The Iranian


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Sehaty Foreign Exchange


    June 1, 1999

    We are one

I am a young Jewish Iranian woman who read the, "I must be a Jew" piece as well as all of the controversial follow ups. As a Los Angeles resident for fourteen years I am well aware of the tension between Iranian Jews and Iranian Muslims. I have friends who are Jewish, Muslim, Bahai, and Christian, but we do not measure how Iranian each one is on the basis of faith. My High School had its share of politics that separated the Muslims from the Jews, but when another group came against either of us "The Persians" would join as one.

I was born in the United States in 1978 and I have never visited Iran. My parents are divorced, and I have lived in a single parent family since the age of six. My once very traditional Iranian father does not keep in touch, he does not send child support, and currently lives with a Christian-American woman.

I was educated by the Los Angeles Unified School District, and speak Farsi with a full American accent. Sentences such as,"man raftam library" and "I ate koresht for lunch" are frequently used around our house. In other words, my family life is not typical Persian (or maybe it is?). Despite all of that stuff, I am Iranian - My soul feels it.

I am a proud Jew but that makes me no less of an Iranian. The Iranian community is part of my daily life. Those who have lived in Iran may say I don't know what it means to be Iranian. But why then, when I read the words of Rumi or Hafez do I feel a connection that could never come from Shakespeare? Seems to me that people who lived in Iran during the revolution in 1979 are those who still feel we are separate. They may have forgotten what it means to be Persian.

Whether Jewish or Muslim, Bahai or Christian, we are one. We should hold each other up instead of continuously trying to put the other down. We came from the same history, and we speak the same language both in words and in feelings. Only an Iranian understands what love went into a pot of steaming kalleh-paacheh. Only we can appreciate all the dimensions of, JOON. And as difficult as it is for me to understand, only an Iranian can feel Moien inside his veins.

As the future generation of our community, I hope to never question the commitment of an Iranian to his culture on the basis of religion. If my peers join me, we may one day have a community of Iranian children born inside the U.S that are numb to such a separation.


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