Category Archives: Family

The wholeness of a Family.

Deserving Happiness

We Iranians are tired of being sad. We Deserve Happiness. We deserve life.

Have you noticed that many of us, Iranians, individuals and families, live in distress, anxiety, and confusion? Families are divided between here and Iran, between all countries around the world and Iran, between everywhere they live and Iran.

There are many things that bother us, first of all this notion of migration; we do not know how to handle it, yet, Iranians are one of the most successful groups of immigrants everywhere they go. Just here in North America, there are a number of reports proving this point. As much as many families and individuals adjust well to new societies when they first arrive, after the settlement period there are many identity questions that stand out: Who are we and what are we doing here anyway? How do we live our lives as newcomers, immigrants, and new Canadians? How does our identity match up with the norms and styles of life here?

Some of us are also unhappy people; we complain about many things and sometimes about everything. We compare here (Canada) and there (Iran) to the point that we cannot catch our breaths. All the flights to Tehran from North America and Europe are always booked, yet, we are missing something! We are not sure about our new identity, as individuals, as a group of people, and as a collective around the world.

Why are we this unhappy group of people?
Humanity is alive with hope; we are all in need of hope! Hope of having hope back in our home country. Hope for a home country where happiness is appreciated and everyone is encouraged to live a better and happier life. Hope for no more wars, no more conflicts, and no more hostile attitudes toward anyone.

We have many excellent subjects to work on. We have got the most resilient people in the world. We have all these educated women and men, who, if they could put their minds together, would form an ocean of creativity that would make us the most happy nation and most proud people on earth.
The question is: are we able to put our minds together?

Have you listened to Nazanin AfshinJam’s new song called “Someday”? It is most possible that you will shed some tears if you listen with your heart. Maybe because her words are all we need and want: “Someday darkness will fade away,” she says. Thanks Nazanin, we need this hope! You are a light in the darkness, truly!

We need to raise our children with a new identity, as being human beings who belong to this new world, a world of migration, a world of movements, a world of creation. Right now, we are like isolated islands either with no bridges or with broken ones. I am trying not to be negative, because this is the last thing we need, I am hoping to create a dialogue, to challenge our collective minds, and to awaken our collective consciousness about what is missing.
Let’s admit: we are all isolated individuals who may be successful in our individual fields, but that we need to rise above and move beyond our egos if we are looking for a solution. That is my humble opinion.

Just here in Vancouver, not talking about Canada, and not talking about the whole North America, how many Persian TV, radio, and satellite programs do we have? On a local basis, we have almost a dozen hard working media people who are, one by one, all sitting on their isolated islands making programs about our culture. It is difficult and frustrating to say that this happens because we do not know how to collaborate and how to cooperate in order to make one, two, three, or even more programs that are useful, meaningful, educational, and helpful for this widespread number of people who are all searching for a new identity in this community. Look at our satellite programs that are being broadcast from the States; they are nothing we can be proud of, just hostility, empty words, and copied songs and pop music that is not ours. Let’s try to be ourselves, to find what we can contribute to this culture of humanity and culture of being Iranian!

It is to be acknowledged that all this happens in the light of offering good programs but the content is equal to air bubbles, it says nothing that is caring or constructive. Lengthy talks about trivialities do not cure any pain. Let’s talk about ways in which we can start searching for the cure!

The most successful event I have seen here in Vancouver was the celebration of Women’s Day, which was arranged by a group of community women, who worked hard and created the most organized celebration. The tickets were sold out because they were very inexpensive at $15, and these women were able to convince their communities to attend. This group of women and also men in the background were the most selfless, caring, and humble people who could put such a nice event together.
Our media men have to ask what these women did and learn from their experiences.

Let’s be frank, this all happens because we do not know anything more than what we do. Now it is time to know better.

Those of us who have seen Mirzanouroz’s Shoes may need to go back and watch this beautiful historical movie again. Misdemeanour could not let go of the old, torn apart, and ugly pair of shoes that had brought so much unhappiness to his and everyone else’s life. He held on to those shoes and every single time he ran into trouble, he was backed up by a wise, and logical man who tried to ask the Hakeem for forgiveness and to not punish him for the damages he had caused because of his love for the old shoes. This wise man would tell the Hakeem, “Please forgive him, because he is a family man, he has grace, and he is a hardworking man. He made a mistake because this man does not know more than he knows!”

