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One in a million
What you, Sousan, meant to us

By Nazaneen Ashrafi and Nahal Rose Lalefar
May 18, 2004

Sousan, you were, are, and always will be one in a million. With an effortless hand, you reached across generations and touched so many of us. Our grandmothers respected you, our mothers loved you and sang to your poetic words, and we adored you because you embraced the Iranian spirit.

I, Nahal Rose, saw you perform for the first and only time in a private concert for a small gathering of people in December of 2002. A small, delicate woman you were, dressed in shimmering black, with a small napkin in your hand and a lovely smile on your face. You gently tapped the microphone with three fingers from your right hand in your true trademark fashion and you delighted us with your quick wit. Most importantly, you got us to all get up and dance. One man even got up to serenade you because he adored you so much.

Having never met you prior to that evening, I could not help but feel a sense of warmth towards you, the same warmth that I felt towards my beloved grandmother. I could not explain it, but I suddenly felt like I had known you all my life. That was one of the most unforgettable evenings of my life.

I, Nazaneen, grew up listening to your ever so famous song, "Dooset Daaram", playing out of our stereo or listening to my mom sing your songs at family gatherings. Although I am 23 and have lived outside of Iran for the past 20 years, your love for our Iran was a common emotion that we both shared. Why is that we Iranians only remember, recognize and admire an individual after he or she has left us? As my mother best puts it, we are "mordeh parast."

Very sad, but at times, undeniably true. Here was a woman who I truly believe was one of our most talented artists and a great humanitarian, but still didn't get the recognition that she so deserved. You never forgot where you came from nor did you forget about our people and the struggles that they encounter day by day. It is one thing to notice, but another thing to do something about the situation. This is what I believe set you apart from so many of the other Iranian artists out there. You didn't just talk about the struggles that our people endured, you did your best to help out as much as you could.

Now, you are gone. And the way in which you left us, breaks our hearts. You deserved better than what we, the Iranian people, your fellow singers, and particularly the Iranian media, gave you. For someone who had so unselfishly given the clothes off her back to others in need, and who had remained so humble and gracious, you should have been surrounded by the friends and fans that knew what great things you had to offer.

The media's tributes were, in most part, pathetic and lame. The offers of support given by the few Iranian singers were insincere and too little too late. They all pale in comparison to you, Sousan. All of their "I miss Iran so much, I die for Iran, hope to sing for you in Iran one day" speeches will never match your true love for our homeland. Your emotions were real and you expressed them with such dignity and grace. You did not follow the crowd. You were an independent woman who, knowing only 3 words in English, came and went as she pleased. We love who you were, what you represented and most importantly you, Sousan, and we will make sure that you will never be forgotten. You will never be alone again.

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