Inaction is Not an Option

For Iranian Americans

Share/Save/Bookmark

Inaction is Not an Option
by yasminr
02-Nov-2012
 

Lately, as an Iranian American, many things make me angry. I realize the mere mention of the term “anger,” particularly in the context of discussions on the Middle East, raises red flags among Americans, Iranians, and Iranian Americans alike. But I believe we need to reclaim this oft-misunderstood, stigmatized emotion – after all, emotional indifference to oppression or tyranny is no virtue. The origin of the word anger – ang, the Greek word for grief or loss – reminds us that anger stems from that which we have lost. It’s no wonder, then, that Iranian Americans are so angry lately. Our community lost the homeland they knew due to a revolution and the tumultuous political and economic situation that followed. Since then, Iranian Americans have also started to lose hope about possibilities for having a real voice, both here and in Iran.

I am angry that my own representatives in the US government have not eliminated the possibility of launching an unnecessary, costly, and regionally destabilizing war with Iran, even as broad sanctions increasingly hurt ordinary Iranians by restricting access to food and medicine. I am angry with the Iranian Regime for infringing on the rights of its citizens and instilling deep fear in Iranians and members of the Iranian diaspora. But more than anything, I am angry at myself, my family, my friends, and fellow members of the most highly educated and economically successful diaspora community in the United States for allowing ourselves to be voiceless in Washington for far too long.

But anger without the capacity for influence can turn into ineffective and destructive rage. Anger, when reflected upon and channeled effectively, can lead to positive and productive political influence. One organization has helped me transform my anger over my community’s many misgivings into positive civic action. The National Iranian American Council (NIAC) does this in two ways: teaching Iranian Americans how to effectively engage in the civic process; and channeling that voice to influence meaningful and concrete changes on the issues that most matter to our community.

Their efforts are really working, and that’s why I volunteered to become a NIAC Ambassador. Last month, NIAC’s annual leadership conference had over 150 participants who gathered to begin to channel their pain, passion, and anger not into impotent rage, but into concrete, impactful political action. And the conference attendees did exactly that: one week after they met with over 30 members of Congress, a sanctions waiver allowing humanitarian relief to the earthquake victims in Iran was extended to November 19. Thinking about the possibilities that could stem from a united effort of not just 150 passionate and engaged Iranian-American voices, but tens of thousands, gives me tremendous hope.

But NIAC does more than just calling on its members to meet with their elected officials. NIAC also helps to educate and train Iranian Americans on how to engage in what French political thinker Alexis de Tocqueville called the most essential part of democracy in America: participation in the volunteer associations that teach citizens the mores and habits of democratic life. Such civic engagement has brought numerous other diaspora communities to the center of the US political system. During a panel at the NIAC leadership conference focused on other diaspora communities’ organizing efforts, we were reminded that all communities disagree on countless issues. We also were reminded of how many issues divide our own heterogeneous community: religious practice, political affiliation, primary language, socioeconomic background, and more. However, even the most diverse communities need to identify areas of common ground if they want to translate their concerns into meaningful political action. The question is: what is the clearest issue that brings us together?

In times as urgent as these, as the United States discusses possibilities for a rash and useless war with Iran, I would say the answer is pretty clear. We just need to ask ourselves whether we have the courage and energy to learn how to channel our anger over the possibility of war into deliberate, focused political action. I, for one, am fed up with having others decide what is best for Iranian Americans on our behalf – and I’m glad that, at NIAC, I’ve found many other Iranian Americans who can agree. Now, we need to ensure that our community’s anger, good ideas, and hopeful plans evolve into the hard work it will take to effect change.

AUTHOR
Yasmin Radjy is a San Francisco-based volunteer
Ambassador for the National Iranian-American Council (NIAC). In 2008, she worked as a field organizer for the Obama campaign in Ohio. She also worked as a community organizer in Iowa and Texas for the Industrial Areas Foundation (IAF), the nation’s oldest community organizing group. Yasmin currently works as a management consultant in San Francisco.

Share/Save/Bookmark

 
Shapoor_Cali

common ground

by Shapoor_Cali on

Yasmin, well done.  I particularly like this idea "even the most diverse communities need to identify areas of common ground."

With the holidays coming up, we should organize a charitable event (i.e. help feed the homeless at a shelter) to bring folks from different perspectives together and create space for some common ground.