Now let’s relate this advice to our new life situation: We need to know better: to know more than we know! Let’s look at this a bit closer; we have got increasing numbers of Iranian immigrants. Just slowly, in past couple of years, we have got individuals and groups of Iranians who try to work on community building, New Year’s parties, celebrations, speeches, and socializing clubs are in place as grassroots activities. As long as these events are free of charge many people show up but when there is a small fee involved, the number of attendees decreases dramatically. Families, who are very well off, sometimes hesitate to pay a $5-$10 fee for being part of a group in order to break the cycle of collective depression and individual suffering.

I guess the concept of group work is very new to us and it takes long time to learn this way of finding support.

We have a common well-known concept here that many families lives are based on: Mazdak people. This concept of mardane Zan dar Canada, in our Persian community, which means “men with wives in Canada.” Men who cannot let go of their businesses back home and have to travel back and forth to take care of their companies and also families here. Women in these families work hard to keep the children and family life together. How much of family life and father role can these men give their families? This type of life is also another aspect of the forced migration to our nation.

Right now, we have a huge number of community programs that are happening in Vancouver. In every single Persian Newspaper, you will find many ads about groups that are being offered by various organizations. We can attend and learn if we leave our egos at home and be ourselves! Our people tend to go to the free ones and not the ones that charge a few dollars to cover at least their paper work. We do not need to isolate ourselves. Migration is hard; being new is harder; longing for a home is hardest. Let’s do it together, ask for help and also help those in need.

June 12, 2007
This article is also published at Goonagoon, June 22, 2007 Issue. See


This is What Happend to Iran, Story of US

Hostage Taking of a Nation

My home country has been taking as hostage. This is not a new incident. Thirty years has gone by without any real acknowledgment of this invasion. The safety of the world was endangered just because of this silent invasion of my home country. No one cared and no one noticed, but us. We had no voice then and we still don’t. However we will not let go.

The invasion occurred by those who said they were sent by god. They changed the notion of religion forever, at least for us Iranians. They have been persistent in creating misery. Our free will is in prison; at least it has been there past thirty years. Every time we opposed they tighten the ropes of control on our necks. We got scared of claiming our rights. We chocked due to the chaos.

Iran as a country has been taken hostage by people who are against happiness and joy. Millions of us had to relocate, flee, leave, and disconnect due to the level of fear these people created. Millions of us became victims of this hostile hostage taking inside our home country. A few circle of applauding supporters have got the best deal in this invasion. The rest of the nation is on its own. How about is the psychological damage to these victims? Well, many books are to be written in addition to few words that has been said by now. The damage is not known yet. Generations to come will wonder what happened.

What these hostage takers wanted? They demanded us to replace our home country for a hallucinated ideology, our culture for illusions, and our life for melancholy. Partly they have succeeded. Partly we Iranian, although we are hurt and impacted badly, still we cannot and will not let go.

Hostage taking of our home country did not occur only in a physical format. The unfolding events during past thirty years resulted to the psychological and political invasion of people’s homes, minds, and beliefs.

They took control over our lives in zero time. We were dis empowered in no time. Hostage takers got us all in their net, one by one. This was what they wanted.

Just to refresh our minds, we can look at the Personality traits and character of hostage takers. They are usually hostile, violent, hateful, inflexible, rigid, dangerous, out of control, and inappropriate.

The hostage takers use variety of methods to get what they want.

They start with threatening, intimidating, creating crisis, requesting submission, and acting violent, all and all in order to get the power over their victims.

The private logic of hostage takers is that if they get what they want, then they are no longer losers. They will overcome their own feeling of inferiority. They will compensate for what they do not have, knowledge, sophistication, and compassion.

Victim rights are never ever the concern of the hostage takers, why should it be?

Some more conscientious hostage takers promise to set victims free if and when they get the ransoms they are seeking. However, promises could be only worthless words and gestures. Gaining power and attention is the main concept when someone or a group of people act as the owner of the victims. This is what we Iranian experience, clearly.

The real illusion is that we start believing our hostage takers. The real damage is that we start identifying with our hostage takers. We hallucinate that they have the capacity for change or reform.

