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Keep your cool
We need to stop expecting or assuming that education, wealth or family rank rules people's behavior


November 29, 2006

I read Mr. Amour's "Iranian Hillbillies" with interest because I continue to have a great deal of interaction with my fellow Iranians from all walks of life and various education levels and different financial plateaus.

With all due respect and the fact that I (and most of us understand his frustrations, I am baffled as to why this "upscale" restaurant overlooked the requirement which requires anyone entering a bar to be 21 years of age or older.

The second point is that your reference to this group you affectionately referred to as Hillbillies and assumed their money was made selling second hand cars is not accurate and judgmental.

For all you know the parents could be children of old school monarchist who have a sense of entitlement to do what they want because their family served the crown cannibal and they went to school in Switzerland or France (or US depending on what suited their taste).

You will be surprised at the backgrounds of some of these so called "hillbillies". I have been part of events which we specifically stated "no children". For a while the request was honored (perhaps because the parents did not want to deal with the wicked witch that is me!) but then last year I was not at the door greeting because I had other responsibilities and it was really distressing to see little children running around when everyone else was sitting down. How did it happen?

One Iranian (educated with an executive position and a non-Iranian husband) asked someone else if she could bring her child and of course another Iranian who thinks she is the next best thing since the creation of the world just because she is married to an Iranian who is loaded and her daddy served under the crown cannibal also had brought her little one (asking one of my colleagues and he had reluctantly agreed and did not tell us). She had made sure to call another friend who is also a so called high class (a successful builder that happens to be educated and from a good family) to bring their kid as well.

I think it is disrespectful when other people have paid for their children to be looked after by a baby sitter so they can enjoy some adult time, which is to dance without fearing that they may step on a little brat, have to tolerate other people's kids.

I disagree with you that we can not tell or teach this people to respect the law and other human beings. You should have not waited to complain right away. However, be prepared to confront the unpredictable.

A while back we went on a cruise (we had the name of all who we had agreed to be with us) and somehow a group of Iranians (3 people) we had never seen or met were on that cruise (evening cruise) so while in the area which we had reserved for dancing, I politely told one of the men in a white expensive Italian suit to please put out his cigarette since this was indoors and this was a non-smoking area. I went on the dance floor and a little over an hour later came back to take napkin out of my white jacket.

You guessed it! The beautiful and expensive jacket was drenched in orange color soda! I did not have to be a rocket scientist to know the rat had done it but I could not prove it so I let it be. I had no regrets for having spoken my mind even though it cost me.

I constantly have discussions with some of my colleagues when doing an Iranian project because they want to revolve it around "Iranian habits" and I always fight back. If I say the movie starts at 7:30, I will make sure it begins on time so if you arrive late you will miss the beginning and everyone knows you were late. In a way, many have gotten out of habit of being late and I am impressed that many have actually become punctual just to avoid my nasty glances!

We need to stop expecting or assuming that education, wealth or family rank rules people's behavior. People behave based on their upbringing, individual self esteems as well as how they feel about civility in general. Next time you encounter a similar situation with kids running around politely and with a smile approach the parents and get them and then proceed to ask them if they mind controlling the children (do not say "your children") because you do not want the guests to think badly of Iranians!

Trust me it will work. If they are rude, keep your cool and say "I am so sorry that I have to go to the management and ask their interference because this makes us all look bad". Even if they defy you at that moment,, I assure you that deep inside you have given them something to think about.

I have always said that I would never watch movies with any of my Iranian friends because they have a habit of injecting their predictions while you watch the movie. I hate that and you will never hear me utter a word even if I have seen the movie 4 times and know the tale. I laugh when the few who love foreign films call me and swear they have been practicing to be quiet and I should give the chance by letting them watch my movies with me. The point is that we have to begin communication and stop keeping our frustrations inside or call the culprits names. We are then part of the problem and not the solution.

Last week I was at a big event and found out someone who loves me very much had said some unpleasant things to the MC of the event who is a great friend of mine. They both were invited to a party I was attending and neither one knew the other was coming. I made sure he knew he had been wrong so he went up to her, kissed her hand and apologized and as a result he learned that he is a bigger man for admitting he is wrong.

Dear Sean, please do not give up and for every one Iranian Hillbilly you see there are five who are considerate, compassionate and care very much about how their behavior or their children affects others. Let's begin to see what is good about us also.

For your part, speak your mind and never fear consequence because unless we tell our tribes what is wrong we will never correct the problem. Comment

For letters section
To Azam Nemati

Azam Nemati



Crowning Anguish
Taj al-Saltana, Memoirs of a Persian Princess 1884-1914
edited by Abbas Amanat

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