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Sehaty Foreign Exchange


February 21, 2000

Is there a solution?

I am a sixteen year old student in Seattle, Washington. And, "beh omid khoda", I will go to college next year in New York or Washington D.C.

My family and I have visited Iran eight or nine times since we first came here in 1985. Until this past summer, Iran was heaven to me. All my cousins and family would surround me when I visited. We would go to Shomaal and eat balaal kabaab shodeh by the Caspian or play takhteh in my uncle's comfortable villa. And of course, my girl cousins and I would go on our daily pesar-bazai adventures : )

But this year, I experienced a different side of Iran. My cousins and a couple of our friends were walking in the street when we were confronted by the Komiteh. They harrassed us for almost an hour, threatening that the minibus was on its way to take us to the Kalantaari. At one point, I started crying, which was even more humiliating.

For the first time, I realized the daily struggles that my family, my friends, and each Iranian living in Iran has to deal with. I felt so hopeless to do anything. After the komiteh incident, I refused to go out of the house for a day (and trust me, I am a pretty strong individual). But the problem is that I can't just ignore it. It's like knowing that the people you love most are in pain while you live an extremely comfortable, extremely priveleged life. I can't deal with that.

After reading your article on the lazy work ethics of Iranians ["Persian work ethics"], I realized that you are a level-headed and intelligent Iranian who also has concerns about our hamvatans ; ) My questions has to do with a solution: does one exist? Is there anything that we can do that will change things? Or is this a completely hopeless situation that we will have to deal with for the rest of our lives? I understand that a solution will not be like a 12-step program, but even an idea of how to begin a social reform in Iran would be a miracle. I'm soo confused. I just want to help.

Kianoush N.


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