Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Iran--A Flashback for Silva Harapetian

Been There.

Seen That.

“Watching the images out of Iran takes me back to 1979 when I witnessed it all in person,” said Silva Harapetian, former KXAN TV (NBC) reporter on Facebook today. “With no political connection being caught in the middle of all of that was very difficult to understand,” she continued. “It is really hard to watch. I feel like a child in fear again.”

Harapetian reported for KXAN from August, 2005 to November, 2006. She joined WDIV TV (NBC) in Detroit, Michigan as a reporter in December, 2006.

She was born in Iran and spent the first 12 years of her life there. “For the most part I had a normal life within the four walls of our home. My parents tried very hard to make sure we were not affected and didn’t see too much of the turmoil on the streets. But there was no escaping it,” Harapetian recalls in an interview with NewsMcNabb. “I remember … anxiety in my parents’ voices talking about curfews and threats. We were never a political family as we are Armenian and for the most part felt caught in the cross fire of the revolution and eventually the war between Iran and Iraq.”

The family (Right) picture was taken at her second b-day party in 1977 just two years before the revolution. “After that year, she says, “Nothing was ever the same.”

“As a child I remember the demonstrations, the noise of the protesters, the throwing of the rocks, the sound of the motorcycles,” she tells me. “I remember my family turning off all the lights in the home and sitting in the middle of the living room with a radio and candle light, ready to run to the basement in case of an emergency. I remember falling asleep on the floor on many nights.”

According to, when she was 12 years old her family fled to Germany where they lived for two years awaiting news of passage to the United States. At 14 years old, Harapetian arrived in Los Angeles.

"I feel very blessed to be living in this country. I have had the chance to have an education and a career, something I as a woman may have never been able to pursue,” she says on the web site. She graduated from the University of Southern California with a communication degree. In the process she added English to her first three languages: Armenian, Farsi and German. She is now learning Spanish, the web site says.

All of these personal experiences, plus the stories she has covered, are contributing to a world-view, a broad perspective, Harapetian tells me. “As an adult I realized that I lived in historic times. I realized early on that my experience helps me relate to adversity. It helps me really understand what it’s like not having a voice. I am also able to relate to the human struggle for justice.”

Now, now the world is watching the “human struggle for justice” via Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube. Harapetian identifies with it all thousands of miles away.

© Jim McNabb, 2009

No comments: