Where would you be?


Where would you be?
by Javad Yassari

When the Islamic Revolution happened in 1978-1979, I was a student abroad.  I couldn’t make any sense of what was happening all over Iran, and my parents’ cryptic telephone reports those days were not helpful in explaining what was unfolding in Tehran.  By now I know that they didn't know that much more than me.  My only access to information and analysis was through television news and real newspapers, devoured daily at the library.  Still, I couldn't make any sense of things.

Without understanding very much, I had to give up the comfort zone of my middle class upbringing and start working to support myself when my parents could no longer send me money from Iran.  I am glad for that.  But I am not glad for never being able to have the life which I had planned to return to in Iran, more out of an unanswered curiosity than anything else.  I don’t begrudge the changes and the chances used and missed, and have managed to build myself a pretty good life around that “change of venue,” which brought me the unintentional emigrant status. 

But I have wondered more than once about what my life would have been like had the Revolution not happened.  Where would I be now?  How different would my life be?  Would I be successful?  Would I be super rich?  Would I be a nicer person?  Would I still have broken some hearts and have had mine broken even more times?  Would my marriages have lasted?  Would my relationship with my siblings be just as strong as it is today?  Would seeing and being close to all those cousins whom I never saw again after I left Iran have made a big difference in my life?  Would my cousins in those strange spots of the world, buried under tons of snow most of the year, have had a better time living in Iran? 

And what would Iran be like without a revolution?  Would it be a better country?  Could we have helped it become a better country if we had been given a chance?

Have you ever wondered what would have happened to you if the Islamic Revolution had not happened in Iran?

Photo source


more from Javad Yassari
Javad Yassari

Thank you.

by Javad Yassari on

Thank you all for your candid and kind comments.  As usual, I learned from you.

I don't have any illusions that we would have all become ministers or high officials in Iran, but I do believe that a select few of Iranians who have been living in diaspora could have been beneficial and effective for Iran. 

The problems facing Iran are not limited to the absence of some of its best minds who have helped other countries in their science, technology, and business.  The ideological rule of Islamic Republic of Iran has limited many areas of creativity and effective productivity for Iranians, whether ordinary or gifted.  In other words, even if Iranian scientists who work for NASA and similar organizations had returned to Iran, they wouldn't have been able to be as effective in an environment which does not or cannot support those individuals' personal and professional needs into delivery of desirable comparable results.

In a way, I'm glad none of us seem to have a clear idear of how our lives would have panned out had the revolution not happened!  Our lives would have been really boring if they had been so predictable!  I do believe that Iranians inside Iran have made great intellectual progress over the years of hardship they have experienced; so maybe afterall, things all happened the way they were supposed to in order to complete the cycle of learning and individual knowledge will be the imperative tool with which to overcome ignorance and to build a better Iran, maybe not in my lifetime, but as compared to the span of history, soon enough.

Thank you all again. 



and my story...

by Monda on

Aghaye Yassari aziz, is that when I left Iran in '78 as a transferring student, I seriously thought I'd be back home that summer, then the next summers until I  finished graduate school, to be hired at some executive position by the Ministry of Economics or sherkat naft. I did not get to go back for 7 years!  Nor did I remain interested in any of those pursuits. What I did accomplish though was the chance to redefine my ideals, by evaluating my influences back home and working on discovering new ones.

I would not recognize myself without the challenges I was faced, having had to start my life without much support, from scratch. In the meantime, I catch myself thinking about how much more I could be contributing to those back home. I built a home here for myself and my family, yet I still dream of what home was. 

I appreciate your thoughtful blogs.


I really have no idea

by Abarmard on

I try to think but can't imagine what would have happen. For every little thing that happens, million other pieces form.

Nilo Siavashi

I think I would be in trouble

by Nilo Siavashi on

If revolution had not happened, I would be in trouble with Shah' s regime.  My kaleh already smelled like Ghorme Sabzi at a very young age few years before Khomeini. I might have ended up a "cherik Fadaee".  Any way, it would not have been a good future.  This way, with revolution happening when it did, around 1983 I was in trouble because I was not a good Moslem.  I was not accepted to university so I left the country.  Could I be one of the few that was saved by revolution becuase I ended up being part of diaspora?  This is the first time I am thinking about this issue like this.  I have survivor guilt.  So many people died but could it be that some people were actually saved?  I think so.


Javad Jaan, A great question...

by alborz on

... and far from being trivial, the 1979 revolution was pivotal not only in my life, your life, and and all those that have responded seriously or in jest.  Beyond its impact on the lives of Irainians, there is consensus that this revolution was pivotal in the course of the last and current century.  As significant as the Bolshevik revolution, the two World Wars and the fall of the USSR.

As for my life, I know that I would have gone back to Iran and would have had an opportunity to make a much greater contribution to her than I have ever had here.

You see I am quite satisfied with who I am today, but having had the opportunity to have made a difference, that would have been priceless !




I wish we could know

by sbglobe on

Me too came here before the revolution (with the intention of going back). I often ask myself the same question (well almost the same question – I ask myself what if the revolution was not Islamic), however, I do not stay with the question for long since I know I will never know the true answer  :-(


Mr. Yassari

by Parham on

Please don't take this badly, as I'm not trying to make fun of you or your question in any way. Well, your question maybe, but then I'm perhaps only outlining the irony of it. I'm really just citing an example to make you see my point of view concerning what you asked.

I have a friend who lost his older brother to heroin and AIDS. His brother was sent to Europe as a student by the Iranian foreign ministry before the revolution.

My friend has now also become a victim of heroin. It would probably be also interesting for you to know that both my friend and his brother picked up the habit from their respective girlfriends.

Now each time I run into my friend in the street, or almost, which is not often these days, he tells me "if the revolution hadn't happened, xxx (his brother) would have become foreign minister by now instead of being dead and buried."

And you know what I think privately about what he says? I tell myself "I don't think so!"


Ali jan ?

by Souri on

Me, vazir etela'at ?

No no, me, vazir Ershaad ! :-)

Ali P.

Most of us would be home...

by Ali P. on

I am sure, quite a few of us, would be  in high offices:

"Mr. Yassari, vazeereh farhang o honar", for example :-)

"Ms. Souri, vazeereh etaa'laa'aat"!

Some of us would have turned dissidents, either ended up in jail, or would have published some opposition paper, or blog.

Very few of us, probably, would have been sent to exile by Reza Pahlavi ;-)


I don't know about me

by Souri on

Salam Mr Yassari,

I don't know about myself, but I'm sure :-) of your destiny, would not change a bit, if the revolution would not happened !

You were already in US before that, and believe it or not, I knew many people who left Iran for the US, before the revolution and their lives were and are like yours today!!!!

You had already chosen your destiny, you had preferred to stay in Us after the revolution. The ones with the hope of returning back home after studying abroad, were all returning home after the revolution, whether immedately or in a couple of years right after the revolution.

That was a major event which has changed many people's life and brought up the ultimate decision for many Iranian. So, if you didn't think about going back home at that critical moment, then rest assure that you never meant to do it.

I'm sure you enjoy a very comfortable life right now, and it could be perhaps, a little bit better w/o that revolution happening, or maybe not. I don't think the event had changed many essential things in the life of those who have already been abroad, following a course or a special training.

About your marriages though.......who knows? That too, has nothing to do with the revolution, due to the geographical distance between you and the country of your true culture. 

So, now that Dr Souri has determined you have not obvious reason for suffering, you can feel released and go back to your comfortable zone happily! Don't worry all is good when the end is good :-))