These wild people would only hurt us more if we believe them. Promises of the hostage takers of my home country were never real and will not be believed. Question is when and under what circumstances these hostage takers or better say criminals will give up this crazy act. The problem is that they have nowhere to go. We Iranian are doomed to negotiate with our hostage takers, to let them to keep the change of billions they have already received as ransoms, and to ask them to leave us alone. How would this be done as peaceful as possible? Well, I do not know.

Note: This article was originally written and published in EzineArticles June 9, 2008 by this author.


Iranian Life Management Over the Phone

We Iranian are indebted to the founder(s) of the telephone as a communication tool or technique.

How would our life in migration look like without the phone?

With the new developments of the Internet and the new world of technology we Iranian should really appreciate all those people who are working to give us the chance to call home.
What do I mean? Calling home means calling to Iran, contacting our loved ones, and communicating with those whom our life are intertwined with.

Once in a while we have those phone calls which we wish we did not have. small or big requests from our families and relatives back home, who seem to think that we have carpets of dollar bills in our homes and if we want we could share a piece of that carpet with them. Many of us are scared of phone calls when we can not afford those requests, not to mention that we are unable to say no, and no does not always mean no for some of our families back home.

All the calls that make us to get emotional in this side of line because the longings, the dilemmas, and the injuries of migration are being expressed. Sometimes these phone calls save lives and sometimes it pushes people to the edge of craziness or self-hatred. We tend to be unaware of the impact of our spoken words even over the phone line.

Sometime we have calls that are for very good reasons. Phone calls to those we care about and those whom we like to hear their voice, a familiar voice that appears to understand us, and a voice that can validate our feelings.

We call because we need to share our life experiences with our loved ones or hear about their well-being Phone calls are truly part of our daily life, our Iranian daily life.

All the love calls from people who are marrying over the line of communication and over the phone calls for the arrangements. All the promises, words of love, encouragements, threats, interests, and plans that we Iranian pass down to the people on the other side of this long phone cord. And all the constructive and destructive conversations we have with our people back home, all and all these are constructs that challenge our lives every single day.

The impact of phone calls in our Iranian life are numerous and if we want to recognize them it takes books after books to be written.

However, it is important to identify some of the impacts which make our life miserable, different, unstable, and overwhelmed. There is a notion of not having any boundaries that make our lives vulnerable, nevertheless over a phone call. the impact depends on how long we have lived out of Iran, how fresh is our contacts, how much need there is out there for maintaining the contacts with people back home. There is no definite format for the impacts of phone calls in our Iranian life.

Certainly we can name many areas of our Iranian existence that are being handled over the phone with our loved ones back home.

Perhaps we can only look at one aspect at the time. How about marriage?

We are all familiar with those marriage issues that are being handled over phone calls with parents back home who try to intervene once conflict and marital issues are significant.

The topic of marriage therapy is fairly new in our Iranian culture. Couples have traditionally learned to discuss disagreements, challenges, and conflicts with elders.

Now the life in migration makes people use the phone to have someone to hear their issues in the marriage. The same as many marriages in the first place happened within the permission territory of our parents, divorce and separation has to also be (sometimes) confirmed or at least recognized by them.

We Iranian usually like to give advice, even to our adult children. Some parents although not knowing the circumstances in which their adult children live in, they do not hesitate to dictate what is right or wrong, good or bad, proper or improper.

There are many stories that many of us Iranian discern about how parents are influential in the life of their children, even over the line of telephone. There are some astonishing stories, true ones though, when a mother back home tells a son here in North America, whom to marry and what to do with their life.

It is incredible that many people can help their inability to make decisions by involving parents or relatives back home who have no idea about the actuality of life here in our communities we live in.

Not to mention that, many decisions about divorce, separation, news about educational successes, loss of friendships, or gain of new relationships are constantly being communicated to- with people back home.

This is certainly a sign for how our Iranian life in migration is still new and fresh. As much as we are trying to integrate into our new communities we manage to keep contacts, although very superficial ones with people back home.

With people I mean, parents, siblings, cousins, and friends. also all those contacts to government officials back home when some one on this side of the continent is trying to buy, sell, rent, or lease their properties.

It seems that arrangements or conflicts in our new lives are being handled by the taste of our old way of curing wounds.

Remember those years, whenever we had any wonderful, exciting, and rewarding situation we would run to our parents home or to those who would love to hear our stories. Now in our newly migrated life we may not have those people around us. Where do we turn to? We may call a person who is willing and interested to listen to us.

Over the phone we share many life experiences, stories, attachment issues and thoughts that are in need of being explored.

