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Making a difference in Iran
We prefer to spend life with loved ones rather than visiting their grave

By A.S.F.
June 12, 2002
The Iranian

When I arrived in Chicago on May 23, 1977, little I knew that my journey would last for a quarter of century. I have witnessed in a state of disbelief how my beloved country moved on the path of the good, the bad and now the evil. How I went from being a darling Iranian student in college to submit to numerous body searches at airports all over the world even before September 11.

It has been a windy road filled with so many emotional roller coasters.

The journey will end for my family and I later this spring. My wife and I have made a difficult, but we think is a right decision to move back to Iran. Our roots are there, our loved ones are there, "I guess we're a little homesick." We understand that leaving the so-call land of opportunity, is not for everyone; however, for us, it makes a damn good sense.

We have mulled over this constant yearning for Iran, this never-ending dream, this ever-consuming desire for many years. The day that we would finally uproot ourselves from the life we know in US. To give up all the comfort and convenient of Western life to return to Iran.

Indeed, we have enjoyed life here through all its ups and downs. But there has always been something missing. Something that only those who share our dream can feel it in their hearts. I'm forever grateful for 8-years of top notch education, first in university of Illinois at Urbana- Champaign and then in University of Nebraska, in this country.

I'm indebted for work experiences of last 18 years which has been so fundamental to my growth. I have cherished freedom that is an undeniable reality and unchallengable fact of life here. Our minds are not painted with illusion that we'll be entering the gate of heaven by retaining to Iran nor have we yet been brain washed that this country is where everyone finds joy, happiness, peace, where dreams turn into reality, where justice and liberty reign for all.

We're the first to admit that it won't be easy to return to Iran after 25 years. There's political corruption, economical instability, social injustice, human rights abuses, smog, traffic... But our mission is greater than our contentment of life in the U.S.

There is more to life than being tucked way safely in green luscious countryside of North Carolina. There is more to life than driving a short distance on a scenic road filled with beautiful birch trees to work, where there is no traffic and no one cuts you off. There is more to life than having a high paying job in a company that has been so good to me.

There is more to life than to come home in evening and turn on the TV, only to witness innocent people getting killed and their homes bulldozed by Hitlerian regime supported by none other than the mighty supper power. There is more to life than going to mall and searching for sale items on weekend. There is more to life than attending a few Iranian gatherings on the weekend and reminisce about how wonderful life was in Iran before the revolution, and how horrible it is now and how it should change before we return home.

Yes, there is more to life than just being concerned about us. I've often asked myself, what keeps me here in this country. Is it my job, is it freedom to do and say whatever I want without fear of retribution? Is it our financial state that we're in that can't possibly be matched in Iran? or is it simply people that I have been connected with for all these years? Well, the honest answer is all of the above. These factors have glued us to and kept us here for so many years.

Like many of you, we've asked ourselves the same question. What about our country, our family, and our friends in Iran? What about their rights? What is our responsibility toward them and what is their worth to us? What about our role and contribution for the betterment and progress of our country regardless of who rules and who doesn?t? How many people in our family have to perish before we wake up and realize that we could have been by their side and didn't because we just couldn't leave the comfort and convenient t of life here.

Just today, I read that there are only 20 child psychiatrists for children in entire country of 65 million. How many Iranian child psychiatrists do you think live in the U.S.? I guarantee you there are a lot more than 20. I know first hand, that every time I take my mom to see a specialist in Iran, I hope that Dr. So-and-so has not yet left the country and has time to see us.

Of course we don't blame those in the medical establishment or anybody else for seeking a better life anywhere in the world. But we're very much concerned about the other 65 million people who are desperately in need of a specialist. We care concerned about the other 65 million who are not at fault for what has happened to Iran

Despite all the hardship and disappointments of day to day life in Iran, despite all the red tape, we know that we can make a difference in people's lives. We know we can have an impact, no matter how small, on the health care system that has been so devastated by the exodus of the medical community. We know that our efforts can and will make some desperate Iranian family live a healthier life.

We also know that we would be physically exhausted and emotionally drained when we return home every evening, but our spirits would be lifted knowing our day was spent helping some poor soul.

I want to be by my mom, who is in her 80's, terminally sick and won't be there for much longer, has dreamed of having her son by her side during these last days of life. I want to be close to my three wonderful sisters, who are in there 60's and my brother who has constantly reminded me that my blood isn't any thicker than the other 65 million Iranians. I want to spend time with my nephews and nieces, some of whom were not even born when I left Iran and are now studying at universities and colleges in Iran.

No, we prefer to spend life with them rather than visiting their grave in Iran.

John F. Kennedy was right: Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.

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