we should not be
On the survival and progress of unpopular minorities
in the United States
By Nader Habibi
May 9, 2003
This article asks an interesting question. How should an ethnic
minority defend its long term interests when it faces hostility
and social rejection because of tensions between the U.S. and the
community's country of origin?
I think many readers might find this issue relevant in light
of the ongoing tensions between the U.S. and Iran. I also think
that it could generate some follow up discussions and commentaries.
It is a long article that I have partitioned it into three
Part I, Part II and Part
As recent demographic surveys have demonstrated, the community of
Iranian-Americans is a highly educated and prosperous group of people,
which enjoys a higher standard of living than many other ethnic
groups in the United States. Because of the selective nature of
the U.S. immigration policy and cultural pressures of the Islamic
Revolution, the share of professionals and entrepreneurs among Iranian-Americans
is larger than most other minorities.
With this large supply of educated and skillful professionals,
the Iranians have the potential to preserve their high standard
of living for decades to come. However, because of the continuing
tensions in the U.S. relations with Iran in particular, and the
Middle East in general, the Iranian community in the U.S. has been
under stress ever since the 1979 Islamic revolution. The future
prosperity and assimilation of the Iranians also remains vulnerable
to the contentious U.S.-Middle East relations.
When there is prolonged hostility between a third world country
and the United States, gradually U.S. public opinion towards the
community of immigrants from that country will turn negative. The
community will face social rejection, discrimination, prejudice
and might even be looked upon with suspicion and accused of sympathizing
with an external enemy. As the developments after September 11 have
demonstrated the negative reaction will be more severe when Americans
are worried about acts of terrorism in America and fear that immigrants
might play a role in future attacks.
Even a very resourceful ethnic minority can't escape the adverse
consequences of being looked upon as a suspect and undesirable group
by the rest of the society. While education and wealth play an important
role in economic progress, enjoying the social goodwill and trust
of the greater society is also equally important. The negative impact
of prejudice and discrimination on ethnic minorities is undeniable.
Just as the reduction of discrimination has elevated the socioeconomic
status of African Americans and Hispanics in the past four decades,
the rise of discrimination and hostility against a successful ethnic
group can diminish its socioeconomic status over-time. The covert
and overt hostility toward such a group will affect its prosperity
through several channels some of which are listed below:
a) Employment and promotion: Members of a despised ethnic group
will face discrimination in the job market. Finding an entry-level
position will become more difficult and those who, because of their
high skills, already have a successful career will be promoted at
a slower pace or even bypassed in favor of other employees. In recent
months the media has reported several job discrimination complaints
by Middle Eastern professionals.
An example is the formal lawsuit of Jamshid Farshidi who taught
mathematics at Norfolk State University until June 2002. Farshidi
claimed that he was falsely accused of sexual harassment and fired
from his job because of his Middle Eastern background.
Employed individuals will also have a difficult time switching
jobs and moving to a new firm. One reason for discrimination against
despised minorities is that the human resource managers might feel
that other employees (or clients) would be reluctant to work with
these individuals. This is particularly true of high level managerial
positions. The employer might worry that the staff would resent
serving under members of an unpopular ethnic group.
b) Trade and investment: Members of a despised minority (DM) might
face subtle forms of discrimination in their day-to-day economic
transactions. This could be most visible in the service industry
where a service provider will offer a lower quality service to a
DM person. Since business owners face severe legal punishment for
racial and ethnic discrimination they might avoid overt discrimination,
which could be detected.
For example the employees of a restaurant cannot deny service to
a DM but might show less courtesy and warmth when serving such a
client. A teacher might show less attention and offer less encouragement
to a DM child. A real estate agent might put less effort into finding
the most suitable housing when helping a DM client. As a result
of these subtle discriminations a DM person will face a more hostile
trade and investment environment and might fall behind his competitors.
The cases below refer to the psychological and social consequences
of becoming a despised minority. These reactions themselves cause
further social and economic damage to the ethnic group.
c) Poor performance due to loss of self-esteem and aspiration.
The psychological consequences of discrimination and prejudice are
well known. Rage and loss of self-esteem are two of the most visible
consequences. A DM individual by definition is unpopular outside
his ethnic group. When he is subject to visible harassment and discrimination
his peace of mind is threatened by anger and fear. Sometimes a victim
of prejudice might turn this anger toward himself and develop a
Some individuals project their anger towards their family or their
ethnic group. These individuals try to hide their ethnic background
in social interactions and often show a hostile attitude towards
other members of their own ethnic community. Alternatively, a victim
of prejudice might develop hatred towards all people outside of
his ethnic group even though only a small number of people show
overt prejudice towards him.
