We recently invited our readers to share a short note describing a significant aspect of their memories of the years during and after the revolution. We are sharing selected stories here and will continue publishing such memories regularly. We invite you to share your memory too; submissions may be sent to email@example.com
One woman [at a meeting years later] described walking to Turkey from Iran with her small children after her business was closed and she was threatened with prison (she was saved by a kindly Muslim neighbor who warned her). She nearly died from lack of water during her journey.
[At the same meeting] a young man was with us who had entered prison with his Baha’i family as a baby and wasn’t released until he was five years old. Many remain reluctant to speak of losing their country, homes, possessions, and livelihoods, because they consider it unworthy to mention! Such is the nature of the Iranian Baha’is who are my companions. Their only crime was membership in the Baha’i Faith. We must work to tell these stories before it is too late.
I had a Bahai friend whose father was “arrested” on trumped up charges. He was the manager of a factory. My Bahai friend never heard from his father again and he lost all of his assets that were in Bank of America.
Because of that, even my wife and I were young with a young child and barely making it, we allowed him to stay with us for a while.
Over the years, I lost touch with him, and I don’t know if he ever heard from his father again. I believe his family survived the initial pogrom, but I don’t know if they made it through to today.
When my friend did have some money, before everything collapsed, we went to buy a car at a car dealership in Eureka, Calif., and the salesman refused to sell him a car because he was from Iran, and Iran had held Americans hostage.
We attempted to explain to him that my Bahai friend did not support that, and that Bahais were being killed in Iran at that time, but it was to no avail.
So, as his family and religious brethren were being persecuted in Iran, in America, land of the immigrant, land of the free, in Eureka, Calif., a salesman, who eventually became the owner of this longtime family owned business, although I don’t know if he still owns it, was so prejudiced that he refused to sell a car to an Iranian Bahai simply because he was Iranian.
This man said he was a former Marine, if memory serves me correctly, and was very patriotic, yet his prejudice was an insult to the very flag and country he so proudly said he protected. It was disgraceful.
Such guilt by association is repugnant and I could never understand why my family continued to buy cars from this person, who otherwise was an honest, good man, but very prejudicial at that time.
Hurtful beyond belief but as true as the sun rises.
I would mention his car dealership, but my family continued to buy cars from him throughout the years and were very pleased with him, but I never went back, after having purchased two cars from him, because of this incident.
I hope he now realizes that his scapegoating, stereotyping and prejudice were wrong.
However, prejudice is nothing new in Eureka, California. Just ask the Chinese who were forced out of Humboldt County. There are regions in China where they know the name of Eureka, California, because of the forced “removal” of all Chinese. (There are many sources to fact check this.)
Or ask Native Americans whose relatives were murdered in the 1800s and many of those who survived were then placed in corrals at Fort Humboldt. (For fact check on that, you can purchase Genocide in Northern California by Jack Norton Sr.)