#ModernParables: The Muslim Ban

Author’s note: Today’s parable is told by a good friend of mine, Banafsheh Behzad. She and her husband, Hadi, are on faculty at CSU Long Beach, and are originally from Iran. This is her story.

When I came to the US ten years ago to pursue my higher education, I planned to go back to my home country, Iran, as soon as I got my PhD. I was very committed to this course for about two years. Gradually I started to like it here; the people, the quality of life, and all the rules and laws that make your life so easy and predictable.

Banafsheh and Hadi

Around the same time, the 2009 fraud election happened in Iran and I got so disgusted and disappointed by what the authorities did to my people. Slowly but surely, I made the decision to stay here. The main reasons for me were the freedom of speech and action in this country and the fact that no authority can change your life in just one night by signing a rule.

But I am not saying that things were absolutely perfect so far. My mom once waited two years for her visa to be approved so that she could visit me for three weeks. It has now been more than a year that my in-laws are waiting for their visa approval to visit us in the US for the first time. Sadly, we just lost my mother-in-law to cancer. She never even got to visit her son in his own home.

However, this recent #MuslimBan is another story! It is the first time that I feel unwelcome in this country. The other day, I thought to myself, what am I even doing here. I even thought about giving up all my accomplishments in the past 10 years and go back to Iran, not just because of this Executive Order, but because of that percentage of the population who support this.

Then I thought about what me and my people are doing for this land. Yes, the US is called the land of opportunities and it offered us countless opportunities, but we did our share too! My husband and I are two PhDs who are doing research which this country benefits from. We are educating the young generation. My friends are all educated individuals working in academia, in tech companies, in medicine, and many more. We can’t just leave all of this behind.

We need to fight, we need to speak up, we need to stand up and get back our absolute rights, and not just because of ourselves. We need to do that because of all those American friends who are contacting us these days offering help and feeling sorry because of what is going on. We need to fight because of all those citizens who protest with us in the streets and in the airports and because of all those people who sign the petitions. We will and we can!

#nomuslimban #weareallimmigrants

Thank you for sharing, Banafsheh. Her story is our story.