PARS GLOBAL CHARITY FOUNDATION (PGCF)
Founder’s True Story
Hanna and the Twins:
On April 18,1980 the Iranian Universities were shut down under the pretext of Cultural Revolution. Two of my college students, Farshid and Nima, wasted no time waiting for their reopening. They married their top classmates and decided to leave the country and continue their higher education elsewhere. But, they were not sure which country was the best for their high pursuits. I had just returned from US after many years and was married to one of their classmates. They approached me and sought my advice, and were pleased when I recommended America and named some of its top universities and told them I would join them if the universities did not reopen soon. I provided them with strong recommendation letters and introduced them to some of my colleagues in California who kindly acknowledged their credentials and were very supportive of their acceptance to the universities. They received their admission letters fast and departed right before Iraq Invade Iran. By early September all four were attending universities, Farshid and his wife attended Stanford, Nima and his wife were at UCLA. At the same time Iranian cities were being bombed by Saddam day and night and a lot of their classmates were getting killed in frontlines. I kept in touch with these bright scholars and was happy to know they were doing well, not like us cut in a tense war with miserable days and nights. Luckily, after five years I was able to return to California, and was supposed to arrive with my three children. Unfortunately, right before our departure things got complicated and I had to leave the children behind, hoping to bring them as soon as I arranged suitable accommodation for them. I arrived in California alone, but these young scholars were waiting for more of us at LAX Airport. Both couples had brought their kids, with flowers in their hands. The children knew me as uncle Moe, though had not seen me yet. One couple had a sweet little girl named Hanna and the other had twins, Adam and Arman. All were around four years old, the same age as my middle child who was extremely attached to me. The kids had brought some toys with them. At first glance, I noticed all their eyes were gazing around expecting to see all the family! They had brought those toys for my children. I hugged Hanna, she immediately asked where my children were, which I had a hard time to answer. As soon she heard me saying “They are coming later” She start crying loudly and threw the toy on the ground. The rest of the faces toward me turned blue with disappointment and anger! But for me, was not only the sadness but the guilt feeling which was tearing me apart, and still does sometimes. I should have not left my children even for a minute during those harsh times. Little Hana made me realize kids are much wiser than adults, and, betrayals from family members and friends are the hardest and the worst ones. On the way getting out of the Airport, I explained “First I have to get a house and make things ready and be prepared for their arrival and then bring them.” They agreed and their moods got better and started talking about themselves and how happy they were for their decision and being in America. They repeatedly thanked me for helping them in the beginning and paving their ways. Deep in my heart, I also felt very gratified for having a positive role in their lives and happiness. After that, we spent a lot of time together. Every Saturday, the couple from Stanford drove down to UCLA to be close to warmer beaches and children play together, they all loved the beach. We often went to the beach together. I enjoyed playing with the kids and watching out for their safety while parents were playing Volleyball. These kids had become substitutes for my children. We had become very attached and they loved my building sand castles for them at the beach.Time was passing fast and these families were thriving, and I was happy to see it, Especially, watching out for these happy playful children at beach always delighted me. But, on the other hand, inside me, the self-blame, anger, and guilt-feeling was growing much faster, for my own children not only lacked such luxury, but lived in a horrifying war-zone and under constant threat and bombardment day and night. These feelings became so intense that I no longer could sleep at night, unless I got out of bed, cried for a while, and walked out at 2 O’clock in the morning and started running till I collapsed. Two years passed like this. In the beginning of the 3rd Summer, one Sunday morning, Hanna, called me and said “Uncle Moe, we want to have breakfast on the beach, you better hurry.” I told her I was going a way for a week, we would go for Breakfast again when I got back. She asked if I was going to bring my children, and I could feel the excitement in her voice. I did not know how and I could not answer that question. I suddenly lost my voice. Apparently, her mother realized, quickly grabbed the phone and wished