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Looking for Identity

Time 0:04:49

Transcript:

My Father came from Iran to Kuwait in 1957 to start a business. So I was born & raised in Kuwait but with an Iranian passport. My family was Bahai, a religious minority in both Iran and Kuwait. As an Iranian resident in Kuwait I went to an Iranian school.

At that time there was a special acceptation for Iranian who were staying outside of the country to go to Tehran University, which was one of the best universities in the world at that time, free with relatives to stay with.

But then everything changed:

When I was in grade 11, I saw on TV the revolution in Iran & later on students started to protest at our school in Kuwait, against the government in Iran. Then few month later Islamic governments took over. And they started to execute the Bahai’s. They throw out the Bahai’s from their governmental jobs, schools, universities & even they captured many of them & put in prison.

One day, after the revolution, our school principal came and in front of all the students told the Bahai’s to stop coming to school from tomorrow.

At this moment I felt I lost my identity. Now I’m not accepted as an Iranian & even I was born & raised in Kuwait I’m not a Kuwaiti.

So I didn’t have any choice except start to work hard to establish a comfortable life for my future in Kuwait. which I was succeed to have very professional Photographic shop ( Art Studio ) which was place for most of the singers, actors, actress, artists to come & take their photos. That made a comfortable life for me & my family. But we couldn’t own our house or a business in our name.

Kuwait was emotionally my home even though I wasn’t a citizen. I even remained in Kuwait during the gulf war. Afterwards, the government discussed offering Kuwaiti citizenship to people who were loyal during the war and to people who had been in Kuwait before 1965. So we applied, but few months later the parliament voted that the citizenship will be only for Arabs & Muslims, again I was disappointed from the lack of human rights.

My wife and I started to worry for our two boys. I began to think about their future. Where they are going to go for their higher education? How they can find a job with holding an Iranian passport? Where they can have a house in their name? At last but not least: where is going to be their home which makes them proud and to be connected.

We heard from friends Canadian government had different programs for immigrations. It took us four years to go for the interview. Once accepted, we sold the shop, which made my staff very sad, because we became like a family after many years working together.

I can’t express my joy when the officer at the Toronto airport after checking all the documents stamped our passports, and told us "Welcome home" which removed all the stresses we had before we come. I felt I have home now.

My elder son just finished his high-school and he is going to go to UPEI for two years then at Dalhousie University for mechanical engineering. The younger one is in grade 11 now and his dream is to be a Chef which we found out Holland College Culinary is one of the best in Canada.

We are happy here now and we have our house & business registered in our own name. People are nice & generous, our business is improving step by step we are learning the culture & peoples interest so we can develop our business in the future.

Now I have identity & country to be proud of.

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