The emotional trauma of prejudice is particularly severe when
an ordinary ethnic group suddenly becomes unpopular because of an
international conflict. A child, that up until a certain date, was
very popular in school, is suddenly rejected by his classmates.
A successful professional who was everybody's pal in the office,
suddenly receives a cold shoulder (and even verbal abuse) from his
These events can eventually erode an individual's sense of self-esteem
and reduce his motivation. A person, who might have aggressively
pursued a high status career under normal circumstances, will settle
for a less successful career path in an unfriendly social environment
because of low-self esteem and lowered expectations.
Furthermore the rage and anger that victims of social prejudice
harbor in their hearts could also have an adverse effect on their
health, creativity and social perspective. The individual might
develop a futile attitude toward life and resign into a life of
idleness and isolation.
d) Ethnic retrenchment: As the society's attitude towards a minority
turns negative, the social bonds and friendships between the members
of the minority group and the greater society weaken. Existing friendships
fade away while it becomes more difficult to create new bonds. This
gradual disengagement will make it easier for the larger society
to develop negative stereotypes about the minority group. Members
of the minority group, in turn, are forced into ethnic retrenchment.
Faced with rejection and prejudice, they will become more dependent
on their ethnic community for social support and cultural activities.
They loose interest in the national issues and focus their attention
on their ancestral homeland. (Salman Rushdie refers to this concept
as the rejected immigrant's virtual homeland.) Gradually the frequency
of intermarriage between this ethnic group and the rest of the society
will also diminish.
Ethnic retrenchment is an understandable psychological defense
mechanism: they reject us so we reject them. However, it has a negative
impact on economic and social success of an ethnic group. Since
networking and personal contact play an important role in economic
progress, retrenchment diminishes a minority groups contacts with
the greater society and therefore, reduces the pool of economic
opportunities available to an ethnic group.
e) Negative attitude towards other minorities: Victims of racism
and prejudice often project their anger and frustration towards
other minorities. They also tend to adopt the negative stereotypes
of the majority towards other minorities. Sometimes two ethnic minorities
such as blacks and Hispanics develop negative stereotypes against
each other. As the level of social hostility against a minority
increases its tendency to reject other minorities and develop prejudices
of its own will also increase.
The end result is a higher level of ethnic isolation where, not
only the majority group keeps its distance from various ethnic minorities
but the minorities also keep to themselves. This ethnic isolation
will further reduce the opportunities for networking and mutual
assistance, which could help the members of all minorities.
Sometimes, in large organizations with a racially diverse pool
of employees, high ranking individuals use their influence to discriminate
in favor of their ethnic colleagues at the expense of other minorities.
The Chinese physicians in an inner-city hospital, for example, might
try to hire other Chinese every time a new position becomes available,
at the expense of other ethnic groups.
Individual and Collective Reaction to Ethnic Prejudice
When the status of an ethnic group diminishes, its effects are felt
at both individual and group levels. In part one I mentioned some
of the new conditions that a Despised Minority (DM) person could
face. The individual finds himself in a new environment where he
faces less respect and relatively fewer social and economic opportunities
than members of the majority (or some other ethnic groups). In this
section I will discuss some of the behaviors and survival strategies
that such an individual might adopt to cope with this undesirable
The reactions of the victims of ethnic prejudice fall into two
major categories: personal responses and collective responses. Personal
responses are those behavioral and attitude changes that take place
without any coordination with other members of the ethnic group.
The collective responses will arise when members of a despised minority
choose to pull their economic and political resources together to
protect their collective interest and try to change the attitude
or policies of the greater society towards themselves. I will address
these two categories of responses separately.
1) Attempts to increase social acceptance by submissive behavior
When faced with rejection and abuse, a DM member might try to downplay
or even hide his ethnicity by adopting the attitudes and lifestyle
of the majority. Some could go as far as changing their name and
religion to avoid the stigma of being recognized as a member of
an unpopular minority. During 19th century the large groups of Arabs
who migrated to Brazil and other Latin American countries were faced
with anti-Arab and anti-Muslim prejudice. Many of them responded
by adopting Spanish names.
