Monthly Archives: January 2011

صحبت شایسته

آیا از شنیدن برخی‌ سخنان خشن، بیمعنی، غیر ضروری، منفی‌، و قدرتمدارنه خسته نمیشویم؟ آیا از شوخی‌ برخی‌ دوستان که کلمات خشن، کوچک کننده، تهدید آمیز را در مکالمه روزمره خود بکار میبرند خسته نشده اید؟ البته که این تعارض در حرف زدن و استفاده از کلمات خشن به گونه‌ای با کلام روز مره ما آمیخته شده. میپرسید کدامین جوکهاو کدامین شوخی‌ ها اینچنین هستند؟ البته که فرهنگ شوخی‌ کردن ما ایرانیان بسیار پیچیده و سنگین است و نوع شوخی‌‌ها میتواند از جمله طبقاتی، سیاسی، اجتماعی، فردی، خانوادگی، جسمی‌، روحی، و یا قومی - ملیتی باشد. ولی‌ از همه مهمتر اینکه مضامین شوخی‌‌های ما ربط به کشتن، خوردن دیگری ، تکه کردن دیگری، از بین بردن دیگری، از کار انداختن دیگری، آبروی دیگری را بردن و یا بسیاری دیگر ازمواردی که با جان، ناموس، حیثیت، و مقام دیگری ارتباط پیدا می‌کند. واقعا چرا ما این قدر خشن و بی‌ احساس شده ایم، حتی در قالب شوخی‌؟ چطور است که چند تا از عبارات مورد استفاده هر روزی برخی‌ از ما را که در قالب جوک و به منظور نشان دادن نزدیکی‌ خود با دیگری ر ا خاطر نشان شویم. در واقعاً این گونه صحبت کردن

در دنیای آرام غرب به عنوان تهدید و ترور فردی یاد میشود . برای نمونه، جمله یا عبارت تهدید آمیز: “میکشمت،تکه تکه ت می‌کنم، همین جا میدم سرت را ببرن،و یا بسیاری دیگر از اینگونه صحبت‌هایی‌ که نامردان زور، قتل، جرم، و جنایت به ما یاد داده‌اند و ما به راحتی‌ این سخنان را در نه تنها داخل فرهنگ روزمره کرده ایم بلکه نشانه محبت و نزدیکی‌ به فرد مخاطب میدانیم

گاهی‌ قسم‌های جانی، ناموسی در حد کفن کردن دیگری و یا سر خاک دیگری رفتن؛ چگونه است که درستی کار خود را با کفن کردن دیگری میتونیم اثبات کنیم؟ آیا واقعا حد و مرز صحبت کردن و ارتباط برقرار کردن را با دیگری گم نکرده ایم. چه نیازی داریم که اینگونه صحبت کنیم؟

در کمال تاسف،گوینده این کلمات هولناک و جملات سنگین هرگز مسئولیتی در قبال پخش کردن و اشاعه دادن این جوک‌های بیمزه را را حس نمیکند چرا که ما به عنوان شنونده اعتراضی نمی‌کنیم. این صحبت‌ها را می‌شنویم و حالمان بد میشود بدون اینکه به گوینده متذکر شویم که این گونه سخن گفتن در مرام ما و شایسته نام انسان و کسی‌ که زندگی‌ را ارزش می‌گذرد نیست

البته که فرهنگ قربانی کردن دیگری مثل همان قربانی کردن گوسفند برای رضای خداوند، در فکر و روح و روان ما ریشه دوانده، ولی‌ آیا ما انتخاب می‌کنیم که اینچنین از ذات فرهنگی‌ خود که پاکی‌، درستی‌، نیکی‌ در سخن، کردار، رفتار، گفتار را شامل میشود، دور شویم؟ اطمینان دارم که همه ما مایل هستیم که از ذات فرهنگی‌ خود دفاع کنیم و آن را نگهبان باشیم. ما با دیگری میتونیم نزدیک تر و مهربان تر باشیم وقتی‌ که از شوخی‌‌های سالم با کلام مثبت و امیدوار کننده، استفاده کنیم

شاد باشید

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A Mother with Broken Heart

Years ago back in 1990.s I met this Iranian woman who was living with enormous emotional pain.

