9/11: I Was Sitting in History Class the Day the World Stood Still

14316998_943458459719_7529318405299079198_nI was in history class the day the world stood still. I witnessed, on television, the destructive moments that would mark the start of an incessant war against Western civilization, an attack on the freedoms we had all come to know.

My teacher had postponed the day’s lesson in favor of this crisis of international proportions. As I witnessed the emblazoned images on the TV screen, which was hanging in the upper-left corner of our classroom, I recalled thinking to myself “this must be a dream.”

It was not.

At least seven people from my hometown of Livingston, New Jersey, perished in that terrorist attack. It was the first time in my life that I had felt sorrow, anger and determination simultaneously.

Fear was not an option.

I knew I was living through history. I also realized that I had received a brazen introduction to an enemy that would become more familiar than I’d ever hoped for.

Something awakened in me that day. While I was born in America and identify as an American of Persian ethnicity, I felt a renewed sense of pride and obligation to this nation and our allies throughout the world who uphold the values that make this country so great.

Over the coming years, I would equally yearn to find a way to help those living under the oppressive nature of hatred and fear to rise up and embrace the concept that they, too, could experience the same liberties and freedoms that every human being should be granted.

The Manhattan skyline I had grown up with would never be the same. Those two great pillars were physically gone. But the force that had been created in their absence continues to remind me of why we fight for our freedoms. It is often said that in someone’s absence, we learn to appreciate them.

September 11 is a constant reminder for us to appreciate and hold on to those 12 great pillars granted to us by our founding fathers in the U.S. Constitution: National sovereignty, natural law, self-evident truth, equality, inalienable rights, the inalienable right to life, the inalienable right to liberty, the inalienable right to private property, the primary purpose of government being subscribed as the protection of these inalienable rights, popular sovereignty, federalism and states’ rights and Divine Providence.

Never forget: No nation on earth was born great. It was made great. America is no exception. And it is precisely that humble thinking that makes us exceptional.

-Adelle M. Nazarian

(This post was originally published in Breitbart News: http://www.breitbart.com/…/2…/09/11/breitbart-remembers-911/)

‘Acela’ration: Donald Trump Declares Himself Presumptive Republican Nominee

Donald Trump at Trump Tower
Donald Trump at Trump Tower in Manhattan, NY

NEW YORK, NY — Donald Trump announced that he is the Republican Party’s presumptive nominee from his own Trump Tower in Manhattan, on Tuesday night following a clean sweep of Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island in what has been dubbed the “Acela Primary”.

“I consider myself the presumptive nominee,” Trump said to the crowd of reporters and supporters who had gathered. “As far I’m concerned, it’s over. These two guys don’t have a path,” he said of his fellow Republican presidential contenders Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Ohio Gov. John Kasich.

Tuesday’s primary was dubbed “Acela” because the five states that held primaries on that day coincide with the route of Amtrak’s speediest carrier.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and former Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA) were among those present in the crowd.

In addition to thanking his constituents in the states he won, Trump jestfully extended his gratitude to the media for covering him “very fairly… for the past two hours.”

Trump’s wins in the Northeast were indicative of his ability to pander to a diverse constituency; a point he made no secret of during his victory speech.

“Every state is so different,” Trump said, noting that “this is one diverse victory.”

After he addressed Cruz and Kasich, Trump took direct aim at the Democratic Party’s presumptive nominee, Hillary Clinton, while foreshadowing a more in-depth strategy for his foreign policy platform. Both during a press release and in his remarks on Tuesday evening, Trump said he will address national security and other pressing issues during a noontime Wednesday press conference at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, D.C.

“I will do far more for women than Hillary Clinton will ever do, including protecting our country” Trump said. “The only card she has is the woman’s card,” he added. “And frankly, if Hillary Clinton were a man I don’t think she’d get five percent of the vote.” Clinton has benefited from support from females over her Democratic presidential rival Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) who has far greater backing from millennials in addition to being the more popular candidate.

A McClatchy-Marist poll released earlier this month indicates that 25% of Sanders supporters say they would not vote for Clinton if she were to become the Democratic nominee.

In order for Trump to cinch the Republican Party’s nomination outright, he must achieve 1,237 delegates. After tonight’s primary, he is clocked in at 1,055 leaving him just 182 delegates away from achieving that goal.

Trump also addressed the issue of immigration in his speech. “And, by the way, I want people to come into our country. But I want them to come in legally. They have to come in through a process.”

Follow Adelle Nazarian on Twitter @AdelleNaz

Princess Ashraf Pahlavi, Twin Sister of Iran’s Last Shah, Dies

Princess Ashraf PahlaviPrincess Ashraf Pahlavi, the twin sister of Iran’s late Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, passed away peacefully in her sleep at her home in Europe on Thursday. She was 96.

