Friday, March 31, 2006

Talking to Americans about Iran

Iranians who read this should know that people in the West are afraid of you. They have no clue who you are. They see you only through Ahmadinejad. “When Khatami was in power, America argued that they could not improve relations because he had no real power. Now America says that Ahmadinejad *does* have real power and that is why they cannot negotiate with him.” That’s K’s take.

Most Americans do not read newspapers which is a shame because most newspaper journalists have a more nuanced view of Iran than the one presented on tv. I see and read arguments all of the time for bombing Iran to prevent Iran from bombing us or some other country. I can’t link to them because I cannot tell if they are parody or real arguments. If they are real, then they are engaged in some strange, circular logic. If they are parody, then they just are not funny enough.

It’s been a long time since we Americans engaged in war on our own soil. We have no idea what it does to a country and to the character of a population. In Iran, people are exhausted from war and revolution. People are just plain tired. Why would they want to face it again? Iranians live a chaotic life. There is no sense of security or peace or calm. When you are there, you barely notice this because it is pervasive. When you leave Iran, you notice. You notice because the part of you that is constantly worried rests and the rest of you feels so full of energy and optimism that you can barely contain yourself.

This is what I tell Americans: there is no other country in the world with a more pro-American population and that people in Iran are kind and generous to me. Especially when they discover that I am an American. People also ask about hijab: I do have to wear hijab, but not a burka or a chador: just a headscarf and a jacket that covers my butt. I can wear pants. I can wear a jacket so tight that every line of my bra shows. I can wear sandals and capris. I don’t have to cover my bangs or the back of my hair. People then ask about Iranian Jews. I cannot answer this question because I really do not know what their lives are like.

One commenter asks “What do Iranians think of AN?” The short answer is I do not know. The long answer is that he is supposed to deliver them from corruption. But that is the long answer.

Anyway, happy Jill Carroll has been freed.

12 comments:

Denver said...

Well it would be extremely helpful if one iranian person could answer that question about AN. It's my understanding the people of iran don't support this guy and the old religious types are really pulling the strings on political decisions and how life is too be conducted in iran.

Janica said...

You certainly make it sound as though "the people" of both nations are hornswoggled by sound bites and political agendas. Love these blogs.

j

Janica said...

Oh I am so sorry to yap on and on, but I forgot to say how deeply sorry I was to hear of the earthquake in Iran. I hope you know that even Mr Bush was saying true that beyond any political posturing, our hearts and help are with the people suffering from this.

Kamran said...

I'm a magazine editor who would love to see you capture some of this blog content in a piece for publication. Email me on kamrannazeer@mac.com if you're interested, and as soon as possible.

Stan said...

I read lots about Iran. I'm not afraid of the Iranian populace, but I sure am afraid of the government. It obviously is developing nuclear weapons. There is every reason to believe it will hand them to terrorists who will then try to smuggle them into the US. Personally, I'd pre-empt tomorrow.

Anonymous said...

I have a unique perspective on this issue. I am a second generation, California-born American lawyer, and I am an Iranian, fluent in Persian.


To make a long story short, there is ignorance on both sides, and there is unwarranted mistrust of the others' intentions on both sides.

The idea that Iran would just "give" a nuclear device to some "terrorist" who will "smuggle them into the U.S." is one example of how stupid and naive Americans can be in their understanding of Iran.

Anonymous said...

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-bloggers/1611408/posts

babak said...

HI

your posts are too interesting.
hey, u can see my weblog, it's also about talking to west peoples about iran.

Denver said...

AN is going to get alot of folks killed sorry to say.

Anonymous said...

YOU ARE CORRECT WHEN U USE "AN" FOR AHMADINEJAD.. HE IS AN. I BELIEVE AFTER SO MANY YEARS LIVING IN IRAN YOU KNOW WHAT IS "AN".

FURTHERMORE, I BELIEVE, THIS IS ALL GAMES CREATED BY BOTH SIDES TO RISE THE GAS PRICES AND TO KEEP THE US DOLLAR AFLOAT...

USA WILL NEVER ATTACK IRAN, WHY WOULD THEY? THEY ARE MAKING MORE MONEY THAN EVER!!

LONG LIVE FREEDOM!

Anonymous said...

I'm trying to reach out to Iranians and let them know that not all Americans are as crazy as Georgie. It's insanity- all of this saber rattling; so many people here are fed up with the powers that be. But over and over I hear from people that voting does no good. Thanks for your blog- it's great. By the way Georgie is an "AN" too! I'm an American but I know a little Farsi!

Steph said...

I'm planning a trip to Iran later this summer, can we talk? kentcon at sover dot net or read my weblog

www dot reflexivity dot us

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