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The ego prize
On Anousheh Ansari's $10 million throwaway to promote space travel

October 14, 2004
iranian.com

As an Iranian I have always felt a sense of pride in the achievements of my fellow Iranians and have always made sure to inform others. Before the invention of internet I always made copies about the positive things we have done and distributed them. These days I e-mail the information and the title always reads 'to be proud of'.

However, when I sent the e-mail about Mrs. Ansari's donation [see "Up, up, and away!"], I did not make any comments and a few "got the message" and replied that they shared my feelings.

Although I am happy and proud of Mrs. Ansari for her accomplishments as a woman, I am very disappointed in her approach to placing her name in the pages of history (as the writer put it ) by giving money for a project which simply shows it was an ego booster for Mr. And Mrs. Ansari.

Now, before all those heartless, materialistic Iranians who are devoid of real human compassion and think technology is the answer to everything, let me warn you that I will not even read your nasty e-mails because you are not worth it.

I am all for scientific research which helps humanity and that includes stem cell research, cloning and similar experiments. However, space travel is not on my list of things that can truly eliminate human sufferings.

The writer claims Mrs. Ansari is a good role model. My God, I sure hope those who give away their hard earned money for an ego-boosting cause are not considered role models.(Of course being able to deduct it as a charitable donation does not hurt either).

Does Mrs. Ansari know how divided the Iranian population living in the motherland has become? Does she know that we have two classes? One rich and one extremely poor? Does she know how many students are selling their kidneys to pay for their education in Iran (this information was given by someone who went to school with us and is an economic advisor in Iran's current regime).

How could anyone with an ounce of compassion sleep comfortably at night knowing that those millions of dollars could have eliminated so much suffering in Iran or anywhere else in the world? I know that may have not gotten as much media attention but what about the true joy of compassion? Were you not told as a child that a lantern needed to light a home is forbidden the mosque?

Does Mrs. Ansari know how many hard working and honest Iranians in this land of opportunity for some unforeseen misfortunes are struggling? A bit of financial help could greatly change their situation.

I am sorry but she is not my role model. And to all those young women and men whom I mentor I also would say that Mrs. Ansari could be your role model in terms of her professional achievements and hard work. But as far as giving a large sum of money to get name recognition, she's nobody's role model.

I am scheduled to give a lecture for a student organization in a university which has 400 kids of Iranian parentage but many of them do not know each other. This organization is struggling hard to raise money to get this entity recognized (I will do everything in my power to do so) and be useful for future generations of Iranian heritage.

If Mrs. Ansari gives this organization a few thousand dollars, in my humble opinion that would be a better cause to be remembered for. Instead she looks like some lazy ass, bored, rich person who has seen all there is to see on Eareth and now wants to travel to space and explore the unknown. How exciting!

Okay, you are not crazy about helping any Iranian causes. I understand because I deal with people like you all the time (and try to change their minds). But how about helping poor kids right here? How about paying for someone's life saving operation?

There are endless ways to spend that kind of money. I know some of the heartless Iranians with souls that are devoid of emotion would think that I am jealous. It would burst their empty bubble to know that even though I am an average person, I give to all causes, even if it is just a few dollars I saved through the years.

However, the joy that fills my heart for "giving" to the right cause is ten times more meaningful than the joy you feel by looking at your bank statement or seeing your name idolized in an unworthy cause.

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