revolution using an interactive disc with the heading:
“POST-REVOLUTION POLITICAL PARTIES–THE THREE HOUSES : BABAK’S ISLAMIC PARTY ON THE RIGHT, THE BAUGI NATIONAL FRONT ON THE LEFT AND THE STUDENT COALITION FOR ACTION IN BETWEEN”
Post-revolution? I played the disc on a 3-D holograph tablet to see how Baug would pick up the pieces after the armed resistance left three major players standing.
“There were three main streams of political thought and membership after the most violent demonstrations and police actions had transpired in Baug. These were the counterparts of a transitional government as Baug moved from a monarchy to an Islamic Republic. One of the three groups was comprised of Babak’s religious society that was by now incorporated into the governmental structure. Another was that of the politicians from the Baugi National Front (mostly the educated classes) and the younger generation of ‘students’ generally considered mid-way politically between the clergy on the right and the BNF on the left.
“Prime Minister Farhang and his acting cabinet selected ‘Democratic Islamic Republic’ as the title of the political system for the “new Baug”. The greatly respected Ayatollah Bahman agreed with Farhang’s choice for the name of Baug’s political structure, but the Ayatollah Babak did not like use of the word ‘democratic’ to describe any aspect of Baug as it was a Western term and should not lend any Western meaning to the Islamic Republic.
“The debate was on. Newspapers were filled with editorials on what kind of regime would rule Baug and what its name would ultimately be. For his part, Babak showed distain for the word and concept of ‘democracy’. For their part, the plurality of the press favored the additional word ‘democracy’ to dispel some of the vagaries of simply calling Baug an ‘Islamic Republic’. Babak threatened his adversaries on the future name of the Baugi government by painting them as profane and deserving of punishment for their proposal to add ‘Democracy’ to ‘Islamic Republic.’
“The managers of Ayatollah Babak’s ‘stage show’ were groups formed to visit the Imam every day in Darivsh. Groups gathered at the Sepehr Theology School and Babak reciprocated by giving these devotees fresh lectures daily. This ‘give and take’ was effective because it gave Babak’s Party more members which he would need now that the recent violent events of the ‘revolution’ were waning. The planners of the televised event showed busloads of peasants and villagers brought to Darivsh to show their wild enthusiasm for their new leader Ayatollah Babak. The reality television shows were an astounding success. Babak enlightened and entertained his audiences day after day. Sometimes, he had marvelous audiences that were already fired up. He often didn’t have to work very hard personally to overwhelm the audience with his cordial diplomacy. They cheered when he addressed them—they didn’t need a neon sign that said ‘APPLAUSE’ as they were sincerely inspired. These meetings became symbiotic wherein the speaker, Babak and the audiences fed off each others’ enthusiasm. Authorities that viewed the Ayatollah from their homes on television sets would jest that Babak had great potential as an entertainer or better yet, a stand-up-sit-down comedian in Sargon.
“As the bearer of good tidings, Babak declared he would institute a program to build houses for the deprived poor people of Baug. He opened a checking account for himself and let the whole country join in enlarging it. The account number was 100. His followers donated thousands of dollars while merchants and landowners gave the Imam sufficient acreage to make housing for the poor feasible. Babak was not satisfied by the country’s gifts at the outset and demanded more from his countrymen. Being a powerful Imam, he expected parents to gladly sacrifice their very children before his feet if he so desired it. To further manipulate the citizens’ minds, a new television program was devised by producers of the televised ‘Babak Show’ and was re-cast as Babak and the Peasant’s Hour. The producers and their assistants persuaded illiterate women to visit the Imam in droves to offer their gold, silver and jewels. The scene, as depicted on the television screen, was very touching, stimulating donations from all quarters to account 100. The propagandized Babak and the Peasant’s Hour was an effective tool in unifying the nation to support the poor—it also gave Babak more revenue to work with to bolster his fledgling administration. When donations had reached the satisfactory level, Babak gave a speech of appreciation to the people in which he heaped praise on those generously donating for the welfare of the poor in Baug. During the speech, sacks full of the jewels and precious metals that had been collected during the donation drive were presented on camera and shown being transported to Ayatollah Babak’s house.”
A NEW SHOW BEGINS—SALES TAXES
“Although Baug was currently selling crude oil, it took more than two months for them to get the revenue from its sale. The time lapse between the sale and revenue receipts for the crude oil incentivized clerics in charge of accounts receivable to use revenues sparingly while they remained in the trust set up by the Ayatollah Babak. When sufficient revenue from the sale of Baugi crude oil flowed in to the trustees, they were able to pass some of it to Babak-controlled coffers and/or to an earmarked account to meet the appropriate financial needs of the Baugi Islamic Republic. Both students and the employed were compelled to donate a certain percentage or a pre-determined quota fee to account 100. The money was purportedly used to strengthen the new regime and to increase its ability to resist a counter-coup against Babak. The students who donated money as a sign of gratitude for being able to enjoy an education in the Islamic Republic got most of the money they donated to account 100 from their parents, who also donated money in thanksgiving for their position of status in the new Baugi society. The merchants, for their part, paid an outrageously high tax because they had the most cash flow to be used by the clergymen. The laborers and other employees were asked for approximately half-a-week’s wages per month. In Baug, there was no income tax, only tariffs on the sales of merchandise, so the offering was not an overwhelming burden as long as one did not need to buy or sell products or use taxable services. When some party or individual paid less than he or she was expected to donate as often happened, the giver was accused of being a counter-revolutionary or working underground with Amir’s associates in some undisclosed manner.”
THE REVENUES TO CLERGY ACCOUNTS: #100; #200
Jahan met me at a local schoolroom in which he had an affiliation. We met to learn about the Clergy Accounts #100 and #200. We sat across from each other behind portable teacher’s desks. He began the lesson on the accounting which began the finances for the Islamic Republic of Baug.
“The first publicly released accounting from Babak’s ‘treasury’ office reported total accumulated deposits in Account #100 amounted to approximately two hundred million dollars. Success breeds success, so Babak opened Account #200—exclusively to alleviate the suffering of the poor by building homes and infrastructure for their use.”
“I wonder if the account included the plans that were needed to design a Transit Oriented District like the one in Shahrah, Gaspar?” I asked.
“Doubt it Khalid,” Jahan said dismissively and continued with the lesson.
“The ‘housing project’ account #200 was meant to enable even poor people and their extended families with housing. When the Ayatollah Babak came to power, his officers seized apartment complexes and houses which had been in development under Amir’s Administration but remained unfinished because the construction companies involved in the macro-project fled the country and/or went bankrupt. Babak and his collaborators reserved the unfinished construction project as an ideal ploy to encourage the public into donating money to Account #200.
“However, ultimately Babak’s group of collaborators kept the money for their own administration when the projects were deemed unsalvageable. They conveniently decided they would not ‘put good money after bad’. The Islamic Republic changed the financing so that the government’s treasury would pay for Amir’s ‘lamed’ building project not the donations to Account #200 as was initially disclosed. When this happened, it put additional stress on the government’s budget and the completed dwellings were later sold to only those who could afford them or to a select group of Babak’s Guardsmen.
“After one year, Babak had not dispensed any of the Account #200 funds to the poor. He declared the Housing Foundation officially closed in that it had not been effective ‘in alleviating the housing problem for the poor.’ When asked by the press where the funds of Account #200 were allocated (or located), the Ayatollah Babak could not reply.
“The pioneering way Babak and his collaborators succeeded in gleaning money from the public’s hands could not be said to be in bad faith, but the questionable financial methodologies in almost every sector of under the Republic’s jurisdiction appeared as if it might be riddled with deceptive smokescreens. The failings of the new programs proposed by the Imam caused disappointment among many of the Baugi peoples. Still, most did not think Ayatollah Babak was trying to deceive them, but felt as an individual, he had their best interests in his heart.
“Some groups of discontented people tried to make the distinction between Babak and other clergymen. Instead of accusing the Ayatollah with the ‘failure’ of particular ‘programs’, Babak supporters said that other clergymen working under the Imam were responsible for the foul-ups and miscalculations. Babak had often encouraged his supporters by commending their fundraising prowess, even if it sometimes included embezzling ‘for a good cause’ or ‘for the clerics’ Party’. Those embezzling, their collaborators or spokespersons claimed it was not possible for Babak to keep track of all the priests [tutors] who may be neglecting their duties of worship and public service. As for the theft, it was already in a charity, not in the hands of any individuals, but in trust for all Baugis.
“Organized political caucuses at this time argued that establishing an Islamic Republic was not orthodox may even be contrary to the nature of Baugi principles. Yet, Babak was resolved: Baug would have an Islamic Republic rather than a democracy, God willing. Babak’s decision brought unsettling attitudes among the people from the outlying provinces of Bahadur, Baugistan, Armee to the north, as well as to the Sunni-majority regions in the southern reaches of Baug.
“For the past fourteen centuries, there had been a dispute between the Shiet and Sunni sects of Islam. In the 7th Century A.D., Baug was generally far more technologically advanced than Samisekt, but not in the art of war. The Samisekt had skilled warriors that overcame the people of the Tahmour region, of which Baug was a part.
“However, for the next two hundred years, Baugis bore down and used their knowledge and expertise to manipulate and frustrate the purposes of their occupiers. Skilled and knowledgeable Tahmoureesians were very often promoted by their occupiers to be leaders and arbiters in education, administration and accounting. Finally, the tipping point came and the Tahmoureese leaders, with their functionaries, were able to overcome the Samisekt in Baug and drive them out.”
Jahan, a Shiet came over to watch and discuss the next DVD in the series, The Shiet and Sunni Denominations of Islam. I was Sunni and Jahan and Jaleh were both Shia, also referred to as the “Shiet” branch of Islam.
Even though a Tahmoureese Sunni, I often relished the study of the schism which formed after Yazid overcame Hossein in their mutual ambition to gain the undisputed sovereign throne of Baug.”
THE SHIET AND SUNNI DENOMINATIONS OF ISLAM
“The major fissure in Islam took place in Tahmour when Baugi Shiets refused to accept Hassan and the Samisekt Sunni saints and caliphs as their supreme leaders because they were not as closely related to the prophet Mohammed as they were. The Shiets chose Ali, who was both the cousin and son-in-law of Mohammed, as their Imam (Caliph). The main reason for the different Caliphs in the Shiet and Sunni denominations of Islam was that Ali’s son Hossein chose the former emperor of Baug’s daughter as his wife, and she likewise chose him. [At the time of the Samisekt invasion, Samisekt Sunnis sold Baugi men, women and children in the medinas to work in Samisekt regions outside of Baug.] When the Sunni merchants attempted to sell the Baugi emperor’s daughter, Ali displayed wisdom by asking that the princess of the former monarchy not be sold but allowed to marry among the young Samisekt in Baug. As it happened, the princess chose Hossein, Ali’s son, who was next in succession to the place of Imam after Ali’s brother Hassan. The two realms united in this marriage: the old Samisekt Empire (the Sunnis) and the Baugi side of the new Islamic heritage, the Shiets of Tahmoureese.
“The descendants of the princess and Hossein therefore, were half of Samisekt, half of Baugi royal ancestry. The descendents of the princess and Hossein were informally chosen as the future Imams of the Baugi people as they united two peoples, the Sunni and Shiet tribes. The official caliphs were taken customarily from Ali’s cousin Omanid’s descendants. Omanid’s offspring started the line of royal succession in Tahmour because the Shiets did not have the clout to present their own leader to rival those of their conquerors, the Sunnis.
“Baugis nevertheless resisted Sunni culture by claiming Hossein’s descendants and not Omanid’s would be the sovereign Imams ruling over them as Tahmoureese-Baugi Shiet-Moslems. The proponents of Shiet-based leadership pointed out Hossein’s children were of half Tahmoureesi origin and more exposed to Baug’s culture than Omanid’s offspring. Despite the grounds argued for a Shiet ‘supreme leader’ of Baug, the Baugi people were not allowed to have an insular political leader of their own while serving under Sunni authority and domination. To maneuver within a greater Sunni regional jurisdiction [hereinafter SRJ], Baugi Shiets came up with a religious angle to comply with Sunni-imposed laws. Baugis alleged a distinction should be made between religious and political leaders which would bisect the political leadership which has been handed down since the 8th and 9th centuries. By splitting the power of the Baugi government into both religious and political parts, it would enable them to comply with laws promulgated by the Sunnis while retaining a semblance of ethnic identity separate and apart from them.
“Baugis allege Omanid’s caliphs down through history often resorted to coercion, extortion and intimidation when procuring alms for the caliph or Imam. Further, Baugis claimed God had appointed Ali and his offspring as the true Imam, not the royal ancestral line of the Sunnis: Yazid and Omanid. Since there was no royal figure of the SRJ whom Shia wanted as their leader, most Baugis followed Ali and his descendants as their primary religious leaders. In doing so, they gained a voice of self-determination in negotiations and transactions with the Sunnis.
“Eventually, the severing of the Shiets and their Imams from the caliphs of the Sunni denomination of Islam caused political upheaval. The turmoil derives from a longing for self-determination on the side of Baug against what the Sunnis believed was their inherent right to rule as victors of the throne left by Mohammed, his daughter, her two sons and their cousin Yazid. In other words, on the one hand the Shiets believed heredity and blood should determine a leader of the people [as in a monarchy] whereas the Sunnis believed if the acting supreme leader was imbued with significant credentials [Yazid was a cousin and an acting leader during Hassan’s reign], he was entitled to keep the throne until such time as he was challenged and defeated. Since Hossein challenged Yazid for caliph after his brother Hassan’s death, Sunni’s maintain Yazid and his descendants are properly installed as caliphs since Yazid’s men killed Hossein only after a challenge by Hossein.
“In Baug, the Shiet denomination is by far the majority and best represents the ideology of Baugi culture throughout the ages. Gradually, the Shiets would directly or indirectly force the Sunnis to obey them in the jurisdictions of Baug as the Sunnis were outnumbered demographically in the territories foreign to their own. Sunnis feared that if Shiet clerics were given the political as well as the ecclesiastical power they already possessed as Imams, they might disregard Sunni civil rights and migrate into Sunni held territory and rule over them in their own countries. In the post-revolutionary months of 1978- 1980, the Sunnis based their grievances against the Ayatollah Babak, a Shiet, ruling over them as a form of “co-mingling of politics and religion”. [Compare “unlawful discrimination” as written in the 13th and 14th Amendments to Sargon’s Constitution ratified in the 19th Century as well as ancillary case law, defined Federal and State Statutes. See also scriptures, “It was written in the book”; “It is written”; “the word of the Lord is tried”].
Jaleh arrived carrying a paper box containing small sandwiches and we sat down to lunch together. Jahan made tea in the kitchenette and brought it in on a tray carrying a porcelain coffee pot, three small tea cups and some butter cookies. I could smell the jasmine in the tea as he lowered it onto the coffee table.
After lunch I turned on the DVD player for everyone to listen to the lesson on “Kouros.”
KOUROS:
“Kouros is one of the thirty-one provinces bordering Kaveh and Dilshad in the southern region of Baug whose residents are primarily Sunni. In Kouros, the situation was quite different than in other Sunni provinces within Baugi’s border. Kouros is the center of all oil production in Baug. The population is a mosh of two types: 1) The first group is primarily of Baugi ancestry and 2) the second a genotype of Samisekts who migrated to Baug after indigenous Baugis, but who now speak both Farsi, a Baugi tongue, and Arabic. The latter group of ‘naturalized’ Samisekt Baugi citizens asked Babak, as a Shiet Imam, if Kouros could become a province insulated somewhat from Baugi jurisdiction. These Baugi citizens of Sunni ancestry organized a new political party they called The Center of Culture and Politics for Samisekt Peoples [CCPSP]. The proposal that each province should have some duties of self-determination and self or inter-dependent government within a Shiet nucleus was generally accepted amongst Baug’s educated elites. The peasants however, did not understand the detailed implications that such a change would bring to the government.”
“I guess one always runs that risk when one is resigned to being blind sheep,” I said.
“Be attentive and curious sheep,” added Jahan sarcastically.
“What’s the difference between a Judas Goat and a ‘Fisher of Men’?” I asked them.
“One leads the willing while the other captures the available?” Jaleh ventured.
“How big is your room?” I asked.
“The same size as Jahan’s, but I’m almost never there,” she related.
“At the hospital?”
“Mostly, yes.”
‘At the hospital’ I thought to myself.
AYATOLLAH BABAK’S TIMELY RESPONSE TO BAUG REGARDING KOUROS
“Babak took advantage of the news vacuum in Tealandir and declared bluntly that Kouros wanted to separate itself from Baug, one of the wealthier regions of the country, and become ‘allies of the Sargon and Flint!’ He ordered his Revolutionary Guard to keep up intense pressure on Kouros until it topples the opposition party centralized there and convert the people of Kouros into Babak loyalists, first and foremost.
“In an effort to persuade the people of Kouros to follow Ayatollah Babak, the Revolutionary Guard exiled Kouros’ leader, Ayatollah Shayan, to Darivsh one night. In response to the disgracefully orchestrated exile of their Ayatollah, Kourosians fought against Babak’s Revolutionary Guard. Babak appointed General Pahlbod in response to the Kourosian disruptors and gave him authority to silence the people by force if he had to. General Pahlbod was the defense minister [Governor-General] in Babak’s regime as well as Commander-in-Chief of the Navy. Pahlbod was responsible for the stability and security of Kouros which was a strategic area situated along the Tahmour Gulf, on the border with Dilshad. As Governor-General of Kouros and Commander-In-Chief of the Navy, Pahlbod wore two hats and had the clout to overcome uprisings in the southern province without many of the parliamentary delays otherwise associated with the use of force.
