Monday, April 10, 2006

Beautiful, Brainy and Passionate about Iran

When Nazanin Afshin-Jam won Miss World Canada, I read about it in a Persian language weekly. Of course, I was proud. The success of any Iranian makes me proud, but I didn’t glean on it too much at the time. In the back of my mind, I probably thought to myself, here is another pretty Iranian girl whose cosmetics bag is probably more precious to her than the destiny of her country. Perhaps, I thought to myself, here is another pretty Iranian girl who has been landed with a unique opportunity to voice the plight of her people to the world, but will probably refuse to get involved in Iran related issues. At best, I thought, she may take up some more fashionable cause, which has nothing to do with Iran. I remember a friend of mine, whose son, has a talent for song writing and playing the guitar. He played a recording of his son to me once. It was about the troubles of Bosnian refugees. All very good, I told my friend but do you encourage him to record a song for the Iranian people too? “Oh, he doesn’t want to have much to do with Iran!” was my friend’s strange blasé reply!

May be, I am a cynic, but when I watch the likes of tennis player, Andrea Agassi, publicly resent their Iranian roots or read about the likes of successful entrepreneurs, Sahar Haschemi ((Skinny Candy!) – who say they consider themselves Persian not Iranian! and don’t really want to talk about Iran, then I have some right to be cynical, no?

I can name tons more names that fall in this category both famous and those not so famous that I have personally come across. You know the type I mean, turning up their surgically manipulated noses, and cautious about the tons of make up they use not cracking up, saying something like “ooh, I don’t want to get involved in Iran stuff!”.

But boy, was I wrong about Nazanin Afshin-Jam? I was so wrong, I should eat my hat – if I had one that is!

Nazanin Afshin-Jam is in fact, beautiful, brainy and passionate about Iran and her people. She is what I call a woman of substance. Unlike most other Iranian girls in her shoes, she is not afraid to use her position for the good of her people. Most noteworthy she has taken up the cause of another Nazanin, a less fortunate 18 year old compatriot who has been sentenced to death in Iran for killing a man in self-defense when she and her niece were being assaulted (the men were trying to rape them). Nazanin has since adopted the cause of her namesake in Iran.

She has also recorded a song of hope for the young Iranian generation. “Some Day” speaks to the young Iranians who are suffering from the “regressive revolution” of their previous generation. It speaks about staying strong, rising above hardships and driving forward to free our country from the curse of the totalitarian theocratic regime in Iran.

Read the lyrics to Some Day

Nazanin, is also very approachable and down to earth. She was kind enough to answer some of my questions.

I questioned her about the apathy of a large section of Iranian ex-pats, but rather than mirroring my emotional resentment, she was more analytical about some of the underlying reasons. She told me :
I don't know if most Iranian ex-pats have "forgotten" their roots. I think they are just lost as to what they can do or should do. I think that many who were witness to the atrocities during and since the Revolution are still fearful to speak out. Even living in free corners of the world like Canada, US and Europe, they still feel they are being "watched". Others want to visit their family members in Iran but do not want to be put on a "black list". As for "pretending they have nothing to do with Iran anymore", I think this is also divided. There are those who are very proud and outspoken about their Iranian roots and there are others who do not want to be associated with how Iran is being represented in current times. With Islamic fundamentalists ruling the state, and with a President claiming that Israel should be wiped off the map, I don't blame people for wanting to be removed of such extreme rhetoric. By doing just that, however, they are denying the world the opportunity to learn about the true, rich, ancient culture of Iran and the strength of Iranian people. We Iranians have the oldest culture on Earth, we have persevered through many battles and we remain strong and determined people. Iranians are recognized at the top of their ranks in all fields around the world. We should not be ashamed of our true being and we should be proud and work towards bringing our "compatriots" forward so that they will have better opportunities.

She co-wrote the lyrics of “Some Day” with her talented brother-in-law.
When I heard about young Nazanin I wanted to dedicate my song "Someday" to her and the other oppressed youth of Iran, so I added it on my site and hopefully I will get to send - or better yet hand deliver- the song to her.” Nazanin told me.


