Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Remz Rocks

Remz with the crew at the Boston Baha'i Center in this photo?

If you haven't read it, you should check out this blog post from Baha'i Remz Pokorny that is featured on a religion blog associated with the Washington Post! I'm happy to say that I know this young dude and he rocks. Go ahead Remz whicha bad self!:

Faith as heritage, faith as recognition

Today's guest blogger is Remz Pokorny, a senior at Brandeis University, majoring in Political Science and Middle East Studies. He is also an IFYC Fellow and an active member of the Brandeis Baha'i Association.

Let's start at the beginning: My mother is a refugee from Iraq, driven from the land of her birth by religious persecution. My father is from an upper-middle class family in Kansas, and as a young child, he moved to Washington state.

My parents met at a Baha'i fireside--an informal gathering where a spiritual topic is presented and discussed--in Concord, New Hampshire; my father was working as a staff writer for the Boston Globe, and my mother had just recently immigrated to this country. Had they not been involved with the Baha'i community, they would not have dated or decided to get married, bringing me and my brother into the world.

From the outset, my identity was ambiguous, almost indefinable. But from the cradle, my mother acquainted me with her native tongue, Arabic. She taught me the story of her persecution as a Baha'i in Iraq, which is an unfortunate narrative for many Baha'is in the Islamic world. Her father and mother were imprisoned for 6 years during the 1970s.

"Ahli chanow bel sijin min ani chinit jahala," my mother always reminded me. "My parents were in prison when I was a child."

When other people heard my mom say that her parents were in prison, the question was often the same, "My goodness, why?"

I'm sure their first thought may have been that my grandparents were lowlifes or career criminals. But instead, my mother's response would shock them.

"They were imprisoned because they were Baha'is," she would say. "Because they were Baha'is." (Read the whole thing here)

PS: Remz's parents are pretty cool too. I can see where he gets it from.