“The Honorable Shankam, a religious judge, traveled to Zand in the center of the Kouros province and convened the trial of eight youths that fought against the Babak regime. Within the space of one hour, Shankam heard the testimony of the eight youths accused of various acts of rebellion against the Islamic State of Baug and sentenced them to summary execution. Pahlbod affirmed the religious court’s ruling by Judge Shankam and the eight youths were summarily executed. Pahlbod’s totalitarian methods were designed to intimidate residents so they would not get swept up in the opposition’s endeavor to disrupt and retaliate against the Babak regime. Many more youths were sentenced to death and a great number thrown in jail. In one instance, a seventeen year old girl and an eighteen year old man were handing out tracts criticizing the effectiveness of the newly formed government under Babak. Once captured, the young man was sentenced to death, and the woman to life imprisonment. The sentences were primarily meant to frighten others, and tamp down wealthy Kourosians who were riding Babak’s coattails to a counter-revolution misaligned with the Islamic Revolution of Baug won by Babak’s Shiet collaborators.”
SUNNI-BAUG REACTION TO PAHLBOD’S RULE IN KOUROS
“The Center of Culture and Politics for the Samisekt Peoples [CCPSP] changed their method of diplomacy from one of calm to one of violence. Babak’s denial of their semi-independence and the installation of Pahlbod as their Governor-General infuriated the Kourosians and their residents decided to blow up petroleum pipelines, disrupting heating oil distribution throughout the winter months. During the Baugi winter of 1978-1979 many customers could be seen waiting in line for a ration of heating oil up to six days. Simultaneously in Sargon, gasoline rationing was taking place for the general public and motorists waited in long lines at service stations for gasoline that was not readily available.”
“So the Baugi’s had to wait longer lines for heating oil than Sargonians had to wait in line for gasoline?” I asked, since waiting in line six days for heating oil sounded implausible and outrageous.
“That seems to have been the case,” replied Jahan.
“’Mother, I know not seems.” Jaleh said, quoting Shakespeare’s Hamlet.
“Cousin, if I tell you Baugi’s had to wait six days in line, they had to wait six days in line,” affirmed Jahan.
“Fuck you,” I said jokingly.
“Fuck you!” Jaleh joined in.
“Fuck you both!!” topped Jahan.
“Go fuck your masculine selves… . That didn’t sound right,” added Jaleh.
[We laughed a fucking laugh about fucking or use of the word “fuck” by Jaleh, I don’t know which].
The next day, we met again to discuss:
THE UNDERGROUND DEMOCRATIC PARTY IN KOUROS, BAHADUR AND ARMEE
“Ever been to an underground?” Jahan asked me.
“Underground what?” I replied.
“Like the Magic Theatre in Hermann Hesse’s Steppenwolf. Not entirely legit but not without value. Being underground, it is not standardized, but quite unique. One cannot find an underground unless invited as one of its attributes is clandestine, so to retain its hidden nature, one must go underground.”
“I went to an after-hours club once—they had gambling. The cops broke it up and the dealer stole the money in the pot when he grabbed the table cloth full of cash after someone yelled ‘It’s a bust!’ up the staircase,” I recounted.
Jahan began to tell me a story the day after an underground he had been to the night before. “There was a preacher and a ‘demon-possessed man’ in a city square outside the underground. The poverty-stricken man cried out, almost touching his groin, but then not, writhing in virtual agony. Above him was a preacher quoting scripture portending the end times.”
“Are they a team, or opposing forces demonstrating each against the other, either knowingly or subconsciously?” I asked.
“One might suggest the preacher seemed authentic, but the demon-possessed man seemed to be acting-out his sexual frustrations and desperation setting up his own healing—or is it all a con? You tell me Sunni,” Jahan teased.
“Maybe they were merely actors putting on a show to raise their daily bread—telling us a two-voiced story to get money from passerbys,” I said, proposing an improbable theory.
“Well, you’ve got to admit Sunni, Tealandir street performers can be entertaining if not educational. I learned how to juggle on the streets. Nothing better to do to pass the time if one isn’t preaching or getting drunk like the ‘demon-possessed’,” defended Jahan, all but agreeing with me.
“Yeah Shia, no law against juggling yet,” said I, countering him.
“Both the preacher and the madman were boldly authentic in a street performer sort of way. It often goes well beyond a script. Sometimes it’s sublime performance art or even a religious awakening, a realization of some sychronicity, Jahan noted.
“Magicians?” I ventured.
“They’re there in the square every day, play-acting. The preacher utilizes the ‘mad-man’ as a point of reference to convert us,” he replied, revealing the trick.
“The human condition. I’ve had enough juggling for one day. Jaleh!” I called to the kitchen, where Jaleh was preparing another pot of tea for us.
“How are you doing? Ready for tea?” she asked, not knowing the content of our conversation.
Jahan and I looked at each other and said “Absolutely” together. It was one of my cousin’s favorite words.”
After tea, we were ready for our next segment, “Bahadur Province—Northern Baug”
BAHADUR PROVINCE—NORTHERN BAUG
“During the thirty years of Amir’s regime, the Baugi Democratic Party [BDP] in Kouros, Bahadur and Armee was forced to act covertly. In February of 1979, when the most violent events of the Baugi revolution had already transpired, people from all over the country merged toward Federal military garrisons within their particular locale. In Bahadur, the BDP pilfered weapons and ammunition from the Federal installations there and sequestered 17 tanks for deployment. Bahaduris became a powerful force to be reckoned with once they had access to the tanks. They needed conventional arms as well however, to fulfill their provocative mission to destabilize, albeit illegally, the Islamic Republic emerging from the ashes of the Revolution.
“During the aftermath of the Baugi Revolution, Babak tried to persuade the Bahaduri peoples to follow his dictates, like the winner of a fight might patronize the fans of the weaker opponent whom he has dominated. However, the fallen, self-exiled Bahaduri refugees were experienced in techniques of survival and political confrontation. Babak was fearful of any rivals to his supreme command and authority, so he ordered the Revolutionary Guard to bring the peoples of the northern province of Bahadur into submission. The Guard ransacked homes, seized alcoholic beverages and broke liquor bottles against the walls and floors belonging to homeowners to frighten and disrupt their daily activities (restoration and clean up might take priority over demonstrations in the plaza for these homeowners).
“Roughly 30,000 inhabitants of one small Bahaduri town got angry enough at the Revolutionary Guard’s terror tactics that they abandoned the town to live on the plains in tents. Baugi citizens from other parts of the country were concerned about the Bahadurian refugees in the plains and carried food and medicine out to them. Refugees tolerated the bitter cold of the plains to guilt the clergy for sending the Guard to Bahadur in the first place. The clergymen were not about to ‘repent’ of their official acts of government and heightened scrutiny on the uncooperative province. The clerics in charge of domestic security acted quickly to stifle any political opposition to the Islamic Republic of Baug originating from Bahadur.
“At the appointed time, Babak’s Revolutionary Guard opened fire on a Bahadur Democratic Party [BDP] meeting and an armed conflict broke out between the two forces. The battle, which lasted three days, was meant to show the rest of the country that the Islamic Republic of Baug was stronger militarily than any one provincial government standing alone. The fighting left many immigrants and refugees with little or nothing to live on. They appeared to have been taught a hard, sorrowful lesson by Babak and his army. Their defiance of the Guard in the desert plains became a symbol of independence and determination, no matter how short-lived. ‘What more harm could he do us?’ they thought to themselves after the three days of armed conflict.”
THE REVOLUTIONARY GUARD VERSUS SUNNIS IN ARMEE
“Armee is a province of Baug located on the east shore of the Hastee Sea which stretches north to the Xerxes border. The clergymen planned to attack the region whose residents included eight thousand Sunnis. The Sunnis in the region wanted to establish a party called the ‘Centre of Culture and Politics of the Armee Peoples’ [CCPAP].
“During a large meeting of the CCPAP, Babak ordered his Guard to open fire on the gathering. Firing into assemblies of rival Parties became one of Babak’s standard methods of demonstration dispersal. Babak’s objective in the blitz was to scatter the people of Armee and dissolve their power to retaliate. The Sunnis got machine guns and answered the Guard’s gunfire with bullets of their own. A heavy battle ensued and the Revolutionary Guard could not overcome them. Babak was determined to punish the remnant, so he ordered militia from all over Baug to reinforce his troops at Armee. Babak’s army and the Revolutionary Guard had many new volunteers who had not yet been adequately trained to fight in a police action of such a large scale. As a result, hundreds of young men fighting for Ayatollah Babak and his regime were killed in the week-long battle.
“Babak believed that the communist Saiar Khalq Party was behind the mobilization of the Armee People and decided that he would do away with the interfering party at his first opportunity. Saiars in each town had a headquarters filled with armed youths and had been veterans of guerilla warfare against Amir’s regime. Previous to the Revolution, they terrorized Baugi and Sargonian officers stationed in Tealandir. Whenever Babak sent his Revolutionary Guard to a province, he reminded them a conspiracy was in the making between Sargon and Flint and it was their Islamic duty to circumvent their efforts.”
“Was there a conspiracy?” I asked.
“You tell me,” Jaleh responded.
“You mean when is there not a conspiracy,” Jahan added.
The DVD continued with a study on the Islamic Republic’s Revolutionary Guard [RG].
COMPONENTS OF THE REVOLUTIONARY GUARD
“The Revolutionary Guard can be separated into two root groups. In one group, the minority, were dedicated patriots who fought for their beliefs and received no salary for their efforts to overcome Amir’s regime. These men refused to continue fighting for RG once they witnessed their own friends with whom they had fought against Amir shot down by fanatic RG pretending to be ‘cleaning their guns’. Trustworthy soldiers of the revolution were being systematically shot down if they did not adhere strictly to Ayatollah Babak’s doctrines. The ranks of RG decreased in quality as more of the good soldiers were shot down or had abandoned their service. The majority of Babak’s Guard which remained after the purges were opportunistic idlers, illiterates and ruffians who survived the Revolution and were given purpose and profit in their lives as Revolutionary Guardsmen. To them, being a ‘good’ guard for the Ayatollah Babak meant corralling people’s faith into a nationwide Islamic Republic through means of corrective and manipulative actions. One example of the Guard’s corrective action included plundering goods from people’s homes, especially the wealthy whom they extorted by threatening Babak-retribution. These RG grifted and made illegitimate deals with influential members of society as a formal government had not yet been established in Baug. Ordinary citizens were afraid to oppose the thuggish element of the RG. Local police forces were beginning to get organized and the Guards guided and collaborated with them as they reformed together under a united police directive ‘at the top’. The local police did not dare to work independently from the Guard lest they should offend the superseding authority. Underneath the veil of opacity, the Guard was an extension of the Supreme Leader’s law enforcement authority. The authority was being formed on a case-by-case basis and supported in its duties by a still vague and ambiguous police code.”
“Case-by-case basis? What if all the men who wanted to fight had lovers they wanted to make hard babies with?” I asked them.
“Hard babies?” Jaleh queried.
“Sex does not always have to be the big entertainment event. Sometimes it is a true conversation,” I said, looking straight at Jaleh, watching dumbly for her reaction, if any.
“Make up for the shortfall,” Jahan replied.
“A litter of babies,” I said.
“Now who’s gonna clean up when the parents are unavailable?” replied Jahan.
“Ship ‘em out,” Jahan said.
“To high-risk abodes thereby stemming a population explosion,” I said, completing the thought.
“Nothing ventured, nothing gained,” Jaleh said, acknowledging the conversation, but not endorsing it, like an RT on twitter.
I could see the value of lawyers when I got home to Zareen. Maybe they weren’t that bad. Maybe we can have children…but how to pay for the legal…copyrights? Maybe I’ll produce one of these Shiet DVD’s Sunni-style. I looked at the next segment, BLO.
BABAK’S GUARD AND THE BARBAD LIBERATION ORGANIZATION [BLO]
“Babak’s Guard was primarily comprised of illiterate fanatics who considered the Ayatollah as their mentor. They loyally obeyed his commands with unwavering respect due any elite special forces soldier that outranked them. The Guard was trained by members of the Barbad Liberation Organization [hereinafter referred to as the BLO]. The Guard’s budget was well-funded in order to arm, train and maintain combat readiness.
“Babak warned that uprisings like those in Armee and Bahadur would continue in the future and told his Guard to be vigilant and the force prepared for containment operations. Babak put a great deal of trust and confidence in his Guard, but they were still a fledgling organization, not streamlined enough to both enforce laws domestically and protect the country from foreign invaders. To maintain a secure Islamic Republic of Baug, Babak knew he needed to establish a formal standing army. He employed terrorized officers who turned compliant after witnessing hundreds of executions carried out after summary trials and conviction by the Revolutionary Council and gave them job offers. The time was ripe for the formation of a new, powerful army to take shape that was to be entirely at the disposal of the Imam, Ayatollah Babak.
“Meanwhile, the Commander-in-Chief of the Baugi Army was replaced by a sly General Azin and two subordinate generals, Farid and Farrokhz, who were formerly closely associated with Amir. These three began to organize a new military organization in secret with upgraded surveillance systems. There was talk of a ‘nuclear Baug’ and the technical schools had no shortage of enrollees. General Azin, with the assistance of his two lesser generals, began to strategize a plan to vanquish the Bahaduri population.”
STABILIZATION OF THE ISLAMIC REPUBLIC UNDER AYATOLLAH BABAK “The End Justifies the Means.”
Zareen entered the living room as I was preparing the disc for play. We had discussed having children late in bed now that the UC mission was soon to terminate.
“Babak wanted to stabilize his regime so he followed Amir’s method of neutralizing the opposition. Babak decided to silence the Bahaduri people and suppress their activity against the new regime. Whenever an underprivileged class of people felt oppressed by either the central government or the upper class in Baug, they would utter slogans and chants demanding liberty, equality and justice for all people. They emphasized the people’s suffering and claimed the injustices of society prevented everyone from living in a ‘Utopic’ society.
“Whenever a new regime overthrows a pre-existing government, they usually become more fierce and brutal than the former one in order to maintain control of the nation’s citizenry. State leadership can put on a façade for the public, using rhetoric that offer hope and prosperity for the future. However, their speeches are often filled with deceit because they attempt to justify their actions and totalitarianistic cruelty with exhortations of hope reminiscent of the Neri slogan, Work and Be Free. If the clergymen vindicate their official actions of State with sweetened words, it pacifies any lingering doubt of their capacity to instill a lasting civil and military stabilization.
“Test case!” exclaimed the lawyer in my wife. I hadn’t heard that in a while. Babies.
“Test case mamasita?” I delved, hoping to get her to elucidate her thought.
“Mamasita!” she said blushing, putting her right hand to her face. She looked cute enough so we made love down the hall until we landed on the futon and finished it.
That evening, I met up with Jahan and Jaleh in the back room of a café owned by Jahan’s associate.
“You hear about the Senate Report?” I asked.
“Yeah, you got a copy?” she asked.
“Yeah,” I replied and shoved a hard copy in front of Jahan. “It was a review of a Senate Report I got off the internet this morning. Fairideh is pissed off and almost glowing in gloatfulness.”
“Glowing in gloatfulness?” Jaleh questioned, “Where’d you get that one?” she asked.
“Fairideh,” I responded, proud of myself for getting out of that one.
Jahan looked at the headline for the online article. It read, “You Tell ‘Em Fairideh! Re: Flawed Legal Logic Found: Senate Report on Wombat Activities”
“REWRITE THE WRONGS Senator Fairideh!” I exclaimed facetiously.
After some thick coffee, Jahan put a disc into a portable boom box and turned it up loud.
“All political groups and parties in Baug knew that Babak’s regime would reorganize the army for deployment as the Ayatollah’s private strong-arm for ‘justice’. The political groups demanded that the military be dissolved and that a National Armed Forces be organized to replace Amir’s old army. Each group wanted equal representation in the new army. Former specialists needed to be shuffled around to prevent a concentration of biased officers and special forces coming under Babak’s ‘containment’ and control. Despite objections from the various parties and stakeholders, the army suffered the loss of several experienced personnel to the Islamic Republic of Baug’s newly formed command. Although the political parties lost the argument with Babak over how specialists were to put flesh on the new political skeleton emerging in the Islamic Republic, party voices were given a wider berth of welcome acceptance when the regime was to take up discretionary issues to be settled by a plurality ‘vote’ such as the reorganization of businesses, monetary policy or the military-industrial-media complex [MIMC].
“In order to keep the current experienced personnel in the new armed forces, Babak’s regime gathered all the police officers in a stadium while the Ayatollah Bahman read a prayer of repentance to them. The officers repeated the prayers as an act of repentance to absolve them of the sins they committed while in the service of Amir. After the ceremony, the clergy announced that the officers seeking forgiveness were ‘reborn’, ‘innocent’ and completely washed clean of any past crimes. Many modern Baugis however did not accept the Ayatollah’s absolution ceremony as a sufficient form of accountability. ‘Absolution’ was an ancient religious ritual which allowed a priest to mediate between people and God for the forgiveness of their sins. The plurality of Baugis were not accustomed to such ancient rituals being used in recent history and did not consider them appropriate. Although the government officers repented, and the Ayatollah considered them forgiven by God, the clerics soon had some of the ‘innocent’ officers executed anyway which created a credibility issue. The execution of repentant individuals was against Islamic law and made the clerics look perverse to many professionals who followed and closely scrutinized the Ayatollahs’ edicts. The inconsistency of the Ayatollahs’ led them into a ‘catch-22’ ; ‘old wine in new skins’.”
ISLAMIC DOCTRINE VERSUS BAUGI TRADITION: DISSONANCE
“Babak’s regime wanted to replace secular Baugi traditions such as Zoroastrianism with the exclusive practice of Islam and incorporate Islamic precepts into Baug’s statutory laws. The clergy urged people to participate in Islamic ceremonies and rites as part of a daily practice to gain salvation. Most Baugi’s however preferred the quasi-secular celebrations and holidays to the Islamic rituals, much to the dismay of the clerics. Baugis considered their practice of Islam to include their ancient traditions.
