Kind of kinship
I have grown up being very different from my
March 3, 2005
I first met my Iranian father when I travelled to
Iran in 1990 on my own, I was
My Mum is English and met my dad in London in 1968/9. He
spoke Italian but little English. He told my Mum he was a student
which was a half truth; although he was studying he was also
in the Iranian navy. My Mum discovered this after she had fallen
I hear stories of how proud he was working on the Shah's
ships. His family had always lived next to the Royal Palace grounds
in Tehran and his father was a royal gardener. My Dad and his family
worshipped the Shah then, and now in silence.
My Mum taught my dad English and I was a suprise to them when
I was born in 1970. There are two stories on why my dad left when
I was 2 or 3-years old. Mum tells me that dad jumped ship to be
with us and was then deported and his passport taken from him.
Mum he would do everything he could to return but if any Iranian
authority knew we existed he would be in a lot of trouble.
letters were passed through all sorts of addresses with lots
of promises of love and reunion. Mum (to this day) remained faithful
to him. When I was 7-years old dad told my Mum he would never
able to return to England and that he must find himself a wife.
Mum gave her blessing saying that one of them must be happy.
My Mum kept all the flowery love letters to show me that I was
out of love... she really believed this until recent years.
My visit to Iran opened my eyes to the truth and my Dad has visited
me here in England once since.
My visit to Iran is a whole lengthy story in its self and looking
back I think I had a lucky escape. I loved the country and the
people were so hospitable but the restrictions for women were
unbearable. I understand that it has become more relaxed now
but in 1990 I was forever being stopped by the police for one thing
Dad and I do not have the same last name and my Uncle has a different
name all together. We did the tourist thing and visited Isfahan...
we were all arrested trying to book into a hotel as we did not
proof we were related. I can only describe what happened next as
an interrogtion. I had 4 hours of questions and a lot of gun waving!
There are so many things I could say about my experience in Iran
as a Westerner who looked Iranian but couldn't speak or understand
the language. How my Dad started negotiating with a mullah my sale
to his father and how so very sad that made me feel. I had
travelled all that way to see my Dad and he was going to sell me.
I spent a lot of time around mullahs. It so happened that my
Uncle was school friends with a boy who was quite high up in
and some how extended my visa for me. I was in Iran for over
I can't explain to you how I feel about my Iranian heritage.
I have grown up being very different from my English peers. I don't
look English, so I experienced a lot of bullying growing up. I'm
very Iranian in my personality (if I can generalise) and I love
Iran but I really couldn't live there.
I have two brothers, Ali and Mohammed. When I was in Iran they
were school children and Ali had a poster of Hitler on his bedroom
The whole visit to Iran was bizarre in a lot of ways. Opium
seemed to be in every home I visited, home-made vodka that tasted
like meths, whispered conversations about the good old days when
the Shah was in power. I don't think I ever met anyone (other
than mullahs) who had a good word to say about the regime and
was whispered, they had no voice.
I could go on for ages but I'm sure you have heard all this
sort of stuff before. I don't have any Iranian friends now but
I do meet an Iranian I do feel a kind of kinship.
I'm so sorry that Iran has been so closed to the rest of the
world. There is so much beauty there and now 800-year-old mosques
cement pasted onto mosaics showing women unveiled... so very very
What is even sadder is that people around me don't care. I
am seen as being from a country that is evil and so many times
think Iran and Iraq is one of the same. I find my self defending
Iran, a country I visited so long ago and yet was touched by its
beauty and it's people (not my dad!)
Anyway I should go now as I have rattled on enough.