Great need for us to engage constructively
By Shahram Hashemi
May 20, 2002
On December 17, my Interview with Bruce Bahmani was published in your publication
as a Cover Story [Our
hero in ground zero]. After the passage of the Senate H.R. 3525 (visa
ban on Iranians), I felt responsible to say something against this action. Here's
the letter I sent to the White House and Capitol Hill.
Honorable George W. Bush, President of the United States of America and
Honorable Members of the United States Congress
Dear Mr. President and Honorable Members of the Congress,
Please grant me this opportunity to introduce myself to you at this important historical
juncture for our world.
My name is Shahram Hashemi, a citizen of Iran who migrated to New York three years
ago. I am currently a foreign student at LaGuardia Community College/City University
of New York.
On September 11, I participated in a dramatic search
and rescue mission with the New York City Fire Department at the World Trade Center
site. The grave experience of rescuing more than a dozen people on September 11 has
certainly changed my life for the better and instilled in me a greater compassion
and respect for others. It has also taught me the enormous need for us to work positively
towards peaceful relations based on mutual understanding.
It is against this background that I have thought it necessary to contact your distinguished
office to register my dissatisfaction and grave concern regarding the passage of
Senate H.R. 3525: Enhanced Border Security and Visa Entry Reform Act of 2002.
While I am aware of the various differences that exist between Iran and the US, politically
and otherwise, I have a firm belief that meaningful progress can only be made through
an all-inclusive dialogue.
The young people of Iran are pressing for greater political freedoms and reform in
their society. They are also seeking academic opportunities that exist in your great
nation. Denying future students visas and families the right to visit their loved
ones here are certainly not steps in the right direction.
The massive hardship that this possible legislation will have on Iran's young generation
and families is simply beyond measure. I hereby urge you to oppose this unfair and
By opposing such bill you would greatly dissipate the doubt and uncertainty that
now exists within the Iranian-American community with respect to the bill and it
will help us build a solid bridge of communication and trust between our two people.
It is very evident that there is a great need for us
to constructively engage each other so that misperceptions and misunderstandings
are done away with. This is the understanding and experience that I have attained
and appreciated by coming to this great nation.
With your help, we will continue to make a powerful contribution towards building
a greater relationship between our two nations. I am motivated as never before to
make a difference in terms of demonstrating to the world that "The hearts
of men are in the hands of God."
I sincerely hope that this information will be useful to your office and look forward
with great anticipation to hearing from you. Thank you for the privilege of communicating
with you and may God bless you.