“In general, there are two deeply held attributes of Baugi spirituality, one is religious practice, the other is a reverence for the national traditions derived from Tahmouressian religions before Islam was introduced (i.e. Zoroastrian). Zoroastria (also known as Zoroaster and Zaraostria) was a Baugi prophet who lived in the 11th Century B.C. Baugi culture and religion revolved around the life of this prophet until the Samisekt invasions of the 7th Century A.D. In the fourteen centuries which have elapsed since the Samisekt conquest, there have been dissonant strains and conflicts between Zoroastrian-based and Islamic based traditions and belief. At times, these dissonant strains have been complicated by the separation of Sunni-Samisekt Moslems with Shiet-Baugi Moslems living within the borders currently known as Baug, part of the former Tahmoureese Empire.
“In their abhorrence of the Zoroastrian culture, Islamic clerics in Baug proposed to destroy Pareevash and Zarrin in 1979. Pareevash and Zarrin were two Zoroastrian capitols which had existed since Zoroastrians first practices there between 1000 and 500 B.C. The clerics believed the two capitols of ancient Zoroastrianism were a distraction to Baugis and an insult to Islam. The capitols reminded people of days gone by including life under Amir and the golden ages of Darius the King and other Emperors who had ruled their land for millennia. As far as the clerics were concerned, these eras and empires were long passed in history whereas Islam was rising in popularity and adherent disciples.”
TROUBLE WITH BAHADUR
“Ayatollah Babak ordered General Farrokhz to launch an air attack on Bahadur with fighter jets and other air ships two months following the end of major revolutionary violence. The Bahaduris begged Ayatollah Bahman to implore Babak to stop air raids on their province. Bahman went to the city of Kaveh to negotiate possible solutions with Babak in regard to the Bahadur conflict. With Babak’s authorization, Bahman met with Sheikh Abtin Afshar, a Bahaduri religious and political leader and Dr. Simak, the current General Secretary of the Bahaduri Democratic Party in Kaveh. At the Kaveh conference, the Bahaduri leaders demanded that the city be controlled by a select council who would have no interference from the Revolutionary Guard. The leaders also proposed that in addition to a council, the province be allowed a governor to represent them under the auspices of the Ayatollah Babak as the country’s ‘supreme leader’. Bahaduris considered the proposals progress toward a provincial self-determination within the larger Baugi nation.
“Bahman and the ministers of the interior met at an outdoor venue with 50,000 in attendance to explore the establishment of an independent democracy in Bahadur. During the assembly, Phantom jets flew overhead sending a cautionary message to the crowd. In response to the flyover, Bahman and the Bahaduri council members sent a telegram to General Farrokhz warning him to stop intimidating the Bahaduris. The General answered that although he respected Bahman and the ministers, he followed orders from Ayatollah Babak alone as he was every Baugi’s new Imam. It was Ayatollah Babak and not the General that wanted to frighten Bahaduris.
“After the Bahadur negotiations, Bahman received permission from the Imam to give Bahaduris the right to manage Kaveh democratically, on an experimental basis. Bahman also was able to have General Farrokhz discharged from his position as Commander-In-Chief of the Army to ease the tensions between the people of Bahadur and Babak’s regime. It seemed to work at the outset. Bahaduris were able to adopt a democratic Kaveh for the first time in eons. A Bahaduri civil council elected by the people handled the domestic affairs of the province in association with the Governor-General who was appointed by members of Babak’s regime to rule Bahadur.
“Several weeks passed, and as General Farrokhz was awaiting an appointment to another post in the Babak’s new regime, he was assassinated by two members of the Forooshar Party. It was rumored the assassination was spear-headed by a sociologist who believed Islam had metamorphosed over the ages by the clergymen into a ‘false religion’. The sociologist interpreted the Qoran in a way that the ideal society was based upon socialism, though still respecting Islamic religious doctrine. In its propaganda tracts, the Forooshar group claimed that the Babak regime was aberrant to the ideology expressed in the Holy Qoran, and actually acted against Islam. They accused Babak’s Administration of replacing the former aristocrats and cruel monarchs who ruled on thrones in Baug before them with religious zealots that were even worse. The Forooshar group claimed that though the faces had changed, corruption inherent in a hierarchical political structure remained. The clergy were the kings.
“Ayatollah Behrang, a very close companion of Babak’s and president of the Imam’s Revolutionary Council, was also killed by the Forooshar group due to their dismay over the lack of representation they were receiving in the new government formed by Ayatollah Babak. Both Babak’s constituents and those of the Forooshar Party began to plot attacks against each other in the wake of the assassination of Behrang. Babak’s regime took advantage of Behrang’s death to remind the public of diversionary spectacles such as the Sargonian hostage-taking and a recent Baugi earthquake they allege was caused by Sargonian nuclear weapons testing in the region. It was hoped that by accentuating the diversionary spectacles, a renewed anti-Sargonian enthusiasm would take hold supporting the Ayatollahs and denigrating the continued Sargonian presence in Baug’s energy sector.”
“They were still there?” I asked. His non-response made me feel foolish. “Oh.” Although chagrined, I was proud of my Sunni heritage. “Fake it ‘till you make it,” I added half-heartedly, since I did not identify with the cliché and wasn’t yet sure what it indicated, if anything in regarding Sargonians still in Baug.
“Casey should have lost his security clearance before he went to bat. Thank you for your time and exploitation.” Jahan was going into his cynical and facetious stand-up routine–hadn’t seen that in a while.
“Get a good flight. Buy a billion barrels of light,” I said, thinking of a book I read about the precision with which a Sargonian corporate oil negotiator approached his deals with Middle Eastern sheiks.
“Now it’s nukes?” Jaleh joined in. She had a tremor in her voice like a frightened alcoholic just before a relapse led to that first drink…but she didn’t drink. Reminded me of how some Firuzi women gasp in the middle of a sentence to imbue substantial gravity to a conversation I might have considered smalltalk but for the gasp.
“Didn’t you used to work for the Forooshar Jahan?” I ventured while fearing an answer.
Jahan looked at me for about ten seconds before answering, “Those clowns. ‘Thank you for your time and exploitation’. I lost my level 2 license because of those power plant assholes. Now there are so many guns, assassinations come cheap.”
My stomach started to get that ill feeling. Like when I read the book about the ‘will’ of the fascist Neri Party leaders of Gaspar leading them to great power, then defeat in the last Great War. Reminded me of my own heritage as a Sunni descendant. I do not consider myself a fascist, my family left Samisekt for Baug…although perhaps I understand Yazid’s point.”
After a experiencing a period of self-loathing, which Jaleh and Jahan certainly noted come across me, I looked for another disc in her big black canvas purse. It looked like a bonus disc you get with a set of old classic recordings. It didn’t have too much data loaded on to it and was in of some kind of case study set in a plastic CD holder. I read the title out loud to see if the others were interested. “Survey says ‘Rules Tend to Favor the Executive (until there are none left)’.”
“Rules or executives?” Jaleh said, laughing.
“You tell me,” I responded.
Jaleh downloaded an app and her documentation of the Revolution I was watching continued on her own screen, “At this time, Giv, a popular newspaper for the knowledgeable people in Baug, established a research focus group to survey the various opinions about the assassinated General Farrokhz and the Ayatollah Behrang.”
By now, Jahan powered up his laptop and we were listening in stereophonic.
“The newspaper encouraged respondents to write their opinions about the slayings of General Farrokhz and the Ayatollah Behrang and to submit them to the contracted research group for publication. When the first round of survey responses were collected and published, what conclusions could be drawn by the newspaper and its readers was an embarrassment to the Imam. Some of the published opinions in the newspaper article highlighted the rivalry between Forooshar and elements of Babak’s regime. The article set forth a hypothesis based on the survey responses collected and other hard evidence collected by the newspaper, that the major causes of the terrorism and injustice in Baug could be traced to the struggle among Babak’s cronies for power and domination of the country. The Imam’s associates persuaded him to deliver a declaration chastising the Giv Daily. In his declaration against the newspaper, Babak contended that Giv was a counter-revolutionary newspaper associated with the State of Flint, an entity founded upon principles of Judaism. He contended such a counter-revolutionary newspaper at odds with the Islamic Republic of Baug ought not to exist and should be abolished.
“The newspaper was closed for a time immediately following the Imam’s remarks, but not without some push-back. Giv’s publisher and some of its reporters were afraid of the possible repercussions they might face if they published more of their opinions about Babak’s regime. However, they were also afraid to say anything positive about Babak because of potential reprisals from the terrorist group Forooshar who swore an allegiance to the Islamic Republic founded by the Imam’s political party. In answer to the Ayatollah Babak’s accusations, Giv journalists brought to light the fact that its writers had been persecuted and imprisoned under Amir, and it was therefore irrational to believe they were conspiring with Flint’s emissaries against him. In a special one-page publication, Giv mildly refuted some of Babak’s allegations against the newspaper and of their loyalty to Baug by editorializing that the newspaper had rallied for freedom from Amir’s dictatorial regime, but not to only then be silenced when confronted by an ultra-conservative religious right to replace him.”
[Dream Sequence] Jahan wakes up from pre-sunrise dream of his incarceration as a trainee for the Transeckta Nuclear Power Facility in Tealandir back in the day. The investigator assigned to his case: “Some [personal injury lawyers] do it a lot better than you.” And the Judge in his case in the elevator lobby, “You going up or down?” she asked. “Down” I said, falling into a shaft as she laughs in tepid derision.
“Continued attacks on the Giv publication continued. The clergymen arranged fanatic groups to assemble in front of Giv’s offices and demanded they profess their allegiance to the Islamic Republic. The implication of the demand was that Babak’s religious zealots gave the newspaper an ultimatum: either obey the Ayatollah Babak or be considered counter-revolutionaries and executed as such. The newspaper continually expressed its belief that it could not simply ‘do what it was ordered to do’, after all, it was a newspaper. The journalists claimed that democracy required freedom of the press and the right to print opposing political views. The Imam’s research committees sequestered copies of the Giv Azadi and hindered sales of the Baugi-Nationale-Azadi (a BNF-funded newsletter) as well as the Noushin Azadi, and the magazines Tealandir Messavar and Omaniri Messavar. These publications printed the ‘facts’ of a story which often was filled with spin, angle slant or suggestive innuendo which displeased Babak.
“Nevertheless, the more pressure the Ayatollah Babak’s regime put on the creation, production and distribution of the publications, the more the students sought to distribute them. One newspaper in particular, Paigaimani-Simin , bitterly defamed Babak’s regime by implying Babak might turn into a fascist dictator worse than Amir. The fact that Babak was suppressing and/or chilling free speech and freedom of the press was prime evidence the Paigaimani-Simin journalists may have made several valid points in their published articles on the Ayatollah Babak’s Administration.”
THE AYATOLLAH BABAK INFRINGES ON THE FREEDOM OF ASSEMBLY: THE CHILL OF RAHMAT’S GHOST
Jahan told Jaleh and Khalid of his recurring nightmare of his incarceration following his incomplete training at the Transeckta Nuclear Power Facility in Tealandir back in the day: “Judge [in my case] laughs. Then I saw a tweet yesterday, ‘Ernest Hemingway once wrote, “For Sale: Baby shoes. Never worn.”’
“What, you never got married because you went to jail?” I asked. “I’ll strike a tune for the Gipper, Fur Auld Lang Syne: ‘Mr. Romanev, tear down this wall!” I acted out, alluding to former Sargon President Ferdinand Nolan. Soon, we were exhausted and each went to separate dwellings. I wasn’t funny. Some twitter follower with the handle “@eternalsadness” began to follow me. Even my wife Zareen was nagging me about the money. “Show me the money!” she said. We got a laugh out of “show me the money” and went to sleep.
Waking up, I put on the hot water and listened to the CD with Jaleh’s voice, “Mahim Afshin was Rahmat’s nephew, and a prominent lawyer who had once served as a Vice President of the Lawyer’s Institute. A few weeks before the closure of The Giv Daily, Dr. Mahim Afshin summoned the nation to attend the annual anniversary of Rahmat’s death at the former prime minister’s tomb. Though Rahmat’s tomb is about 100 miles from Tealandir, people who respected the deceased leader converged from many parts of Tahmouresse to visit the tomb which lay along a semi-paved road.
“The Ayatollah Babak tried to prevent people from paying homage to Rahmat on that day and to persuade them to honor the Imam instead. Babak ordered the gathering of special groups to march in the streets proclaiming the victory of the Islamic Republic and urged them to carry placards bearing his image. The people going to Rahmat’s tomb did not heed Babak’s warnings and more than one million people gathered at Rahmat’s grave.
“Ayatollah Bahman, in his speech at the tomb, beseeched those assembled to avoid internal discord in the country. Commenting on the strained relations between Babak and Rahmat, Bahman implied that clergymen are often over-anxious to rule because they think they are wise in all matters simply because they may be wise in one. He commented further that the people should have the privilege, indeed the right, to choose their own leaders and government. Self-determination of the sovereign nation of Baug belongs to its citizens as well as to the clerics. The clergymen should only intervene in the self-determination rights of Baugi citizens if the democracy they have chosen fails.”
The Wombat website sent out the daily message, “The most secret, clandestine peps will waive their privacy rights to be followed around by a drone to verify their clandestine secrets.”
“What did he say? Asked Shahrooz Shaya, who jumped in on my chat with Wombat.
“The keynote speech which highlighted the day’s assembly belonged to Dr. Mahim Afshin. In his speech, Afshin described how the Baugi Democratic Front [BDF] differed from both the traditional Baugi National Front established by his uncle, Dr. Rahmat, and the blundering Babak regime. He outlined the significant changes to the BNF platform in forming the new BDF party and how it would confront Babak’s Administration. The Baugi Democratic Front would emphasize the separation of church and state in a constitutional Baugi government. The political and governmental duties of government would be administered by politicians, and the Baugi leaders would have the duty of fulfilling religious obligations. The duties of the two groups were not to be intertwined but rather, work along separate parallels of leadership, one line of political, another of religious authority.
“Most socially and politically active constituents were in favor of establishing the BDF but were concerned the new party would take most of their members from the BNF and thereby weaken it permanently. One activist group within the Baugi National Front wanted to change the policies of the BNF, but not splinter it into newly formed political parties. This advocate group for the BNF demanded that their leaders become more assertive when negotiating with the clergymen in political affairs.
“The General Secretary of the Baugi National Front, Dr. Javed, was the foreign minister in Ferdows Farhang ’s cabinet. Javed tried to resign from his position earlier, but Prime Minister Farhang wanted to keep him as a token BNF cabinet member and refused to accept his resignation. Javed felt as if his hands were tied in Babak’s regime, and his resignation from the BNF would lessen the recriminations the Imam might suffer from party members speaking their minds against the Islamic Republic without a recognized leader to bolster their platform.
“Javed publicized his disappointment with Shayan Teymour, Dr. Ibrahim Gulzar’s son-in-law, who was a ‘mover and shaker’ representing Baug for Babak in the Sargonian Capitol at the time. Shayan had replaced Dr. Saleh Roshan, the former Baugi ambassador to Sargon at Babak’s request, and refused to take orders from Javed. Javed alleged that Teymour, a student in the Sargonian Capitol, sent a telegram informing him that certain documents in the Baugi embassy revealed that Roshan had paid large sums of money to several Sargonian senators . When Javed heard this, he requested that Teymour return the documents to Baug. After a conference with his father-in-law Gulzar about the documents, Teymour refused to send Javed the documents, and without leave from Foreign Minister Javed, met privately with Cyrus Greystone, Sargon’s then Secretary of State. If Teymour was to act independently of his authority, Dr. Javed said there was no reason for him to continue as the foreign minister in Babak’s Administration, and abruptly resigned. After the Javed resignation, the BNF scrutinized Babak’s regime ever more closely but refused to act as they no longer had an ‘insider’ in the Administration.
“So now there was no ‘insider’ no infiltration?” I asked.
“Yes, they were like howling wolves on the outside,” Jaleh said, licking her bottom lip.
“Cannibals,” declared Jahan. “No justice anywhere. Not even in the press.”
“No peace, no justice.”
“No Khalid, no justice, no peace,” Jaleh corrected.
“Know justice, know peace,” I muttered.
“What?” asked Jahan quizzically.
“No whirled peas,” I said.
“Oh,” responded Jahan, satisfied after it sunk in.
Jaleh continued, “Six hundred people: university students, employees, teachers and other educated groups implored the writers of The Giv Daily to begin rolling out newspapers promoting a ‘free press’ again but the clergy organized three hundred vagrants to attack people at ‘freedom of the press’ assembly. The vigilantes were paid to hit demonstrators with clubs and stones until they relented and the assembly disbanded.
“Those assembled for the ‘freedom of the press’ rally did not scatter when attacked however, but rather shouted out, ‘Down with Reactionaries’ in their native tongues. The assembly crowded along both sides of the streets shouting protests against their attackers in front of them. Men held each others’ hands and made a wall around the women and children to oppose the mercenaries face-to-face. Despite repeated attempts to protect the women at the demonstration, some young girls suffered knife wounds inflicted by the paid attackers. One of Babak’s fanatics stabbed a pregnant woman, infuriating the by-standers watching the two factions clash.
“The demonstration was a great success for the liberal front in that it carried home to each who attended the importance of freedom of speech, assembly and of the press in Baug. It also focused attention on The Giv Daily, and free press supporters repeated their plea to start the presses rolling again. The Ayatollah Babak however, became very angry at the temporary victory of the free speech organizers, and like a wounded snake, was waiting for the opportunity to eradicate all reformers who opposed him or his Administration. Mainstream public resistance to Babak’s regime was beginning to take root in movements away from the Imam, but the government of Baug continued to stabilize despite the grumbling and demonstrations became less frequent and bloody.
“To draw people’s attention elsewhere, Babak convened a national dialogue on the question of the future of Baug, and what form of government it should adopt, an Islamic Republic, or ‘a regime like Amir’s?’. The clerics threatened to ex-communicate anyone who did not vote for an Islamic Republic of Baug. Babak and most if not all of the clerics favored an Islamic Republic and made the statement that anyone who did not vote for an Islamic Republic would indeed, not be considered a Moslem. For their part, the educated population of Baug demanded a Republic that was not necessarily intertwined with Islam, but that contained a separation of church and state.
