I couldn’t help, but chuckle to myself when I read Cyrus Rasti’s October 4, 2007, blog entry entitled, What a Bitch, and the comments left in response to it. In his piece, Cyrus objected to Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Coalition Affairs, Debra Cagan’s statement to a group of British parliamentarians that she hated all Iranians. I, for one, couldn’t care less that Ms. Cagan hates me. Where is it written that she has to like any of us? As far as I’m concerned, it is her loss. Perhaps, I’m biased, but I think Iranians (well most of us, anyway) are nice and fun-loving people. Unfortunately, she will never get to know this.
I’m not going to lose any sleep that she doesn’t like us. The world is full of people like her; people who hate just because it’s the politically correct or incorrect thing to do. I’d be willing to bet that this poor, misguided woman hasn’t met a single, solitary Iranian in her life. If ten of us fell from the sky on her head, she’d probably not be able to recognize us for what we are. For her and all those who think we’re cock roaches, all I can say is that we live in a free country and you are entitled to like, or hate whomever you like, but those of us whom you hate don’t have to give a damn about it, and believe me, we don't. In honor of Cagan and her ilk, I think I’ll begin wearing tee-shirts that say, ‘Cock Roach - Born N’ Bred & Damn Proud of It’ and ‘Don’t Poach This Roach!’
We can’t force people to like us, nor should we be able to. There are millions of Debra Cagans living amongst us in America, and we cannot change all of their minds. Hating for them is as essential as breathing. Unless they have someone to look down on, they would drown in the misery of their own pathetic lives. Some people are just that way. They have got to have someone to kick around, belittle and demean, so that they don’t have to think about just how tragic their own lives and personal circumstances are. We just happen to be Debra Cagan’s whipping-boy.
While it may upset some in our community that she doesn’t like us, I’m sure she doesn’t mean anything personal by targeting us. If she didn’t have us to dump on, it would be someone else. Instead of hating this woman, we should pity her. Anyone who saw the photo of her which accompanied the newspaper article, in which she was quoted as hating us, should be able to understand in an instant why she needs someone to hate; that face…that twisted, tortured face and those hulking shoulders of hers are enough to send shivers of fear down the spine of most red-blooded men . Just a momentary glance at that photo put the fear of Almighty God in me. I know that many believers in reincarnation hold fast to the belief that we pay for our sins of past lives in this world. She must have been one hell of a sinner for Khoda to have punished her so severely. If it makes her feel better about her plight to have me to kick around, I just cannot bring myself to hate her for it. Iranian men have been blessed by God to have the most beautiful and desirable women on this planet. I’m sure Debra Cagan knows this all too well. It’s only natural that she should hate us. Part of the human condition is that we poor mortals hate those we envy most. We detest most those things which we never have a hope of possessing or being. With a face like hers, Debra Cagan will never, ever be accused of being an Iranian woman, and for that she can breathe a sigh of relief and so can all of us…Whew!
If we are not going to hate her personally, what should be our response to her outrageous statement? We live in and are citizens of a multicultural, pluralistic society. While we cannot force others to change the way they feel about us, we can damn-well make sure that we get the same respect that any other group of Americans is entitled to. There are no victims in the Iranian American community. Maybe those of the first generation of our Diaspora who settled in America thirty years ago had a tough time of it in the 70s and 80s, but things have changed. Those who used to clerk at the nation’s 7-11 stores, flip burgers at McDonalds, wash mountains of filthy dishes in the back of greasy, no-name restaurants, drive taxis through long, cold nights and suffer verbal and sometimes physical abuse at the hands of people like Debra Cagan, just so they could complete their educations, are now in positions where they don’t have to take other people’s shit anymore.
We are not victims and we do not have to beg for respect. Our parents have earned the right to be respected and we, their children, have inherited that right from them, just as any other American deserves respect. Iranians are the most prosperous and highly educated ethnic minority in the country. Our people are the doctors that fill the nation’s hospitals healing the sick, our people are the scientists that keep this country on the cutting edge of science and technology, our people are the engineers that keep this country growing and advancing, and our people are the artists, the actors, the musicians and singers that bring joy and beauty to the life of this great land. Certainly we are not alone in this; there are other wonderful Americans doing exactly the same things, but they never have to justify their place in society and their right to respect. We don’t either! Debra Cagan is a public official. Our tax dollars pay her salary. It is unfortunate that she is not bright enough to understand that it is unwise and ungrateful to bite the hand that feeds her. She needs to learn this lesson and she needs to learn it the hard way.
Instead of moaning, groaning, whining and belly-aching that it isn’t fair that she doesn’t like us, instead of calling her a bitch, and instead of getting mad, the Iranian American community should get even! If you, like me, are mad as hell, all you’ve got to do is resolve that you don’t have to take this kind of treatment anymore. Writing iranian.com about how pissed you feel about the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Coalition Affairs inappropriate comments will do little good, but writing a letter of protest to Robert Gates, the Secretary of Defense, and demanding that Debra Cagan be sacked, might have an impact. I bet he’d be none too pleased to receive a mountain of letters from a million pissed off Iranian American voters and potential campaign donors. I urge everyone to write him and let him know how you feel. His mailing address is as follows:
Dr. Robert M. Gates Secretary of Defense 1000 Defense Pentagon Washington, D.C. 20301-1000
While we are powerless to change the hatred others may have in their hearts for us, we do not need to lie down and cry about it, especially when that hatred is expressed by a public official. We don’t ever have to hold our heads down because we are Iranians (or of Iranian descent as in my case). This is something that we should always be proud of! When a public official makes offensive, inappropriate, or disparaging remarks as Ms. Cagan did, they deserve whatever negative consequences may come their way as a result of their callous comments; it’s simply a matter of their chickens coming home to roost. We don’t have to beg others to respect us; we have a right to respect just as any other American has a right to respect. So, stop whining and start writing! Debra Cagan can hate us from the unemployment line just as easily as she can from the halls of power!
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