Pejman Yousefzadeh has a moving cri de coeur today in Tablet Magazine on the contradictions one must grapple with when you are (as he is) an American-born Iranian Jew. Later in the essay, he has some important and provocative things to say about the Iranian-Israeli crisis, and he condemns the Obama administration’s failure to take a stronger rhetorical stand on the side of those who protest the ayatollahs’ regime.
But to me, the most memorable parts of the piece are the portraits of the writer as a young radical. “The images from Iran made me intensely political in 1978, at the tender age of 6,” Yousefzadeh relates. And there is this story:
From the very beginnings of the revolution, it was made clear to me that our family could not possibly visit Iran until a fundamental governmental change took place. In a phone call as a child, I once told my grandmother, who’d remained in Iran, that I probably would not be able to see her until there was a counterrevolution; an indiscretion that prompted my parents to quickly take the phone out of my hands, for fear the line was eavesdropped and I might get my family in trouble.