on a literal odyssey
As we celebrated the anniversary of our nation’s independence, I could not help but reflect on Iran and the movement of freedom that is currently underway in that country.
In recent years, Iran has become an increasingly controversial issue within America. Iranians have often been depicted in America as the enemy or as senseless, fanatical terrorists. I don’t see them this way. I’ve come to an understanding about the Iranian people.
For many Americans, the story of relations between the U.S. and Iran begin in the late 1970′s with the Iran Hostage Crisis, when a group of Islamist students took over an American embassy and held 52 Americans hostage for 444 days. But the story between our two countries began long before that…and the truthfulness of it is shocking.
I considered typing up the history of it for you, but I found this video on YouTube which gives an excellent overview of the history between the U.S. and Iran. Now, I know that some of you might be skeptical of the historical accuracy of a YouTube video, so I’ve also provided some additional resources from highly credible sources (PBS, The New York Times, BBC, Council on Foreign Relations) which back-up the information contained in the video. You can find these links at the bottom of this article.
Please take 10 minutes of your time to understand the background of the people in Iran:
Before I go any further, I want to emphasize that I love America. I truly do. But I also want to emphasize that I am not supportive of much of our foreign policy. I’m in fierce agreement with President George Washington when he said: “The great rule of conduct for us, in regard to foreign nations is, in extending our commercial relations, to have with them as little political connexion as possible. So far as we have already formed engagements, let them be fulfilled with perfect good faith. Here let us stop” (from Washington’s Farewell Address).
In regards to Iran and the recent movements of freedom within that country, one of my Professors said something interesting. Matthew Whoolery, a Professor of Psychology and the Middle East at BYU Idaho said that he felt Iran is at a critical point in its history. It can go two ways: there is a movement–spurred on primarily by its government–to be aggressive, centralize power, arm up and isolate themselves from the West. But there is also a separate, grassroots movement–motivated primarily by the youth and middle class–to open up peaceful relations with the West and attempt democracy. At this point, it really depends on how much support either movement receives.
I, for one, am an ardent supporter of Iran’s movements for open, peaceful relations with the West. I hope to see the day when we’ve all (Americans and Iranians) unclenched our fists, let go of our prejudices and discovered the friendship between each other that we’ve been missing for decades.