It was one bright sunny day when a man with flip flop changed my life. He was a revolutionary guard who came to our door. You see I was a Baha’i and it was not a right religion to have then and there in Iran of 1983. Within a day, revolutionary court ruled that I am a heretic- my parents have been one- and my grandparents even worse because they converted from Islam to Baha’i faith. I left the court that afternoon and packed a small pack and hit the road to: salvation by immigration. I left for the unknown- not by choice but by force.
The only thing I took was my belief and a bundle of experience and life achievements that I thought made me who I am, and naively felt will keep me and my pride in tacked -- My true self was hidden somewhere amongst those peels.
First peel of my ego came off when at united nation high commission for refugees I was recognized as stateless. You see, I took pride in being a member of the nation state that I belonged to. I was a proud Iranian.
Second peel came off when I came to Canada and could not speak as eloquently as I could in my mother tongue. You see I could convince people with my tongue. Woody Allen would say; I was Hemingway of B.S. I would say an orator by nature.
Third peel came off when all past educational achievements came to nothing, and I had to start from scratch. You see I took pride in holding a doctorate degree and was called Dr. Roya
The fourth peel came off when with a Canadian graduate degree still I would get jobs way lower than my fellow Canadian graduates. You see, I had two Canadian Degrees from MacLean Magazine top rated universities.
The last peel came off when I lost my health to Cancer. That was the moment that I understood that my core that binds me to the humanity is all bare and the peels of Ego are off.
Still I have my moments of despair and anger. About persecutions that make us homeless, unwise policies that strip us bare of our real productivity and possibility for contribution---------- and above all it is about injustice- systematic or haphazard. When I think my reasons for being peeled, but it is not about me anymore it is about us all.
I know how all the material things that we take pride in are so transitory and unreliable. If we are lucky we will experience the peeling- and our soul comes through young and vibrant with no attachment to anything fleeting.
Thank you immigration for peeling me raw from ego and binding me to humanity.