November 13, 2016 by Editor
Let’s start by saying that I absolutely love my country, the Unites States, and throw out any misconception as to the objective of this article. We are Iranian-Americans. An iconic immigrant community. A symbol of what immigrants should be like and for America to seek more. Perhaps you dismiss this statement as arrogant. So, let’s see what makes us iconic immigrants and ones that America should wish for more of.
Since 1979 millions of Iranians immigrated to The United States because of unfortunate circumstances at home. Many brought with them tremendous amount of personal wealth, and were not among the poor, and the hungry that the Statue of Liberty seeks. This was considered by many as a brain exodus from Iran to the United States as they came as trained scientists, surgeons, engineers, entrepreneurs, authors, investors, developers, artists, and experts in every aspect and trade of the society. These economically- empowered newcomers were just the seeds that flourished in 37 years to be the most economically powerful immigrants in California, and other states. Yet, ignored by the political system, passed over, and dismissed with no recognition for their accomplishments and contributions. Although they participate in politics by voting, contributing financially, endorsing and supporting parties and candidates, they are totally disregarded by the candidates of both major parties, and no hand is extended to them. The communities with much less economical influence are sought after and addressed by the candidates, but the Iranian-American community remains in the dark, and no candidate has ever extended a hand or addressed this community for its contributions and accomplishments. In part the Iranian-American community is somewhat at fault for not unifying and organizing, or lobbying organizations that could bring about attention from the parties and the candidates.
They settled in the United States and mainly in California. They established small to large businesses and employed and provided job opportunities. They became innovative and created new technologies and large scale businesses like Expedia.com of Mr. Khosrowshahi, Ebay of Mr. Pierre Omidyar, Mr. Omid Kordestani of Google, and Twitter’s, Siavash Alamouti, CTO of Broad Band and Intel fellow, inventor of the Alamouti Code, code-communication engineer, Gholam A. Peyman, inventor of the Lasik eye surgery, to name a few and the list goes on and on. Their engineers are a high percentage of both JPL, and NASA, yet in movies such as The Martian there is no character reflecting an Iranian-American. Indeed one character in the movie somewhat is based on the Iranian-American scientist, Mr. Babak Ferdowsi of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratories, but presented as being of a different ethnicity.
They also grew and flourished in literature, media. Academia, music and arts and entertainment. Artists such as Sara Shahi, Maz Jobrani, Catherine Bell and world renowned journalist Christian Amanpour are just a few examples. They also dominate the professional job arena as doctors, surgeons, dentists, professors, and small business owners. They became major property owners and developers. It is estimated that thirty-seven percent of the properties in Bevery Hills are owned by Iranian-Americans.
Even their celebration of their cultural heritage such as *Norooz, the Persian new year, and Sisdehbedar*, brings revenues to cities and local communities,. For example, City of Irvine that provided the public park for the average 70000 Iranians that attended the Sisedhbedar* celebration, and brought in parking revenues close to 500,000 dollars on a single day, every year for the last 37 years.
Most profound quality and value, of this immigrant community is that its members have never been involved in any sort of organized crimes. They did not organize Mafia style gangs, did not create drug cartels, did not get involved in human trafficking, or racketeering. Crimes that so many other communities have a history of. This is their most significant value and contribution to a nation that constantly throughout its short history has been fighting such organized criminal establishments.
Despite all above, this iconic immigrant community is routinely overlooked, except of course a cliché New Year message from the officials in the government. They have been constantly misrepresented in the corporate controlled media by associating them with negative news, and never reporting their large scale charity and humanitarian activities. Their cause and effect has been ignored, and at any possible occasion they are mislabeled, Hollywood movies such as 300 erroneously and in an ignorant fabricated history insulted their heritage, and in movies such as Argo, Ben Afflec is risen to absolute career failure by portraying Iranians as backwards, and simple. Some have gone so far as to credit their 3000 years old heritage to other countries by declaring Norooz, the celebration of the Persian New Year to central Asia countries. Some have attempted to change the names of their geographical borders by calling the Persian Gulf as the Gulf. Mrs. Clinton in a speech to the Persian Gulf Arab countries called the Persian Gulf “the Gulf”. That was somewhat understandable as a multi-billion-dollar arm sales to the U.A.E, and the Saudis was underway.
The extent to which this community is mislabeled, ignored and dismissed is unbelievable, and not intelligent. This community with its economic power and growth will be hard to ignore, and so, it is destined to play a major role in its adopted new home, the United States of America. The parties and their candidates should embrace Iranian-Americans today, to enjoy the fruits of their phenomenal growth and support in future. It would be a definite loss of opportunity for any party, and its candidate that doesn’t recognize this tremendous economically strong immigrant community.
Kass Nourishad is an Iranian American living in Thousand Oaks, California.
- Thirteenth day of Persian New Year celebration that all Iranians go to the nature and parks for a family picnic.
- Nowrooz, Persian New Year. 530BC. Celebration of life and rejuvenation. First day of Spring,