I had an interesting e-mail conversation a few weeks ago. After spending all morning on YouTube listening to various Persian songs, I feel the need to repost some parts of my thoughts on Iran. I thank Sierra for asking me about my opinions and what I know about Iran. I don’t really have any “insider” information, and I’m sure that for all the news and articles that I site, someone could find a news article to rebuff it. All I wish is that the leaders of this (and every) country could see the people and the lives and the families that are torn apart by continued conflict throughout the world. In light of all the political debate we are likely to endure for the next 11 months, here is some food for thought…
Let me start by saying that just as all you know is what you see or hear in the news, my information always carries the weight of knowing that I have family over there.
I would agree that Iran, as they stand now, is a threat to America. I’m not sure how big of a threat they are, but I imagine there are other countries that pose more of a threat that we are ignoring (like North Korea). Of course this is just an opinion as I have no way of knowing what is TRULY going on in either government, or our own.
My opinions come from my father. He and his family were/are very normal every day citizens of Iran. They work, they are not under persecution, and they do not hate America. However, as I understand the government, it is a very different story. Here is how I see it:
The leaders of Iran are OLD. They are not modern, they refuse to change the way they think, and they don’t do a very good job of listening to the general population. They also control the media (as best they can). But their population is pretty young. The last report I read said that about 2/3 of their population is under 35 or so. That is really young. But who is controlling the country? The old radical Muslim people.
So why doesn’t this change now? I think it has to do with their culture. Perhaps because Iran has had a tumultuous past and I don’t think many people are eager to shake that up again. But in my fairly uneducated opinion, I don’t think that this regime will continue forever. I think unrest is in the streets of Tehran and it is only a matter of time before something changes.
I don’t think the majority of Iranians hate America. I think a majority of the ones that DO hate America feel that way because that is what their government tells them. There are plenty of families like mine- people who sent their children to America or other countries to get a better education or for whatever reason left the country. Certainly they have seen the good side of the USA! Through reading articles, talking to my family, and seeing their pictures, I think the young people of Iran are becoming more Westernized. More liberal (compared to their leaders). I have heard stories of kids watching MTV by reprogramming their satellite TVs and watching entertainment stories online. In their homes, they wear fairly modern, western clothing. I think they are curious about America. Apprehensive, but interested.
But with this war in the Middle East, I think that apprehension grows. And if we outright attack Iran, then ALL of those nice feelings will go away. Suddenly we are the enemy to every person over there. And if they all turn against us, we have a much bigger problem on our hands.
I think Iran’s government and leaders are overreacting to all the “problems” they see by becoming more strict and controlling. I have heard rumors that they still execute those that disagree with them and other “undesirable” people. I think that the more they continue to tighten their grip on the society, the more people they will upset and turn off to that way of life. I think that is a good thing for America.
Understand that these are my impressions and my thoughts only. I truly have NO way of knowing what is really happening and how things could or will turn out. It’s easy to be forgiving and compassionate when you have a personal relationship and attachment to something, like I do. I would give my left arm to be able to visit Iran and visit all the family that I have never met and tour their beautiful country. My parents had plans in the works to do this, but it all fell through after September 11th. If we go to war with them, I fear that dream of mine will never be realized. So you see, part of my opinions is selfish- I want to see the country AND protect my relatives.
I assume some of the same could be said for every country in the world. There are every day people and families who are just trying to “make it” in this crazy world. I wish there was a way for everyone to see that. I don’t know how to make that happen. But maybe next time you see a news clip of some crazy USA flag burning radical from the Middle East, you will remember that they most likely represent only a small percentage of how most people really think and behave.
Here are some websites and articles of interest:
Revolution of Youth
Role of Youth
Iran’s Media Power
Life in Iran
Unfamiliar with the beauty of Iran? Check out this, or any of the related, Youtube Video.
Here it is: