We have just returned from Iran as part a Global Exchange "Citizen Diplomacy" Delegation. The fourteen of us traveled throughout the country for a little over two weeks. What Leslie and I discovered was not at all what we were expecting. The Iranians we met were warm, welcoming, generous, and MOSTLY CHILDREN!
Click here if you'd like to see some pictures of these beautiful people.
70% of the population is under the age of 30. This fact touched us deeply because our sons are in this age group. We were constantly welcomed by families, students on field trips and university kids eager to talk! A simple "Salam" on our part would lead to smiles and unending questions about where we were from, why we've come, and what do we plan to do when we get back to the United States.
They expressed their love for America. They know that the American people are
different from our government and mentioned often how upset they were with their
own government. The Iranian people want PEACE! They know that our government
portrays them as terrorists and they would ask what we thought? We would
answer, "We've never been treated so kindly or felt so welcome!" They would
smile and respond, "We hope you enjoy our country!"
People were constantly engaging us in conversation. Leslie talked with a young woman whose friend was part of a group bicycling around the world for peace. This is their message: Iranians are peaceful, they love other nations, and they want to be a constructive member of the international community. For more, please visit their website: http://www.milesforpeace.org/home.php
The Bush administration has failed in Iraq and now it's looking for a scapegoat. They lied about the justifications for invading Iraq and now they're lying about Iran. These sweet people are not our enemy. Iran hasn't attacked another country in over 200 years. We might not like the leadership of Iran, but the people are not the government!
Leslie is currently staying at
the CodePink house in
Washington DC. She is in the 5th day of her
second fast to encourage Senator Lieberman to talk with her about using
diplomacy rather than military force to solve our problems with
Iran. Please go
to read more about what Leslie's doing and then go here
for a summary by Medea Benjamin, co-founder of CodePink. After the initial
encounter with Senator Lieberman's chief of staff, legislative director and his
legislative aide, an Iranian woman approached Leslie and said, "Thank you for
what you did today. You've done a lot for the Iranian people."
Doing what we can to be the change ...
Peace and Freedom.
Jes & Leslie
... Payvand News - 12/03/07 ... --