As our conversation was shortly after the Nowrooz festivities, I asked her how she celebrated it. “I was blessed to be able to celebrate Nowrooz with my beloved family. We had a simple "haft seen" set up, the sweet smell of "sombol" and the muffled sound of a Persian television program counting down the last seconds. My mother was well aware NOT to have goldfish in a bowl from years of complaints from my sister and me claiming "cruelty to animals. Of course we brought in the New Year with lots of hugs and kisses. What made it particularly special was having my amazing 89-year-old grandmother with me.

Finally, I asked Nazanin, some day will we meet up in Iran?
Her reply was full of optimism and hope.
Yes, dear Potkin, "someday" we and the rest of Iranian youth will meet up in a free, democratic Iran walking the path that Cyrus the Great had paved. I can't get over the irony that the very country that brought forth "Human Rights" is now among the countries furthest from such beauty."

35 comments:

Khashayar said...

Now thats what I call an Iran-dokht! Well done to Nazanin. Iran needs men and women like her desperately.

Nazenin said...

Well Done Nazanin. Where can we listen to your song?

Azarmehr said...

You can listen to "Some Day" here:
http://www.myspace.com/nazaninmusic

Anonymous said...

Wow...her passion for Iran is simply touching. Good for her family to raise such a great daughter.
Thx Potkin jun, this was refreshing!

Elly

Anonymous said...

My best regards to you and to both Nazanins. I wish very very good success, and prosperity for Nazanin the"Beautiful, Brainy, and Passionate about Iran". And also I wish freedom for Nazanin the very brave Iranian girl. I 'm sure she 'll be freed. God bless Iran.

Anonymous said...

My best regards to you and to both Nazanins. I wish very very good success, and prosperity for Nazanin the"Beautiful, Brainy, and Passionate about Iran". And also I wish freedom for Nazanin the very brave Iranian girl. I 'm sure she 'll be freed. God bless Iran.

FEREYDON said...

Dear Nazanin, Thabks for Some Day.
That day is today.Our dreams are here and now bucouse we are right and we deserve more than this sham Khalifat of Islam.

Anonymous said...

this blog sux

Anonymous said...

Azarmehr!
knowing about your bully nature and seeing yor picture next to Nazanin's, what comes to mind is Beauty and the Beast!!!

Azarmehr said...

who did I ever bully that you know about?

Anonymous said...

didnt you once try to stop Massoud Behnood from voting at the polling station in London:
http://behnoudonline.com/2005/06/050618_007920.shtml

and he referred to you on VOA as shaban bi-mokh?

Azarmehr said...

behnood is a fairy tale teller. If you want to believe someone who makes a good living out of turning fact into fiction, its your problem. We didnt threaten or bully anyone that day, including Behnood. We simply talked to our Iranian compatriots who live in London and vote in IRI "elections". Wanted to know what drives them into doing so. We had a friendly and polite discussion with anyone who was prepared to talk back to us, thats all.

Neda said...

Nazanine is a good role model for young Iranians. The message is that all of us must care about our country and do what we can to free it from the clutches of the mullahs.

Aryamehr said...

I've followed news on this Iranian lady and this is indeed something I would expect from an honorable compatriot like her. She has been successful in her modelling career and she will be succesful in politics as well. God bless her and more power to her. I really liked her song "someday"; just beautiful.

Azarmehr-jaan i've been trying to contact you before but I believe the emails I've used where all old. How can I send an email to you in private? If you could please send me an email on aryamehr11@yahoo.com

Best regards

Anonymous said...

what a lovely lovely beautiful person she is.

sid said...

i do hope naznein will be ok, no am not talking about the "beauty queen"! and by the way the quote u've got there is my favourite too

Aryamehr said...