This reality is sometimes overwhelming in its nature, once we do not have any audience who can listen to us here wherever we live in; we pick up the phone to use our old patterns.
However, the painful reality is that our life and our circumstances have changed our life is never the same as when we lived back home. Many times our Iranian families who feel being isolated or alienated from their communities, they get stressed out about the unmet expectations in their new life. Phone calls may or may not help them at this point. The reality of life has to be looked at.

With or without phone calls, however we need to find meanings in our new lives, to view family rituals, roles, goals, and symbols in the light of our new realities. Surely, our family tasks and reunions at the end of the day, have changed.
Nothing is the same; we have to accept, to learn, and to cope. We still have the options of calling home, this is the least we can do when we need to hear some familiar voices. The good news is that phone calls these days are cheap compare to even twenty years ago, when many of us paid huge amount of money to phone calls, once we could not afford anything else. Now at least we do not pay that much money, yet, the quality of phone conversations and the reasons for the calls are the same. We care and we keep contact.

Life in migration with the new technology and computerized calling systems are really much easier today. We should appreciate this great aspect of our Iranian life, phone calls.

Note: This article was originally written and published in EzineArticles July 18, 2008by this author.


Family Building Manual

For creating a Family we need to have a set of principals. We live in a world where we receive manuals for every single item we purchase, yet, once we are building families, we have no manual to follow. Obviously there are huge number of literature and accumulated work out there; however, in our Iranian world, although we Iranian are family oriented, we still lack the main characteristics of family building.

I am certainly hoping that people from my home country and the Middle Eastern region would one day be able to have manuals talking about how children and families all deserve to live a peaceful, dignified, and respectful life. We all agree that individuals and families alone can not do it all. Stability comes with peaceful family building concepts that are practical enough for anyone to follow.

We Iranian often talk about how much we can die for our children. How about to live for our children and supervise them carefully?
We all believe that our children, just ours are the most talented and genius ones, how about to view all children, I mean all of them, as capable and genius?
We Iranian parents emphasize on respect, education, conformity. How about we respect our children to do what they are best at without asking them to follow our sometimes not best advises?
We Iranian have either too much control over our children or have no control at all. How about to work for social equality in our families, give our children a voice while we be the adults in our homes?
We Iranian often talk about our great love for our families, while not spending time with our children. How about encouraging all family members appreciating one another?
We Iranian parents lie to our children as we do not tell them the truth about our life situations and then we ask them to always be truthful. How about we model honesty by sharing what is going on in our families with our children (in an age appropriate manner)?

Once are life is distressed due to many life situations, our children feel the pressure twice. Once our families are separating, our children are much more in pain. There is a tendency among us, we Iranian, to think that children do not understand. We keep realities away from our children by manipulating them to the fictional life we believe would help them grow better. We do not tell our children how we feel as we fear to see them upset. How about having an open communication and share what is on our minds with our children?

This is the best private school we could offer to our children, school of truth and honesty.
Once our men and women divorcing each other, our children are in conflict.

We need to build a family, with or without both parents, in peace and harmony. We have no other choice.

If we use the Iranian common sense that we are all children of god, why not treat each other with respect as much as we believe god does. Middle Eastern countries for thousands of years have had people from all shapes, colors, and cultures. Why not to go back to the time when people traded with each other based on equal values and dignity. We need to be brave enough now, need to act like our heroic ancestors, and to voice our concerns about how much peaceful family building is important.

Family building based on individual values and peaceful conflict resolutions can be gradually transferred to our societies and communities. We Iranian should revisit our great philosophers and poets such as Molana (Rumi) to see how they define love and compassion for one another.
Family building should be encouraged and passed on to the next generations. We can only change ourselves. We need to change, to grow up, and to evolve; from inside out. Be in peace.

Note: This article was originally written and published in EzineArticles July 2, 2008 by this author.


Democracy and Mental Health

As a teenager around year 1976 or 1977, back home in Tehran, I was reading a novel that was about participating events during the Russian revolution.

The novel was attention-grabbing and several times I came across the word Democracy. I really did not know the meaning of that word. My curiosity motivated me to look up the word in a dictionary we had in our library. I did not appreciate to skip the unfamiliar word that like many other Latin words were being printed in our Persian literature.

