Professor Karim on Iran Tensions: 'I Feel Nothing But Sorrow in My Bones'

Thursday, January 09, 2020

CNN -- Persis Karim says she feels shaken by what she’s seen.

“This could all go very badly, very quickly — not just over there, but here in this country,” she says.

Karim, who chairs the Center for Iranian Diaspora Studies at San Francisco State University, says she’s also afraid that as hostilities mount, people will forget what Iranians have brought to America.

“Every time there are these kind of flare-ups — and this is by far the scariest flare-up that we’ve ever seen — everything goes out the window, every shred of human decency, dignity, resilience, contributions that Iranians have made to this country gets overlooked because all we see is the story of this conflict between our government and their government,” she says.

Karim, who’s working on a documentary about the history of Iranians in the San Francisco Bay Area, says she’ll keep pushing to tell the story of Iranians in the United States. But she’s devastated by the latest developments.

“Conflict in the Middle East continues to destroy lives and perpetuate a cycle of violence and misunderstanding that never allows us to see each other, reach other, and tell a different story,” she says. “I feel a deep sorrow for my country, the U.S. and for the country of my extended family.

“In Persian, when you are sad, you say, ‘I’ve eaten sorrow.’ I feel nothing but sorrow in my bones.”