October 10, 2003

La Prensa Persa

Editors Note: The biweekly column of La Prensa Persa (The Persian Press), is an opportunity for members of the middle-eastern communities to communicate and talk about the many issues facing them, immigration law, civil and constitutional rights to name a few, which not only impact that community but also impact the Hispanic community.

Why do I come to America?

By Kathy Hadizadeh

As a minority from Iranian community living in United States, I feel quite outraged. Only by remembering a quote from Forrest Gump makes me feel a little bit better: “My mama always said life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.” That is so true. Especially when you come from a country that is listed under Axis of Evil, and you are dealing with a box of bitter, dark chocolate that not everybody likes!

I am reading about a bill recently introduced by Congressman Gresham Barrett. This bill would stop individuals from nations determined by the US to be states sponsoring terrorism (Cuba, Libya, Iran, Iraq, North Korea, Syria and Sudan) from entering the United States. That is not the end. The legislation, entitled “Stop Terrorists Entry Program (STEP) Act of 2003 (HR 3075)”, would forbid all Iranian Americans from filing immigrant family petitions and prohibit all Iranians from visiting, studying or working in America as non-immigrants. And if you think it ends up here, I should say no! Still we have the cream of the cake left: The STEP Act would also require current non-immigrant visitors and students from nations designated as terrorist states to leave the United States within 60 days!

Congressman Barrett believes that the STEP Act would help US security by removing legal US residents from these countries. Simply because he thinks they are dangerous. He states that he is not concerned his bill might upset current residents “from those countries”. Well, this one goes without saying, as introducing such legislation is such a huge step in degrading these residents.

Why do I or any other student, professional, or tourist from Iran come to United States? Because Iran suffers from a lack of social freedom, because Iran cannot provide enough jobs, living prospects for its highly educated young generation at the moment. I, for example, am pursuing a Ph.D., in Genetic Engineering that Iran does not offer, and I want to see my child after two years. And all these people are dangerous, right? They all come to this land of opportunity with hopes and fears. This country is made up of such immigrants and what made it beautiful and unique was that total equality between all these people from different parts of this round globe. Where is this discriminatory thinking leading us to? Suppressed mentality, lack of social openness and suppression; the exact same terms that I can use to describe the political and social status of Iran. This was the motivation for leaving my homeland and coming to US. To cut it short, let me go with what Willard said in Apocalypse Now: “The bullshit piled up so fast in Vietnam, you needed wings to stay above it.”

Yet, let me open up an even more disgusting side of this story which in layman’s terms I call it: Ultimate Hypocrisy. In July 2002 when student demonstrations were trembling the streets of Tehran, Bush administration acted as an advocate of Freedom for Iran. Michael Ledeen in Nov. 2002 wrote: “President Bush has been outstanding in endorsing the calls for freedom in Iran, as has Defense Secretary Rumsfeld. It would be nice if Secretary of State Powell added his own eloquence to the chorus, especially because many Iranians fear that the State Department is still trying to cut a deal with the mullahs.”

In official site of white house, there is a Radio Address by the President Bush to the people of Iran on Radio Farda: “My thoughts and prayers are with the Iranian people, particularly the families of the many Iranians who are in prison today for daring to express their hopes and dreams for a better future. We continue to stand with the people of Iran in your quest for freedom, prosperity, honest and effective government, judicial due process and the rule of law. And we continue to call on the government of Iran to respect the will of its people and be accountable to them. As I have said before, if Iran respects its international obligations and embraces freedom and tolerance, it will have no better friend than the United States of America.”

Yes, seems that people of Iran have no better friend than US even now. Actions speak louder than words: “We practice the repression of your hopes. We ask you to live this land, your hope for a better life, your research, your contribution to this land etc. all in 60 days for no obvious reason and go back to the terror state!”

Although I strongly believe that this bill will not pass, I remain in awe how even such bills are proposed. Have they ever been able to prove even a single Iranian is a terrorist of any sort so far to call this nation a threat?

“As for the charges against me, I am unconcerned. I am beyond their timid lying morality, and so I am beyond caring.” Willard quoting Kurtz in” Apocalypse Now”

Kathy Hadizadeh can be reached at: kathy@kathymehr.com.

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