Iran News ...


Payback Time

By Syma Sayyah, Tehran

Many Payvand readers write to me for many diverse and different reasons. One of them was a youngish reader who asked me if I could help him find an NGO that he could work for during his forthcoming visit to Tehran. I introduced him to one such NGO which asked him to get in touch with them to arrange things.

Last month he came to Iran to visit his family and informed me that this educational NGO had arranged speech programs and workshops for him in Tehran and a few other cities. I was very impressed with his dedication and his sense of devotion to his motherland so I went to see him. He had just got back from his birthplace in the south, Masjed Soleyman, where the first oil well in the Middle East is located, and many million barrels of Iranian oil have been produced there in the last 100 years.

He told me that the locals used to call it the City of First Things. When I asked him why, he said it was because Masjed Soleyman was the city where many things had arrived from abroad for the first time, for example, airplanes, railway, bowling, restaurants, cars, proper sewage system and rural sanitation, proper roads and so on. He was so sad that his beloved town was now so run down and smelled of methane gas everywhere and the oil was oozing out of the ground in many parts.

Apparently mismanagement, lack of proper city planning and corruption are among the many causes of decay and putrefying of this once excellent city. These factors as well as a shortage of water in parts of the city are partly responsible for people's lack of cooperation with authorities and their dissatisfaction in general.

When I asked him why he wanted to work for an NGO here he said, "It is the payback time! For my homeland."

He had left Iran many years ago to pursue his studies in the United States, and he had started full time work at one of the top companies there in 1997. He comes back to see his family every few years. He believes in simple yet very hard things to do in life, good deeds, good thoughts and good sayings. From what I have seen, he is true to himself and his beliefs. He likes walking by the ocean as well as getting together with his friends. He seemed to be a very kind and spiritual individual, happy with what he has become; and when I asked him why he comes back he said "mehr inn jasst" - affection is here; whether from family, old friends, even society at large.

I asked him what he is looking for in life he said his aim is enlightenment. Not happiness? I asked. No, he said, as happiness is conditional and dependent on external forces. I am sure you join me in wishing him a very safe trip back to his home and hope that many follow his route and come back even for a short spell and pay back some of that debt which they feel they owe.

... Payvand News - 6/23/05 ... --

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