Tehran, IRAN - Taxi Driver
Interview made by Cyril Bruyelle in November 2017
The way I met with Mohammad is a relevant example of how we usually get in touch with this kind of people – non-English-speaking low-skilled worker in that case. I first met with Samira, a young well-educated Iranian English teacher, thanks to friends and social networks. After interviewing her, I asked if she could introduce me to other types of people like artisans, retirees, farmers, etc, which are usually more difficult to find. She instantly thought about Mohammad, a taxi driver that she usually calls when she needs a ride. He soon accepted and she came with me to play the role of the interpreter during the interview. That’s how former interviewees become interviewers! Unless I couldn’t communicate a lot with Mohammad, he had this sort of profoundly kind face and smile. His answers perfectly illustrate it.
What did you want to be when you were a kid?
Technician, I wanted to be a technician and do innovative things.
With whom would you like to have a coffee?
Sarah, my oldest daughter.
If you could choose something that could be taught in every school in the world, what would it be?
To you, what’s the main characteristic that all human being have in common?
They're all good. When you observe people more closely, you realize they're all good. They might do bad things out of necessity.
To you, who is the happiest person on earth?
Myself. You want me to explain why? Because I have good children.
If you were President of the US, what would your first reform be?
I would try to establish world peace. I hate war, terror, and those things. I wish to wake up one day and see that nobody's fighting anymore. If I had a lot of money, I would've told people "if you're fighting for money, I'll give it to you, stop fighting, don't kill each other."
What do you need?
I don't need much, patience and tolerance.
What would you do if we gave you 1 million dollars now?
I would give it all out to young people so they could get married.
Which innovation, realistic or not, would greatly ease your day-to-day life??
Something to help people go and see each other in different countries. Traveling would become easier. There would be no passports problems, visas, and things like that. Traveling would be cheaper, unlike now when people need to spend a lot of money to travel. Governments need to reduce expenses, they should stop charging people for petty reasons.
What’s the news that affects you the most in your country these days?
The missiles and weapons that they're making. I really like it!
Do you think your life is easier or more complicated than the life of your parents?
It's much easier. My parents were really caring, they did all they could for my success, I was the first one in my family to finish high school and this helped me become more successful in general. That's why I have invested a lot in my children's education, I spent all I earned on their education and I wish all the children of the world would receive an education. Even if they're unemployed, they should be educated.
If you had to create a company, what would it be?
Soda pop factory, because I have 25 years of experience as a technician in a soda pop factory.
Can you draw something beautiful?
Friendship and kindness. Love all and be kind towards each other. Personally, I do everything in my power for people without asking for anything in return.
What are you afraid of?
Lies, I fear them a lot. Because I have been harmed by them; other people have too. Telling and hearing lies is the basis of all atrocities.
What is your dream?
As I said before, my biggest dream is world peace.
Close your eyes, you are in 2100, what do you see?
I see commotion, overpopulation, and I don't know whether people could be nice to each other or not, I think there will be more people who are nice. That's it.
What is the most beautiful thing that you’ve seen in your life?
Oh, the time God gave Sarah to us.
If you had to write a book about the current world, what would be the title?
Redemption from difficulties. Do I tell you what it is about? That everyone works hard to be educated, not to lie under any circumstances, not for material reasons, and be honest with each other, about these things. I can write a lot about these things.
What does religion mean to you?
I actually like to talk about it. Just like a driver's manual, If people know their religion well, and practice it, they will be at peace, and so will the others.
Which of your country's cultural specificities are you the proudest of?
That people are kind, hospitable. Of course, people are like this in other places too. But I think we're a little better at these things. We do it more profoundly.
If you could do any job regardless of money, what would you do?
I've always had technical jobs to earn a living, and I drive a taxi now, I'm doing well. I don't care, what matters to me is that I don't owe anyone anything. I don’t want to be obligated to someone; I work and get paid for it. It's always been this way. Also I've sometimes tried to work harder and charge less so as not to betray people's trust inadvertently.
If you had to explain our planet to an alien, what would you say?
I'd say don't come here, it's too crowded.
And you, which question would you like to ask to the world?
What are their dreams? Because people are as worthy as their dreams.