I've been following news on this Iranian Lady since since her success in the Miss World contest and did not expect any less than what she is currently pursuing. She is a true Iranian lady who loves her country and is not afraid of speaking her heart. Every word spoken by this honorable lady is a thorn in the eyes of the Islamic Republic and it's savage followers.

I wish her success in any endevour that she choses to follow.

Her song "someday" is simply beautiful, I do recommend to all of you to listen to it on her myspace site:

http://www.myspace.com/nazaninmusic

Anonymous said...

I read your blogspot concerning Nazanin Afshin-Jam, Miss World Canada 2003. She is in a position to do much good for Iran, maybe even stave off impending devastation. Long ago in the days of the Sassanian dynasty, Scheherazade of the Thousand and One nights used her power as a beautiful and intelligent woman to save her people. Maybe Nazanin is a descendent of Scheherazade. She is certainly heir to her tradition.

Sincerely,
Eric Jerpe
www.beckoningstar.com

Anonymous said...

Dear Potkin
This time I had some spare time to read the story you placed in your site
about the Iranian beauty.
I really respect this girl who is not only beautiful but inteligent and
brave as well.I do admire such women.
I've always tried to fill my life with
sence like she does,because beauty is something temporal.
I know another person who is not ashamed of being Iranian.He is even singing in farsi and on MTV there are plenty of his hits.His name is
Arash.In my country people like his songs but few of them know he is singing in farsi.

Azarmehr said...

I like Arash's songs too, and I know he is very popular in many European countries but he has hardly ever shown that he cares about the political situation in Iran.

Arash, Arash sardame ...
Hardly the same lyrics as Some Day :)

Anonymous said...

Hey Azarmehr I am an unfan of you but you write some good stuff still I am not a fan!

Azarmehr said...

Good for you!

Ingrid_indigo said...

azarmehr

Ingrid_indigo said...

azarmehr:

people like you and nazanin make a better world lets make a huge net of love

light & love

fighting for the liberty of our hearts and our rights
blessings dear brother

Mexico

Anonymous said...

azarmehr:

people like you and nazanin make a better world lets make a huge net of love

light & love

fighting for the liberty of our hearts and our rights
blessings dear brother

Mexico

Anonymous said...

azarmehr:

people like you and nazanin make a better world lets make a huge net of love

light & love

fighting for the liberty of our hearts and our rights
blessings dear brother

Mexico

Anonymous said...

azarmehr:

people like you and nazanin make a better world lets make a huge net of love

light & love

fighting for the liberty of our hearts and our rights
good bless you dear brother

Mexico

Anonymous said...

azarmehr:

people like you and nazanin make a better world lets make a huge net of love

light & love

fighting for the liberty of our hearts and our rights
good bless you dear brother

Mexico

Anonymous said...

azarmehr:

people like you and nazanin make a better world lets make a huge net of love

light & love

fighting for the liberty of our hearts and our rights
good bless you dear brother

Mexico

global said...

An article on a greek newspaper had this about Nazanin.
I put it too in my blog and I e-mailed as a chain e-mail to all my friends.
I can not believe that this is happening.
I hope this woman will be safe.
And all this will stop.

Anonymous said...

I don't know what to say. Thank you so much for what you are doing. Sometimes I forget there is still hope in the world but people like you remind me of that. God, I really wish the girl will be ok! I will do everything I can to help... message from Greece!

??? said...

but who is the owner of this weblog?

متین said...

سلام خدمت شما نازنین عزیز
برای اینکه شما از زنان ایران در مقابل این ظلم وستم حمایت می کنید
سپاسگذارم
وبرای شما وخانواده تان آرزوی موفقیت دارم واز ته قلب دعا می کنم که روزی شما را در ایران آزاد ببینم و در ضمن شما واقعا زیبا هستیدودر پایان شما را از ته قلب دوست دارم

mahdi said...

آه ....آه از مردن از قبر تنگ
می رسد روزی که ..........

Anonymous said...

very useful article. I would love to follow you on twitter. By the way, did you learn that some chinese hacker had hacked twitter yesterday again.