I looked up the word just because I had an emerging need for conceptualizing the story. I think the meaning that I found was too vague or too broad and I tried to put things into a context by that simple minded meaning of a big concept as Democracy.

I was not satisfied with the dictionary. I guess this word had been reluctantly overlooked by the system of censure at that time or it might have been by accident or because of translation errors. I remember I was thinking how come this was the first time I had seen this word, while I used to read books. Who knows?

I asked my father what that word meant. He did not like my question and he did not know the answer either. He suggested that I do not care about that remark because that word did not meant to be for us Iranian. I become conscious that if my father did not have a respond to my question, it maybe due to the fact that the word itself did not relate to our lives anyway, so why learns it?

For some reason I took the matter further, I took the book to school and asked my literature teacher. I expected this very knowledgeable teacher to know because he knew meaning of the most rigorous Persian poems. Somehow I guess I liked to show him my book to may be show-off to him as he was a role model to me. My teacher did not like my question either, his face turned red and he advised me to forget about that word and never again take that book to school.
Now looking back, I do not question why we (Iranian) are where we are now. I question how we would not be here in this crisis that we are in now.

Many of us Iranian enjoy the democracy and human rights in Western cultures we reside in. We live the word and live the meaning of what democracy means in the countries we live in.
Our history, the Iranian one, the real Persian one, is one of the saddest stories on earth. The rise and fall of democracy is truly a sad story that has happened in our history numerous times. We have to analyze our history from every angle, particularly from the angle of mental health and psychology. Rigidity in thoughts and in feelings causes mental heath issues. How can we say that all the repeated and patterned attacks on democracy are not due to rigidity pertinent to mental health issues?

We just give this hypothesis a chance and contemplate on it.

Mental health issues damage the actualization of democracy. People, who lack the psychological stability, would not care for democracy. Now looking back I believe that we can not reach democracy if people are scared, traumatized, silenced, and domesticated. People who have been excluded and ignored can not see the benefit of democracy.

We are where we are historically, physically, mentally, spiritually, and psychologically just because we have been manipulated time after time. We have let go of our own power because we are falling for mental health issues due to anger, hatred, avoidance, ignorance, fear of rejection, and fear of failure. No wonder we Iranian are fragmented. No wonder we are where are now.

Note: This article was originally written and published in EzineArticles July 29, 2008 by this author


Endless Possibilities For a New Immigrant

Over two decades ago, as a newcomer in Sweden, I was trying to register for a Swedish language class.

I could appreciate how learning the native language would give me the key for many things.

In order to start somewhere, I had to attend a neighborhood community college that was suggested to me.

In the day for visiting that college, I finally walked into this the reception area of the college that was offering a number of programs including Swedish courses.

I was unsure of what to expect. Perhaps, the only thing I was not expecting was to get what I wanted.

In my mind, I was searching for sentences (in broken English and Swedish) to make a conversation. Since finding a job as a newcomer seemed to be impossible, I was told that learning the language was my best option.

Having left a home country, where barriers were a big buzz word for anything, now my first encounters with this new society was becoming a life learning experience.

However, that day I was thrilled to learn about the fine line between hopes and wants. Hoping without wanting would be meaningless for sure. Now it was time for put my hopes into action.

After saying a quick “hi”, I guess I mumbled something that sounded like a request. I heard myself saying something about “Courses.”

The lady behind the desk asked, “What courses would you like to register in?” With broken Swedish I replied again: “Language.”

With my few words, she realized that I most probably needed to learn the Swedish Language.

Quickly, she moved to grab a couple of papers and asked me nicely to fill up those forms.

She showed me kindly how to fill up those simple forms and the only thing she requested was my ID card.

I was shocked and stunned because first of all, I did not expect this quick way of getting what I wanted. How come she did not say no you have to wait for this and that paper? How come she did not say you need to bring in extra supporting documents? It was like I was asking for one kilogram of fruit and I was getting it.

Somehow, I was waiting for a mountain of barriers that needed to be pushed away first in order to just get into this college.

I guess, I was not really used to be listened to. After filling up the forms, the lady did some paperwork to say, okay what days are good for you to attend class. Again, I was really surprised. I was being confronted with many choices that I was not really aware of. After choosing the right schedule, then she quickly told me that I was in.

After a short while, this lady confirmed the details and asked me another breathtaking question.

She asked if I liked to register for other programs. “What? Could I attend other programs?'”

