Thursday, May 17, 2007

Immigration is not for fun!

This is a topic that has been on my mind for a while. The goal is to clear the air.

Summer of 1987 the war was getting more and more intense. Before we knew it, rockets were falling on Tehran. My parents were fearful of losing their loved ones and decided to save their lives, like every other family in Iran. We applied for immigration visa and we got it right after the peace treaty 598 was signed.

The sentimental people that my parents were, they didn't want to raise their children in a foreign country before they knew their cultural roots. So, we didn't move despite the fact that my aunts, uncles and cousins lived in the US.

Another 11 years went by and my parents couldn't tolerate the social injustice. We had a little house, we went to good schools, we had a car, we had everything that was necessary for a nice family life. But we also had the nonexistence of freedom of expression and religion or social respect, as well as the humiliation of a fanatic government that we hadn't chosen. Not knowing how long it would take before their children ended up in Evin Prison gave them sleepless nights, especially when they found a big stash of Khatami's pictures in their 15 year-old's bedroom.

They decided to sell everything off and move to Canada and embrace a life of uncertainty because at least it guaranteed "no prison time" for their children's future. They lost their jobs, their house and their financial security.

Yes my parents are brave people who sacrificed their comfortable life in Iran for their children.

It took years before they could own the same house or car that they had in Iran. My father works longer hours, my mother works longer hours and they cannot afford vacations like they they could in Iran. However, they are happy.

My father takes pride in the fact that the construction worker that works for him can afford the same life style as he does. He says seeing that even the cleaning lady or the construction worker are respected as much as he is, makes the whole immigration experience all worth it.

Yes my parents sacrificed a comfortable life for their values.

Some of my parents' friend moved to Canada after we did. They stayed for 2, 3 years but went back. My mom's friend had to work to earn a living here, but back home, she can live off the money that she gets from renting her real estate (houses). Some people who recently moved, brought big chunks of cash with them because their inheritance (house and land) is valued 20 times more than it did 10 years ago and now they are rich. Well, I guess we could call it "oil money" or the money that didn't go to the teachers, nurses or other hard working groups of people in Iran who are starving and don't own a house.

Yes, what I am getting at is that you have to work much harder for your money in Canada! But if you were a teacher, a nurse, a police officer or just a simple employee in Iran and never got your share of self-respect, I wish I could bring you all to Canada. I wish I could show you how you can live a decent respectful life if you are a hard-working individual.

You don't need to be religious, pretentious, connected to the government, smuggle drugs or lie to earn a living. You just need to work hard enough to deserve the money.

If anyone ever told you that people immigrated for money, they lied. Immigration means hard work. Immigration means a complicated life. But immigration can show you the meaning of "social justice", "self-respect" and "equality".

Now it's up to every individual to decide what they want to give their children: a big house? an expensive European car? a big piece of land? enough money to last a life time? Or, freedom of speech, social justice, equality and ethics of hard work.

My parents chose the latter and I am proud of them.

Love of your homeland is a dear concept, and of course many people don't have the luxury of immigrating for many reasons. I don't judge them and I don't want to be judged either.

I Just wanted to put the truth out there.


At 1:00 p.m., Blogger Leili said...

great post Bahar!
The beginning was like reading history, very touching.

And the ending...

"Immigrants are hard-working people who sacrificed a comfortable life for their values and I am proud to be an immigrant."

Well said! Cheers to your parents and their daughter!

At 1:50 p.m., Blogger Ms. B said...

Thanks Leili jan.

I guess I came across a little harsh. That's because I keep hearing that people call immigrants opportunist and comfort-seeker.

Sometimes you have to yell the truth and fight for it.

At 5:02 p.m., Blogger Leili said...

I know. And even people back home. They're even worse sometimes.

I don't think there is anything wrong with saying the facts. It may be harsh, but it's better than many others who are living a lie...I'm just getting fed up by all that.

BTW, the two lasts posts on this site are interesting:

At 6:23 a.m., Blogger Jackal said...

i thought charity donations were tax free, not?

At 8:48 a.m., Blogger Ms. B said...

Donations that go to Iran, I don't think are considered tax exempt.


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