Friday, July 29, 2005

In New York

I had arrived early, to see if I could be of help setting things up. But all was ready and like everyone else, while waiting for others to arrive, I went about introducing myself to those present. At one point I was pleasantly surprised to find an acquaintance that lives only a few blocks from my apartment; all along I had thought of him as non-political!

What kind and lovely people! Almost everyone I met had come by car from other states; many had driven thousands of miles, just to be among their compatriots for a few hours. I need hardly add that I was quite embarrassed by all this, as I was one of a handful of locals. “How many Iranians live in New York, New Jersey or Long Island?”…”Where are the thousands of Iranians who came to the Persian Parade?” What was I to say, that they’re a bunch of #@$@!?

I merely replied that that those “Iranians” are Iranian in name only, and that only for fun and a good time. There are tens of thousands of Iranians who live in the tri-state area; the total number of participants was about 110 or 120. I do not regret not attending the Persian Parade.

The location of the demonstration was ideal, steps away from the United Nations. You should have seen the gestures of support from the drivers and passengers of the cars passing by, turning from 1st Avenue into 47th Street. Reading some of the placards we were holding, one cab driver, a Pakistani gentleman, told us, by way of encouragement: “We’re damn sick of Islam too. Good luck to you.”

Two construction workers in a van, Americans of course, said a few kind words to us while waiting for the traffic light. Somehow they reminded me of the American construction workers who 25 years ago, to counter a protest by Hizbollahis and “communists” shouting “Death to the Shah!” had instantly created their own demonstration in support of the Shah in front of the hospital where our King was hospitalized.

As to the pedestrians, the reactions there were also positive and supportive of our cause. Quite a number actually stopped and conversed with this or that protester, including a Moslem Iranian couple; that conversation being no less courteous on account of the lady wearing the Hijab. In my corner, we were also approached by a Turkish gentleman of Kordish background and we spoke of the ongoing killing of Iranians by Islamists in our province of Kordestan.

[removed] was great and after his speech we received a phone call from Ostad Forud Fouladvand, leader of the Kingdom Assembly of Iran, thanking us for our presence in this gathering. [removed] was there too, having arrived after a 15-hour drive to return the same evening. I was saddened by the absence of [removed] and [removed], but I hope to have the honor of meeting them next time.

As I respect the privacy of the participants, and with their safety in mind, below is the one and only picture I took for this blog.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Has Shayan Kazemi now given up supporting Hakha?

10:06 AM  

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