Attending university was a big dream of mine back home.

Now that I was here and being asked for what else, I could not let go of not wanting more.

This question made me doubtful yet hopeful, that I could really succeed in this country.

With a shy and hesitant voice, I finally said: “yes.”

I was thinking I might as well take the chances that was being given to me now, just in case the world was going to change next day and all the options would then be gone.

I inquired about English courses since I had English as a second language during my entire school years. I was thinking knowing Swedish is good, however I liked to update my English, as I liked to keep up my language skills.

Then, I moved on to ask for some other programs I was thinking of. At some point, I came to realize that I had to start learning Swedish first since I was planning to attend a university program.

Again the lady asked about the days and hours for the English courses I was interested of.

After understanding that the possibilities were endless, at least in that time and place, then I was courageous to ask about art classes and some other programs that was directed to help you in the labor market.

For none of my requests, I heard any negativity or ambiguities. I guess that lady realized I was really interested of learning, while at that point I could not be clear in my mind about how I was going to attend all those courses at once. She went on encouraging me, while she at that point asked me about my education background in Tehran. I made some gesture to say how sorry I was that I only had a high school diploma.

This lady quickly responded: Be proud of yourself, some ministers in our country do not have any high school Diploma, so do not underestimate yourself.” Soon, I came to gather my thoughts and think of how fast I was going now. I had to prevent myself from committing too much, while the joy over all the positive possibilities was overwhelming. Now looking back, I realize how much of this first contact gave me hope for everything that I wanted in my new life. Life became good as I learned that possibilities are endless, even for a newcomer.

Note: This article was originally published in EzienArticles May 14th, 2010 by this author.


Suicide in Our Iranian Communities

The trauma of suicide and need for raising awareness in our Iranian Community is higher than ever before. Every now and then another tragedy of suicide hits our communities. Suicide is occurring in every community,however in our Iranian one, we lack debate about this issue and we lack to gather preventive measures.

The trauma of losing a soul into the world of helplessness and hopelessness is beyond our cultural understanding. In most suicide cases of suicide among young people you can find a relationship between parental high expectations and these young souls lack of resources.

In many cases of suicide in our communities, we can find patterns of meaninglessness and loss of apatite for life due to unsuccessful events in person’s life. What is our community response to suicide? Silence, shame, guilt, distraction, distorted beliefs, fear, and more silence
In cases of young people committing suicide, we can find manifestations of how some individuals can not stand up to their anxious parents who conditioned love. Suicide becomes a painful act of desperation for people who lack resources in dealing with life tasks or in meeting life, however the context in which these individuals live is significant to understand why suicide happens.

How come we keep silence about suicide? We could save lives if we came out and share our experiences of the loved ones who lost their bodies and minds into the world of darkness. If we let go of the blame mentality, we can see that in general we Iranians are not keen on discussing the sings and symptoms of mental health issues.

What we in the filed of mental health are observing is that, we Iranian parents tend to impose our own beliefs about higher education, position, status, and perfectionism to our younger generation.

It is unfortunate to say that in our Iranian culture, some parents drive their young children to the world of darkness. Why? Haven,t you seen those Parents who are attention seekers, parents who brought up children to this world to have assistance in their senior time, parents who need to control the world, parents who think they are too important why their adult children should be less than perfect? They are all around us, therefore suicide and parenting styles are truly interrelated in our communities.

Some families raise their high standards and their high expectations on their children to a level that children find that unachievable. Our life-style has become most hazardous when it comes to not accepting our inferiority’s and weaknesses. Instead of a humble acceptance of how we could use our strength to a better life, we try to overcompensate all the time by striving for more.

Suicide is the last resource for a person who has lost his/ her faith and the last desperate action to end the pain. This individual lose his or her faith and disappear in most painful ways; Suicide. Parents and families have a responsibility to brake the negative cycle that we live in, the cycle of being forced to a life style we are not a fan of, while we do the same thing to our children.

Suicide in our communities is mostly due to the cultural forces on individuals who do not find the freedom to be who they are because families keep pushing their own agenda on each other. Why I am this discouraging? Because, every suicide is too much of a trauma.

In every community we hear those stories, some are close to our hearts while others make us nervous and anxious. We Iranian can not afford both losing our best young people in Iran’s prisons due to the rapid executions or all other tragedies back home and due to suicide. It seems that we Iranians are living with multiple aspects of death everyday. Suicide is the most horrible one that could be prevented if nothing else is preventable. Hope this article encourages some one to save life by raising awareness about how disco urged people feel when they lose hope.


