|You must be kidding
No Iranian visitors to the U.S.?
By Carol Fathi
April 25, 2002
In response to Gary Sick's "Huge
I am an American woman married to a very wonderful Iranian man. We just came
back from a 4 week visit to Iran (my first visit after 11 years of marriage). We
had a great time and felt totally safe the entire time we were there. Gee, what a
great people and culture, not so unlike the atmosphere I was raised in here in the
I felt much change in the air. The only thing I could compare it to was the 1960's
and 1970's in the U.S. There is definitely an unrest and frustration but I did not
see hateful anger or terrorism. Instead I saw major confusion. (We are already planning
a trip to return next year.)
A frustration I had was that it is not so easy for our family there to come and visit
the U.S. But that was because there is no U.S. Embassy in Iran. This is totally absurd
and it is time for a change. It is a hardship for Iranians to go to another country
to obtain a visa, both financially and physically (especially elderly and children).
And now this is another insult for the Iranian people, including my Husband's family
who are not mean or into terrorist activities of any sort - no visitor visas? You
must be kidding. I sure hope your report ["Huge
blow"] is correct that this was a seemingly overstatement of
the true policy, or that the policy may be restated.
I would love to see my Iranian family in this country and for them to meet my American
family. I can see that there needs to be a positive influence which can only be gained
by letting them come and visit and experience what a change could provide them in
their own country. Let them come here and see and study another world (and economy)
and hopefully both countries will benefit. The U.S.A. is not perfect, but the best
country I have personally experienced.
There are other countries with major human rights violations (which may also include
terrorism) where we not only have U.S. Embassies, but also have trade relationships
with. This has been a puzzling question for me for many years now. But then I do
not try to understand politics but am suffering the consequences of them by being
separated from our family in Iran.
Please keep me informed of any news regarding this legislation. I cannot imagine
that there is not some terrorist list and that we cannot develop some sort of "safe
travelers card" for citizens not only in the U.S., but also for foreign travelers
wishing to visit this country.
Please let me know if there is something I can do to
help -- contact a Senator, member of the House, etc. I think I have an insight that
may be needed for Americans to understand that it is governments that have issues,
not all of the citizens. I have been asked many questions about my trip by family,
co-workers, etc., and am always pleased to share my positive experience.
I pray for our world leaders to make great decisions based on human rights and respect
that we are all citizens of the world and share this planet. I pray that they not
get caught up in the politics and lose site of the individual citizen who has something
to contribute to this world. Policies which help to maintain power and control over
individuals is not leadership but contributes to bringing mean people and terrorists
Citizens must feel that someone is listening to them and if they are not listened
to that they have the right to vote a leader out of office. Respect must be earned
by all leaders. This in turn makes respectable citizens. All leaders must be "for