Great Article. 


masoud5

We all want change in Iran,

by masoud5 on

We all want change in Iran, but there is a huge difference between my idea of change and yours.  I want constructive change and you want destructive change.


vildemose

   “It is difficult

by vildemose on

 

 “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it.”
Upton Sinclair, I, Candidate for Governor: And How I Got Licked

“All art is propaganda. It is universally and inescabably propaganda; sometimes unconsciously, but often deliberately, propaganda.”
Upton Sinclair

All Oppression Creates a State of War--Simone De Beauvoir


Shazde Asdola Mirza

Action of ex-Tudeh + ex-Hezbollah = sympathy with IRI

by Shazde Asdola Mirza on

Your "ACTION" has only been protecting the IRI.


iraj khan

Straight from the 'Handbook'

by iraj khan on

They know what handbook I'm talking about:

Technique #1  Lie and demonize your opponent, in this case Mr Parsi. They went as far as claiming I am Mr Parsi and praising myself. They documented it and presented it to the court as 'proof'.

One of them even wrote a blog about this recently discovered 'document' that was presented to court. And one should go and read that blog to see how they were celebrating because of this new discovery'. They wanted him to 'Confess to being Iraj Khan on IC'.

Remember how they demonized 'The Persians' in the movie called 'The 300', that's what I mean by demozing, turning people into 'Zombies'

Can anybody believe their audacity?

Who would do such a thing if not being a liar, a person who knowingly utters falsehood.

I wrote this spoof in response to their accusations:

http://iranian.com/main/blog/iraj-khan/yes-i-confess

 


vildemose

Masoud5: you sound like

by vildemose on

Masoud5: you sound like you have no argument;hence, you're resorting to non sequitur.  Don't worry about the content of my posts; they speak for themselves and those who are not vested in propagating the Islamic republic of terrorists.

 

All Oppression Creates a State of War--Simone De Beauvoir


masoud5

vildemose

by masoud5 on

It is the content of your writings that counts, not the number of your comments, nor the length. You can't even write the man's name correctly.

How old are you anyway?  I feel as if I am talking to a teenager.   


vildemose

Makmalbaf Talks about NIAC

by vildemose on

Makmalbaf Talks about NIAC being a lobby

by seannewyork on

Please go to the 34 minute mark of this youtube:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=doG-cHzYEnY

he was the spokesman for the reform leaders and listen to what he has to say.

Massoud should also add that young iranians also hate NIAC because they claim to represent us.

 

 

 

All Oppression Creates a State of War--Simone De Beauvoir


vildemose

Niac's disregard for truth and transparency

by vildemose on

is anti-democratic and anti-American.

Read the Court decision:

 

https://ecf.dcd.uscourts.gov/cgi-bin/show_public_doc?2008cv0705-189

http://iranian.com/main/2012/oct/growing-concern-about-war-and-sanctions#comment-524868

http://iranian.com/main/blog/masoud-kazemzadeh/lawsuit-trita-parsi-and-niac-v-hassan-daieoleslam-0

Talk about hyperventilating  servile cult member...Terita is a reincarnation of ghotbzadeh. If you respect being an mediocre opportunist, laf zan, then more power to you. Warship your Vali faghi in diaspora.

Peaceful means? Really? Supporting IRI is peaceful?? Lobbying for the largest state sponsor of terrerism is peaceful?

The cultish trash of Terita, the Velayte Faghih for the low-information and naive young Iranian-Americans  was brilliantly describled by Judge Bate.

 

In the recent Washington, DC court case Parsi and NIAC vs Diaoleslam, Parsi failed to prove that National Iranian American Council has any more than 500 members and admitted under oath that not all of them pay dues.

Your second claim of having 43,000 supporters is also a farce. During Parsi's depositions he was specifically asked for this information and his answer was that he counts his email list as active supporters and in fact still counted many people as supporters who had specifically writen to NIAC and asked to be removed from that same list. So, not long after a US Judge sanctions Parsi and NIAC, you are right back to your same old games. I am on your mailing list three times and I am NOT a supporter. I am on your list to keep an eye on your illicit behavior and propaganda machine as are most of the 43,000 so called supporters you claim to have which was never verified by the court because you refused to submit that information to the court and thus sanctioned for non-compliance.
What was learned is that you have no more than 1000 and maybe as few as 500 members and that only about one quarter of them actually pay dues. It was also learned that you maintain a mailing list and still classify persons who have asked to have their names removed from all NIAC materials including your mailing list as supporters. Isn't this correct? Do I need to open the depositions and prove it to you?

