Iran is on my mind


Fariba Lotfi
by Fariba Lotfi

My mundane thought of the day is Iran.  Iran is on my mind these days.  I think for many of you as well.  I hear the news; i read it on IC; i discuss it with friends.  I have not reconciled my feelings towards the motherland yet.  I asked a friend whom i spend quite a great deal with when i was young and restless (that is another topic all together) how he feels about what is happening in Iran.  My friend lives in France with his French girlfriend.  He said he is kind of happy that he is not there.  He said he follows the news and reads the news; but i guess what he meant was that he does all that without much emotional involvement.  I, on the other hand, go through a ton of contradictory emotions whenever i hear something about Iran.  Is it a personal journey (just like how i mull over kids and their identity); or, is this more of the difference between the Iranians who live in US vs Iranians who live in Europe? 

I think in US we can be a very successful member of the society; lets say a heart surgeon; even if we cant speak English well.  We do our jobs, we dont mingle with the mainstream and we come home and eat our ghorme sabzi (or kabob.)  Same goes for having successful businesses (you all know of Koreans and the drycleaning business, Chinese and restaurant business, etc.)  I know of Professors whom students dont understand the word of what they are saying; yet are tenured and have secure jobs. The society lets ethnic groups to stay as ethnic as their heart desires and it does not punish it.  In fact, from what i see, they majority rather have ethnic minorities stay within their own group than mingling with mainstream (see my Bookclub and Melting Pot issues.) 

In Europe, it seems to be different.  Most of successful Iranians that i know of have been assimilated to their host countries.  Many, have married or partnered with persons of the mainstream culture.  They have accepted and have adapted to the host country.  The ones who have stayed ethnic, on the other hand, are in the margins of the society.  As socialist as the European countries are, it seems to me that they do not reward ethnicity.  As we see in France with the Arab population that despite its growth in numbers still lives in getto like neighborhoods; the same with Turks in Germany; and perhaps Pakistanis in England.  The logic is that if you wanted to stay with your own culture, why are you here then?  And, if you are here, then you must adapt to our way of life.

I, personally am going through a lot of emotions because i have not cut my emotional connections to the motherland.  Every news gets me; and every image stays with me.  I know why i left; but i look back often.  In fact, these days i question me much about why i left...  I have stayed very ethnic, i feel.  At work, i dont need to be mainstream.  I am climbing the coporate ladder fine, despite being ethnic.  At home, i can choose to stay away from the mainstream.  I have not assimilated well, i suppose and i have not been punished for it either. 

I wonder then, perhaps the European model is better?!


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by yolanda on

Hi Fariba,

      I just want to say that I really like the ethnic enclaves. It gives me the chance to see other cultures 'cause I don't have the money to travel around the world, maybe just a couple of places. It is absolutely fascinating to learn other cultures besides my own culture!

     It is interesting you mentioned that some of professors don't speak good English and still got their tenure. It is sad that if students can't understand their teachers' English.....actually I really don't mind if my teachers have some accent as long as they have knowledge and I can understand the lecture.

   My impression is that a professor can get the tenure as long as he or she can get research grant and bring money to the university.....the universities are not concerned if the professors can speak good English or have good communication is all about $$$.... :(


Fariba Lotfi


by Fariba Lotfi on

What you described is so very interesting.  Here where i live, i can see it happening in NYC, where you see little italy, china town, spanish harlem, etc.

In each and every of those nuggets, there are people who live as if they are living in their motherland; preserving their language, their culture and their hertiage.  Diversity is an experiment in the making in the US.  Yet, i wonder if it is a good model?! At an individual level, it makes some of us yearn for the motherland, rather than just assimilate and get it over with already!



by yolanda on

Thank you for the interesting blog! I am not familiar with Europe, apparently immigrants have to blend in with the local people. I live in California, actually I really like the cultural diversity here. I lived in Glendale for 2 years, it is called Little Armenia 'cause there is a big Armenian population there. There are a lot of Armenian-owned businesses, like shops, restaurants, fitness centers. There is a huge Armenian church not far from where I lived. There is traffic jam every Sunday........6 miles from where I live right now, there is a street full of Cambodian-owned businesses, of course, a big Cambodian population also.....30-40 miles from my house, it is Irvine where a lot of Iranians live. One of these days, I will go there for a visit. I passed by many times, but never stopped by........15 minutes from my house, there is a place called Little India, in Cerritos, there are a lot of Indian restaurants, spice shops, grocery shops, etc...I went there many times to buy Indian Kurtas.......20 minutes from my house, there is a place called Little Saigon in Orange County with a big Vietnamese population......Korean Town and Chinatown are about 30 miles away........Before I came to California, I lived in Hawaii and Texas, I did not see California style of cultural diversity over there. I like here the most!



Unite against IRI

by ptehrani on

Please read "How to unite against IRI"