Personal response by Parvin Samadzadeh, developed in workshop/rehearsals in January and February 2013. Incorporated into Ouster Remixed performance in Toronto, March 1, 2013 at A Space Gallery.
I was 8 years old in 1953. We lived off Pasteur Street in Tehran, a tree tunnel street withjoob (streams) flowing on each side. The street led to an intersection where four palaces of the Shah stood on the four corners. Dr. Mossadeq’s residence and office were one block to the north.
It was summer and I could sense that lately the situation wasn’t normal. My parents, our neighbors and the local shopkeepers talked nervously about the same thing, but I didn’t know what that was.
On that hot day, I was playing with my younger sister in our courtyard when we heard people shouting on the street. My mother took my hand, picked-up my sister and along with all the neighbors and shopkeepers ran to Pasteur Street.
We lined up on the sidewalk. I saw hundreds of angry men marching on the street, each carrying an item or two in their hands. Some carried a wooden stick and some a water pipe in one hand and a household item in another. They carried picture frames, chairs, kitchen sink, faucet, pillows, and all sorts of things. I remember they looked ugly and scary shouting, “death to Mossadeq”, “long live the Shah”.
We watched those shouting scary men for a while. I remember people on the sidewalk were silent. They were not shouting, or even talking, they were all silent. And then we returned home.
That day my father came home unusually early. I was surprised and happy at first, but then realized that he wasn’t happy. He didn’t say much and went straight to the German Telefunken radio we had in our living room. He sat by the radio and listened for a while. I saw he was crying. I had never seen my father cry before.
Four years later, I started going to a new school. Every day, I walked along Pasteur Street, passed Shah’s palaces, turned north to Kaakh Street and passed Mossadeq’s house. And every day, I saw the walls that were wounded by bullets on that hot summer day years ago.
One spring day I saw a small purple flower somebody had placed in one of the bullet holes. 55 years later, I still remember that flower clearly.
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