“Babak’s statement threatening Moslem identity over one’s political affiliation created a de facto controversy under Islamic doctrine and The Giv Daily was only too happy to point this out to its readership. A free-lance writer’s article appeared in the Giv quoting the Prophet Mohammed, ‘that anyone who uttered the sentence “I acknowledge that God is unique and Mohammed is his messenger” would be known as a Moslem and no one could deny him that fellowship’ (emphasis added). The layman questioned Babak’s authority in the article by asking ‘Do you add anything to what the Prophet Mohammed has said?’ The writer went on to question the basis of Babak’s divine authority to innovate on traditional holy doctrines as religions were supposedly based on a consistent or ‘absolute truth’. To add or change what Mohammed had determined as the method by which one becomes identified as a Moslem, or changing scripture in any other way was a great sin to be avoided according to the commentator, and Babak had not avoided it. He intimated Babak perhaps should not be followed as Imam if he is so cavalier as to promote Islamic doctrines contrary to its founder Mohammed.
“Babak did not answer the question posed in the Giv article but revealed by his silence chagrin. He lacked a comprehensive knowledge of Islam that would put to rest the journalist’s accusations once and for all. Babak had been caught in his verbal bloopers before and now that political power was his, he did not want to be exhausted by yet another debate on religious disciplinary procedures. He could not definitively win such a debate, so he let it be without gambling on a desired outcome. He was tired of fighting for decades over the scriptural interpretations of the Holy Qoran. One of Babak’s most serious bloopers was his call for a holy war (jihad) against Amir’s regime. According to Islamic doctrine, Islamic leaders in any position do not have the right to urge Moslems to jihad. In the Shiet sect, declaring war is the sole right of the Absent Imam (the 12th Imam), who, according to Shiet belief, would emerge someday to bring all nations under the Islamic flag.
“As the legend goes, in the Ninth Century, the twelfth Imam, a five year-old child, hid himself in the cellars of his father’s house while marauding soldiers attacked the home. No one saw the boy thereafter, and it was told that God ordered the Imam to live in secret. Alms were a way ‘messages’ could be brought back and forth from the deputy of the Moslem people to the 12th Imam.
“Babak said that anyone who wants to pay his khoms (1/5 of one’s income), or his Zakat (1/10 of the income of the wealthy Moslems) should deliver them to his deputy, who would in turn deliver them to the vanished child Imam. He also said the deputies would deliver any questions about religious rites to the five year-old. Through the knowledge the deputies acquired from their correspondence with the 12th Imam, they would be able to answer any questions people had about jihad or anything else. This traditional belief has been carried on throughout the ages: while the young Imam remains unseen, no Ayatollah can declare a holy war.”
“What are you doing?!” asked Zareen, as I was writing down my notes of the day’s activities into a tablet.
“Writing my notes,” I replied.
“Get to bed. I told you not to write when I’m here! I can’t stand hearing the clicking and seeing those wheels turning in your head from behind you.”
“Almost done… I’m coming…”
“I’m still waiting!”
“Six or seven seconds,” I replied.
“Soon enough, we were in bed, both exhausted. I woke up at 3 a.m. Zareen smelled of tobacco and was snoring. I was horny. I thought of the blonde café waitress with the white skirt up to her hips with the song playing “One Night Only, One Night Only (We’ve Only Got Until Dawn)”. The waitress asked me in my fantasy if I wanted company and took me to a back room around the corner. ‘How to get to it?” I thought to myself. At the same time I noticed her hips were much wider than Zareen’s. I told her to lie down on the daybed and started to rub her neck. I bet her skin was supple and soft, not like Zareen’s, whose was rough and dry. She would dig my backrub and would a asked her bluntly to save time, “You want my fat dick in your pussy?”
“Oh yes,” she would reply.
“Yes?” I asked, verifying how forceful she wanted to be fucked.
“Em-hmmm,” she purred. [It’s always good to get cunt scent first].
“Oh yes!” she would respond enthusiastically.
I got up out of bed, put some lubricant on my dick and pumped Zareen into Kingdom Come. “Nigga’ gonna’ jump up and get his reward early in the day,” I remembered some comedian saying.
Upon leaving the house about eleven the next morning, Zareen said, “Get to work Khalid.”
“Okay Mama,” I replied, kissed her on the cheek and went to see Jahan and Jaleh at their warehouse about a kilometer east of Farzin Square.
Jahan was there when I arrived but Jaleh wasn’t. He gave me a DVD with Samisekt characters on its face and I assumed I was to review its contents. I went to a nearby café, put on my portable headphones, popped the DVD in the tablet and the story took me away as I began to listen:
“VOTER’S REFERENDUM ON THE ISSUE OF WHETHER BAUG SHOULD FORM AN “ISLAMIC REPUBLIC” OR “ANOTHER VERSION OF ‘AMIR’S REGIME’” ?
“Babak’s regime prepared itself for a referendum on whether Baug should be a democratic or Islamic Republic. In the election, Babak gave sixteen year-olds the right to vote for the first time in history. The people that were in charge of the ballot boxes were carefully chosen Babak advocates. The poll employees made every attempt to stifle the liberals’ attempt at a Baugi ‘Democratic Republic’. Babak and his administration were so fearful of losing their political power in the election, they asked voters to make a decision: either choose the Islamic Republic or resign yourself to live again under Amir or some monarch like him. Even with the psychological manipulation of the people’s choice, the Revolutionary Guardsmen stuffed the ballot boxes with votes for the Islamic Republic just to make sure that justice prevailed.
“At the conclusion of Election Day, the number of ballots cast for an ‘Islamic Republic’ in the referendum tallied 20,000,000 in a population of 35,000,000 eligible voters. In Bahadur, Armee, Baugistan and Kouros, most of the eight million inhabitants did not vote for the Islamic Republic. All of these provinces (except Kouros) were primarily populated with Sunnis who were hostile to Babak’s regime. Nevertheless, the votes for an Islamic Republic victory were overwhelming in these ‘Sunni-weighted’ provinces just as they were in predominantly Shiet-inhabited jurisdictions.
“Besides the ballot-box stuffing, a large portion of the voting population cast their votes for an ‘Islamic Republic’ simply to condemn Amir’s regime and congratulate Ayatollah Babak for his victory over tyranny. If Babak’s regime is given the benefit of the doubt, the unduly high number of votes for the ‘Islamic Republic’ could have realistically reached as high as eight million. The additional 12 million votes in favor of the Islamic Republic were due to unethical and unrestricted voting procedures according to our sources. For his part, Babak promised the people before the voting began that the country would become ‘orderly’ if and when an Islamic Republic was adopted. He blamed the current disorder in the country on the lack of a defined governmental structure and a president to preside over it. He claimed that if an Islamic government was adopted, the political structure would stabilize and the clergymen could resume their appropriate place in mosques while lay candidates could be voted into office democratically as was customary before the revolution. Most of the people who actually voted for an “Islamic Republic” in the referendum had been persuaded by Babak’s rhetoric because they trusted he would not deliberately deceive them. He was widely respected as a leader with his own personal strengths and weaknesses as everyone has whilst others saw him as a flawless seer who could not err in steering the nation of Islam in Baug. In short, Babak wanted the vote to be a referendum that would place the entire population of Baug supporting his See as the undisputed Supreme Leader of Baug. In general, the Baugi people accepted the referendum results and as time passed, they saw the Islamic Republic’s efforts to commence reforms. People reasoned that since the Imam was reputably closer to God than most, he could also interpret the will of God for Baug more precisely than the general population could by holding referendum after referendum.
“The referendum on the formation of an Islamic Republic came at harvest season. Babak used Abu Bakr, the first Caliph of Mohammed in the 7th Century, as a theme to direct people’s attention toward self-sacrifice. In former times, the Caliph and his counselors decided to send armies to Baug and to the capitol of Emilio to preoccupy Moslem’s minds with the advent of Holy War. Similarly, Babak was searching for a way to make people work the forthcoming harvest philanthropically without getting paid. He made remonstrations to those who were able-bodied and out of work that they should volunteer to work the fields during the harvest for the welfare of the country. Because the newly developing regime had little if any money, they needed free labor. Babak requested that his people devote themselves to God in their thoughts and in their labor as a personal religious duty for the benefit of all Moslems. Everyone who helped in the harvest he said, would earn a place in Paradise. Babak and his cohorts began a vast propaganda campaign in an attempt to persuade Baugis to volunteer to partake in the communal harvest. Films presented on television depicted rural farmers that helped peasants harvest crops. Babak’s mediamen proclaimed on special televised programming that with everyone’s cooperation, Baug would not be required to import wheat or rice from abroad. If one paid attention to the characteristics of the program, it was obvious the ‘volunteer farmers’ on screen were actors working for the Babak government and not farmers teaching the peasants agricultural techniques. Despite the inability of the television programs to convince people it was their duty to work, Babak achieved his underlying purpose to preoccupy the minds of the public with the upcoming ‘harvest’ while he and his team prepared for geo-political and other matters at hand.
“Babak decided to rule the country alone with the help of his BLO-trained guardsmen. He knew he could do the job better than anyone else, and asked the prime minister to prepare an Islamic Republic framework for him to approve by his written signature on paper. After a month of preparation, the first draft of a constitution was ready for authorization. The basic structure and content of the document was adapted from the Fairusa Constitution, although the rights of Baugi citizens were more strictly limited than in Fairusa. Women for instance, did not have the same status as men, and were expected to remain subservient to their husbands, nor were they allowed to keep positions of influence in society. Female judges held over from previous administrations were dismissed. The only privilege of significance that women held equally to men was the right to vote. Babak’s interpretation of Islam was that women were essentially weak and irrational, and hence should remain submissive to their husbands’ commands. It was for this belief (that men and women were fundamentally different) that Babak would not trust any women to take stations of authority within the religious hierarchy or in politics.
“Babak went on to point out the sorry state of marital unions in Bahar and Kir with their skyrocketing divorce rates. He said marital instability arises when women are given rights equal to those of men. In Sargon of Kir, women were allowed and encouraged to become business professionals, and it was because of this fundamentally ‘unethical’ attitude regarding a woman’s proper role in society that Babak claimed caused so many unsuccessful marriages in the West.
“The other major divergence from the Fairusa Constitution was that more authority would be given to the government to control the media and the post office. The police were allowed to search persons and private property without a warrant (prior order of the court). The lack of official controls over newly gained police powers such as search and seizure gave Babak immense plasticity to use the police force to do his bidding and curb the subversive activities of his subjects.
“The newly drafted constitution provided for a hierarchical structure of the secular government as well as the roles of its governing clerics. Babak would hold the highest post and under him was a council of clergymen. Beneath them, a consolidated executive and legislative branch of government consisting of a president, a prime minister of the parliament, and the parliament itself with all its ministers from each Baugi regional jurisdiction. Babak and the council of clergymen could veto decisions of the executive department, and retained ‘supreme’ authority over the government at all times.
“Public dissent between various factions arose over the new constitution, and their viewpoints were openly published in Baug’s daily newspapers. It was clear to the educated people that The Giv Daily wrote the most ‘objective’ or ‘fair and balanced’ articles on the new government and its constitution. In June of 1979, a decree from the Revolutionary Prosecutor was issued stating that Giv was a tool of Flint whose publication released provocative material toward an ideological subversion of the Islamic Republic. The Imam Committee closed The Giv Daily as it had previously and in the current instance arrested many of its employees who were subsequently held in jail pending trial. The evidence the Imam Committee held against Giv and its employees to prove their guilt was that the printing presses confiscated from the printing house were manufactured in Flint.
“The committee had ways of labeling this circumstantial evidence as conclusive evidence of guilt. Soon other newspapers in opposition to Babak’s regime were asked to make an account of their positions and to explain the reason(s) for their treacherous behavior against the Ayatollah Babak. All publications that were not sympathetic to Babak’s regime were shut down. The Executive Department of Baug, including the President and the Prime Minister knew nothing of the Imam Committee’s action regarding the closure of opposition newspapers. The following afternoon, the Revolutionary Public Prosecutor issued another declaration saying that all newspaper publishing houses that did not publish material favorable to Babak would be shuttered. The Prosecutor put off to a later date the question of whether those newspapers already closed would be allowed to print even ‘pro-Babak’ journalism.”
I wanted to go home as Khalid the husband. I couldn’t work very long in the day reviewing the DVD any longer for some strange reason. I started thinking about how one can bring about one’s own demise by negative thinking. People who oppose me will seek my demise. They are afraid of the Sunni ‘outsider’. What might I bring to disrupt their routines? I want to be home with Zareen, but she’s at her mother’s.
After a short train ride home, I had been too tired to walk tonight, I looked at the discs left to play. The next one in order read: “A NEW INVASION AND THE SOLIDIFYING OF THE AYATOLLAH BABAK-LED ISLAMIC REPUBLIC OF BAUG”. I put it in the entertainment center player and listened with a cup of coriander tea as the voice came through the speakers. It was a younger voice than usual. Never heard it before.
“A few days later, Revolutionary Guards attacked the Saiar Khalq party headquarters with tanks and occupied the building. A different group of Babak’s guards were sent to occupy the headquarters of Rostam Khalq, another political party with an armed militia incorporated into it. The Rostam Khalq are Islamic-Marxists, Marxists that refrained from a strict ‘anti-materialistic’ philosophy. The occupation of the Sargonian Embassy in Tealandir and the kidnapping of the 52 Sargonian citizens presiding there were staged by these two leftist khalqs.
“The Rostam Khalq was made up mostly of students who resisted the guards by lining up with their parents in front of the party-building. Ramadan, the month of fasting and prayer commenced during one of the confrontations between the Guard and the Rostam group. Rostam kept their fast and prayed in the street in front of their party-building. They tried to get Babak’s approval for the public fasting and prayer and allow them to continue, but their requests were met with disapproval. The Revolutionary Guard brutally attacked the Rostam group and their affiliates and occupied the party-building as they had Saiar Khalq’s headquarters. In contrast, the headquarters of the Bahram Party, the pro-Xerxes communists, were allowed the protection of Babak’s Guard and allowed to carry on with their regular activities. Moreover, the Revolutionary Public Prosecutor gave special permission to the Bahram Party to publish its newsletter. No one protested the action because the government would presumably stifle any and all dissenters from official acts of the Islamic Republic of Baug.”
DR. HOSSEIN PAIMAN & FACTIONS AGAINST THE AYATOLLAH BABAK
“At this time in 1979, the Lawyers’ Institute was discussing the Baugi Constitution, the various political parties and Babak’s staff. Dr. Hossein Paiman, President of the Institution, spoke against Babak’s platform. Paiman was selected as Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Baugi National Petroleum Institute [BNPI] because he was well known for upright conduct and benevolence. He had been a close friend of Dr. Rahmat and fought against dictatorship in Baug for thirty years. Because of his open criticism of Amir in the past, he had spent time in prison. Dr. Paiman had achieved wide recognition and prestige since the fall of Amir and no one thought he would risk tainting his stature by speaking against the fledgling Babak regime, but he did anyway.
“Dr. Paiman criticized the new dictatorship saying that if only one person [the Ayatollah Babak] is allowed to speak on behalf of 35 million Baugis, Baug’s reputation as an ancient civilized government would be compromised. Paiman emphasized the basic joy derived from people’s freedoms: the ability to socialize, for example. ‘We are a rich country with 11 billion dollars in exchange currency. No one can call us mostazafin (miserables, Fr.) any longer.’ Paiman was referring to Babak and the clerics when he said this, because they had often called Baugis ‘miserables’ according to a legend in the Qoran.
“The Holy Qoran is narrated by a Pharoah of Farhoud. This Pharoah treated all people as slaves and referred to them openly as ‘miserables’ or mostazafin. Paiman spoke with a group of lawyers and it was recommended the Islamic Republic should adopt a constitution that corresponds with their own Baugi Islamic culture and traditions.
“The following day, Babak addressed a group of peasants and said that Baug did not need the advice of lawyers. He reasoned that the lawyers could not pray, so their knowledge was heathen. He claimed that Paiman wanted to betray the country to the interests of Sargon and Flint and that his pronouncements regarding the recommendations of his colleagues at the Lawyer’s Institute should not be heeded, but rejected outright without any consideration whatsoever. Babak reached out for the support of the illiterates by saying that they (Baug) did not need lawyers to survive and prosper as a nation. Their firm religious belief was that what the nation needed was to be adherents to the Islamic Republic Baug and to its cleric leadership. The Ayatollah maintained obedience and respect to the clergy are enough to warrant success in life. ‘God confirm you who follow us’, the clerics proclaimed to the peasants assembled to hear the Ayatollah Babak speak.
“Babak and the rest of the clergy threatened professionals such as lawyers, doctors, teachers, engineers, writers and physicians to obey them or suffer the consequences of punishment at their hands or that of their beloved illiterate followers. Under these circumstances, the Baugi Democratic Front demanded that people demonstrate against the clergy. People went to Tealandir University for the demonstration while the overflow remained in the surrounding streets. At four o’clock in the afternoon, the gathering began to march toward the square where the prime minister’s office was situated.”
VIOLENCE AT THE DEMONSTRATION: CREATION PARTY vs. THE DEMOCRATIC SHAHEEN FRONT [DSF]

