Many commercially successful, admired and respected people who’ve left Iran are still deemed as the honour of our country as they symbolise a time where Iran was prosperous, flourishing and esteemed all around the world. And many of those who still are leaving quickly portray themselves in the same manner – teasing the fish in the aquarium they feel that they’ve come from with the greatness of the ocean that now is their home. But who’s actually there for us? All these people we respect, look up to and maybe even idolise – what kind of moral obligations have they lived up to in order to actually deserve the praise and honour that we so easily throw their way?
Even though I’m not exactly sure what I’d expect or require from those who’ve left, I’d at least prefer if they wouldn’t wallow in arrogance and conceit; not only for their own sakes, but also to not make their old friends back in Iran who don’t have what they have to feel bad about it. Because a lot of those things are both more superficial than they are vital and more hollow than they are fulfilling, and more importantly, they give people the feeling that they lack things they don’t even need and, in some cases, shouldn’t even want.
We see everything from countless of pictures of all the kinds of alcohol they drink to zillions of videos of the parties and concerts they go to and act wildly at, but why? Why is this what they choose to share? Why not pictures of empty cobble pavements, cosy cafés or, say, Iranian literature that they discover in libraries? And why not sincere videos aimed at the Iranian community, in which they express the things they miss and long for? Surely, the things they share can’t be what they left for?
I reckon that most of the people who choose to solely share the more “extreme” things used to get upset themselves back when they couldn’t partake in them and that this feeling of having shortcomings mixed with desires later leads to them performing actions that in some ways are contradictory to their initial values and ideas.
In psychology, cognitive dissonance refers to the uncomfortable state of having inconsistent beliefs or attitudes relative to one’s behaviour, which motivates us to reduce the dissonance by either changing our attitudes and beliefs or by avoiding information that conflicts with them. Many of those who justify their actions or beliefs do so by rationalising, i.e. by constructing a logical reason for their behaviour such as saying that at least they’re “just having fun” and not “doing something that’s even worse”, or anything that’s “hurting anybody.”
Well I may be going out on a limb here in saying this, but I feel that most Iranians who live abroad are hurting a whole lot of people by doing these things. You might have left, but your words and actions linger on. What you do on your own free time is of course no one’s business but your own, but don’t give your old friends and relatives a simplified and inaccurate image of your life when you from experience know how harmful that can be. Take the responsibility that those before you didn’t take. Don’t leave your countrymen wondering who’s there for them. Just like how the fish in an aquarium look at the people outside more often and constantly than vice versa, those who haven’t left foremost look at you. So just because you’ve left, please don’t stop caring about doing what’s right, look back at those who look at you.