January 16, 2020

Vice: What It’s Like When Your Two Home Countries are on the Brink of War

By Mana Mostatabi

I was born in Iran during the Iran-Iraq war [1980 to 1988], in a border town called Ahwaz. My family and I moved to San Francisco when I was very young, but most of my family still lives in Iran. My grandfather forced my mom and my dad to leave Iran during the war. He told them, Your kids can not have a good life here. They will do better things in America. I owe everything to my grandfather and my family who made so many sacrifices for me to be where I am today.

For me, [recent events in Iran] are mostly terrifying in terms of thinking of my family in Iran, who have come such a long way. A lot of them are civically engaged and they’ve pursued higher education. If we go to war, does that mean that my cousins who are studying to get their PhDs are now going to be conscripted and I’m basically going to be faced with another lost generation of family?

I’m also worried about repercussions here in America. After 9/11, millennials grew up in a world where all we’ve really known throughout our teens and our childhoods is Islamophobia, xenophobia, and fear stoked against vulnerable communities by our top leadership. It really fractured my identity and made me ashamed to be Iranian.

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