Yesterday, at a rather crowded gathering, everyone at our table was expressing their discontent over the recent news. After a while, and when I had not said a word, one of the guests asked me, “What do you think about HIM?”

I gave the question some thought and responded, “I don’t!”

She seemed puzzled, so she pushed, “You mean, you don’t agree with us?”

I shook my head and said, “No. I mean I don’t THINK about it.”

Sensing my reluctance to participate in their discussion, she seemed offended,

When you have lived three centuries, you prefer the kind of silence that is often mistaken for “old wisdom.” I like that word, and hope to someday use my old age with insight. And yes, I have indeed lived three centuries – as have others of my generation who were born in Iran, went through years of high education, saw the world, and ended up somewhere in the West.

We are the generation who has experienced a donkey ride where there was no road, and we used a horse carriage – Droshky – long before the arrival of taxis. We have experienced rides on a truck, a bus, a car, and train. We flew in hot-air-balloons, sported hand gliders, and have been on airplanes of all shapes and sizes. We changed our cotton wool mattresses, the ones whose cotton was sometimes re-fluffed and recycled – to fancy box springs, airbeds, waterbeds, and beds that are adjustable. We picked our own fruits and ended up with frozen-concentrated juices, swapped our homemade dairy for products with a prolonged expiration date, and went from making operator-assisted phone-calls to today’s driverless automobiles. The list goes on and on. So nothing in the lifestyles of the past three centuries is new to us. Politics is no exception.

True as it may be that life is a series of ups and downs, when you have seen the up, it becomes harder to tolerate the down. When you have gone from a society where teenagers enjoyed dancing cheek-to-cheek and the boy/girl ratio in your class was 50/50, it is harder to adapt to a gender separation that won’t allow a bride and groom to share the same reception hall. When young girls put away their ordinary outfits – not to mention bikinis and ski gears – and instead buy new Hejab, you begin to wonder about the “shelf-life” of freedom.

Experiences of three centuries allow you to see the politicians as smaller people than they think they are. When you have already witnessed that in politics what you presumed impossible can not only happen, but also last, other similar incidents fail to overwhelm you. When You have learned the meaning of “Megalomania” it’s easy to spot one who suffers from it.
“Change” can be promising. It can also be disastrous. As a young person, you raise your voice and hope it will be heard. Still, old wisdom will someday tell you that while your voice may have been heard, in the end, it really doesn’t make a difference. Someone once said, “History may not repeat itself, but it often rhymes!” So as I hear the familiar words over and over, I choose to hold my peace, listen more, and say less. What do I think? Believe me. I try not to!


Zohreh Ghahremani

Author, speaker and painter Zohreh (Zoe) Ghahremani

Zoe is working on numerous new books, public speaking and working on paintings, living by her motto that “life is short, but the road is wide!”

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