2) Altered Conscience: Another defensive mechanism is self-censorship
and altered conscience. For example when discussing U.S. policy
towards his ancestral homeland with people outside his ethnic group,
a DM will avoid criticizing U.S. policy. Some will support U.S.
position for sake of conformity without a deep conviction. Others
might even go as far as adopting such an attitude as an emotional
defense. By convincing themselves that what U.S. does is good for
their homeland they will avoid the feelings of guilt and anger that
is associated with conflict of loyalties.
It also makes it easier for them to express their opinion in public
and gain social acceptance. Some Arab-American scholars offer good
examples of such behavior. While many American intellectuals accept
the view that U.S. policy in the Middle East has contributed to
the growth of anti-American sentiments in the Arab world, and as
such has indirectly contributed to the rise of terrorist attacks
against U.S., some Arab-American scholars carefully avoid any criticism
of U.S. policy towards the region and avoid any discussion of the
impact of American foreign policy on the rise of anti-Americanism.
They are afraid that they might be punished or rejected for criticizing
the United States.
3) Alienation from the greater society and pursuit of a low profile
materialistic lifestyle: After several rounds of rejection and unfriendly
encounters a DM will gradually accept the fact that he is an unwanted
neighbor or colleague. He tries to minimize his social contacts
with the greater society and reduce his participation in community
activities or political programs. Gradually he will avoid joining
any political or social groups in which his ethnic identity is recognized.
Alienation, rejection and self-censorship have an adverse effect
on mental and physical health.
4) Radicalization and political extremism. Some DM persons, particularly
the youth, become vulnerable to radical and extremist ideas. This
is best demonstrated by the popularity of militant Islam among young
Arab and South Asian immigrants in Europe. In most European countries
Muslim minorities are unpopular and members of Muslim communities
have to put up with frequent ethnic insult and rejection. It is
no surprise that in such an environment they join radical Islamic
groups that reject the western lifestyle and occasionally engage
in urban riots.
5) Departure: When the social hostility towards a DM community
increases, some might finally give up and opt for migration. After
the 9-11 attacks, Arabs and Pakistanis were faced with rising hostilities
and diminishing opportunities in the United States. Unofficial reports
show that some chose to leave the United States. Some returned home
while others tried to move to other Western countries.
Canada has become a popular destination for many Pakistanis that
are considering leaving the United States. So far the pressures
on Iranian community have not reached a point that makes departure
attractive. However, if the U.S. attitude towards Iran becomes more
hostile after the Iraq campaign is complete, then we might witness
an exodus of Iranians from the United States. Furthermore, even
in the absence of ethnic hostility a small group of Iranians might
choose to leave the United States because of their disapproval of
the U.S. foreign policy.
6) Overachievers: Finally, ethnic rejection does not always lead
to a negative outcome. It could turn children into high achievers.
When social rejection is coupled with strong family support and
high expectations of success, the DM minority children will evolve
into overachievers and outperform others in science and arts.
This pattern is most visible among Asian and South Asian families.
Children of Chinese and Indian origin often face rejection in school
because of their visible physical features such as darker skin or
oriental faces. However, since their families are resourceful and
well educated, they often turn this negative stimulus into positive
energy and become high achievers in arts and science.
The key ingredient for this outcome, however, is that Asian cultures
emphasize hard work and educational achievement as th eppropriate
ways to overcome discrimination. Furthermore, the hostility that
these minorities face is less severe than low-income minorities
such as African Americans and Hispanic. Some middle class Iranian
families that live in prosperous suburban neighborhoods might show
a similar response to ethnic prejudice.
A popular, well-assimilated ethnic group tends to downplay its separate
identity (also referred to as the sense of "otherness").
Its members show little interest in joining ethnic political groups.
Their participation in ethnic activities is often limited to cultural
events. The Irish-Americans and the German-Americans, for example
have active cultural clubs that celebrate their ethnic festivities
but no anti-discrimination committees, for which they see no need.
The more visible and less popular ethnic groups on the other hand,
tend to come together and react to prejudice and discrimination
through collective action.
In recent decades, African- Americans and Hispanic-Americans have
been very successful in collective struggle against racism. As noted
by several Iranian sociologists, the Iranian-Americans have not
shown much interest in ethnic collective action in the past 25 years.
