beloved america, why so afraid?
you ask me
aren’t you afraid of going back
how can a place I haven’t lived in
for four decades
if you insist that beautiful far away land is my home
why would I possibly be afraid
i’m puzzled my beloved america.
do you speak so much of
travel is about adventure
meeting strangers who welcome you to their homes
showing you their land
have you traveled your land?
have you been to appalachia?
those beautiful mountains
is it home to you?
are you afraid…
I see the overwhelming number of homeless people sleeping in all of my local libraries this winter.
I see the mother who’s of Latin heritage, her three children politely holding on to their grocery cart, with only three items at the checkout. She is the one who works harder than anyone I see for almost nothing, yet is targeted by our society as lazy.
I see young people showing up and waking their elders into participation.
I see my privileged friends trying to cross over to places where they can help people with less privilege.
I see my privileged friends who are paralyzed, some horrified of what has come up to the forefront in discussions on race, inequality and injustice in particular in the past two years. …
Nine years ago, I began studying massage. I was surprised to find two of my core parenting beliefs in this practice: the importance of touch and comfort in mutual growth and trust, and the innate nature of expanding the possibilities of who we are through movement, which eventually becomes the story of who we are.
In watching my children grow, I was delighted by their desire to move and play. Constantly learning, repeating a task hundreds of times in order to master it, sometimes frustrated and often laughing at their own mistakes. …
How many times have I heard this phrase or something close to it? Yelled at me. Once too many.
When did they happen? Most incidents happened when I was in high school and college. One I will never forget.
How did it affect me?
I used to mostly get deeply embarrassed especially one particular time, I’d wished somebody had spoken up other than myself. I hate being noticed, and hated it even more for being humiliated and treated as a second class citizen. The irony of it is that I was in fact born here in Minnesota in 1965.
So I became super aware of the volume of my voice when in public and to this day if I’m out with a group of Farsi speaking friends, I am deeply uncomfortable with their loud voices. I have never felt this way in any other country! …
pledge of allegiance
My family moved to Minnesota July 6, 1978. We were greeted by my uncle’s family and everyone telling us how unfortunate it was that we’d just missed 4th of July. I had no clue what I’d missed that year!
If you live in Minnesota and you read the news, you are fully aware of the controversy the city council in St. Louis Park got itself into over a resolution to eliminate the pledge of allegiance. …
The great Persian poet Saadi Shirazi’s poem, “bani adam” (humankind) is written as a prayer for peace. My Dad loves this poem and shares it with everyone he meets. I’m told it is inscribed on a large hand made carpet in a meeting room in The United Nation’s building in New York. It is the ending to story 10 in Saadi’s Golistan. Saadi’s poetry in his books Golistan and Boostan are reflections on the unity of mankind. Story 10 is a part of the chapter titled “On the Conduct of Kings”. It’s recorded that this was part of Saadi’s advice to an unnamed concerned king. …
motherhood__ the art of noticing, personal growth, unconditional love, negotiation to create peace-building in a small unit, acceptance and above all…..letting go
When I was raising my boys, I listened and looked to some of the most thoughtful mothers I knew, and was constantly searching and seeking other mothers who valued what I valued. Constantly stretching and changing.
Nanci Olesen, a phenomenal mother, journalist, writer, radio host, and extraordinary heart, had a program on our local radio station called MOMbo. I used to listen to her programs religiously. Just thirty minutes a week that pushed me to think and rethink about my role as a mother and my role in this world. …
Iranians have had a love affair with America for over seven decades. If you’re Umreekayee, you will receive the most generous, hospitable and joyous reception almost anywhere in Iran!!
I know, it’s hard for most Americans to believe this. I’ve had to explain this to everyone I know for over forty years. The best reaction to this hospitality was Rick Steve’s in his travels to Iran.
It has stayed true through many of America’s foreign policies that has slowed Iran in its progress into twenty-first century. Perhaps starting first with the toppling of a beloved leader in Iran, Mohammad Mossadegh. He was a great thinker, lawyer, and the great citizen of Iran who nationalized Iran’s oil after at least four decades of the British sucking the oil out of the country for almost nothing. He was democratically elected in his country by his own people as the prime minister of Iran and held office from 1951–53 until the British and the CIA carried on a coup d’etat that overthrew his administration. After what we’ve gone through with the potential meddling of Russians and others in our elections, I think most Americans would understand the depth of loss which was felt by the progressive Iranians of the time. My father-in-law and my own dad were two young men at the time, one a lawyer and the other a mechanical engineer. They both came from typical traditional Iranian families enmeshed in Islam and family. Both were supported and admired for pulling themselves through their respective universities as exceptional students. Both continued their education in Europe and America as they knew they would find more knowledge there. They both returned to Iran to practice and felt the loss of their Democracy with what happened to Mossadegh and his administration in 1953. …
When I think of Iran, I think of turquoise blue shallow pools in courtyards, gardens full of fruit trees and the most aromatic roses, geometric patterns, tea, mountains of herbs, and kind and generous people. My Tehran growing up in the 70’s was nothing like the Tehran my American friends knew about when my family moved here to Minneapolis in 1978. It has taken me over thirty years to navigate between two cultures that are so foreign to each other. Two cultures so misunderstood by one another. Two cultures that would so benefit from learning from each other.
Which one do I belong to? The question that has permeated every decision I’ve made, consciously or unconsciously. …