Gabriele knew, and could feel that the Iran of Cyrus and his bedroom visions were slowly being effaced by the unstoppable plague of ‘Westoxification’. Just as he was witnessing how the old, abandoned edifices of Italy were giving way to modern ones more befitting of a world looking towards the moon and the approaching millennium, so too did he see the indigenous and ancient ways of the Iranians slowly crumbling before a largely imposed idea of modernity and imported ideals. To be traditional, or Iranian, was passé; though Iranian identity was being redefined and re-examined, and the bourgeois were wallowing in fantasies of their nation’s heyday, Iranian eyes and hearts alike were leaning increasingly westwards, to Europe and the New World. She’s beautiful … she looks just those foreigners with blue eyes and blonde hair … just like a foreigner. The modern-day Darius dreamed not of Persian glories, but taking Farah Fawcett lookalikes to San Francisco.

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