Yesterday, a short post by William O. Beeman caught my eye. It was on the Huffington Post and the professor told the tale of how much Iranians love America. This is true; there are millions of people in countries around the world that like the dream that America represents. Unfortunately, there are billions more people who see America as the most dangerous and evil empire on the planet.
— Farheen Rizvi (@FarriRizvi) June 10, 2016
Travelling abroad will always yield mixed feelings towards Americans. That’s nothing new, though the last two decades have seen spikes in both positive (in the days following 9/11) and negative sentiment. Overall, America and Americans are still viewed as necessary evils; we represent tourism and other opportunities which makes us tolerable, but otherwise we’re spoiled and naive in the eyes of the masses.
There’s nothing wrong with highlighting the positive aspects of a story. It should be noted that there are many in Iran who are bought into the western lifestyle and America’s semi-opposition to oppressive governments such as Iran’s. That note should be an alternative perspective on the greater reality: the Iranian government hates America and millions of Iranians feel the same way.
The hate cannot be mutual. The author wants Americans to view Iranians with the same respect that a small portion of them feel towards us, but dismissing the reality of hatred is not the way to do it. Pointing it out as a glimmer of hope is important but painting it as the general sentiment is naive and counterproductive.
Stories like these attempt to lighten the sentiment that Americans feel for others. With that goal in mind, the responsible approach would be to point out that not ALL Iranians hate us even if the government does. Instead, the author attempts to paint the perspective that Iranians have turned the corner and now love us. In general, this isn’t the case. When we look specifically at the government, such concepts are a far cry from reality.