For 30 years a restaurant in Texas has had a picture of a dead man with a beard hanging from a tree surrounded by what appears to be a lynch mob with guns, on its wall. The caption at the bottom of this horrifying image reads “Lets play cowboys and Iranians”.
Now if anyone knows American history they will tell you that white Americans have not exactly been the nicest of people to other races since the country’s inception in 1776. The indigenous population of America were gunned down by the thousands and removed from their lands, Chinese Americans were forced to work on railways and in mines, African Americans going back to the days of slavery picking cotton from the fields, and even Japanese Americans who had nothing to do with World War 2 where quarantined on farms in suspicion of being spies or sleeper cells.
And so, while there are many examples of crimes against humanity that white Americans have committed over the centuries and have tried hard to make up for, I don’t think this picture falls into that category, and here is why.
In my view this image and its message is less about hate for Iranians as much as it is a reaction on the part of an American citizen who has been demonized by a foreign country. Now why is that?
Well, since the 1979 Islamic revolution in Iran and the coming to power of a fanatical group of mullahs and leftists who saw Western liberal democratic values as a threat, America has become a target of wrath. During the past 32 years the regime in Tehran has called for the destruction of America, has held American diplomats hostage, has bombed American interest around the world through its terror network, and has shown its hate and resentment towards America by symbolically burning the country’s flag and chanting “death to America” at every anti Western rally orchestrated by the state and at every Friday prayer. And so it is only natural for any patriotic American to feel devastated and angry by the irrational behavior of a country that has set its goal on the destruction of everything America stands for.
Having said that to my fellow Iranians, which includes Iranian Americans, who are raising awareness of this picture on social media I would say, if we really want to bring this picture down from the walls of this restaurant all that is necessary is to focus our energy on bring about a regime in Iran that makes us proud and does not damage our good name in America or in any other country around the world. I don’t think the American is at fault here.
Get political and get moving.