Thursday, August 18, 2005

Visit to the Embassy

Over the last few weeks I've been puzzled by the presence of little green kiosks in the street labelled "Diplomatic Police." I've been concerned that they might be intent on harassing me but learned that they are security for the embassies. I paid a visit to my own embassy today to register and inform them how long I would be staying. I was surprised to see a scrum of people outside the building, which is in downtown Tehran and unlike other embassies near my hotel not cordoned off behind a huge wall. I did not have to get into the line with the visa applicants and quickly made my way in and out.

On my way back to the hotel I saw anotherof the many murals that are prominent throughout the city. I've seen quite a few but this one was of a man holding a baby in one arm and a Kalashnikov in another. I'm not sure if I spelled that right or not but somehowit has much more life and character than simply "machine gun" or whatever. The baby was dressed like its father and had a little grenade launcher aswell. Underneath it said "I love my family but I love martyrdom even more." I harkened back to my visit to Belfast last year when I had a chance to see similar murals and recalled my tour guides annoyance with both sides of the troubles in Northern Ireland. I suspect that murals like the one I saw an hour ago have more effect on me than they would on Iranians, most of whom are dissatisfied with the government's focus on things other than economic progress.