“King Raza Shah ruled the country. The Shah was a brutal monarch. He
was against freedom of expression and Iran was a country which was
suffocated. My father was a professor, who was ideologically inclined
towards communism. He was among those critical of King Raza Shah‘s
policies particularly the friendly relations with imperialist powers, the
purchase of weapons and many other domestic issues”, Iranian born
lawyer Ali Raza says as he starts his tale of the conditions forcing him
to leave for Germany. “Before the Islamic revolution, communists and
people of other political parties gathered against the regime. My father
was arrested although he was released when the Shah was ousted. Then,
it was Imam Khomeini who took Iran from bad to worse and introduced
strict religious laws. Unfortunately, the so-called Islamic Iran didn’t work
for social upliftment, but for the spiritual!”

“For example, if someone said that Imam Khomeini‘s image appeared
on the moon, the majority would nod their heads in assent”, he smiles.
“Logic, science, the ancient cultural heritage of educated Iranians, diminished more and more daily. When the atmosphere became unbearable for rational people, they started to protest and, as was to be expected.

my father was arrested again and sent to prison for 15 years. This was the
beginning of a bleak, dark time for the family”, Raza informs me.
Raza is a liberal man now living in Berlin. He believes in the freedom of
expression and the democratic system. “Our close relatives and other
family friends stopped visiting us because we were a communist family.
My mother was truly wise and the wife of an educated man. Despite all
the hurdles and the tough financial times, she let us complete our education.” Raza looks proud and adds:

“Those hard times changed us and made us strong and determined to win the race of life and that’s why my confidence is as high as the sky. With the passage of time, I grew up and
got my education at Mashhad University and after I finished studying, I
converted from Islam to Christianity. This decision made my very good
friends furious. In Islam it is called Murtad and punished by hanging. This
was another very tough time for me but in the end, I convinced some of my friends and told them that religion is a private matter, so let me deal with it. But I did not feel at ease in Iran. I was scared too.”
“In 2018, in Mashhad province people came out onto the streets and
demonstrated against the Iranian government for interfering in the af –
fairs of neighbouring countries”, Raza goes on, “The reason for the pro –
tests was this claim, but the youth also demanded job opportunities and
freedom, too. Although it was a peaceful protest, I got to hear that I was
on the radar of fundamentalists and that they could attack me any time.”
As he recalls, Raza automatically looks to both sides as if looking for
someone. It shows the invisible fear at the back of Ali Raza‘s mind. “Iran
is once again a suffocating country for educated and liberal minds and
even inside one‘s home no one can arrange a party of friends to chat,
dance and enjoy their lives.”
“Police perform moral policing instead of searching for criminals. The
state deliberately interferes in tax payers’ lives, one lives in a social cage
in Iran.” When Raza realised that his life was in danger in his homeland he
fled to Germany. “This country is good for my soul. I enjoy freedom in all
aspects of my life”, he declares happily, “Life in Iran is hell and in Germany it is paradise!” Raza wants to be a football coach in the future. When he
was a child, he couldn‘t afford football boots, so this is a dream he wants
to make reality now he is in Germany. He is pretty optimistic about the
chance of a liberal future in Iran: “The youth won‘t comprise on their freedom and privacy. Education has given them the knowledge of their right
to demand their democratic and human rights from the state. Although
life is very limited due to strict, so called religious laws. I am hopeful that
Iran will soon be a democratic nation and the inhabitants will be able to
enjoy life.

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