A Persian plea to the man elected to “bring back the American dream”
Your Excellency, Mister President-elect Donald Trump!
I am writing to you as a “Persian refusenik.”
As a Persian, I am writing to congratulate you as the next most powerful man in the world. For no US presidential election, indeed, has left us, Persians, indifferent to its outcome since 1979.
As a “refusenik,” a Persian refusenik, I am writing to remind you the nature of thy enemy. A common enemy indeed. One who sacrificed my homeland and its “burned generation” on the altar of anti-Americanism, a clinically deranged ideology elevated to the artificial sanctity of a political theology.
As you know, in the Soviet era, the term refusenik was applied, typically, though not exclusively, to Jews who were denied permission to emigrate. Back in those days, having confiscated a vast country for the sake of a sectarian few, the Soviets would refuse to grant the people the basic right of freely pursuing happiness. Back in those days, those who would apply for happiness would be charged as “social parasites” and treated as such.
I am writing to you, Mister President-elect, as a Persian refusenik, a sub-species of postmodern age social parasite: I am not applying to emigrate from my homeland, but to safely return home and pursue happiness where I belong. As Stefan Zweig once eloquently wrote, while leaving Austria upon Anschluss, “Homeland is more than merely a piece of land marked off by borders”. Homeland, as you know Mister President-elect, is not kitchen plus driveway plus bedroom plus barbed wires. Homeland is to men what land is to trees: what keeps them upright, reaching out for light!
Thus, as a Persian refusenik, I have been denied the basic right to feel at home. That natural right was denied to me and millions like me, inside and outside Iran, by a religious sect some 40 years ago. It was in 1979.
Back in those days, a certain Ayatollah Khomeini, sign of God by title and leader of that sect, had frequently reassured your then predecessor, President Jimmy Carter, on the nature of his nascent movement and ultimate brotherly intentions. Back in those days, Mister President-elect, comfortably seated in the suburb of Paris, Khomeini was implementing his political agenda, step by step, thanks to French support and “telecommunications” and to his “extensive contacts” with the US administration. Back in those days, Khomeini branded his movement as one of enlightened humanism. Sixteen years prior to those days, in a secret message to the US government, dated November 1963, my birthdate, Khomeini had given his first recorded assurance to his American interlocutors: that “he was not opposed to American interests in Iran”! Back in those days, Mister President-elect, your Central Intelligence seems to have missed one key entry in the breviary of Middle Eastern politics: khod’e! In Shia politics, khod’e, a centuries-old art of hypocrisy, is the opportunistic art of simulation and dissimulation designed to achieve political gains, by all means necessary!
Back in those days, Mister President-elect, the US government simply missed the point altogether!
For the point is, Mister President-elect, that politics is, prior to anything else, the distinction between who is your friend and who is your enemy.
Mister President-elect! Your enemy has a name, a nature, and a proven track record of enmity.
Your enemy’s name is the Islamic Republic of Iran; its nature one of anti-Americanism, a fully documented and theorized doctrine elevated to the rank of a sacred ideology; and its proven track record is as follows, highlighted in a summarized curriculum vitae of state criminality:
- November 4th, 1979: 66 US diplomats and personnel are taken hostage in Tehran, 52 were to be held 444 days. A certain Sister Mary, currently Vice President within your enemy’s nomenklatura, was the hostage-takers’ spokesperson.
- October 23, 1983: in the deadliest terrorist attack before 9/11 on Americans, a suicide bomber drives a truck carrying 15,000-21,000 pounds of TNT into the US Marine Barracks at Beirut International Airport. 241 US marines are killed, over 100 wounded. “We provided both the ideology and the TNT”, has proudly and repeatedly proclaimed one the masterminds of the attack, a certain Mohsen Rafiqdoust, a major embezzler and retired IRGC lieutenant-general.
- March 16, 1984: William Francis Buckley, CIA’s station chief in Beirut, is kidnapped by Hezbollah. Killed under torture, his death will be announced by the Islamic Jihad on October 4th, 1985.
- June 14th, 1985: Hezbollah operatives hijack TWA Flight 847, requesting the release of Shia militants held prisoners in Kuwait, Israel, and Spain. Passenger Robert Dean Stethem, a U.S. navy diver, “is shot and his body dumped on the airport tarmac”.
