Reflections on reading “Foreigner” by Gwyn Magaditsch, Baha’i Scholar
Here’s a book that lets you figuratively walk, if not a mile, at least a couple of New York blocks in an immigrant’s shoes. We wonder how this 19-year-old Iranian from a rural area of Iran where, although a member of the Bahá’í Faith and much more forward-thinking than the majority of folks in his home town were, will survive in New York City with only a few words of English and a limited amount of funds. He desperately needs to find work as well as go to school, and he lets us know how tough it was. He shares the stories, lets us in on the difficulties of making it day by day, and we can sense his anxiety and frustration. Ah, but he has tenacity, he has iron-willed determination, and he survives! As his story progresses we sense his growth and then observe the change that his marriage to his dear wife, Tahereh, brings. With their successful marriage we see further growth. He obtains his educational goals, and we learn about his eventual involvement as administrator at Harlem Prep, a marvelous, innovative school in Harlem where high school drop-outs are given a second chance at the educational process—a school with a remarkable record of success. He also shares stories of acting as a New York chauffer to several dignitaries of the Bahá’í Faith known by the title Hands of the Cause of God, little thumbnail sketches of these beloved souls, a few of them bringing chuckles. And then he brings us to tears as he provides information about the imprisonment and martyrdom of Bahá’í friends in Iran in the 1980s. This book is full of interesting information and is also a heart-warming story of courage and tenacity. Congratulations, Dr. Hussein Adieh, on a life well-lived! I, for one, am very happy you immigrated to the U.S.A.
Gwyn Magaditsch, Baha’i Scholar