This is partly due to the fact that, thanks to their education and/or
wealth, they have been able to achieve economic success based on
However, in the new post 9/11 environment, their attitude might
change. If as a result of the deteriorating image of Middle Eastern
Americans and the worsening U.S.-Iran relations, more and more Iranians
experience a decline in the quality of their lives, then perhaps
they will show more interest in collective action and ethnic rights
activism. Some of the potential collective responses of Iranian-Americans
are as follows:
1) Formation of anti-discrimination committees: Iranian-Americans
are likely to follow the path of many other ethnic minorities and
create active anti-discrimination committees. Arab-Americans, Asian-Americans,
and others have created ethnic organizations to monitor and report
on cases of discrimination and ethic harassment. These organizations
also provide legal advice and assistance to victims of discrimination
and coordinate collective protests.
There is already an Iranian-American anti-discrimination committee
that was created recently. It is the Persian Watch Cat (antidiscrimination.org),
which has organized several email drives against anti-Iranian legislation
in the U.S. congress. So far Persian Watch Cat has received a limited
attention among Iranians. This and similar organizations, however,
are likely to attract more attention and play a more important role
in the coming years.
2) Trying to improve the U.S.-Iranian relations: Since a major
cause of potential hostility towards Iranian-Americans is the ongoing
hostilities between Iran and the United States, some Iranians might
try to address this root cause through political action. Currently
the most active group in this area is the American-Iranian Council
The AIC has organized several gatherings of moderate Iranian and
American politicians. However, the Iranian-American community is
deeply divided on its attitude towards the Iranian government. Those
who are opposed to the Islamic regime are highly critical of AIC
3) Political participation and formation of political action groups.
In communities that are host to a large group of Iranian-Americans,
such as Southern California and Washington D.C., Iranians can use
their voting power to influence the local politics. The National
Iranian American Council (NIAC, niacouncil.org),
which was formed in early 2000, actively encourages Iranians to
run for political office and participate in local and national politics.
So far the scope of NIACs activities is limited but it has the
potential to become an active political lobby for the Iranian-American
community in the future. By focusing on issues that directly affect
the Iranian-Americans (as opposed to the Iranian politics,) NIAC
is catching the attention of the second generation Iranian-Americans.
NIAC is also trying to act as a political lobby for the Iranian-Americans
in the U.S. Congress.
4) Peaceful Ethnic protests: After keeping a low profile for more
than two decades Iranian-Americans are beginning to realize the
power of mass protest. In December of 2002, after sudden detention
of hundreds of Iranians by U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service
(INS), a large group of Iranian-Americans gathered in front of the
INS building in Los Angeles to protest these arrests.
This peaceful but vocal protest was perhaps the first significant
civil rights demonstration by Iranian-Americans. It was also a clear
indication that Iranian-Americans are coming to terms with their
status as an ethnic minority that has to defend its civil rights
through collective action. We can expect to see more civil rights
demonstrations by Iranian-Americans in the coming years. Such demonstrations,
which are often spontaneously organized in protest against a particular
incidence, increase the participants' sense of ethnic solidarity
and encourage more participation in ethnic political activities.
5) Riots and Violent Protests: When a despised and abused ethnic
group cannot change its plight through peaceful and legal political
channels, it becomes vulnerable to riots and spontaneous violent
protests. In the United Sates, there have been several urban riots
in reaction to incidents of police brutality in recent decades.
These riots mostly occur in neighborhoods with large concentrations
of Hispanics and African-Americans.
So far the Iranian-Americans have not engaged in any violent protests.
This is because most Iranians do not face as much ethnic hostility
as these groups and they don't live in concentrated ethnic neighborhoods.
(The neighborhoods with large concentration of Iranians happen to
be the prosperous suburban neighborhoods such as the Beverly Hills
area in Los Angeles.)
Overall the chances that Iranian-Americans will take to the street
in violent riots because of ethnic frustration is small. However,
because of the negative attitude towards the Middle Eastern ethnic
groups, there is a danger that a peaceful protest by Iranian-Americans
could provoke a violent right-wing response, which in turn could
turn an entire demonstration into an ethnic riot.
6) Establishment of ethnic media and emergence of community leaders.
Ethnic radio and television stations, internet sites and newspapers
help create a sense of common identity and ethnic solidarity. Most
Iranian media outlets in the U.S. operate as exile media with heavy
emphasis on the news of Iran.
