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September 25, 2001

* Just a simple human being

To all of my neighbors & friends in our country, the United States, I am a half-Iranian youth, but I am definitely 100% American because I was born & raised in America, and in a typical American lifestyle. My father came here from Iran in 1976 because America was the land of opportunity and freedom. For him it meant freedom from fear (SAVAK, the Shah's dictatorial policies, etc.).

Unfortunately the recent, horrifying attacks have shown us that we are no longer free from fear. Just today, the university I attend received a bomb threat (a false one, it turned out), but many of us were scared by it. America is my home, and I was born here and my lifestyle is American. Yet, I am also an Iranian, I have a love for Iranian culture, and I know what it is like to be of Middle Eastern descent.

For the past two weeks my mind has been in a state of conflict between the two. It's like I have two personalities... half of me is American and the other half is Iranian. The American part of me screams out anger and shock at the terrible terrorist attacks upon the beautiful World Trade Center towers in NYC and on DC. It also screams out, stop the terrorists, stop bin Laden, and bring justice upon them! Then my Iranian part of me cries out in anguish over the escalation of hate crimes upon my fellow Iranian-American brethren, Middle Eastern friends, Muslims, and others who just happen to look like "them" (the terrorists).

There is a young Arab-American, Mohammed, at my university, and I commend him for his bravery in serving food at our residence hall's dining commons during these hard times, yet I also feel sympathy for him since people like him & me are being mistreated, attacked, and/or called names like "sand n----". We are in fear for our safety, from hateful people who want to attack us. I have a Lion and Sun on my dorm room door, yet in fear of my safety (and also out of patriotism), I have also put an American flag on the door.

My Iranian part also cries out in fear of possible American attacks upon Iran, upon other Muslim nations and what kind of repercussions it could have on our world... I don't want a war, it scares me... and I don't like the war talk being made by our revenge-minded politicians. Anger leads to hate, and ultimately both lead to violence.

My grandparents live in Tehran, and I also have many cousins, uncles, & aunts who live in Iran. I fear & pray for their safety. My mind struggles to understand this tragedy & the aftermath, what kind of reasoning was behind it, why all of a sudden American flags become prevalent, etc. In this dangerous time, fear & war talk is everywhere.

But I will not hide myself. I will remain proud of my Iranian heritage, and also I will always stand by my beloved homeland of America, her democratic values, and for freedom. But above all, despite my conflicting "sides", my eyes have cried tears for all of humanity. I may call myself an American or an Iranian, but above all I am really just a simple human being. Let us not forget that.

John Robati-Yuill

* Opportunity knocks

Regarding "Historical moment" by Professor Hamid Zangeneh: I agree with Dr. Zangeneh's point in his letter dated Sept. 20. The United States and Iran once again find themselves in a situation where their interests overlap. The Taliban, a disgrace to the entire Muslim world, have for long engaged in "narco-terrorism."

Both Iran and the Western world stand to gain by defeating narco-terrorism. Stability and peace in Afghanistan would be in the immeidate interest of Iran and the rest of the countries in the region. Since Talibans took over power in Afghanistan in 1996, nearly 3,000 Iranian soldiers and policemen guarding the 500 mile-border with Afghanistan have lost their lives.

The medieval practices of the Talibans have put a damper on whatever efforts President Khatami has made to reconstruct the Islam's distorted images world over. Training and espousing terrorist camps in Afghanistan pose an incredibly destabilizing threat to the entire region, drawing many countries into an immensely hazardous enterprise.

There is a unique opportunity for Iran to demonstrate to the world that its national interests, including its primary security concerns, are compatible with putting an end to such terroristic actions. For Iran to get on board with a global coalition against terror, several concessions from the United States can be secured, including a push for seeking a fair/reasonable resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict--a conflict in which the United States has adopted a low-profile role.

Professor Zangeneh could have also mentioned the uncertain implications of the US massive buildup in the region once terrorists have been brought to justice. That uncertainty will be an issue for the Iranians for many years to come. The Bush administration should value Iran's cooperation and weigh its options wisely. Different circumstances require different responses.

