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Divided we stand
Individual success but group failure?

By Faye (Fereshteh) Farhang
February 11, 2004

Take a good look at the Iranian family unit in the US and you'll surely be impressed. It's not uncommon, and one could reasonably argue that it is more than common to repeatedly find Iranian households comprised of successful individuals. Indeed professionals, siblings who are top doctors, lawyers, dentists, and engineers.

These Iranian Americans have not only made it but they have made it well. Whether they were immigrants themselves or children of immigrants, they all worked very hard to get themselves to this stage, and now they are respectable, upstanding citizens, residing comfortably in a very high income category in the world's leading capitalistic society, the Great United States of America.

Somehow it seems that as small children it was drilled into them by their parents to succeed. Maybe it is in the blood, maybe it is the Persian Pride, or possibly a combination of both. Yet what is problematic is that these very successful individuals who have made it in the eyes of the majority and despite the pressures of partaking in a diaspora lack the skills to stand together.

The individual mentality is so strong and driven but when it comes to putting these successful people together to create a 'group mentality' that would unite and benefit Iranians everywhere, there is failure. In short, this is problematic, and in the long run, this is a tragedy.

The Iranian mentality is that of the individual, entirely fair to call it even selfish. We look out first and foremost for ourselves, the benefit of our families, and the success of our children. And when it comes to helping the majority, suddenly the intelligent, successful members are dumbfounded and ill to move.

But maybe it's time to question our ways, maybe it's time to realize that 25 years of oppression, a quarter century of escaping the reign of a totalitarian regime is partly our own fault, an inidication of missing unity, of an indifferent 'group mentality.'

Isn't it about time to realize that the group, that our people as Zoroastrians, Jews, Christians, Muslims and Bahais are really an extention of our immediate family. That peace loving, driven Iranians of all creeds have the same interests.

Of course the West has a hand in installing certain regimes in the Mid-East when it serves Western interests, but would they, could they, reasonably manipulate Iranians if we were united? Food for thought?! Yes, especially for those successful Iranian-Americans!

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