Now, as far as your 'Members Only' survey goes; why is it that you claim to represent Iranian Americans yet they are not allowed to take part in your surveys? They can only partake if they kiss your arse and allow you to propagate them as members. Members of what, Velayat-e Faqih?"

http://iranian.com/main/2012/oct/growing-concern-about-war-and-sanctions#comment-524868

 

All Oppression Creates a State of War--Simone De Beauvoir


masoud5

Rant Rant Rant and More Rant

by masoud5 on

The more you rant, the more Trita Parsi gains respect, because people see what kind of trash he has to deal with and yet he continues fighting for Iranian's rights.

You say, Mr. Parsi should join you to fight IRI. He is doing that through peaceful means which he thinks he can accomplish meaningful results. besides, he doesn't owe us anything and he doesn't have too do any of that. There are tens of opposition groups, why aren't you all united?  Why haven't you brought IRI down after 34 years?  Why do you need NIAC?  You are all so smart and know everything. One less opposition shouldn't have stopped you. Unless you are admitting that NIAC is well organized and directed. Well then.......

I repeat.  "In goad va in meydoon"    You build a useful organization and do better than NIAC and I will support you. Otherwise,................

What I write here is only my view and NIAC might totally disagree with me and that is their right.


iraj khan

yasmin,

by iraj khan on

Excellent observations regarding the 'anger' and 'hopelessness' among Iranians.

By reading the comments on this thread alone,

One can easily see how anger has been transformed into blind rage against others,

Anger that has morphed into comments that tries to 'put down' and 'humiliate' you.

Here on this website their anger has resulted in Cyberbullying, trying to demonize 'The Other' and hurt her/him emotionally through their derogatory comments.

We on this website also face an organized few who are representing Israeli Lobby. This last group tries using the divide and conquer method here. http://iranian.com/main/blog/iraj-khan-1

You along with thousands of supporters and members of the National Iranian American Council are on the right path, you know it.

You are representing all of us except the ones who are confined by their anger, rage, hatred and hopelessness, thank you.

http://www.niacouncil.org/site/PageServer?pagename=NIAC_index

 

 


vildemose

 masoud5: You seem to

by vildemose on

 masoud5: You seem to equate Iranians with Islamist IRI terrorist supporters. IRI does not represent Iranians. We are not Islamist-Americans or Basiji-americans or anti-semitic-americans.

NIAC represents IRI. And hopefully soon just like CAIR will be under investigation and its supporter on the 'no fly zone''s list.

 

All Oppression Creates a State of War--Simone De Beauvoir


Roozbeh_Gilani

Dont be so angry....

by Roozbeh_Gilani on

try doing some yoga.  Even better, stop supporting this corrupt and murdering islamist regime  and it's US based Lobby organisations. Join the rest of Iranian people in fighting the Islamist fascism. Help your fellow Iranians to get rid of this shame and disgrace of the entity, the Islamic  so called "Republic" which is pushing over beloved homeland towards a disasterous war with US..

"Personal business must yield to collective interest."


masoud5

It is called "National

by masoud5 on

It is called "National Iranian-American Council". Not National Iranian-French Council nor National Iranian-Israeli Council or else!!!

In my opinion as an Iranian-American

NIAC should answer any legitimate question,  if it is a legitimate question and to members of the community they are representing. We have more important issues to deal with. We ask them not to waste their time and resources on answering stupid questions and false allegations by any..............

The rest is up to NIAC.

If some people think they can do a better job, "in goad va in maydoon"


MM

good yasminr - now, put that experience / anger to work for you

by MM on

.


vildemose

What kind of change are

by vildemose on

What kind of change are you looking for in the US to improve the lives of Iranian-American here in the USA?

Why would you choose the most demogogic and anti-democrtic (ties to ruthless dictatorhsip of IRI) organization such as NIAC to channel your "anger"? No wonder, you are not being taken seriously.

 

 

All Oppression Creates a State of War--Simone De Beauvoir


Fred

Grassroots

by Fred on

Taking out the infomercial part about the NIAC Lobby, this is a good write up.

However, including it, this is just another infomercial for a lobby which refuses to answer legitimate questions about its court documented connections to various high officials of the Messianic Islamist Rapist Republic.

To be effective, any legitimate grassroots organization has to be responsive to the community and NOT ignore legitimate questions.

NIAC Lobby respond!


Darius Kadivar

Where did you learn about the Revolution that ousted you ?

by Darius Kadivar on


FACEBOOK