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[[ Download ]] ⇭ Americanized: Rebel Without a Green Card ↙ Chapter OneA Brief but Juicy History of My Birthplace and My Birth I swear on my autographed copy of Ethan Hawkes debut novel that this chapter will not be dull, so please dont skim or skip over it If you wont take my word for it and have no vested interest in broadening your worldview, heres the most important takeaway Iran is not pronounced I ran its pronounced e ron Spread the word Tell all your friends Tweet it Shout it from the rooftops Correct people Itll make you sound smart and cultured On behalf of my fellow Iranians e ron ians , we thank youNow, for those juicy historical details you were promised Real talk Iran has dealt with its fair share of strife and political unrest And while Im not one to point fingers or lay blame the United States and Britain were totally at fault Okay, thats not entirely accurate The West might not be directly accountable for all of Irans drama, but they definitely stirred the pot, back in the early s During that time, Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadegh ruled Iran Personally, I consider the man a hero He was a democratically elected leader, and a progressive But his main claim to fame was that he nationalized Irans oil industry Prior to Mossadegh, the countrys most valuable resource was under British control But why let the Brits instead of Iranians profit off of Irans most lucrative industry Thats the equivalent of Kanye West pocketing all the profits fromthe Taylor Swift album, not the year in history Thus, Iran told the British oil companies to hit the road, and the Brits were predictably pissed Mossadegh to Britain Bye, FeliciaSo Britain decided to call in a favor to their bestie the United States If texting had existed at that time, then Winston Churchill would have sent President Eisenhower a bunch of crying faced emojis According to Churchill, they needed to get rid of Mossadegh The United States was initially reluctant to get involved, but Britain pointed out that Irans beloved prime minister had newly gained the support of the Tudeh Party an Iranian communist party and the country would eventually go red Oh, hell no it wouldnt Our man Mossadegh wasnt even a fan of socialism Not to mention, the Tudeh Party frequently turned against him So Eisenhower said, Were in And thats when the CIA and Britains Secret Intelligence Service decided to buddy up and formulate a secret coup to overthrow Mossadegh They called it Operation Ajax Possibly named for the mythological Greek hero or the cleaning product Your guess is as good as mine It was decided that Irans ruling monarch at the time, Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi yes, Mohammad is like the Mike of Iran , would take over for Mossadegh Initially, the shah said, You people are nuts Everyone loves Mossadegh Youre asking me to commit political suicide But then the United States threatened to dismiss the shah as well, and he was like How soon do we get this overthrow party started Long story short, the coup was a success Mossadegh was jailed for three years and then placed under house arrest, till his death inKind of ironic that today the United States would really lovedemocratic countries in the Middle East, and Iran was one, until the CIA got involved Jaccuse The short term wins for the United States and United Kingdom included regaining limited access to Irans oil by having a stake in a holding company called Iranian Oil Participants, or IOP After the overthrow of Mossadegh, public opinion in Iran was so against the Brits taking total control of the countrys oil supply again that IOP was the United Kingdoms next best optionMeanwhile, post coup, the shah and his family were living it up on diamond studded thrones until everything went off the rails again, inThis time, the political unrest wasnt orchestrated by foreign powers It was the people of Iran who were fed up with the monarchy, and they had good reason For starters, the Pahlavi family was ridiculously rich, and shamelessly extravagant with their money Iranians respected properly gained wealth, but they objected to the shahs fortune, because much of it was stolen from the people Which is why, beyond the walls of the palace, the countrys economy was in the crapper Families struggled to put food on the table, while the royal family spent hundreds of millions of dollars on parties to celebrate the monarchy Not to mention that the shah had a secret police force called SAVAK, which had a reputation for torturing and executing anyone who opposed the monarchy Side note America and Israel helped establish SAVAK In fact, the CIA helped train the officers, which means they played a significant role in the torture and murder of thousands of shah detractors But at this point, even the United States was over the shah because wait for it he increased the price of oil The overwhelming dislike for the Pahlavi dynasty gave birth to the Iranian Revolution, and by then my parents were also fed up with the regimes inhumane tactics My baba, Ali, joined the protests, and eventually the shah was exiledMostly everyone in Iran SWEET But with every revolution comes the risk that the new regime might suck worse than the old one, and some felt that happened when the Ayatollah Khomeini the guy with the long beard and turban imam accessories that many now associate with stereotypes like terrorism came into power Keep in mind that the Tehran of my parents generation during the shahs reign was a burgeoning metropolis with European sensibilities My mamanwalked the streets of her neighborhood in itty bitty miniskirts, with her long, wavy brown hair blowing freely in the windDuring his bachelor days, my dad regularly had girlfriends who he could take out in public The consumption of alcohol was legal, and no one had to worry about the religious police arresting them for throwing a coed party Tehran the countrys capital was a vacation hot spot, and a travel destination for many Westerners Also, just so were clear my parents didnt travel around town on a camel If you want to picture Tehran in your head, dont conjure up images of Agrabah the fictional city in Aladdin Think New York CityBut when Khomeini came to power, he founded the Islamic Republic of Iran and introduced Islamic lawto the country Suddenly there were strict dress codes for women that required them to cover up their hair, men and women unless they were married were mostly segregated, Western music and movies were banned, and alcohol became illegal For some, Khomeini was a total buzzkill Of course, the new laws thrilled the countrys religious citizens, but my mostly secular family wasnt having it My mom had great hair It would have been a cardinal sin to cover up those luscious chestnut locks That said, while the country was deprived of my moms shampoo commercial quality tresses, there were also benefits to the Islamic Revolution For instance, the literacy rate in Iran nearly tripled up topercent, higher than the United States , because social conservatives were comfortable with sending their daughters to school, now that their classmates would also be wearing head scarves One could argue that the revolution oppressed women, while others could argue it helped liberate themMeanwhile, the shah and his family, now in exile, were desperately looking for a country to take them in President Carter reluctantly allowed them into the United States so the shah could receive surgery for non Hodgkins lymphoma, but then all hell broke loose in Tehran Iranians wanted the shah returned to the country so he could be tried for war crimes When the United States refused to send him back, a bunch of Iranian students stormed the US embassy and took fifty two Americans hostage see the Academy Awardwinning movie Argo As if a hostage crisis and an Iranian revolution werent complicated enough, bythe country also found itself at war with Iraq The conflict was mostly geopolitical, with a long standing border dispute between both nations With the support of the United States ahem , Iraq invaded Iran At this point, the United States was politically motivated to back Iraq in the war After Irans revolution, the new regime was pushing hostile propaganda against the West Iran was also gaining allies in the Middle East, and the US government worried the country would become the sole power in the region, thus wielding far too much influence But guess what else happened inI was born Maman means mom in FarsiIslamic law also referred to as Sharia is a set of moral laws that come from the Quran instead of legislation by the people Some aspects of Islamic law are observed in Irans legal system, but today the country mostly operates under civil law, ratified by the parliamentAtimely reflection on the realities of immigrant lives, a must read for anyone who has ever struggled with their identity or finding their place in the worldBustle Filled with pop culture references, journal excerpts, photographs, and relatable coming of age content, this book will keep readers fully entertained while pushing them to deeper cultural understandings School Library Journal,starred review This irresistible and timely memoir is hard to put down Booklist, starred reviewWith gumption, Saedi draws from her American ness and Iranian ness for a successful depiction of immigrant life in the US a must read Kirkus Reviews,starred review This is an encounter with a family that many readers will understand and others will long to be a part of, and it may inspire them to reconsider and chronicle their own family tales Bulletin,starred review