Reza Zedah, an Iranian-American and also a minister in my church, offers some insightful thoughts on the Iran crisis. Reza is currently involved in sports chaplaincy, having served with the Colorado State University Rams and the Denver Broncos. His words need to be heard and read. None of these are my words.
“Messy and complicated. As an Iranian born refugee, I can only come up with these words to describe the tensions in the Middle East. The death of General Soleimani only adds layers upon the convoluted relationship between this region and the West.
For my entire lifetime, the country of Iran has been in turmoil and has been held hostage by the Ayatollahs and corrupt rulers of this proud land. Iran has a rich history and its culture has influenced the world.
For the last few days, I have scrolled my social media pages and felt sick to my stomach at the flippant response from people regarding the monumental action taken by the President of the United States. Not one Iranian I know wants a war with the US (or any country for that matter); the people have suffered enough. But the death of General Soleimani has also brought a glimmer of hope to the hearts of those that long to see Iran restored.
My news feed is filled with Americans USING this death to validate and stroke their political affiliation and preferences. Some see this as an opportunity to express their disdain for President Trump. Some are using it as a means to galvanize their support for the President of our country (I became an American Citizen in 1996). My heart wavers between heartache and rage over the self-righteous posts and comments of people who have never shown a glimmer of interest in the affairs of Iran. People are so set upon their political preferences that the killing of a known terrorist is being questioned as “legal”.
What is lost in all of this is the fact that the Iranian people are coming out of a very bloody and tense fall. I would guess that most people who are #StandingWithIran have no idea that the regime in Iran killed hundreds of its own citizens this past fall as people tried to protest the government’s treatment of the general population.
Students, men, women, and even children were thrown from buildings in public to discourage anyone from taking part in the uprising. The Internet was turned off by the government to prevent these horrendous acts from being seen by the world. Hundreds and thousands of Iranians have been murdered over the decades since the Ayatollahs came into power. Yet, the world has been SILENT. And one of the key figures in the middle of all of this bloody and deadly attacks on the Iranian people… General Soleimani.
Not only were Iranians murdered for protesting their government, over the past couple of weeks, but Iraqi citizens were also murdered. They were protesting the Iraqi government being influenced by Iran. (Iraq and Iran have been long-time enemies.) The man who was in the middle of the murder of Iraqi protesters…. General Soleimani
I’m glad people want to #StandWithIran. During the Fall uprisings, Iranians were wondering if anyone in the world actually cared for them. I am astute enough to know that the airstrike that killed General Soleimani was not done in the sole interest of the Iranian people but I have seen his fingerprint upon the deaths of thousands of people over the years and have no doubt that terror plans were in place to attack even more innocent lives. As I converse with Iranian friends and family, I can sense that their countenance is a balance of jubilation and fear. Jubilation for the justice received for the death of thousands of their countrymen and women and fear for what may come about on their / our homeland.
Am I glad that General Soleimani is dead? My worldview does not allow me to view any sort of evil as good (Isaiah 5:20) and it is my God in whom I wholeheartedly trust who alone should execute ultimate justice (Hebrews 10:30). I am thrilled that General Soleimani can no longer torment the innocent people of Iran or execute any more terror plots around the region.
Obviously Social Media is a means by which we can express our viewpoints. Let’s realize that when it comes to Middle Eastern politics the issues are not black and white. They are messy, convoluted, confusing and rooted in thousands upon thousands of years of conflict. And all of this is much bigger than Trump, Liberals, Democrats, and Republicans.
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