I have recently moved to LA and I'm facing culture shock. it's not due the ways of the American culture or the size of food portions or any other aspect of the American society. I've spent most of my life in western societies and have seen enough things that very little aspect of western culture surprises me.
My culture shock, incidentally, comes from seeing my fellow Iranians here and comparing them with their counterparts in Europe and Dubai (places that I have lived in).
What impresses and extremely surprises me is the fact Iranians in Los Angeles are very successful, proud, disciplined, respected, and generally law abiding citizens and surprisingly they support each other. A phenomenon which is becoming very rare in other countries that Iranian have settled in the last three decades or so.
In Dubai, for instance, and increasingly in the last 5 years, Iranians are normally after a quick buck, and once they have attained that, the are on the next flight to the next pirate destination. The lack of language means that they normally find their victims among other fellow Iranians, themselves looking for a quick buck. So it comes down to who is wittier at then end. Dubai court is stacked up with cases of Iranians vs. Iranians while the prisons have a sizable presence of our fellow ctizens put their by fellow Iranians. The temporary local residency and citizenship laws of the UAE and unstable nature of tis society further encourages these actions.
In Europe on the other hand , generous assylum laws have generated a class of fellow Iranians who rely heavily on government welfare. An attitude that encourages less integration into the respective society and further alienation of the individual and development of a low achieving class of our compatriots. Bad media means that many Iranians in Europe go through arduous means to conceal their true heritage. Stories of Iranian guys pretending to be Italians are a common laughing stock.
There are also the fights and disorderly conduct in concerts and other public gatherings of Iranians in the above societies. No concert night is complete without a group of hamvatans smashing beer bottles on each other heads.
Of course, there are a lot of Iranian success stories in the above societies too, but there is the general lack of Iranian cohesiveness and the majority follows trends such as the ones mentioned above.
Here in LA though, I have not seen such behaviours yet. I just went to a 13 be dar gathering last week in Thousand Oak and I was shocked by the level of discipline, good nature, and public orderliness Iranians practiced. No one kicked the shit out the other, no one made a move on somebody else's wife.
Here, Iranians actually help each other, support the local business and are proud to be "Persians".
I am sure there is a sociological explanation to this phenomenon, perhaps the age of the Iranian diaspora in LA is more than other countries, so the community has matured. May be that the confidence stems from the tolerance of the American government and society towards the minorities. May be the fact that every one here in the US is an immigrant in one way or the other. I'm not quite sure!
Whatever the reason, I have long forgotten how to be a proud Iranians for a long time now. The Iranian community in LA have got that feeling back to me again. So, hats off to them.
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