My first conversation at the United Nations:
Chief: your name … where are you from?
Pedestrian: I’m Iranian, though my name, it’s not a Persian word.
Chief: Aaaah! That beautiful place, Iran! I used to visit over the mountains when I was stationed in Iraq. Such a beautiful place, such amazing food!
Pedestrian: Yes, I certainly think so.
Chief: There was lots going on there last year …
Pedestrian: Yes, there was … it was a horrendous situation.
At this point the chief stops nodding his head in agreement and looks at me funny.
Chief: horrendous? What do you mean?
Pedestrian: Well, it’s been terrible. Absolutely terrible.
Chief: P, I work in peacekeeping. We deal with countries for which there might be no tomorrow. Surely, Iran isn’t that bad?
Pedestrian: I don’t think you can compare countries in those terms. [long monologue about UN peacekeeping not necessarily helping matters, and the fallacy of comparing countries in the way he was trying to compare them, and the fact that there actually are times when I worry about the existential threat to Iran brought on us by Ahmaidnejad and his buddies at home and abroad]
But the chief was insistent that I should count my blessings:
Chief: With all that said, we work in places where when we go to bed at night, were not even sure if the country will still be there when we get up in the morning. So the Iranian government has some issues with human rights, that’s a serious matter, but it’s not the end of the world. You said your family is living there, working, studying? At least when you go to bed at night, you know your country will be there in the morning.
Let’s hope so.