Free Thoughts on Iran
Front Page | About FToI | Authors | Archives | Comment Policy | Disclaimer
e-mail

bra.gif Earthquakes in Iran: A Geological Perspective | Main | Reform Project: 1997-2004 ket.gif

January 09, 2004

 Life 
Fathers and Sons
Ali Mostashari  [info|posts]

choices.jpg No, this is not a critique of the book by Turgenev. This is a piece about choices. Choices that one makes in one's life. You see, in 1969, less than 24 hours after graduating with his Ph.D. in Chemistry, my father returned to Iran from the U.S. to help change Iran into a "modern" country. Strongly opposed to the Pahlavi regime, he met many obstacles in his goal, but kept going nevertheless. He helped establish Chemical industries, taught probably over a thousand undergraduate or graduate students, many of whom are University professor themselves. Then came the revolution.

Like many other intellectuals he heralded the new era as one of change. Today Iran in ruins, tomorrow the Sweden of the Middle East; well maybe not naive, but close. Anyway, the revolution took place, and two years later the cultural revolution came about and he was expelled from the University again by the new regime—ironically by Dr. Abdolkarim Soroush's committee—and was forced to leave the country (due to political persecution) to teach at a university in Germany. Long story short, he couldn't bear being in Germany, came back to Iran and barred from teaching at the University or working in any government research center, he started providing know-how for private chemical industries. Since his return in 1987 he has succeeded in implementing chemical and pharmaceutical industries that have reduced Iran's dependence on foreign imports by more than $45 million, while he was not successful at implementing $1.2 billion worth of know-how that he has produced, due to the corruptness of the government. Always cursing the Iranian government with vulgarities that I do not dare repeat here, he stays there, works and does research 14-16 hours a day with an efficiency of 0.5% compared to the energy he puts into things and is having the time of his life. Still Iran is not Sweden, not even close to Turkey in terms of industrialization. In fact I can say that based on my academic studies, with the current governance structure in Iran things are going to get much worse. Don't get me wrong, in my opinion any other government in Iran will probably not do much better, until real cultural, social and political development evolves from the grassroots. If anyone promises a better Iran in 5 years after they seize power, don't believe them. Anyway, I asked my father: "So why do you do what you do when it is but a drop in an ocean?". He said: " What else can I do? We haven't had democracy for 2500 years, so I can't afford to wait for one before I help them. If you stay in the U.S., nothing is going to change in this country. This is my country. I am doing this for my people."

Well it is my country too. So here I am, a year way from the time to make choices. Roshanak, my wife, who is a Ph.D. candidate of Space Systems Engineering at MIT, has no desire to return to Iran under the current situation. I can't blame her: if I were a woman, I wouldn't either. But do I personally wish to go and serve my country, even if I don't really like the governance structure? The answer is: "I don't know". Sometimes I wish I would go, other times I think it would be senseless. My work in the Iranian Studies Group (ISG) has kept me motivated. I feel that I am being positive, doing something for my country. Still, there is an empty feeling sometimes. Do I become a faculty member in a University, get a tenure, become an Associate Professor and then a Full Professor, publish useless articles, and die? Do I become a consultant at McKinsey, make $180K a year after 5 years and buy a 120" projector TV? Do I keep my conscience at ease by donating $100 to earthquake victims for the next earthquake? Do I release the 100th issue of the Iran Analysis Quarterly? Do I sit down with all the other ISG members and initiate projects on Iran that have no effect?
I may but the prospect is not enticing. Nor is the prospect of going back to Iran at this point. Given that I have the expertise (takhassos), but not the loyalty to the regime (ta'ahod) to be able to teach at the Univerity, where I would have to observe 200 red lines not to be crossed in class, what could I do? Open a business in Iran and do management consulting? Offer designs of strategic systems management for Iranian industries that end up in the trash bin? Start an import/export company? Or privately tutor for TOEFL and GRE so that other graduate students can come to the U.S. to study and face the same challenge? How would that help my country?

The old generation definitely had it easy with their idealism... .

Comments
Ordak D. Coward at January 9, 2004 01:42 AM [permalink]:

Ali, you need to first answer the question, "What do I want to be in my life?" The process of answering this question, provides you with the answer to your other questions. BTW, you should afford to donate much more than $100 if you take the job with McKinsey.

Also, if you got time read the following: (This is an imaginary mono-dialog with yourself based on your article)
- Why the governace structure of the country is so influential on my choice of return to my own homeland? Am I prosecuted myself? No. Then, what is there that I cannot return? I cannot make money there while I can here? Yes, and No, because the money alone does not make me happy in the long run. Then what does make me happy? Serving my country. Does serving the country by itself make me happy? No. I need to also have a decent living as well, I have a PhD after all. I also have to use that PhD in some sense to feel satisfied. I also need to do something that I can feel its effect on the society. Wow, man. I need so many constraints to satisfy. Perhaps, there is no feasible region. Well, I need to change the constraints. I need to learn being happy with less constraints. I need to redefine myself.


An Iranian Student (AIS) at January 9, 2004 02:11 AM [permalink]:

What you can do , IMHO, is stay in the west and work hard to form a strong and supporting diaspora.
If you are really concerned aboutdoing something worthwhile for Iran that desperately needs help, and if you are also convinced (and i agree with you here 100%) that by returning your expertise and energy will go wasted, then help Iran from where you are. It is possible, but the first steps to build that diaspora are very hard. the older generation that flew didn't do anything worthwhile in that direction, so forget about them. Are you the man for this job?
It could prove great hepl in the future, just look at Israel.
Hope this helps.

Señor Curioso at January 9, 2004 12:51 PM [permalink]:

"Always cursing the Iranian government with vulgarities that I do not dare repeat here, he stays there, works and does research 14 -16 hours a day with an efficiency of 0.5% compared to the energy he puts into things and is having the time of his life."

I am also having the time of my life, which by the way is becoming quite disconcerting, considering the deadlines that I have been under, so I was just wondering how I could measure how efficient I have been.

Or are the numbers in the post meant simply as hyperboles?

Arash Jalali at January 9, 2004 01:11 PM [permalink]:
I agree with AIS that you could be very helpful to Iran in the long run if you stay. After all being a strong and useful potential help is better than being a long gone and wasted one; but you see, I think the problem that you and many others among us are facing is not just about a dilemma of being or not being helpful to the country. The truth is that almost no matter where you go and what you do, you will end up helping the country one way or another, even if it is in the form of boosting the image of Iranians as a nation in the west. I wonder if this feeling that I personally have sometimes is shared by you or others like you. Sometimes, I don't feel like being helpful unless I somehow get involved in a more hands-on way with something that would directly affect our country. I keep thinking that no matter where I go and what I do, no matter how much successful I become in the west, no matter how well I manage to blend in, I still won't feel I belong. It will still be me doing it for them. You think about yourself and say: "I could very well be doing this back home for my own country". The bottom line: you don't feel comfortable changing your home. You somehow feel you took the easy way out; back home it wasn't that good, so I simply took off. I have been trying to think about this a lot lately, and here is what I was able to come up with: This country is in need of a lot of specialties: teachers, chemists, physicists, engineers, mathematicians, psychologists, economists, social scientists, physicians, technicians, you name it; but no matter how many of them you feed into the system it would be like pushing fresh blood into the veins of a dead body. This country, more than anything else, needs daring visionaries. People who can give this helpless nation some hope and sense of direction. Right now, Iran is a country of some 70 million individuals, each struggling to go on with their lives one day at a time. There's no sense of direction or unity, and there're no feelings of pride. If any individual thinks they can bring about some kind of a change that would make every Iranian, or even a group of them, living in Iran proud of what they are doing, that they could make them feel that whatever they do (even if they just deliver Pizza) will contribute to the livelihood of Iran, those individuals should not hesitate one second to come back to help, otherwise they better stay where they are or they'll end up being part of the community of wasted potentials. Being a source of leadership and inspiration is something that does not necessarily have much to do with where one got their education from, or their degree. The mere fact that you might not have enough feelings of content and pride does not warrant you to come back and waste yourself just because you want to feel better. If you do that, then you will be doing it for your own personal satisfaction, no matter how big a sacrifice it might seem to be. I sincerely apologize to you all, especially you Mr. Mostashari, if my language sounds too robust or brutally unfair but I think the dilemma that you are facing might be about making the right choice that makes you feel better, and not necessarily about making the choice that would benefit the country more. This country before anything else needs people who can "run the show", not be part of it. Our parents came back three decades ago with the illusion of making Iran like Sweden, hoping they could put their specialty in use, forgetti ["Toooo long!" editors say, "Here: click to read the whole thing!"]
Señor Græd at January 9, 2004 01:41 PM [permalink]:

I think I agree with you, Arash: Iran does need men (and women) of vision. But I disagree with the metaphor you employ: Iran is not as hopeless as a dead organism. In fact, it seems to me that Iran is very much alive today. Much more, at least, than it was between, say, 1981 and 1997.

