Still can't think of a proper answer
By Azadeh Madani
January 12, 2004
In mid 1980's, after going through haft khaan-e
rostam, my family and I entered Canada with a couple of suitcases.
We registered our children in a local school, and started looking
for a job to make a living from zero. After a couple of weeks,
we received a letter from the school where our children attended.
They invited the parents to attend an important evening meeting.
that night, my husband preferred to stay home with our kids, and
watch TV. Therefore, I had to attend the meeting. A couple
of hundred parents had come to the meeting. The principal of
the school after introducing himself, talked about a new and
dangerous disease called AIDS.
He had invited a physician to provide us with the
latest information on the disease, so we could help our children
with prevention. During
the next 30 minutes, the physician gave us the latest information
about AIDS, its transmission, clinical symptoms, prevention, etc.
Then he said he can answer the related questions.
Parents, who seemed to be worried about the new
disease, asked many questions to which the doctor patiently answered.
I had a
question too. So I got up and with some reservation and asked about
a part of his lecture. The doctor thanked me for bringing
up the matter. Then he explained it correctly and in detail.
Then they invited us to the other side of the hall
for coffee and cookies. I followed the crowd to get some coffee.
Suddenly I found
myself surrounded by a large group of parents.who kept asking me
the following questions:
Q: Judging by your accent, it looks like you are
not a Canadian. Where are you from?
A: I am Iranian.
Q: How long have you been in this country?
A: A couple of weeks.
Q: From the question you asked, seems like you know a lot about
this disease. How did you know that?
A: I used to read a lot about the subjects related to my profession.
Q: What is your profession?
A: I am a biomedical scientist.
Q:You must be from a rich Iranian family to be able to get higher
education. Is there anyone else in your family who has higher
A: We were 4 children from a middle class family. Our father died
when we were between the ages of 6 months to 8 years. My mother
got a job as a teacher and raised us as a single mother. We all
got higher education in engineering or biomedical fields. Beside
our desire for education, the only thing that helped us get
higher education, was that education was free for all Iranians
in K-12 grades, and almost free in colleges and universities. We
paid something like $20-50 per year for college education, and for
those who could not afford to pay for tuition and books, the government
Q: Are there many educated Iranian women in Iran? What kind of
jobs do they have?
A: I don't have the exact statistics, but before the revolution,
all our nurses, social workers, and most of our elementary school
teachers were women. Almost 30-40% of our science graduates, 10-15%
of our physicians were women. We had women dentists, pharmacists,
veterinarians, artists, engineers, lawyers, judges, high school
teachers, university professors, members of the parliament, and
ministers. In fact, the last minister of education before the revolution
was a woman who used to be my biology teacher.
Q: Can women vote?
Q: Then, why did the Iranians make a revolution?
I was speechless, and still can't think of a proper answer.
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