Thursday, May 18, 2006

Shima Kalbasi has had the brilliant idea of taking legal action against U.S. consular offices (!!!!) for granting visas to those whom she calls "suporters of the regime" but for refusing a visa to her mom.

Since Ms. Kalbasi's idea was circulated on a private and restricted email list, I responded as follows. Please note that while I said I was fine with the email being passed along to her directly, i did not give her permission to make this exchange public. But since Ms. Kalbasi, in keeping with her consistent record of publicly maligning other Iranian women, has cast the first stone, I might as well set the record straight.

The following is the full text of my private email:

I want to make two points regarding Kalbasi's blog, and it is fine with me if these points are passed along to her directly:

1. I am not particularly fond of all of the people Kalbasi names in her blog and have in fact publicly spoken out about several of them. However, the familiar and often shallow accusation about individuals being "supporters of the regime" is particularly laughable in what she is bringing up. I dont know what Haghighatjoo is doing in her position as a visiting scholar in the U.S., but it is well known that both Sazegara and Atri have been actively involved in the production of the propaganda that is being used to promote a war on Iran. It was merely weeks ago that Atri was testifying before war-hawk Rick Santorum's committee in the senate about bringing about regime change in Iran.

2. Having said this, the U.S. knows very well that such people, far from supporting the regime, are perfectly in tune with the most hawkish and right-wing element of the U.S. regime. U.S intelligence may have had some collosal failures in recent years, but when it comes to the types who gain access to the upper ranks of congress, they know exactly who they are granting visas to.

As for "taking action against any U.S. office that is responsible for granting visa", I'm not sure what grounds Ms. Kalbasi thinks she has to work on. Does she want to appeal to the same senators who facilitate the visas of the atris and the sazegaras? Does she want them to change their visa policies all together? Does she have compelling evidence that the same people who have joined forces with the right-wing elements in U.S. politics are actually "supporters of the regime"?

If Ms. Kalbasi wants to publicly chastise other Iranian women and dismiss them for not "having a clue how this [U.S.] system works", I suggest that she:

A. Respect and engage in the rules of fair dialogue rather than using her blog as platform for trying to name and shame people.

B. Learn a little bit about U.S. immigration, lobbying, and the government in general. I will be happy to provide Ms. Kalbasi with any information she may need in her quest of suing the U.S. government for the decisions of their consulates.