Also, the issue of not blending in the host culture remains forever unresolved to some degree due to the language barrier. BUT, the American enterprise is, among other things, about attracting the best and making them part of America and progressing towards the "City on a Hill".

Once you find yourself part of this dream (and it may happen shortly after you arrive at JFK, or it may take you a dozen years, or it may never happen), you will no longer worry about the land you left behind. There are so many other impoverished lands on the face of earth...

Challenger at January 9, 2004 03:26 PM [permalink]:

No doubt this is one of the biggest dilemmas we all have (Iranian students studying outside Iran). I have also thought a lot about this issue. One possible solution that came to my mind is here:

If you see the chances to establish a successful career in your host country (in business, science or academia) then don't miss that; stay there and do it. If you succeed and become big enough (as many Iranians do), then try to make connections with Iran, and move part of your activity/business there. This could be anything, from Academic relations to business or production.

In this way, you won't miss the chance to explore the possibilities in your host country, and also will be able to do your share of 'upgrading' the country's status. This method is more effective than "holding your nose and diving back to your troublesome homeland". Because your activity is based abroad, you have the advantage and you're flexible; and you wouldn't be grounded by the chaos and problems inside Iran as much as an Iranian resident would. You will be like someone who's pulling others up while standing on a higher position.

One more things that has kept my mind busy: If I ever get the chance, I would personally NOT go to Tehran for that matter. Not because it is not a good place to work, but in order to distribute the development all around the country. I have not forgotten that my best coursemates in my undergrad were students from towns and cities other than Tehran. More hard working, more devoted to their studies with stronger motivation to build-up their lives. I'm sure that Azad University - despite all its problems - has played a very important role in opening up closed rural societies. That's a good lesson to remember.

Arash Jalali at January 9, 2004 05:12 PM [permalink]:

Señor Græd, I think it partly depends on how one defines "livelihood". Granted, one can go out with his/her girl/boyfriend with much less fear these days than, say, 10 years ago. A lot more of the Iranians who feld Iran after the 79 revolution are now traveling to Iran, because the risks of persecuation might seem lower, but that's hardly the issue here.

The questions is that a very talented young scientist with outstanding academic and professional qualifications, like the author of this posting, is wondering whether he should come back to Iran to help the country or whether he's better off staying abroad. Now surely you would agree with me that issues like hijab (Islamic dress code) or things of that nature are hardly of any relevance here. In this context, I define livelihood as the amount of motivation, direction and hope one like Ali Mostashari would find in Iranian universities and/or the industries. I'm still living in Iran and I am still working with my professor at an academic level, and believe me when I tell you that there's little trace of hope and livelihood here. Everyone seems to have lost hope and direction.

The issues is not about lack of specialty. It's about lack of leadership. This is not something you could just import from the MIT. Wherever you look, it's just total chaos and disorganization. Sure, you get to see more fancy cars, great looking men and women, McDonald's style fast-food restaurants, etc. etc. in the streets, but it's the events like the Bam earthquake that really reveal the chaos beneath the fancy cover that likes of Khatami have created for the outside world. I don't know, maybe I'm just a dark-minded pessimist but I think it takes one heck of an optimistic and visionary mind to be able to come back and not lose momentum after one or two years. I salute the courage, self confidence, and the ability of those men and women who do possess such inspiring minds.


"A leader is a dealer in hope". - Napoleon Bonaparte

An Iranian Student (AIS) at January 10, 2004 03:39 AM [permalink]:

Arash said:
"If any individual thinks they can bring about some kind of a change that would make every Iranian, or even a group of them, living in Iran proud of what they are doing..."

This is a very important point. I totaly agree that that is what is needed. However asking such visonaries to come back at this situation is a bit strange. Any one who puts his fit a bit further than ahis rug (as we say) will taste some sweet taste in Iran.

Besides economic and social problems, IMO there is a deeper reason why people, specially the youth and the mosre ambitious ones for that matter, those who would pioneer real changes, are desperately trying to flee the country. That they regard what they do in Iran as wasted. It lies with the great cultural and social isolation of this country. After centuries of cultural creativity and overt or copvert cultural influences, there is no name of Iran or its identity in the wolrd's "consciousness" today, where even Eskimos or American Indians are part of every childs back ground knowledge. And the reason is the poeple themselves. It's an evil loop. I think the main focus must be put in linking this culture and this nation back to the live humanity. The best way is again to form a strong diaspora that introduces it in every aspect of the western life eventually.
I want also to propose something here. Our attitude towards the West has been in the the two limits of the spectrum, so to speak. We have either opposed it as envading us, or tried to replce it with that of our own. What if we try to reinterpret our culture so that itself would be part of the West or at least the origins of it?
Ofcourse I don't mean rubbish attitudes of 'We taught them all they know.." which are complete bullsh*t, but a more realistic view of BELONGING to one of the tenets that formed it?

The Dude at January 10, 2004 06:35 AM [permalink]:

Pal, you if you wanted to work for McKinsey and make $180k after five yrs, you didn't need to get the PhD. An undergrad degree suffices for that....given that there are not many Iranian PhD's with your background, staying in academia might be a better choice.

hazhir at January 10, 2004 01:42 PM [permalink]:
Thanks Ali for sharing with us your story and challenges. I think many of us (Iranian students outside Iran) share very similar challenges and concerns as you do, and I personally don't have any clear answer to how to deal with them. In fact I may get depressed if I don't remind myself that it is not all about getting to an specific goal, but the joy is in the journey. This said, I liked Arash's point about the lack of vision in Iran. I had thought in the same line before for myself and came up with building new structure vs. playing in the current structure that I think is a key differnce about how we can be useful in Iran vs. in west. Missing this point may create a lot of disappointment for those planning to go back to Iran. Let me elaborate a little further: Here in the U.S. the system is working relatively smoothly and there is a reasonable equilibrium between different parts of the system (economy, culture, political system, etc). The institutions and social structures are well stablished and there are clear roles individuals can take and through which contribute to the overal prosperity and growth of their country. In Iran, the situation is different. Eventhough several institutions and structures exist, most of them are malfunctioning, don't fit together well, or are out of sync with the realities of the modern world. Therefore, if one plans to only play a predefined role (e.g. university professor) in the system s/he will be soon disappointed by the level of contribution s/he can have: there is no facilities, nobody cares about my research, I am paid nothing, I can't publish in IEEE journals etc. However, the changing institutional structure in Iran also has the benefit of opening valuable opportunities for individuals of great vision to identify the need for new structures and creat valuable institutions that changes the rules of the game, contribute to goals that they care about, and generate a stream of jobs/opportunities/projects etc. I think this is an adventurous and hard road, but if successful, can bring great prizes to the one who stepped into this way. I can think of a few examples in this line. Dr. Mohammad Sanati, a successful professor in a U.S. university was active in early research on personal computers. Sometime in early 80's he decided to leave U.S. and go to Iran to introduce this new thing, computer, to his home country. A hard decision to make with an american wife and a two year old son, a tenure position at stake... all to go back to Iran in the middle of war with Iraq! He made this decision, started sinasoft company and to make a long story short, had a great contribution to the fact that today Iranians have more weblogs than most other nations, even though they have been under the backwards IR system for the whole life of computers. He had a talk a few month ago in Iran Technology Forum at MIT and he expressed a deep satisfaction with his decision, reading the poem: Khonok aan ghomaarbaazi ke bebaakht harcheh boodash Benamaandash hich ella havase ghomaar digar I think the examples like Dr. Sanati are fewer than those who went back home, got disappointed and returned to U.S., or joined the lost potentials, but I know a few more, people like Dr. Mashayekhi, Dr. Tabesh, Dr. Shahshahani, among others. I think it is a very good idea to talk with such people and see what made them successful in doing what many other talented people put several years of their life on and didn't succeed. My first impression i ["Toooo long!" editors say, "Here: click to read the whole thing!"]
Herr K. at January 10, 2004 09:55 PM [permalink]:

This has been an interesting issue for me ever since I left Iran; especially as I get to the end of my grad school it becoems more and more crucial. Let me tell you why I think that we can have some meaningful positive contribution to the progress of Iran:

A few days ago, I was reading about some NASA’s project to send humans to Mars. I think now that probably the day that the first humans set foot in Mars, very few, if any, of the scientists currently working there would be around and share the excitement. But what all of them probably share is “the American dream” that Señor Geræd mentioned above; and I truly believe that we can also have our own “Iranian dream”! it may be very hazy now and quite far-away to matterilaize. but we’d better not forget the trivial fact that if our devastated country is to become some day a better place to live, this is up to human beings like us to see their happiness in making that possible and also remembering that “ hozur-e ensaan aabaadani-st” as Shamlu puts it.

