The comfortable generation

I read your article “My generation” referring to your generation and wanted to send you this response.

When I am referring to my generation, I am not talking about the youth in Iran. I don’t know them. I am referring to Iranians between 25-40 who lived and grew up in the west. Middle class.

You say your generation was lost and confused.

I think your generation was very determined and goal oriented. Social justice was a very important concept. And not in theory or by reading SCE campaign blogs. But in an every day context. You saw poverty in the streets every day. From the cab driver to the “noonvaa”.

Perhaps you were manipulated and the result of the revolution was not perfect but all people are always manipulated by religion and politics. But you your generation was involved and had goals. Even in other countries, the 60s and 70s were a time of great political change. The sort of change that comes from people (results are not important here, the effort is what I am talking about). There was an apparent end to colonialism in some countries whereas other places had revolutions and revolts etc…

My generation doesn’t understand social justice. Not in the same unified or practical way your generation did. We are scattered around the world and our daily acts of organized or individual charity doesn’t go any where. And for the most part, we don’t care, I’m being honest. It doesn’t bother us that giving some old clothes to Salvation Army doesn’t do much for anyone. We don’t mind what is going on in Iran (talk in mehmoonis, or blogs on don’t count). We do nothing practical. We don’t organize. We’re too busy with ourselves.

Most of us have never really studied political theory… In most families I see, in your generation, there is always an uncle who was “toodehei”. Some people even have “hezbollahis” in their families who joined the war. My generation really doesn’t have any political affiliations (voting democrat or republican doesn’t count). We’ve never seriously studied or even been exposed to political theories promising to change the world. The fact that new and popular theories haven’t come out in the last few years is another indication of our inaction.

Demographically speaking, your generation was involved in achieving a level of socio economic comfort that was unprecedented in Iran. Many moved from smaller cities to Tehran. Many were the first in their families to get higher education. A large number of younger Iranians left Iran for the first time in order to study abroad.

My generation has mostly grown up in relative comfort. We study to get into college. Some may have to get loans and scholarships. But we do not have the same economic obstacles your generation had. Everything has been handed down to us. We didn’t really work for anything. We took what we had (and have) and we run with it. Your generation had to get things on their own before running…

Even women! For my mother’s generation (she is in her mid 60s), goals were life saving! My mother has a university degree. She was part of the first women in her family to get a degree and work. Others in her age group had to or wanted to get married right away. Finding a suitable husband was a big job. In either case, they had a goal that had to be achieved in a short amount of time. Education is a given for us, we understand we will go to university. It’s relatively easy to do. Marriage too, it happens at some point in time. We don’t have to work as hard on anything.

You say “It was our generation that was captured and imprisoned, summarily dismissed from jobs, and tortured and executed.” This is an exactly what I mean. Ask any 30 year old Iranian in LA or Canada or Germany. Most of them have never been to a demonstration.

We do study. We do hold important professional positions and continue to move up. But we didn’t work as hard as your generation did. The natures of our obstacles are mostly not unique to us as a group. We face the same hurdles (more or less) that any westerner our age might face.

You say, “Our generation paid with its blood, with its hopes”. I think the major difference between our generations is that my generation doesn’t have hope. First of all, one has to be desperate to need for hope. We are usually not desperate. Then, one has to understand hope, it’s not just a slogan. It means a lot. We don’t understand it. We really have nothing substantial to hope for.

We mostly have a comfortable life, we mostly have health and education and marriage and children… everything is already here. Unless something veers off course like sickness or an accident, we live our lives without hope. It’s not a depressing thing. We just don’t really need hope the way you did. I hope you understand what I am saying. We are mostly “happy” as it is. Our parents did the hardest work for us already.

The fact that there are so many organized terrorist groups is a testament to the death of hope. We have young suicide bombers, they don’t value their own lives. My generation of course isn’t blowing up a mall, but we don’t really do anything about anything. We just live. Day to day. We have fun. We buy and consume more and more.

You say “To my children who might say “we are suffering because YOU made a revolution,””. Well, I doubt if anyone from my generation (based on the definition I gave you of who I’m including in this group) really says that. If they do, I don’t think they understand or mean what they say. It’s a fun thing to start a debate at a mehmooni but, who actually says that and means it? These “children” are suffering from what??? Mall mania? Too much health food and exercise? Not going to war? Not worried about a revolution?

I don’t mean to sound like we have it all. But there is no comparison between us and you. And those who want to blame your generation for making it worse for us are just…being unrealistic.

Anyway, just a thought!

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