The camel never forgets

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.

  • “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,…”
    my comment: i believe iranians supported this war more than many other people in the region at least or perhaps the world. but i wouldn’t raise the messages left at the VOA as a back up to my argument. those people naturally tend to support Bush, otherwise they wouldn’t bother to call in the first place.

  • “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.”
    my comment: jeff, to save the typing, i am bringing the following link.
    when you read it, you will have a better picture of my momory of the hostage taking. i was a kid. but vividly remember watching TV with my family. i could pick up on the fear in their faces. later on i realized they were doubly scared (as opposed to americans if they were scared at all):
    1- america’s retribution.
    2- if a cult government can respect the international laws this way, how are going to show their respect to the internal ones?
    they were a strictly minority group that got the majority’s vote when the majority was naive. very soon this overwhelming majority learned its lesson, yet it was too late to reclaim what was given up.

  • hooman,
    since i understand you’re of iranian decent, i’m wondering if you still have any links into iran. if yes, i’ve got a question:
    among europeans (i wouldn’t dare to say ‘westerners’ anymore) there’s the feeling that president khatami was one chance for more democracy, maybe the biggest. how do they think about it in iran?

  • Pyecraft

    Oh spare us the snivelling please!
    The only reason Iranians are now saying they
    “really liked Americans all along” is because a willing US military is parked on either side of their borders. And this time, freed from the phoney international restrictions and a wimpy president, America is in position to retrieve and repay for any innocent civilian hostages taken.
    This snarkism resembles the protestations of nazi sympathisers once the Allies had successfully established themselves on mainland Europe.
    The hostage taking in Iran is precisely what gave other islamic terrorists confidence in the first place. But now, Iran’s 20 years’ gloat is over, the protection afforded rogue states by a dithering UN has been exposed and no longer
    works. It might have helped to have heard an apology from Tehran, just once in this time.
    Lying directly en route to coveted, resource-rich central Asia, Iranians now have good reason to soil their own baggies with regret for past anti-Americanism.
    Future blogs are bound to show further diarrhoea.

  • jeff, one last word on hostage taking. there is no question that was a grave mistake from iran’s side. having said that, you cannot compare it, that unfortunately affected the lives of a limited number of people for 440 days, to plotting a coup in a country that affected the whole population with incalculable consequences and eventually changed the fate of the whole nation for the decades to come.

  • Samuel Tai

    I can only speak for myself, and not for the entire US. During the Cold War, we did many evil things, including fomenting the Iranian coup. This was to prevent a more evil thing, the subjugation of Iran under the USSR, like Kazakhstan. To defeat the Soviets, we had to endure many, many deaths on our conscience and many, many stains on our honor.
    It is time to put the past behind us and to heal relations between our two peoples and nations. Salaam.

  • Babak

    People elected President Khatami to do what they wanted, i.e. more open, transparent, and democratic government, etc. But the hardliners (who have extensive financial resources) are fighting back to get what they lost.
    Almost all current hardliners (conservatives) in the iranian government came to power during the 8-year Iraq-Iran war. Many of them were in key positions and made a lot of money out of (weapons) smugglingm, hoarding and monopoly of large state corporations (oil, etc). They obviously want to stay where they are, and won’t want to go away only because people voted against them.
    The battle in Iran is now between people and the above-mentioned corrupt but powerful politicians.
    Conservatives are there because they want more money and power. The view they have in the west (Islamists and fanatics) is a Myth, a cover…

  • babak,
    thanks for the informations. did i get you right: there are no real islamistic politicians in iran? wouldn’t it make more sense for those hardliners to allow more personal freedoms? if their only goal was to stay in power, shouldn’t they try to calm the people?

  • While it is true that Americans living at the time of the hostage situation at the American embassy in Iran will never forget about it, it isn’t true that we can’t set it in it’s rightful perspective and move on. As I’ve said before, Hitler and the Nazis aren’t the only things I think about when the subject of Germany comes up, I don’t think much about the Nazis at all, but I will never forget them either. Post war Germany and Japan became great allies, and I will add, they maintained their autonomy and identity as unique countries. I can see that in store for a future Iran-US relationship too. Peace, friends.