This article was published originally in EzineArtciles June 11th, 2010. Now it is being republished in the author’s own website.


Victims of Sexual Abuse are both Male and Females

Since 2004 I work for BC Society for male survivors of sexual abuse, where we have the most silent and stigmatized individuals who would indeed need years of therapy.

Prior to working for this agency I had no idea how much men could suffer from such crime and always related sexual abuse to women-only- problem. It is significant to recognize that sexual abuse occurs everywhere, among all communities, all nations, all races, all ethnic groups and it is a pervasive problem in every society.

In the position of a victim service worker and a clinical counselor, I believe that sexual abuse as well as other form of abuse; emotional and physical can be prevented if we educate our children, women, and men, public in general and also if we try to impact our politics and governments.

Sexual abuse as a power related problem that should be discussed openly and respectfully in our communities. The excruciating pain that victims of such crimes live with and the silence around the problem, are all damaging individuals, families, and communities.

In eastern cultures sexual abuse is not only being hidden and covered for but also the shame and guilt is being carried out in generations. Sexual abuse and sexual assault on boys and girls, males and females has to be stopped and prevented. It is the case that sexual abuse causes pain and life long traumas for individuals, families, and communities. The level of burden and blame on victims is often the case in what we know of the problem in our Persian culture.

The topic of sexual abuse is a highly stigmatized and misrepresented topic in my Persian cultural group.

The impact and level of victimization from such horrible crime is huge in many communities and healing only comes along with a cultural sensitive community support.

I share this with my readers, because I like to raise awareness about one important issue; the issue of child sexual abuse that happens to both male and female children can be prevented if we open our eyes.

It is my experience that victims of sexual abuse live with years of shame, guilt, blame, and self-hatred, while they keep silent. nity.

Clearly, when we talk about sexual abuse we mostly relate the issue to a women-only- problem.

Although most victims of sexual abuse are young girls and women, however male children are a silent target for this horrible crime, while no one talks about it.

Sadly many victims of sexual abuse in my community, whether male or female never come forward to seek help, even if they do, many family members minimize the problem or underestimate the psychological impact on the victim.

If we educate our children both male and female about the existence of pedophiles who are not always strangers, then we can protect our children better. Pedophiles are manipulative individuals who are always around our children and they try to get the child’s trust before violating him or her.

I would like to emphasize the fact that here in B.C. there are many organizations that are helping victims of sexual abuse or sexual harassment. 

Undoubtedly, male and female survivors of sexual abuse come from various multicultural groups where sexual abuse is not only a taboo, but also a great disgrace on their communities.

Consequently it is important to recognize that sexual abuse is damaging individuals, communities and group of people while these victims need support and help.  Years of psychotherapy if sought, support and understanding from their loved ones, and permission to openly discuss their pain are the proper ways to help male and female survivors of sexual abuse.

Surely, it is going to take a long time for our Persian culture to start talking about this issue and other problems around inappropriate sexual behaviors.   

Sexual abuse is a crime here in Canada and this criminal offense hurts people for a life time.
We can be the messengers of hope and help our communities live healthier.
Help is available and no one needs to suffer.


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




دید به زندگی‌

اگر مجلات روزانه ونکوور را مطالعه کنید، به طرز فکر و فرهنگ حاکم در کانادا بیشتر پی‌ میبریم. در روزنامه امروز دسامبر ۶ میخواندام که مطالعات جدید بر زندگی‌ افراد مسن نشان داده که این افراد چه خطرات طبیعی از قبیل زمین خوردن و آسیب‌های بدنی تهدیدشان می‌کند. لحظه‌ای به این فکر رفتم که در جامعه‌ای که جان انسان ارزشمند است مردم را از کوچکترین مسائلی‌ که میتواند ناراحت کننده باشد با اطلاع میکنند و راه‌های پیشگیری را ارائه میدهند. در ادامه اخبار شهری و استانی را که بررسی‌ می‌کنیم باز هم میبینیم که دید ارزش گذاری به زندگی‌ قالب است. اینجاست که افسوس خوردم و آرزو کردم که‌ای کاش روزی دوباره مردم ما هم از این موهبت و همدردی برخوردار شوند.