Monthly Archives: January 2009

Conceptualizing Our Iranian Life

One Complicated Question:
It has been about thirty years we Iranians search for answers to one complicated question.
One may say, maybe you better speak for yourself.  I will. Still, I am sure in our private worlds; many of us do spend some time to feel pity for ourselves.  We wish that we would wake up one morning and see an end to this helpless question.  We keep asking why?  This question occupies our minds from dawn to dusk and nothing changes because of that.
This question has a negative energy within itself.  Asking why, it forces us to dig deep and find some good excuses to help our anxiety now. Our life in Diaspora requires us to find learn, listen, and learn again. We should develop coping strategies that helps us improve our lives to the most.  How else can we cope?  Without having some convincing reasons and satisfying strategies we cannot continue being healthy.  On the other hand problems remain the same because we are in trouble. Our mental health is totally impacted by this why question.
Walking in the malls of any city in North America or in Europe you will frequently see these elderly Iranians who have left home to be close to their children. You can see the doubt in their faces, if you spend some time; they will tell you how much they miss the old days of Iran. Nostalgia is within us, it is intertwined with our notion of thriving, family, health, and education, function, and dysfunction.
Many of us will never go back to our home country, even if Iran becomes the most stable country in the world.  Some of us have found deep roots to places we live in. We still wonder why? This question walks with us, moves with us, talks with us, and it reapers every single day, anywhere we Iranian are. We get together and we chat about daily life. Always, depends on our comfort zone, we keep going back to one question: Why did this happen to us? We ask one another in case someone else could really convince us to a better resolution. Some of us are all lost in the news about Iran, who said what and who did what. Most of us are grieving on the wreckage of a culture that is buried in a shallow contaminated soil.  However we know that cultures cannot be dead.  To help our anxiety we blame our ancestors or those in power back then.
We are all confused and ambivalent in searching deep:
We do not know more than we know. We have no real tools for change. Our options are limited, while we confuse ourselves with the lies and promises by those who have shown all their cards.
The concerns we Iranian are dealing with are not one, not two, it is about head to the toe, and it is about every molecule of ort embodied home country. We are overwhelmed with news containing cruelty, stupidity, irrationality, and irresponsibility from those who have only one mission; to get us all burn with the fire of hatred towards others.
We Iranian are fragile more than ever. We feel betrayed and we have lost our trust.  We keep asking: Why? We read articles and we listen to the news. We try to conceptualize our situation; there is no way we can make sense of what is going on.
Those living inside Iran are looking for a way to flee. Those Iranian residing elsewhere sing the nostalgic songs. We question: Why?

Why did this happen to us?

The answer relates to a concept or phenomenon beyond definition, close to a notion of regret beyond imagination. Our young generation keep asking us: Why. And, we have no concrete answers. Those of us who are honest we say: We made a huge mistake.
We struggle to explore how this mistake occurred.  Was this mistake possible because we got too emotional over something we lacked knowledge about? Or, was this mistake due to a perpetuated and patterned part of our spontaneous culture?
Those of us who came out on the streets in those turbulent months of 1978-79 remember our parents saying: Don’t do this, we have seen these days before, we do not get anywhere. Our parents or elders had already witnessed the level of ambivalence and instability that had cost many retreats.
Just a couple decades prior to 1978, our parents had seen how easily people could be lured into anything. Why again?  We cannot create change by any revolution, by any uprising, by any chaos. Change has to happen within us and among us, slowly and gradually. Change has to come with contemplation and dialogue. Change grows with healthy and stable roots. Our basis for change back then was too shallow. Still is.
The good news is that never before we had this many individuals and agencies among us working for democracy. We know that we have to create ground for democracy. It does not happen overnight. Never before, our young people were this aware of their own values. Our younger generations are willing to do anything to create a life worth living it, a dignified life. We know that change is possible; however we have a hard and long way to go. We need to stop to get emotional. We need to sleep over our decisions and start to discuss, consult, and search for our options to keep our heritage alive. Not even this is the only answer. We have to use our common sense.
Instead of emotional decisions we need logical discussion. Who knows how we get there? We will see. We should just remember that no one has the definite answer. No one knows the whole truth but small, biased, and subjective parts of the truth.  What is significant is that we have to move on and find new tools for change. Our time for conceptualizing our misery is very limited. We have a choice now and ever.
December 30, 2008
Poran Poregbal


Tired of Being Scared

We Iranian people  have been threatened mentally, physically, emotionally, psychologically, socially, and individually to NOT GET INVOLVED WITH POLITIC.   Now with the Barack Obama presidency we can see that asking for change is not about politics.  Asking for social justice is not about politics.  Asking for any rights is about our rights to be human.  It is about being worthy of living a dignified life.
For thirty years we Iranian people paid huge price for the loss of dignity. We have sensed and experienced this loss of self with our flesh and blood.  We have been told repeatedly to not get involved in politics. We have been consistency silenced and discriminated because we have asked for our rights. Extremism runs our home country; however no one can silence a nation.  No one can tell us accept the culture of death imposed on us.
For thirty years we Iranians have been ashamed and embarrassed to be called someone in “politic.”  Those who back in 1980,s misled us to believe politic was about partisanship and ideology were wrong.  The few groups of us who still believe in their old fashioned right or left sided “politic party” are wasting their time.  Some groups are truly stopped growing and they prefer staying in coma, a delusional view about right, left, and centre, the old fashioned way.
Let’s say friends;
Time has changed, those days of being in the right or left party is gone.  Today we have to stand up for our individual and human rights.  Now that we Iranian do not trust anyone leading us we should trust our own views on how we can be the messenger of change.
What Barack Obama did in his campaign was never about politics, it was about empowering a nation and establishing sense of resiliency.
For us Iranians the beautiful and peaceful power change in the USA should be a good example. A grass root development of trust and hope.  Now it is time for us Iranians to let go of our selfish ideas about ideology and rise above ourselves.  We can ask for change, a peaceful change.  It is about our mental health and sense of feeling alive again. We have to value health instead of distress. We have to value improvement instead of stagnation.
For those of us who are scared of getting involved in social reform movements:
It has never been about politics, it has been about denial of our individual rights to live a life worth name human.  It is about feeling our feelings and acting based on logic.  It is about letting go of our indifference. It is about peaceful transformation to a better life. We are definitely worth it.

