Monday, August 06, 2007

An Unknown Hero

Two weeks ago I went to Los Angeles to see my family and take a break from school. On Saturday night, my parents were getting ready to attend a Persian concert. They asked me to go with them, but I had to go to library to study for finals. However, this set of event triggered a memory that was buried deep into my past. It had a tremendous affect on me and it almost brought me to tears.

We had just resided in Los Angeles for two months. It was a very lengthy emigration as result of which my father had lost everything he had worked for in his life. He entered this country with only $800 in his pocket. Back then I was only thirteen years old and I worked along with my younger sister who was only eleven years old. We were going through extreme financial hardship, but it never got to us because we were a close family. Anyways, I was a young boy from Iran and I was obsessed with this Iranian singer called Ebi. I had always dreamt about going to his concert when we were in Iran and I had somehow acquired all of his music. I knew all the lyrics by heart and basically I was obsessed with his music. My parents and sisters all were aware of this obsession and they teased me a lot about it.

It was only four months that we had arrived to Los Angeles and there was an Ebi concert scheduled. Back then, there was this nightly scheduled Persian program on TV that usually showed advertisement of upcoming entertainment events. One night that my father and I were watching this program, the ad for Ebi’s concert came up. I perfectly remember it like it was yesterday, I turned to him and asked that if there is any chance we could afford going to that concert. He smirked and said, “Yes a miracle would do the job.” I didn’t say anything because I was aware of our situations and I just turned away. He knew I was kind of saddened and he responded again, “I’ll see if I could come up with anything, but it is very unlikely.” I took my father’s comment as if my father is trying to make me feel better. My parents were constantly trying to make me feel better because my Bar Mitzvah had passed and my parents couldn’t afford to do anything. I thought it was just another attempt to give me a promise for the future.

Then comes the day of the concert. It was a Jewish Fast day and I was fasting that day. I perfectly remember, it was a Forth of July. My father came home and he told me to get ready because I was going to the concert. I couldn’t stop jumping up and down from happiness. Then I asked if anybody else is going with me and he said nope, I was going all alone. I was shocked and he just told me to hurry up and get ready because it was getting late. I felt horrible. I didn’t like going alone but who cares it was an Ebi concert, a dream come true even for me. My mom made some food and put it in an Elat Market plastic bag for me to open my fast with at the end of the day.

As we were walking, my dad explained to me that these were some friends of him who were in entertainment business and they had agreed that they would take me to the concert. I knew exactly who he was talking about. These guys knew my father from Iran and they were friends when they were young. I do not remember the story very well but I know the fact they were jealous of my father because he had got married and he was doing very well in Iran. On the other hand, they were not doing well and as a matter of fact that had become extremely corrupted. They were addicted to all kinds of drug and they were forced to leave Iran in search for better lives. They had entered Persian entertainment business which is a safe-heaven for all the drug addicts to make money. One of the guys is a spokesperson for Tanin TV show and he is very well known. These guys had some sort of rivalry in terms of who lives a better life. Now that we had come to Los Angeles, they were very happy to see my father in financial hardship and they would usually show off their power, fame, and money to him. My father did not care a bit and he distanced himself as much as he could from these people.

I quickly realized what my father had done as we were walking to their place. We did not even have a car, we walked for 30 minutes. As we were walking, I could not believe what my father had done. My father talked to me about school and how things were in school. Like always he told me not to worry about the whole financial situations and it would get better and one day we will all go to the concerts with the whole family. He was trying to hide the fact of what he had put himself through to avail this opportunity for me. But I knew, and I knew very well. He had step on his pride just to ask them to take his son to a concert. Think about for a second: the people who were always jealous of you and they had a rivalry with you, you have to ask them to take your son to a concert. We got there and I went to the concert, but as G-d is my witness, I did not stop thinking about what father had just done for a second. He put himself down in the eyes of these good-for-nothing corrupt scums of the society for me. I knew my father very well and he had a lot of pride in everything. I was amazed how he could bring himself to ask these guys. When we got there, my father talked to them a bit and told them to take care of me and the guys were teasing him about how he couldn’t come to the concert. My dad gave some lame excuse that he had to attend a family gathering but everyone knew it was a lie. He was still happy that I was going. He was smiling because he made a dream come true and I guess that is what made him happy.

I look back and I see a true hero in my life. He did not care a bit about his reputation because he wanted make a stupid silly dream of his son come true. He walked on his pride to make his son smile or make him happy for at least two or three hours. This is why I almost came down to tear when they were gathering up for the concert. Twelve years later, he was also getting ready to go to a concert even though he was resilient to go to the concert. He did not even like this kind of events at all. He still decided to go to the concert to make my mother happy. However, this time, not only he could afford it, he is going with two of his daughters and their husband who both respect this great man very dearly. He now has five beautiful grand children with a life that is an envy of any person. About those guys, one of them was later jailed for drug trafficking and the other two are still deep in addiction. A hero will always survive no matter how hard it gets.


Anonymous said...

very example for all to follow

Ben Kahen said...

Thank you.

I am sure everyone has a story like this but we tend ignore them and focus on things we didn't get as kids. In today's society, our society would love to bash on parents and the songs and the movies are always complaining about parents. We really tend to ignore the good in our parents and focus on small details that we disliked. Maybe it's the nature of human being, but the society should NOT uphold it as the proper course of action

Anonymous said...

your dad is a true inspiration!

Ben Kahen said...

Thank you for the kind word.

For those Fascist/Anti-semitic Terrorist apologists: I will not publish a single item if it is not related this article. You guys have a different forum to openly resort to personal insults and anti-semtic remarks. Use that one!

Anonymous said...

Nice story, sounds like a stand up guy. It must have been your mother that failed you. Someone must have for raising such a hateful little person.

this is relevant, right?

Ben Kahen said...

Hateful: ohh well, I am calling for peace between Israel and Palestine; people like you are calling for destruction of Jewish state and will do anything to achieve that goal. I really don't want to know what is your definition of hateful.

About my mother, don't talk about my mother. She is a great person and great personality.

Princess said...

I think your dad is amazing ;)

Andrew said...

A truely inspiring story, both yourself and your dad have shown tremendous courage and I applaud you both for your ethics and your bravery.

Ben Kahen said...

Thank you Andrew.

However, I had nothing to do with it. It was all my father. I just remembered the story and finally took some times away from finals to write it. Honestly, he is the guy who deserves all the applauses.