Spring is approaching and air is already redolent with the smell of jasmine and narcissus. Once again Iranians welcome, Nowrooz, heralding the New Day. An ancient and revered tradition celebrating spring with vegetation and the rejuvenation of the earth.
Persian new year is a very special time reminding us of our glorious past and the way our ancestors treated the world not only with power, but also with pride and humility.
Every year, far from home, we all remember the sweet memories of our childhood, growing up within a loving family, enjoying our cousins, neighbors and extended relatives while learning how to love and how to value our relationships.
We still can visualize the spring dances of tulips in the field, feeling the warmth of our decorated homes for the new year, and hearing our laughter on the green grass of the majestic plains. The loving presence of our parents presiding over the ceremonial SOFREH HAFT SEEN reciting poetry of HAFEZ at the turn of the equinox.
Many of us with such sweet memories left our beloved land for America reaching out for a more enriched life. A life with more individual choices, more possibilities and new experiences. Some of us migrated even before the political change of 1978. We settled here to embrace those who were not like us, to love them and to learn from their way of life and to share our traditions with them.
We were told that America is land of freedom, equality and opportunity for all. We heard of George Washington and the Founding
Fathers who wrote a magnificent piece of literature called constitution, the crown jewel of American Democracy with the intention of ”Life, Liberty and pursuit of happiness for all.”
Today, as an American citizen for more than forty years, I am wondering what happened to that America?
And once again I celebrate my new year with a heavy heart not knowing what will happen to my motherland, IRAN, home of CYRUS THE GREAT, the practitioner of the oldest democracy in the world.
On this side of ocean, my new home America has changed over the years. In fact, everything I expected and hoped for has taken a different course. Our government officials and leaders are all about bolsters and bullies. Our values have become money and material goods, crimes have many faces from street gangs to the elite and famous, our children are exposed and encouraged to porn for profit while others are killed by assault weapons in schools and in the playgrounds to the indifference of the political panderers.
In the name of nationalism and patriotism; racial divide, bigotry and prejudice has divided our communities and has led to hate crimes while political correctness and civility seems to be trait of a distant past.
Our politicians and leaders are often a disgrace to America and its values. Corporate greed has left us with huge disparity between the rich and the poor augmenting our indigent and homeless population.
Wars that we initiate or participate in are not defense against the aggressors attacking our security and sovereignty, but aimed at profit and power over other nations trying to change their way of lives and benefitting from their resources.
In the past thirty years both Iranians and Americans have paid heavily for the sins of their governments.
The hostage crisis of 1980’s took a toll on Iranians and affected every facet of their lives both here and at home.
The pre-emptive act of war against Iraq tainted the American global image, not to mention that we paid dearly both in cost and precious human lives. And we are still paying with the new era of terrorism.
There is no panacea for the mistakes made or for the miseries of the world, but we could be optimistic trusting in human benevolence.
We must stay united in action and spirit to push back against the demons of division and demagoguery knowing that one thing is certain and that is hope for a true united State of America.
Both nations, Iran and the United States should stand up to their unfair and unreasonable leaders and not to succumb to the pressures of propaganda or false persuasions.
Let’s welcome Nowrooz as the harbinger of harmony, unity and peace for all.
Let’s hope as spring revives the nature with beauty and freshness, our hearts and minds also are rejuvenated with love and understanding for the humanity.
Let’s we the PEOPLE do not allow the self – serving leaders with myopic vision of the world divide us and turn our dreams into despair.
And let’s hope that Iranian people have a fabulous and peaceful new year all over the world as well as sharing their joy with their American friends and families.