Intellectuals of Cafe Naderi
Intellectuals of Cafe Naderi
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In our side of the roof, everyone was talking and joking except for me. I was silently and eagerly listening to their conversations while staring at the sky which was covered by many thousands of shiny stars. Beauty of the heavens was beyond any dispute and my fascination with its elegance and splendour beyond the description. I was never so close to the sky and stars. On top of the roof and lying in bed on my back; I was completely taken over by this majestic view and barely could see anything else. Numerous stars had surrounded me and the magnificent sky was like a dome above the roof. It seemed that the stars were dragging me towards the heavens and it appeared that in a childish way I had somehow perceived the seriousness of the life and had a vague feeling of its mysterious profoundness. Strangely, I felt a kind of loneliness amongst the crowd and sadness filled my heart.
In one of the meetings I told them of a dream I had. I dreamed that I was flying and going up and up in the sky. There was nothing around me for a long period of time until I saw enormous circular steps that were extending to as far as eyes could see. It seemed that it was made from marble and was covered by thin fog. There it was; infinite sky, circular marble steps with thin fog on them. As simple as that, yet it was most beautiful scene I had ever seen; indeed ineffable. I stopped flying and began walking up the stairs while I had a feeling that it must be God’s palace. As I was climbing up, saturated with indescribable mixture of peace and happiness as well as unspeakable fear; I could see no one around and nothing but never-ending steps. Truly I was horrified that I had flown that far so much away from earth but somehow I liked that strange fear. I did not want to return and indeed, I could not have done so even if I wanted to, as I had no idea how to return. I was overwhelmed by intensity of joy and fear. Then I saw an extremely handsome old man coming down the steps. Although he was just like any other human but at the same time, looked like pure light. For few seconds I thought he was God but I remembered that God is invisible. The old man seemed very kind and friendly person and so I went to him and anxiously asked, “Where is God?” He seemed delighted to have seen an ordinary human up there so he smiled and replied, “God is no longer here. Millions years ago he went to another universe.” “What?” I cried shattered with the news, “Has he left us on our own here?” Old man looked at me with utmost affection and drew my attention to a plain box which I had failed to notice until then and said, “No, he has not left humans alone. God sees and hears everything through this box, don’t ever worry. You and everyone else on earth are connected to him through this beautiful box. He is in full command.” My atheist friends listened attentively and said; “Well, that was only a dream. You think too much about God.” “But it is a good sign,” declared the joker, “your dream means that even if God existed at some point of history he is no longer here. You are one step closer to the atheism.” And they all laughed heartily. Of course it was a dream or even hallucination I admitted, but what if it is true and God is no longer with us? “You are afraid of being alone, are you not?” asked one of the atheists pitifully and made me think about it seriously for a long time.
The political activities intensified rapidly, serious events multiplied and so subject of our meetings could no longer be God only. We were bombarded by sad news about arrests, tortures and murders. Armed struggles of Marxist organizations had increased as well as struggle of Islamic movements and this had given excuse to autocratic regime to thrash the uprisings and resistance harder. During first few years of Medical school in which beside study of the course I had more political activities I experienced the ugliness of imprisonment, intimidation and physical or psychological tortures. I witnessed harsh interrogations and savage tortures and I saw the executions too. I also became aware of horrifying atrocities happening to the families of political prisoners. I heard from reliable sources that some of political prisoners who had resisted all sorts of tortures and refused to cooperate with secret police; had faced with most inhumane and ruthless behaviour of the regime. The torturers had raped mothers, sisters, wives and children of those prisoners in front of their eyes, while omnipresent God was right there enjoying himself by watching them and taking no action. I was extremely angry with God and could not understand his inaction. I was imprisoned too and although it was only for short period of time but it was enough to have first-hand experience of unbelievable cruelties of human to his fellow creatures. From dark corner of the prison cell I shouted at God; are you deaf and blind? And that was not my only problem with God in those torturous dark days. I saw poor families and ultra-rich ones too. I saw hungry children and those who were bursting from excess of food. I saw the oppressed individuals and cruel oppressors and I asked myself: why on earth God does not prevent such cruelties, atrocities and injustice? If God exists and loves us I asked myself, why he has created so many bad people in the first place to commit such brutalities. If everything we do is based on God’s plan and only with his will we act so why does he allow anyone to do wrong? Why the oppressors, whether ordinary ones or those in ruling system get away with all their crimes and seem happier and stronger all the time, while the poor oppressed people become weaker and ever more miserable? Does God really exist and sees everything but dose nothing about or is it true that, there is no God and we have made him up? Perhaps my friends are right we have created him not the other way around. I was extremely angry about the inequalities and social injustice. I was utterly disappointed that not only God had not prevented the atrocities but it seemed to me that he was actually siding with oppressors and criminals throughout the world. This volatile state of mind and emotional sensitivity coincided with the period that Big Bang theory had been widely accepted and was every child and adult’s subject of talk. At the same time I had just finished yearlong course of comparative anatomy and for the third time, I had read Darwin’s theory of evolution. Combination of these factors together with influence of those atheist intellectuals and my own readings but above all my anger of God’s inaction ended the uncertainties and I declared there is no God. In last meeting that God was discussed we confidently concluded that we do not need supernatural power to answer our questions anymore and there is no place or need for God as we can explain everything scientifically. When I think about those wasted years of my life I am absolutely sure that the main factor or perhaps the only factor which led me to reject God was my emotional state as I was utterly upset, furious, confused and unbearably disappointed to see the apathy of our omnipotent God and to see his insensitivity and inaction in relation to injustice throughout the world. Of course it sounds silly now but it seems that in those days I was taking revenge from a cruel God as in my opinion his function as a God was unacceptable and unforgivable. Indeed my denial of God in that passage of journey could not have been true conviction. I honestly can find no explanation for my conclusion except for childish way of taking revenge from him; so stupid, so embarrassing. I denied God because he ignored tears on the faces of poor and hungry children, took no notice of the agony and misery of victims of torture and rape, would not utilize his power to prevent the corruption and crimes in human societies and all these with utmost insensitivity and arrogance. He ignored the suffering of mothers and wives of political prisoners and was not prepared to see or hear cries of the victims who were desperately asking for his help. Having said so, I also remember quite clearly that even then at the height of my fury, I was not entirely satisfied with theories regarding the birth of universe and origin of life as sufficient answer for the questions or acceptable explanation of mysteries. So the principal question remained unanswered; how did all of these come to the existence? Once again something or perhaps someone deep inside was working hard to wake me up but I deliberately ignored the call. I was too frustrated and angry with God to listen to any call in his defense. I could no longer accept or respect a God who had sided with powerful, oppressors and criminals.
Intellectuals of Café Naderi is the story of political struggle for democracy and long years of author’s spiritual journey alongside a group of highly talented intellectuals. It is an account of debates for more than a quarter of century withing the group. So, being a fellow traveler and prime target of intellectuals to convert him to their thinking; the author is fully qualified to narrate the story.
He uses pen-name (Bagher Mohama) and prefers the anonymity and therefore personal information about him is limited. However, his professional background is medicine and he believes that this profession and related scientific knowledge beside it influenced his final convictions.
He is married and the couple have three children. For the past thirty years this family have lived in United Kingdom which is their adopted country.

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