Thursday, August 15, 2013

The Spy Nest, Robert Ode's Short Story

I met this colleague shortly before Christmas last year. By meeting him I mean although we work for the same company but we barely interacted. I do not recall clearly but in that time and during our conversation we talked a bit about the siege of Embassy of the US in Tehran in 1979. He happens to be a relative of one of the hostages who passed away years ago. Let's put it this way: He was a distance relative of a hostage at the time it occurred: A Robert Ode.
Robert Ode, the oldest of the hostages, 65 at the time and without a doubt the one with the worst luck had arrived in Tehran just a few days before the day the so-called students stormed the embassy. He was already retired and was supposed to do a little assignment and leave shortly after that but got caught. This fella colleague of mine said that his father and the late Mr. Ode both had served in the Pacific during the WWII. His father is still alive at 92, probably one of a few survivors of those years. I did not ask him about his father as it could be the subject of another meeting.
I happened to find his memories through Jimmy Carter Library and Museum but it's hard to trust that. I am not saying that he was a lair or anything but having all this stories written up under the hard condition that he complains about everyday seems impossible. In addition to that if we consider he wrote everything after returning home, it make the story almost unbelievable. memories are usually not good in the last half of your 60s! Nevertheless I feel kind of bad for this guy and the other as they all were victims of the politicians.
I add one memory to the story and end it: There was this close friend of mine who would take some sort of sport class in a sport complex pretty close to where the former US Embassy in Tehran located. The embassy was renamed to The Spy Nest after the raid. He said that he was on the bus one day going to his training and when the bus stopped at the embassy station yelled: The Spy Nest! As it is common in the old country to scream kind of the name of the station so the passengers know and don't miss it. So one guy, apparently a supporter of the raid turns to the driver and goes: But sir this is not The Spy Nest any more, referring to the embassy being turned to some sort of training centre for the Revolutionary Guards. The driver replies: It actually is The Spy Nest now!
But what I personally remember about the invasion days is surprisingly still clear in my mind. I have always been the person who had difficulty remembering the others. It has happened so many times that people walked up to me and claimed they had known me from here or there but with the events it is a bit different.
I remember one cold fall night on the street of the Embassy with my family. May father was an active person for years and that night he took his family with him to see around. Book vendors on the sidewalk were presenting anti-US and anti-Capitalism books, magazines and so on. I clearly remember that there was a little booklet full of cartoons of a South American artist. All the cartoons are drawn about words and terms (in Spanish) which contain the three letters of CIA consecutively, for instance AmbulanCIA. I don't know if the words are all correct in Spanish spelling but there were a lot of them introduced. For that ambulance word the cartoon shows an ambulance truck which was taking the victims of CIA operations! That booklet should still be somewhere within all my books and magazines in the old country.
(Photo: Robert Ode of Illinois. This photo is far away from his last years)

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