Bewildering Stories welcomes...
Behrang is currently on a work visa, teaching International Development at Arizona State University. His langauge skills are remarkable: he learned English in his late 20’s and has sent his first literary work to Bewildering Stories. He would like to share his stories of people and places he has visited in the Middle East and North Africa.
“Manhattan in the Rain” combines two stories. The first recalls a childhood memory in the Old Bazaar of Tehran. The other recalls the author’s first day in New York City. What on earth could bring together two worlds so radically different and so far apart?
Montesquieu’s famous question, which is posed ironically in his novel The Persian Letters, can lead us to an answer: Comment peut-on être Persan ? — How can anyone be a Persian? The eminent philosophe knew well. It’s the same as: How can anyone be a Parisian? Or a New Yorker? By being a human being in one’s time and place.
And what does that entail? By understanding what one observes. A watch attached to a black wrist band is a sign of privilege — of wealth — in the Old Bazaar. In New York City, black umbrellas being hawked on the street to rain-soaked passers-by are a sign of poverty.
In honor of Behrang’s colorful memoir, Bewildering Stories brings back another, Muttawain, from eleven years ago. It asks basically the same question: How can one be an Arab or an American? In the same way as one can be a Persian.
In the end, our three memoirs in this issue explore the process of learning about both others and oneself. What does it mean to wear a watch, to sell umbrellas, to wear a gown in the proper way, or to ask for a cup of coffee?
Behrang Foroughi’s bio sketch can be found here.
Welcome to Bewildering Stories, Behrang. We hope to hear from you again soon and often!
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