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An Open Letter to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (from '05)

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I could say any number of things about the President of Iran visiting at Columbia, and the speech he gave, and the commentary about it. But I don't think I'd be saying anything that hasn't already been said, before. Having said that, I find it tragic that people are conflating Iran, itself, with its President and his views, and finding both to be execrable at best, and worthy of atom bombing at worst. Need I remind anyone of the horrible excuse of a person WE have as President, and how terrible it would be if WE were judged by him, alone. (And yeah, I know - we already are.) So, I'm reprinting a piece I did back in 2005, when Mr. Ahmadinejad decided to let us all know that Israel needed to be wiped off the map. I did this in honor of my many Iranian students from the American University in Dubai, some of whom may have agreed with their President, but all of whom deserve a better future than the one this clown is manufacturing for them. To the Honorable Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, President of the Islamic Republic of Iran Dear Moron: Like most of the civilized world, I was less than pleased to hear you say that Israel needs to be wiped from the face of the Earth. That's not because I'm a big fan of how Israel conducts its business, or looks after its interests. And it's not just because I don't think it's a good idea to say that your neighbors (who have nukes, by the way) should be utterly destroyed if you want to be a part of the larger, global community, regardless of how they conduct their business or look after their interests. Rather, it's because I have a very personal stake in this matter. You, sir, are putting my kids in jeopardy. And I don't appreciate that - not at all. You see, sir, while I was in the UAE, I was employed at the American University in Dubai. I taught students from over 80 countries while I was there. They're all my kids. And I love them all, even if I wanted to strangle them from time to time - especially around finals. Now, a large number of my kids - my students - were from Iran. I'm sure that's no surprise, since Dubai is right across the Gulf from you. I did the same things for my Iranian students that I did for my other students: helped them, cheered them on and wished them success when they graduated. And I did not spend all those years teaching all those kids how to do academic research, and helping them achieve their scholastic goals, just to have you toss their future away with stupid comments towards your nuclear neighbor. (I do not appreciate your playing dice with their lives while playing 'hide the breeder reactor' from the IAEA, either, but that's another matter.) I doubt seriously that Israel is going to take your threat seriously - or at least any more seriously than they'd take any other threat from your theocracy, past or present. But I don't doubt that these kinds of dumb-ass pronouncements will only further estrange Iran from the world at large, and make being Iranian a stigma, rather than something to be proud of. And that is not good - not good at all. My kids deserve a chance to shine, you clown. They deserve to be a constructive part of the world economy. They deserve to be looked at as potential business partners, researchers, engineers, artists and architects. They deserve a future. They do NOT deserve to spend the rest of their lives being called "those people, over there," because fools like yourself just don't know when to keep your damn mouths shut. They do NOT deserve to be stigmatized, discriminated against and denied chances to shine because your government's public image is the equivalent of an ugly dog with a shaved butt being trained to walk backwards. And they do NOT deserve to die, in droves, because you said the wrong things at a time when my country's President (himself a moron who can't keep his mouth shut) desperately needs another country to invade, either. Do you remember what it was like when you were young, and thought you could take on the whole world? Do you remember what it was like to see problems and have the energy and enthusiasm to fix them? Well, it's their time to try, now. And in this age, one does not take on the world - much less succeed in it - by making stupid-ass statements. One works WITH people instead of around or against them. You could help be the architect of their better future by creating a healthy, prosperous Iran that looks forward, rather than back. I realize that you came to power by promising the former while denying the latter, but surely even you know that you can't have one without the other, anymore. (Just as I'm sure that you know most of the Iranian people don't agree with all your ideas, and that a counter-revolution is slowly brewing. but you don't want to talk about that, either, do you?) So listen up, fool - lay off with the tough talk. Shut your damn mouth and work on improving things with your neighbors instead of making them worse. Start playing straight with the rest of the world, and be understanding of why you make them nervous. If you don't care about my words, that's fine. But at least have the decency to care about the kids we share in common. They don't have the wherewithal to cash - or deny - the checks you're writing for them, yet. Give them the space to do so, please. Yours, J. Edward Tremlett
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J. Edward Tremlett is a lot of things, currently. He's back in the states after a seven-year stint in Dubai, UAE. He's been published in such diverse places as The American Partisan, the International American, The End is Nigh, Pyramid Magazine (more...)

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