my misled brothers

// November 7th, 2004

in response to an iranian-american thrill of victory for bush:

i’m going to be brutally honest here. at first, i just read and dismissed your email, chalking it up to yet another one of our fellow countrymen foolishly placing upon bush the hopes that he will topple the mullah theocracy in iran as some sort of benevolent messiah of democracy sent to us by god to liberate the middle eastern peoples. i am sad to say, that much like the people of “faith” and “moral values” of this country, you appear to be blinded to reality by your hopes. none of us will argue against the idea that democracy in the middle east and liberation from the clutches of tyrants is vital to the future of the region, but i think where we differ is in the means to these ends. democracy does not come by gunpoint, unless that gun is pointed at the very oppressors who occupy the power of your country. in iraq, as it stands right now, that opressor is us. we have replaced one regime with another. as iranians, i think we all know very well what foreign intervention, even in its stealth forms, can do to the stability and future of a country. in fact, to this day, we are still paying for this in iran. democracy in and of itself is not sufficient for people in the middle east. right now, in iraq & afghanistan, we love to talk on & on about how people are free. what we don’t like to talk about often is how these people can now vote freely, but can’t get the work, electricity, food, water, health care, etc. that they need to survive. some even say that if allowed, saddam hussein would win an election in iraq. this is b/c at least under his rule, people knew they could survive. would you support that result?? because if you don’t then you don’t really want democracy in the middle east.

you mention civilizing the middle eastern nations, but how do you civilize people by violently imposing your ways upon them??? this is a very curious idea. if you can point to one example of this working, i’d be glad to hear it. i suppose this could mean that if israel simply bulldozed palestine into becoming a democratic state and installed a dictator for a while, palestinians would enjoy a life of freedom, democracy & no homes or no jobs. dr. martin luther king once said that “hate begets hate, violence begets violence, until we find ourselves in a downward spiral.”

i am a new yorker. i was born in this great city, i have made my life here, it is inextricably part of who i am and embodies all that i love about america: freedom, opportunity, diversity, etc…. i live in downtown manhattan, not more than a mile away from the world trade center. i lived through 9/11. i know people who died on that day. you can read my thoughts from that time here:

as i read those words again, i am even more saddened. i am saddened b/c it appears that we have learned absolutely nothing from 9/11. we have squandered away and dismissed everything that was good that we might have gained or learned from our tragedy. instead, violence & war, senseless killing, have become our lesson. the politics of division have taken root in our country and the power of religion has strengthened its grip on our government. oddly enough, it is almost as if we aspire to become a theocracy like our “evil” enemy iran. you and the cabal of neoconservatives who have taken control of our government believe that might makes right. you believe that violence is the means to an ends, but where you differ and why your support of bush is fallacious, is that you believe that they have the goodwill of the middle eastern people in their hearts and minds, when in actuality, all they want from the middle eastern people they strive to intimidate is for them to establish “democracies” which are disguises for puppet governments across the region that will give a free pass to american corporations to come in & fleece these people’s countries of their oil.

and so it is that i deeply resent yours and anyone else’s support of bush when the concerns of millions and millions of people like myself who live in this nation’s cities, the veritable targets for terrorist attacks, are completely and utterly ignored. apparently, it’s OK for bush to hijack our tragedy b/c it really was new york’s tragedy, to invoke it relentlessly and to use it for political gain, all the while when having contempt for the people who were the victims of the tragedy.. take a look at the map of america and how its counties voted. you will notice that EVERY major city in this country voted against bush. there is something telling in that. we just don’t believe that by warmongering all over the middle east, we are any safer. funny, i thought that if you wanted to diffuse a violent situation, you don’t resort to violence itself. it extremely saddens me to say that this country is playing directly into bin laden’s hands. in fact, it is almost like he is playing chess to our game of checkers. and everytime someone supports violently overturning regimes in the middle east, that someone should realize that this is exactly what bin laden wants us to do, so that he can further polarize this world into a devolving holy war. think about it, right now, in 2004, we have a country that is increasingly moving towards christian fundamentalism, while jewish fundamentalism moves on unchecked in israel and muslim fundamentalism rages on throughout the middle east. and somehow you believe that injecting violence into this very tense situation will make it all better……….