I don’t see any problem with the possiblity that the next generation would prefer to come here for studying as we did, it is not necessarily a vicious circle. Tehran university is less than a hundred years old and it’s only seven years since we have been experiencing some sort of democracy. We, as some young students who experienced some genuine modern life (not the Iranian style, with Internet,newspapers, etc all of the place, without understanding what they are about) are the very first generation of Iranians who have the chance to think rationally and critically about modern style of living. It’s not realistic to think that Iran can become Sweden overnight and I think we are the very first generation of Iranians who “know” – in the scientific sense of the word—this truism.
If we cease to hand down our unique experiences to the next generation , they will live an even more miserable life.

linda at January 11, 2004 01:50 AM [permalink]:

You know what's the ironic part? That me a business management grad ,who spends more than 40 hours of her life weekly in corporate America, simply think that living in Iran will never be a choice . And painfully we should admit what Iran really needs is a damn good management.
On the other hand P.H.D s in science feel guilty about not going back home, and spreading their knowldege? As you said with 0.05% efficiency!!
We Iranians got all our priorities shifted. For us a Doktor is a savior, we think degrees actually change things.

One thing that I don't get is that after living in U.S,how come you guys who happen to have more than average I.Q don't seem to get a grasp of American Philisohpy?
It is simple :" Stand for yourself before anybody, and anything else."
Please don't give me that crap of what about humanity and stuff. Loving and respecting yourself is the best kind of humanity.
This prespective in life, took U.S to the place that it is now. Top of the world!!
At the end you can take one out of Hunk, You can't take Hunk out of one. It's true about Iran, it's instilled in us forever, even if it is 100$ donation to Bam Fund. And if you can have a job in McKinsy with a 180k salary, hell take it, but contribute to Iranian causes. Like setting up a scholarship for Iranian students,
or Mentoring Iranian youths.
This even maybe more empowering to Iranian than you going back and outdate yourself in Tehran University labs.
I think what scares you more is ending up like hundreds of Iranian who could've but never contributed to their land they they should've. Other than 100$ to Bam funds here and there.
Your father was on one extreme in a whole specterum, just find your own place, easy!!!

Ordak D. Coward at January 11, 2004 02:46 AM [permalink]:

Here is an idea, based on what Hazhit wrote, there are in fact a few people who went back to Iran and more or less have actually had a positive effect in Iran, let me call them exceptional returns. As Hazhir pointed out, the Iranians abroad consisder those exceptions, right? I think a study on which factors made those people stay and contribute, -- while the others could not make it -- could be very useful. The same study could also point out how to increase the number and ratio of these exceptional returns. Another point to make, is that the study will not focus on what government should do, rather what steps the indviduals can make to contribute.

As usual, I think I am not making sense. The study should simply indicate what individuals could do to become one of those exceptional returns, or simply, what is their formula for success?

This study could simply start by interviewing those exceptioanl returns and asking them what they think about it.

AIS at January 11, 2004 03:11 AM [permalink]:

Herr K.,

"... and it’s only seven years since we have been experiencing some sort of democracy."

WHAT?!!!!!

Wessie at January 11, 2004 03:27 AM [permalink]:

This is an eye-opening thread.

I am stunned by many of the things said above. If Germany or Japan, after WWII, suffered the sort of long-term brain drain that Islamic countries suffer today—they would be nowhere now! One reason Africa and the ME are so destitute is because all too many highly intelligent, educated elites go away to study— never to return. Why is it that you people don't feel some sort of responsibility to your native country or your adopted country?

"One thing that I don't get is that after living in U.S,how come you guys who happen to have more than average I.Q don't seem to get a grasp of American Philisohpy? It is simple :" Stand for yourself before anybody, and anything else."

Oh no! That is not what America is all about, Linda— not at all. If that were the case, then Bam would not have gotten US assistance, and neither would Kuwait or Bosnia or Iraq or Egypt, etc. If that were the case then millions of dollars would not have been raised for the victims and survivors of 9/11 from private donations.

America is about helping others, not just doing for oneself. I work in the international arena in both Europe and Asia. What strikes me most about the difference between other peoples and Americans is the American generosity of spirit and the lack of pretentiousness. By that I mean collaborative efforts made in almost any field of endeavor on a routine basis. Americans are very generous with their knowledge. Peer to peer sharing and collaborations are the norm. Other peoples tend to be much more distrustful and "hold their cards close to their chests" while insisting on receiving the pomp and circumstance befitting their "rank." Conversely, there is no need to say "Dr. so and so" to the famous man in the U.S., because he just says, "Call me Joe." No ego problems. :-)

What stuns me is that most of you are not really "expatriates" in the sense that you want to go back—and yet, you are not immigrants to the U.S. either. Many of you complain that you "don't feel at home."
At some point you have to make up your minds to give your loyalty to one country or the other. Americans get really resentful if they feel you have just come here to use the gifts of America and yet don't have any loyalty to the nation.

The only way you can "feel at home" in America is to become an American and if you don't want to do that then go back ASAP and help to develop you own nation. If no one goes back, then the Islamic world will always be backward and hostile. If you believe in going back then do that!

But, this—this, is a sham! Home is where and what you make it.

Wessie


Herr K at January 11, 2004 11:25 AM [permalink]:

Wessie,
You may know that Japan and Germany were substantially assisted by other countries, in particular US (Marshal Plan) and also Germans during the Weimar Republic had a fully democratic country. Without those factors, they would have never become the propsperous contries they are today. It's not guaranteed that we can follow their footsteps.

and AIS,
I am not sure I've got your point. could you
explain a little bit more?

Herr K.

Smeli at January 11, 2004 12:21 PM [permalink]:

Hi,

Regarding the Ordak's proposal, Professor Tom Allen of MIT has done extensive research on transfer of technology across borders. In one of his case studies, he focused on Irland and the developement of semiconductor industry there. The result was that people who were more successful in transfering technology were those who had worked in the US before they moved back. Having work experience helped them in two ways:

1- It allowed the Irish to learn about organizational and corporate culture of American firms; which, according to many researches is far more important to the success of an enterprise than technical know how.

2- It also allowed them to develope a network of business contacts and resources. Given that the size of Irish economy is miniscule compared to size the gloabal economy or the US economy (which is a quarter of global economy), this network of international contacts brought a sense of stability to the Irish entrepreneurs.

Given this, if I were Ali Mostashari and had both the technical credentials (PhD) and the real world opportunities (McKinsey offer or offer from other prominent US firms), I would stay in the US to gain more hands on experience (unequivocally).

The challenge in Iran is not is not just to transfer technical knowledge but also to wage a cultural war against the status qou. To win the cultural war against the Islamists, we need to have a vision for how to do things. Working for American firms enables us to learn about their corporate culture and develope our own alternatives for how to get things done in Iran and trasnforming the country.

Ordak D. Coward at January 11, 2004 02:44 PM [permalink]:

Smeli, thanks for taking time to deciphering what I wrote. There is no doubt that a couple of years of industrial experience in US will provide you with more knowledge to utitilize in Iran in case you return. However, I want to emphasize, and I think you also agree that, the case of Ireland is very different from that of Iran. I have no clue about Ireland, but in Iran, the governing structure (as Ali Mostashari calls it), is a big obstacle against most people who want to return. Iran is also under US embargo, so a lot of those business contacts can not be used over there. If you remember, around the end of Iran-Iraq war, the Iranian government started the invite back many Iranians abroad to work in Iran. Of those many few left. I do not have any kind of statistics on them, but I believe, the program failed regardless of the work experience of the individuals.

The study I propose should focus on the people factor, and discover what made them flourish in Iran.

I believe such a study could also be funded by Iranian expatriates. Or, simply be published as a book.

AIS at January 11, 2004 03:38 PM [permalink]:

Wessie wrote:

"At some point you have to make up your minds to give your loyalty to one country or the other. Americans get really resentful if they feel you have just come here to use the gifts of America and yet don't have any loyalty to the nation."

Albert Einstein: lived many years in Switzerland without any antionality, neither German nor Swiss.
Left Germany for good, without any hesitation whne he saw the condition there. Never really belonged in the US or any otgher country as well.
Interestingly he got a lot of letters saying somehing similar above by some of the American over-zealots and had many problems in McCarthy fiasco.

