Wednesday, February 18, 2009

God Bless Israel

A few years ago I was in Iran doing some research for my M.Phil dissertation when I came across something quite amusing that I thought I would share with my Gubu readers. While taking a stroll through Tehran's Working class Southern streets, a highly congested area buzzing with activity, something caught my eye. I noticed a man about forty feet in front of me walking in my direction. He appeared to be a common workman who was carrying a heavy vehicle tyre on his shoulder. Nothing unusual there as the local economy in southern Tehran seemed to be dominated by the motor industry. This man was a typical Iranian in every way except for one absolutely dumbfounding difference. His attire. No he was not wearing shorts or stylish western clothing, banned in the Islamic republic. But he was wearing a white t-shirt with the words God Save Israel written in block capitals. When it sunk in what I was seeing my feet ground to a halt. I stood staring at the man like an imbecile and continued to eye ball him as he walked past, gently acknowledging me with a nod as he did so. As he past me I turned to stare some more only to see the words No Withrawal From the Terrirories printed on the back of the young man's shirt. These are controversial words anywhere but in Iran, the lions den. I do not know who this man was, what was his agenda or where he got the t-shirt but I think its safe to say he just didn't know what the words meant. What a truely Gubu World.


Anonymous said...

I thought they would have a reasonable grasp on the english language, No? Not a word? eoghan.

Ted Leddy said...

You would think so Eoghan, and they did have decent English as far as I remember but ya know yourself sometimes you wear a t-shirt and its just a t-shirt. I suppose its possible he was one of Iran's 25,000 Jews (the only Muslim country that still has a Jewish community) but I doubt it as they are kept pretty much in check. I reckon he was just a confused, rather dim young man.

Zaki said...

This does not surprise me at all. This man did not know what the english words meant. The word "Israel" is hard not to notice. He could have thought that It said "Down with Israel" Who knows.

One piece of infromation. A lot of cloths and apparel like jeans, teashirt and shirts end up in the third word. It is sold bulk to secondary thrift shops. I once was in Morocco after spending 5 years studying in the U.S, I saw a guy wearing the white and blue Wendy's restaurant outfit. The funny thing is that he thought he was the center of the world. He was walking in this famous pedestrian area of Rabat Morocco. Walking back and forth. It was very funny. He did not have any clue that it was a fast food outfit. HE sure was very happy getting all the look for this "American".

I swear, once I even saw a guy with Tshirt with HUSTLER magazine logo on it. I just cracked up laughing. It goes to show that anything that resemble an american outfit will be worn with pride and joy....

Ted Leddy said...


That's what surprised me too, how could he not recognised the word Israel. I wish I had of acted quicker and simply gone up to him and asked him. But as you say, who knows what he was thinking.

I think your "thrift shop" explanation is probably right. Last year during the political upheaval in Kenya there was a picture in the Irish papers of an irate protester hurling a molotov cocktail, he was wearing an old Irish soccer top. Your Morocco story is funny. I don't suppose its possible he was a member of Morocco's branch of Wendy's fan club.

Thanks for the comment Zaki and drop by any time.