by Babak Nabili
It was our Iranian Society's annual Nowrouz celebration, a seemingly ordinary event that has been taking place for the past few years in this town. As I was standing in the back of the ballroom, I got so immersed in observing people eat, dance, and talk that I completely blocked all the sounds around me.
Suddenly, a thought went through my mind that sent a shiver down my spine: "Next year, this event won't take place and these people won't be here. The bonds that attach them together have been gradually weakening during the past few years. This society will be dead by next year!"
What has gone wrong? Why has this group, once active and strong, become such an unwanted and unimportant group? Everyone thinks they know the real reason: change of interests, heavier responsibilities, lack of young blood, etc.
These reasons may have individually or collectively contributed to this decay. No matter what the reason though, the fact is that our little society is short of manpower and enthusiasm. People who once cared about and supported the society now seem to be ignoring it. It is as if it doesn't matter anymore.
As an immigrant community, we have all worked hard to establish ourselves in this country, despite its distant culture. We have become successful, well-respected and independent individuals who make significant contributions to our host community.
However, let's not forget that the one secret of our success has been the fact that we have held on to our cultural roots and heritage. We have achieved this by forming networks to remind us of our authenticity and to prevent us from dissolving in the "melting pot."
By ignoring our identity, we deprive our children of Iranian culture and heritage. Is this what we wish for the future generation of Iranian Americans?