When I first met her around 1978 I did not know what to make of her. She did not even introduce herself formally, maybe because she was off duty. She looked and talked like a woman but her mind was more like a male politician, had a mentality of a man. Somehow she looked like1960 style business woman. She was very proud of herself being a British more than being a woman. She seemed to be a type of person who did not like buying foreign goods. Those days you used to see that sort of British. They felt a bit like Germans when you talked about British industries and manufacturing.
She knew a little bit about me. My life was not a normal one by any means and it seems that was one reason made her curious. Sometimes I get the feeling very ambitious people are also very curious too. She definitely had it. She had to know.
She asked me what I thought of England. I could not tell her everything but also wanted to be honest. I also did not know that much about England and at the same time I could sense the nationalist feeling she had about her country therefore I started to talk about weather and how amazing it was always raining. She insisted rain should not stop one doing what one needs to be doing. She said British Empire and industry was built in continuous rain.
She sounded a bit like college principles. She had some old fashion way of talking a bit like people who are educated at very conventional educational establishments. I ask her what part of the country she was from she told me from Northern Ireland. I asked her how come she did not have Irish accent then she told me she studied at Oxford University.
During our conversation we discussed about different subjects. One of our discussions was about mini car. For some reason, that car did not look a pure British design to me. I told her that and said I do not know exactly why but mini is not all so British as she thinks. She shook her head and said well done. Then she explained she meant the build was British. Later on I discovered the original mini designer was a Turkish/Greek man.
The revolution just took place some few months before it and I could feel in her voice that she wanted to know if I supported it or not. As a young person my intension of coming to England was not for politics. I also felt I had other things to do than running around doing marches or whatever. I had no idea but in my heart knew Iran would not be the same again, ever again. Maggie being a very careful person start by asking me what was my PROFOUND memory of Shah’s government. As at that time my English was not good enough I did not know what she meant by profound. So she explained what was my best or/and worst memory. I can’t really say what I told her, but it didn’t surprise her at all. Almost if she could guess it. Then she went to the main subject. Knowing that I am not Shah’s supporter she asked me about clergies. I explained to her didn’t know any of them but what has happened so far will change Iran for ever. I also told her this government will go too. Greed is their number one enemy. She was very impressed by my answer. She told me she had a meeting with Shah which was a surprise for me as I did not know she was in Tehran some years ago. Shah had a good discussion with her regarding women’s right. However she indirectly told me she did not see much of him because even though she was invited by ‘darbar’ and Shah’s personal request for a meeting but he wanted to know her questions before hand. Being so British she found that strange. In my view a professional politician should always be prepared for questions and that is how she was. I told her it is like a teacher who wants to know students’ questions before going into the classroom. What the students will think of him/her? She repeated my question and said exactly.
And we talked about a few other things which I can’t remember as it was a long time ago.
She was one of the very first British people who told me about how wonderful Persia was and we contributed to mankind in our own ways. She even mentioned the wonderful beautiful books of arts, mathematic and other subjects written by Persians. Her comments made me feel valued for a change. There are not that many people in the world who can influence me that I do not know why but impressing me that was her expertise.
When I first came to England, due to the environment I was in, I faced a lot of racism but somehow without her trying part of that feeling went away.
There is a reason mankind is put on earth and what we do to change the world for the better is the most important duty we all have. I think she done that in her own part. And that is why it seems she was loved and hated by different people. I think one reason could be because she was deadly dedicated and out spoken. Remember we don’t have to understand what ever she done to agree or disagree with her. It seems those politicians who lie more to create a better image of them are not hated as much.
Sometimes I do not see her as a politician but more as someone I knew a long time ago.
Do I miss her?
Truthfully, I miss the ‘simple intellectual conversation’ I had with her.
Margaret Thatcher RIP