The 9/11 baby
Armin may have reflected on what kind of a world he blundered into
September 19, 2002
I don't know if you read my 9/11 "diary" of last year -- published in the
Iranian.com on Friday, September14, 2001, entitled: "I
am tired: Terrorized Iranian's journal of hope".
In it, I described what I did the in a span of three days after the big tragedy.
Among many other things, I talked about Armin Pajooyan, the 9/11 baby of Tucson,
Arizona. You can see
his picture on the first day of his life, on the hospital's cute baby blanket,
on September 11, 2001, about 14 hours after the New York tragedy, when he is barely
3 hours old.
In the next few paragraphs, I have stitched together my comments about him in the
"I am Tired" article. First I invite you to read my thoughts of last 9/11,
and then I will burden you with some more thoughts of mine, for today -- Wednesday
September 11, 2002.
First come with me to the past:
Among other things that I did yesterday (on September 11, 2001) was to phone and
congratulate an Iranian friend whose new son was born at 7 p.m. I told him: "What
a day to be born, what a day!" He said with his customary habit of understatement:
"I have had a hectic day." My friend's American wife, the baby's mother,
and the Iranian-American newborn are fine.
I have not had time to go out and buy a gift for
the newborn. I have decided to take as a gift, a ceramic vase that my older uncle
(dayee jaan) brought for me from Iran several years ago. I don't have the time or
the talent to properly gift wrap the little cobalt blue vase, in some nice box covered
with some nice gift wrapping paper. I am taking it in a grocery bag. I know it is
not graceful, but I figure they would recognize my intent, and would forgive me for
being a regular guy. Afterall, my friend is a male football player, and the baby
is a boy. His mother will have to understand our apparent collective lack of appreciation
It is now 9 a.m. Friday Sept. 14 and I am back from my friend's place, where I didn't
get to see the little Armin, who was reportedly in sound sleep in the back bedroom.
In the 15-minute break in between the two periods of the football game (Iran vs.
Bahrain), as we were eating breakfast, Armin's proud papa showed off his very first
With his large, open, and very alert eyes, Armin was "reflectively" looking
to the side, his little right fist underneath his chin. I said: "Wow, look at
those eyes, he will become a philosopher." His footballist father said: "He
is asking, should I shoot or pass the ball?" As we were laughing, I silently
wondered if the fragile infant was reflecting on the meaning of being born, as an
Iranian-American, on Tuesday September 11, 2001.
Having been born on 9/11, perhaps tiny Armin Pajooyan, of Tucson, Arizona, will grow
up to be an ambassador of peace for the whole world. What will our planet look like
when he grows up, say when he is in his 50s, the same age as George W. Bush? Will
he be on his 43rd birthday as tired as I was yesterday? Will he have to prove that
he is not an evil terrorist? I am tired of worrying about the stupid state of our
Now, let us come look at the present.
As his honorary uncle, I am happy to share with you two pictures of Armin (1)
on September 11, 2002, on his very first birthday.
Last year, only after 3 hours or so of life, in the ignorant blue backwater neighborhood
of our vast universe, Armin may have reflected on what kind of a world he blundered
into. Now on his first birthday, as you can see, he is one happy healthy little boy.
He is not just giggly happy, though; rather, he is happy to be smart enough at exactly
one year of age, on this weird day, to invite wise grown-ups to read, to increase
their knowledge of our fragile existence, to reduce their dangerously blissful ignorance.
On his first birthday, on this day of "remembrance", he is asking us to
remember that we are responsible to pass on to him a world in which angry planes
do not run into arrogant buildings; a world in which it is still possible to breathe
the clean air of love and renewal, and drink the refreshing water of knowledge and
wisdom, of survival and interdependent prosperity, of life.
Can we understand, no, cherish, the meaning of the vulnerable
words he wants us to read? With his tiny fingers he is turning the page for US, my
dear co-inhabitants of our increasingly fragile house of our carelessness, our almost
exhausted house of our selfishness; he is turning the "wake-up-call" page
of transformation and renewal or of thoroughly stupid movement toward self-destruction?
Look at his eyes. He is asking us, no, he is pleading with us, not for his sake,
but for our own, to really think deeply about WHY 9/11 HAPPENED? Why? Why? Why?
He is one year old today. Do we have some truly wise answer for him on his next birthday?
Why did 9/11 happen? This is the question that Armin Pajooyan will haunt us with,
every single 9/11, until...?