In mid 1980's, after going through haft khaan-e rostam, my family and I entered Canada with a couple of suitcases. We registered our children in a local school, and started looking for a job to make a living from zero. After a couple of weeks, we received a letter from the school where our children attended. They invited the parents to attend an important evening meeting.
On that night, my husband preferred to stay home with our kids, and watch TV. Therefore, I had to attend the meeting. A couple of hundred parents had come to the meeting. The principal of the school after introducing himself, talked about a new and dangerous disease called AIDS.
He had invited a physician to provide us with the latest information on the disease, so we could help our children with prevention. During the next 30 minutes, the physician gave us the latest information about AIDS, its transmission, clinical symptoms, prevention, etc. Then he said he can answer the related questions.
Parents, who seemed to be worried about the new disease, asked many questions to which the doctor patiently answered. I had a question too. So I got up and with some reservation and asked about a part of his lecture. The doctor thanked me for bringing up the matter. Then he explained it correctly and in detail.
Then they invited us to the other side of the hall for coffee and cookies. I followed the crowd to get some coffee. Suddenly I found myself surrounded by a large group of parents.who kept asking me the following questions:
Q: Judging by your accent, it looks like you are not a Canadian. Where are you from? A: I am Iranian. Q: How long have you been in this country? A: A couple of weeks. Q: From the question you asked, seems like you know a lot about this disease. How did you know that? A: I used to read a lot about the subjects related to my profession. Q: What is your profession? A: I am a biomedical scientist. Q:You must be from a rich Iranian family to be able to get higher education. Is there anyone else in your family who has higher education? A: We were 4 children from a middle class family. Our father died when we were between the ages of 6 months to 8 years. My mother got a job as a teacher and raised us as a single mother. We all got higher education in engineering or biomedical fields. Beside our desire for education, the only thing that helped us get higher education, was that education was free for all Iranians in K-12 grades, and almost free in colleges and universities. We paid something like $20-50 per year for college education, and for those who could not afford to pay for tuition and books, the government would pay. Q: Are there many educated Iranian women in Iran? What kind of jobs do they have? A: I don't have the exact statistics, but before the revolution, all our nurses, social workers, and most of our elementary school teachers were women. Almost 30-40% of our science graduates, 10-15% of our physicians were women. We had women dentists, pharmacists, veterinarians, artists, engineers, lawyers, judges, high school teachers, university professors, members of the parliament, and ministers. In fact, the last minister of education before the revolution was a woman who used to be my biology teacher. Q: Can women vote? A: Yes. Q: Then, why did the Iranians make a revolution?
I was speechless, and still can't think of a proper answer.