These days nothing makes me happy and of course I don't get unhappy over things either. A few days ago I was worried because I thought I was coming down with something. I am not even afraid of consequences, and this worries me, to the extent that I tried to talk about it with some friends. It seems that a disease worse than AIDS is going around (at least AIDS sometimes follows a moment of pleasure). But with this one no one knows where it's coming from.
It is unknown and a medical diagnosis of “depression” will not make it any easier. Nor do antidepressants like Fluvoxamine help.
When I talked about it with my friends I realized that I don't even want to talk about it, nor about anything else. It is a terrible disease because anyone affected will immediately know. With AIDS, you have to go through tests, and wait for six months to be sure.
No, this is not simply a personal problem. Many will agree with me, whether they live in Tehran or in any other city around the world, from any ethnic or social background. The disease can be found among the rich, among needy students, or the society at large. I am not a pessimist. I don't see a black hole where the world is supposed to be, but this running depression and indifference is horrid.
Let me disclaim all accusations that may be slapped on this way of looking at things: “Unsettling public opinion,” “dismantling of hope in society” and "nostalgia for things past." These are common accusations in our society, but social indifference is more powerful than all of them. We cannot be nostalgic because we have lost the ability to uphold a past. We can't touch public opinion because the public has no opinion. And the society has no hope to dismantle. There are other accusations that I don't remember.
My friends, close or distant, are packing their bags to leave the country. I think of their dreams. They leave me with a yearning, a feeling of emptiness, but I can mourn their absence only for a few days. They give wing to their dreams and I give dept to my losses.
New realities are being formed. We live at a time when the bitterness of a nation that has always been forgetful and is looking for a knight in shining armor is at an all-time high. Even when they make the worst choices in their history, they are looking for a way out. What there is in store for tomorrow is of little importance to our nation. Our current conditions is akin to the destruction and extinction of a culture and a nation. The destruction of creativity and enthusiasm, the onset of indifference, are symptoms of a disease and not the outcome of a foreign intrusion.
Pain and boredom have stricken everyone. The effusion of these pains is translated into routine complaints whose grammar depends on our level of literacy -- that we come from a particular background or social class predisposes us. But we all suffer from the same thing: We have no future.
What I mean by “future” is that which is usually called social security. This security is not dependent on the somnambulist decisions of this or that man of politics in whatever part of the world. Iranians are a strange lot. They are different from their war-torn neighbors. In the years that Iraq and Afghanistan were in the grips of war, you could hardly find someone who wished for a foreign power to invade them. But prideful Iranians whose country has been in the news for I don't know how long appear in programs recorded in London, Washington, or Paris and speak of a democratic invasion of their country as simply as they may shave their beards.
It is a pity that I cannot be proud of anything in my heritage or culture. We are the final remains of that extinct species that indifference has not conquered. It could also be that this is a sign of our transitory state. We are not any different than the rest, we only worry about things.
* Detail of a painting by Mehdi Ahmadi, courtesy of Homa Art Gallery and the painter.