[By Shideh] My aunt sent me this letter to share with our blog readers. It is about hope and change and has a strong message for all of us, whether you are from Tehran, Tokyo, Cairo, or Los Angeles, even though the topic is on the existing situation in the United States. Enjoy reading it and send us your own thoughts and experiences:
On the 28th of June 2008 I made all the possible arrangements to attend a party in Berkeley for Obama. I wanted to participate in that party to unite with the community I felt a part of. Being with the people who are seeking change; who are promoting dignity for mankind irrespective of their race and ethnic back ground. The thought of this understanding coming from American people really excited me for the wonderful world my children and their generation are going to have ahead of them. This all had come at the time when they had lost hope for the future. People of this country were about to have compassion for themselves and for the people of the world. How incredible.
The people at the party were obviously mostly the elite group from Berkeley, fit, outspoken, and open minded of all ages. The refreshments were generously presented along with very efficient display of stickers, pamphlets, T-shirts, etc. It was a wonderful feeling to be sitting with this group under the same roof. The speakers informed us of all that was happening and all that is needed to be done in the few months to come (just a few months). The questions and answers followed the introduction and it gave way to comments about international affairs.
As one of the speakers started commenting and joking about Iran, I found myself feeling very confused. What is going on here? As the jokes about my country continued, I felt as if the walls of the room were closing in on me. I felt even dizzier when I looked around and saw these well intentioned people, or so they seemed in the beginning, as the same prejudiced people they are trying to oppose.
My confusion continued to the point of absolute disappointment not because I was being insulted as an Iranian and not because once more I was witnessing a great civilization like Iran was being mocked by ignorance, but mostly because I was loosing hope.
Yes, Obama had brought hope for us that all this can change. Here though I was sitting next to people supporting this human quest, chanting for change yet seem to be so far from it. I asked myself desperately whether these people know what change means and what it takes to practice it. Do they think that change is a fashionable slogan? Is the change about to take place once there is party and free wine, strawberries and stickers? Are they now going to make a song out of it and dance to the words, “yes we can”?
Oh my dear fellow men, I wanted to shout, “it is going to take so much more”. It will take a real human being to respect another; unity needs maturity. Is five months enough?
I still believe Obama is that person. In my eyes he is a true adult, a self actualized, mature man with dignity.
My disappointment turned to fear at this point. What if I actually say something and jeopardize Obama’s chance of victory. I had been told that at this time as an Iranian I should not show my support for Obama because that could work against him. I could understand that and I was not about to introduce myself as an Iranian (I even faked a really thick American accent as I said hello to people). I knew before I went to the party that I would not say that on the other side of the world as a human being I did all I could to support him so my children and the children of the world can respect each other. This is not what I expected from an Obama campaign in the refined society of Berkeley.
On the other hand I felt so obligated to cry out asking his campaign managers not to damage his mission.
This was my confusion.
Well I did not say a word because I did not know what effect it will all have, not to mention I badly needed a ride down to Shattuck