We are not terrorist
01 October 2016

We are not terrorist

Some countries play an extremely important role in the geographical imagination of people: they place some fixed points in the complex global geography.
These countries allow them to find their way between good and evil, warm and cold, pretty amd ugly, between stereotypes and hearsays.
Ideas that aren’t true anda aren’t false.
I’m gonna give up everything and go to Polynesia.
They don’t let us build churches in the Middle East.
China is polluted.
“Are you really cycling through Iran? Isn’t it:
- dangerous?
- forbidden?
- in war?”
No, no and no, but it’s many more complicated and simple things, nice and ugly, all far from the labels you can put from home. 
We crossed an Iran that we loved and one that we hated.
For more than two thousand kilometres, these two faces have coexisted on the same road, in the breathtaking mountains, in the endless desert and in the cities.
The Iran of the government is repression.
All the laws and the fear break up imagination and beauty.
We got to hate what surrounded us because we had the constant feeling that it wasn’t as it lomged to be.
The austere faces of the father of the revolution and his successor loom everywhere Big Brother-style, giant faces in the squares or small saint-like pictures in restaurants, moralizers who don’t miss anything, icons of fear and, in my case, catalyzers of swearwords. 
Men and women apart! Cover up! The veil! To death! Shut up! Don’t dance! Don’t rejoice! Did you say music? Bycicle is sin, woman! Get married! Don’t drink! Card games of the devil! Did you say journalist? Opposition?!? Riccardo, wear long pants! (I’ll never forgive them for this one).

The Iran of the people is heart.
You’re not a tourist here, you’re a guest.
A kid calls you in a fast food: “You come my house!”.
A bakery where they never ever make you pay for biscuits.
A car stops on your way and the driver tries to give you everything he has in the trunk, but it’s impossible, we’re on a bike.
A driver that, if you don’t stop because the 18% salita is breaking your legs, drives by you to try and give you a can of some absurd drink because you must be thirsty.
The mountain towns where you just need to get a pack of peanuts and sit down for someone to invite you at their house.
An Iran where if you set up your tent you’re almost insulting your neighbors’ hospitality, where they take care of dinner and breakfast as well, and if you bring biscuits you’d better eat them because they don’t want them.
Don’t ask someone with bread in their hands where the bakery is: they’ll want to give it to you.
The smiles, the forget-me-nots, the “we’re friends”, the “I can help you”, the presents, the “I don’t know you but I trust you” are only asking in exchange to tell the truth: they are not terrorists.
I am doing it, I remember each of your faces.
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