Aloha, reader. We would love for you to join our celebration of writer Anthony H. [“Tony”] Roberts, who produced our favorite article of the week, “No Time for Goodbyes,” a gripping account of his family’s sudden departure from Iran in 1978, when he was just 17.
Tony wrote his piece for Denizen, the online magazine for Third Culture Kids — kids who grew up in a culture or cultures other than their own.
Tony now lives on the Big Island of Hawai’i, so our fete in his honor, which has just begun, consists of a min-luau with traditional foods, mai-tais, and a hula performance.
You will also have a chance to engage with Tony directly as he’s agreed to respond to your comments and questions. (Mahalo, Tony!)
In fact, the hula dance is about to begin. Watch the series of three dances telling us why Tony’s life is so special:
From Tony, we can learn about what it is like to be displaced by circumstance rather than by choice. Tony spent five years of his childhood exploring deserts in Saudi Arabia and three years as a teenager running wild in the streets and hillsides of the ancient city of Tehran. Then suddenly the Islamic revolution occurred, and before he had a chance to click his heels even once, he, along with his mother and sister, were transported back to their small farm town in Kansas, where he’d been born but no longer thought of as home:
The greatest sadness of leaving Iran in 1978 was its speed. Our departures were so fast that there was no time for goodbyes. All of my closest high school friends scattered to the winds. Tens of thousands of Americans lived in Tehran when I was there, and by the end of 1979 there were only 52 left — the American hostages.
Tony has done something many expats only dream of: he’s written up his experience in a work of historical fiction. His book, published in February of this year, is called Sons of the Great Satan. It tells the story of an American teenager forging a friendship with an Iranian teenager in the last golden hours before the Shah of Iran falls and the country is engulfed by a whirlwind of chaos. Go to YouTube trailer.
Tony and his family embody our ideal of global citizens. His wife is a Kiwi, his son a Cherokiwi, and they live in Hawai’i, a melting pot of cultures from around the world, with influences from China, the Philippines, Japan, Korea, Portugal and Puerto Rico, to name a few. And let’s not forget Ziggy, the family pet. He’s a Boxador, a cross between the Boxer and the Labrador Retriever. (Ziggy, assuming Fergus makes it to The Displaced Nation, we’re sure he would enjoy palling around with you.)
And now, it’s time to adorn Tony with leis and drink a toast to his honor. Okole maluna! Cheers, Tony!
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