Forced Out of His Country

A visitor in his own country.

Shoomal Qassim Boloush, 54, was forced to decide between getting a passport or being stuck in Iran, without the freedom to travel and provide comfortably for his family of currently, three wives, nine children and three grandchildren.

“I want an even larger family soon. I am hoping to marry a fourth wife next time I go to Iran,” he said.

img_1903
Boloush was thinking about the heat of the Souq as his friend was comparing stories about their countries. F/10 1/100 ISO 160

Boloush made the hard choice at 38, during the 1979 revolution in Iran. He chose to go to Pakistan and became a Pakistani national to get a passport. Later, he went to Qatar and found job with a wealthy large family.

“I could not provide for my family living in Iran. The country was no longer welcoming to Sunni Muslims getting a job (and) a loan was impossible, and I was young and had nothing,” said Boloush.

Without a formal education, Boloush’s only option at that time was to join the army in order to save money for his dream, to open a local store in his town. His dream was to always stay in Iran with his family. However, with the revolution he lost his job in the army due to religious differences.

“I always wanted a simple life. The store was a way to have a family business, and a legacy I could leave them,” he said.

img_1884
Boloush explains his life in Iran while walking around the Souq while running errands. F/10 ISO 100 1/80

Boloush found his current job by visiting one popular open majlis in 1980. A majlis consists of a place where social gathering take place, among people with common interests. The majlis was where Boloush met his current employer who was willing to hire him because he is bilingual, and could help run his own employees that work at his majlis by doing multiple small jobs.

“My employer is very understanding and makes working for him very easy, thank God. He is very supportive and loaned me money to start up my business,” he said.

Today, Boloush still works with the same family doing many small tasks with no clear job description. Some examples of what he does includes him visiting markets to purchase anything the household needs, in addition to managing some of the other workers.

“I love my country and my family, but now I am not allowed to stay there for more than six months at a time,” he explained.

While Boloush misses his family, he works a steady six months with days off whenever he chooses. Boloush then decides to visit Iran to work on his small local convenient store.

“My eldest son, Abdul-Nasser, runs the store while I work here (in Qatar.) I started up the store 15 years ago and trained him as soon as it opened. Everything is in his name,” Boloush added.

Since he received a passport from Pakistan, nothing he owns was allowed to legally be in his name in Iran. His three homes were under his wives’ names.

“I don’t mind not legally having property under my name. I only stay there for six months, I trust my sons and wives’,” he said.

img_1827
Boloush talking to the sales associate about prices and quality of some of their traditional sweets F/10 ISO 320 1/80

Going through many ups and downs in his life, Boloush manages to keep striving for a better future. On his last visit to his hometown, he got into a car accident running over a teenage boy on the freeway. As Boloush’s family were wealthier, the court mandated that he pays 250,000 Qatari Riyals to the family of the victim.

“Thank god he survived. The only damage done was a broken leg that the doctors said would heal,” Boloush mentioned.

Boloush worked hard to try to earn the money to pay the family, but quickly realized that he could not earn that kind of money in the six months they alluded to him.

After his return to Qatar, his employer offered to pay part of his debt off and allow Boloush to work it off in his own time.

“Taking responsibilities is important to me. I have to show my sons how to be men, how to support a family, and what we have to do,” he said.

img_1825
The lantern reminded Boloush of his family and homes. At this point he was explaining how he wanted to have another arranged marriage. F/10 1/125 ISO 500

 

VCU-Q Scoop: An Ice-Cream Social Event

Cold Stone Ice-Cream attracts students to VCU-Q brings.