The Lung Brothers

Hanging out at the extreme end of the long tail ...

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Persian Snub

A couple of years ago I was waiting for a connecting flight at Brussels Airport when I struck up a random conversation with an Iranian businessman. A very amiable bloke. When I told him I was a Mick, his ears pricked up immediately and he asked me:

Tell me please. Who is Bobby Sands?

I was momentarily stunned as this was not exactly the type of query I would have expected to receive from a Persian while in Purgatory in a drab Benelux terminal. I explained what I knew about Sands from memory, that he was a political prisoner in Northern Ireland in the seventies and that he died in 1981 while on a protest hunger strike. He thus became somewhat of an icon for the republican cause and a thorn in the side for Downing Street. Being fairly apolitical, that was about all I knew on the subject.

Then he gave me the reason for his curiosity and it left me gobsmacked. It turns out that when the British Embassy in Tehran was finally allowed to reopen long after the revolution that had deposed the Shah, the street where it was located had been renamed by the Iranian city authorities.

What had been Winston Churchill Street had now become Bobby Sands Street. Now I realise that many of you won't find this very funny.......but let me assure you that it fucking is.

Who would have thought looking at the Ayatollahs that they had such a naughty sense of humour?


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