An Open Letter to the American People from an Iranian Student
January 31, 2017
I am an Iranian graduate student, studying and working as research assistant at the University of New Haven. During my first year of study in the U.S., I have met great people who always are there for me. From my neighbors, to my professors; from my host family to my landlord; I have learned from them to treat people based on morality and regardless of their religion, nationality, or color. Whenever I think of Americans, different scenes play in my mind like a movie. I see a scene in which a kind American woman who sat next to me on the plane, asked the flight attendant to bring me a beverage because I was sleeping and missed the service. I see a scene in which my landlord called me to help me feel better when my wife moved to Arizona to attend school. I see a scene in which my host family invited us for Thanksgiving and called our names in her speech. This movie is one of the greatest movies I have ever seen in my whole life, it continues as every day I add more and more scenes to it. Moreover, without the university’s financial support, I couldn’t afford my education expenses. They have provided me a great opportunity to improve myself and do research.
All of these above, made me believe that I owe a lot to America and I had the desire to repay all of these kindnesses somehow. I am good in my field, I can train lots of students, I can publish my works here, and there are other ways I think of everyday that I could pay it forward. But suddenly, the president announced that he thinks of me as a terrorist! So why should I insist on staying in the U.S. anymore? There is now a voice inside me that says, “You have a GPA of 3.94, some submitted papers, and five years of working experience; apply for Canada, Australia, or other welcoming countries.” How can I resist this temptation? I am just one typical example of the huge population which is affected by this executive order. I know doctors, scientists, and even professors who have started to doubt U.S. democracy.
I still can remember my mother crying in the airport when I was leaving. Only a heartless man can leave such fabulous parents forever, but I am not such a person. This new order legalizes one of the most inhumane things, which is separating families and nations. Now we are being judged based on our nationality and religion, but history and the people of the world will judge America based on this president’s decisions.
Omid M. Arani