Friday, July 31, 2015

Queens County Revisited: The 1970's (32)

The owner/landlord of the house in Jamaica near Hillside Avenue, in which the basement apartment I wished to share and rent with Barry was in, was an Iranian immigrant man who appeared to be in his late 40's; and who spoke English fluently, with only a slight foreign accent. He apparently had been living in the United States since either the late 1950's or 1960's, dressed in a Westernized way like most culturally straight native-born men his age in the United States dressed in the 1970's, and did not seem to be any more into religion than most people his age who had grown up in the United States.

Having first learned in 1966 that the Central Intelligence Agency [CIA] had illegally overthrown the democratically elected government of Mossadegh (after his anti-imperialist nationalist administration nationalized the foreign transnational oil corporations that had been exploiting Iran's oil resources since the days of overt British imperialist rule) and overthrown the Shah of Iran's dictatorial regime (and having also later read a Monthly Review book about Iran's post-1953 history under the Shah of Iran's rule), in the 1970's I realized why some Iranians--especially politically dissident and anti-dictatorial secular Iranian nationalists, liberals, leftist, professionals, workers and students--might find it more desirable to live in the USA rather than in Iran under the Shah.

Also, in the 1970's I still remembered a long conversation I had had one evening in 1967--on Broadway near Columbia University's campus--with an Iranian man in his late 20's or early 30's who was a graduate student at Columbia in which, in a very cautious way, he confirmed my observation that Iran under the Shah's rule was a police state in which large numbers of the Shah's political opponents and journalistic critics were being held as political prisoners; and that the U.S. government's policy of supporting the Shah's dictatorial regime was an immoral, undemocratic policy.

So I assumed that the owner/landlord of the Jamaica house whose basement apartment I was seeking to share and rent with Barry was opposed to the Shah's rule. But the immigrant Iranian owner/landlord seemed cautious about ever discussing Iranian politics whenever I happened to hand him cash for his rent, in the months after Barry first introduced me to him and he quickly agreed to let Barry choose me as Barry's new roommate to be his new additional basement apartment tenant.