The announcement of her passing was posted to the Facebook page of the Shah’s son Reza Pahlavi. In his post, Reza described his aunt as having a heart full of love for Iran and being devoted to improving the social life of its citizens and specifically the advancement of women’s rights and the fight against illiteracy.

هفدهم دی ماه ۱۳۹۴از درگذشت عمه عزیزم، شاهدخت اشرف پهلوی، بسیار متاثر و متالم شدم. خاطرات بسیاری از دوران کودکی تا به ا…

Posted by The Official Site of Reza Pahlavi on Thursday, 7 January 2016

Ashraf’s book Faces in a Mirror was her personal account of how the 1979 revolution destroyed the lives of her fellow countrymen and women following its takeover by the radical theocratic regime of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. She wrote the book in exile.

In addition to being a champion for women’s rights, Ashraf was credited with establishing Iran’s relationship with China and for serving as the head of the Iranian delegation to the United Nations for more than a decade.

Robert F. Armao, who has served as a senior advisor to the princess for almost 40 years, described her to the New York Times as “a very strong personality and a very strong feminist.” Armao is in the process of writing a book about the royal Pahlavi family.

To her supporters, the princess will be celebrated as a champion of women’s rights and an accomplished diplomat. However, her critics will continue to, by some accounts falsely, press her image as a power monger who played a pivotal role in the 1953 “military coup” that overthrew Iranian Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh over fears he was veering in favor of the Soviet Union and for nationalizing the nation’s oil.

The historical accuracy of the 1953 ousting of Mosaddegh having been a coup is questionable considering the Persian constitution stated that the Shah had the power to appoint and dismiss ministers. Oxford defines “coup” as “a sudden, violent, and illegal seizure of power from a government.”

“Ashraf became the focal point, especially by many people on the left, of everything that was wrong and was made out to be some sort of maniacal witch,” Dr. Behzad Tabatabaei told Breitbart News. Dr. Tabatabaei, who is an Iran expert and an international business and political economist, explained that this was a far cry from the truth. “I’m not saying she was a saint by any measure. But she certainly was not the monster that people on the left or the religious zealotry have tried to portray her as. She was the sister of the Shah and had a lot of influence as a consequence of being part of the royal family.”

Professor of Iranian Studies and Comparative Literature at Columbia University Hamid Dabashi published a piece in Al Jazeera upon hearing of Ashraf’s passing in which he provides his personal perspective on where the ultimate fate of Ashraf’s image will rest.

As a princess, that is where Ashraf Pahlavi is headed: towards the pantheon of a nation’s collective memory, right next to Rudabeh, Farangis, Tahmineh, Gordafarid, or perhaps most appropriately Sudabeh. None of those characters are flat or banal – all are bold and multidimensional.

In Princess Ashraf’s death there is also a moral lesson for the ruling clergy in Iran or for the ruling dynasties anywhere else in the world.

No royal or presidential historian, no official obituary or hostile detractor will ever match the gentle creativity of a nation’s soul that plays with the soft clay of their rulers’ memory to fit them right where they belong – where they can humbly give back to their nation the best they had in them and then take back to their maker the worst of which they were capable.

Ashraf was born on October 26, 1919 to the late monarch Reza Shah. She is survived by her son, Prince Chahram Pahlavi, five grandchildren, and several great-grandchildren. Her daughter Azadeh Shafiq Pahlavi passed away in 2011. Ashraf’s other son, Shahriar Shafiq Pahlavi, was assassinated on a Paris street in 1979 by agents of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Shahriar’s death haunted her until the final days of her life.

Follow Adelle Nazarian on Twitter @AdelleNaz and on Facebook.

[NOTE: This post was originally written for Breitbart News and has been reposted on Adelle’s personal blog.]

This Is Not the Time to ‘Put Politics Aside’ America

(This post was originally published on November 2, 2014 by Adelle Nazarian)
Tonight, Anthony Bourdain asked the world to “put politics aside” as he provided viewers with a unique look inside a nation which has one of the richest and oldest cultures in history; a country that is beholden to one of the greatest dichotomies a population can exude. Iranians are extremists alright. Extreme in their ability to open their hearts and homes to complete strangers, yet tied inevitably to a regime which holds oppression at its core; deception is no stranger to this beautiful land which keeps many secrets, including recipes to some of the most delicious food one’s palette can indulge in.

As I watched Bourdain go through the process of sampling foods in Iran that I have grown up eating in America, I didn’t necessarily feel a sense of pride. After all, I AM AN AMERICAN. Then I watched him take a bite into Iranian takeout pizza which was served with ketchup and I seemed to better understand where my love for the great American condiment comes from (“I eat my ketchup with ketchup”). That scene also reminded me of my paternal grandmother’s first few attempts at making pasta, which she fed to me and my two younger siblings with ketchup! I didn’t understand it then, nor did I detest it, but somehow tonight it all seemed to make more sense. Maman Rachel started serving pasta with marinara sauce after that, but I made sure her homemade french fries were also present on Italian night😉.

