My interview was with Mr. Kazam Husane-Zada. He is 67 years old, living in Bayonne and is, currently, a teacher at Irvington High School. He was born on December 11, 1943 in the city of Abadan, Iran. He does not remember when he started sitting or walking, but states that he was able to turn himself onto his stomach at 2 weeks. He laughed heartily as he stated, “My mother said that I was a problem because I would do this all the time. She always said I acted like I didn’t want anything to do with the world, so I turned my back to it.”
During development, Mr. Husane-Zada lived with his father, mother, and his brothers. He has one older brother by two years, Nasrollah, and two younger brothers, Eniyate and Habib which are one and two years younger. His parents were eighteen and thirteen when they were married and had Nasrollah one year after the marriage. He grew up with a fear of dogs a stray bit him when he was 6, but said has since gotten over that fear. He says he was never sick with anything greater than the flu and has only been to the doctor three times in his life. The first was for a broken arm when he fell out of a tree when he was nine and it was never properly set. As a result, one arm is slightly shorter than the other but not noticeable from a distance. The second time was when he was 22 when he broke his leg and shattered his knee due to an accident when he played soccer, jumped to “head” the ball, and landed wrong causing his leg to turn the opposite direction. The third time was when he was 50 and broke his nose when he fell on ice during the winter.
Mr. Husane-Zada says that his parents were extremely authoritarian due to the expectation that he and his brothers would do everything they asked with little to no complaint (Straub & Myers, 2004). He said that he would receive beatings regularly for misbehaving as well as witnessing his brothers being beaten. This was a key attribute to their behavior as they grew up avoiding all the possibilities of being thrashed. Even though they hated the beatings, Husane-Zada insists that they were helpful in weeding out retrogressive behavior. To the latter, he says it has been of great influence as some behaviors were discouraged by beatings as compared to the current situation in the present world.
Mr. Husane-Zada’s parents were both orphans and have no immediate family. As a result, he stated that “nothing was or is more important than my brothers and parents. All we had was each other.” His father was extremely private and had very few friends. He worked for an oil company as a cook and still does so, though to a lesser extent than in the past. His mother was a house wife but extremely outgoing. She essentially made friends everywhere she went and always tried to help anyone in need. Mr. Husane-Zada’s brothers were all very different in personality. Nasrollah was very happy go lucky and easily amused, Kazam was extremely serious with everything, Eniyate was very shy and quiet, and Habib was very aggressive and focused. They all helped each other in their endeavors which was very encouraging. This was a family that was concerned in each other’s activities which brought about uniform development and behavior. This was due to the difference range in their strengths and weakness. “Even though we never interacted with our grandparents, we are glad that our parents were always there for us.”
Mr. Husane-Zada was extremely disciplined in matters of school and play and received very good grades. As a result, he received a scholarship to go to Tehran to study at a private school when he was thirteen. He confessed that this time was the saddest time of his life because “I was away from all of my friends, and my family. I did all the things I liked, but when I would go to bed, I would cry myself to sleep.” After 4 years, he came home and worked with his father for 4 years. During this period, he engaged in his first love of playing soccer. As he was talented, he reached the goal of a tryout with a major club team, but during this tryout, he was injured and could no longer play. This was as Mr. Husane-Zada stated, “the worst thing I ever went through. I was good and everything was going so well, but then I had to move on from the thing I loved the most.” He professed that he is still regretful of the injury and often thinks about what his life might be like if things went differently. “Had it not occurred that in injured my leg, I would of course be a re-known player in the world. Who knows, I would by now be a head coach in the field of football and participated in the world cup several of times.”
As Soccer was Mr. Husane-Zada’s first love, he still watches the sport regularly on his computer and admits that he lives for the World Cup. While growing up, he stated that he was very good and always listened to his parents except when it came to playing soccer. There would be times when he would play from first light until midnight and then wake up and do it all over again. As a result, his parents would beat him because he would disappear and not listen when they needed him to run an errand.
Similarly, Mr. Husane-Zada loved watching movies. He would go with his friends, but the majority of the time, he would be with his brothers. “We would walk 5 miles in 100 degree weather to get there, because there was air conditioning and because there would be good movies to watch. After, we would walk back 5 miles and talk about what we saw. Those movies stayed with me.” Mr. Husane-Zada stated that his favorite types of movies were westerns. He enjoyed John Wayne and steve McQueen, Glenn Ford, Alan Ladd and Marlin Brando. Even today, he loves those movies and watches them regularly. “I watch movies today and something is missing. It is almost like they don’t care about the character and care about the explosions and killing. Those movies always made me smile and they still do.”
After his leg injury, Mr. Husane-Zada went back to school and again excelled. As America and Iran had diplomatic relations, he managed to receive a visa to come to finish college in the USA. In 1971, he ended up in Oklahoma, partly because of the school’s exchange program and partly because he wanted to go to a place that resembled his westerns. He suffered racism, but still enjoyed his time.
