Paraziting My Letter From NIAC

…Continuing on with my ongoing “encouragement” of NIAC to switch gears and for a change focus on the other side, namely the government of Iran, instead of just hammering at the US (and apparently Israel’s lobby in DC)…

Yesterday, I received a letter from NIAC. Like all of their letters, I usually look at the end to see if it is a letter, or a pitch for money. This was a pitch, so I looked around to gather up my pennies. I like donating to NIAC, because it makes me feel like Anousheh Ansari. Except I always donate anonymously. That way nobody will know that I’m not a millionaire. Wait… what?

This letter like most had some relevant pitch on conditions and how ripe they are for some impending disaster or doom, that NIAC will save me/us from, but as I read it, I started aswering it out loud.

So here’s my annoying reply. Or here’s my Parazit. 

Dear Bruce,

What kind of future do you want?

B: I want a future in which Iran is a free democracy with a thriving economy, and Iranians are actually predominantly very happy. For once.

Do you want one where you speak with a clear voice and make your own choices, or will you let others speak for you?

B: I already have all of that here in the US, thanks to the law, the US Constitution, and specifically the Bill of Rights portion. Letting others speak for me is actually part of being in a representative democracy, so yes, I will let my elected officials speak for me.

I can’t do that as an Iranian citizen in Iran however, and since there is no equivalent NIAC inside Iran doing what you can do so easily from here, I think we would all appreciate any help you could provide in that regard. Since the government of Iran’s policies seem to be the biggest real hindrance to ALL Iranians being completely free.

For too long our community has contributed significantly in all ways to society  – but our voice has been absent.

B: Actually other than more than our fair share of a sizable tax burden, we haven’t really done all that much if by society you mean society. Our voice has been absent mostly because there are only about 450,000 of us here. It’s not that big a crowd to make all that much noise really. And other than try and complain about why Iran is so messed up, we don’t really have too much to worry or complain about.

For too long others have determined our destiny.

B: If by destiny you mean being Iranians displaced by and escaping a brutally oppressive government in Iran for the past 30, then yes, that is correct. Isn’t it about time you started to do something about that? Trust me, the US doesn’t need as much fixing as Iran does.

That’s why the conversations in Washington DC are all about the nuclear situation in Iran, not about human rights.  That is why in Iran, defenders of democracy are killed even while attending their father’s funeral.

B: The reason why the US is more worried about Iranian nukes than Iranian human rights, is that Iranian human rights can’t blow up a US or Israeli city. Iranians are killed in Iran by the Iranian Government, not the apathy of the US Government. I’ll pause now and say that it is absolutely critical that this clear distinction be made, since you apparently don’t understand how people-killing works.

That’s why Congress gives Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu a standing ovation when he speaks of military action and then immediately endorses legislation that green lights first strikes on Iran by Israel.

B: With the largest Jewish population outside Israel, in the only country that ever went to war with Germany to specifically stop their slaughter, and with the largest US government lobby, Congress had better damn well stand up and cheer the Prime Minister of Israel when he comes to town. But if you want to criticize Israel, go ahead and do it. Only please let’s do so, after we clean up our own laundry. The priority of Iranians right now should be to fix Iran, not endlessly opinionate about other countries that have absolutely nothing to do with the inability of Iranians to fix Iran.

As a community, what is our stake in our own future?

B: Our stake in our future is not that good apparently. Certainly we are losing the bet. At least based on our track record over the past 33 years. As a hyphenated community, the reason we aren’t as invested here is the nagging hope and worry about Iran, that is always on the forefront of the subconscious mind of every Iranian here. If you want a good survey to run, ask how many would prefer to live free here or live free in Iran. Although it might hurt your membership if we all moved back to Iran one day. But NIAC can always relocate back home too. If we did, even with a free Iranian democracy, we’d definitely still need a NIAC when we got there.

Will we stand by while sanctions designed to hurt Iran’s rulers miss their targets and affect innocent civilians?