While I fully agree with the gist of Dr. Zangeneh's point, I want us to understand that long-term, Soveit-style occupation of Afghanistan, and permanent US presence in the area could complicate the regional dynamics of compating terrorism in an effective way. Dr. Zangeneh is correct: such opportunities rarely knock at the door. The time has never been so opportune.

Mahmood Monshipouri, Ph.D.
Chair/Professor Department of Political Science
Quinnipiac University
Hamden, Connecticut

* What is the difference?

Have Professor Zangeneh, "Historical moment" and Professor Entessar "Seize the moment" been asleep in the past 23 years?! They are advising Iranian rulers to "seize" this "historical moment" to the Iranian advantage, and don't miss it like several other opportunities they missed in the past 23 years. Can't these professors understand that the "Islamic Republic" itself is the greatest "missed opportunity" in Iranian history?

I would like to ask these gentlemen, what is the difference between the mollas in Iran and the Taliban in Afghanestan? Have the mollas in Iran not taken part in enough terrorist activities both at home and abroad? Over 200 dissidents were murdered abroad and thousands of intellectuals executed in Iran. Only last week was the anniversary of liquidation of political prisoners in 1988, in which at least 5000 people were executed in a single day.

I am very sad about the losses in the United States. But I am also sad about thousands and thousands of Iranian and Afghani victims at the hand of their fanatic rulers. If the Americans really want to fight international terrorists, the Iranian mollas must be very high on their list. We can only go back to civilisation when the Taliban in Afghanestan and mollas in Iran go back to the dustbin of history where they belong.


* Need I say more?

Dear Ms. Rafii,

Nothing in the universe happens accidentally -- disconnected from history.

You ask in your letter ["If they have the will"] responding to Dr. Sadri: "Do they create the circumstances or take advantage of them? Do they create corrupt leaders or simply make use of them?"

Answer: both. Only one evidence: CIA's 1953 coup in Iran. Need I say more? The list is endless. Ask Chileans for another example.


Moji Agha

* Should we wish them to die?

All Iranians, men or women, are victims ["We are the victims"]. The majority of young Iranians have been loosing their precious time in Iran. I was born Muslim but I hate to see that the idea of fanaticism hurts my personal belief. I hate to see that some fanatic protestors in front of British Embassy determine the future of my country.

I am honest with myself. Those protestors are Iranians. They have nothing to loose. These Iranians have lost their family, their children, their logic and their understanding. These creatures still think that women who wear jeans are prostitutes and men who wear colorful clothing deserve of stoning.

Should we wish them to die or be sorry for them, ourselves and our country? Lack of adequate communication with abroad, deprived of or not being able to access world media, and lack of knowledge in ordinary but important matters, result in individual limitations and create a gap between civilization and civil death.

If somebody thinks that many people in Iran want to be treated in a bad way they should compare that to normal sex and being raped. Because some younger Iranians have never been taught the difference.

Somebody or something must stop them.

Re Liable

* I luv the USA

Usually when I write something I put a lot of time and thought into it, checking grammar, spellling, and seeing how to make my sentences better. But now I cannot do that. These attacks on America have just left me with no energy to be "correct" whether it be politically or grammatically. I just want to express my feelings.

As a 14-year-old living close to DC, I have experinced a lot of sutff because of these attacks. People I knew died and others I knew lost those close to them. An area I have passed millions of times is gone. Forever.

I was sitting in biology class when I found out. It may not seem like the grandest of places or the most memorable, but I'll always remember it. I found out at like 10:28 a.m. For the rest of the day we all just sat and stared at the TVs in whatever class we went to. Kids called their parents and some just sat crying. I know I did.

It was scary and very unnnerving, but we as Americans have to have strength to get throught this. Without being predujiced and mean. That's what America is all about. I luv the USA, so much that I painted my toenails with white out when I didn't have white polish to be patriotic.