“At the beginning of the demonstration, vagrants of the Ayatollahs’ Creation Party drove lorries and buses full of their members to attack the gathering of BDF supporters. The attackers were again mercenaries hired by the Babak’s regime to break up the demonstration. The 150 mercenaries loaded ambulances with stones and bricks to throw at the crowd of 800,000 in attendence. Many of the people demonstrating retaliated against the Creation Party, and Babak’s mercenary forces fled in the face of the formidable BDF-mounted opposition. When Babak heard that his rabble did not succeed in breaking up the demonstration, he called for the Revolutionary Guard to disperse the crowds with machine gun fire into the sky. When Guards realized discharges into the sky had no effect, they administered tear gas in the immediate vicinity of the BDF demonstrators. Determined to achieve their purpose, the demonstrators marched on, away from the Guardsmen shooting at them. The Guards used gas masks while administering the tear gas and infiltrated BDF strongholds with knives, dispersing the crowds of demonstrators huddled with them. Rocks and clubs were used liberally by the Revolutionary Guard and more than 300 persons were wounded in the attack. Despite the casualties, the demonstrators marched on. Well, not exactly marched…they read a manifesto in front of the prime minister’s office.”
‘The plot thickens’ I thought to myself, ejecting the DVD out of the tablet in the café. I picked up my coat from the peg and left for the short bus ride home to have supper with Zareen.
BABAK CAUGHT IN ALLEGED UNTRUTH FOLLOWING BDF ASSEMBLY
The next morning, I popped in the DVD Jahan had given me while still in bed. I was exhausted but I was getting paid for this so I had to earn my keep. Bed’s will be the best place place to do a bit of work today. Listen and learn Khalid. The machine spoke to me.
“The night following the BDF assembly, Babak was frightened and claimed publically that 300 wounded people from the demonstration were all from the Creation Party and not the Baugi Democratic Front. Yet, he ordered his Guard to capture Dr. Mahim Afshin, General Secretary of the BDF, and summarily execute him. Soon after Babak’s order went out, the BDF issued a declaration stating that Dr. Afshin did not order the shootings and was therefore not responsible for the 300 ‘accidental injuries’ occurring at the demonstration. The BDF’s Board of Directors accepted the responsibility for the demonstration, ostensibly putting Afshin in the clear, but Babak would not change his mind, and now he had their admissions; Afshin should be executed. Babak wanted revenge for the stinging criticism he endured from Dr. Afshin the previous month at Dr. Rahmat’s tomb.
“The Ayatollah Babak emphasized repeatedly in his campaign that the nation should keep a ‘unity of words’ and not try to contradict the Imam or the new government. He proclaimed that a ‘unity of words’ would avert discord and tamper down anti-Islamic attitudes around the globe. Dr. Afshin agreed with the Ayatollah that a ‘unity of words’ should prevail rather than negative thinking, but only if Babak was not the only one allowed to utter them! After this insulting remark of Afshin’s, inter alia, the Imam sought to take the lawyer’s life more than ever.
“Babak sent his Guard to Afshin’s home, then to the home of his mother-in-law trying to locate him, but Afshin was nowhere to be found. Babak then ordered Afshin’s immediate family confined to their homes and his mother-in-law, who was then visiting the Afshin’s home, arrested. Increased pressure was placed on Afshin’s family to help locate Afshin. He was able to elude the Revolutionary Guard without a clue as to his whereabouts.
‘A fugitive,’ I thought.
“Dr. Afshin, a steadfast and brave politician that stood up to Babak when commentary must give way to criticism, became the overwhelming favorite in the up and coming presidential elections in Baug. Babak did not like the thought of one of his fiercest critics inaugurated as President of Baug, so he decided to dispose of him ASAP. Afshin was the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Baugi National Oil Association [BNOA] the Ayatollah Babak thought to himself. Who shall I appoint next?” I turned off the disc and thought to myselft—my own thoughts about what I had just heard and seen on the screen.
At that moment Jahan walked in. Zareen had let him unbeknownst to me while I was still sleeping. He must have heard the broadcast through the door. “We’re like two orbiting planets on the opposite side of the same system,” I told him.
“Zareen made me the coffee. Best coffee!” he said.
I rolled out of bed and put a jogging suit over my sleepwear. We had coffee together, I hardly ever drink espresso. Tea is so much easier to prepare. “No wonder you like us Jahan, you need customers.”
“Ha ha—customers,” he politely retorted with urgency.
The radio alarm went off and the Western Classical disc jockey said “Sounds a little too much like ‘get off my lawn’,” referring to the film by a famous actor/director. He seemed to be responding to my accusation as if he knew my talking points regarding schools having become a hotbed of litigation, student versus teacher. Although he has a point…workers can take exclusive possession of property in a public trust, such as the grounds of a park, museum or university campus to ensure its preservation.
‘Let everyone on the lawn then, not only the custodians,’ I would argue back to the DJ.
I read an online article about ‘The six million dollar custodian gave it all to charity,’ and realized I was stressing about a subject I could not win.
The phone rang, it was Jahan. “Let them on the lawn then,” I said, referring to the students on the lawn.
“What?” Jahan queried.
“Some radio show about private property owners excluding children from their lawns.”
“We’re gonna have a lawn party,” Jahan replied wryly.
“When?” I asked
“All in good time my pretty, all in good time,” Jahan replied and slowly hung up the receiver without saying goodbye.
“Right,” I said. “Even private schools let us mortals use their library or visit their athletic fields every now and then,” I spoke into a dead receiver.
“Yeah, every now and then,” Jahan said affirmatively to himself in the Jacuzzi.
The next day was more of the same after I got my breakfast of curds, bread and coffee at the local family-owned mini-mart. Without finishing what I bought, I started the DVD and continued the briefing.
“Babak realized that Afshin was very popular among the oil workers and sought to use his enemy’s loyalty base as leverage against him. Babak called into question the integrity of Afshin and the conditions oil service employees performed under. The Ayatollah sent his son-in-law clergyman Aram Arad to investigate the BNOA working conditions, pay and benefits of its employees. Clergyman Arad did not find the employees dissatisfied with their conditions, but on the contrary, praised Afshin for the concern and fairness he showed his workers. Finding BNOA without fault in labor relations, Arad reported to Babak that Afshin was not a good production manager. Afshin countered that charge responding that while he had been President and CEO of BNOA, oil production costs were cut in half while oil production was constant despite repeated shut-downs during the Revolution.”
Daily Executions:
“If one day went by without more than ten of Amir’s men executed, it was an unusual day. Baugis grew accustomed to the executions and violent attacks meted out by the Revolutionary Guard upon uncooperative dissenters. Babak wanted the nation to be revived by Islamic fundamentalism. Those who did not follow the laws of the newly formed Islamic Republic would be severely punished. For example, the Revolutionary Guard caught a surgeon with a glass of whiskey after spending eleven straight hours in the operating room. His punishment, twenty-five lashes. The next day, when doctors, nurses and medical personnel arrived on the scene protesting their colleagues flogging by a barbaric Revolutionary Guardsman, the Imam’s Guard attacked yet again and beat them with clubs.”
FERDOWS FARHANG AND AYATOLLAH BABAK MEET FOR AMNESTY TALKS REGARDING POLITICAL PRISONERS
“Prime Minister Farhang, politically a moderate, made a call on Ayatollah Babak to plead amnesty for the political prisoners still being held by the Revolutionary Guard since the struggle against Amir’s former regime. Babak, stubborn as usual, responded that ‘foreign agents’ and their conspirators must be punished. Babak had an ulterior motive to hold the prisoners. They would be offered up as a sacrifice in order to display Islamic dignity and justice: the traitors must be put to death in expiation of their sin in order for the resurgence of the Islamic faith to blossom in Baug.
“After the executions of the prisoners, a pall of mourning and repentance swept over the nation. Before the new regime could be formed, Babak called for prayer and fasting. As a result, factories were shut down and production slowed to a crawl. The theologians were apparently not familiar with the economic principles of supply and demand as the price of manufactured goods continued to rise under the clerics’ management. These economic theologians threatened to whip any merchants who sold their wares at a premium to the current rate. In other words a ‘price freeze’ was instituted by the clerics to tamp down inflation which would be stringently enforced. Some merchants and salesmen were whipped in public for defying the clergymen’s demands, but the whippings did not improve the economy. Poor industrial production and management was at the root of Baug’s economic woes. Production was weak in Baug because owners and managers were killed by Babak’s henchmen and replaced by unqualified cronies rather than more qualified personnel.
“In each factory, a member of the clergy was appointed to coordinate the personnel. Many of the employees refused to work for clergymen that were inept supervisors while some openly mocked them. In retribution of the workers’ antagonistic attitudes, the clerics in charge labeled them ‘communists’ that were too lazy to work and reduced their salaries by 50%. Jobs became hard to locate and food was scarce or prohibitively expensive to most of the population. Babak’s economic advisor, Casper Basir, declared everyone must consume only what is produced domestically within Baug; imported goods would temporarily be disallowed. The result of this policy was that the price of eggs, fruits, rice, grain and meat increased by 300% and were not readily available even at those prices.
“The Baugi Constitution still was being prepared during these months of 1979. The Constitution was bound to give Baug international credibility and the clergymen increased power headed by the Ayatollah Babak as ‘supreme leader.’ Babak’s newly gained power to veto all governmental decisions of Parliament, orders of the President or the Prime Minister had made him the new political and spiritual ‘dictator’ of the country. When the referendum for the new constitution was brought before the public, many districts and cities refused to cooperate in the election. They felt their rights or those of their fellow citizens were being neglected and even abused. Despite the abstinence of many disillusioned voters, Babak’s regime men stuffed the ballot boxes with votes in favor of the Constitution’s approval and the Referendum was passed. There was now a new Baugi Constitution, voila.”
We can study art and the past through recordings, but culture, for that you need a petri dish.
THE AYATOLLAH BABAK ACQUIRES ADVERSARIES—THE ATTEMPTED ASSASSINATION OF AYATOLLAH DARIEN
I resumed the DVD.
“Ayatollah Babak found himself in an awkward situation when an assassination attempt was made on the life of Ayatollah Darien. Ayatollah Darien escaped harm although his young bodyguard was slain. Vast congregations of Darien supporters assembled both in the bordering nation of Varshjian and in the Baugi city of Darivsh. Babak’s Guard opened fire on some Darivsh demonstrators, killing some and wounding others. In Javed, the capitol of Varshjian, Varshjians fought against insurgents and a civil war erupted. Residents of Javed and the Baugi city of Darivsh took over radio and television stations and occupied government buildings. The residents continually broadcast commentary derogatory to the new dictatorship by saying among other things, that Babak was a worse tyrant than even Amir. Demonstrators tore down Babak’s pictures displayed on the neighborhood streets and chanted “Down with Babak, down with Babak!”
I emailed Jahan: “Darien has cross-border influence?”
Jahan replied after a minute, “You could say that.”
I thought about cross-boundary issues and became fatigued. I went to the café for an espresso and put on the DVD at a small kiosk built into a glossy clear and black plastic coffee table.
“Babak was a man seen by many as having a very arrogant visage although possessing a very timid disposition. He asked the Ayatollah Darien to meet with him regarding the uprisings in Darivsh and Javed, Varshjian. The meeting between the two was the most bitter they had ever known—they argued for hours. When Darien emerged from the meeting, he implored his followers for calm, to resume their routines and return to work. His followers however, refused to resume their posts. They considered Babak a murderer and continued to fight against his new regime. Perhaps the Ayatollah Darien had been coerced to call for a return to work and an end to the workers’ strikes.
“Bahadur and Baugistan were two of the most troublesome areas for Babak to manage. In Bahadur, people were fed up with the massacres instigated or exacerbated by the Revolutionary Guard and irate citizens swept the Guard out of their province. In Baugistan, all the guards fled for fear of their lives and residents there began to manage their own affairs of government. After the departure of the Revolutionary Guard from Bahadur and Baugistan, Babak dispatched his army back to those areas and proclaimed that martial law would be imposed again like it was ‘last year.’ A year earlier, Babak had pledged never again to impose martial law on Baugi citizens, which included Bahadur and Baugistan, but here he was twelve months later reneging on that pledge, threatening a crackdown.”
MARTIAL LAW: MILITARY RULE GOVERNS IN THE ISLAMIC REPUBLIC OF BAUG
“When martial law is in effect, the rights and privileges of the citizens within its jurisdiction are subject to curtailment by the military at any time once notice is given ‘martial law’ is in effect. The military commander can arrest anyone he wants to without probable cause to believe a crime had been committed and on very little if any evidence against the arrestee. During martial law periods, all justice courts in Baug were suspended indefinitely and the military courts worked not only on new cases, but on subrogated cases as well in order to stem the flood of litigation. Expediency of the military court enabled them to hear all the cases that were ongoing, and provide consistency in sentencing for crimes related to the Revolution. Most Baugi military personnel had participated in the revolution under one banner of loyalty or another in addition to an allegiance to either Babak or Amir. To prevent assembly of anti-government demonstrators, martial law in Baug also prohibited the gathering of more than three persons at any one time in any one place.
“After Amir was deposed, Babak sympathized with the people who had suffered because of martial law, but when the time came for strict enforcement in his own regime, he utilized many of Amir’s repressive methods to quell social unrest. Babak’s interests opposed those of the Baugistanis and fighting broke out between them. Babak’s forces overcame the Baugistanis and after the battle, the country was ready for calm. Ayatollah Darien admonished crowds to remain calm and seek peace through tolerance and understanding; calm prevailed.
“Meanwhile, internal strife in greater Baug, particularly in the capitol city of Tealandir, was growing worse. Babak and his advisors looked for a new situation that would rid them of their opposition; or at least silence them for the time being. The clergy council decided to create a social environment so that anyone who continued with public protests could be labeled and indicted as a Sargonian intelligence agent and tried in military court. It became evident this was the purpose of the seizure of the Sargonian Embassy in Tealandir: to live by a new set of rules.
“While Amir was in Sargon for cancer treatment, gunmen, in the guise of students, took over the Sargonian Embassy and captured fifty-two of its staff, holding them hostage. Amir’s trip to Sargon provided an opportune moment for the Ayatollah to confiscate the Sargonian Embassy and hold a number of Sargonians hostage, providing Babak with a modicum of clout as a mediator of sorts between the unruly hostage takers and the Sargon government.
“After the embassy seizure, it was maintained that the Islamic ‘students’ had captured the Sargonian hostages on their own initiative. In the next few days following the seizure, information was gathered. After study of the data, Babak’s position in the matter was seen as favoring the students’ incursion and occupation of the Embassy, but publically, he was low-key on the matter. The students’ action served a legitimate Baugi interest in the regulation of espionage within its borders. However, it wasn’t long before Babak openly condoned the action of the students as well as holding the Sargonian hostages it now considered spies. The imposition of martial law provided the legal rationale the clergy council used to impose greater scrutiny to the issue of espionage, while lessening the rights of legal redress for those held hostage at the embassy. Perhaps the Babak regime had found evidence of espionage at the embassy or more simply, information was found at the embassy compound which the Babak-led government could use as leverage in private dialogues with Sargonian President Riymi Dauber.”
PRIME MINISTER FERDOWS FARHANG RESIGNS
“As a statement of protest and non-alliance with Babak’s legal basis for holding the Sargonian hostages, Prime Minister Farhang tendered his resignation to the Ayatollah. Farhang had asked to be relieved of his post earlier in his administration, but the Imam had not previously accepted it. After the seizure of the embassy, Babak felt obligated and/or it had become strategically appropriate to allow Farhang to resign. The resignation was a sign of ambivalence the Islamic Republic of Baug wanted to openly acknowledge with the acceptance of Farhang’s resignation. Farhang’s power was diminished by the onset of martial law and even more so after his resignation as prime minister. The clergy were uncomfortable with the hostage crisis as it was now touted in Sargon and Farhang became an international media and United Corporate darling.
“The clergy wanted to keep Farhang in office because he was able to assuage the public into accepting the Islamic Republic. Farhang had been the Ayatollah’s token politician and since he held nothing more than an influential office of in Baug’s government, it would have been obvious to the world that if he kept his post during the hostage crisis he was merely acting as a ‘front man’ for the Ayatollah. The only real power Farhang held before he resigned was influential, which, if anything, grew after he left office. He had no leverage in forcing a decision whether he stayed on or not in Babak’s regime. Since the clergy sided with the ‘students’ who took the Sargonian Embassy, there was little likelihood the clerics would reverse themselves on his account.
“In his first statement after the hostage crisis, Sargon President Dauber did not condemn Babak’s action [perhaps due to a foundation of espionage claims, inter alia]. Sargon admittedly needed Baugi oil and did not want to spoil its chances in future oil contracts because of any pre-mature statements that could upset the Baugi government or its people. Dauber’s advisors did not evaluate the condition in Baug as well as they might have. Dauber’s diplomacy was seen by Shiet Moslems as a ‘turn the other cheek’ diplomacy. Whether true or not, the perception of Dauber’s diplomacy as weak plagued his administration for months following the storming of the embassy. The Baugi’s seemed to have Dauber’s hands tied. Subsequent leaders and military advisors learned to interpret ‘turn the other cheek’ as ‘go back to center of gravity after the slap’ rather than to accept a form of disadvantage as ‘normalcy’. President Dauber did not add words of condemnation nor denounce the students holding Sargonians hostage: he was now personally responsible for their survival. If Dauber wasn’t going to do anything about it, Babak for his part certainly wasn’t going to mess with a bee hive without getting some honey from Dauber. Dauber’s reticence reinforced Babak’s resolve to continue along the same, stubborn lines of Islamic Republic reformation. He knew after the first Dauber statement on the hostages, Sargon would not act with violence. [Perhaps President Ferdinand Nolan would have, had the hostages not been freed after he was elected to replace Dauber as President of Sargon in 1980].
“Casper Basir retained his position as Baug’s foreign minister and unto that was added interim prime minister. Basir was known as a moderate politician and did not always reiterate the extremist line of most clergymen. Babak was initially dissatisfied with Basir’s performance in his new roles because Basir did not always agree with him as he thought he should nor give deference to him as a Great Ayatollah. As a result, Babak fired Basir from both his titles and appointed Armani Afsharadeh to be the new prime minister which included the duties of foreign minister as well. Although Basir was recognized as Baug’s first prime minister after the Islamic Revolution, he was not able to turn his influence into political action in that office.
“Afsharadeh relished the opportunity to shine before the Ayatollah. Prior to being appointed by Babak, the Revolutionary Guard managed political affairs whether an extreme or lax version of martial law was in place at the time. Although still under the supreme leader’s supervision, Afsharadeh effectively replaced much of the post-revolution police power previously held by the Guard under martial law.”
BABAK CLAIMS AMIR CONSPIRING WITH SARGON; UNITED CORPORATE’S DOCKET ON HOSTAGE CRISIS; BABAK SENDS SELECT GROUP OF SARGONIAN HOSTAGES TO SARGON
“Babak and his inner circle claimed Sargon brought Amir to Arezoo, the largest city in Sargon in order to arrange another coup whereby he would return to Baug as a victorious king. This claim did not hold up under scrutiny because it was needless for Amir to stop-over in Arezoo if he were actually coming back to Baug. When the issue was brought up at a UC meeting in reference to official business pertaining to the Sargonian hostages left in Baug, PM Afsharadeh declared he would not attend the UC session scheduled on the docket. Knowing Sargon would demand answers pertaining to the hostages, such as why they were abducted, their prospects and physical condition, as well as a demand for immediate release and remedies, Afsharadeh claimed UC was controlled by Sargon and it was therefore unwise to attend the scheduled session. Soon after the Afsharadeh-UC ‘showdown’, Babak freed some of the Sargonian hostages and allowed them to go home; these embassy staff releasees were comprised mostly of women and Mirzian-Sargonians, who were an oppressed minority in Sargon. Babak used this ploy to ease world-wide tension over the situation and to display to the world Islam does not discriminate based on race, national origin or sex, but respects women and the darker-complected Sargonian descendants of Mirza. It seemed to many however, that Babak was by implication, discriminating against Sargonian white men of Bahari descent.”
I was tired and ejected the DVD from the tablet. Strangely, I realized I didn’t like my job so much as I liked Jaleh. I picked up the phone and called her.
“Leh, could you tell me a story?” I asked.
“What?” She asked. I must have caught her in the middle of something.
“Are you busy?”
“Nooooowah.” She responded quizzically.
“I’m at about 569 on the DVD. You have a copy with you?” I asked.
“Yes.”
“Could you read it to me over the phone or just play me your copy over the phone on speaker so we can comment?” I asked.
“Sure. Just a minute…why?”
“Bored,” I replied, not exactly lying. “And tired.”
“Me too,” she admitted. I was glad I called her. In a few moments, more quickly than I imagined, the DVD continued almost exactly where I left off… .
“President Dauber’s strategy regarding the hostages was to proceed step by step in negotiations with Babak and the Revolutionary Guard. When he found his diplomatic rhetoric ineffective, Dauber declared in a public speech Sargon would impose economic sanctions against Baug. However, these ‘sanctions’ did not include an embargo of food and medicine, the two most vital imports Baug received from Sargon.
“Baug did not need any imported commodities except food and medicine. It did not want Sargonian machinery, cars, factories, guns or coca-cola because it was still auditing materials they already possessed. Baug felt no pressure whatsoever from Dauber’s economic sanctions, especially when other countries trading with both Sargon and Baug did not take the sanctions seriously. During the embargo, Baug bought wheat (despite renewed Sargonian scrutiny) alongside other commodities from Sargon’s allies. In turn, Sargon’s allies bought more than they needed from Sargon and with arbitrage magic, it found its way into Baug. Dauber’s trade sanctions provided for a longer, costlier and illegitimate route for the transfer of Sargonian products to Baug. Coincidently, many more hands were getting greased because the goods had to be transferred and retransferred around the globe, creating goodwill, and inflation, all around the world.”
PRESIDENT RIYMI DAUBER’S ADMINISTRATIVE POLICY TOWARD BAUG
“Babak was particularly cautious in his diplomatic attacks of Sargon and Kir in general and President Dauber in particular. He knew the geographical distance between Sargon and Baug was prohibitive of a Sargonian incursion, but did not want to provoke the Sargon into a war-like disposition. Dauber had religious scruples like himself, and was known as a non-drinker. Babak also knew Dauber had been a commander on a Sargonian nuclear submarine. He learned from his deputies inflation would spiral out of control for both nations if war broke out between them, but presaged Sargon had more to lose in that regard. Baug is protected by natural barriers of land surrounding the Tahmoureese Gulf, and with many of its allies within close proximity, military action of any kind in the Gulf would be difficult for Sargon to coordinate. Dauber was pinned against wall; horns over the dilemma.
“Without realizing all the consequences of their action, the Sargonian Government deported some 2,000 Baugi students who were no longer able to pay tuition at Sargonian schools due to the effect of the economic sanctions imposed on the students or their benefactors. President Dauber appeared on television stating that all Baugi students who were not presently enrolled in a school on Sargonian soil should be deported. What happened as a result of this policy was that most of the students who couldn’t pay their tuition and were sent back to Baug were politically “anti-Babak”. Baugi students in Sargon who could pay tuition were pro-Babak, just how the Ayatollah had wanted it! The consequences of Dauber’s tuition pay or leave policy included pro-Babak forces left in Sargon allowed to blend in with unsuspecting university students who established new organizations and funded existing ones to support the broadcast of propaganda to their members through tape-recorded messages sent by telephonic means. Pro-Babak ‘students’ in Sargon threatened to terrorize and assassinate high-ranking Sargonian government officials if military action was initiated against Baug.
“Deporting Baugi students and visitors continued in Sargon during the Dauber Presidency. It fact, the senate of an incorporated state within Sargon approved a bill that prevented 3,000 Baugi students from continuing their studies in their state. They based the jurisdiction for the expulsion on the fact that their state-subsidized universities were under their domain and control. The representative from the state who delivered the proposal reasoned publically that if Baugi students go back home, they will act as disruptors to the Babak regime and reforms will take place due to the anti-Babak sentiment thrown into the mix. The representative envisioned returning Baugi students to Baug, and in return, their Sargonian hostages would be released. This kind of Sargonian public relations foreign policy back-fired as it often had in regard to Baug. Sargon did not foresee the tendency of the deported Baugi students who may have been sympathetic toward Sargon before, feel betrayed of the prospect of becoming naturalized citizens, and rejected by their former Sargonian hosts. Some of these students may have invested a great deal in their education abroad and had nothing now to show for it but a few photographs of Sargon. Worse, they had to face the heckling of the mob and the possibility of being conducted to Babak’s ‘de-programming crew’.”
Jaleh thought separately I bet, recounting how Babak’s Revolutionary Guard would refer re-matriculating students like her to scrutiny and sometimes arrest following their overseas stint in Sargon.
“It’s about goodness,” the Guards would say as they inspected the disembarking passengers coming off the jet at the Tealandir Airport, looking at the profiles they had of everyone on the passenger manifest.
“Why do Baugis demonstrate against Kir? Clergymen told demonstrators that Kir disrupts Baug’s political system and brings poverty and dictatorship wherever they go,” said Jaleh. “A little psychology taken in secondary school would be enough to know that if one is told enough times and in a strategic manner that Sargon of Kir is no longer an associate but an adversary,” Jahan added, “it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. Some will take the advocated side no matter how unreasonable or disadvantageous to them.”
Jahan was working on a proposal for a gas-fired power plant near Tealandir and decided to resort back to the DVD. He popped the silver-colored disc with Samisekt character’s on its face into the tablet.
“The pain of the sanctions would be as real to the returning deportees as it was to those already living under them. Generally speaking, distance and tension bring division between countries. If Baugi students were immersed in Sargonian culture, they would have more to say about Kir than only what Ayatollah Babak or his followers told them about Sargon of Kir. By the immersion of foreign students into Sargonian Universities, the spiritual, political and cultural influences in the controlled and insulated environment could play a diplomatic role once the student returns to his or her home country. As far as Baugis who studied in Sargon in the late 1970’s were concerned, the osmosis value of allowing them to continue to study indefinitely until they paid their tuition fees outweighed the cost of deporting them to a hostile Baug adverse not only to their future aspirations in Sargon, but Sargon itself. Babak’s regime was pleased that by deporting anti-Babak students from Sargonian schools, the Islamic organizations within Sargon could operate unchallenged by their anti-Babak counter-parts. Islamic propagandists in Sargon then could begin operations on a large-scale without opposition from Baugi voices that would diffuse their propaganda machine against Sargonian leadership for decades to come. In regard to ‘reform’ in Baug, I submit ‘a change of attitude of an extremely changeable people could conceivably occur.’
