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Lili Pasha

A face says a lot, believe me. I fell in love with Lili when I ran into hers. Many lives scroll in this imperious look, black pearls in a nest of proud eyebrows and lashes. Many lives that agitate this pure beauty, like a continued unsteadiness.  As a kid, she did very well academically  but was “a sheer rebel, always in trouble. A tomboy, always playing with my brother and his friends because I could not stomach shishi girls, too complicated for me…” This insouciance didn’t last. Lili was living in Teheran. “My life was very fun and comfortable and the revolution happened.” Her dad, a left-wing humanist with communist aspirations didn’t share his wife’s deep disagreement with Khomeini. Then, confusion and duality were the rules. One day, boys and girls were separated, Lili had to go to the “only-girls school”, wearing a dark uniform with tight head scarf, long pants and coat. The family had to pretend to be very religious while at home they had parties, dancing and drinking alcohol. Hard to realize that all this happened to my friend with whom I sip cappuccinos and complain about the weather. What if it was me, the little girl who saw her mum arrested for not wearing the ”roopossh”, her cousins in jail, her 13-year-old brother forced to go to Austria, parents taking turns to stay with him “so in case we got bombed he wouldn’t become parentless.” But like her name made of 2 mirror-syllabus, Lili points out the flip side of the situation. “i also managed to have a lot of fun with my friends at the ski place we used to go to be away from the bombings.” In 1989, she finally moved to Canada. “My deal was to finish college and return home but i never did…” Her dad used to preach his life principles : “Stand up for your right and do the right thing.  It is hacked on my head. But was it the right thing, to move abroad and change my life and its chapters forever? I would never know…” Today she is a market researcher for the pharmaceutical industry in Boston and escapes whenever possible to the mountains. She misses her Iran so much. “I love everything about that land, people, warmth, love of life, passion for food, even the bullshit of tarot (insisting on eating more).” Her Iranian husband isn’t that nostalgic, he thinks she lives in a dreamland and should “put her best memories in a suitcase and not open it.” But even if she kind of lost her culture and doesn’t fit in today’s Iran anymore, even if she hates the politics and fanatics who messed up her country, “it is deeply still home to me.”  She takes every opportunity to tell people she is iranian and to disabuse them of their wrong ideas about Iran. She is indeed a very good speaker and most of all, she has this natural passion and power to connect people. Odd thing, next to this homesick soul, you feel at home, in an immediate intimacy. Lili is not grounded here but (or because) the Persian culture, one of the richest in the world, is her true identity. One day she will do like those plants with rotten roots that grow more intensely by hanging on to the infinity of the sky. AG