I was working as a Social Worker in a Government Social Assistance office. Upon my own interest, most Iranian clients would be refereed to me, not only due to the client’s language barriers but also due to the cultural challenges in which most of what clients said would be lost in translation.

Since the first moment I met this lady, I saw a deep sorrow in her kind eyes. She seemed to be simple, quite, tired, elegant yet chronically hopeless. She had come to apply for some financial assistance that most low income families had the right to ask for.

This lady presented herself with few words. She made it clear that although she was in need of social assistance still she was not a “beggar”.

She briefly explained that her small amount of social pension she had, was not enough for her expenses. She would manage her finances somehow magically every month, however this month she was behind her electricity and phone bills. She feared the most. Her tone of voice was low, toneless, and joyless. She showed me all her documents that showed her phone bills were really high. I enquired about her usual habit of keeping her low economy together and she kindly explained the ways in which she managed everything. Basically she would buy cheap food to manage her low budget. About family members she told me that her three daughters were all grown up and they lived with their families elsewhere. She lived all by herself as a new immigrant while not speaking the language. She was about 60 years old then.

Through her broken sentences I learned that her husband had died a couple of years ago. She manage to come to Sweden after her daughters had their refugee status and permanent residents accepted. After some small talk, we did take care of her application and the process in which she needed to get help.

She told me that I was the first Iranian she had spoken to in a long time. I was stunned to hear that, since there were many of us in that city, so how come she was that isolated? After that visit, this lady called me another day to tell me how much she felt good to talk in her own language with me and she asked me to go see her if I could. As making home visits were part of my job, I agreed to visit her in the coming week. That day, we were quite busy in our office and I was in a mood to cancel that home visit, yet I had a feeling that I have to go. I managed to get out of the office in that cold winter day and in no time I was in front of her simple apartment in a neighbourhood most immigrants lived.

I rang the bell. She opened the door and welcomed me warmly by hugging me. She had made a good Persian tea that was irresistible. She showed me to her small and neat kitchen table. I could smell a motherly home, a place I could feel a mixture of energies I was not sure about. I could sense sadness and low mood in that home, a silent that had a killing effect. Something was very sad.

She poured tea in a cute little glass type tea cup. I liked to well fuse tea that could only found in mother’s home. We started a conversation that came to be memorable for me.

She was a teacher back home. One day, like millions of other Iranians she had a life, she had a home and a lovely family. After year 1980, all the turbulence started. She had two sons and three daughters who were all brought to be caring young people. In those early months of 1982, when the regime started to kill hundreds of young boys and girl who had a sympathy for any right or left political party, this lady’s life turned upside down. The horrible phone call came after a week of her two sons age 20 and 18 had gone missing. She and her husband had searched all hospitals, morgues, and jails. No answer! While that horrible person on the other side of the line told her that her two sons were arrested and executed. She was told that her sons had gone to “hell” and she was not allowed to grief because they were not worth it. Soon, she learned that a part of the big scary cemetery out of Tehran, the “behesht Zahra” was the place many bodies would be dumped in the middle of the nights. Families started to go out there to find the place where their loved ones were buried. Families would be threatened and intimidated by the God’s Army, having any ceremonies for those killed children would cause more trouble. Here my host could not help her tears while explaining how much pain she and her family were left to live with. After her sons were killed (murdered or executed), she was laid off as a teacher, with the false accusations that were nonsense to her anyways.

She knew back then that there is no way they could ask for any justice, when the government was the main offender. Life became harder for her three daughters ages 28, 26, 23, who had all gone separate ways. None of her daughters would ever be able to attend university in Iran because her family was labelled as whatever that regime did call people for names. She was receiving threatening calls if she tells someone about her sons, the rest of family would be in danger. She took the threats seriously and she knew no one was safe anyways in her home country, she knew it and she feared that still the worst was still waiting for her.

A year after losing her two lovely sons, her husband died of a heart attack. She was sure that husband died due to broken heart after the tragedies they had to live with. This grieving lady knew no way out of this enormous pain. Her life had been turned upside down.