“As soon as Sargon deported the Baugi students back to their home country, Xerxes opened their doors to Baugi students and declared they would accept 20,000 Baugi students who wanted to study in its country free of charge. Within five years, Xerxes would have expert propagandists in Baug telling students who to fear—Sargonians. If Baug fell under increased Xerxesian influence due to sanctions and the severance of diplomatic relations, who would Sargonians have to blame but themselves?”
THE INVASION OF PAPAVERERUM BY XERXES
“In the midst of these events, Xerxesian troops stormed through Papavererum and occupied its territory. Guerilla warfare was taking place in various Papavererum provinces and Xerxes alleged the uprisings were stirred up and led logistically by Sargonian undercover agents.
“Sargon reaction to Xerxes’ included deploying naval ships in the Gulf of Tahmoureese. This alone was not a strong enough signal to Xerxes that Sargon was sending a hostile signal their way since the convoy could have more to do with the hostage crisis, so more ships in the Gulf did little if anything to alter the dilemma Xerxes was facing in Papavererum. Sargonian officials thought that the Papavererum government would send Xerxes back to Xerxesion territory, but the Xerxes propagandandists were so persuasive, Papavererum made no requests of assistance from the Sargon. Because the Papaverereese did not revolt outright against Xerxes, Xerxesians were confident their position and influence in Papavererum would take hold and only grow larger.
“Sargon wanted to take advantage of Xerxes’ invasion of Baug’s eastern neighbor Papavererum, by proposing to help Baug, against a Xerxesian invasion. Immediately upon receiving Sargon’s defense proposal, the clergymen, along with Babak, refused the offer. Dauber’s intelligence sources had twice now missed the mark in reading the ‘buzz’ of Baugi civil and governmental sentiment. Under the circumstances, with daily demonstrations taking place against “Sargonian Imperialists and Drones in Baug”, it turned out the Sargonians looked ridiculous proposing to ‘help’ Baug against Xerxes. It would have been more logical, albeit perhaps not politically correct, had Sargon been silent until Baug indeed requested their assistance. As it happened, the clergy got a hold of the missive from Dauber’s office and started to tear the image of Kir apart saying ‘Sargonian Christians are so presumptive’. This was the clergy’s grand opportunity to rail against the Imperialist Sargonians, saying ‘It [Sargon] is so forward that they cannot rest from their foreign policy of aggression [even as they see others on the attack]’. Baugi diplomats repeatedly declare they are not threatened by Xerxes, and would act independently or multi-laterally with third party allies in Papavererum should hostilities break out. If Xerxes were to attack them, Baug had Paparvererum guerillas with which to form a deeper alliance.”
VARSHIAN UPRISING AGAINST THE AYATOLLAH BABAK BASED ON THEOLOGY?
“Followers of the Ayatollahs Babak and Darien fought against each other in the province of Varshian. Babak’s Revolutionary Guard overcame Darien’s followers, and the survivors from the Darien opposition were put on trial. A religious judge sentenced more than ten of the anti-Babak reactionaries to death. The mass execution infuriated the people of Varshian, and demonstrators gathered from the suburbs to their capitol city of Javed to object to the capital sentences, when Babak’s Guard arrived and eventually opened fire on the crowd; the Varshian people only became angrier. They raided banks and governmental buildings and then set fire to them once they had been looted and gutted. With smoke-filled streets, and all of the surrounding buildings ablaze, the Guard fled with their machine guns in hand back to their bases. The natives took over the television and radio stations and began broadcasting propaganda against the Ayatollah Babak and his regime. This was a serious defeat and an outrage in the eyes of Ayatollah Babak. His army divisions stationed in Varshian flipped and joined protesters in chanting ‘Down with Babak’ due to the injustices they attributed to the Imam for suppressing their human rights.”
At times, I see Jahan as a tough rooster who doesn’t like a rival in his midst. I decided to work without him around whenever possible. Jaleh will be safe with me. I wonder why he doesn’t let me alone with her for very long.
Zareen and I wanted to go on a sight-seeing vacation to a body of water in the East. She gave me a wall-scrubbing job in the kitchen and I did it early on in the day. When the dishes were done and the bed made, I had a bowl of cous-cous and started in on the research. Jahan and Jaleh’s job with me seemed to be complete. I guess we all realized at once I’m a competent adult “with issues.” To me, an “issue” is not so much a negative attribute as it is a sign, in this case, to work alone.”
THE RIVALRY BETWEEN THE AYATOLLAH BABAK AND THE AYATOLLAH DARIEN GETS POINTED
“After the course of a few days, Babak summoned army personnel from all parts of the country in order to abate the Javed rebellion. The rebellion was well under control when the officers who had joined in the initial Javed revolt were summoned to appear before a council of clergymen in Tealandir. The officers thought they were being transferred to a more stable post when they were summoned, as it was customary to transit to Tealandir before being re-assigned. Once they arrived in the capitol however, they discovered that their situation was grave. They were accused of planning a coup d’etat against the Ayatollah Babak with the aiding and abetting of the Sargonian government. After their arraignments, the Varshian soldiers were tried and found guilty by a ulama (priest) of sedition and sentenced to death. The execution of various individuals often paralleled their association with any group or groups that held an anti-Babak bias. Groups openly opposed to the Ayatollah Babak or of the Islamic Republic, military sergeants and officers were especially suspect of sedition. In this environment, the number of executions escalated rapidly. Babak’s feud with Ayatollah Darien was about to get heated.
“Propaganda from Babak’s regime continued to be printed and spoken of more frequently in Baug. Clergymen who were formerly Babak supporters sent letters and telegrams to the Ayatollah Darien asking him to dissolve the Varshain Islamic Party [VIP], as their membership with the party was a prima facie case of treason against them in Baugi Islamic courts. Babak-led clergymen persisted in regarding members of the VIP as ‘agents of Kir and Israel’.
“For his part, the Ayatollah Darien was supported by more than three million members, most actively in the provinces of Varshian and Darivsh. The clergy’s letters and remarks were printed daily in the newspapers, including satirical responses to Ayatollah Darien’s suppositions or emphatic denials of wrongdoing. In response to the mocking of his statements and beliefs by other clergy as seen in the daily Baugi newspapers, Darien defended his followers by denying that the VIP caused the unrest in Javed. Darien went on to allege the clergymen were responsible for the uprising due to their oppressive tactics including the excessive use of force against the demonstrators in Javed. Darien claimed the reason for the rebellion was that the clergymen, in their ambition to control Baugi politics, ignored too many of the VIP members’ inalienable rights. He asked the clergy, ‘If the two million members of the VIP were all conspiring foreign agents whose behavior was worthy of death, it was a shame that the clergy of Babak’s Administration failed to direct these people in a manner befitting to God.’ He asked the clergymen to repent of their hooliganistic behavior and regain their composure as theologians.”
REBELLION ON THE GULF IN SHAHIN SHALIZEH, SOUTHERN BAUG
“In Shahin Shalizeh, a Gulf seaport on the southern flank of Baug, more demonstrations broke out against the Ayatollah Babak. The Revolutionary Guard opened fire on the people of Shahin Shalizeh, and sporadic battles ensued for some weeks. After about one hundred inhabitants of Shalizeh were killed, the Shalizeh surrendered to Babak’s army. Although anti-Babak protests in various parts of the country were being treated with severity, regional will behind the resistance movement was tamped down but not altogether extinguished. Revolutionaries with their own visions of leadership were waiting in the wings for the proper opportunity to show their discontent for Babak’s version of an Islamic Republic.”
SELECTION OF A PRESIDENT AND A NEW O.I.H.S.B.
“Babak ordered the election of a president for Baug’s new government. About 1,000 candidates applied for the position, so a Revolutionary Council organized a new secret police organization to be utilized by the clergy to investigate the backgrounds and political tendencies of each of the candidates. Babak used many of the officers who were not executed in the purges to renovate, then lead the OIHSB under his auspices. These officers worked under Amir in the former regime, so they knew how to structure such an investigative agency. The new OIHSB investigated the backgrounds of the candidates and delivered their report to the decision-making council overseen by the clergy. This council in turn handed the list to Babak, and unacceptable candidates, such as those belonging to or having belonged to the Rostam Khalq, a radical Socialist political party, the Baugi National Front and popular independence groups were eliminated from the roster. Citizens of Varshian, Armee, Kouros, Bahadur, Baugistan as well as Bluchestan and the coastal provinces were upset with the cuts to the presidential nominee candidacy list.
“As minority provinces began and opposition organizations began to promote their political platform and talking points, Foreign Minister Armani Afsharadeh, aspiring to be president, falsely declared he directed the Isthmus government to arrest Amir and that he was now in custody in the tiny Central Kir nation. Afsharadeh declared that following his election as president, he would go to Isthmus and personally return Amir to Baug in order to stand trial for his crimes. Although Afsharadeh’s statements were debunked by the Jahangir Broadcasting Company [JBC] as a hoax, Afsharadeh, as acting superintendent of both radio and television broadcasting in Baug, censored the JBC reports from broadcast within the country until after the election.
“Despite Afsharadeh’s foray into misinformation to attain the office of president of the Republic, Casper Basir ultimately became the first elected President of the Islamic Republic of Baug. In his acceptance speech, Basir said that his administration would focus on an increase in domestic production, controlling inflation and to continue to negotiate a proper conclusion to the release of the Sargonian hostages. He added that he would bring order to a Baugi government which had descended into chaos as a result of the ineptitude of numerous managers and statisticians who led the country after Amir was deposed. Basir believed the students who held the hostages should return to the classroom while he worked toward achieving their release.
“Zareen,” I called into the bedroom, “You were here in Tealandir. Did some of the students try to manage everything like in Lord of the Flies?”
She finished what she was doing and came into the den. “They were no more ‘flies’ than you are. I’ve counted four types of ‘flies’ in Baug, sluggish and stupid, sluggish and cautious, fast and stupid and fast with a family.”
“Family?” I asked. Zareen had wanted a baby after she told me the doctor said she was too old to have them. Why bring a child into this mountain of shit and flies. “Family makes up for the shortcomings of our youth you’re saying Zareen?”
“Family gives way to narcissism, surrounds it and subsumes it,” she replied.
“I guess your training at the academy was worthwhile, but I don’t want kids.”
“I don’t either,” she said, reassuring me.
Who would we adopt anyway, a Shiet or a Sunni child, I wondered? I didn’t wonder too long…after all, I didn’t want kids, then again, perhaps all these ‘flies’ were kids I was somehow responsible to care for. Shit.
Luckily, I hadn’t heard from Jahan or Jaleh and had almost completed listening to the last set of discs on the revolution. I wonder what happened to that short-skirt hostess at the sidewalk café? I typed in “romper” on my tablet and looked at a few negligee models before starting the program entitled, “BABAK’S VETO POWER”.
“Babak had the hostage taking ‘students’ hold the Sargonian captives at their embassy, contrary to Basir’s plan for their expedited release. Basir was incapable of political or military action contrary to the consent and timing of the Imam because Babak had power to veto any presidential decision under the Constitution of the Islamic Republic. Babak was almost glad that Basir sought the release of the hostages by executive order because he could demonstrate to the public his veto power was superior to the mere creative ideas of Basir. The Supreme Leader Ayatollah Babak made Basir look like a subordinate ‘fly’. It is interesting to note that before the Basir-Babak dispute broke out over whether the ‘students’ should return to school, candidate Afsharadeh took the position the ‘students’ who were occupying the Sargonian Embassy and holding hostages were communists and should be driven out of the compound. Babak’s veto was stronger than a 2-1 half-court press. His veto power trumped what he considered a make-shift democracy of ‘flies’.
“Although Babak declared repeatedly before the presidential election that domestic order would return to Baug, the election of Basir did not change the political power structure of the new constitutional government. The demonstration of Babak’s veto power let all of Baug know who had the final say. The president under the Islamic Republic of Baug’s Constitution was merely a ceremonial figurehead to agree with, or challenge the Ayatollah [or Imam].
“Basir was restrained from making any decisions by himself but dutifully ran his policy ideas by the Revolutionary Council, the Imam Committees, even Babak himself if necessary to achieve desublimation . Babak’s had ministers ‘in his pocket’, chosen by the Revolutionary Council and Imam Committees that had State-sanctioned militias at their disposal. Basir knew this and relegated himself to the use of rhetoric rather than police power to influence his constituents; he was after all one of their most popular spokesman in the country. However, the administrative committees working as agents of the Ayatollah Babak did not obey Basir’s orders nor did they respect his viewpoints. On the contrary, in the end, the president became subordinate to their committees since they could report adversely on his activities to the reviewing committees and the report would eventually reach the inner circle of the Imam himself. The post-revolution bureaucratic decision-making groups were another buffer of influence, dilution and control between the president and the Ayatollah Babak. Babak saw the weakness in power by the committee, and now that Basir knew his place, Babak would swat some committee ‘flies’.
“During this time, Babak was being courted and lobbied by influential communist organizers. He was attracted to Xerxes because of their common opponent, Sargon. Since Baug was at odds with the Sargon, Babak looked to Xerxes for the deficiency in military support caused by Sargon’s pivot from ally to another of their threatening adversaries. To stabilize his government, Babak arranged for a tumultuous event to occur in Baug. He ordered universities to transform themselves into Islamic schools that prepared students for the priesthood. He objected to the present educational system in Baug based in large part upon Western secular values and perspectives. Giving examples of the subjects of physics, chemistry and mathematics, Babak advocated the incorporation of neglected courses such as religion and jurisprudence to the curriculum. The universities merely prepared students for an ‘irreligious life’ Babak said, unless their education was highly tempered with an Islamic foundation. He claimed the sciences premised their proofs upon an agnostic denial of divine creation and the resurrection of the chosen after death and thus were false teachings. He believed that schools should no longer be co-educational but that only males should attend the universities. Women, he said, were meant to wear veils and be kept separate from the men in order for them to stay at home with their matronly chores.
“Babak sent his messages to the students through the Office of the President, Casper Basir. In the beginning, Basir was given no significant authority other than to convey Babak’s statements to the public through appropriate channels. One message in particular stated in no uncertain terms that if students did not obey the Ayatollah Babak, they would be punished at their schools by the Imam. Dissenting students replied that they would follow the dictates of their national Baugi heritage regardless of Ayatollah Babak’s threats and would refuse to obey ‘medieval customs’ of the invading Moslems of the Seventh Century A.D. In response to organized student revolts at campuses around the country, vagrant Babak supporters swarmed the colleges, attacking the apostates with clubs, stones and knives.
“The Revolutionary Guard commended the action of the loyalists who contained the apostate students at the affected universities. During the first day of fighting, students were killed at each revolting campus and dozens of others injured. The student population of ‘Greater Baug’ resisted despite the violent clashes with the Ayatollah Babak advocates. Every day, groups or gangs rushed onto selected institute and university campuses to attack students attending there.”
“Zareen, did any teachers die in these clashes between the students and and clergy?” I asked.
“Look it up on google,” she said and continued sleeping.
“One of the most severe attacks inflicted by Babak loyalists occurred at Tealandir Technical University where twenty-two people were killed, three hundred injured. At Sherveen University in Saman, five students were shot to death and one thousand injured by Babak’s Guard in a single day.” The rabble of vagrants appeared to have gone legit I thought to myself. Wombat.
“In Simin, the situation was even worse. Students in the city of Simin began a counter-revolution against the Ayatollah Babak. Babak’s regime did not yet have the reins on the radical youth parties which had paved the way for the Ayatollah to assume political power in Baug. These youth parties wanted some pay-off for their efforts and they wanted it now!
These groups were not of the Ayatollah Babak’s fold or congregation. They quickly surmised the Ayatollah’s move to require religious studies and jurisprudence put them in the site of his next target, the university student. After the students acted to overrun the Sargonian Embassy and take hostages, the poor students were only used as chumps by the clergy to create a timeline paralleling Babak’s installation of the Islamic Republic. Being ‘chumps’ rendered the radical communist students redundant pests or underworld gangs to be used only if and when required. One thing was becoming clear by the Ayatollah’s move to reform the university curriculum: there would be zero tolerance for further hostage taking of any kind. The communist youth gangs were anathema and expendable.
“Sargon severed all relations with Baug in the days Babak’s rabble of vagrant enforcers and Revolutionary Guard units attacked communist youth gangs. In response, Baug was pushed to rely on Xerxes as Xerxes was warring with its neighbor and ally Papavererum. Puzhman and other common market countries in Bahar quickly followed the Sargonian lead and refused to negotiate with Baug. Isolated, Baug met with Xerxes to discuss the very real possibility of a mutual-defense agreement while not taking sides in the Xerxes-Papavererum conflict. The withdrawal of Sargon from Baugi vital interests benefitted the Baugi regime in that Babak was able to use the spectre of Sargon as a patience destroying catalyst during the accusatory phase of his battles with domestic rivals. His rivals may have been more eloquent than he, but if they were conspiring with Sargon, and who was to say they were not, what good were they to the Republic? Sargon’s boycott of Baug played well into the hand of the Supreme Leader as he was in charge of the courts. Any accusation of a domestic conspiracy from divers quarters tended to favor the Ayatollah Babak and place a cloud over the words of his adversaries. The Ayatollah Babak made it a logical inference for the public to draw the clerics were always right. Babak was able to use fear and tactics such as these to unite the country against their common enemy, Sargon.
“Let’s have lunch,” said Jahan after I picked up his call.
I heard Jaleh eject the DVD from her tablet and say “Let’s go out to eat,” in the background.
The DVD was almost over and we might move on before another chance to meet up challenged us.
Move on I thought to myself. “Okay,” I said to my two companions.
At lunch we didn’t mention power generation. It was as if we were in the middle of a geometry problem and I forgot what the theorem was we originally set out to prove. All I could concentrate on once I smelled the hot food was getting some and being with my friends. The restaurant that was more formal and expensive than usual, I guess this was a going away party of sorts, a ‘tamped down’ celebratory dinner. What had started out as storytelling was ending up listening to history together from our insular perspectives. Not only did we not mention power plants, we didn’t mention revolution either. No one had much to say. Perhaps it was because the food and tea were so delightful together. I sat and ate my meal while contemplating how much it the bill would be. I sat up straight and began to be more attentive to Jaleh and Jahan who had just started a conversation together. They were talking of their family. As I said, it felt like the middle of a geometry problem full of postulates, proofs, corollaries and theorems. As I was mixed up, the food was a happy escape.
“How’s Zareen Khalid?” Jaleh finally asked after her conversation with Jahan went dead over the prospects of their next mission.
“Oh, she’s fine,” I replied.
When we left the restaurant, I found out Jahan and Jaleh were leaving to visit their extended family at a celebration in Behrouz, a small village 40 kilometers South-East from Tealandir. They said they would take the remaining DVD’s and finish them there.
“I suppose I’ll listen to the rest of it and tell you if I have any more questions. It doesn’t seem like I have any now,” I said, not disclosing the fact I was almost done the my lessons.
“The DVD will tell you what you need to know,” Jahan said.
Then I know more than you jackass, I thought to myself.
Jahan gave an incredulous look, kissed me on both cheeks and said goodbye. Jaleh said she’d see me when they got back to pick up the materials, my notes and comments around the new moon.
When I got home, Zareen was in a somber mood. It was time to tie up loose ends and tell her about why we were in Tealandir, but I put it off. The material was supposed to be confidential and I still had more of the DVD to play. I’d think of something non-committal, vague and ambiguous to say to her, giving her the gist but not spilling any beans.
I retreated to the smaller den in the flat about the size of a large closet with a door at either end and popped the final disc into the player and resumed listening.
THE BAHADUR CONFLICT
“The people of Bahadur would not hear of the Ayatollah’s antics and began to violently oppose his regime in words and actions. Babak now had modified his rhetoric to include Xerxes as an agent of subversion along with Sargon and Flint. The mighty island nation of the far-east, Fereydoon, recommended to President Dauber that he avoid all military action against Baug because it could move Babak into a complete alliance with Xerxes. In April of 1980, a leak disclosed Baug had been negotiating with Sargon’s adversaries, Xerxes and East Gaspar, for the past two years. Up until that time, these sensitive and tense negotiations had been successfully concealed from non-parties to the agreements.
“On April 29, 1980, when Baug’s negotiations with Xerxes were announced, Sargon President Riymi Dauber authorized a rescue mission to recover the Sargonian citizens held hostage at their embassy in Tealandir. The mission was to involve eight helicopters that were to land 200 miles south-east of Tealandir in the open desert. At the outset, the mission went awry. One of the choppers got lost in a sandstorm, another had a mechanical breakdown and a third collided in mid-air with another aircraft. Dauber scrubbed the mission after concluding God’s hand had spoiled his executive action. Sargon’s advisors agreed with President Dauber, the mission could not recover without re-inforcements and re-enforcements would be seen as indicative of escalation, which was the whole point of the secret helicopter rescue mission in the first place. Dauber did not consider the scrapped rescue mission a moral defeat but an act of God’s will. After mission control relayed their orders to abort, the functioning helicopters involved in the rescue plan returned to their bases in Farhoud, or aircraft carriers stationed of Baug’s coast in the Gulf of Tahmoureese.
On July 27, 1980, Amir died in his hospital bed at the Hediyeh Military Hospital in Farhoud despite surgeons’ attempts to control the late-stage cancer and excessive bleeding. According to one source, Sargonian reporter Samantha Arezoo, Amir’s Sargonian doctor Marko Drummond said the cause of Amir’s death was infection. Chemo-therapy treatments necessary to arrest Amir’s spreading cancer weakened his immune system to infection. As far as Babak and his collaborators were concerned, the death of Amir would not expedite the release of the Sargonian hostages. There were many factors involved in the hostage crisis that prevented the death of Amir to act as a quid pro quo for release of the hostages. There really was no simple solution to the problem, but Amir’s death could only help the cause the 52 Sargonians still held hostage.”
“So that’s why we’re here,” I chanted to myself, thinking out loud. A hostage of history! I didn’t start the shit. Don’t let anyone say I started this shit.
Coming back from my mission, I was fatigued and missing REM sleep. My time clocks were screwed up. I went to bed while Zareen spoke with her argumentative brother on the phone. I didn’t wake up in a start as I did the last time I slept with Zareen, nor did I wake up a lot to take a piss. A couple of dreams went by and I didn’t have to meet the cousins until 16:00. Not having to get up early has a soothing effect on my psyche. I am not a slave. Not meeting the cousins until 4 meant I had time to do my exercises.
I spotted the disc I hadn’t finished across the living room on a corner-table beside the black leather loveseat. Taking a feather duster, I moved it back and forth over the top of some the table-top ornaments while I listened to the audio. I might be done with the disc by lunch tomorrow. Zareen will put me on wall and basin-scrubbing duty. No longer in a hurry, I put the duster away and inserted the DVD slowly into the entertainment center player and turned the volume up to 6, just enough for the neighbors to hear a muffle from outside. I closed the windows.
“The Baugi ‘students’ holding the Sargonian citizens captive at their embassy demanded certain conditions be met before any steps to release the hostages would be made. Among these demands was the return of Amir’s Sargonian property investments he had made while still living in Baug. The Baugi student-reactionaries also wanted apologies from the Dauber Administration for the damages caused by alleged crimes perpetrated from the beginning of Amir’s reign in 1953 until it was determined by the North Bahar Treaty Organization [NBTO] that he be removed from power in 1978. Many of the radicals and/or reactionaries also demanded a ransom be paid for the fifty-two hostages to be divided among the various factions who opposed Amir’s regime during that twenty-three year period plus the two years of revolution and debate culminating in the adoption of the Islamic Republic of Baug. They demanded that the Islamic Court of Baug decided the magnitude of restitution due the Baugi combatants for bravery during their opposition to Amir between 1953 when Amir first took power until the effects of his reign were remedied by the Sargonian payments.
“When Amir left Baug in 1979, there was no organized ‘information central’ in Tealandir or anywhere else in the country for Western news sources to coordinate their activities. Media scuttlebutts claimed Sargon was engaging in secret investigations of the emerging Babak Administration at all times before, during and after Amir’s fall from power. In response to Western media sources that reported the ‘students’ holding the hostages were not enrolled ‘students’, reactionaries claimed the Sargonian hostages were not diplomats but foreign agents actively engaged in the destabilization and overthrow the Babak regime.
“The reason Babak kept the Sargonian Embassy and its hostages in Tealandir on ice was not solely to get Amir extradited back to Baug for trial. The Sargonian presidential election of November of 1980 was approaching and if Baug could influence the election, one way or another, the victor would ‘owe them one’. A covert quid pro quo may have led to the Baug-Contra Affair, but this source does not conclude any military agreements between the interested parties included the upcoming Sargonian elections. Matters remained fluid enough on the Baugi side to enable Babak to operate based on circumstances not rely on written agreement to act. In this way, Babak refused to get backed into a corner by the West.
“There are other matters undisclosed to the general public which kept Sargonian hostages confined to Baug for such an extended period of time, but it is probable President Riymi Dauber’s loss to Ferdinand Nolan was a substantial mitigating factor setting the stage for release of the hostages. Only 60% of the hostages were expected to return home alive if the mission had been a success? One might conclude upon closer examination of the helicopter extraction mission that President Dauber and his military advisors had a broader scope of ‘rescue’ in mind than would be reported by globe-trotting journalists. Even if the media were able to report on the many confidential, secret and top secret materials touching the helicopter-rescue mission, it probably would not have improved Dauber’s chances for re-election in 1980.
“The rescue mission may have failed but negotiations between the two countries, although mostly covert in nature were about to thaw. The hostages were released immediately after Ferdinand Nolan was inaugurated as Sargon’s 40th President on January 20, 1981.
“To this day Baug continues to help shape a better fit between Sargon and itself. In the Spring of 2015, Baug appointed its first female ambassador to represent its interests vis-à-vis Sargon after 35 years without official diplomatic relations between the two countries.”
This account of historical fiction was told to me, Khalid, by the siblings Jahan and Jaleh, my cousins and neighbors. The jury is still out on whether or not to judge. Maybe the Wombat and UC operatives will co-produce a disc set for entitled The Discernment Series.
Copyright ‘M’ As told to John Rubens (July 7, 1980, 1981); The Iranian Revolution: Iran’s Struggle with a New Father, as told to and edited by John Rubens (1980, 1981).
Compilation Copyright ‘M’ and John Rubens, Installment 77: An Account of ‘M’ (1980; 1981, online 2014)
Skyscraper Heavens
Copyright John Rubens
April 22, 2015