Just felt like putting something irrelevant here for a change.

AIS at January 11, 2004 03:41 PM [permalink]:

Herr K,

Could you please explain about the 'democracy' you talked about, because I didn't understand that one very well.

Wessie at January 11, 2004 03:51 PM [permalink]:

Herr K:

Many of the Arab nations are wealthy, especially Iran and Saudi Arabia. Additionally the whole world, including the US give aid to the other ME nations.

It must be remembered that while the Marshall Plan did help, Europe and Japan helped themselves by very HARD work. Additionally, the middle east is not completely devastated by war as Europe was. Not even Iraq is so completely destroyed. Indeed, most of what has been destroyed is due to Iraqi sabotage.

As to the German democratic heritage, that is true—however limited it was. Note that Japan had no such heritage it was a feudal nation AND Japan has very few natural resources—just like many Arab states. But, Japan is today one of the most prosperous and successful nations on earth—despite a very conservative, restrictive culture.

So, I really can't buy your argument that Persians and Arabs can't pull themselves up by their bootstraps. From where I sit, there are constant excuses as to why Muslims cannot help themselves. That, to me, has to do with Islam and its tenets of negativity, blaming the "other" for all problems that befall Muslims.

BTW—Are you in Germany, since you use "Herr" in your handle?

---

One of the fears of technology transfer to the ME is that they will use it for international terror. Note the recent issues with the development of the Pakistani bomb and where that technology was "transferred" (stolen) from. :-(

The big bottom line is that Muslim nations must help themselves because the rest of the world does not trust them to do the right thing. Therefore, technology transfer is iffy.

Wessie

Wessie at January 11, 2004 04:02 PM [permalink]:

Albert Einstein aside—Times have changed, AIS! Besides, one cannot compare oneself to an Albert Einstein or any other such great, international figure.

I know many people who have spent much of their lives and virtually all of their careers in the US as resident aliens. Virtually ALL of them got their citizenships after 9/11—and fast! I have great disdain for these people who needed a threat to their continued existence in the U.S. to make them commit.

Americans were willing to put up with a lot from foreigners before the attacks. That is now not the case. If you are not willing to commit to the US as a citizen within a reasonable amount of time—then you should leave!

Working as an expatriate for a company from one's native land is different of course. To me being a resident alien is like living with a partner and not wanting to commit to marriage. One gets all of the benefits of the relationship without all of the responsibilities and rights. The whole thing is rather self serving.

And yes, I am a citizen. I committed years ago. :-)

Wessie

Arash Jalali at January 11, 2004 05:34 PM [permalink]:

Wessie, in one of his/her rather passionate comments said:

Americans get really resentful if they feel you have just come here to use the gifts of America and yet don't have any loyalty to the nation.


I have never formally applied for any kind of U.S. visa, so what I am about to say is technically based on hearsay, but I suppose almost all of you, who have entered the U.S. soil with a student visa, can confirm (or refute) this. I'm not sure if Wessie is a born U.S. citizen or not, but from this very excerpt of his/her comment I suspect s/he is. That is probably why s/he doesn't know that when one applies for a student, business or tourist U.S. visa, one of the most (if not the most) important pieces of evidence one is obligated to present to the American consulate is the evidence that proves, or somehow convinces the consul, that the visa applicant will eventually return to his/her home country and has no intention or incentive to stay in the U.S. forever. This is in fact one of the articles using which a lot of aliens, especially Iranian students, have been denied a visa.

Wessie also said:

"I know many people who have spent much of their lives and virtually all of their careers in the US as resident aliens. Virtually ALL of them got their citizenships after 9/11—and fast! I have great disdain for these people who needed a threat to their continued existence in the U.S. to make them commit."


Incidentally, I happen to know quite a few Iranian born people who have been loyal U.S. citizens (working in very sensitive positions) for decades, and just quite recently have started to think about relocating to another country, simply because the post-9/11 attitude has made them wonder if they could ever be seen as an American.

I guess what I want to tell you is that, this "threat" that you talked about, alienated a lot of other already "committed" and loyal people. I would characterize that "threat" as something quite comparable to the reaction of a bunch of ignorant "redneck" bigots killing a Hindu man because they thought anyone who wears a turban is a Muslim, and therefore deserves to die.

America is a great land, and Americans are a great nation, but that's because of the great visionaries born in and out of that land who were able to see the world far further than the picket fences of their ranch in Texas, and had more to say to the world about their great land than just "be an American if you want to feel at home in America". America does not certainly owe its greatness to the not so few people whose knowledge of their own neigborhood, let alone the whole world, is limited to what the Fox News Channel provides to them.

Wessie at January 11, 2004 07:20 PM [permalink]:
I came to this site because I know that Iranians as a group are as well educated as I am. Indeed, many here have advanced degrees and can speak of many things intelligently. However, there seem to be quite a few with a lack of reading comprehension skills like, Arash. LOL " . . I'm not sure if Wessie is a born U.S. citizen or not, but from this very excerpt of his/her comment I suspect s/he is. " Always presuming, always "suspecting" if an opinion differs then the poster must be "ignorant" of the ways of the world. Evidently you did not see this last comment in the post, Arash: " yes, I am a citizen. I committed years ago." That means I was not born in the U.S. but chose to become a citizen via naturalization. That is probably why s/he doesn't know. . . ." That is the sort of presumptuous, arrogant comment that really annoys people. Of course I KNOW, as do many others including native born Americans, what it takes to come to the U.S. Why is it that people like you always believe yourselves to be the only ones who ever suffered hardships and difficulties coming to the U.S. or that you are the only ones who know about anything as "complicated" as visa aps and international politics? My family was separated. It took years before we were together again due to immigration restrictions. GET OVER YOURSELF, Arash! "Incidentally, I happen to know quite a few Iranian born people who have been loyal U.S. citizens (working in very sensitive positions) for decades, and just quite recently have started to think about relocating to another country, simply because the post-9/11 attitude has made them wonder if they could ever be seen as an American." What a lot of CRAP! Anyone is seen as an American IF he behaves as such. It is up to the immigrant to assimilate and fit into America; it is not for the host country to change to the immigrant's view of the world! If the immigrant is wishy-washy about his commitment to the U.S. and is a practicing Muslim to boot with misanthropic, misogynistic Islamic views, then of course s/he will be suspect. If these people think they can do better some place else then they should go! There are plenty, plenty of talented, highly educated people waiting all over the world to immigrate to the U.S. "I guess what I want to tell you is that, this "threat" that you talked about, alienated a lot of other already "committed" and loyal people. I would characterize that "threat" as something quite comparable to the reaction of a bunch of ignorant "redneck" bigots killing a Hindu man because they thought anyone who wears a turban is a Muslim, and therefore deserves to die." More problems for Arash with reading comprehension. [sigh] The "threat" I spoke of was the Islamic terror attack on 9/11 that threatens the stability of the U.S and the world order. Many resident aliens felt they might be seen as suspect after having lived in the U.S for 10, 20—40 years and not become citizens. And they are right. No one has any business living, working and benefitting in a nation for half a life-time without obtaining citizenship. (Unless you are working in Saudi Arabia—in which case the point is moot.) ;-) The Islamofascist threat is hardly comparable to one of a "red neck" to the world order. Thousands of turban wearing Sikhs were not murdered in the US— one was. Hundreds of people were not attacked—a very few were. Muslim women were not raped in the streets as happens when Islamists are angry about someone "insulting" M ["Toooo long!" editors say, "Here: click to read the whole thing!"]
Eswin Oakman at January 11, 2004 08:10 PM [permalink]:

Arash:

I think the tone of Wessie's polemics changes depending on how one targets his biases and stereotypes, not to mention intolerance and exclusionism.

I think everyone so far has proven, in one's responses, to her that Free Thoughts is visited and receives comments by people who are far more patient and tolerant than Wessie is. They are even more democratic and pluralist in debate, and hence, more secular.

I am very hopeful that he has learnt a lot so far.

Vahid at January 11, 2004 08:35 PM [permalink]:

Wessie,

I think it is educational for you to read "Dude, where is my country" by Michael moore.
The great "Islamic terror attack" terror that you and Bush's people talk about, is just big fat lie. Unfortunately they are good in making you believe in it. Osama Ben Laden is himself trained by CIA and his family in US were the only people that could fly around US and then out of US to Paris, just after the 9/11 attacks. Just think a little bit!

