My Tour of Cranky Old Revolutions
The first thing that struck me during a trip to Cuba this month was how much it reminds me of Iran. Despite divergent ideologies—one Communist, the other Islamic—the aging revolutions emit the same cranky melancholia. Rhetoric is still defiant, but public zealotry has atrophied. The graffiti of rebellion, once vibrant, has faded.
In Old Havana, only part of a popular street painting of Che Guevara, with his long locks and trademark beret, has survived the years; his washed-out mouth and mustache have been filled in with a Sharpie. In Tehran, billboards of the early turbaned revolutionaries are so dull, from the sun and the decades, that they seem ghost-like.