The loyalty of an Iranian is unparalleled. But their loyalty will forever lie with “Vatan” (homeland). And Iran’s general population knows not the feeling of rejection, abandonment, years of blood, sweat and tears crippling right before their very eyes. That’s the experience my parents’ families had. And it’s precisely the experience that I know will be etched onto my heart in the coming days, months, and years. Especially with midterms just two days away (Nov. 4) and the potentially pivotal presidential election of 2016 drawing near.

Amid calls of “marg bar Umreeka!” (death to America!) and “marg bar Israeel!” (death to Israel!) the civilian population knows that a “friendship with America” is a priceless asset for the land which is home to Cyrus the Great; the king who created the first Charter for Human Rights known to mankind and who is praised in the Torah for bringing an end to the Jewish exile in Babylon.

Yet, as I look at the faces of the men, women and children on the television screen in front of me, listening to their voices crying out in unison “Ay delaam” (oh my heart), my own heart is filled with gratitude to my parents for providing me with the best of both cultures and worlds (Del is one of my nicknames). Yet it hardens as I recall the history behind my own story as a first-generation American whose parents were born in Iran and were forced to flee their homeland in search of a new one. The Iran of today is not the Iran of the Shah…nor is it the Iran of Cyrus the Great.

America is now Albert and Anita’s (dad and mom’s) “vatan.” It has been for the last 40+ years.

My parents chose the United States of America as their new home. They underwent a legal process to arrive in the States and became U.S. citizens soon after.

The chelo kabbab, deezee, beryani, polo, khoresht, and so many other delectable and palatable dishes served on screen were presented in portions that could feed an army twice over; after all, the culture of hospitality is no stranger to the people of Iran. But at the end of the day, it is Iran’s interests that lie at the heart of the Iranian people from start to finish; not America, nor American interests. And at the end of the day, the only way America can carry out its innate responsibility to defend its own people before it takes on its promise to aid the other nations of the world, is through exceptionalism… AMERICAN EXCEPTIONALISM. What the world needs is another Reagan of our time. Fifty years later, we are faced with another “Time for Choosing.”

No matter how we’d like to paint it, we can’t simply “put politics aside.” This is not the time nor the place to do so. Come November 4, we will all be faced with a choice and must prepare again for a potentially-pivotal election in 2016. Choose America. And choose someone who has America and American exceptionalism at their core. For a strong America leads to a stronger world.

Follow Adelle Nazarian on Twitter @AdelleNaz

Tears From Heaven

image

For a moment I thought the earth had torn open. But it was Heaven; overwhelmed w the weight of mortal sins, piercing the sky w roaring thunder. Hush now as the rain falls upon you, allow the tears from above to be your guide, cleansing your soul with the gentle pattering of every drop of liquid love…

-Adelle Nazarian

Second to None  Gun

“Guns don’t kill people, people kill people.” That’s the genius behind the National Rifle Association’s (NRA) slogan and it was the very phrase that came to my mind when news broke of yesterday’s heartbreaking crime.

In the wake of Friday’s tragedy, which sent riveting shock waves through the hearts of Americans as we learned that 20-year-old Adam Lanza took the lives of 27 people – including his own – (20 of which were children between the ages of 6 and 7. THESE WERE KIDS) at an elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut and with tears welling up in my eyes, I began to think and came to find this: It really doesn’t matter what the motives are behind committing cold, gruesome murder. The fact of that matter is it happened and will more likely than not, happen again. It’s an unfortunate facet of the way life works but is also a great testament to the gravity of what needs to be done at both the federal and state levels to guarantee against future tragedies. No one was able to escape the wrath of Adam’s rage and the fact that it was taken out on such tender, pure, innocent souls is all the more disturbing.

Let’s face it, having guns in homes is a deep part of American culture. We have a long tradition of hunting and sportsmen in this country and a lot of people who want to make sure they can protect  themselves. An attempt to eradicate guns across the board would make prohibition look like a day in the park. Just hours after POTUS secured his reelection he ordered the U.S. mission to the United Nations delegation to vote in favor of a UN proposal to fast track an international gun control treaty (which establishes a bizarre moral equivalence between countries that trade arms to defend freedom and those that do so to suppress and extinguish it). While I’m not advocating for an entire ban on guns by any means or expressing support for a treaty that would necessarily pose a significant threat to our national security or our constitutional rights, I’m starting to question whether weapons that were designed for soldiers in war should be in our streets.

