Kapuscinski: “Our Game of Seeing Whose I is Superior”

From Ryszard Kapuscinski’s book Shah of Shahs (about the last Shah of Iran):

Kapucinski interviews an Iranian – these are the notes from that interview:

Because the man has to be superior, the woman must be inferior. Outside the home I might be a nonentity, but under my own roof I make up for it — here I am everything. Here my power admits of no division, and the more numerous the family, the wider and mightier my authority. The more children, the better: They give a man more to rule over. He becomes the monarch of a domestic state, commanding respect and admiration, deciding the fate of his subjects, settling disputes, imposing his will, ruling. (He stops to see what sort of an impression he is making on me. I protest energetically: I oppose such stereotypes. I know many of his fellow countrymen who are modest and polite, who have never made me feel inferior.) Quite true, he agrees, but only because you don’t threaten us. You’re not playing our game of seeing whose I is superior. This game made it impossible to create any solid parties because quarrels about leadership always broke out immediately and everyone would want to set up his own party.

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