A long time ago, Neda's parents lived in Iran, a country in a part of the world called "the Middle East." They were very happy there, until one day when they got scared.
Iran was ruled by a man called the Shah of Iran. He was not a very good ruler and his people wanted a better life. They were angry with him. So angry that he decided to leave the country for good!
A man came in to replace the Shah. He was called the Ayatollah (eye-ah-toe-la), and a lot of people thought that he wasn't a good ruler either. They got scared by some of the people who followed him - they didn't seem to be able to see more than one side of things.
Neda's parents were two of those scared people. They worried that something bad would happen, so they packed up their things and took little Neda to America. She was just a baby! Neda grew up here.
Neda's parents were right, something bad did happen. A small number of people in Iran were mad at America for being friends with the Shah. In 1979 they captured some Americans working in Iran and wouldn't let them go. The Americans became hostages.
The Ayatollah was mad at America and wanted it to leave Iran alone. President Jimmy Carter sent a rescue mission to Iran to try to save the hostages, but it went very wrong and the American rescuers died.
It took more than a year for the American hostages to come home, and it didn't happen until we got a new president. On the day Ronald Reagan became president, the Ayatollah let the hostages go home. It was January 20, 1981, and they had been held for 444 days.
Neda and all of us are very lucky that we have never been away from our family for that long!
Neda says, "I want my two halves to be friends!"
Hang in there, Neda! It just might happen!
Please email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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