After taking my grueling final exams, I still had part of the summer to enjoy.
What followed in the next few weeks shed some light on why my parents had chosen to pluck me from my hometown and replant me on a new continent.
It was a time of superficial calm in Iran but a prelude to upheaval and broken promises.
Our neighbor’s daughter was a university student, yet she rarely left home. When my mom inquired about the nature of her exile, she shared with us that the government had identified the university as a source of political disturbances. The university was not necessarily the safest place to be.
I understood my parents’ dilemma: risk attending a university that was the scene of possible skirmishes or join the mandatory army service for two years. So off we went, swapping the land of Omar Khayyam, Rumi and Ferdowsi for the home of John Wayne, Woody Allen and Ernest Hemingway.
The recent scenes took me back to that summer. The same streets that I had explored during my early teenage-hood were now the stage pitting state terror against the people.
The challenge to the status quo was unique in many ways.
With the exception of posts on social networking sites and initial reporting by major news agencies, the government had the ability to shut major access to what was happening on the streets. People had a good reason to feel entrapped, yet continued their march for freedom.
I came across a poem by a young Iranian girl that was posted on YouTube. The poem, called “Poem for the Rooftops of Iran” summarized the feelings of alienation many Iranians still face.
“Where is this place that so many innocent people are entrapped?
“Where is this place where no one comes to our aid?