Why They Don’t Hate Us

Nov 23, 2010, 5:35 AM | Updated: Mar 28, 2011, 3:48 pm

You’d assume that since the Islamic Revolution gave us the nickname “Great Satan” that Americans wouldn’t be welcome in Iran. But it turns out that a lot can change in 30 years. Teachers still lead school children in chanting “down with the USA” occasionally, and this mural is still visible in downtown Tehran:

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…however our experience was that the moment people recognized us as Americans they would smile and go out of their way to say “Welcome to Iran” in English. Here’s a group of school kids on a field trip who ignored the teacher’s pleas to stick to the schedule so they could pose for us:

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As for “hating the west,” as far as I could tell, people in the cities were doing all they could to copy the west. We visited a downtown mall which could easily have been Westlake Center – three floors of dresses, blue jeans, accessories and even makeup for those repressed women:


…with a fast food court and video game arcade on the top floor that included this popular attraction:


I was told later that there were signs at the mall clearly stating NO PHOTOGRAPHY.

Ooops. Sorry, they were in Farsi, so detain me!

So why don’t they hate us? Because I’m told they would rather direct their anti-Westernism at the British. It was the British who originally set out to screw them out of the oil revenue and who tried to colonize the place. We were complicit in some of that, but we never tried to colonize them – and in fact have welcomed enough Iranians to the US as citizens that most people probably have a relative or friend who can tell them first-hand what we’re really like regardless of the government line.

— And one other thing that might explain it. Even though satellite TV is officially banned, you can visit even a remote mountain village, where life hasn’t changed in hundreds of years, and you are guaranteed to find…

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Ross and Burbank


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Why They Don’t Hate Us