This morning, as every Iranian-American knows, it was announced that Apple employees discriminated against Iranian-American customers because they spoke Farsi in their store.
NBC and various news outlets have already covered the matter. Prominent lawyers have blogged about it. NIAC and CAIR have already issued statements guaranteeing that they will take actions to rectify the situation.
So where’s PAAIA – the self-proclaimed champion of our rights? Why haven’t they informed us that they are getting information or addressing the issue? What the hell are they actually doing?
Now, I know, PAAIA might issue a statement tomorrow. Probably one deliberated over for 10 hours just to make sure it passes through every single one of their Board members (you know, those corporate executive take their time since they have other obligations), so that every single word is precisely written and so that the personal politics of each of their Board members is addressed. But the fact is, they’ve failed again by not promptly responding to the matter when the issue is this important, this obvious.
And this isn’t the first time. When Iranians were protesting for their rights in the historic 2009 protests, PAAIA waited and waited before issuing its first response. They waited, because individuals on their Board didn’t want to say anything. Some Board members had families in Iran and didn’t want to be associated with an organization that was too aggressive with the Iranian government. Others simply didn’t want anything to do with Iran generally. And even when they finally issued a tempered down press release about the violence in Iran, they used that moment to also ask their members to send emails promoting the success of Iranian-Americans to Andrew Sullivan’s blog (note those “successful” Iranian-Americans were PAAIA’s own board members).
It’s not often that there is such an overt expression of discrimination against Iranians in the U.S. This is one of them. And a very public one. So to be silent, even for a day, when everyone is in outrage reflects how incompetent and poor PAAIA has become as an organization. The organization, which has at least 3 full-time staff members and therefore no excuse for its laziness, is completely out of touch with the Iranian-American community. We demand more and PAAIA has failed. Again.