For Iranian fathers everywhere
By Ali Ardeshir Jowza
March 3, 2004
I chose to write this, for I know Iranian fathers all over the
world have sons who look up to them, and who strive to be like
them. My story is of my extreme admiration for the man that I will
probably never be, but strive to be everyday of my life.
in life usually has a hero they look up to and try to if not
emulate then live their life from the example set by their hero.
since I was a child was my father.
From the beginning I have looked
up to my father and have sought to be like him. The way he lives
his life and how he lived his life is a model for me that I don't
think I can ever reach but will try. My visions on, on Iran, on
athletics, politics, culture, history, and on how to live life
have been shaped by him.
Through my father I learned what it meant
to be Iranian. He never let me forget where my roots are, who
I am, and always told me
to hold my head up high as an Iranian. I was introduced to Iranian
history and culture through my dad. His accounts of what Iran
was, how great it was, where it was headed, remain imbedded in
However, realizing we lived in a land far away from
Iran, he allowed me to experience and in a way let go of myself
being Iranian for
awhile, and I think watched with joy as I learned of myself and
my country and 'came back to Iran', not through his insistence
or pressure, but from his gradual guidance.
I may not be the perfect
Iranian, or live my life instilled with Iranian values, culture
and pride, as much as he, but I try my best.
From the very beginning my father stressed the importance
of athletics in life. He with less opportunities then I managed
to play football
at Rah-Ahan and Tehran Javan as a striker. If not for paarti-baazi, and family issues, I have a firm belief that he would have represented
the tri-colors of Iran on the national team.
Later he led the Sheer-O-
Khorsheed football team, and if I remember correctly, his young
team lost 2-1 to Nasser Hejazi's Taj FC, a huge accomplishment
with a second to third division team coming within inches of tying
and or beating the mighty Tehran Giants.
He also had a stint at
wrestling, and he always boasts how in a practice session he pinned
one of Iran's national team wrestlers (his name escapes me
now). However, my grandmother would not allow him to enter the
field of wrestling, and the family saw no future in football, and
advised him to leave his passion.
In athletics, he gave me the opportunity to
be anything I want in America, and encouraged me each step of the
way, even when
early I gave up on football (soccer) and pursued basketball, he
was there at my games cheering me on, and gave up his free time
practicing with me. When I decided to go back to football, again
he was there, training me to be the best at what I pursued.
I did not use that to my advantage, and gave up on my dreams of
one day playing professional football. Too many distractions put
forth in America and my weak will to follow something to the end
when I was young hindered me from becoming what I could have,
with my father as a great coach at my side.
My dream would have been
to play football and have my dad watch as I scored goal after goal
for Iran and Taj (Esteghlal). In that I failed, I was given so
many opportunities then he had, yet came much shorter then he.
In what I'll call my father's "second" and
most important phase of his life, is where he managed to serve
our great Iran to the greatest of his abilities. He was able to
rise in the ranks at the Red Lion and Sun Society (Sheer-0-Khorsheed)
and at the end make Deputy Director. He served the Shah and Iran
to the best of his abilities. He represented Iran with all his
ability and passion.
For example, he made a tour of
Vietnam, in medically assisting the American troops. For that,
was to receive the Homayoon Taj from the last Pahlavi Shah, but
1979 came and the Islamic Revolution put a halt to that.
even at the throes of revolution, my father put his duties of helping
others first, as he played some key roles in assisting the "hostages" in
the US embassy, in each subsequent attack. His reward for
his duty to his nation was nine months in jail, followed by torture
and threat of execution.
To make a long story short he managed
to get himself and his family out of a Iran destroyed by Islamic
fundamentalists, but he did what many didn't, and given the
opportunity to plunder great amount of wealth out of Iran, he didn't
(I wish he had though).
I admire my father for serving our great
mihan, Iran, so well and only hope one day that I will be given
the same opportunity to serve my homeland with the same amount
of love and dedication he did.
Coming to the United States, my father's
character and strength shined as he had to start all over again
in life, and refusing
to see his family fall, this great man, for a time put his ego
aside and worked at a gas station. His knowledge and determination
saw him back in medicine at Stanford University, but he took the
long road in getting there.
Never once did he complain though,
and showed that he would do anything for his family. He worked
all day and then expended the rest of his energy towards his family,
while his family lived comfortably, as he toiled.
let me know that the work tired him out, and he ensured that I
(and my sister) enjoyed everything the United States had to
offer without realizing how much sweat and blood was put into my
and I enjoying a comfortable if not spoiled life in America.
stark contrast, his childhood was spent, in a period where his
father (my grandfather) a Colonel in Reza Shah's Army died
and he along with four brothers and a mother managed to survive
and prosper. Through hard work, devotion and dedication, my father
managed to live his childhood.
As a kid in the States, I grew up watching my father trying to
help the needy, crying when he saw homeless people on the streets,
helping those around us that needed it. All the while he never
asked for anything in return. I can remember countless times where
our neighbors needed help, whether it be financial or otherwise,
my father would be the first to offer and lend his hand in support.
Money was never an issue for my father, and he continues
to teach me that money is nothing compared to what you can do for
human beings and family. To him it is all about giving, without
asking for a dime back. He is also there for his family
no matter what, which has allowed me to reflect what it all means
to be a father as well as a human being that cares for all.
Educationally, if it was not for him (and my mother) I don't
know where I'd be, for their constant pushing, enabled me
to be where I am today. However, again, with all the opportunities
they put at my feet, I am nowhere near where my dad was, and will
probably never reach what he did, but I will strive my best to
do so, to make him proud.
My father (and mother) worked hard for
me to comfortably reach the level I am at today, and each way as
I changed courses from being a doctor, to a lawyer, they stood
by me, and although I won't become the doctor they wanted
me to become, I have pursued my passions with their encouragement,
I can write on and on about my father, and I'm sure he'll
be flattered if not embarrassed when he reads this. But to spare
him and the readers more stories of what my father taught me through
example and instruction, I'll end by saying that he like
other Iranian fathers knows that their children appreciate them
fully, although we don't always show it.
Today my father faces another battle: cancer. However, I am fully
confident that he will come out on top as he has done with all
the battles and obstacles he has faced in his life. This "ode
to him" as some will put it, is to let him know that I believe
in him to easily win this war, and through it all I will be right
behind him as a loyal son and soldier.
Ali Ardeshir Jowzais a
Graduate Student: American University (Washington, DC). He has
a Masters in International Service (Comparative and Regional Studies-Middle
Asia). He is a
Research Analyst at National Institute for Public Policy in Washinton,
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