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Monday, January 6, 2014

Sanaz Nezami: "Ripples of life in an ocean of needs."

"You matter!"

You might be but one drop in a bigger ocean,
but even that drop causes ripples which effect 
every other drop...."

                          Sue Krebs.

"Death to America!"
 This is the common slogan that we are treated to in photos and film footage from public demonstrations in Iran. The conclusion we come to is that Iranians hate America and despise our way of life.
 However, in the case of Sanaz Nezami, the exact opposite is true. Sanaz loved America! Born and raised in Tehran, the 27 year-old Iranian had recently married and was eager to enroll at Michigan Technological University and pursue an advanced degree in environmental health engineering. A bright and intelligent girl, Sanaz was already proficient in other languages such as German, Spanish and Arabic and had earned her master's degree in French Translation. She pursued life with an energy and passion to be successful and lived by a personal motto to pursue problems with patience. Writing on her Facebook page in a section called, "notes," Sanaz lamented that, "many of us don't have the patience to solve our problems. We quit before there is a breakthrough."
Sanaz wrote, "The important thing to remember is, no matter how long it takes, never give up, and never quit. Keep at it!"
Sanaz lived by her motto. She patiently pursued her dreams, earned her degrees and then left Iran headed to Turkey, where she married her husband, Nima, someone she had met on the internet. Her dream was now to earn her doctorate degree in environmental engineering at Michigan Tech University.
But then something terrible and unforeseen happened that would put an end to the dream of her life!
Sanaz was rushed to a hospital in Michigan and was pronounced brain dead, the victim of a senseless, brutal beating from her husband. Desperate to inform her parents of the tragedy, nurses and hospital officials searched the internet and discovered Sanaz's online resume. A few hours later, the hospital finally connected with Sanaz's parents and broke the tragic news to them. 
Unfortunately because of money and visa problems, the parents were unable to immediately come and spend the final hours with their daughter. However in an act of true kindness and mercy, the hospital positioned a computer in Sanaz's room where they could see their daughter and be with her in the last hours of her life.
After her death, the parents, moved with trust and compassion for the hospital staff, agreed to allow Sanaz's vital organs to be transplanted in seven other people in the U.S. in order to save their lives.
I write about Iranians. My Facebook page is dedicated to their hope and freedom. My book, "The Rose of Nowruz: dreams of hope and freedom," is about standing up for the rights of women in Iran, who suffer underneath an oppressive, male-dominated society.
 When I read about Sanaz, I was heartbroken! Here was a young, positive, beautiful Iranian girl who loved America and was eager to pursue her lifelong dreams and instead became the victim of a senseless violent act that is all too common among women.
No doubt, Sanaz understood the position of women in Iran and was now going to live in a better place where women are treated with more respect and equality. Tragically however, even here, she was not safe!
I knew I wanted to write something very special about this lovely Iranian girl, so I visited her Facebook page and there right before my eyes was the answer I was looking for!
As I scrolled down her page, I came across a posting Sanaz had shared. In fact, the posting was dated, November 26, 2013. It was to be one of her last
status updates before her tragic death. The posting was a beautiful blue picture of a single drop of water falling into an ocean. At the top of the picture the title read, "YOU MATTER!"
Below the title was a short "thought for the day," which read:

"You might be but one drop in a bigger ocean,
 but even that drop causes ripples which effect every other drop."

That simple, but profound statement caused me to weep. How True! Sanaz's life, that one tiny drop in the ocean dramatically transformed the lives of seven people! In her death, the very organs that sustained her life brought hope to the lives of others.
In her death, Sanaz became that "life-giving ripple" in an ocean of needs!
Even though she did not personally give permission for her organs to be donated, no doubt she would have agreed to do this because she loved life and loved people.
In the midst of a senseless and painful tragedy, God brought beauty out of the ashes of her suffering. The lives of many people were transformed by an evil and selfish act and will live vibrant and healthy lives because of Sanaz's death.
Sanaz gave the most precious gift you can give, the gift of life.
Jesus taught, "There is no greater love than to lay down one's life for one's friends." (John 15:13)
The next time that you see a photo or video clip of Iranians chanting, "death to America," don't believe it!
Sanaz Nezami gave her life so that other Americans could live. She was a living example of one Iranian who loved my country and I will never forget her sacrifice!