June 17, 2009

Escaping and Returning Home

It is the summer of 1979. I have just turned five years old and my memories are vague and fleeting. I remember the Caspian Sea and horses. I remember family, birthday parties and my great grandmothers samovar. I remember my grandfather’s scruffy beard, Ghorme Sabzsee, and rock candy. I am a child born in Iran to two Iranian parents; we are planning to move to America, but a rumored revolution hovers in the air.

It is September, my father has gone ahead, our month is formless. I have no way of knowing that our country, will be forced beneath a veil for the next thirty years, my entire life. I have no way of knowing that one uncle will need to escape through the mountains of Turkey, while another fights in the Iraq and Iran war. I have no idea that a million boys will be killed in the name of god and heaven and plastic keys. I have no idea that the American Embassy will be taken in a month. I have no idea that upon my arrival in the US, in 1980, I will be the enemy. I have no idea that I will remain the enemy for the next thirty years because my passport says Born in Iran, even while Oliver North sells weapons to the very people who he claims to fight.

It is September and we are in line at the US embassy to see if our visa has been approved. People chanting in the streets: Death to the Dictator. Death to the Shah. Death to America. Death, death, death…People march. People run. People scream. People bleed. The revolution has begun. We run to a taxi, one step ahead of a mob. Are we in America yet? Exiled. Forgotten. Back home the family survives, grows, evolves, endures.

I will be thirty-five in a week. Once again Iran is on fire and drenched in blood. I wish I could be in Tehran tonight. No longer a scared child, but a man fighting for the freedom of his country. A country he has been forced to carry with him only in memories. A country of warm hospitable people that until last month were considered members of an Axis of Evil. A country rooted in history and poetry. A country that no amount of twitter fans will ever understand. A country yearning to rejoin the world. A country he feels in his blood.

I want to drape myself in green and bleed if need be. The blood escaping and returning home...

to be continued....


  1. I can feel the raw emotion coming through your words.. very moving piece.. :)


  2. Anonymous11:22 AM


  3. I am very moved by your story, Jabiz, and the powerful force of your words. At the same time I cannot begin to imagine the feeling of having to leave a home for a new strange one where people automatically judge you not as an individual.

    It seems like we are a world that dreams of peace but operates from a different place in our waking state.