The camel never forgets
: At The Iranian, Massud Alemi writes about the effect of time on the memory of Iranians regarding America:
Ever since the CIA-backed coup of 1953 against a popular government, which resulted in 25 years of dictatorship, Iranians held a long grudge against the U.S. for having ignored their democratic aspirations, a bitterness that translated itself into the American hostage crisis at the beginning of the Islamic Republic.
However, as the behavior of the revolutionary regime resulted in alienating America with its continuous export of terrorism and pursuit of weapons of mass destruction (WMD), domestically it alienated the Iranian people with oppression so brutal that it makes the Shah’s torture chambers look like a stupid mistake.
As a result of this ironic twist of fate, a quarter century after taking part in the most popular and vehement anti-American revolutions in the world, the Iranian people are feeling closer to America in their hearts and minds than most other nations on earth. Judging from the emails and faxes and telephone messages that are left on the answering machine of the Persian Service at the Voice of America, George Bush now enjoys more support in Iran than here at home.
Given the intensity of the anti-American fervor 25 years ago in Iran, one would never have imagined such a reversal of sentiments after just one generation. Can America afford to ignore such overflow of support and enthusiasm in what must be the most hostile region of the world?
From this side of the glass, it’s also important to say that Americans have not forgotten the “hostage crisis” and so there is a similar fear and trepidation regarding Iran. But I do sense a warmth and openness to dialogue and friendship in my links to Iranian weblogs.
Alemi is right: This is a historic opportunity to wipe the slate and start again. What does that mean? He argues that Bush must press Tehran for democratic reform while the opportunity is ripe.