Trailing Dedication:
Thanks to my wife Lucia, my mother Arlene and her husband Kon for their support, to ‘M’ and his family who told me the events of the Iranian Revolution in 1980 which served as source material for this work of historical fiction.
I would also like to thank the Jesuit priests of Blessed Sacrament Hollywood, Pontifex, the Eternal Word Television Network [EWTN], the Wall Street Journal online, Wikipedia, the tweets of the Supreme Leader of Iran Ayatollah Khamenei, the tweets of Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani, authors Kirby Wright and Anthony Bourdain as well as representatives from Xlibris publishing including Patrick Ruiz, Nikki Birch and Didi Rodriguez for their consistent guidance and encouragement.

Elaborative Footnote Supplement
Synopsis Footnotes:
[1] See, Installment 77, An Account of ‘M’; Call No Man Father at https://johnrubens.wordpress.com
[2] Marcuse, Herbert, One Dimensional Man (1964, 1968 paperback ed.)
[3] See, id., 1968 paperback edition at 137, fn. 6
Textual Footnotes:
[1] See, One Dimensional Man (1964, 1968) Marcuse, Herbert
[2] id.
[3]The Bathroom Joke Book (2003) by Russ Edwards and Jack Kreismer
[4] See, One Dimensional Man, id., “Welfare and the Welfare State” (1968 ed.) at 48 et seq.

