Remembering why we do not trust Iran
It was 1979 and I was a little girl. I remember sitting with my parents watching the news. There was a man, bound in a chair with a blindfold. Suddenly it was removed and I saw his face. He was speaking slowly and appeared sad and exhausted. I felt concerned and asked my parents what was wrong with him. They told me he was being held as a hostage by Iranians because he was American. My little heart began to break and I was mesmerized, for the next 444 days to be exact.
I began watching coverage of this event each night and couldn’t get the image of the sad man out of my head. I went to school the next day and asked my teacher if we can help this sad man. She told me I could make him a card- I didn’t know schools around the country would eventually be doing this too.
The correlation of the U.S. allowing the deposed Shah of Iran to come and receive medical treatment was controversial. The Shah was overthrown by the new Islamic regime. He was a friend of the West and had the support of the U.S. and the U.K.
Not only did he have to flee as a result of political asylum, but also so did academics, scientists, philosophers, doctors, artists, and the best and brightest of Persian society was on the run for their lives.
They were Shia Muslims too.
The regime, which ended a remarkable era, was also Shia Muslim.
President Carter knew that most countries didn’t want the Shah, but he found safety in Egypt, thanks to President Sadat (whom I have undying respect for, but that’s a different blog post.) Carter was afraid that our American Embassy in Tehran would be stormed if he permitted the Shah entrance. Carter did it anyway, at the urging of political advisor, Henry Kissinger.
Indeed, on November 4, 1979 a group of students, yes students, not military- stormed our embassy and took our American’s as their prisoners because the American government supported the Shah.
The Shah supported women’s rights and gave them the opportunity to vote and hold professional positions in society. He wanted to see a booming economy and have a working relationship with the West. He was a Shia Muslim.
The Iranian Hostage Crisis is the longest documented hostage event history.
444 days. That’s 1 year, 2 months, 2 weeks and 2 days of lying to their own people and of course, the world.
Carter attempted a woefully failed rescue that lead to the captors removing the hostages from the embassy and scattering them in Iran in order to avoid another rescue mission. They eventually were taken to a prison and ultimately a final location.
The Iranian regime was underway espousing its propaganda with a state run television and controlled media. The students told the people of Iran that the hostages were being treated well. They claimed the Americans were their “guests” and treated with respect and dignity.
The hostages endured beatings
They were paraded blindfolded in front of an angry mob
They were bound for weeks at a time
They were subjected to solitary confinement
They were not allowed to speak for months at a time
They were not permitted to stand or walk for months at a time
Actual games of Russian roulette occurred
I have read actual accounts from several hostages and the details are far worse.
As a result, Americans began to feel their Americaness. We became unified. Someone violated us, lied to us, harmed us and we watched every single one of those 444 days.
Make no mistake about it; this was the beginning of animosity towards the U.S. by Iran. Never think for a moment the deep hatred from the Islamic State has burned into their memory our allegiance to the Shah, to democracy, to religious and political freedom. We are everything they undid, we are everything they despise.
As I sit today in my apartment in Musrara, Jerusalem I watch the homecoming video on Youtube. The Americans embarking from the plane at the air force base are walking into the crowd of cheering Americans and their faces say it all. They are not sad and tormented, they are not angry. They are smiling; they are laughing and have tears of joy. Peaceful people are strong, not weak. Peaceful nations are happy nations.
For those who forgot about this epic event in history and for those who were not alive during this painful 444 days, I ask you as a sign of respect for all that is democratic and for all who believe in freedom; you owe it to yourself and the future generations of the world to not trust Iran.
I contemplated uploading only these photos because they say it all.
I wonder if European countries would be so quick to jump in bed with Iran economically, if they had lived through these 444 days.
I wonder how many around the world will grasp why the U.S. doesn’t play ball with this regime.
I give you a reason to grasp our stance on Iran.
I have 444 reasons.