No longer a new kid on the block, today, I stand before you as a proud member of the Iranian.com community. Throughout last year, thanks to my big mouth, I earned my rightful place amongst you and with my writings, gained a few admirers and many more critics. All and all, it feels like home!
There have been few interruptions along the way when I haven’t been able to contribute to the site as much as I would have wished. Nonetheless, I have always come back home to where I belong, amongst those who behave truly as a family should: With immeasurable love and hate when it is deserved or not.
Every time I pick up the pen to write, I hear another calling reverberated across an ocean as the sounds of bullets and chains rip apart our dreams. But I write. When the tear drops have stained my face, anger has consumed my soul, and pain has crushed my heart, I write, and all along I enlighten myself, “Penning isn’t your calling!” But I write. Is this an exercise in futility?
As our motherland stands at the crossroads of history, and our future hangs in the balance, Iranians abroad await a much deserved and longed for homecoming. With us, someday soon I hope, we will take home our trails and tribulations in foreign lands, our wounded hearts and guilty consciences, and our boundless dreams to erect an oasis of democracy in the Middle East.
As we pack our suitcases to bid farewell to our host countries, the contents of our wealth remains to be in our minds not our bags. The sweet taste of democracy and freedom forever has touched our psyche and molded our tolerance. Whether we like it or not, we have learned to hear the opposing views and accept their right to express it.
In other words, our lives abroad have force-fed the essence of democracy down our throats, and our drive to survive and adapt have guided us to endure the experiment. As a direct result of our exile in other lands, we have become free men and women who no longer tolerate chains on our minds or the desire to shackle other minds. We are the pride of our motherland with much duty and responsibility laid upon our feet.
Amongst our most precious experiences abroad lies Iranian.com, an online magazine boasting the largest following of Iranian readers in America and Europe, a publication whose writers are its readers. With our articles and blogs, we have engaged in an exercise of exchanging ideas that has enriched us for the better and has armed us with the knowledge that nothing is sacred enough to be spared by inquiring minds.
Iranian.com is the flagship of our struggle abroad, a vessel leading Iranian publishers, reporters, writers, and activists towards the freedom of expression, the cornerstone of democracy in any society. After all the kicking and screaming, after all the name calling and finger pointing, after all the complaining and exposing, we come back to Iranian.com to voice our views and be heard by others simply because the dream is still alive:
Someone is out there, listening! A mind that can be molded, a vision that can become reality, a will that can move mountains. Is this an exercise in futility?
I dare say no! This is an exercise in freedom of speech, freedom of expression, and freedom of press. This is Iran and Iranians in the looking glass…