From Victim to Citizen

I’ve been wondering how tyrannies turn their citizens against each other, and more specifically, by what mechanism some in my own community of expatriate Iranians have become mistrustful and suspicious of each other. All of these ideas occurred to me as I turned over in my mind the notion of “hate crimes,” something Americans are grappling a great deal with these days. We seem to know what a hate crime is when it is committed by an outlaw group of skinheads or terrorists, and we are somewhat equipped to deal with it. But what if the hate is being perpetuated by a government in power and written into law? This, I believe, was and continues to be, our condition in Iran. In this short clip, I go through the stages that it took for the hate to seep into me as a teenager in Tehran and what it took to transform myself from “victim” into “citizen.”