Your reasons for choosing to emigrate to Australia will be varied. For us, as adults we saw the local parks and playing fields we used to play on as kids, turned into graffiti and syringe strewn scrap heaps.
Australia presented us with the opportunity for a better life for our kids. The affordable housing, wide open spaces and beautiful weather were just the icing on the cake.
As a ‘Pom’ it was relatively easy for us to accept the ‘better life’ we now have down under. Comparitivly speaking, it wasn’t that different from the life we left behind. For families from other countries though, life in Australia is a VERY different life indeed!
One example would be good friends of ours who migrated to Australia from South Africa. The barbecues have been great, the summer evenings have been warm and yet the stories they have shared with us have at times, been quite chilling!
For starters, life in South Africa meant that keeping a loaded gun (for protection) in the house was a way of life. Each night the dad of the family had to load a gun which he then kept at the side of the bed in case someone broke into their home!
The family of four (2 adults and 2 great kids) lived in a quite affluent area. One night their dogs were poisoned, the thief’s (with loaded weapons) climbed the 6 foot high fence surrounding their property and broke into their home whilst the kids slept inside! Terrifying…!
Life in Iran
I guess one of the things that has prompted me to write todays post is the recent events in Iran.
Now I’m not going to get all political on you but over the past few months I’ve been communicating with a friendly Iranian chap by the name of Hooman.
Hooman and his wife are looking to start a new life in Melbourne. He’s still going through the visa process but his recent emails made me realise how much we take our new life in Australia for granted.
A new Life in Australia for Hooman wouldn’t be about sunny weather and nice beaches, its about something that many of us take for granted. A small something called ‘freedom’!
I asked Hooman if he’d mind writing a short article for Getting Down Under to help our readers understand what life is currentlly like in Iran.
This story made me shudder to and is certainly food for thought! The full article is posted below.
Born to be Free
Our Life is sum of all the moments we have chosen and all the moments we have missed. The combination of wanted and unwanted desires will create a path which we later call FATE.
My name is Hooman, I am 31, from IRAN and it’s been 5 years since I have been married to my beautiful wife Maryam. This is a short story of my life in the past two months:
When you’ve lived in a country like Iran long enough, you will understand the taste of words. Some words are bitter like revenge, but some are mild sour and makes a wave inside your stomach when you think about them, one of these words is â€œillegalâ€.
In this country drinking alcohol, having girlfriend, showing up without scarf in public (for women), listen to loud music, throwing a party, having high heels and wearing short jeans (for women again) and so many other natural habits are illegal.
Illegal in Iran means if they find out about one of the mentioned charges, and you get caught; they can arrest you and drag you to a court where you will see a single man acting as judge, jury, defending attorney and the rest of the cure. He is the only one who can free you, put you in jail, lash you or fine you for your behavior.
The strange part about it is you can have all the above inside your homes (they call it underground life) and that’s when the mild sour taste of the word illegal comes into play. All Iranians have all sorts of freedom in their personal lives but they always have the shadow of punishment by a dictator upon them.
Last month, the competition leading up to a national election started in this country, there is a group called Shora e Negahban (Community of the guardians) in Iran, they have chosen four among themselves, so our options were choosing between the stupid or the idiot, after all four of them was chosen among the ones who have been trusted more.
Many people like me started to think the other way, for the last thirty years after every election, we all saw supreme leader on national TV telling the big lie that all the people who vote, voted to the republic.
This time however we wanted to be different, this time the mission was different, we wanted to choose some one other than a little dictator whose name was Ahmadi Nejad so our new generation tried to convince the older generation to vote after 30 years, just to at least get rid of the most stupid and to have an easier life.
We voted. We knew we would win, the smile on our faces on voting lines showed we all decided the same thing without consulting each other, there were dancing in the streets, we were happy and we sang â€œAhmadi bye bye!â€ (Goodbye Ahmadi Nejad) song in the streets and government soldiers were just watching us with a smile, after all they were all been paid to be a soldier but they are part of our family except a very little group among them who are savages.
On the day that the voting took place, I had two very strange calls, one was from a colleague who told me I have been checked by the Australian Embassy for the job I used to have almost three years ago! I was worried about this as I hoped that the company I used to work for would still had all the documents.
The second call was from my attorney, he was surprised that after 22 months of lodging and sending all the documents including my insurances (which was a huge mission gathering all those papers from the old governmental offices) my employer references were still being checked. His voice was cold and the words were sour when he said that because of global financial crisis, our case might be delayed and we should probably wait another 6 months!
The next day at 6am, I turned on the TV before going to work. I was not sure if I was having a bad dream or was I really awake! .. The TV was showing the little dictator had 68% and our chosen one only 30% and the rest of the votes have been split between the two other candidates!
We have been easily cheated, and the big lie was there on TV. On the evening we were all so angry. Maryam (my wife) suggested we go somewhere to condemn this fraud, it was almost 7pm, I was with my wife, my mom and my younger brother in a street near one of the universities which were surrounded by 100 guards.
I remember the other forces that didn’t had military clothes, they all had long sticks, they started to run toward us, they waved their sticks in the air when approaching us, and we as defenseless civilians started to run the other way.
When I started to run, I was thinking about my dreams for immigrating to Australia, to a free world, thinking about my wife who couldn’t run very fast, thinking about my Mom who was getting to old for these stupid shows, thinking about my young brother. I even thought about the implications on my job if I got caught, how I could definitely lose my job which is half governmental. They were trained army solders and most of them were in civilian clothes. We were ordinary people trying to make extraordinary changes.
This story is now continuing in the streets, but yesterday the stupid supreme leader declared a total war to civilians, and now it’s our choice for a full life, or to die and try to move a mountain alone!
Deep in my heart, I know there is going to be a better place, I have no doubt in my mind that I can find a job in Melbourne and will save my family and create a better life for all of them soon. After all I will choose â€œFREEDOM and HAPPINESSâ€ and these words taste Sweet!
Our Life is sum of all the moments we have chosen and all the moments we have missed, you could chose to stay at home or you could choose to come into the streets and get shot, now I know why my friend who has a 2 year old daughter didn’t choose to come to our sad street parade and I remember the taste of his words when he talked sadly!
Soon there will no sounds from us, they are trying to make us silent, it’s a possibility they can win, some of us might be lucky to immigrate to a better place like Australia, a place that can offer us a good life in freedom. Some will be killed in the street and some will drag themselves through the remains of their days in this country .. but this article is here to stay.
Thank you mark .. I hope the taste of the words will always be sweet for you.