However, as the Iranian-Americans face ethnic issues of their own,
these media will gradually change their focus and will serve as
instruments for cultural entertainment, civil rights awareness,
and political education. Ethnic media will also help introduce potential
community leaders to the Iranian-Americans. Organizations such as
NIAC (described above) can reach out to a large Iranian-American
audience and increase their membership.
In previous sections I briefly described how the socio-economic
environment of a minority group changes as it loses status and popularity
because of its association with a country that is in conflict with
the United States. I also touched on how members of a despised minority
are likely to react to their declining social status and their exposure
to rising ethnic prejudice at both, individual and group level.
In this final section I build on what has been discussed earlier
to offer a series of recommendations on how a despised minority
should behave to ensure its survival and progress.
What are the characteristics of a successful ethnic minority in
the United States? A successful minority has four main traits. First,
it is economically successful, which means that its members enjoy
an economic status that is equal or better than the majority. Second,
it is well assimilated in political and social institutions of the
society and has access to political power in proportion to its relative
share of the population. Third, it enjoys a positive image in the
society and is able to defend its members against ethnic hostility.
Fourth, it lives with dignity and self-respect, which arises from
behaving with courage and moral righteousness.
This last condition often means that the members of a minority
do not have to hide their political attitudes for fear of rejection,
punishment or deportation.
A popular minority such as Greek-Americans or Armenian-Americans
would not have much difficulty achieving all four of these objectives.
For an unpopular minority, however, achieving all of these objectives
becomes a major challenge. Furthermore, some of the individual and
collective reactions to ethnic prejudice that were mentioned above
will push the community further away from these goals.
Economic success: As an ethnic group becomes unpopular it becomes
harder and harder for its members to preserve their economic prosperity.
To avoid an economic decline, overtime, the economic culture of
the group must be modified in several ways. First, at the individual
level each person must try to save more and forego the luxurious
but expensive lifestyle that is affordable and sustainable under
The competition to show off personal wealth by having more expensive
cars and houses must be replaced with a competition for accumulating
more productive capital. This larger saving can protect an individual
against the negative effects of economic discrimination and lead
to higher earnings in the future.
Second, the ethnic culture should put emphasis on educational advancement.
Since it is more difficult for a despised job-seeker to find suitable
employment, he or she must possess above average skills to at least
partially overcome the existing discriminations. One way to encourage
the younger generation of a despised minority group to work harder
is to talk to them in realistic terms about the disadvantages that
they might face in the labor market because of their ethnicity.
Furthermore the community must encourage its members to aspire
for continuous career growth and explore careers that have been
traditionally neglected because of cultural bias. In some Asian
cultures (Iranians included) there is an overemphasis on engineering
and medical fields. This attitude most be modified to make sure
some members of the ethnic community enter into law and finance
as well. Active presence of some members of a minority group in
legal and financial professions is a valuable tool for the success
of other members in technical and scientific fields. Access to financial
capital will help turn skilled professionals into entrepreneurs
and business owners.
The third factor is mutual economic support and networking. The
minorities that enjoy a strong sense of solidarity without isolating
themselves from the rest of the society tend to be more successful.
They help create jobs for each other and support other members'
business initiatives. As a minority becomes less and less popular
in the eyes of the greater society it is important for the members
to increase their mutual support in economic and social affairs.
Political participation: The importance of participation in social
and political affairs cannot be emphasized enough. Just as an ethnic
group must create a strong internal social network, it must also
try to increase and strengthen its bonds with the rest of the society.
Close social interaction with others helps neutralize the negative
stereotypes that often are reinforced by the media about an unpopular
Members of the ethnic group must be encouraged to develop bonds
of friendship and fraternity with others. Often because of the preexisting
negative stereotypes it is difficult for members of a despised ethnic
group to achieve this goal. However, members must be encouraged
to be socially active despite these difficulties. Participation
in community service programs, local politics, social and professional
clubs are some of the typical examples.These types of social and
political participation increase the influence of an ethnic group
in communities where its relative share of the population is significant.
When an ethnic community is under stress it can benefit from the
presence of wise and progressive community leadership. During periods
of crises people look to leaders, and respected members of their
community for direction and guidance. When a community is overwhelmed
by a sense of victimization and despair, a good community leader
can discourage destructive behavior.
In the absence of such leadership, some individuals particularly,
the youth might react to prejudice and humiliation by resorting
to sporadic violence, which could result in a negative and possibility
violent backlash from the majority. An effective ethnic leadership
can reduce the community's frustration by registering its complaints
with the government through legal channels and media campaigns.
