You overwhelm my senses like no country ever has. Tart pomegranate paired with smoky walnut; the vibrancy of your turquoise and maroon art and architecture; the steady beat of a hand drum, contrasting with the strain of a setar– it is so, so beautiful. And the mountains–the mountains! Their mighty presence leaves me in awe.
But I struggle to decipher not only the script of your language but also the cultural script of your people. There are so many contradictions…where to begin? The extremely well-educated women who cook and hand wash dishes until late in the night to please their husbands–YES, their husbands. The friendly people who ask what you want and then ignore the answer and tell you what to do. The poets and film makers who make brilliant art within your borders right before fleeing. The crazy proclamations from your government…I don’t get it.
Yet I feel a strong need to defend you here in the West. They don’t get you here, but for different reasons. They don’t see the people behind the media, the crowds of poor going to an anti-American rally for the free food being offered, the shy old woman who wears the headscarf for privacy, the diversity in your cities, the amazing dance parties behind closed doors.
I am Iranian by marriage and the mother of two American-Iranians. You will always hold a place in my heart–help me show the world how wonderful you can be.