Magazine for Sexuality and Politics

"I belong nowhere"


I belong nowhere. I no longer have a home. When I left Iran, I didn’t know what it meant to not belong. I do not belong in Germany. I don’t know if I can ever feel at home here.

I don’t know where I would feel at home anymore at all. Every place I can think of, there is not-belonging. My home is with my family in Iran, but the political difficulties there are too great. Unfortunately, I am not the kind of person who can ignore that and be happy, so I don’t belong.

My mother’s and father’s sides are Persian. My father’s side has lost their Persian culture by adopting Muslim culture. That’s why our names are Arabic. But my mother’s side is still Persian. My name is actually Persian, but the written form is Arabic. That bothers me. I would like to change it.

There are many people like me in Iran. Their name is Arabic and they don’t like that. But it’s hard to change your name because of your connection to your family. Family is important. You identify with your family. You belong with your family, even if you are far away from them. That remains.

I’m different from my family as well. They all married Muslims and accepted this religion. I didn’t. I have one sister who is like me. That is why she is not married. That makes her life a lot harder. It shouldn’t be like that. I wonder if she feels she belongs.

My family accepts my views, even though they believe differently. “I do not always respect what you believe, but I will always respect you”, that is how they are. This is not true for some of my friends’ families.

Being Iranian means you can you be anything: Kurd, Turk, Arab, Balouch, Persian, African, everything. The Persian Empire was enormous. When Iran was ruled by the Persian King, all groups were allowed. Being Persian means you are from Shiraz, Yazd, Esfahan – the ancient cultural centers.

After the last revolution in 1979, a lot of Persians changed their last name to Arabic names to show affiliation with the government.

I left Iran because I had a problem with the government. I was talking against the government and the Muslim religion. My family was strong, but I still had to leave because it had become too dangerous for me and for them. My country was taken away from me. But it’s been gone already for centuries because of the Muslim invasion.

Starting with Muslim rule, there has been an incredible amount of intolerance for the other cultural groups in our country. I believe they have ruined our culture and ruined our freedom.

I identify as a Persian who has to fight against Muslim culture. My heart is with the protestors in Iran today. However, I don’t feel I belong with them because they are using the same slogans as the Muslim dictators when they cry “Death to the dictator“. I want something new. Ending the hate. If they call for death for this person, death for that person, then there will be death. You have to come up with the revolution that respects everybody. Otherwise, there is no future for any of us.

What I thought I knew about Europe, about Germany, has turned out not to be true. There is just as much hate here. There is persecution here. There is a lack of freedom here too. And there is discrimination. I do not feel I belong here at all. I have met some very nice people, but overall there is nothing welcoming here. It feels impossible to belong. I am made to feel different. Just because of my name and the color of my skin, I am made to feel I do not belong. Belonging means understanding and knowing. There is nothing here at all similar to what I know. Food, weather, culture… I cannot connect with the language. I found English much easier to connect with. In Persian, there is no gender identification for objects. English is the same. The gender connection in German bothers me. Maybe I think too much about the Arabic suppression of women. That the male gender is seen as better. I know it’s not like that in German, but it feels unnatural. It is hard for me to enjoy speaking German.

My dream is to have a planet in which there are no more countries, in which there no borders, no military fighting about borders, about religion and killing other humans. You need no passport or papers. There would be universal laws binding all people to human rights. All people are equal and equally safe.

It would be a place where any person could belong.

Photos: first page + header: Mehrshad Rajabi (unsplash)

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