In the words of his nephew Siavash Alaghmandan:
In Iran, after the revolution, there was a steady stream of people leaving. America was the jackpot. If you made it there, you really made it. The land of opportunity and freedom.
My uncle, "Amoo Abdi" was one of the people who had "made it".He didn't come from a family that could afford sending him abroad. People around him did not share his aspirations to leave downtown Tehran. But he went to night school to get his education as a technician while working multiple jobs to make this dream come true. When he got to the US he eventually got a job at a Valley Transportation Authority light rail yard in San Jose where he worked for decades, tirelessly serving the community he lived in. He was an essential worker and although he had had a surgery recently he was back at work, during a global pandemic, at the age of 63.
He was a no nonsense guy, he had a great work ethic and worked really hard to have the things he did. He was a guy who made everyone happy. He had an unmatched sense of humor and was effortlessly witty. Not to mention he was so crafty he could build anything. I looked up to him in so many ways.
In this picture we are at a lighthouse in the US. It's such a symbolic moment for me because lighthouses are a beacon of hope. They are there to let people know that they have reached land and safety. I remember thinking here I am with my amoo, who made it to the promised land and here we are at a lighthouse. This place is as safe as the world gets, he doesn't have to worry about the bad life in Iran anymore, he made it.
On Wednesday May 26th he was a victim of a mass shooting in San Jose California while at work.
My uncle was a father, a husband and a brother. His family in Iran endured all these years of separation with the hope of a better life for him. He gave up weddings, birthdays, and funerals and many other life events. Now my uncle won't make us laugh anymore and his sons and wife, and his 5 siblings, don't get to hug him anymore and tell him they love him. Now we live, knowing that his last moments were spent in terror and anguish.
I love you forever Amoo Abdi. No one is going to bother you now. Rest in peace.