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Chapter Four

Chapter Four

At school the next day, the geography teacher Miss Bahador comes into their class instead of Jenab. She says she and Mr. Elmi have switched for the day. Shireen takes out the diary and writes “School is facing a serious problem”. Confused as to what this means, Roya starts to ask when the loudspeaker calls Shireen to the principal’s office. Roya is scared, and when Shireen does not come back for class all morning she is even more worried. She finds the address to Shireen’s house in the front of the diary and at lunch asks the driver to take her there. She is greeted with a warm welcome by her mom who seems completely lovely. She doesn’t understand how anyone could be scared of her. A man comes out of a room, who she assumes to be Ali, Shireen’s older brother, and she looks in to see a smoky room filled with a couple men, one of whom she thinks is Jenab. She is shocked and starts staring when Ali closes the door and Shireen comes to greet her. She confirms it was Jenab and invites her into her room. Shireen tells her Jenab has been coming every day. Someone from SAVAK is trying to make a dossier on him, and even though he hasn’t done anything, they can shake things up. Shireen has been asked to testify for him and is bringing a petition to class the next day saying he has done nothing wrong. This is why she was called out of class, to meet with Jenab’s lawyer.

Soon Jenab started barely showing up for class. One particular day he was especially late. He just stood at the front of the class, still holding his brief case and pointed his finger at the class. He said “I hold every one of you accountable for this mess.” He went on to say how everyone has rights in this country, and looking at the picture of the Shah, the king, explained how some seemed to have more than others. He told the class they must stand up for their rights; otherwise they deserve what is coming to them, and stormed out.

After the petition started circulating, school changed. Classes were being cancelled, and teachers were having frequent conferences. When Shireen told Roya the petition would be in the newspaper, Roya panicked and was sure her father was going to kill her. That was when Shireen stopped telling her what went on behind closed office doors.

One night at dinner, with Pedar in good spirits, Roya asks about her mother, but Pedar does not respond. Her aunt tells her it is perhaps not the best time, but Roya screams that it is never a good time. Her aunt asks how school is and Mitra tells them about the chaos with Mr. Elmi. Mitra says she is glad to see the students involved in politics, but says Roya is too scared, as her name wasn’t even on the petition. Pedar thinks this is good, but Roya doesn’t know whether what she said was a lie, or Shireen took it off, cutting her out completely. Pedar and Mitra get in a heated argument about the Shah and she exclaims Dr. Mosaddegh, would be a better replacement, a man who was killed almost a decade ago by the SAVAK for having anti-Shah beliefs. Her father is outraged and sends her to her room.


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