Shiite Has Been Kicked Out of Me to Grow Up
The Clash of GroupThinks
My name is Massud Alemi (pronounced masood aaleh-mi), and I am
very proud to be a member of the IPC.
and bred in Tehran, Iran, I went to a Catholic school called Don
All the gory
details of my sordid life prior to coming to the U.S. can be found
in an essay, I wrote a few years back named Rootlessness. Soon
I will publish this essay as an article in IPC and then a complete
The gist of
it is that I came to America in 1977 to go to college, very little
prepared for what was going to happen within a couple of years.
As a result of the mess otherwise known as the Islamic Revolution
(1979), my family was scattered all over the globe. With the exception
of my father and a brother, we're all in the States now, and have
made it our home here. The Islamic Revolution of 1979 caught me
by surprise, as it did many others; nevertheless it made a huge
impact on me. I would argue that I along with my family and the
rest of the Iranian-Americans are the first victims of what is
now known as Islamic terrorism and fundamentalism.
I am married
and have two little girls: smart and studious Sophie (9), and
of course the funny and caring Layla (5).
I worked at
different jobs to put myself through school. Aside from non-career,
paid professions such as a stock-boy, bus-boy, cook, cabdriver,
ice-cream seller, courier, and non-career, non-paying positions
such as a political activist and consultant, I was for ten years
a graphic artist, working for various print houses around Washington
DC. That's before the computers were so prevalent. When computers
(Macintosh) began to invade our workplace, I was the go-to guy
for fixing glitches and printing problems. We output (printed)
images and text into lithographic films, which were then photo-chemically
burned into plates, and those were put on printing presses. There
was pressure to get everything right the first time, since the
lithographic film and plates weren't cheap. Anyways, I became
interested in computers for the precision they offered, the low
margin of error. I excelled in making them talk to each other
and that's how I insinuated myself into computer networking.
my BA a long long time ago in history from George Mason University,
in Fairfax, Virginia. I even went for masters in history, but
responsibilities caught up with me and I dropped out.
field, as diverse and colorful as it is, was able to hold my interest
for about 10 years, enough time for me to figure out that as an
Information Technology specialist I was very much interested in
the uses of IT to help underprivileged communities overcome the
side-effects of globalization. I developed a curiosity for the
new emerging field of ethics in global business, and read up a
lot on it and even went back to school and got an MBA in technology
management. I worked as computer network engineer to make ends
meet and put myself through school.
I think globalization
has created numerous opportunities in every field of human endeavor.
The most interesting aspect of it is the diversity of people and
geographical entities that are gravitating toward it. I live and
breathe it, and I think there is a lot that is going on in the
world that we all need to stay alert and learn as much as we can
in order to make a positive contribution. Globalization has also
presented tough challenges to governments and businesses around
the world. People (from both ends of the political spectrum) are
beginning to see the impact it is having. Depending on their understanding
of the global changes, people are reacting to it, sometimes seeing
only the negative effects. I feel that globalization brings with
it a wealth of resources that can be employed to lessen the negatives.
In all these
years of working and living in the United States of America, I
was fortunate enough to find out what my true passion is. A lot
of people go through life not knowing what they are born to accomplish
in the narrow space and time they are given on this earth of ours.
I consider myself one of the lucky ones. I continued to write
in both English and Persian. My writings have appeared in various
in-print and online publications. In addition to writing essays
and stories, both in English and Persian, I finished my first
novel, entitled "Interruptions." It will be out in January
15, 2008. I like to write and read, and I like to do these activities
with my daughters. Writing is my way to decompress, on my time
off from the world of work and cruel politics.
is about how interruptions in our daily lives define who we are.
Interruptions is about the various paths we choose when our daily
lives are severely interrupted. Farzin is a gay man living in
Tehran, who finds himself accused of a crime, which he did not
commit. He realizes that if he tells the truth to the authorities,
he will be more severely punished for his sexual orientation,
than for the crime which he is accused of having committed.
is an intimate look at the interrupted psyche of a nation whose
dreams of freedom and justice have been repeatedly trashed. Interruptions
is about the Iranian society which is full of life. In this society,
a nation held hostage by the fanatics, effects and interrupts
Farzin's life. Farzin has a rich family history and went through
many misfortunes but this episode will be a great challenge for
said something about how every nation has a caricature. The caricature
of the French, for example, is their vainglorious notion about
their cultural superiority. The caricature of America is the idea
of goodness. That no matter what happens God always sides with
America. I was always curious to know what caricature would fit
the idea of Iran. I searched a lot in books and came up short.
Until I decided to examine the idea closer, and write a story
complete with real characters that would help me understand who
we are and what we are made of. The result of that search became
the book that you will hopefully read and enjoy come January 15.
I basically maintain that we as a nation, or people, are defined
by the interruptions in our lives, in the life of our society,
history as well as our individual lives.
recommends this valuable and informative book by Massud Alemi:
had my publisher signed my book with the Library of Congress and
applied for its ISBN number and Copyright, than I started hearing
about the so called "reviews" I've been getting in the
websites connected to the regime. My book, Interruptions, is not
due out until mid January, and I am already getting badmouthed
from the sites associated with the Islamic republic of Iran. One
of them (MehrNews.com) has called my novel "anti-Iranian,"
"bleak" and "pessimistic." Another, (JahanNews.com)
says Interruptions "is set to negate the revolutionary values
on which the Islamic Revolution is based." Pretty hefty charges,
I say. A third one, which is run by the circle around Tehran's
mayor, Ghalibaf, (FardaNews.com), retracted the page that had
called my novel "anti Iranian" among other things, after
I complained to them a couple times. They sent me a brief email
saying in effect, it's not their fault and that they copied the
news item from jahanNews.com, etc
as if it makes a difference
to me. The page now reads a bland retraction. No apologies, no
explanations. That's the norm by which the news media in that
totalitarian state operate. They trash something they don't have
a clue about, and when you complain, they just act as if nothing
not all; other Iranian sites are continuing to disparage my as-of-yet
unpublished book. There is a whole slew of them. I tried to keep
track, but there is such a thing called life, and one just has
to learn to get on with it.
in IT and management have landed me with a gig at the federal
government, as a web journalist and writer. This is a great job
since it provides me with normal work hours and time with my family.
I visit my mother once a week. Physical activities include swimming
at the YMCA with my family, and playing with the girls, or catching
a movie once in a while. I try to work as if I don't need the
money. Love as though my heart has never been broken. And occasionally
dance as if no one is watching. I live in Silver Spring, Maryland,
and I am working on my next novel "Rootless-ness." I
look forward to learning from all of you in IPC (Iran Politics
Club) and to expanding my horizon.
Massud Alemi Facebook
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