Poran Poregbal


The Hisotoric Inaguration Day and Barack Obama

Congratulation to the world citizens
Congratulation particularly to the American People

The historic inauguration of Barack Obama to become the 44th president of the United States of America has created a notion of peace, hope, and health. This is the most inspiring and exciting event that I have personally experienced. This is a historic event that creates hope for the world, for American or Non American.

I would like to focus on the clinical aspects of this day and the whole notion of an African American man becoming the president of the US.   The significant meaning of this historic event relates to the fact that we have now entered the time where possibilities in our world are endless.  The impact of this historic event on people’s notion of wellbeing is noticeable.  Just the inauguration day will increase people’s psychological resistance.   It feels that Barack Obama has managed to create a sense of cooperation, a notion of encouragement.

It appears that the world is becoming a better world because of Barack Obama and his message of change.

This is the moment when people around the world are finding their strength back to resolve their issues, in a multidimensional context.

Inauguration day would be a day of laughter and tears, a day of joy and pride.

This day will be a day that time will stand still because history will unfold.  This is the moment when millions of we ordinary people pray for the day we can have such a peaceful transfer of power worldwide, the day where healthy minded people will take office and work for their nations.  Barack Obama is passing around a notion of mental health as well as physical health.

Barack Obama has emphasized on how prejudice and segregation based on color, race, gender, cultural identity, religion, and beliefs will be worked against not only in the US, but worldwide.

We are empowered to believe that Barack Obama and his presidency will create negotiation and change everywhere in our world.  This is the day of celebration of our differences and similarities.

The Inaguration day is about working for improvements of human rights around the world.  This is what change is about.
It is definitely a moment of pride just to be alive to witness such a day.

It is exciting to know that finally there is a president who is willing to work toward change not only in his own country but in the many countries around the world where hatred, war, conflicts, and violence has become an everyday reality. Inauguration day for many of us is about believing that peace will become our everyday work and reality.

The spirit of Dr. Martine Luther King is in the air and it is moving around, certainly it is making many nations believe in the possibility of a peaceful change.
Poran Poregbal


Our Little Culture Clash

The other day we went to a Christmas party.  The hosts were a couple who live in a beautiful and peaceful neighborhood.  This couple are naturally two calm and quite individuals with no interest for loud music or noises.  Living in a condominium does also give this couple extra concerns about the noise that might cause any inconvenience for their neighbors.
The couple introduced us to a family member who had just come for a visit from Iran.  This visitor was here in Vancouver for the first time.

As the evening was unfolding and we were enjoying the great food, we could hear this quest talking about life here in “Canada.”  His comments were interesting and made me to listen more carefully.

This quest made a comment about the quite life here in Vancouver.  He meant that people were not visible out there.  He said that he did not see much life here.  He had expected a bar on every corner of every street.  He had expected seeing people dancing on the streets.  Finally he had thought that life in a free country such as Canada must be more exciting.  People who were around started talking about the activities here in Vancouver and how citizens spend their evenings if they wish so.

However, in my mind we were talking about the level of personal freedom in relation to societal resources.  This conversation made me realize how much the busy traffic in Tehran and the overpopulation has become a normal life.
This man told us about all his music instruments and electric equipments back home, as a way to tell us about his passion for music. He added that all evenings long he could play his instruments and sing along. I thought that was a very good hobby, the healthiest I could think of. However what he meant was that he could play loud music and people are generally happier. This last statement made me however a bit concerned, because every time we Iranian say this whole big general concept, it means we are exaggerating. If people were much happier in our home country, why millions of us have migrated? Anyhow, I did not feel like making any comment. I just thought of how much our reality is complicated.

This quest reminded me how much the social restrictions back home make people to look for excitement elsewhere, whatever it is.  Now in this case playing music is the best you could do for you to keep your mind intact.   I am wondering about the rest of us, those who are less fortunate compare to our friend who can play music.   Most probably the peace and quite on the streets here in Vancouver was heavy for our friend, because back home peacefulness is an far-fetched idea.

He mentioned that in Iran families get together almost regularly and partying; this is what people (like him probably) do. He meant that this is the most exciting thing that is occurring because life out there is a jungle.

Listening to this man, I was thinking how much our values have changed.  This was not and will not be the one discussion about how everywhere is compared to Iran.  Listening to these comparisons between here and there make me always think of the big culture clash among us. Immigration has touched us all very hard. We have hard time what to believe. We come here and forget how things are back there. Still, we are trying to adjust by comparing, contrasting, and hoping all the time. This is good, I guess. We can learn too.
Jan 3, 2009