In my last vacation I visited Armenia and saw a lot of Iranian Muslims that had established businesses there. At first I was resentful and angry. I thought that the government should not allow this. Then I thought, wait a minute isn't this what we Armenians and half of the world population is doing in America? We come here get educated, get married, have kids, get jobs, and if anyone tries to curtail our freedoms we raise hell. People move about, they go where they can find employment, happiness and freedom. We do not live in an ideal world. An ideal world has never existed and never will. Some countries have diamonds, some have oil, some have cheep labor or strategic advantages. The rule of the jungle still applies. The powerful take advantage of the weak. The powerful colonize, invade, and occupy the weaker countries. All people and governments want to survive and they will do anything to that end.
My husband and I came to the US to study, get a degree and go back to Iran. We didn't go back because Iran had a revolution, threw out their king who was a US puppet, and established Islamic law. Both our parents advised us to stay put. We felt lonely, uprooted, unwanted and unloved. We didn't come here to stay. We had temporary lives through out our student days. We didn't buy real cars or furniture. The junk that the graduating students left behind became our stuff. We were frugal because we felt that the money that our parents sent us was only for tuition and not for leisure. And now that the time had come to go home we couldn't. We missed so much of our family life. Our sisters and brothers got married and had kids that we never saw. Christmases and Esters lost all meaning without our families. They suffered and we suffered and no matter how many letters or phone calls we were home sick all the time. But in time the pain got dull and we got on with our lives. We became citizens, had jobs paid taxes and voted. All this time our names, our faces and our accents made us targets for bigotry and discrimination. Sure there are numerous prominent Armenians in the U.S. they must have overcame enormous obstacles or have had fantastic luck or well placed friends, but us, the average immigrants aren't so lucky. We always need to work harder, be smarter, have more education and wait longer or forever for that brass ring. Why do you think most immigrants have their own businesses? Because they have a much harder time getting jobs, becoming managers, or CEOs. Today in America the minorities that supposedly have some legal protection against discrimination are the African Americas and the Mexicans/Latinos. The Europeans are in vogue because of their unique English accent as evidenced in their increasing numbers on TV. The rest of us who might have come here from any Middle Eastern country, Arab country, or any where else not too familiar to Americans, we suffer discrimination daily in our lives. Most of us keep our mouths shot because we think we are lucky enough to be here and that in itself should be enough. I personally feel like an unwanted distant relative barely tolerated and try to make my presence very inconspicuous.
I used to be a proud member of my family and clan and had no feelings of inferiority, but living in this country for 33 years has changed my psyche. Because of covert discrimination I have become very cynical, non trusting, bitter and resentful. I have never felt that I belong, included or free. This is the price I paid.