Can I be friends with an Iranian?
According to the news, United States is at more odds with Iran again. Diplomatic standoffs, troops sent and deals broken. Does this mean I'll be seen as an implicit opponent, if I have friends from Iran? Or, even worse, would Iran assume so, that I'm supporting them?
In Sweden, it's common to keep our conversations light when it comes to sharing where someone is coming from. And while we have a foundation of acknowledging the needs of refugees, we seldom discuss the involvement with other countries that might emerge with urgency, when they flee here.
I learned from a friend in 2017 about how Iranians can never let go of their citizenships and how the Iranian government often follow the ones who have fled into new countries, "to curb espionage". Is that safe for the refugee? And even more importantly, is that safe for Sweden and for other Swedes? Fair and square, nobody without an Iranian father can however get an Iranian citizenship. All stemming from a conflict between Israel and Saudi Arabia.
When I go to the United States, is this something I should worry about? Would I be spied upon too by the Iranian government and then spied upon because they are? How much should we get involved with other people's human right violations? While it would be easier to dismiss this, to be rather discussed and solved in their original country, it's rather that it isn't that seems to be the real cause of persecution. If you can't clean up your own home, where can you then live?
How do we best help then? It's only through personal relationships and learning the facts about their situation, that real help can be forged, both for the benefit of the person in question and others. Speaking up on behalf of another person when it is done for the cause of democrcy, equality, justice and the environment, is the solidarity we all seek to belong to, and unfortunately take for granted in Sweden, missing the growing blind spot. This is also why I advocate naturalization so that our loyalty with our new home can be both honored and respected, with more committed citizens as the result. We should all be allowed to choose where we want to live, ie where we feel we have better health and better conditions to be able to contribute more to society.
The real threat is how any discussions about immigrants is being called for racism, while nothing then gets solved and the system enforces a type of discrimination even with immigrants going against themselves, while Iranians seem to assume entitlement; an attitude that I certainly despise. Can I say that out loud? Probably not. All needs to be polished on the surface with political correctedness in Sweden. Do I want to be a citizen here? Not really.