Wessie at January 11, 2004 10:18 PM [permalink]:
"I am very hopeful that he has learnt a lot so far." Speaking of biases and stereotypes, Oakman. I have told you at least half a dozen times now that I am a woman. Yet, you continue to insult me with the lesser of the genders. Until you acknowledge that fact, I shall continue to ignore your less than informed, biased posts. ;-) As for patience—sorry, I have NO patience for terror supporters and apologists for a 7th century Islamic death-cult. I trust your parents taught you German: Sie sollten mal lernen, sich in einem zivilisierten Land zu benehmen! =:o --- "I think it is educational for you to read "Dude, where is my country" by Michael moore. The great "Islamic terror attack" terror that you and Bush's people talk about, is just big fat lie. Unfortunately they are good in making you believe in it. Osama Ben Laden is himself trained by CIA and his family in US were the only people that could fly around US and then out of US to Paris, just after the 9/11 attacks. Just think a little bit! Thinking, real critical thinking, does not seem to be your strong point, Vaheed. I'm sure you would like me to read something by Noam Chumpsky as well. At least we have comedians in the West. Mullah Nasrudin aside, it's tough to find Islamic jokes anywhere. ;-) The Islamic terror attack is a "big fat lie." Really! You are saying that the United States is responsible for this whole thing because at one time we supported ObL against the Commies. Oh—I just LOVE Islamic conspiracy theories. The Arabs have supported the Nazis. I think that is a greater crime. Next you will be telling us that the "Zionist-entity" planned the whole thing and that Jews didn't go to work in the Twin Towers that day. Why don't you tell it to the 3,000 innocent dead people from over 80 nations who perished as a result of the Islamic terror attack, Vahid. Also tell it to the thousands who are murdered by "true believer" Muslims every year—world wide. I would like you to come face to face with one of the survivors, one of the widows or widowers or children of a victim of an Islamic terror attack and give them your sentiments. See what I mean. No one trusts people like you. I make it a policy to ask middle easterners these days what their position is on Islam as well as the Islamofascist terrorists. If they have a hair-brained Islamic, conspiracy theory as do you—then don't get the time of day. I get the picture if they refuse to shake my extended hand—being a woman and all. This method works rather well to out the misogynists and misanthropes. Just the other day some al Jazeera fan, Muslim was telling me how, “it’s all the fault of the Jews. All terrorism is really done by the Jews and then they blame the Muslims.” This genius lives in my town and regularly watches al Jazeera so he can be educated. He got really upset when I (a mere woman) laughed at him. But, even though my husband was with me, he still whispered that he wanted me to meet him for “coffee” and talk about Islam. ;-) Why don't you tell the university where you study and or your employer what you posted above, Vahid. I am sure they would really appreciate the sentiments. They might even put you on the first plane out of the US. Holy cow! It is clear that even the people who have or are studying to get that Ph.D., if they are middle easterners or Muslims, have some real problems doing any critical thinking. I believe it would be very educational for you, Vahid, to read some Islamic history, recent, mu ["Toooo long!" editors say, "Here: click to read the whole thing!"]
Vahid at January 11, 2004 11:11 PM [permalink]:

Wessie,

I am afraid that the America "the country of freedom", has changed this much, that a student should be scared for talking his/her mind. Even Iran is not that bad. Fortunately, I do NOT live in US, so do not threaten me. I don't know why someone like you, who thinks all of moslems are terrorists, and they should be shiped out from your America, and is naive enough to believe in whatever CNN and Fox news say, takes the time and writes for a Iranian Website. If you think we should be shouted up, what is the point of talking!

Ali,

I really enjoyed your post. It was great, and also I enjoyed the comments that it raised. Sorry for the above comments, which are a bit irrelevent to your post.
But just a thought: in Iran, you might not be free to speak your mind. But if it is all the same in US, what's the point of living far from home, and being accused of supporter of terror, because you are from a Islamic country!

observer at January 11, 2004 11:13 PM [permalink]:

Dear Sinior Grad, We have a new visitor who can write even more than you can... and she is far more passionate than you are! I think you should forget about your new year resolutions and try to take back the crown for longest comments! Moreover, I miss your more thoughtful and tolerant remarks ;)

AIS at January 12, 2004 01:57 AM [permalink]:

Wessie,

"Albert Einstein aside—Times have changed, AIS! Besides, one cannot compare oneself to an Albert Einstein or any other such great, international figure."

You are missing the point. I do not 'compare' myself with Einstein, but we are talking about a principle here. Besides rights by definition, atleast the in the modern term, are spposed to be equal no matter how great or insignificant a person is, unless we want to go back to Plato and Aristotle and their misogynistic and misanthropic ideas. (I learnt these two new words from you by the way.) If Einstein is great, and he ofcoyurse is, is becuase ofwhat he did and the way he lived, not any intrinisic didvine higher position.
Also what the condition has become is independant of wethre they are defendable, as you seemed to be defending it.

I have to say that being loyal to a COUNTRY is one of those things I really find as rubbish, be it US or Iran or else. One can feel devotion and love to one's country, but IMHO loyalty should be reserved for ideals and values. The greatness of a 'country' is how much it represents high values, but again in principle the two are different and do not always match, unless you are living in a fairy tale or something. If you think this is another muslim type traitor spirit, you can read the decleration of independence again, where it explains what states , and countries are modern states aren't they?, are there for and the right people have to even raise arms against it if it does not act according to the values. Not that I am implying anything about the US today. I happen to be very fond of the US, for reasons that are mostly not very similar to yours it seems, but my point is if loyalty was to a country and not human ideals of freedom and justice and the like, this decleratioon wouldn't have made sense.
You can also read this:
http://www.settingtheworldtorights.com/node.php?id=122
especially this part (part 3):
The Individual and the Nation
http://www.settingtheworldtorights.com/node.php?id=44

PS.
"Mullah Nasrudin aside, it's tough to find Islamic jokes anywhere."
you better read Obeyd Zakani (8th Century (Hijri) Persian poet and satirist) , he was muslim but definitely not Islamic though!

Wessie at January 12, 2004 04:50 AM [permalink]:
id that the America "the country of freedom", has changed this much, that a student should be scared for talking his/her mind.” When one speaks one’s mind, as you did here: ”The great "Islamic terror attack" terror that you and Bush's people talk about, is just big fat lie.” then one must be prepared to take the consequences, Vahid. It appears you do not want to take responsibility for your intemperate post. Even Iran is not that bad. Fortunately, I do NOT live in US, so do not threaten me. I don't know why someone like you, who thinks all of moslems are terrorists, and they should be shiped out from your America, and is naive enough to believe in whatever CNN and Fox news say, takes the time and writes for a Iranian Website. If you think we should be shouted up, what is the point of talking! “Threaten” you!? LOL My dear man, you are even more filled with hubris than you first appeared. Muslims with inferiority complexes always start to whine and pull the “bigot” or “race” card when they can’t handle the truth. And just for the record, I have never, ever watched Fox news. While I am multilingual, I see CNN only when I travel to a country whose language I do not speak, such as in Asia. My Farsi is not so hot either. ;-) ”in Iran, you might not be free to speak your mind. But if it is all the same in US, what's the point of living far from home, and being accused of supporter of terror, because you are from a Islamic country!” I do not believe that all Muslims are terrorists. Kindly provide the post where I have EVER said such a thing. However, ALL Islamic terrorists are Muslims and they are having quite a run these days terrorizing the whole world, including other Muslims. I’m sure you are pleased with yourself spinning your ludicrous conspiracy theories, Vahid. If you think that Iran or any other nation is “not that bad” then you really ought to be there, as I said before, and not taking up valuable space in the West! Don’t come here and breathe our air while spewing venomous bullshit about America having attacked itself. The Politics of Intimidation: http://www.iranian.com/Opinion/2002/November/Violence/ You may speak your mind. But remember—You play, you pay! Take responsibility for your ignorance Vahid. I shall take your attempts at intimidation and your blatant lying to task. I Hope that neither you nor anyone you care about is in the wrong place at the wrong time the next time your “true believers” decide a few people should die in the name of Islam. Otherwise, you might get your 72 white raisins much sooner than planed. --- AIS—I find it interesting that people from the Middle East and other Islamic countries are very keen on their rights. They SCREAM in the streets that not letting muslimas wear the hijab in France is “against their rights.” What they fail to comprehend is that with those rights come an even greater amount of responsibilities. Freedom is not free! The hijab, according to Chirac, is seen as “something aggressive” and an identifiable symbol of Islamic fundamentalism and terror. Thus, the French don’t want it in their secular society. Muslims living in the ME, where they have virtually no rights, have no business telling the rest of the world that we have to acquiesce to their demands. “Democracy, whiskey, sexy,” as one man screamed when Iraq was “liberated” is NOT what it is about! Your “rights” end where my nose begins. Thus, you cannot scream “fire” in a crowded theater just “because” and you ca ["Toooo long!" editors say, "Here: click to read the whole thing!"]
Arash Jalali at January 12, 2004 05:13 AM [permalink]:

Mr. Ali Mostashari,
I hereby apoloize to you for posting a comment that caused the thread of discussions to deviate from the main point of your posting.

