July 31, 2000
As an American, I am often confused by many of the articles and/or letters
from Iranians that I see on Iran content web sites ["Dumb
and dumber"]. I fully understand the outcry that the reprehensible
comments made by California Congressman Brad Sherman has provoked; his
unconsidered condemnation of an entire country and its people is ludicrous.
His statements have inflamed the anti-western passions of fundamentalists,
as well as the terrorism-paranoia felt by many uninformed Americans. He
does a disservice to both sides, and is everything that Americans do not
wish their politicians to be.
What I do not understand are articles written by Iranians decrying laws
that prevent American businesses from investing in Iran, alongside articles
decrying Western influence there. If American companies are to invest their
capital in business interests in another country, it is to be expected
that they will wish their executives and employees to have some sort of
presence in said country. If that presence is going to be considered a
negative influence, and therefore not allowed, then it is not reasonable
to imagine companies will be interested in sending their dollars where
they themselves cannot go. In other words, it makes little sense to be
angered by laws forbidding American investment in Iran, while simultaneously
condemning the notion of any sort of American presence there.
There are so many wonderful things about the Iranian culture that many
Americans are unaware of; the close and loving family ties that extend
well beyond the nuclear family, the respect for the aged, the adoration
of children by fathers as well as mothers, the strong religious faith that
provides comfort and guidance, the beauty of its poetry and the majesty
of its history, and the kind and gentle nature of so many of the people.
It is unfortunate that images portrayed by politicians and the media
have caused such a rift between the people of our two countries, do but
know this: Americans have a healthy sense of skepticism in regards to both
their elected officials and their sensation-seeking press, and we have
learned to take the "facts" put forth by both with a very large
grain of salt.