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MESHED, the Holy City

I managed to start my engine successfully in the wee hours of the morning before dawn and proceed through the city center unharmed and saved. I stopped at a tea shop outside the city, even though it was six thirty in the morning and still dark.

The hot tea was good and I casually asked the three fellows who were sitting around if they knew about the northern route to Tehran. I was anxious and needed to find out if there were still fighting going on in the area. I had to make my decisions there and then. Should I take the southern route through the dangerous salt desert which I had never drove on before, or should I take the well known northern route along the Caspian Sea ? If I went north, I would have the opportunity to drive 100 km around Tehran after the city Rasht . Going south however one had to pass through the city of Tehran and that was a dangerous route.

The three Iranians I asked, looked away in embarrassment, and did not react to my enquiry. It seemed that they did not want to have anything to do with foreigners, which was unusual. I noticed immediately that the customary and mandatory picture of the grand Shah was not to be seen hanging in the tea shop, which pleased me. Instead, oversized posters of Ayatollah Khomeini were hanging everywhere. I took a Closer look: ?Printed in France ?, it read. Had the chief Mullah brought a whole plane full of these posters? From then onwards, I noticed thousands of similar once. It was almost inconceivable that this symbol of revolution would be lacking elsewhere.

The tea house owner started to look suspicious. I tried my best to look casual. He crushed sugar cubes from a big block of sugar and shook his head. Apparently, he knew nothing about the northern route. By the time I proceeded to pay for my tea, hot milk, honey and bread,I heard sudden outbursts of a rushing mob. They must have discovered my truck. I threw a few bills on the counter quickly and ran towards the driver door. I slid and fell into the snow dirt. The mop of armed guys surrounded me before I could get up.

"AMERICAN! AMERICAN! AMERICAN!" they yelled from all sides. I fearedI did not have much time, seeing knives and firearms flashing throughout the mob. A huge gun barrel revealed itself before my eyes. This was getting wild. Only once in my long life that I voluntarily cried out, "ALMAN! ALMAN! ALMAN!? which meant I was German. I wittingly added "NO GOOD AMERICA - I NO LIKE AMERICA!!!" to see if it would help to calm them down.

There were many nervous fingers on the triggers, then knives and gun barrels started to disappear from my throat. "ALMAN O.K. - NO KILL!? I heard. Soon more people started to flock together ? a mob of bloodless public soul seeking a body of flowing blood. They certainly seem to search for enemies, even within their own ranks. There were no more foreigners around since the Revolution started, and unbecomingly, they let me go. And so for the last time I caught a glimpse of the golden dome shining in the distance. How often had I sat in front of this beautiful mosque, but was never allowed to go in, within this holiest city after Mecca ? Only in Turkey were non-Muslim accepted in a mosque, and that was by order of its government.

I was still trembling slightly when driving to the outer periphery of Meshed . It surprised me that even out there in the lonely desert, small groups of angry people began to propagate themselves quickly around me. What a commotion! I had to repeatedly assure that I was 'Alman', not ?American? and each time; they were very reluctant to let me go. I had to permanently keep my eyes open to all sides on the road, paying close attention to the rearview mirrors. Danger lurked everywhere. The Iranians thought of me as their enemy, or even someone who wanted to prevent their liberation.
The whole thought was absurd! I for one was only happy that the Shah was overthrown. There were no women to ogle at in their liberty. They only help at home and in the mosques, looking after the wounded and it was there that temporary hospitals and centers of revolution were created.

A few days ago the Shah Reza Pahlavi was still trying to keep control of his army. They desperately attacked the mosques with tanks, which threw him off the throne afterwards. Although he held his mighty army against the public, the people over-ran the military barracks and put the dirty tanks out of action in the end. And yet, the situation was reversed. The people lynched the once brutal soldiers. Many fled, ofcourse, or deserted, hiding in mosques. But now the vengeful people want revenge.

I was stopped again at a burning gas station when it was daylight. In no time a large mob surrounds me and a fanatic leader shouts the blood-curling battle cry: "DEATH TO AMERICA!" Everybody followed him, all ready to kill. At once most of the juvenile attackers struck my truck with heavy sticks, banging onto the windshield with loud dull ?Pang?! And very soon there was nothing more to destroy on the ?Made in India ? plastic screen.

My dog Charas and my only other companion cowered in the passenger seat. From its German shepherd pride there seemed to be nothing left after this incident. He did not even look at me as-a-matter-of-fact throughout the shootings and screaming - he seemed not to care. He resigned to himself to no obligations. I commanded to him: "You do not make a sound, or we're both dead!"
And of course they hated dogs.
According to the Koran, a dog is more impure than the pig and there
was to be no Muslim living with a dog in the same house. The fact that they decided to lay their hands on me was almost a miracle ? was the dog spared? Charas seemed to understand me - he was dead quiet. The mob pulled me out of the driver cabin and grabbed my hands, arms, chest and throat. One began to choke me; another punched my head. I felt so tightly suppressed that I could not move ? I could hardly breathe.

The leader shouted at me, spitting in my face: "AMERICAN, YOU AMERICAN!? while all the time the words "ALMAN! ALMAN!" gurgled out of my tightly compressed throat. They did not want to understand. All westerners were Americans for them. In the midst of getting some air I realized they were right in some way - our politicians were working hand-in-hand with the Carter and his CIA. "Jimmy Carter, where are you, bastard of a dog, get me out of here and let them your balls cut off, not mine!"

By now, they had forced my pants down and proceeded to take out the long underwear I had. I twisted myself half-naked like a worm and screamed in protest. They wanted to trim the alleged Ami\'s tail and I was sure afterwards, they would kill me, as per routine Afghanistan customs, practiced by the Muhadjadin with the Russians right now, before the ?westerners?. The Somalis inflicted such punishment with American soldiers, before their mutilating their bodies and showing it off triumphantly through Mogadishu . But why my genitals?
I began to howl in agony, horrified, pleading in all ways. Only one thing I have not tried was to call the Almighty Allah for help. Pleading loudly in German, I yelled: "Muhammad and Allah Akbar! God be merciful to me! I am a Muslim! We aleikum assalan - we rachmed allah - we barakatu.? (And Peace is with you, by grace and mercy of Allah).

And only at this moment they understood that I was praying to Allah
from a horrifying death punishment. Did they really understand? Was I a foreign Muslim? And if so why then to kill? The mob circle started to loosen up. An elderly Muslim bowed his head and beckoned the others to let me go. I did not know what he told them, but he looked again at my cock, only to see that I had been circumcised. I tore myself off the crowd hurriedly and pulled up my trousers. I fell to my knees bowing to Mecca - the south, which I knew, and began to pray as a Muslim believer. After my prayer, they helped me back onto my truck.

The knives and guns were gone by now. I still shook with fear. ?No not Jimmy Carter! I saved myself!? I couldn?t believe my luck! A few years ago I had my foreskin circumcised due to Phimosis. And that operation saved my life today. I was still shivering and scared shitless. For miles I kept my shocked and shrunken penis in my hand. ?Allah be praised ? everything is intact.? Only my body would not calm down as I threw up wild streams of post-traumatic fears from my tummy out of the window. All those events and reckoning were really getting onto my balls.
I did not look good in the mirror at all - I was like a corpse - white and pale!

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