Can we talk?
By Jalil Mortazavi
November 7, 2003
Dear President Bush,
Before any decision it is customary that the
President of the United States listen to and consult with his
advisor's include any one with the ability to offer a convincing
argument to persuade the President to make up his mind in time
of peace or time of war.
If the consequence of the decision
made by the President is favorable, that particular adviser
takes credit, and some times even brags about it. But,
if the outcome of the decision is tragic, then the adviser
shrugs his shoulders and says, "After all, it was the
Presidents decision." Now the responsibility and
the blame belong to the President.
What would happen
if the President of the United listened to ordinary citizens
who are not so- called
experts but know a great deal about the particular subject
based on first hand experience, history, and common sense?
President, as an American citizen, believe me, I am not looking
for anything for myself, but I must protect and defend the
national interest of this country. From now until the
presidential election, our troops who will be in a hundred
and particularly the 170,000 combat troops
in Iraq, will be in the media spotlight.
In our fight against terrorism will our policy
of preemptive strike reduce or actually increase attacks
towards us? Since
some of your hardline advisor's from the Pentagon have been
talking about a regime change in Iran, I am wondering, have we
Afghanistan? Isn't Iraq a mess? Why worry about
Mr. President, there is a Persian expression I would like
you to know, which says, "Since you just had one
baby, why don't you worry about raising him before advising
others on what to do." Don't you think we all should
get together to fix Iraq first?
Before you make up your
mind Mr. President, I think you need to be well informed about
in the Middle East. I have no doubt you know better than
anyone else at the moment that America has the best military
power and we have the best men and women in uniform to implement
and carry out the orders in defense of this country. But we
must all remember that it is not enough just to win the war;
we must also win the hearts and minds of the people to
keep the peace in the region.
In the case of Iraq we
know Saddam Hussein was a brutal dictator who was killing
his opponents regardless of the cost. It is what we don't
know that has been causing enormous problems today. The
problem we are facing is lack of knowledge and understanding
about the culture, language, and people.
In Arab culture, grudge and revenge are the
number one behavior problems. Especially, if the following
conditions occur: if any member of a person's family is killed,
and especially if
it is done on purpose, unless they kill one of them, the chapter
never closes. I
guess in this country this is commonly known as "eye for
There is a Muslim
expression which says. "How come you hate this guy, what
has he done, kill your father?" In addition, another
commonly known Muslim tradition is that if you violate their
by looking at, or touching, or making any
of sexual gesture towards their women, they never forget. If
they find a way to kill or harm the perpetrator, they will. In
the Muslim culture, also, especially when you are dealing with
a religious person, if you swear, insult their religion or
their prophet, they'll find a way to kill that person.
on what I read in the paper, some of the violent attacks towards
the American troops derived from common misconceptions of
Iraqis towards Americans. I am sure there is not
enough time to elaborate on this here. However, the lack
of understanding of Iraqi culture and the language contributes
we really say that the Iraqi people are liberated when
this liberty does not include basic human essentials such
water, electricity, and personal safety? Liberty must
also take place in the hearts and minds of the Iraqi people.
Mr. President, if any American citizen talks to
you on simple terms just like I am, sometimes their loyalty
and patriotism are questioned. Please understand, all I
am trying to do is help.
Mr. President, may I have your undivided attention
about the situation between Iran and the United States? Let's
lead by example. If we cannot fix Iraq, how can we keep talking
about a regime change
in Iran? Some
of our best friends in the Middle East, such as Saudi Arabia
and Kuwait, do not have democracy and even their
women do not have
right to vote.
But we don't go and change those regimes.
there are millions of young Iranians who are yearning to change
the direction of their country towards reform. The students
are working and fighting to change a theocracy to
a democracy. Young
people in Iran are demanding not liberty or democracy, instead
they need and want to have a job, affordable housing,
education, and training centers.
Mr. President, if any
one tells you that in Iran everybody wants to have political
freedom, either they don't know beans about Iran and Iranians
or they just simply choose to misinform you.
wisdom says people from various countries come to America to
live because they want freedom. I
can tell you many Iranians I have seen in
Iran did not tell me they want to come to America because
of freedom. Here are
some thinngs they told me:
"I want to go to the U.S. because even poor people have TVs and
microwaves. The money construction workers spend for
lunch is two-days work for us. I want to
go to America because even janitors can own cars, and even
collectors take their families on vacation. I'm impressed
with America -- even poor people are fat. And jobs are
I would like to participate in an alternative policy
to deal with actual conditions in Iranian society.
PS: I am including a copy of my latest book, What
I Learned In America, for your reading pleasure. Don
Imus, on his radio show, mentioned he enjoyed it. If
you haven't heard, I'm sure your dad has.
this page to your friends