June 29, 2000
Essense of agony
While I enjoy reading most of Mr. Hosseini's articles, I was especially
touched by his shortest piece, "The
truth sets you free." It encapsulates the essence of the "agony"
that pervades the lives of so many of us in diaspora, and perhaps most
importantly, hints at the hope of coming to terms with our recent past,
and the harrowing prejudice we have been subject to, while still celebrating
our rich idenitites.
Mr. Hosseini begins by artfully sketching the excrutiating pain of being
inwardly aware of our rich culture and past, yet having to mask it on
the outside for fear of prejudicial retaliation. Shortly later, he expounds
his moral, that sometimes it pays to proudly display one's true, inner
identity even at the risk of humiliation. While, a cynic could argue that
Mr. Hosseini was lucky that his desert saviour harbored a prejudice only
against Pakistanis, as opposed to Iranians, that is not the real point.
The point is that we have no reason to be ashamed of our culture, our
ethnicity, our history. Every region has its ups and downs. Infact, we
have a lot to be proud of. There come a time when we cannot take it anymore
and we just have to break free from our false identities, irrespective
of the cost, for freedom is priceless and worth achieving at any cost.
And Mr. Hosseini has shown us how to fly, however difficult it may be.
I think i understand the relief, the exhiliration, and deep sense of
pride that permeated every pore of Mr. Hosseini's being when he answered,
"I am Iranian" to the question "Who are you?". I too
have finally broken free (last year). The feeling of exerting my identity,
of excitedly learning about it like an enthusiastic school-boy, seems to
cleanse me from inside, and I can feel a new skin, and an old self, growing
And to all those "ommols" who pass generalized judgments on
us with their half-baked knowledge of us and our culture I no longer bother
to stoop down to reply to them. After all I might as well practice the
arduous task of living up to the polite culture that Iran is apparently
so famous for.