Friday, March 20, 2009

Happy New Day (Nowruz) to All!

by petey.

I have to say. I really really like President Obama. That is not a surprise to many of you.

Every week he does something that makes me proud that he is our president. Every week he does something new, important, or innovative. He has set out to do all of the things he promised he would. His critics say this is a bad thing. I think it is perfect.

The latest evidence of this is his New Day video message to the people and leaders in Iran. Iran is turning out to be way more important in our foreign policy in the last years than you would suspect given the tiny size of their economy, army, or real clout among major world players. They have, however, been quite a conundrum ever since the Islamic Republic took charge in 1978-79. The U.S. has had strained relationships since. It about time we ended that. The more and more marginalized Iran and countries like it feel on the international stage, the more and more radical their rhetoric and actions become.

My in-laws gave me a book for Christmas called "The Ayatollah Begs to Differ: The Paradox of Modern Iran" (by Hooman Majd ). This book was exactly what I wanted to help me start to get a feel for a country that 1) I knew nothing about and 2) I felt was becoming increasingly more important to understand. It was written by a son of a diplomat who was raised both in the West and in the Mid-East. He speaks perfect Farsi and perfect English (often a sign of culture chameleon abilities) which allows him to flow in and out of both cultures/people/etc making for a fascinating book. He writes, simultaneously, as a westerner and an Iranian which lends to an incredibly informative book that westerns can pick up, read, relate to, and begin to understand the psyche of Iranians in a way that would not be possible from any other writer.



Anyway. Back to the Obama video message. In his book, Mr Majd mentions Iranian pride: its origins as the cradle of civilization, its poetry, its legitimacy against its majority Sunni neighbors, etc. In Obama's address, he perfects, crafts and captures all the right things to speak to the Iranian people, their pride and their customs. It's almost as if Hooman Majd directly advised and wrote the message for him. The message (below) speaks to the Iranians in a respectful manner, cites Iranian poetry (again, huge in their country/culture), adds some Farsi, and begins the ever important dialogue with this ever increasingly important country.



I think this message will go far. Much of the legitimacy of Mahmoud Ahmidinejad comes from wailing against the West. President Bush was the perfect foil for him as he came to power in 2005. If he doesn't have an arrogant, domineering caricature to paint of our American president, he loses much of the thrust of his message. There is an election coming up this year in Iran and the former, much more moderate leader Mohammad Khatami will stand against Ahmidinejad in the election. If Khatami could knock off Ahmidinejad, it too could be crucial for the further corrections in our relationship with Iran. Thus, also strengthening the timing aspect to the importance of the Presidential message to the Iranian people.

There is a lot to be optimistic about. Many critiques will call Obama green or naive, but I think he is just the opposite: intelligent and ready, especially to begin putting America back where it belongs: the forefront of moral leadership/authority in the world. When I hear him speak, I get so excited, proud, patriotic, and amazed. We truly have an amazing president.

22 comments:

mom/shauna said...

did you see him on leno last night? love, dad

embily said...

i totally agree with pt. i think that obama has shown some real initiative in promoting diplomacy and he is really acting on the points from his campaign platform that he said would focus on.

yes, ron, peter and i watched him on leno. i'm not a huge fan of leno, but i really enjoyed the interview. i especially liked obama's comments on the future generation. he is serious about making education available, and then promoting fields like science, education, engineering, and the medical field. if those fields all had the same financial incentives that business finance has, then more of this and the future generations would be enticed to enter into those professions, thus creating a more progressive and stable economy.

Jill said...

Emily do you call Peter, Petey? Or Pete? or Peter? just curious...Or something else?:)

embily said...

lol. i call him peter. in high school i used to call him pete, but then ever since we started hanging out again a couple of years ago, i've called him peter. i guess it's because we're both so much more mature and proper now :)

oh yeah, and i also call him sugarbuns. (peter, you don't mind that i just told everyone that, do you . . . ?)

aimee heff said...

I agree. Obama still makes me giddy when I listen to him speak because I actually care what he is going to say. A respectable leader is priceless.

Jill said...

Emily, I'm trying really hard to refrain from typing a comment regarding sugarbuns...:)

petey said...

jill.
you can't believe that emily really calls me that. and if one the craziest chance she did, that she would announce it to all who read our blog...

paul said...

i believe it emily.

paul said...

good post sugarbuns.

mom/shauna said...

PETER, I just got a great sugar bun recipe from Allene.
Do you want it?

embily said...

jill, I'm still curious as to what you were going to say about sugarbuns...

Hannah Ruth Frandsen said...

shauna count me in on the sugar buns recipe! :) also add me to your blog! hannah.frandsen@gmail.com

and i believe you too emily!

Petey, what do you call emily??

Hannah Ruth Frandsen said...

jill you should add me too!

Amy F said...

Sugarbuns... I think that--if Emily doesn't regularly call you that--your family just found a new nickname for ya.

:)

Thanks for sharing your thoughts about this... one of the many small ways... that Obama is reaching out and making meaningful changes.

And thanks for your thoughts on the book.

new yorker said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
ron said...

Sugar buns! We see sugar buns every time Peter bends over!

ron said...

Jill and Steven are up visiting and agree with me.

ron said...

It is hard being signed into the blog and having other people type!!!

ron said...

Now that im home alone this morning, I can write my own post. The previous three peter posts were written by jill and Steven. I just wanted to make that clear.

Nick said...

Kate gets her plumber crack from her uncle Peter. (was that inappropriate?)

petey said...

i'm so proud of cute little kate.

Jill said...

Steven may have typed those comments, but Shosh and Pops were laughing...:) Yes, lucky Kate. A sweet kinship with her uncle Peter.