How do you unify a community?

How do you resolve any dispute in a small community? How do you keep things in perspective? Who do you talk to when there are concerns, issues and problems?

These are all the questions which have been in the minds of members of a community. After doing some sole searching and trying to get some answers I decided to post this in here to see if someone else has experienced similar situation as I have.

Since 1996 bunch of us Iranians have been trying to bring unity into the Iranian community in Atlanta and so far we have failed to do so. We have been trying to understand why our community is so polarized in this city. We have a diverse community in Atlanta. We have the Baha’is, Christians, Moslems, Nationalists, Monarchists, Mujahed, lobbyists for Islamic Republic, Communists and former Communists.

We have some individuals who have polarized this community to the extreme and as a result the community is completely paralyzed and people have become indifferent towards anything happening in Iran. There is always some kind of controversy in this city. Some day it is about the flag and next day it is about some thing else. It used to be about the dispute on election in Persian Community Center. We were told apparently some guy has tried to steel the votes in the community center in order to become the president of the center. Also the center was involved in holding elections for Islamic Republic. They apparently had placed the ballot box in their office during the election for former President Hashemi Rafsanjani.

While I personally can not confirm or reject the validity of what took place during which I even did not live in this city, but I have not seen any public commentary or explanation for any of these conducts in the only local paper we have called Pardis in Atlanta. It seems no one is willing to come forward and take responsibility for these actions. As a result the community has become desensitized towards the events taking place in the community.

Some members of the community have few community activists to provide explanation to these conducts and we have not seen any official outcome on these face to face meetings. I have proposed to have a Town Hall meeting in one of the local Universities and invite all Iranians for a discussion on the state of the community and have not seen any interest on this regard yet.

We have been trying to encourage people to discuss these issues by exchanging email and it seems there is little interest to discuss the controversial issue. For some reason people either people do not care about these issues or they do not want to touch any hot item issues. People seem to shy away from getting involved in any controversial issues.

We need your help. Any suggestions and comments on this issue would be much appreciated.

Best regards,

David Ramezani

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