Growing up undercover Persian is one of the most surprising things for people after getting to know me.

I was raised Persian since around five-years-old. My step-father is from Iran and married my mother. Daily, I experienced the Persian Iranian culture through the food, language, music, holidays, and people. It blended in well with my life as a Southern Caucasian American breakdancer. I embraced the mix even when others did not quite understand it. 

Growing up with various cultures influenced some of my earliest ideas about the world. The struggles of Iran were some of the familiar stories shared over late-night tea discussions among friends and family. 

Hearing firsthand from family and friends from Iran stories of war, senseless violence, dictatorships, religious takeovers, eradication of fundamental human rights, destroyed economies, foreign interventionism, torn families, lost knowledge, restricted thought, the practical dangers of a police-state, telltale signs of socialist and theocratic lies, red flag warnings of zealots, questions of sovereignty, are just some of the reasons that I became a devotee of liberty. 

The gory struggles of Iran are neither new nor unique stories for anyone familiar with the country’s history. Anti-regime and regime-change-based riots, movements, and revolutions occurred throughout the 20th century and in 2009 and 2011.  

Hopefully, the latest riots surrounding the murder of the Kurdish-Iranian woman, Mahsa Amini, may lead toward an incremental deterioration of the theocracy in Iran and its draconian ethics police.

I’m glad more people are speaking out and pressuring Iran to change. Still, I am not so optimistic anything will change in Iran until the philosophy of the people changes. We have seen revolutions come and go in Iran over the past century just to be snuffed out from every angle. This is likely due to the extreme conflicts between the ethics of the ordinary citizen versus that of the state. 

However, there are sincere questions concerning the timing of this given situation concerning growing tensions and economic wars between the US, Iran, Russia, and China. It has been suggested that some of the riots in Iran, along with the case of Amini, could have been instigated or exasperated by American intelligence. For some parties involved, these instigations are justified by the ends they create, while others question the means. 

It will only be years later that the truth comes out: from Thomas Paine to Freeway Rick Ross; the 1953 Iranian corruption to U.S. support for the Taliban; the Iran-Contra affair to Obama’s Fast and the Furious program; CIA agents versus FBI agents, and so forth, there is no shortage of confirmed cases throughout U.S. history. Indeed, this is not just a U.S. problem, as similar stories of agent provocateurs, coups, and tyranny are shared amongst almost every country. Nevertheless, it is imperative to constantly be vigilant of the information provided to avoid becoming a vigilante for a counterproductive cause. 

In the end, I support the freedom and liberty of every individual. When comparing how these governments treat their people, it is obvious to me and millions of others that the Islamic Republic of Iran has many changes to make. Some of those include getting rid of the highly oppressive and dogmatic religious practices that directly threaten Iranians of life, liberty, property, and the pursuit of happiness. A change in philosophy at the individual level and working its way up through the hierarchies is the only way lasting change for the better can take place. The people of Iran must make those changes for it to have any type of sustainability. A revolution without evolution is likely to fail. 

I hope to one day visit my family and friends in Iran (if it even keeps the name), see the many beautiful sites, eat, and dance in celebration of life and love, and enjoy our time together without fear of overreaching governments and bloodthirsty religious zealots.

Joshua D. Glawson works in technology and currently resides in California.