The whole day and day after will be in my brain forever, but the best memory i'll keep forver is talking to my friends on the phone after they dissmissed us early on Tuesday. I must've called 20 people and in every house you could hear the news in the background. Whenever there was a slience in conversation bits would pop up like "Twin towers collapsed" or "Pentagon still in flames". It seemed like a movie. A subtle reminder of what was going on.

All I have left to say is go America!!!!!!!!!!!!! Stay strong and proud. Fly your flags high.

Blue Fusion

* All is fair in love and war

The attack in New York and Washington, DC was a horrible tragedy and a crime against Allah (swt) and humanity. America has now declared a war on terror. For many years, America has tolerated various groups which should be considered terrorists because of the horrific crimes these groups have committed against people of color and anyone of certain religions. Many of these domestic terrorist groups have had the luxury of police protection during public demonstrations.

We don't agree with any type of hatred or terrorist acts which claims thousands or even one innocent life. We know America has not forgotten the suffering of Native-Americans and the false imprisonment of Japanese-Americans during WWII. African-Americans have been abused and discriminated against in America for hundreds of years. We know America has not forgotten the television coverage of Black men, women, and children being sprayed with fire hoses and beaten by law enforcement only because they wanted equal rights and decided to hold peaceful demonstrations. All of this terror was tolerated by America. We never read any history of other nations threatening America because of her mistreatment of people of color.

The leaders in America are saying that this war on terror is a war against good and evil. Which of us are the product of good and which of us are rooted in evil? To which of us did Allah (swt) give the right to decide which of His children are evil and which are good; therefore, the evil ones should be destroyed by the GOOD ones?! Allah (swt) does not need, nor has He ever needed anyone's help to destroy evil or evil people. If you hit someone, they will hit you back harder. If Allah (swt) hits someone, they can't hit Him back.

Although we disagree with war and the killing of innocent civilians, some people will say that all is fair in love and war. Others will say that what goes around comes around. Most of us learned as children that vengeance belongs to Allah (swt) and that what ever one sows, one will reap. We believe in that. So, we're wondering who will reap, who will be avenged, and which of us Allah (swt) gave the authority to carry out the justice.

Pray for Mercy and Peace.

Kalil and Oneida Rafi

* Watching ballboys

In response to Mr. John Mohammadi's letter titled "Racist claptrap" I though I'd add my two cents.

Dear John: If you take the sarcasm out of your letter it contains certain facts. There are many occasions where the West DECIDEDLY and ADMITTEDLY tipped the sovereignty of other nations and treated them like powerless pawns on a chess board. What is worse is that the sentiments of you and other victims were really not high on the agenda of the the West fighting to secure the globe from bigger threats. Being caught in a crossfire is terrible, but to think that you were actually the target, sounds ridiculously pompous and self-flattering!!

To keep things is perspective, you should realize that with 80% certainty the reason you are alive today to cry for justice is the VACCINES created in the WEST a long time ago to reduce infant mortality around the globe, including places where now healthy bodied (though often not healthy brained) people get to hate the West for its embrace of rational kowledge and behavior.

As a student of history, it is very important to acknowledge that the 20th century history is really not about anecdotes and the isolated moan of simple-minded and powerless people here and there weaving conspiracy theories, while not having a clue about their place and global context. Looking at history as such is like sitting in a tennis match and watching the ballboys instead of the players!

Omid Parsi
New York

Get to the point

There are only 24 hours in a day. Most of us work for 8 hours or more a day, plus a couple of hours to get ready for work and for driving to and from work. Another big portion of the daily routine goes for resting. A lot of time everyday is spent on shopping, cooking, and eating. Some of us need time for school. Some spend time to exercise or participate in some sort of hobby. Most of us leave a few hours everyday to watch TV or read.

So, for one who "Surfs the Net" there is little time left in a day, and he/she likes to catch up with all he or she can in those precious few minutes. My advice to dear Iranian.com writers: Please get to the point.

You care enough to put the effort and time to write down your opinion for the rest of use to read and benefit from. Considering the vast resources of the Internet in one hand and lack of time on the other hand, one way to make sure your comments and opinions are read and enjoyed is to make it short and sweet!

Thank You.

Ray Irani

Comment for The Iranian letters section


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