Iraj Isaac Rahmim
Iraj Isaac Rahmim’s essays and fiction have appeared in Antioch Review, Commentary, Commonweal, Gulf Coast, the Houston Chronicle, Reason and Rosebud and have been broadcast by Pacifica Radio. A MacDowell Colony and Yaddo fellow, Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference scholar and twice winner of First Prize from Fugue, he has had pieces selected five times as Notable Essays by the Best American Series and was awarded a Fellowship in Literature by the Texas Commission of the Arts. Isaac recently completed a novel set in Dubai and is working on a memoir about his life in Iran and the US. He holds a PhD in biochemical engineering from Columbia University. 
Oct 08 2011
Dancing for the Bomb
As best as I remember, the super 8 silent video camera was a present for my fourteenth birthday. It involved a certain amount of pleading and door-banging and huffing and goose-stepping around the living room and usual good old-fashioned blackmail—but not too much, as my parents, in conflict with one another and, unbeknownst to their children, near divorce, were easy prey. Now, over thirty years later, the number 800 sticks in my mind—as in 800 Iranian tomans, equal to about $120 at the time, a large sum (about five months of our live-in maid’s salary). Or was it 8000 tomans, $1200? Eight thousand sounds more realistic for a foreign-made video camera in the prerevolutionary Iran of the mid-1970s. The super 8 was a Sony, black and sleek, with geared, battery-operated buttons for zoom and focus, the clicky turning of which sounded like happiness. Its hard case was padded with soft, spongy foam. Its manual, colorful and bright and glossy, was in multiple languages in parallel columns—a small modern Rosetta Stone in Tehran, the city in which I was born to a middle-class Jewish family and that I had come to think of as the land of my childhood exile.