The Iranian


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Sehaty Foreign Exchange


March 28, 2001

You opened the closet

I'm sure your simple, sincere (with just a touch of "poor me" to really wring out our hearts!) account of this unique endeavour of yours ["Growing up"], has elicited hundreds of thousands of letters of support, and checks (ha, ha), right?

Well, count this as another one, for though I hate writing sycophantic letters, I myself fall to my knees for a few words of unadulterated encouragement... SO, though I know dollars are worth more than words...

As a 23 year-old American-born woman of full Iranian heritage, I have finally put on my prêt-a-porter Iranian Diaspora frock. When? About a year ago. Why so late? I didn't know I had one. Really. I didn't know I owned such a beautiful, richly-textured, brightly-colored dress. Who knew? You did. You opened the closet door and let all the bogeymen out, and there it was, hanging patiently, waiting to be seen.

Do you get my metaphor here? Have I bashed you in the face with it enough? The point is, you should be getting a check from every single, greedy, starved soul who visits your site, because what you have done for us has a value beyond words, and certainly beyond dollars.

I get to work in the morning and the first thing I do is read Can't help it. I am addicted. The rush of emotions and mental activity that comes from hearing the broad spectrum of voices who resonate as only unheard voices can. I am often moved -- either to weep or to strangle some cross-eyed, tone-deaf moron, and sometimes bored. But I am always stimulated.

So, thanks, you irresponsible, dirty, sar-beh-hava, visionary Peter Pan, for having a dream, and for busting your ass to make it happen. Some day, when I am a better writer and photographer and actress, I'd like to work with you. By then, you'll be needing interns, and I will be overqualified. Inshallah...

Sheila Shirazi


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