Eswin Oakman:
Thank you for your remarks. I suppose different people have different ideas about what persuasive reasoning and critical thinking are. I believe one has to be careful about whose comments one decides to comment on, and for that very reason, I admit it was my careless mistake to have posted that comment.

Arash Jalali at January 12, 2004 05:15 AM [permalink]:

Mr. Ali Mostashari,
I hereby apoloize to you for posting a comment that caused the thread of discussions to deviate from the main point of your posting.

Eswin Oakman:
Thank you for your remarks. I suppose different people have different ideas about what persuasive reasoning and critical thinking are. I believe one has to be careful about whose comments one decides to comment on, and for that very reason, I admit it was my careless mistake to have posted that comment.

The Bass Voice at January 12, 2004 05:37 AM [permalink]:

Wessie,

Your rights also end where other people's nose starts. I happen to agree with you on the issue of terrorism, and that it should be dealt with rigoorously; however, when you talk—or write—to a specific person, say AIS above, you are definitely not allowed to stereotype him/her with his/her place of origin or religion.

Just because you know German, I would not allow muself to bring up the history of WWII when I talk to you, nor are you allowed to bring up ME or Islam when responding to specific points on the rights of people when talking to AIS. Rights are right, no matter where you nose start.

You could start using a more thought-over tone. Nice talking to you! Behold!

AIS at January 12, 2004 05:54 AM [permalink]:

Wow Wessie,

talking to you has been so educating for me, more than a couple of English words. You are such invaluble treasure of inconsistencies.
It is fascinating but even the most liberal and humanist ideas seem capable of becoming the base for fanaticism. I couldn't have believed this before.
Despite the fact that you know my position of Islam, you can not even answer one of my comments without hinting how muslims are like this and that...you really seem incapable of considering me as an individual human being without calssifying me in your black and white categories. This is so interesting.

"America embodies the ideals of freedom and justice for all. Even if at the moment things are rough. But, watch and see. We will go through the current crisis under the rule of law."

(sigh) those are IDEALS, as I have been trying to say, if you would just listen! Hello? anybody there? To Wessie from earth...

Me- "The greatness of a 'country' is how much it represents high values, but again in principle the two are different and do not always match, unless you are living in a fairy tale or something.”

Wessie-"It is unfortunate that you are so young and so cynical...."

What is this supposed to mean? That the US has ALWAYS, without even ONE exception been acting ideally? Not even once? What is this, the city of God? Utopia on earth? and YOU quote Ben Franklin
for ME?

I personally have nothing against becoming a US citizen...actually I would LOVE it if I could. would you bring me there and make me one, please? ;) I promise to take responsibilty, I do, honest!

Americans can't do miracles in Iraq, the muslims are never gonna be responsible, and yet Iraqis MUST build Iraq by themselves. How, i for one am preplexed.

"Plato and Aristotle were very keen on the responsibilities of citizenship..."
A little too keen perhaps? Aristotle is the one who argued why slavery is moral and salves have less rights than the free men, and why all non-Greeks are by definition savages. Actually I'm beginning to see a link here.
And we better not even TALK of Platos political ideals, not even TALK!

Some Sci-Fi musings:
I read in Yahoo about some guy in canada who has a computer attached to his body in front of his eyes, a cyborg. It would be inetersting if you could have one and be married to an Islamic fundamentalist who has one too. You could implant instant translators in your mouths, so that when ever you say America, it comes out as Islam, muslim comes as 'Kuffar', Islam comes out as 'Western decadence'... and vice versa for him. You can even program the eye piece to show him without beard, full dressed in ties and stuff to you and you veiled outside your house to him, you could have odor implants in your nose not to smell the stink...and I think you two could really be living happily and harmoniously ever after.
(Just kidding)
Please do continue commenting here, I am learning so much first hand.)

PS.
You know, I understand that you want to prove to everyone that you are a sAmerican as it gets. But you really doin't have to go this far, you know, being more Catholic than the pope and stuff.

hajir at January 12, 2004 08:21 AM [permalink]:

Wessie,

You are in the wrong place, I guess. This is a website run by some Iranian students in North America. They are not terrorists and many of them may agree with you when you address Islam and Faschism. I know you warrior! Maybe you should change your style a little bit. Anyway in your next "crusade on line" just know what people you are talking to and don't throw all your nonsense at the face of whoever unlucky person who responds to you.

Open your eyes and know your enemy. Don't make enemies by spreading hateful comments and confrontational methods.

Though I happen to agree with you in one instance that Iranian students have to make up their mind whether they want to be American or Iranian. If you stay here forget what is behind and if you wanna go back forget here. As far as I know many of my friends would love to stay here and would do anything to get a greencard or citizenship and I promise they will be the most loyal citizens America has ever had. Amongst the rest I see no extremism. If they go back they go back for the sake of their country and they know that the american dream came true through sacrifice and hard work.

Anyway take your crusade against terrorism somewhere else and if you have thoughts about the issue at hand, we will be more than happy to hear it.

daanaa at January 12, 2004 09:08 AM [permalink]:

hajir:
1-"Open your eyes and know your enemy. Don't make enemies by spreading hateful comments and confrontational methods."
I am not reading these lines to find or know an enemy. I console it in order to virtually discuss with others,to learn new things ,reform my thoughts and as a break to my daily work.


2-"..would do anything to get a greencard or citizenship..".
perhaps you do not mean anything, do you? Even if the own God propose me being in the true paradise I will not responce in such a way.

wessie:
The way that you view problems and the way you appraoch them is quite new for me. Despite your sharp wlanguage I like it.Thankyou, Go on and keep writing.

Dan Schmelzer at January 12, 2004 11:58 AM [permalink]:

Leaving aside the intellectual climate in the US and Iran, I wonder why Iranian students come to the US (or any other Western country) to study if they aren't reasonably sure that they want to stay here and eventually become citizens. The US teaches those subjects that will create people to fulfill its own needs and objectives, not the needs and objectives of Iran. And even if the needs and objectives of US society and Iranian society are similar, US society will maximize the value of the person through specialization to the degree that US society has developed, not to the degree that Iranian society has developed.

In a way, it seems like Ali has already made his choice just by the course of study he has chosen. Moreso his wife. She is studying in an area that hardly exists in Iran.

Eswin Oakman at January 12, 2004 12:26 PM [permalink]:

Dan Schmelzer:

The fact that Iranian students study areas that hardly exist in Iran "today" can hardly convince one to believe if they want to do something back home or live there it absolutely useless.

In fact, Professor Mahmood Hesabi, a well-known Iranian physicist, was told the same thing, when he was doing his studies in Beirut, as a young student. He was asked by an American Professor if he would like to go back to an Iran where there was no modern laboratory to conduct research, where people used animals to go from place to another, a place that was ridden by famine and civil war. The response was simple, Hesabi was 20 then, "I will go back when I can be of any use with my knowledge".

Hesabi worked and studied abroad until his late 20th, when Reza Khan Sardar Sepah coup brought with it a wave of modernization. Then he returned to Iran and served Iran in every possible, both as physicist (his PhD, civil engineer (his second degree), and even a biologist (his first degree). Certainly, no observer could look at the dynamics of Iran at the end of WWI and would say anything but that the breakdown of Persia was imminent. In fact, no observer expected the changes that happened in Iran would occur so radically in a less than decade after the end of WWI. Hesabi was simply patient. He worked in France for years, and then went back to his homeland and served well to the fullest possible capacity and as the circumstance permitted

With all due respect, I find your comment very short-sighted, both in terms of the capacities of a globalized world dynamics in introducing change through a variety of internationally inspired domestic factors as well as the dynamics of trans-national citizenship. Iranian politics can change dramatically any time and whatever number experts in any given field can be helpful for an Iran can be one day a more open and inclusive one.

