Am I Uprooted?

This is Haleh's contribution to Moments of Pause. Send us your reflections via!

By Haleh Mir Miri

When I came to Canada, I neither had an idea of what “displacement” was, nor I knew what to be uprooted. I just said a simple goodbye to everyone, including my family and friends as if I would come back soon or meet them after a short run. I travelled with my heart full of energy and my head full of ideas. Breezy days were gone and I felt as if there was no community and friends to interact in Canada. Then, I found myself within a wonderful community with which I was supposed to cooperate. “Resolve”, was the community where there were a lot of like-minded people to communicate with. It was in this group where I understood afterwards that there had been plenty of concerns globally with which I have not been familiar. Now, I understand that different people with different cultural backgrounds have their own problems.

I also learnt about displaced people who have been forced to leave their countries. There are actually a lot of notions to describe this force, namely “displacement,” “mobility,” “exile,” “asylum,” “refugee,” and then “diaspora.”.  But, I have been intrigued by one of them which is “Diaspora”. Diaspora has been defined as the spreading of people from a national group or culture to another area. At issues is that this definition is insufficient to me. I feel that the problem of people in a new country is a matter of belongingness. A newcomer like me is confused by the existing dichotomy in the host country. They compare their culture with that of the host land. Therefore, the result of this comparison, especially when you had experienced violence back home, would be chronic anxiety. Living in a multicultural country, I feel primary that I can share my cultural values. But, by looking up-close to these cultural values, I feel that there is nothing but sadness in my culture or at least I feel it like that. I do not intend to tell a sad story, but soon after I arrived my happiness about emigration gave rise to profound sadness. I should share my memoir of my homeland, while there was nothing but terror, anxiety, domestic violence and sexual harassment. I had a dim memory of enjoyable moments back home and I needed to talk about these memories and feelings—My mind was occupied by the images of women who had fought against patriarchal culture in Iran. Therefore, a sullen silence replaced with a sense of happiness. Thank to “Resolve”, and this “moment of pause” now I am able to express myself and I can share those memories about militant women in Iran. I impeccably understand that I have started a new phase of my life. The period through which I will reidentify myself. A period when I might learn how people around the world will put up with their internalized mental, physical and racial violence. Now, I am ready to discover how diasporic people will remember and reidentify themselves and how they negotiate with the host country to recognize their fears and phobias.