me a safe trip. After a long pause, with a broken voice, I was able to utter a few words and I wish them a lot of fun at the beach. I went on my trip and after a couple of days I called them several times but no one answered. I had this premonition that something is not right. I cut my trip short and immediately returned. Unfortunately, their world had turned upside down. The same Sunday that I took the trip the waves had pulled Hanna in deep water. And, her father, Nima, while trying to save her was drowned. Hanna was saved but not Nima. We all were devastated. How I felt is hard to explain, far worse than miserable. I was banging my head on the wall and cursing and blaming myself, why that Sunday I did not cancel my trip and go with them, and watch for the kids safety as I always did!. I became numb for several days. I did not go out, did not want to see anyone, and had locked myself in my room for a week. All the time I was thinking of Hanna, how could she handle it?!. Her world was suddenly destroyed! What kind of impact this sudden shock and severe trauma could have on her life?! When I walked out of my room I was both physically and emotionally wrecked. I wanted to see Hanna, I asked a friend to go with me. When I saw Hanna and her mother my heart collapsed. Hanna who would usually run into my arms and hug me did not even raise her head. She was totally static and emotionless. She stared at me for a moment and then her eyes were fixed on the ceiling all the time. Her mother looked pale and shrunk. She told me she had booked her flight and they were going back home the next day for good. I tried to convince her to change her mind but my effort was fruitless. She said “What would happen to Hanna if something happens to me? She has no one here to take care of her. What would she do without love, comfort, and guidance? Back home, at least, she has grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc. But, here she has no one!” Her words started to sink in and make sense! They reflected my own situation. I never thought of it this way before, all the times I was carrying those guilt-feelings, self-blames, and hating myself for leaving my children back home. Although, devastated and heart-broken for their loss, her words brought me a sense of deep relief and comfort. I said to myself “Yes, what would happen to my children if they were with me here and something would happen to me? Life being so fragile and death so unpredictable! I’m glad I did not bring them with me. Back home, at least, they have their grand parents, uncles, and aunts. Who would take care of them here if I die?!” The next day, Hanna and her mother went back home, and I started to reconcile with myself and come out of my tormenting state of mind, and gradually get rid of those nagging negative feelings and replace them with positive thoughts. After they left, I spoke with Hanna and her mother a few times by phone but later we lost contact and we did not hear from each other for ten years, until I heard she ran an Orphanage in India. I contacted her and we talked for an hour, I asked if she was married, she laughed and replied she was very happily married, but to her Orphanage Foundation. She told me Hanna had just started college and was doing great. I was glad to hear it. Farshid and his family? I have not seen recently but we talk on phone often. Both husband and wife are very successful surgeons, running their own clinic and enjoying their grandchildren. Their twins are also highly successful and well-established. Now, little about myself and my children: Thanks God, my children are doing well and are now independent. And, I’m still pursuing what I set to do after Nima’s death and Hanna’s tragic experience 36 years ago, losing her beloved father when she was only seven years old. At that time I started to think why an innocent child should face such uncertain future due to the loss of a parent or both parents. Why there was not a relief society or relief angels group to act immediately and fill the gap and vacuum which is suddenly created in a child’s life due to unpredicted tragedies?! Such piercing wounds and holes in early life if not filled, not only would ruin the child’s future, but would create a huge burden for both the government and the society at large. Thus, the idea of creating such a society was conceived. And, as the world’s increasing disasters such as wars, earthquakes, hurricanes, tornados, famines, pandemics, etc., and now, especially, the war in Ukraine leave more and more parentless children with no hope or comfort and guidance, but only dark uncertain futures - my determination grew firmer and my idea of creating a Global Relief Society became much more crystallized and better polished.
PARS GLOBAL CHARITY FOUNDATION (PGCF) is the fruit of unrelenting thoughts of many pensive sleepless years. Please, do not treat it lightly, the spirit of time and urgency calls for it. Join and help it grow. It is for all of us and securing the future of our posterity. Thank you,