I hadn't watched VOA Persian for a while, its stupidity and too much irrelevant foreign news while there is so much going on in Iran often makes me annoyed and agitated, but today I got some idle time to myself and while channel hopping through my satellite channels, suddenly I came across Parviz Qelichkhani as the guest on Bijan Farhoody's program.
Seeing the Great Qelich (Qeliche Kabir as we called him then), on the program, rekindled my childhood memories from Iran. A time when I had no interest in politics, instead it was sports and mainly football, wrestling and boxing which were my greatest pass times. Parviz Qelichkhani, the captain of the Iranian national football team was one of my sporting idols whose pictures I often cut out from my weekly issues of Kayhan Varzeshi and cherished them in my collection books of great sporting moments.
How I used to look forward to going along to Amjadieh or Aryamehr stadiums and support our natioanl team, and most of all the excitement and the euphoria of watching Iran v Israel matches in the finals of Asian Nations championships. I had an older distant cousin, himself a talented football player, who always took me along with his mates to those matches. Even to this day its hard to pin point memories which match the exhilarating moments of being amongst a crowd of 100,000 shouting 'bacheh ha motshakerim' - thank you team - when Iran won and the exact opposite feelings of great disappointment from defeats which made me count the days until the next opportunity for national glory in sporting events came along. I learned the power of crowd psychology and the feeling of invincible strength in great numbers in those very days.
It was not until things turned upside down in Iran and politics unwillingly became a part of my life that I learned Qelichkani was a Communist sympathiser, but to me the Great Qelich still remains a football hero and as long as he did not betray our country for his ideology, I was still grateful for all those proud joyous gifts that his legendary free kicks and skills had provided me.
In fact unlike many of the misguided Iranian Communists, the Great Qelich, did not co-operate with the regime and to my knowledge always opposed the take over of Iran by the Ayatollahs.
Watching him on VOA today won my admiration once again for this humble sporting champion.
The Great Qelich mentioned the names of many of our sporting heroes and his colleagues who were executed by the Islamic regime during the massacres of 1981 and 1988. So many talented individuals, assets to our country who were eliminated by the anti-Iran Ayatollahs simply because they did not bow their heads to the new usurpers and remained loyal to our people.
The great Qelich slammed the present day collaborators and traitors in sports like Ali Daiis and Rezazadehs, who go over board to lick the shoes of the corrupt mullahs.
'No one expects you to publicly denounce the regime or go to prison, no one expects you to take part in the protests against the regime, our women, workers, teachers and students are doing all that and they are paying the price but you can at least not get so involved with the regime, you can at least not let the regime exploit you for its own advantages, you must remain loyal to the people or else your fame will be fake and temporary' said the Great Qelich in his interview with Farhoody.
So here we go, 28 years later the Great Qelich is still my football hero, he is Left wing and I am not, but so what? as I always say it would be a boring world if we all thought the same way. So long as he maintains his integrity and practices what he preaches, I will salute him and respect him whatever his ideology.
Perhaps this is a good time to draw a comparison between the past and the present regimes. Despite all the misinformation about the 'brutal dictatorship' of the Shah's regime, the previous regime allowed a Communist sympathiser like Qelichkhani to be the Captain of the national football team, compare this with the current regime which has executed so many of our sportsmen and is hell bent on only allowing the most sycophants of them all to get anywhere near the championship sides.
It was a good interview, IMO.
Post a Comment