You know you are getting old when adults younger than you have no memory of the historic events that formed you when you were a teenager. You know you are getting even older when you meet adults not yet born when these earth shattering events occurred. Thats how I feel when I meet people who have no memory of the Iranian Hostage Crises, the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, or the election of Ronald Reagan. These same adults will understand how I feel when they begin to meet adults with no memory of 9/11.
Today, 11/4, marks the 30th anniversery of the storming of the American Embassy in Teheran and the beginning of the 444 day ordeal known as the Iranian Hostage Crises. It was a watershed moment in our country's history just as much as 9/11.
Remembering what it was like to live in America at that time, I would like to observe the difference between the public's reaction to both the Hostage Crises and 9/11. Many political figures today portray a post 9/11 America under George W. Bush as a hostile place for political dissenters and those of Middle Eastern origin. Yet the climate in this country after 9/11 produced nothing compared to the anti-Iranian rhetoric of 30 years ago. Anyone remember the hit song "Bomb, Bomb, Bomb! Bomb Bomb Iran!" (to the tune of "Barbara Ann")? Right after the embassy takeover bumper stickers began appearing with the message "For Thanksgiving, Hug An Iranian To Death!" Another bumper sticker featured Mickey Mouse shouting "Hey Iran" and giving the finger. This type of behavior was not quite so prominently displayed after 9/11. Attacks against Muslims after 9/11 were not as numerous as the attacks on those thought to be of Iranian origin during the hostage crisis. And then, there was Jimmy Carter, our "compassionate" President, whose reaction was to deport all Iranians studying in this country without distinguishing whether or not individual students were supporters of Khomeini or the Shah. Many were returned to Iran to be greeted by a firing squad. (I am proud to say that my mother played a part in preventing one of her Iranian students, who did not support Khomeini, from being deported.) A few days after 9/11, our "cowboy" President, George W. Bush visited a mosque to assure American Muslims that they would not be targeted by the government. Those who claim that America became a dangerous place for political dissenters or Muslims after 9/11 are simply trying to score political points, if not deliberately attempting to undermine the war with radical Islam. Those political figures or entertainment celebrities who claim the government is targeting them are self important people feeling guilty that they were not politically active during the 1960's. They want to appear as heros to those who don't know any better.