“Even after all this time,
The Sun never says: ‘You owe me.’
Look what happens with a love like that:
It lights the world.”
I have to say – and perhaps I have a selective memory, but I don’t think so – that every Persian person I have met or taught or worked with has been a smart, hard-working, impressive person.
Possibly it’s because many of the smart, hard-working, impressive people picked up and got out of Iran when the going was good, decades ago. Possibly it’s just baked into their culture….Homa Arjomand, who organized the globe to fight Sharia law in Ontario 2005 was born in Iran. Many of the students in my Carnegie classes (almost always engineers) were born in Iran.
One year, when I was hired to run the Taxis on Patrol program, we had 12 finalist “heroes” to honour, and 9 of them were from Iran. The winner, an incredibly humble man who really did not want to be awarded anything, had a knife pulled on him at the back of his cab. He popped the trunk, pushed the assailant in, and drove to 52 Division Police station.
“I need an officer to come out to my car,” he informed the desk clerk. “There is a man with a knife in my trunk.”
“What is it with Iranians, that they are so proactive they make 9 of 12 nominations in this program? What were you thinking when you locked that guy in the trunk?” I asked the cab driver.
“Well, maybe it’s because where we come from, if you wait for the police, all the damage will be done before anybody comes to help you; so you help yourself. Besides,” he sighed, “that guy with the knife was so old and weak and spindly, he really could not have hurt anyone. I felt sorry for him.”
Imagine my delight when a Persian couple moved in across the street last summer. To welcome them, I made up a tiny paper plate of cookies to leave at their front door with a little “Welcome to Milligan Street” note. The next day, an ENORMOUS pink geranium appeared on my front porch, which bloomed for the entire summer.
A few months later, after a trip to ARZ, I made up a platter of dips and stuffed grape leaves and zucchini so I could “share the wealth” of my favourite store with them.
The next day, my neighbour appeared at my door with an absolutely gorgeous glass bowl for my dining room table. It sits atop a beautiful fabric runner which came from Shiraz, in Persia. (Shiraz is famous for two things: the grapes from which the popular wine is made, and the poet Hafiz.) I have given up trying to out-gift my Persian neighbours: it’s impossible.
Now, thousands of men and women in cities across Iran are protesting in the streets, demanding a Democratic government and better economic policies. I always felt the West let Iranians down during their Green Movement in 2009; I can’t do much now, but here is what Homa Arjomand is asking us to do:
- Support the movement of people in Iran for freedom, equality, prosperity and secularism.
• Distribute the news as soon as possible through various social media
• Join the demonstration in support of people of Iran organized in the West by activists and freedom seekers
• Request the Canadian government and all other Western governments to put pressure on the United Nations High Commissioner of Human Rights to adopt a resolution for closing down all Iranian Embassies around the world.