Year 1986, her three daughters had left Iran, one way or another. She lived in a constant physical and emotional pain, knowing that life was never to be the same. Years after with the perseverance of her daughter, she managed to arrive in Stockholm to find a refuge, a place of peace, while no peace were to be found anywhere for her. Being immigrant, not knowing the language, not having energy to learn the language, not having the peace of mind to integrate with the host society, and thousands other small concerns that she had, were all the reasons for her living a lonely life now. Her daughters lived in different places far from one another, each one having their own issues, according to her.

After a long pause, she started talking again. This lady believed that now she is on her own and she has to deal with many memories that are unbearable. She said that she keeps blaming herself with all the unfolding. She had lost hope. On a daily basis she would look at herself in a mirror to tell herself that she was a bad mother. She believed that if she had been a tougher mother, then all these tragedies would not happen. As she decried her daily life struggles, I could understand that she was living in the circle of many psychotic breakdowns, yet she had no help or support network.

I ended that home visit with a load of questions and emotions: what could I possibly do for her?

After weeks and months of sporadic contacts I refereed her to a psychologist, yet she refused to take that referral. Certainly, I had a sense of appreciation for her struggles in relations to her reality. She denied having any mental health issues while agreeing that she was heartbroken. I guess this is a terminating disorder that we Iranian have and always have known of since we always refer to it as being the reason for someone’s death. She meant that no one in the world would give her family back to her. She just waited to die soon as there was nothing left for her anymore. Her daughters were living harder life themselves therefore she would not even bother them talking about her own miserable life. I could not disagree, she was right; she and her whole family had become victims for crimes and traumas. I just wished that she would be able to find support somewhere. My comments would not be heard anyways as this lady’s reality was much more complex.

I never heard of her again as life had another plans for me and I guess for her. However, I have kept this lady in mind and still thinking about what happened to this mother with broken heart.

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Gang Life Style & Untreated Trauma

Surely, with the general knowledge of our human history, we can recognize the fact that there have always been groups of people, mostly men, who created their own “gangs” by “ganging up” against the norms, while crimes and violence are intertwined with this life style.
We have to discuss the psychological components of a gang life, in order to explore how gangs can be attractive to some young people. For helping our young people in staying away from this dangerous path, It is important to recognize the mental health factors play role in how young people are recruited to this dangerous experience.

A Gang culture has to be understood in the light of distorted beliefs and dysfunctional families.
In talking about gangs, we are not referring to the big gang bosses who choose to create this criminal, illegal, and scary world where they victimize regular citizens with their actions.
We are focusing on the regular young men who are discouraged, distracted, and delusional. The illusion of having access to fast money, luxury, power, and excitement.

We are focusing on our own “Persian Culture” we are hearing about “Persian Gangs”, whom we do not know of. We can just imagine that these are regular youth or young people who may find a gang life style attractive just because they lack rational belief about the self and others. Although cultural strains are important in analyzing a person’s choices, however gang life style has it’s own culture according to many research out there. It is significant to recognize the patterns in which people fall out of the circle of society and reach the edges or beyond that.

Many parents are furious of the idea that their teens and youth might fall for one or another criminal activity. Thus, it is important to educate families about how they can be part of the solutions because they are part of the problem undoubtedly.

Surely, there are misconceptions, miscommunication, and misunderstanding among the members of every single family, yet the need to fit in, the loss of self, and the loss of identity has a big part in the dynamics of dysfunctional-ism and irregularities.

In every community, there are many dysfunctional families whose members have lost connection to the real world. In particular when superstitious beliefs, rigidity, and emotional triangulations are the rule of laws for many parents, youth who are tired of the lack of connections; and they rebel.

In our Persian community it is very common that when women leaves abusive husbands their children are often left behind in terms of feeling to have access to both parents.

Sometimes young men are left off wondering why their father never cared for them.

There are men who enters new martial life time after time and bring children to the world without caring for them.

There are boys and sons who never have the pleasure of a father playing games with them or loving them, as expressing emotions or listening to the kids are not like what most Iranian men are raised with.

The more traditional a family is the less chance that people are allowed to show feelings moreover the emotions are often considered to be “sinful” or “problematic” or just too much, while the hardships in some people’s life may not leave room for any experiencing joy.

