Coup D'Etat Poem by Ali Alizadeh

Coup D'Etat

Rating: 2.7

I’m comfortable with your confronting me
hurling, albeit politely, the epic query

haunting your ‘tolerance’ and a fever
to my soul. It’s frankly a relief

decoding the cryptic cause of my exile
in the context of considering your phobia. So

here, the facts: boys of my generation
marching in front of our tanks to eat into

the landmines. Women not unlike my mother
buried neck-deep for transgression

before having their heads smashed with rocks.
Your tongue has already tried obfuscations

avoiding the ‘sensitive’ appellation; I put
our minds at (some) ease by offering the term

‘Muslim’, and using direct monosyllables
to terminate the confluence of innuendo:

“What went wrong?” I briefly catalogue
the points of my suppressed pride: Persian

poets, those geniuses; Islamic civilisation
an absolute paragon of the Middle Ages. ‘We’

achieved so much: algebra, alchemy, Alhambra
Aviccena, Omar Khayam, Rumi and Andalusia

and now beheaded journalists, banished feminists
persecuted writers and pulverised regimes. What

did go wrong? You don’t require my noting
British divide-and-conquer, Russian missiles

US uranium-depleted and cluster bombs; and let’s
please avoid Israel. So I propose a date: 19 August

1953; and the place, Tehran. The event
the calculated abortion of the incipient democracy

of my native land. You know about
the coup that crushed our future, engineered

by the CIA with the mullahs’ collusion
and our king’s utter complicity? You’re right

dismissing my narration as apologia
for a nation’s impotence. Why didn’t my

grandparents oppose the US-backed generals
in the streets of Tehran on the day our chosen

Prime Minister Mosaddegh was toppled? Where
were our prodigious poets and philosophers

when Eisenhower’s operatives signalled
to venal clerics and commanded the junta? Here,

more facts: hurt by the grotesque perfidy
Iranians of my parents’ generation mounted

a Revolution against the coup’s beneficiary
the Shah; then the Islamic Republic; Sharia law; war

with the US protégé Saddam; and now
terrorism, terror against terrorism, and the terrors

of a nuclear war between Iran and, yes, Israel. You
find my discourse cogent yet, or predictably

tendentious? A history lecture in need of
an addendum of objectivity? You’ve finally

terminated the small talk, tightened
your grimace. I repeat my own morose

volition to locate an answer. Yes, we will
otherwise be prey to perennial fears and

contemporaneous wars. What went wrong
with noble hopes, ‘religion of peace’ and all

the bridge-building and culture-crossing?
The soulfulness of Sufi poets and the magic

of Scheherazade’s stories. I feel your
disappointment. A romantic quest narrative

crusading knights vs. ardent Saracens
instead of Cold War intrigue and Third World

servitude. I grant something went wrong
all those years ago, and continues to afflict.

Things will keep going wrong. But what would I
know. I’m only traumatised and feverish

by the event’s effects, forced into perpetual
exile. I’ve only survived. What do you think?

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