The former US Embassy, where the crisis took place, was a stop on our route for filming our TV show about Iran. Our minder/guide, Seyed, seemed almost proud to let us walk the long wall of anti-American murals. He encouraged us to film it, making sure we knew when the light was best for the camera.
As I walked along the wall, it occurred to me that this had happened three decades ago. While it remains a sore spot for many Americans, Iranians — over half of whom weren't even born at the time — seemed happy to let the murals fade in the sun. The murals droned on like an unwanted call to battle...a call that people I encountered had simply stopped hearing. In fact, looking back, many Iranians believe that the hostage crisis hijacked their Revolution. By radicalizing their country, it put things in the hands of the more hard-line clerics.
Thirty years on, during my 2008 visit, the Islamic Revolution had become deeply ingrained. After chatting with one young man who didn't look as if he was particularly in compliance with the Revolution, we said goodbye. Later — after he'd thought about our conversation — he returned to tell me, "One present from you to me, please. You must read Quran. Is good. No politics." Looking at the evangelical zeal in his eyes, I realized that he had just as earnest a concern for my soul as a pair of well-dressed Mormons who might stop me on the street back home. Why should a Muslim evangelist be any more surprising (or annoying, or menacing) than a Christian one? He simply cared about me.
About This Entry
You are reading "The Iran Hostage Crisis: Then and Now", an entry posted on 29 March 2010 by Rick Steves.