We Iranian families are good at grieving anyways, shedding tears, and loving death instead of life, are somehow part of our culture, however showing gratitude and joy has a negative connotation.

Certainly, there are many other factors involved in how some families miss to support their boys into a real confident person.

While the need for having education are at times overly exaggerated and overly emphasized, some real human factors such as self-dependency, open world view, social knowledge, and interest of others are ignored or never attended to.

Dysfunctional families tend to force their children to fail, as they set up for failure early on by not letting children particularly their boys feel they belong somewhere.

Rebellious kids who have failed the high expectations of their parents, will try anything that helps them keep up their face.

Who joins a gang?

A person who has the distorted belief that he (most probably males) can be rich in no time.

A person who has mistaken views on the self taking him to the point that he feels more respected while in a gang or when he succeeds in disobeying the laws.

A Person who believes that by becoming rich he can be found more attractive, powerful, significant or glamorous.

A person who lacks judgments about how to deal with his own shortcomings in life.

A person who has most probably experienced one or another form of trauma in their family.

What kind of trauma you may ask? What about trauma of losing a mother, a father, a family, or trauma of not having experienced any love and connection?

What about the trauma of not having been heard or seen as a child?

How about the trauma of having been bullied, abused, neglected, and abandoned?

What about the trauma of becoming a new immigrant and trying to fit in a culture you do not know of?

And what about trauma of not knowing how to fit in?

Traumas, tragedies, separations, and losses are some factors in how many Iranian families are struggling with life in general, although stigma plays a major role in how some families silently are suffering. Despite all, culturally we put up our masks on and pretend nothing is going on.

Migration, immigration, lack of stability, dislocation, addiction, and mental health issues are more factors that impact our Iranian life every single day.

Trauma of not having a family to go back to, trauma of having lost a home due to forced immigration / separation; These are all painful experiences that numerous youth are dealing with daily.

The anxiety of not having a community who accepts you as who you are, with all the failures, shortcomings, weaknesses, and irregularities.

A Gang culture have to be studied in the light of the need for respect.

We have seen in the Hollywood movies that individuals who feel they are not being respected in their daily life, they are drawn to gangs because there is a hierarchy for being respected.

If you reach a certain level, if you have the money, if you have sold this much of drugs or if you have power then you have reached a rank in the gang, then you will be more and more respected by no one being able to question you anything, by people being scared of you, or by having a luxurious life.

In opening up this discussion, we can not let go of the discouraging and dysfunctional parenting style that many of our Iranian families have.

Parents who either pamper their boys or ignore them, parents who are emotionally, physically, sexually, psychologically abusive towards their sons.

Sexual harassment of boys, sexually intimidating names, threats are problems that happen in some families, issues that are contaminating minds of everyone, however no one wants to talk about that.

Lack of respect for children do exist in our Persian culture big time and no one can deny that.

Having said all above, still we can not suggest that anyone who feels being disrespected in his family of origin will join a gang, no, people make choices to deal with our issues.

Finally, it may be fair to say that youth who have rarely been treated with respect, empathy, tolerance, or fairness, will search for their place of belonging and identity somewhere.

Here at this point, the under world might attract those who are the weakest ones, those who hope for a better life without knowing about self-dependency and self-control.

If this young person has the distorted belief that her or she can be rich, accepted, and respected by joining a group then the society has lost one another member to exclusion.

In other side of this puzzle about why people are drawn to gang life styles, we may need to look at the distorted lief about excitement. Youth who do not find any joy and excitement of being part of a family can be in danger of being drawn to gangs.
Sure enough that this article miss many points about how else is a youth fall for gang life style, however what is the message of this note is to help families to help their youth.

We have to help our youth to feel good about who they are and how they are.

This education has life saving effects. We have to take emotional health of our youth and their families seriously by offering them support programs.

Traumatized young people among dysfunctional families are many and they have to be seen, heard, and cared for.
We have to strengthen our youth to understand their inferiority and to compensate in positive ways.
Several untreated traumas leave young people with few choices around positive coping mechanisms. Youth today needs most support in a holistic way.
Tomorrow is late.

Poran Poregbal, MA, RSW, RCC

 

 

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