Wednesday, April 16, 2003

The Country Next Door

I read an interesting report in CBC news website regarding Iran. I think it has many worth reading points.
Even today, for Iran, America is still officially the Great Satan. And to the United States, Iran is officially in the Axis of Evil. One reality that is seared into the Iranian psyche is the brutal eight-year war with Iraq in the 1980s. Reminders are everywhere in Tehran. In the city's hospitals, the realities of Saddam Hussein's chemical attacks are everywhere in the men who returned home blinded, lungs burned, tethered for life to respirators. Victims stare out from every street corner. They are buried by the tens of thousands in cemeteries that have become places of pilgrimage in a country that vows never again to be a victim.
They were gassed for years by Saddam Hussein. We said nothing. The international community said nothing, says Kemp. In fact, we imposed a very stringent arms embargo on Iran at the same time we were helping Iraq re-arm, and they have not forgiven us for that. Nevertheless, beyond the obvious state propaganda, there are no overt signs of anti-Americanism.
The result: stagnation and a welter of social problems. Streets are filled with runaway children. There's an epidemic of drug addiction, depression and suicide. Prostitution is rampant. This is hardly the paradise that the revolution promised. Iran is a messy, confused, semi-democratic, semi-authoritarian Islamic country that is struggling to find its ways, says Kemp.
Iran, if it sets its mind to it, could be a truly great power in the region. And what we have to hope is that we, the United States, have a good relationship with it when that date happens.For that to happen, the social revolution that is taking place here must succeed. Sixty percent of Iran's people are under 25, an exploding population connecting itself with the wider world. Women are beginning to defiantly let the veils slip from their heads. And youth must be served with American style burgers and fries.
...We [Iranians] have 4.2 million unemployed people. Nearly one million of them are university educated. You can't find jobs for them here. I'm sorry to tell that, but here is not Iraq, is not Pakistan, is not Afghanistan, says Raisdana. The people are full of culture. They know many things. They are aware. They want real democracy. They want to participate. They want to build a future.

(posted by Iman)

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