Wednesday, June 22, 2011

A Persian waiter gave me a lot to chew on.............

My sis, mother and I had lunch with the Axis of Evil Tuesday.   There's a Persian restaurant that's been in my neighborhood for years and I'd never tried it for some reason.  Finally, a dear Persian friend who happens to have been a Muslim but converted to Christianity, invited me to go there about 2 months ago.  It's fabulous food and I've been back about four times since.  More than you need or want to know, but it sets the stage for this story:

Yesterday, we were served by a waiter I'd not had before.  He was very charming and friendly.  We talked about the name of a yogurt/water/ice/dry mint drink the Persians call DOUGH (pronounced DOOGH) which we Armenians call TAN (pronounced tawn)....it's very refreshing and delicious and my grandmother used to make it a lot so drinking it brings back happy memories.   When "Mo" the waiter told us the word for it in Turkish, I asked "Are you Turkish?"

Mo said "No, but I wish I was!"    I asked him "Where are you from??"  "Teheran......but I don't like to say so because I don't like being part of the Axis of Evil!"    I said "But, most Americans don't dislike the Persian people, we dislike the government.......and I wish our government had helped the Persian students last summer..."  He said he wished that, too....... I asked him why he thought we don't like the people and he talked about the hostage situation you will remember finally ended the day Reagan took office..." those were regular students who took your Americans hostage........those weren't government people but they were influenced by them!"   He added that he didn't blame Americans for feeling as they do about people from Iran. 

The time with him was like a look into a Persian heart, a look I'd never imagined.  I was so glad to meet him and to hear how he feels and I knew he couldn't be alone in those feelings.  He said he's been here four years but he has very little accent...he told me most people in Iran speak English.  Mom asked him if he was an American citizen and Mo said "No, not yet, but I hope to be."  Then I joked with him that, with Americans of Armenian descent, like we are, saying you're Turkish to us could be a bit of a problem!" and he laughed and gave us the statistics of the Armenian genocide, years and numbers of dead...this guy is no dumby.


The food was good but the conversation was better.  I think understanding happens when we hear the people, not their governments.   I wish you could have met Mo.

By the way....next time you make Basmati rice, first saute finely chopped cilantro and green onions and then throw them into the water in which you're going to steep the rice........OH, man, was that good.
Z

11 comments:

Silverfiddle said...

I've known quite a few Iranians over the years, many serving in the Air Force. Very nice people, and note that none here have indulged in terrorism. In fact, my experience has been that Iranians here are like the immigrant of old. They love America and get to work contributing by taking care of themselves and their families through hard work.

Elmers Brother said...

I like raisins and cinnamon in bismati rice too.

Ducky's here said...

I know some Iranians in the film business. Terrific people.

Can't say much for the food. But they sure can make films.

Opus #6 said...

As a college student I worked for an Iranian veterinarian. His wife and he were polite to me and good bosses.

The college students in Iran in the '70s grew up to be Achmadinejad and cohorts. Painting all Iranians to be like them is like saying all Americans are like our loudmouth, selfish liberals. Possible to do because of the one-sided media reports, but not the real truth.

Lisa said...

What an enlightening post on the conversation and the food.
I always wonder also why we didn't support the Iranian protesters and they we aren't supporting the Syrians either. I have my suspicions though. Could it be they are anti-Israel?

Mark said...

I recently met a man who was married to a Romanian woman.

He told me his wife couldn't understand why American politicians want to bring Socialism to America. He said it took her years to get out of that situation and now she's worried that Obama and co. will bring the same situation to America.

Bd said...

Mark said: "...He told me his wife couldn't understand why American politicians want to bring Socialism to America.

Tell her not to watch Fox News becasue that's a lie. And by the way, it's been here for quite a while in many forms, ie.: Post Office, Police Forces, etc...

Mustang said...

See?

I told you Bd was a liar, uncouth, and stupid ....

Always On Watch said...

When Mr. AOW was in the hospital in September 2009, I had a lengthy conversation with an Muslim woman who was an ex-pat from Iran. This woman brought up the topic of all the rapes of imprisoned women in Iran as one of those women was her niece.

The woman I spoke with HATED Ahmadinejad. She believed that Obama would free the people of Iran by ridding them of Ahmadinejad. Hasn't happened, of course, despite that summer when Neda was shot dead in the streets of Iran.

Z said...

Silverfiddle..no, most Iranians, most Muslims, do not indulge in terrorism!

Elbro, I have to admit I'm not big on the sweet stuff on basmati, but I know it's very popular..

Ducky, the food is exquisite, rich and deep flavors with wonderful mixtures of sweet/savory, etc., but everyone to his own taste.

Opus..I felt so badly for this guy who seemed to be embarrassed of who he was.

Lisa, could it be that Iranians are anti-Israel or our government? :-) There are so many Iranian Jews that I don't know that only hardline muslims are anti Israel, but 'yes' to our government

Mark, I have a Romanian friend with a Hungarian husband. They have said the same thing to me for years.
during the 2008 campaigning, I had some work done by Canadian guys in their early thirties...all Conservatives; I blogged on it; they had piercings, tattoos, etc.... They told me the same thing "We left Canada to get away from Socialism" They work hard and want to keep what they have; they warned about the health care, comparing it to Canada's (most Canadians will tell you it's fine for every day situations but when you have big surgeries, etc., LOOK OUT, then the trouble starts), etc...They wanted less gov't regulation, etc. I was surprised by those guys...

Mustang...I see.

AOW, that's why I mentioned it to my waiter; apologizing for our not having gone in to help the Iranians. I've heard for years that the CIA's been trying to lay some groundwork to get the Iranians free of the Mullahs and then, we dropped them in the mud when they were hoping to get support. I just don't get that.
Then we go into LIbya.

Bob said...

Most Iranians I have met are hard working, industrious people. They are not in Iran because they had to flee. My former customer who was also a good friend was from Iran and had married a girl from Illinois.

They had three children when he decided to move BACK to Iran. He had fled Iran after the Shah's ouster, and had figured out a way to go back home.

Bob
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