Welcoming the Stranger

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  • Title: Welcoming the Stranger: Narratives of Identity and Belonging in an Iranian Diaspora
  • Author(s): Mammad Aidani
  • Publisher: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Collection: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Series: Diversity in Organizations, Communities & Nations
  • Keywords: Iranians, Cultural assimilation, Austtralia, Social conditions, Immigrants, Group identity, Iranian diaspora, Narratives
  • Year: 2010
  • ISBN (pbk): 978-1-86335-764-7
  • ISBN (pdf): 978-1-86335-765-4
  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.18848/978-1-86335-765-4/CGP
  • Citation: Aidani, Mammad. 2010. Welcoming the Stranger: Narratives of Identity and Belonging in an Iranian Diaspora. Champaign, IL: Common Ground Research Networks. doi:10.18848/978-1-86335-765-4/CGP.
  • Extent: 90 pages

Abstract

About six million people are estimated to have left Iran since 1979. They are dispersed in Western countries, including Australia, where they form a relatively unknown community. To Western eyes, they left their birthplace due to a range of historical events—the 1979 revolution and its aftermath, the protracted war between Iran and Iraq. Arriving in the host country, they had to wait on the host to give them an identity that fitted the prevailing socio-political notions: they had to become either ‘migrants’ or ‘refugees’. The voices in this book challenge the identities imposed on them. They see themselves as strangers, travellers, and their reception in Australia has been at odds with the ancient Persian notions of hospitality. Welcoming the Stranger: Narratives of Identity and Belonging in an Iranian Diaspora allows Iranians to speak through their stories of displacement and cultural trauma. Their voices bring to the fore questions about identity, hospitality, displacement and language which challenge how the West welcomes people who ‘come knocking on the door’.