President of the United States
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, D.C. 20500
Dear Mr. President,
At this very moment, my homeland is bearing witness to the unfolding of history, and with it, the possibilities of freedom, democracy and economic opportunity for 70 million Iranians.
This real possibility is in no greater measure because of the daring and courageous acts of Iranians, young and old, men and woman, who have had enough and are taking on the very regime that has been the root of most of the evil done regionally and internationally in the name of “divine right.”
My compatriots’ demand for secularism and democracy is on its way through an exclusively homegrown nonviolent national campaign of civil disobedience. This campaign is bringing paralysis to a regime that will ultimately find little option but to acquiesce the unrelenting demands of the overwhelming majority of Iranians: a transparent national referendum.
In this national quest, however, the Iranian people find themselves largely alone. Except for intermittent expressions of sympathy emanating from Washington, the free world has remained silent on Iran: There is silence from the champions of human rights; silence from the European Union which appears to find economic interests more palatable than human interests; silence from the liberal champions of civil rights who severely discount their standards when it comes to Iranians.
Mr. President, you have accurately made the distinction between the freedom loving Iranian people and the ruling regime that is involved in acts of evil. In the aftermath of September 11, you even asked the world for moral clarity.
In response, Iranians have yet to miss a chance to express their rejection of what is evil or is an act of terror, especially when it comes to a ruling regime that has championed enmity and divisive politics, both domestically and internationally. The scene in the streets of Iran is filled with daily acts of courage by Iranians who risk their lives by simply demanding their inalienable right to have dignity, liberty and opportunity.
Yet, America has not reciprocated in kind.
The very same Iranians correctly identified as freedom-loving, are disheartened by the demeaning and often harsh treatments they face when seeking a visa to visit their loved ones in the United States.
There is a problem in the message conveyed when grandparents are forced into mug-shots and fingerprinting, while the regime’s known agents and “spinmeisters” shuttle about freely into New York, Washington and Los Angeles, often with full diplomatic courtesies.
Just last week, after voluntarily responding to a registration call by the United States Immigration and Naturalization Services, large numbers of Iranians were rounded up, were treated inhumanely, arrested and now face deportation. This has outraged the Iranian immigrant community which like others found its way to the shores of America seeking refuge from a regime that knows nothing of liberty, civil rights and freedom from fear.
There is a problem in the message conveyed to 1.5 million industrious, tax paying Iranian immigrants when they find themselves unfairly targeted in the land of Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King.
Freedom or Music?
Earlier this month, much to the delight of the ruling clerics, Iranians learned that America has ended its “Radio Freedom” broadcasts into Iran in favor of “Radio Tomorrow,” placing more emphasis on pop music and entertainment rather than hard hitting news, thoughtful commentary and political round tables so much in demand by the predominantly political culture that dominates the streets of Iran today.
Reportedly the decision was made because of preliminary success with a similar programming-shift into the Arab world. Perhaps those decision makers do not realize that, unlike our regional counterparts, there exists a vibrant polity in Iran serving as the cornerstone for our democratic movement. Furthermore, because of their first hand experience with theocracy, my compatriots have come of age and thirst for a daily dose of truth, not pop music.
However, there is a problem in the message being conveyed to the 600,000 Iranians languishing in the regime’s prisons and those of their battling compatriots, whether in Iran or in refugee camps in Europe, when broadcast messages shift away from “freedom,” to pop music.
Mr. President, winds of change are gaining strength in my homeland. My compatriots are at a critical cross road. They demand and deserve nothing less than what the free world holds dear and guarantees for its citizens.
The time has come for America to find a more coherent voice and visible policy in support of those freedom-loving forces that will soon liberate Iran from the world’s only theocracy. Your recent and most timely moral support of this nonviolent freedom movement, when accompanied by overt and tangible policies that exclude appeasement of the regime and alienation of the Iranian people, will contribute favorably as history unfolds in my homeland.