B: Actually this one I agree with. However if there are sanctions that are missing their intended targets, I would expect some suggestion of sanctions that would accurately hit the intended targets. If there are no sanctions that would hit the intended targets, then we have to come up with something else that would make Iran’s rulers suffer the consequences of their decisions. Like maybe not allowing them to come to the US and speak nonsense at the UN. Or Columbia University.

Will we stand by while the same architects of the Iraq war are busy planning the next war – with Iran?

B: Is Rumsfeld back in charge? Is Cheney going on a quail hunt anytime soon? Is Wolfowitz writing fiction again? Are any of the George Bushes anywhere near the current policy-making? Because those were the architects that were behind the Iraq war. Given the current financial status of the US, and the growing impatience of Americans with fighting any new war, it is utterly implausible that the US would start a war with Iran.

Unless Iran does something really stupid. Given Iran’s recent ineptitude to field a women’s soccer team to the world cup, it has repeatedly shown itself capable of an awful lot of stupidity. So the onus is on Iran, not the US  as to whether a war is inevitable or not. All the more reason for NIAC to start talking seriously and directly to Iran.

In a stunning, must-read article by PBS Frontline’s Tehran Bureau, former AIPAC official Keith Wasserman exposes the inner workings of the neoconservatives in Washington and their allies in the Bush administration.

He describes how they planned and then sold the Iraq war to the American public after 9/11.  $1 trillion and thousands of lives later they are still determining our fate…

B: The article appears to show that AIPAC actually stopped regime change and war with Iran as a result of the Iraq war fiasco. So now thanks to this expose, I don’t know if AIPAC is a friend of the anti-war with Iran side of the discussion, or an enemy. Am I supposed to hate AIPAC or thank them for ignoring the calls of “Next Stop Tehran!”?

Will we let this happen, or will we use our voice to stop it?

B: Will we ever use our free voice here to stop Iran from putting all Iranians in this kind of foolhardy jeopardy?

There are those fighting and dying in Iran for the very freedoms we enjoy here in the US.  We owe it to them to be active, to take charge of our destiny, to speak up and be heard.

B: Is our destiny to speak out against the Iranian government doing all the killing of our fellow Iranians, or the American government who other than the Shah, hasn’t actually killed one (yet)?

We have a responsibility to ourselves – and to our children – to uphold the values of civic engagement, active citizenship and bold and brave participation in how our country works.

B: Absolutely and exactly right. And that country is Iran.

Since 2002 NIAC has been an effective voice for the community, and has won important victories: standing up for human rights, opening doors for students, and pushing back against war.

B: Meanwhile Iranian oppression is higher than ever. Torture, rape, execution, and illegal detention and imprisonment are a daily fact of Iranian life now. Actually in 2002, things were better for everyone, than they are today. So since 2002 they’ve gotten worse. Think you should change who you’ve been talking to/at? Ya think?

Your support has enabled us to grow, to establish an effective presence in Washington, and to provide a better future for the next generation.

B: I agree with the first part. but I really think your focus on talking JUST to the US and not opening the same dialog with Iran, has been a HUGE mistake. Since it is likely that with the same integrity and concern and effort that NIAC expends on the US government, it could have possibly probably saved the life of just one Iranian in prison, not re-focusing NIAC to include Iran can have deadly consequences.

Or, how many lives could NIAC have saved if it had put in the same effort on the government of Iran as it has on the US. Is there a good reason NOT to do this starting now.

Please join the thousands of others who help provide 70% of our budget each year, and make a contribution of $100 or an amount right for you.

It’s your future.  It’s our future. What do you want it to be?

B: Again, I want a future in which Iran is a free democracy with a thriving economy, and Iranians are actually predominantly very happy. For once.

Then I mailed (I never trust Iranian e-commerce) my payment of either $10 or $1,000,000 and went back to sleep. I guess and apparently, just like every other Iranian.

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