03 March 2010

That Twisted, Twisted Fate

I now live in Moscow; sometimes I stroll through Moscow's historic Red Square.  For most of my life, these facts were extreme improbabilities.
Once upon a time, in a land far, far away ...
I was born in Iran at the time when the pro-Western Shah reigned supreme.  Historically, Iranians have been suspicious of their Russian neighbors to the north.  That suspicion turned into fear with the advent of Soviet Union, thrusting Iran toward the United States in the geopolitical game of the Cold War. Moscow, as a destination, was not on top of mind.

The Shah was deposed and Iran became an Islamic theocracy in 1979.  Iraq invaded Iran in 1980.  Iran's new religiosity did not improve relationships with the expansionist, officially atheist Soviet Union that touched all of Iran's northern border.  And the fact that Saddam Hussein's army was primarily equipped with Soviet-made weapons made matters worse.  Moscow became a more distant city.

The triple whammy of a revolution, a repressive regime, and a war prompted many Iranians to flee.  The West was the obvious choice for those who left, including my family and me.  We opted for the United States, where the very anti-Soviet Ronald Reagan was elected president in 1980.  The movie Red Dawn actually gave me apocalyptic nightmares in 1984.  Moscow was now far, far away, literally and figuratively.

So much changed in less than a generation.*  Iran is now anti-Western. Soviet Union is no more. Moscow resembles New York in the 1920s. Russia is capitalistic; and, according to some American right wingers, Obama is a communist.

In 1980, logic said that there was an infinitesimally small probability that I would be living in Moscow in 2010.  So goes the twist of fate. Now, sometimes when I stroll through the Red Square in downtown Moscow, I am reminded of the fact that some of my relations in the US are in the business of defending the country.  Indeed, some people I know are in the business of maintaining US' nuclear arsenal, some of which is aimed at the Red Square.  Because of the improving US-Russia relationship, logic says that the probability of a nuclear event is getting progressively more improbable.  However, the world did manage to turn upside down in the past 30 years, quite improbably ...

It has been a beautiful journey so far.  Let the twists of fate stop here.
* A few other notable changes:  
  • In 1980, one could fly from the Intercontinental Airport in Houston to Mehrabad Airport in Tehran.  In 2010 one flies from George Bush Airport to Imam Khomeini Airport between the two cities.  The irony would be so much richer if the transit point were at Saddam Hussain Airport.
  • In 1980, the best golfer was white and the best rapper was Black.  In 2010, the best golfer is Black and the best rapper is white.

1 comment:

  1. Interesting bit of history - quite over the top, i think...

    But, how is LIVING in Moscow? With a Russian family should be quite interesting...