PS: I read the manual script of his biography in the early 1990s in Iran and do not know however, if ever it was published

Señor Græd at January 12, 2004 12:35 PM [permalink]:

observer wrote:

"Dear Sinior Grad, We have a new visitor who can write even more than you can... and she is far more passionate than you are! I think you should forget about your new year resolutions and try to take back the crown for longest comments! Moreover, I miss your more thoughtful and tolerant remarks ;)"

What?

observer jaan! You're comparing *me* with *her*? DAMET GARM DIGé! First of all, Wessie's English is much more natural and flowing than mine. In fact, if and when I get a chance (and hopefully by that time the FToI editors will not have yet erased her comments) I want to read all her colorful comments and improve my "passionate" vocabulary and polemic. I may even be tempted to reply to some of her comments, although she has proved that she is, alas, incorrigibly biased. Not to mention that some much more knowledgeable, more graciously tolerant, more eloquent visitors of FToI have already replied to her. But aside from her English, and the "fact" that she has read at least 100 times as many books as I can only dream to ever read in my lifetime, there is nothing to compare. Ah, and my longest comments were on average (and what is that supposed to mean?) half as long as her shortest comments. Boy, do (some) women talk! ;-) Aside from these, be it far from me to stick to some unreasonable stand no matter how others work their tails off to show me the light. So I think I deserve more credit than that, observer. ;-)

Wessie at January 12, 2004 01:38 PM [permalink]:

" But aside from her English, and the "fact" that she has read at least 100 times as many books as I can only dream to ever read in my lifetime, there is nothing to compare. Ah, and my longest comments were on average (and what is that supposed to mean?) half as long as her shortest comments. Boy, do (some) women talk! ;-)"

Yes, it is a scientific fact that females are much more verbal than males and that they can do many things at once, while males can only focus on one thing at a time. Thus, blood can flow to the brain or in the other direction. ;-)

Einstein did not speak until he was three years old. It is also a fact that most high performing male Ph.D., scientist or business types are "non or marginal performers" in other areas, as many of the wives and companions of Post Hole Diggers here can probably attest. Good thing this is not a problem for the multi-tasking females of our species. This is why so many males need the constant stimulation of the "forbidden" in order to counteract the laws of gravity. Just seeing a woman's finger tips or the back of her neck is enough to make some re-pressed types forget about their research.

Don't forget, Adam was a prototype. ;-)

Wessie

Wessie at January 12, 2004 01:51 PM [permalink]:

"The way that you view problems and the way you appraoch them is quite new for me. Despite your sharp wlanguage I like it.Thankyou, Go on and keep writing."

Thank you Daanaa and others. I shall keep writing. However, later. I need to hustle today because I have a TON of work to do and appointments to keep.

As to the viewing of problems and the approach—I would say that is typical of a well educated, American woman who has had many foreign cultural experiences.

Most of the women I know, who without exception all have advanced degrees, can outperform and out think their male peers. Of course, if a woman is that way she is labeled as an "agressive bi**h" while a male is merely assertive in some cultures. ;-) Good thing this is no longer an issue in the West.

AIS, you are misinterpreting my posts regularly. I need to spend some time to dissect them for you point by point. Perhaps it's a language thing? Do you speak anything really fluently besides Farsi? We could do this in French, German or Spanish if that is easier for you. But, then that would not help your English comprehension.

Got to go!

Wessie

Ordak D. Coward at January 12, 2004 01:53 PM [permalink]:

And the equel was much worse than the original.

maryam at January 12, 2004 01:58 PM [permalink]:

COMMENT REMOVED in violation of Rules 1 and 4 of the comment policy.



ramezoon yakhi at January 12, 2004 03:28 PM [permalink]:

at the risk of sounding like a downer, it is unfortunate to see that once again, a topic of much interest and importance, has degenerated to a simple (and almost petty) quibble about which sex is better and who has a bias against whom or what, and with personal attacks between commenters.

nonetheless, thank you ali, for bringing up such an interesting and important topic.

AIS at January 12, 2004 04:08 PM [permalink]:

Despite the fact that her language is sharp and she is evidently biased, I still find her attitude and remarks infinitely better than the hypocritical, smiley attitude of Europeans (their politicians anyway) and even many Americans, especially the lefty ones, who have made an art of treating us the way you keep pleasing an animal and themselves with a complete different set of moral and else standards, like the French who ban Hijab for themselves but see no problem in congratulating our mullahs in their foney reforms when they stone women and take out eyeballs.
I still prefer her kind of honesty, directness and similar standards, no matter how incredibly biased and sometimes insulting she is.

I also agree with ramezoon yakhi (cool name) about the thread having gone astray. Sorry Ali, let's get back to the main point.

Wessie at January 13, 2004 01:03 PM [permalink]:


"I don’t care whether this woman is an Eastern European or a Russian Jew . . .. . . She must realize that she has found wrong people to blame for her miserable past!"

A Jew and Eastern European to boot!? LOL Amazing how all too many Muslims or Middle Easterners always assume one is a Jew if one supports Israel and tells the truth about the miseries of Islam and supports those facts with quotes from the Qu'ran and the hadith as well as bona fide Islamic scholars and history books.

FYI—Ms. Maryam I am a very white, blonde, Northern European baptized a Protestant, but these days I consider myself a-religious. I have a lot of faith but am anti-organized religions.

My what you read into a post. I have no "miserable past" at all, certainly nowhere near as your people have a miserable present. My people have been some of the most contributing to modern Western culture in science, medicine, mathematics, literature, poetry and music. I blame no one for the damage my people did to humanity except my people. Blaming the "other" is a specialty of Islam and particularly Arabs.

BTW— Maryam aren't you the one who claimed that there is nothing in the Qu'ran that seeks destruction of others and that Islam had not destroyed any religions? I could fish out the post. ;-)

-----------
AIS I am not biased! certainly no more than you are against Islam. Anyone can believe whatever they choose. As long as they don't want to force me or my culture to believe same. Like I said, your rights stop where my nose begins!

I abhor a religion that advocates murdering people in its "holy" scriptures, if they don't want to "revert" to Islam and carries out atrocities to this day toward that objective. If you or anyone will renounce the violent tenets of Islam I have no problem. Otherwise, if you (not you AIS) claim to be a practicing Muslim who believes the murderous misanthropy and misogyny in the Qu'ran then I don't trust you and don't want to know you.

I live in the most culturally and ethnically diverse nation on the planet. With few exceptions everyone gets along here. Everyone is permitted their say. Everyone has rights. Everyone that is—except terrorists or apologists for Islamic terrorism. Those who want to kill us and destroy Western civilization are NOT welcome!

Simple.

If you find the fact that I call Islam a murderous 7th century death-cult insulting— and prove that by quoting the Qu'ran, the hadith and Islamic scholars —then you need to complain to Mohammed. I did not make up Islam and carry out its dictates as Muslims do. I do not give zakat monies to support Islamic terror. I don't not send my sons to fight jihad and murder innocents all around the world. Muslims do that. Not I. And don't start on Iraq because I was/am against the war and many of the Bush policies. :-)

---

Now, back to the subject. On which I have posted repeatedly, but was ignored due to my rightful antipathy toward misanthropic, misogynistic Islam. The point I have made is that if you want to help your nation you need to go back once you graduate. Clearly Ali's father recognized that and followed his conscience.

If you want to stay in the West then you need to commit to becoming a citizen recognizing that there are responsibilities to Western citizenship not just rights.

It's that simple. Make up your minds—and do the right thing.

Now, as to whether any of you have the nerve to go back—that is another question.

Wessie

Wessie at January 13, 2004 01:06 PM [permalink]:

Sorry about the typos. I'm in a hurry—again. No time to proof read. ;-)

Wessie

maryam at January 13, 2004 02:54 PM [permalink]:

“That is the sort of presumptuous, arrogant comment that really annoys people. Of course I KNOW, as do many others including native born Americans, what it takes to come to the U.S. Why is it that people like you always believe yourselves to be the only ones who ever suffered hardships and difficulties coming to the U.S. or that you are the only ones who know about anything as "complicated" as visa aps and international politics? My family was separated. It took years before we were together again due to immigration restrictions.”

I believe this was you who gave this story!
Some of my family members have been involved in the international politics for so long that it is crystal clear to me whose story this is! People from the Western Europe had not had any trouble to come to the US! “My family was separated. It took years before we were together again due to immigration restrictions.” The separation for years is not their story!
So stop changing your story and lying!

“FYI—Ms. Maryam I am a very white, blonde, Northern European baptized a Protestant”
Have you ever heard of the expression “White Trash”? Or you say that you have lived in Europe then you know what blondes are famous for!
Now, I don’t care about people’s race at all but you seem to be not only a racist person but a liar too!

yahya at January 13, 2004 03:36 PM [permalink]:

I would like to ask both wessie and maryam to stop personal attacks. The comment policy of FToI should be respected, otherwise FToI editors must take actions to keep the comment section a constructive place for discussion.

maryam at January 13, 2004 04:02 PM [permalink]:

Dear Yahya,

You seem to have been missing the whole saga! As I said race means nothing to me!
However, there is something not genuine about this lady’s motives and stories and I simply pointed to the story that she had given before which seems to be inconsistent with what she says now! So I don’t see why you think the comment should be removed! In this case what is the difference between you and people that you are criticizing in Iran!
I don’t have the intention to bother replying to this woman anymore as I said before it is a waste of time to engage in a discussion with someone who doesn’t make distinction between a constructive discussion in order to understand other people’s side of story and bashing and name-calling!
Thank you for your remark!