After finishing school, he decided to go back to Iran and get married. He actually met his future wife on the plane back to Iran, although he wasn’t aware of it. When he reached home, he again went to work for his father as the economy was terrible and there were no jobs. For 5 years, he worked while he had developed a friendship with his future wife. At some point, he realized he loved this woman, named Mosgan, and although his and her parents were hesitant, they gave blessings. Time passed and Mr. Husane-Zada started to consider the political situation in Iran. Although he was born Muslim, he didn’t ever practice and was more agnostic, so when the revolution began, he decided to search for a different ideology (Straub & Myers, 2004).
Marx became an interesting concept to him and he began to follow the ideology at the risk of imprisonment and possible death. “It was hard because many of our friends were put in jail and then someone would go into their cell and ask them if they were Muslim. If they said no, they would be killed. I hated them for it, but then I realized it was them, it was the religion. People have done the same in Christianity and in Judaism. They were just people doing their jobs or they would be killed too.” Due to his son’s birth, he decided that he did not want to continue to fight the formed government.
As a result of that, although he firmly believes in Marx even today, and because of the Iran-Iraq war, he decided to move his wife and child to the USA. He would not discuss what he did or how he managed to arrive, but in 1983, he entered New York. He worked various jobs over the years and they included taxi driver, doorman, and parking lot attendant and though it was hard, they made a life. Even though this jobs were low paying and degrading, Husane-Zada’s will to survive did not get a disadvantage of vanishing. “It was not easy doing all this jobs to cater for my needs. But it was the only way out.” He indicates that the passage through all these jobs was in particular a challenge to struggle and make his life better. Through the undivided struggle, he managed to raise enough to cater for their needs and even have a surplus for the family’s usage in the near future.
In 1989, Mr. Husane-Zada’s daughter was born and they moved to Bayonne, NJ. For many years, the same employment continued until he went back to school to take courses to get his teaching certificate. In 1999, he became employed by the Irvington Board of Education to teach in Irvington High School. He stated that he chose to do it because of his children and his wife who wanted to go back to school to become a nurse. Some parts of family life seemed to be much like when he was with his parents. Again, the family was alone and had only each other to depend on. The methods used were relatively the same as his parents as he expected his children to listen to him with little complaint as well as picking sides when Mr. Husane-Zada and his wife argued. His children, however, used every chance they had and as he was working and his wife was going to school, they decided that they could do whatever they wanted. For example, Mr. Husane-Zada’s son, Fardad would attend parties with friends without asking and would take the car out after everyone went to sleep. Farnaz, the daughter, however, refused to listen about having a boyfriend when Mr. Husane-Zada advised against having a boyfriend at such an age.
“Culture has been a great influence to ma life and the life of my family. We have had great respect for culture and religion as they are the basis of living.” Husane-Zada states that, through his whole life, he has been in line with culture and supporting religion in every way. He is a committed Muslim who makes sure that the family is also in line. “Religion is a vital factor in life, just like culture” however, he is quick to add that some cultural developments delude a person’s progress especially if they are retrogressive (Myers, 2004). Husane-Zada adds that many people in the world have good and reputable activities, character and manners due to influence accrued by religion and culture. Neglect of the two could plunge an individual into wrong doings. He retorts that the peaceful living between him and his wife was due to resilience and respect for religion and culture.
Even after a long and peacefull family life, Husane-Zada started experiencing rare processions in his life. As time passed, Mr. Husane-Zada’s wife became detached. “All we did was fight about silly things. I kept wondering what to do and she kept complaining I wasn’t doing enough.” This was a humiliation that was giving enough stress to Husane-Zada and his family. It was a hard time and experience that left many questions unanswered. When things did not get any better in 2006, they divorced. “This was a bitter pill to swallow but it had to happen, at least it would bring an end to all the wrangles that were disturbing in the family” Mr. Husane-Zada lives on his own while his wife stayed in the house and received her nursing degree. Their daughter lives with her and attends Rutgers. Their son has long since moved out and now works at JP Morgan.
Today, Mr. Husane-Zada lives in apartment on his own. He sees his children regularly and sees his ex-wife on occasion. He dates to a minimal extent, but prefers to spend his time reading, watching soccer, watching movies, and exploring the internet. He doesn’t have too many friends, but has an exclusive minority that he spends time with such as a friend from his private school days that has come to America and he considers a brother.
He additionally says that the things that cause him stress are worry for his children to be all right, and the fact that he still loves his ex-wife. “She broke my heart and there is never going back, but I still care about her and hope the best for her. I feel used because she went to school and I paid for it, but then she left me.” He is stressed by the idea that his honor is diminished by the divorce, but is also aware of the fact that he lives in the USA and such things are considered normal. “Life has to go on even after all humiliations and mistrust” he quips in as he reflects on his life. He retorts that he is
Similarly, Mr. Husane-Zada spends time with two brothers as Habib and Eniyate have moved to Canada. Habib has resided in Toronto since 1988 And Eniyate has resided in Montreal since 1998. They regularly see each other and take by-yearly trips to Iran to see their parents and Nasrollah. They have grown the family as each is a parent themselves.
- Straub R. O., & Myers D. G. (2004). Psychology. New York: Worth publishers
- Myers D. G. (2004). Exploring psychology. New York: Worth publishers.