06/28/09 - 5:40pm
by Chas Danner


You take a walk outside. You get arrested and imprisoned for 48 hours in the dungeon of a government building without food or water. After “enhanced interrogation techniques” are applied on you, you are brought on PBS to confess that North Korean agents paid you to go outside for a walk that day.

You go to church wearing a green polo shirt. On the way you are arrested for wearing green. Your family can’t find you for several days. You are released, but are now on a list and will never be able to get a job again. To have any semblance of a normal life you are forced to flee to Costa Rica, but must pay everything you own to human traffickers to smuggle you there hanging onto the undercarriage of an old truck. You get a job washing dishes and you feel like you’re lucky.

You’re a huge futbol fan, you have a satellite dish so you can watch all the games. One night strange men break down the door of your house and storm to your rooftop beating and breaking everything and everyone in their path. They rip out your dish, and throw your central air conditioning unit off the roof almost killing two people in a car below.

You’re a policeman who refuses to beat with a nightstick a woman who is simply walking down the street. You are fired. You now fear for your family’s safety.

Your kid is killed on the street, shot. You don’t find out she is dead until she has been missing for half a day and one of her friends calls to tell you he watched her bleed out on the street. He says the government confiscated her body. It takes a full day to find out where her body is. It is already in the ground. It takes another day to find out where. You are expressly forbidden from holding a memorial service. No one seems to care who shot your kid. She might as well have fallen into a hole in the ground and been buried alive. Vanished except for a hastily washed blood stain on some pavement across town.

You and some friends at school support a political candidate. He apparently loses but you don’t believe it so you take to the streets to peacefully ask for a recount. That night in your dorm you hear a great commotion and discover strange men breaking into your dorm building. They see the poster on your door supporting this candidate and they break it down. They beat you and your roommate within an inch of your lives, a friend down the hall isn’t so lucky. He was a philosophy major and helped you pass Informal Logic last semester. The men also punch a hole the size of a softball in your computer monitor. They flip your bunk bed and break its supports. They promise they will return the next night. You were a physics major. Now you are just unemployed with a broken arm.

Your internet is mostly down. Your cell phone barely works. Your providers don’t pick up the phone to hear your complaints when it does. There is a lot of upheaval on the streets and you are very worried. During a rare moment of net up-time, your friend who is studying in Europe asks you in an email if you are OK and you reply that you are but that you are fed up with the state of your country and might join the people on the street expressing their frustration. The next morning strange men knock on your door.

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5 Responses to “Imagine”
  1. Katharine says:

    ‘sorrowfully fume’ – apt captcha.

  2. Kathy says:

    Very compelling…..

  3. Adrineh says:

    poor irani people this is there life for 30 years. NOW ITS TIME TO END IT FREE IRAN

  4. Beautiful piece. I’d just add to the end:

    “After the men show up at your door, even if they take you away, you can count on your brothers and sisters to come out en masse into the streets, fighting to find you and fighting in your name. You can count on a revolution that grows exponentially with every single person they arrest, abuse or kill. You can count on the fact that even if you die, we will not let the world forget what you died for.”

    What the regime keeps forgetting is that IRANIANS HAVE HUGE FAMILIES! You kill one of us, and you’ve got at least a hundred of our kin knocking on your door tomorrow. They can’t keep this up forever. The Iranian people will triumph!

  5. Joni says:

    I’ve been imagining those very things. That is why as a free American, I will not turn away from the atrocities being committed in Iran.

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