- 1989 – 1992: Several Iranian opposition figures are assassinated throughout Europe. While secretly meeting in Vienna with Rafsanjani’s envoys, Dr. Abdulrahman Ghasemlou is killed on July 18th, 1989; two years later, Shapur Bakhtiar is killed in the suburb of Paris on August 8th, 1991; and 4 others, including Dr. Sadegh Sharafkandi, are murdered in Berlin on September 17th, 1992. German justice indicted Ali Fallahian, Rafsanjani’s Minister of Intelligence, currently on Interpol’s wanted list.
- July 18th, 1994: In the deadliest terrorist attack in Latin America’s history, the AMIA Jewish community center is bombed in Buenos Aires. 85 are killed, 300 injured. Directly implicated, Ahmad Vahidi, an IRGC commander, is currently on Interpol’s Red Notice. Eight others, including Rafsandjani, have been declared “fugitives from justice in Argentina”, where they are wanted in connection with the bombing.
- June 26th, 1996: A truck loaded with some 8,000 pounds of explosives detonates in the Khobar Towers parking lot, a U.S. military housing complex in Saudi Arabia. 19 are killed, 372 injured. Members of the Saudi branch of Hezbollah are held responsible for the attack.
- 2003 – 2011: For James Jeffery, US Ambassador to Iraq, “up to a quarter of the 4,400 American casualties … can be traced without doubt to Iranian groups.” The “top killer” of US servicemen are IEDs (improvised explosive devices), directly supplied by the IRGC.
- 2006 – 2014: The US Treasury Department estimates that, “since at least 2006, Iran has arranged frequent shipments of small arms and associated ammunition, rocket propelled grenades, mortar rounds, 107 mm rockets, plastic explosives, and probably man-portable defense systems to the Taliban”. Over a six-month period in 2010, as reported by NBC quoting a “Taliban treasurer”, the Salafist insurgent group had collected “more than $77,000 from an Iranian firm in Kabul”, as payment for killing Americans.
This was just a résumé of America’s declared premier active enemy within the 193 member States of the UN. I could have added to this criminal record the fact that over the past four decades or so, the Friday trampling and burning of the Stars & Stripes, in an institutionalized ritual grotesquely called “politico-spiritual prayer”, has become the sole non-oil export from my homeland alongside IEDs and mortars and missiles and bags of dollars for bags of US soldiers.
Hijacked by Khomeini’s sect, my homeland’s millennia-old national calendar, once full of festive celebrations of light and renewal and joy, has become one of paid tears and subsidized mourning and moaning and groaning for a handful of bucks. Confiscated, my homeland’s ages-old national flag, once a proud Lion and Sun, has become a genuine counterfeit. Expropriated, my homeland has missed the first two waves of economic globalization only to become the foremost globalizer of anti-Americanism: from Ben Laden to al-Baghdadi, all jihadists, no matter their ideological nuances and shades of grey, are but mediocre offshoots and fade imitations of the main trunk and source of inspiration of modern-age anti-American political ijtihad, namely the Islamic Revolution in Iran back in those dark days of 1979, when Khomeini was reassuring Carter, through the hugs and kisses of their “extensive contacts”, on his humanitarian grand spiritual vision…
Since those days, my homeland, governed by one of the world’s most corrupt elites, has become to top the world’s Misery Index. Since those days, the Middle-East has dwindled into the abysses of savagery with daily massacres reminder of another age’s St. Bartholomew.
As Shakespeare famously said, “So fool a sky clears not without a storm”. The storm which will drain the swamp and clear the sky, needs not to be the shock and awe expression of your Tomahawk. The redeeming storm, Mister President-elect, one of soft power, should choke off the financial arteries of our common enemy, while speaking to the hearts and minds of a whole new generation of my compatriots. For a new one is rising, a generation who finds its identity in the millennia-old Persian tradition of high moral grounds and whose homeland’s Founding Father is not that treacherous hypocrite of suburban Paris in 79.
Deeds of hypocrites are done! Back to the wall, bloodless and fork-tongued, begging for your dollars and fearing the people’s might, their doom has come. Let us now drain the swamp, clear the sky, and bring back the dream of seeing the Stars and Stripes freely floating side by side with the Lion and Sun.
*The author is an Iranian writer and dissident, who contributes regularly to his blog on The Times of Israel Persian edition.