We met this lovely Iranian couple six years ago. I was working in the yard and heard a man speaking Arabic across the way. I noticed the accent was odd and I asked him if he was Persian. He looked me with surprise and replied that he was.
That was the beginning of a friendship my wife and I both cherish. Over the years, the two of them and their son have celebrated Christmas with us, as well as birthdays and anniversaries.
It was their experience in Iran that I found most interesting. Both are highly educated people and emigrated to Canada seeking freedom and opportunity.
They represent the secular liberal element within Iran that chafes at the hands of the Islamic clergy that controls the country. As he explained to me, the reforms of 2013 were largely cosmetic and authorities seek to control the hearts and minds of the people.
I relate all this in light of the reaction to the death of the Iran’s top general Qasem Soleimani at the hands of United States armed forces.
Canada has a large Iranian population, chiefly in Toronto. Yesterday, they took to the streets to condemn the act and voice their support for the Islamic Republic of Iran.
Our Iran friends were not terribly surprised. They know full well that Soleimani was highly regarded as a champion of Iran’s Islamic revolution and Islamic jihad.
It’s apparently a minority viewpoint to judge by the size of the counter protest by exiled Iranian dissidents.
Clearly, there are a lot of Iranians in Canada that support Iran.
Still, as my Iranian friend told me, many of those who fled the authoritarian regime have chosen to blend in and become full fledged Canadians.
We won’t hear much at all from them, but we hope they are a majority.
It was unnerving to see so many Iranian-Canadians protesting in support of a terrorist responsible for the death of thousands of Westerners.