I am an Irish-Iranian American member of the human race. Who are you?
Iran has been defined as “over there” by many people who are not familiar with the country. But ever-growing technology has brought “over there” into our houses.
The burst of publicity on the Iranian people’s peaceful freedom fighting has proven to be not always so peaceful through our television and laptop screens. In my house, such broadcasts are particularly poignant. YouTube videos are playing throughout the house, surrounding my parents and me with the sounds and struggles of the Iranian people’s bittersweet cries. We’re also surrounding ourselves with the sounds of loving and creative solidarity events like poetry readings and musical collaborations from all across the globe. Sometimes it feels like it’s all right here in my living room, right here in America.
While Iranian and non-Iranian people are coming together, it hasn’t been enough yet. Once in a while I’ll see my Iranian mother crying over her computer screen. Sometimes I cry too. I’m crying because a part of me that I barely know is dying, or maybe just being born. The comedies we used to watch don’t brighten our days the way they used to. My Facebook posts aren’t as popular: many of my Iran-related links are left without any comments, but I know that someone is clicking on them.
At the same time, the attention isn’t so bad. The Iranian people - not just the Iranian government - should have made CNN headlines long before the summer of 2009. Not only their cries for human rights but their literature and music have finally become appreciated and admired around the world. They should have made headlines for the past thirty years, but like their last revolution in 1979 (when my mom left her home in Iran), the news reports lost interest.
As the Twitter updates dwindle and as the Iranian government cracks down on the already weary and broken backs of their citizens, will the American interest, fascination, and maybe even sympathy fall into the cracks of the Iranian soil, in between the government and its opposition? Will the brief American curiosity and compassion for people over there fade away?
As an Irish-Iranian, an American, and a human being, I sincerely hope not.
While I have relatives in Iran, the focus of recent news broadcasts should transcend heritage bonds and form bonds throughout humanity. The news on television and the voice of the people through mediums such as Twitter have come together, as should the people over there and the people over here. Through technology and through our hearts, it is time. My aunts, uncles, and cousins deserve just as much as yours.
While we’re on Facebook for hours, my cousin in Iran got on Facebook for just five minutes to let me know she was alive.
As the Twitter updates and trending topics sway from genocide to pop culture: What are you doing?
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