Ordak D. Coward at January 13, 2004 04:52 PM [permalink]:

FToI editors, please remove this comment if you wish to only keep the related comments under each article.

Maryam, Wessie is claiming a post-WWII German immigrant profile. A couple of months ago, I was strolling in a very expensive natural/organic food grocer, looking at the rare display of fruits you usually find in Iran. Small, and not so perfectly shaped, but oozing with taste. An older man, started talking to me about how in his country the fruits were the same, and now here the good ones are very expensive, he was rather talkative, had immigrated from Hungary to US after WWII with some few years in waiting for the immigration to go through.

maryam at January 13, 2004 05:27 PM [permalink]:

"had immigrated from Hungary to US after WWII with some few years in waiting for the immigration to go through."

Well Hungary is not part of the Western Europe.
Geographically, is part of the Central Europe and later after the soviet invasion became part of the east camp! During the cold war it was very difficult or rather impossible for the people to leave their countries in the Eastern Europe or USSR.
Central and Eastern Europe have been always different from the western part. Remember how much outrage was expressed after Rumsfeld coined the “Old Europe” and “New Europe” terms, historically the industrialization started and developed in the western part, most of the eastern and central countries before the soviet take over, were agricultural societies.
Also, Germany is not considered a "Northern European" country, by Northern Europe people usually mean the Scandinavian countries or the Baltic republics that were sucked in by the USSR after WW2.


The Bass Voice at January 13, 2004 05:33 PM [permalink]:

I call for a mass reading of this post—again!

Ali Mostashari at January 13, 2004 05:43 PM [permalink]:

I don't wish to cut the discussions short, but how about I retract my article and everyone forgets about everything.

Everytime someone posts something I get in in my inbox, and most of the time it is not related in any sense to the article. Guess what, I am in the middle of my doctorl general exams :)

Maryam va Ordak, lotfan kootah biayn. In harfha be jaee nemireseh, be hich kodoome ma ham chizi ezafeh nemikoneh.

Wessie, Ich habe es wirklich satt unhöffliche Argumente zu hören. Bitte hören Sie auf damit.Ich respektiere Ihre Weltanschaung, und höre gerne neue Ansichten aber nicht persönliche Angriffe. Ich weiss die Anderen haben das auch getan aber respektieren Sie bitte mein Inbox.

Eswin Oakman at January 13, 2004 05:54 PM [permalink]:

Daer Ali:

Thanks for your remarks, "multilingually" speaking.

Please do not retract your post. It is a great one. Even if some or a very few manage to derail discussions or promote intolerance, it is incumbent upon others to seat tight, in my opinion. I am not a web-design savvy person, but I hope there is a technical way of dealing with your mailbox problem.

Eswin at January 13, 2004 05:56 PM [permalink]:

sorry for the mixed typos!

maryam at January 13, 2004 06:11 PM [permalink]:

Ali,
I wish you best of luck in your test! Don't you think that you should be studying for your test rather than visiting this site?! ;-)
Are you actually implying that we should keep quiet here so that you could study for your test!?;)
I have been always admiring this aspect of our culture that people tend to intervene in quarrels and ask both parties engaged in the quarrel to forgive each other and move on. Alas, this concept is not well understood here in the Western culture! Here victory justifies everything from lies, deceits……you name it!
Just to clarify things, my comment in response to Ordak was not intended to add anything to me! I simply wanted to tell him about the differences.

Wessie at January 14, 2004 09:20 AM [permalink]:
It is not I who am attacking it is people like Maryam, and Oakman who are doing so when one disagrees. I am defending myself and have a right to do so with these outrageous attacks on my person by Ms. Maryam calling me a "liar," and "white trash" while insinuating, that as a blonde, Western European I am a prostitute. Now in your part of the world those insults might be worth an “honor killing.” ;-) People have yet to respond to the substance of my posts regarding leaving, staying and citizenship. Sorry about anyone's "in" box. I go to the website to post. "People from the Western Europe had not had any trouble to come to the US!. . . So stop changing your story and lying! Ms. Maryam does not seem to have the capacity to believe that a Western European, non-Jew, non asylum seeker, white person could have had difficulty coming to the US. Again I state my family was separated for many years as a result of quota issues in coming to the U.S.! Indeed, I know numerous Western Europeans i.e. Germans, French, Belgians, Italians and Brits today who would love to emigrate from Europe to the U.S. but cannot due to the quota system. Every one of them, except for the Italians, BTW, is blonde. ;-) . . .“White Trash”? Or you say that you have lived in Europe then you know what blondes are famous for! Now, I don’t care about people’s race at all but you seem to be not only a racist person but a liar too!" I said I am blonde to be descriptive because quotas are often based on race, ethnicity and places of birth. Blondes are really famous for being "dumb." ;-) There is a word that describes gravelly voiced, screeching women like you and rhymes with "switch"—which is something your father should have used on your backside to teach you some manners, Ms. Maryam. No wonder ME males want their women veiled and in another room. ;-) "With stupidity the gods themselves contend in vain." Friedrich von Schiller "I have been always admiring this aspect of our culture that people tend to intervene in quarrels and ask both parties engaged in the quarrel to forgive each other and move on. Alas, this concept is not well understood here in the Western culture! Here victory justifies everything from lies, deceits……you name it! Yes, Maryam in the West we tend not to murder the opposition. Throwing verbal "bombs" on the internet do not kill. And of course revenge killings are not all that big in the West either. Ali, thanks for the post in your excellent German. I think you and many of the men get the picture even if Ms. Maryam does not. :-) I have had my say on this subject. You all can go back or stay as your consciences dictate. However, staying is with a caveat, provided you behave like civilized people and respect Western laws, morals and customs and do not try to impose Islam on the rest of us. One thing to remember, you won't do anyone any good if they murder you or worse! . . . As you all know—there are worse things than dying. --- As to screeching Ms. Maryam—let's leave her to allah. No wonder good-old Mohammed has this to say about your "charming" women. ;-) • Mohammed asked some women, "Isn't the witness of a woman equal to half that of a man?" The women said, "yes," He said, "This is because of the deficiency of the woman's mind. " Vol. 3:826 • Mohammed to women: "I have not seen any one more deficient in intelligence and religion than you." Vol. 2:541 • Mohammed said, "I was shown the Hell-fire and that the majority of its dwell ["Toooo long!" editors say, "Here: click to read the whole thing!"]
Wessie at January 14, 2004 10:10 AM [permalink]:

Oh Oh!

Diplomats: Iran Amassing Atomic Enrichment Machines

LINK

Tue Jan 13,11:25 AM ET

"VIENNA (Reuters) - Iran has continued to acquire large amounts of machinery used to enrich uranium despite a promise to suspend all activities related to a technology critical to nuclear bomb-making, diplomats said. . .

. . .Tehran insists its nuclear program is purely peaceful and says the traces were from contaminated machinery Iran purchased on the black market during the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq war.

---

Perhaps you folks had better go back to Iran.

Iran might be a better place to be after they throw the bomb at Israel or other democratic states—except for the fall out that will drift all over the Middle East. . .

Mad-mullahs and nukes a situation that will surely bring progress to the whole world. ;-)

Wessie

Editorial board of FreeThoughts.org at January 14, 2004 10:51 AM [permalink]:

Dear Wessie,

(1) Many Iranians are fed up with the situation they have in Iran. That includes Islam, the government, some parts of the culture and other things. They already share many of your opinions, with the difference that for them, it's been a life time experience, while you [might have] received them as second hand experience [News, Talk, etc.]

(2) Many of the ideas you've mentioned in your comments have already been the subjects of previous posts in freethoughts. Isn't it better to find more appropriate posts and reply to them instead of poor Ali's "Fathers and Sons" post? We are sure he's about to go crazy...

(3) Personally, there's nothing wrong with you expressing your ideas and we shall remove Maryam's original comment because of the offensive remarks. However we also advise you not to provoke these responses, so that the "dialogue" remains available.

(4) The author and the editors have decided to temporarily close the comment section of this post, in regards to Rule 2 of FToI comment policy.

Thanks!