Spring is approaching and the air is already redolent with the smell of jasmines and narcissus. Once again Iranians revive their much revered ancient tradition by celebrating the Persian New Year. A very special time that reminds us of our glorious past and the way we treated the world with power and pride.
Far from home, we all remember the sweet memories of our childhood, growing up within a united family, enjoying our extended families, learning how to love, to respect, to cope and to value relationships.
We still can visualize the spring dances of tulips in the field, feeling the warmth of our decorated homes for the New Year, and the majestic presence of our parents presiding over the ceremonial SOFREH HAFT SEEN at the turn of the equinox.
The nostalgia of stealing those delicious cookies that were saved for the guests and the jolly time of outdoor festivities over the green grass of home on SIZDEHBEDAR, (the thirteenth day of Nowrooz) is still with us.
Many of us, with such sweet memories etched in our minds left our beloved land for America to reach out for even a better life, a life with more individual choices, more possibilities and new experiences.
Some of us migrated even before the political change by choice and settled here to learn how to embrace, accept and even love those who are not like us. We were told that America is the land of democracy and respect for all.
We heard, there is a place called America, where people from all nations come to leave their differences behind, to blend, to be included and to belong. We heard of George Washington, Abraham Lincoln and all others who wrote a magnificent piece of literature, called, Constitution, which spoke of “life, liberty and pursuit of happiness for all”.
Today, as an American citizen more than thirty years I am wondering what happened to my America?
Today, as another Persian New Year approaches, I think of my family and millions of Iranians as my extended relatives far away await another embargo or even another war, and I am wondering what will happen to my motherland?
Once again I will celebrate the New Year with a heavy heart not knowing what will happen to my beloved home and to those loving fellow men and women, not to mention, those precious young lives.
With all sadness, it seems my American heroes and my ancestors have been betrayed by their heirs. We have certainly failed them by our conduct as greed and conquest for power have overcome our sense of responsibility and kindness for mankind and the world that we live in.
Back home, there is nothing that I can identify with except that pure soil and my memories. I feel that we have been robbed of our faith, our traditions and our individual choices. We have lost many lives and many voices, a very simple individual right. And yet we love our proud land. We should not sit back and permit Iran to be humiliated and Iranians to be hijacked of their rights.
On this side of the ocean, my new home, America, has changed over the years. In fact everything I expected and hoped for is taking an opposite path.
Now, our government is all about power and bully, our society is about money and murder; our children are hoarded for porn and profit. Racial divide, bigotry and prejudice are rampant in our communities. Our politicians and decision makers are often a disgrace to America and its promises. Corporate greed has left us with a huge disparity between rich and poor augmenting our hunger and homeless statistics. Our wars are not about defending our land, but instead, have become a vehicle to push our plans and ideals, to offend other nations, to humiliate them about their way of life and their beliefs. Apparently, democracy has a new meaning: attack preemptively, ruin lives, and destroy cities to establish “freedom” with no regard for the will of those nations.
How can I celebrate a new year with a happy heart when so much misery is all around?