The community leaders can also educate the community on how to cope
and react to ethnic hostility in a positive and effective manner.
The activities of the African-American civil rights organizations
is a good example of such a leadership.
Awareness and Protection Against Prejudice: It is wrong to be paranoid
about prejudice and become hypersensitive. Such a hypersensitivity
about prejudice could result in destructive defensive behavior.
For example an individual might blame prejudice for everything that
goes wrong in his life and use this justification for inaction.
Without communal awareness and dialogue some members of a despised
minority might gravitate towards this unhealthy state of mind.
In the opposite direction, ignorance and denial of prejudice and
discrimination is equally harmful. Members of an ethnic community
must educate themselves about various types of discriminatory behavior
and the available legal protection against them. Apathy and indifference
of a victim of prejudice will only encourage the perpetrator to
continue his behavior.
In addition to educational and awareness programs, an ethnic community
must mobilize its resources for legal defense and media campaign
against discrimination. The community must form civil rights organizations
and through these organizations offer legal and financial assistance
to victims of prejudice. Iranian professional associations and Non-profit
ethnic organizations such as the Persian Cat-Watch and the National
Iranian American Council (NIAC) could serve a positive role in this
The Iranian civil rights organizations can become more effective
if they join other civil rights organizations such as the Arab-American,
African-American and Hispanic-American civil rights organizations.
Close cooperation with other ethnic groups has many benefits. First
Iranians can learn from the experience of other minorities in political
and social campaign for civil rights. Second, by supporting the
causes of other ethnic groups we can count on their support for
our causes. In any social or political initiative in the United
States, the population of advocates is an important factor. Small
minorities can become more effective by joining multiethnic civil
Moving beyond material prosperity
Economic success and material prosperity are two important goals
of every human being. But they are not enough- particularly for
immigrants who care about the well being of the country of their
ethnic origin. In many cases this affection is visible even among
second and third generation immigrants. While we cannot blame anyone
for limiting their goals to the pursuit of wealth and material success,
all human beings should aspire to achieve more in life than personal
prosperity. With this regard the Iranian-American Community has
two important responsibilities.
First we should be sensitive to American foreign policy and try
to promote a just and ethical U.S. foreign policy that will be beneficial
to both the United States and the developing world. Nowhere is the
U.S. policy more controversial than our ancestral region, the Middle
East. Rather than ignoring the plight of the region and the existing
tensions between the U.S. and many Middle Eastern countries, we
must play an active role in campaigning for a just resolution of
the Arab-Israeli conflict. We should also try to protest the efforts
of those who are trying to promote hatred towards the Middle Eastern
cultures and are lobbying the American policy makers for an aggressive
U.S. policy, which will be detrimental to sovereignty, dignity and
prosperity of the Middle East, of which Iran is an integral part.
Second, while working towards improving the U.S. foreign policy
toward Middle East (Iran in particular), we must also try to exert
a positive influence on domestic political and economic conditions
of Iran. Iranian-Americans disagree on many issues about Iran's
political conditions, but at least there is one principle that most
agree on. It is the need for promotion of democracy and respect
for fundamental human rights. We should emphasize this common demand
as much as possible and add our voice to those inside Iran that
are struggling for democracy.
It is important for Iranian Americans to pursue these two political
concerns simultaneously. To criticize U.S. policy towards the region
without protesting the domestic political abuses will lead to accusations
of one-sidedness. It is equally wrong to continuously criticize
the political regimes in the Middle East without any attention to
the U.S. policies towards the region. It is only by a balanced pursuit
of both issues that a politically conscious ethnic group can attract
attention to its cause and make a difference.
As various events in the past three decades have shown, whether
we like it or not, our lives in the West are affected by the social
and political events in the Middle East. The 1979 hostage crisis
affected the lives of many Iranian-Americans and so did the September
11th attack on twin towers in New York. By promoting democracy and
stability in the Middle East and discouraging powerful nations from
exploiting and humiliating the region, we will indirectly help prevent
future Middle Eastern events that are likely to touch our lives
in the same manner as the hostage crisis and 9/11. Active involvement
in these political initiatives will also help us live our lives
with a sense of dignity and the awareness that we have risen above
Nader Habibi is an economist and lives near Philadelphia. He
works for an economic consulting firm as a regional specialist for
Persian Gulf. His latest publication is a novel called Atul's
Quest, which is a satirical story about interracial dating
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