[5] Julian Barnett of Marin County, California on Y2K containment policy

[6] See, Machiavelli’s The Prince

[7] See, Herbert Marcuse, on the theory of the dialectic and containment [e.g., an expanding balloon needs an escape for gas or will burst] [from Social Philosophy Professor Michel lectures, Schiller College, Strasbourg, France; Universite de Strasbourg, Strasbourg France (1978-1979, 1983)] [In 1969, Marcuse wrote An Essay on Liberation celebrating liberation movements toward self-rule and sovereignty distinct from the authority of its predecessor overlords]. I found these balloons at my doorstep later in the day I wrote footnote [7], above. These six must have blown over to my door in the breeze from the Magic Castle, Hollywood. At first, I thought I was hacked. Still, strangely prescient. I put the balloon bag in my wife’s Cadillac to take to the kids at work and three of the balloons popped in the heat the next afternoon while still in the vehicle. The three that remained found their way to a cute Ukrainian-American boy accompanying his father to Tashman’s Screens and Hardware. The balloons brought a joyful smile to the young boy’s face according to my wife Lucia.
On May 27, 2014, Mother Angelica of the Eternal Word Television Network said not to get caught up in societal “balloons” that are not God. If the balloons are not part of God, they are by implication, at best a distraction not to amuse or lose oneself in for more than a moment before moving on to union with Him. [Catholicism more than loving your neighbor, it’s about “becoming Christ” so one can give that to others. “You are the bread of the communion,” she said. “Balloons” are a potential pitfall, not Jesus].
[8] Matthew 23: 9 “And call no man your father upon earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven.” Francis warns not to get trapped or lost in one’s psyche: [EWTN online, May 27, 2014].
In his daily homily Pope Francis explained that it takes more than intellectual assent to truly get to know Jesus – we must also develop a personal relationship of joy through prayer and works.
“Ideas by themselves do not lead anywhere and those who pursue the path of their own ideas end up in a labyrinth from where they can’t get out again!” the Pope stated in his May 16 daily Mass.
Addressing those present with him in the chapel of the Vatican’s Saint Martha guesthouse, the Pope explained that getting to know Jesus is the most important work in our lives, and warned that just studying about him or having an idea is not enough.
Noting how often times those who pursue their own ideas end up trapped in them, the pontiff pointed out that “It’s for this reason that heresies have existed from the very beginning of the Church.”
“Heresies are this: trying to understand with our minds and with only our personal light who Jesus is,” he observed, adding that “A great English writer wrote that a heresy is an idea that’s gone crazy.”
“That’s right! When they are ideas by themselves they become crazy…This is not the right path!”
Going on, Pope Francis said that in order to really get to know Jesus there are three doors that we must open, naming the first as “praying to Jesus.”
“You must realize that studying without prayers is no use. We must pray to Jesus to get to know him better” he noted, explaining that “the great theologians did their theology while kneeling.”
“Pray to Jesus! By studying and praying we get a bit closer… But we’ll never know Jesus without praying. Never! Never!”
Pope Francis went on to say that the second door we need to open is that of “celebrating Jesus,” because “Prayer on its own is not enough, we need the joy of celebration.”
“We must celebrate Jesus through his Sacraments, because these give us life, they give us strength, they nourish us, they comfort us, they forge an alliance with us, they give us a mission,” the pontiff observed, adding that “Without celebrating the Sacraments, we’ll never get to know Jesus.”
“This is what the Church is all about: celebration” he repeated, stating that “the third door is imitating Jesus. Take the Gospel, what did he do, how was his life, what did he tell us, what did he teach us and try to imitate him.”
Entering these doors “means entering into the mystery of Jesus,” the Bishop of Rome continued, “and it’s only in this way that we can get to know him and we mustn’t be afraid to do this.”
Bringing his reflections to a close, Pope Francis encouraged attendees to think “about how the door leading to prayer is proceeding in our life,” warning that “prayer from the heart is not like that of a parrot!”
“How is prayer of the heart? How is the Christian celebration in my life proceeding? And how is the imitation of Jesus in my life proceeding? How must I imitate him?” he asked.
“Do you really not remember!” the Pope chastised, explaining that “The reason is because the Book of the Gospel is full of dust as it’s never opened!”
In opening the bible [sic] and reading it “you will discover how to imitate Jesus” the pontiff observed, so “Let’s think about how these three doors are positioned in our life and this will be of benefit to everybody.”
[9] Mark 10:27: “And Jesus looking upon them saith, With men it is impossible, but not with God: for with God all things are possible.” [Original King James Version, hereinafter OKJV]
[10] See, La Modification (1957) [The Modification] by Michel Butor, widely recognized as the first modern anti-roman [anti-novel].

[11] Matthew 11:30: “For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” [OKJV]

[12] Word “swagger” as used by Peggy Noonan in Wall Street Journal online op-ed column regarding authority to liberate Nigerian Schoolgirls: online.wsj.com/news/column/Declarations May 16, 2014: “America has forgotten how to exercise power without swagger. … Peggy Noonan @Peggynoonannyc; Peggy … as the story of the kidnapped girls…[from google search online 05-19-2014, quoting WSJ online].
[13] See, The Communist Manifesto (1848) by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels
[14] Catch- 22 (1961), novel by Joseph Heller wherein the protagonist wanted to get out of active military duty under a theory of being insane but one could only plead insanity if one was sane (aka “damned if you do and damned you don’t”).
[15] Mark 13:7: “And when ye shall hear of wars and romours of wars, be ye not troubled: for such things must needs be; but the end shall not be yet.” See also Ezekiel, Chapters 38-39 re: “Gog”

[16] Compare the French word “Salon” [“House of” Fr.]

[17] Compare the stories of the Joseph [see Genesis 41:41 et seq.] and Moses in pertinent part: [Exodus 12: 40-42 et. seq.].
[18] U.S. Constitution, See, post-Civil War Amendments 13 and 14 (circa 1865)

[19] See, Esther 9:32, for an example of a writing instituting a legal record with religious significance after bloodshed: “And the decree of Esther confirmed these matters of Purim; and it was written in the book (emphasis added) [“book”, above, may refer to the ” the chronicles of the kings of Media and Persia” see Esther 10:2]; “It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves.” Matthew 21:13; See also, Isaiah 56: 7-8 in pertinent part: “[M]ine house shall be called an house of prayer for all people. The Lord God which gathereth the outcasts of Israel saith, Yet will I gather others to him, beside those that are gathered unto him.” See also John 10:16, “And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.”(King James Version, Holy Bible). “As for God, his way is perfect: the word of the Lord is tried: he is a buckler to all those that trust in him.” Psalms 18:30 (KJV); compare also theory of quantum mechanics “folding space” as explained in Brian Greene’s book The Elegant Universe (1999) and Visions: How Science Will Revolutionize the 21st Century (1998) by Michio Kaku. [Thanks here go to my youngest brother Steve Rubens, who was reading Visions for a class at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles and gave me his copy when he had finished—hard cover baby.]
[20] See, Matthew 4: 19: “And he saith to them, ‘Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.’” [OKJV] See also Mark 1:17: “And Jesus said unto them, ‘Come ye after me, and I will make you to become fishers of men.’” [OKJV; The New Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, James Strong, LL.D., S.T.D. (1995)].
[21] See, 2 Timothy 3:1: “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.” [OKJV]

[22] RT is an abbreviation for “Retweet” on the social media platform known as “twitter”

[23] The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli (16th Century work at the end of chapter 18): “In the actions of all men, and especially of princes, where there is no court to appeal to, one looks to the end. So let prince win and maintain his state: the means will always be judged honorable, and will be praised by everyone.” Philosophy beta [online edited March 30, 2012 at 15:08] Athough it is disputable whether Babak had a court to appeal to due to the concept of “clean hands” in legal equity, at the point in time of Babak’s “diplomatic tactics” to defend the State against those who would diminish it in Kouros and Bahadur, “the end justifies the means” is not entirely to be dismissed as a defense to some of Babak’s acts of State to maintain order while tamping down Revolutionary fervor.
[24] See, Utopia (1516) by More, Thomas; a novel about inhabitants of an imaginary island seeking an ideal political and cultural system.

[25] Compare: One Dimensional Man, [(1964, 1968) 1968 ed. at 17-18]

[26] See, id. at 22

[27] See, Catch- 22 (1961), a novel by Joseph Heller wherein the protagonist wanted to get out of active military duty under a theory of being insane but one could only plead insanity if one was sane.

[28] Mark 2:22, “And no man putteth new wine into old bottles: else the new wine doth burst the bottles, and the wine is spilled, and the bottles will be marred: but new wine must be put into new bottles.” [OKJV]
[29] See, Rollerball, A Film by Norman Jewison (1975). Screenplay by William Harrison, adapted from his short story, The Rollerball Murders.
[30] “The Gipper” was a collegiate football player in the film Knute Rockne, All American (1940), a biopic written by Robert Buckner and directed by Lloyd Bacon. The future of football was at stake at this mid-western Roman Catholic University, and the whole team as well as its fans rallied around George Gip, or “Gipper” as he was known, to win the game and keep a football program at the school. The Gipper passed away tragically mid-way through the film, which prompted his teammates to come up with the rally cry, “Let’s win one for the Gipper.” Ronald Reagan played “Gipper” in the film.

[31] Khalid’s source, ‘M’. But see “REPORT OF THE STAFF’S STUDY OF ALLEGED MISCONDUCT BY MEMBERS OF THE SARGONIAN HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES INVOLVING THE FORMER GOVERNMENT OF BAUG. See also REPORT OF THE STAFF’S STUDY OF ALLEGED MISCONDUCT BY MEMBERS OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES INVOLVING THE FORMER GOVERNMENT OF IRAN.” A. Raymond Randolph, Jr., Special Counsel, Robert A. Bermingham, Chief Investigator, Beverley C. Lumpkin, William J. McDonnell, John J. Moriarty, Richard J. Powers, Investigators (October 24, 1979).
[32] See, Dr. Gene Scott, PhD. Stanford University [Theological Sermons on Religious Fundamentalism versus individual responsibility and accountability]; see also, Matthew 19:7-9: “[Moses instructed Jews to give writ of divorcement ‘because of the hardness of (their) hearts…but from the beginning it was not so.’]” KJV
[33] e.g. Madonna recordings, but for “culture”, see Dialectic Reasoning re: What grows in the petri dish?
[34] Subsituted in the place of a former party, in this case, the previous Baugi prosecutor[s]
[35] Matthew 5:39: “But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also. [OKJV] See also, Luke 6:39: “And he spake a parable unto them, ‘Can the blind lead the blind? Shall they not both fall into the ditch?” [OKJV]
[36] Lord of the Flies, A dystopian novel by Golding, William (1954)
[37] In sports lingo, a 2-1 refers to two players on one team using leverage against their outnumbered opponent.
[38] See, Marcuse, Herbert, One Dimensional Man, Chapter 3: “The Conquest of the Unhappy Consciousness: Repressive Desublimation”
[39] A ‘Mr. George’ of San Carlos, California told me in 1967, “The umpire is always right,” but he was an umpire.

[40] [latin: “this for that” or legal: “consideration”]
[41] Covert Baugi source

[42] Mark 2:22, “And no man putteth new wine into old bottles: else the new wine doth burst the bottles, and the wine is spilled, and the bottles will be marred: but new wine must be put into new bottles.” [Original King James Version]

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About johnrubens

B.A. ; J.D. ; author of anti-novel "Skyscraper Heavens". https://johnrubens.wordpress.com; https://blogosphere45.blogspot.com
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