Higher causepublished: 2009-06-18
A few years ago, my friend emailed me that his father had died. I told him he had to go to his Dad's funeral.
"I can't," he said.
"I'm afraid," he said.
"I know you are but you have to." Somehow, I was convinced he'd regret it for the rest of his life if he didn't.
He left Iran over twenty years ago, when a short film he made was seen as being critical of the government. His film disappeared and he was blacklisted.
He actually did go the the funeral. We texted eachother during his trip, right until he was in safe hands: with his family. He hadn't seen them in almost twenty years. His twin brother, his mother, his nephews and nieces, his friends.
Tonight, I called him. His voice was hoarse, yet he couldn't stop talking. He hadn't slept in days. He has been gathering, selecting, translating and channeling news from Iran straight to Dutch television, where he works as an editor. And he had just gone and screamed his lungs out in front of the Dutch parliament building, with Iranian friends.
I had been nervous about calling him as I had no idea how to view the situation in Iran. For him, there was not a single doubt: this was going to lead to the change that the people had hoped for and expected thirty years ago.
"You must feel bad for not being there," I said.
"At first I felt guilty. But actually I'm much more useful here. It's all coming together," he said, "me being here, my job, the direct outlet I have. It's all making sense."
I hope to god it is going to continue to make sense for him.