Letter From The Editor #3

Our campus is a vast collection of nationalities and international students. In this week's issue a Santa Monica College student gives us a small look into student life inside the Islamic Republic of Iran. While most of the world is going through turbulent times, Iran is a particularly important country to know about because of its importance to the Middle East and U.S. interests.

The image we have in the U.S. of Iran is mostly defined by the images of its 1979 Revolution which overthrew the U.S.-backed Shah or king. I grew up hearing about the Islamic Revolution through my mother. She fled El Salvador as a civil war was beginning to erupt and her country suddenly found itself engulfed in a geopolitical Cold War conflict. Her first friends in the United States were Iranian college students supporting the uprising in their own homeland. I grew up hearing her share their own stories about the Shah's immense, glittering wealth and the rise of the Ayatollah Khomeini. Indeed, the Iranian Revolution is a defining event as important as the Russian, Chinese and Cuban revolutions.

More than three decades since the Revolution, a new, young generation of Iranians are making new demands and rebelling in their own ways. In this issue Rom Mir shares her insights and experiences as a student who has only lived in the U.S. for a year. She paints the portrait of a generation without political guidance, seeking leaders and finding rebellion in the indulgences of consumer society. In a globalized world they refuse to be shut in by the strict rules of a religious theocracy. And yet the story of Iran's youth is very similar to that of the West's own, aimless young. What Americans do openly, Iranians must do in secret, however they are linked in that they feel discontent but have no leaders or revolutionary ideas to channel that discontent.

The rest of our issue this week features reports on the Harrison Ford plane crash near Santa Monica. Our reporters immediately made their way to the site of the crash to capture the story. In our Photo Story we feature the fevered color frenzy of the Holi Festival. Spring is arriving and Hindus around the world are celebrating through this ceremony of music and paint.

In our Opinion section I discuss Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's recent speech before the U.S. Congress denouncing negotiations with Iran over its nuclear development program. It is a dangerous position to take because whatever happens in Iran, whether revolution or war, will affect the world. In 1953 the CIA and the British overthrew the elected government of Mohammad Mossadegh, his crime was nationalizing Iran's oil. He was replaced with the Shah who in turn was replaced by the radical, Islamic Republic. Let us not repeat the same mistake of violent intervention in that country's affairs. As the Salvadoran poet Roque Dalton once wrote, "O country of mine you do not exist except as my deformed shadow, a word coined by my enemy."