Sophie, a woman, in her late twenties, together with her husband, and their two children, left Iran a few months before the start of the Islamic revolution.
Being Armenian and Christian, they were wary about living under an Islamic rule of government. It was obvious that Ayatollah Khomeini was about to overthrow the Shah’s government. So, the young couple were not sure how an Islamic system of government would treat its non-Muslim citizens.
Naturally, they were sad to leave their keens, family members and place of birth behind. However, they believed it was important for them to raise their children in a Christian land. Yes, Sophie loved Iran and the Iranians. She found them to be loving and friendly. Especially that the type of people she and her husband dealt with were highly educated, art-lovers, artists, and greatly sophisticated.
During the Shah’s reign, all in all, the non-Muslims, were treated with respect in Iran. Of course, like in any other country in the world, one did come across some bigots who mistreated the non-Muslims. The same could be said about certain fundamentalist Christians in the States or Europe, who harass and mistreat diverse religious people.
After leaving Iran, Sophie and her family lived in different European countries such as, France, Spain, and England. Her mother, who also left Iran with them, a year later immigrated to the United State to live with her eldest daughter, who was a US citizen.
Sophie had to accompany her mother to America, because she needed help to travel. This was during the time when the Iranians had taken the US embassy employees hostage in Tehran.
Like today, Americans were not so fund of Iran and the Iranians. Indeed, nothing has changed much. And, with Trump’s presidency, it is getting even worse. At the time, what aggravated the situation was the fact that Iranians had taken the US Embassy employees hostage during Khomeini’s reign. To make things worse, Sophie and her family were not US citizens yet, and held Iranian passports.
A week before Sophie reunited with her family in the UK, as she sat with her mother in an outdoor cafe in California, with her mother, a middle-aged fellow approached them. “Where are you ladies from…? What’s that language you are speaking together? ”
Before, Sophie had a chance to utter a word, her mother cut in, “We are from Iran, and the language we are speaking is Armenian.”
Sophie felt extremely uneasy. She thought it was not the right time to let people know they had any ties to Iran. In fact, she felt annoyed with her mother. Sophie herself, never used the word Iran. When somebody asked her where she was from, she said, “Persia.”
The moment that nosy character found out they were Iranians; he fretted, and asked Sophie’s mother, “Don’t tell me you miss your land!”
She sighed, smiled, and said confidently, “Yes, sir, I miss my land a lot.”
Now, Sophie really felt like she was about to have a heart attack.
Why do you have to embarrass me the way you did? She thought of telling her.
The man, in turn, laughed sarcastically and added, “Then, what are you doing here? Just go back to your beloved Iran!”
Sophie’s mother did not even bother to explain that they were Christian. She simply said, “I assure you. If I really had a chance, I would definitely go back to my birthplace, and die there.”
Presently, Sophie felt proud of her mother, rather than being upset with her, and suddenly thought that she was nothing but a loyal person.
And, come to think of it, I as the narrator of this story believe, if she were still alive, she would have made a genuine and dedicated US citizen.