Survival of an Ancient Culture

Our Iranian community has an outstanding need to talk about a vast number of important issues. Victimization is one concept that we do not pay attention to, although all of us, many of us, a huge number of us, have been victims of crime, trauma, sexism, oppression, gender apartheid, racism, and violence one way or another.

We have carried out the heavy load of these crimes without any chance for addressing the pain and suffering associated with the years of trauma or harsh experiences. Those of us who have lived out of Iran for a long time, we know that we can never stop thinking about who we are. How many times you have wished to be someone else, belong to another continent or another planet? It is hard to be Iranian. It is hard to have a heart for what is going on. Still we have to survive. Our culture has to survive as it always has made it.

Despite all the pain and suffering that exist inside our communities, we have never been told that we are not to blame. We have never learned that victims are not to blame.

We constantly are blamed for various things. We continuously look back to understand what happened to us and even to make sense of the nonsense in our home country. Some of us are smarter than others; some of us are more privileged than others, still we need to ask ourselves, what about the masses? What about those who have lost their strength and hope? We know that humanity and human rights is a strong agency, still we have nowhere to turn to help ourselves. Our culture has survived centuries of attack and we still need to keep it alive.

Each of us has stories of embarrassment, of humiliation, of hurt by people who use their selfishness to tell us how we should be. Times have changed. We need to speak out loud about the impact of victimization on our physical, mental, and psychological being.

Mental health issues in our Iranian community are mostly due to the old and constant emotional pain that has never been acknowledged.

Some of us try to find simple answers to the tough question of what is happening with our Iranian way of life. How do we interact with the world? Where is our personal and national growth? We can not find those answers anywhere; still we have to survive this sense of ambiguity.

Talking about national growth, most of us is mortified and frustrated about what is going on, we ask: why us?

Whatever happens, we still have to survive, we need to spread the language of love, joy, help, altruism, forgiveness, humanity, justice, and respect. These are at least those cultural traits that we were raised with, for sure many of us.

In any case, we have to let go of our egos. We are fighting in the name of this and that religion, ideal, belief, and political interest instead of working for and with our commonalities. Why is that?

For sure, we are survivors; our history is about survival and coping. We have existed and we continue to exist. We need to pass on the culture of survival instead of the culture of victimization. This is for sure.

A true, genuine and multifaceted help comes with our willingness and efforts. We need to learn our own history again. We need to find those positive sources of knowledge and logic so that we can rewrite our history based on what we know now. We were taught as children that kindness, love, and respect are invaluable.

Where is that kindness, love, and respect?

We Iranian are exhausted; we are tired of all the news about the impossible life back home. Despite the impossibilities we survive and we will survive, our culture is the only weapon we have got left.

What we need to is to learn healthy survival mechanisms and healthy coping strategies.

We need peace: peace in our language, peace in our actions, peace in our thoughts, peace in our behaviors, peace in our families, peace in our hearts. Enough is enough. We can not afford losing more of our dignity. We should be able to discuss these issues without continuing what our masters have tried to teach us. We can not copy their intolerance and hatred. We can not internalize loss and grief any more. We have to learn to be open-minded and practice new skills such as listening skills. How about that?

Note: This article was originally written and published in EzineArticles June 26th, 2008 by this author.

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