With the gun violence-related events that have been occurring in our country over this past year, it should come as no surprise that we’ll be witnessing the igniting of an even more heated debate surrounding the verbiage in the Second Amendment and gun laws in this country. Lawyers and the courts have been battling over this highly contested subject since that fateful day on December 15, 1791, when the law of our great land, the Constitution, was ratified. But there’s a large and widely unseen misconception here with the language of the Second Amendment and it’s implementation at the time it first came to fruition, versus today. While it is very important, its also greatly misunderstood. It clearly states, “A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.” The phrase “bear arms” was referring to soldiers and militiamen. Not to private gun use by an individual in a home or on a hunt. The central image of association was that of Minutemen bearing arms, not Daniel Boone gunning down bears. And so with that ever-evolving depiction, so too has the interpretation behind the Second Amendment.

In fact increasingly calls have been made for the the Second Amendment to be interpreted alongside the 14th Amendment particularly the privileges and immunities clause in Section 1 which states: “All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” It focuses on Rights Guaranteed Privileges and Immunities of Citizenship, Due Process and Equal Protection. Many see the recognition of this clause as being necessary to respect the Framers’ vision, as it was inspired by the Declaration of Independence and laid out in the Constitution, for a government that would in fact serve instead of rule, the people which translates to government’s limited role whilst the Constitution would stand as an ever-watchful guardian to assure and ensure that government would not overstep its bounds, as we know very well they are apt to doing.

A companion statute to the 14th Amendment, enacted by Congress in 1866, declared that “laws … concerning personal liberty [and] personal security … including the constitutional right to bear arms, shall be secured to and enjoyed by all the citizens.” Here, in sharp contrast to founding-era legal texts, the “bear arms” phrase was decisively severed from the military context. Additionally, the Second Amendment harkens back to an 18th Century America where citizens were regularly rounded up for militia service on the town square and where the federal army was rightly suspect. This is no longer our world and while the framers of the 14th Amendment did focus intently on self-dense in the home, the framers of the Second Amendment did not.

Whatever direction this hot topic ends up taking, the calls for action are being heard loud and clear across the nation. Our nation has grieved the loss of 20 of our children and this will hopefully prompt a call to action and initiatives to prevent future tragedies from occurring without causing damage to the individual rights we hold as citizens of this great county and maintaining its stalwart principles. As with everything in life, there is something to be said about finding and maintaining a balance; a middle ground of sorts. Too much of anything is never a good thing and in times of grief, well, I think this says it best:

“In times of grief and sorrow I will hold you and rock you and take your grief and make it my own. When you cry I cry and when you hurt I hurt. And together we will try to hold back the floods to tears and despair and make it through the potholed street of life” ― Nicholas Sparks, The Notebook

Godspeed to the families of those affected by this and other tragedies and may we never experience the devastating blow of loss ever again.

Once in a Lifetime: 12.12.12

12-12-12

Today marks the last major numerical date using the Gregorian or Christian calendar for almost another century. The next time three numbers will align as they did on 9-9-09, 10-10-10 and 11-11-11 will be on Jan. 1, 3001, or 1-1-1. It also marks a new day for the Holy See as Pope Benedict XVI sent out his first, long-anticipated, Tweet with the push of a button on an iPad. His pearls of wisdom: “How can faith in Jesus be lived in a world without hope?” And what a special day it is.

All this has stirred up talk of a doomsday and Armageddon-like finale, with just nine days to go before the Mayan calendar hits the end of its 5,000-year cycle. Superstitious ramblings of the end have even sparked some odd and eerie behavior in other countries prompting NASA to release a Mayan calendar “told ya so” video (NASA releases Mayan calendar ‘told ya so’ video 10 days early | Crave – CNET) in an attempt to quell any looming fears.

So let’s take a look at the lighter side of this enchanted figure and see the positive (no pun intended) in the number 12. Here are 12 fun facts about this :

  1. The Beatles released a total of 12 studio albums
  2. Only 12 people have ever walked the moon (12.13.2012 will the mark the 40th anniversary of which the men on Apollo 17 took humanity’s final steps on the moon)
  3. 12 is the atomic number of magnesium on the periodic table of elements
  4. There are 12 pairs of ribs in the human body
  5. There are 12 cranial nerves in the human body
  6. In English, 12 is the largest number that has just one syllable
  7. The 12 ‘ Jyotirlingas’ represents the epitome of the God Shiva in Hindu Shaivism
  8. Most computers have 12 function keys (i.e. F1, F2, etc.)
  9. In the bible Jacob had 12 sons who were the progenitors of the Twelve Tribes of Israel
  10. There were 12 apostles
  11. King Arthur’s round table had 12 Knights including himself
  12. The Dozenal Societies of America and Great Britain are devoted to…you guessed it!

One numerologist says the number 12 is associated with enjoyment, emotions, creative expression, sadness, rejuvenation and rebirth. Let’s face it. If something’s bound to happen, there’s nothing we can do to stop it. So skeptics and believers alike, rejoice! You have nine days (not 12!) to find out…