The Blink of an Eye
The Islamic Revolution took place in February, 1979 in Iran. Many people were very unhappy with some of the Shah’s policies, such as suppression of his opponents. Iran, however, was in the right direction, and it was going to be a very powerful country in economy, agriculture, sports and science in the near future, but people demanded more political liberty. People thought if the regime changes, they can have more political liberty. The people weren’t sure what kind of regime they were looking for, but one thing was certain; they didn’t want Shah to be in power. The Shah, however, didn’t take them seriously, so the revolution happened. This revolution, which was led by Ayatollah Khomeini, changed everything really fast. The revolution caused isolation of Iran by other countries, the Iran-Iraq war and violation of human rights.
One of the most important incidents that happened after the revolution was the effort to isolate Iran by western countries, especially the U.S., because of Iran’s foreign policy. The U.S. government and some other countries started to put sanctions on Iran. These sanctions have had a huge effect on Iranians and my family. The sanctions started in 1979, and affected everything from transportation, banking and health to commerce, import, export and various industries. Once, one of my relatives needed medicine for his heart, but it couldn’t be found in Iran due to sanctions. It is dangerous to travel by plane, because most of the aircrafts are old, and due to sanctions, airlines aren’t able to buy new parts to replace with the old ones. On numerous occasions the plane I was on had difficulties for landing. I’m lucky that I haven’t lost my life in a plane crash. Also, I have a lot of issues in airports in other countries while traveling abroad. When I came to Chicago, the officer checked my entire luggage at the airport, and I was stuck there for hours because I have an Iranian passport. This definitely wasn’t the way Persians were treated at foreign airports before the revolution.
The revolution also led to the Iran-Iraq war, which had a huge negative effect on my family. The war lasted from September 1980 to August 1988. This war was started by Iraqi president, Saddam Hussein, who had the support of the Soviet Union and the United States. My parents say that the war had a very negative influence on them. They were always under stress, and there was war atmosphere everywhere. Their schools were sometimes closed, and they weren’t able to get a good education during those years. Moreover, the war affected food supplies. Their families had a hard time getting food and other life supplies. For instance, they had to wait in long lines for hours in order to get milk and eggs. Although currently my family and I have a good life, we could probably have a much better life now if they would have studied, instead of trying to obtain basic life supplies at that time.
Furthermore, human rights in Iran have constantly been violated since the revolution, and there is not much of freedom now. In the Shah era, the government was secular, and there was democracy. Alcohol was permitted and the hijab was optional. Anyone who wanted to be a Muslim and practice Islam was free to do it, and anyone who didn’t want to be a Muslim was also free to not to be a Muslim. However, it has been a different story after the revolution. All of my class-mates in elementary, middle and high schools were boys, because all the schools in Iran must be single-sex. This issue caused me a lot of problems in my relationships because I have never had a good chance to become more familiar with the opposite sex. As a boy, it has always been difficult for me to get to know girls. Besides, there is no freedom of religion or speech in Iran. I have never had the chance to learn about other religions or to freely oppose the Iranian government’s policies. It has been like this since the revolution happened.
Today, I wonder if the people who revolted are satisfied, and got what they were looking for. However, I’m pretty sure that if this revolution hadn’t happened, I probably wouldn’t be here in Chicago now and I would be living with my family in Iran. Before the revolution, Iran was a great country with just some minor problems, but now it isn’t a really great country, and it has a lot of problems. As an Iranian, I hope all these problems will eventually be solved and Iran will be a great country, like it was in the past.