Overnight, Tehran-born Iranian American Shervin Lalezary became an American cultural hero. The volunteer deputy sheriff of Los Angeles, California arrested the 24-year-old German alien arsonist Harry Burkhart–who is suspected of setting 53 fires in a four-day string of blazes that broke out in and around Los Angeles, causing over $3 million in damages. [UPDATE: “Harry Burkhart” was born to his criminal mother in Muslim Chechnya.]
Volunteer LA Deputy Sheriff Shervin Lalezary, behind the microphone, amazed at the intense media attention for simply doing his job like any real man would, like any sincere American citizen.
Like most Iranian Americans, Lalezary is strikingly handsome, (only thirty), perfectly humble (if not a bit shy), and absolutely loves America. Lalezary is a real estate attorney in Beverly Hills, and one of many volunteer deputy sheriffs–putting his life on the line for $1.00 a year.
Personally, I am not surprised at all. Every element about Lalezary offered in the news is what I expect from Iranian Americans. Since the early 1980’s, I have learned to greatly prize their talents–intellectual, artistic, scientific, and every other kind. But more than this, I have appreciated their deep love and value of American life. They do excel at it, quite notably, for the most part, in spite of the fact that they have never been designated as a racial minority. They are one of the most ancient genetic branches of the Caucasian race. But, in fact, some of their leaders want them to register themselves as Iranian, rather than “white”!
Sound a bit “liberal” or “Democrat,” to seek status as a minority? Well, that’s because most Middle Easterners associate the word “Democrat” with freedom. You know, “democracy.” The word means freedom to them. Historically, however, Communism was the first non-Imperial, non-monarchical, non-theocratic government Iranians were exposed to. Communism meant equality, and freedom from oppression. Unfortunately, in my opinion, many Iranian Americans espouse liberal ideas–despite the plain fact that they live their lives like rabid capitalists, passionate conservatives, and essentially patriotic Americans. This has always remained a mystery to me.
But, as I said, people like Shevin Lalezary are no mystery to me. They man is a typical Iranian American–and he is a recent import! His English is practically without accent, he is a successful attorney, and he obviously has a simple, quite, humble spirit–though brave as any patriot.
When I was in Iran, in 1999, I was made very aware of just how the Iranian people feel about America. “Dr. Yeagley, when you go back home, tell your people that we love America!” I heard this again and again–even in the remote villages of Eastern Iran. I heard this from the people of Neyshabur, and in Messhad, and also in Tehran, of course. The students of the University of Ferdowsi (Messhad) pleaded with me to carry this message back: “We love America!” (I must say, I was there during the government-ordered “Death to America” anniversary. I believe that part was a coincidence of my lecture tour planning, sponsored in part by the university. Perhaps this was part of the reason everyone was so strongly emphasizing their true feelings. Their government embarrassed them, greatly.) I met a large, powerful police officer in Neyshabur, in the local Zur Kahneh (house of honor), who, when he was told I was an American, came over to me and gave me a bear hug while he spoke in Farsi. My host said, “He want’s you to tell everyone he loves America!”
With the Iranian national attitude and behavior these present days, however, most Iranian Americans are at a loss as to what to say. They naturally love their nation, the home country, but, they obviously love America much more. They are natural Americans, Americans by nature, really. They take to the atmosphere, the way of life, the culture, quite easily. What can they they do about Ahmedinejad? What can do about the Revolutionary Guard?
What can they do about their own lives here in America? They just love living here. They love the freedom, the opportunities. Their talents bring them much success.
It is an agonizing thing to consider the United States-Iran political relations at this time. It is crushing. And, until this point, there has never been a terrorist act by any Iranian American. They’re far too busy enjoying life and developing themselves. The Christmas Day massacre in Texas is totally foreign to Iranian Americans. Robert Spencer (JihadWatch.org) claims that Aziz Yazdanpanah was a strong Muslim, and that the massacre of his family and himself was in fact an honor killing.
But this is completely abnormal for Iranian Americans, who, if they practice Islam at all, do so in wholly unobtrusive ways, and without evangelical zeal. Their religion is quite, private, and they wear it like a special suit of clothes, only for certain special occasions. It is a social adhesive for them, not an aggressive recruiting effort toward Americans. At least, this is the public image which has evolved around Iranian Americans in the last three decades.
We’re all proud of Shevin Lalezary. He is a natural patriot, and outstanding citizen. (By the way, his brother Shawn is a volunteer deputy in LA, also.) Iranian Americans want to contribute to society, to participate in it, to be part of the ambiance. Yes, their women are probably the most beautiful in the world (with or without veils); yes, they generally have very powerful intellects and spirits; and yes, they seem to have everything it takes to be outstanding citizens. And, so far, they haven’t been given any breaks. They achieved everything on their own. They are not complainers or protesters. I sincerely hope they maintain this great social character, and not be misled by misunderstandings of the Democrat Party, though most of them are Democrat. And right now, all I can say is that the Republican Party is superior only in theory. I see, however, that Iranians practice the grand conservative principles of republicanism. To them, even the name “Democrat” is a kind of suit they wear, like Islam. Their minds and spirits are so very grand and broad that, anything is article of fashion for them. They wear it if they like it, if it seems appropriate for the occasion. They’re really quite beyond such concerns.
In a way, this is why America means to much to them. It is the freedom. Large minds, grand spirits, need their freedom.