Posts Tagged ‘Nowruz’

President Obama’s 2013 “Statement on Nowruz” (with links to video and full texts in English, Persian and Arabic)

Wednesday, March 20th, 2013

See also the following related articles:

The Trenchant Observer, “eide shoma mobarak”—President Obama sends 2012 Nowruz greetings to Persians, denounces “electronic curtain” in Iran,” March 20, 2012

President Barack Obama, “President Obama’s Nowruz Message,” The White House, (with links to video and written text in Persian), March 20, 2011

The Trenchant Observer, “Obama: ‘eide shoma mobarak’ — The President’s Nowruz (New Year’s) Greeting to Persians Throughout the World,” March 24, 2010

President Barack Obama has issued this year’s statement on Nowruz, the Persian New Year. Last year it was a greeting. This year it is a “Statement”, issued while the president was on his way to Israel. In Israel he stood next to Prime Minister Netanyahu as the latter made a coded threat to militarily attack Iran.

Instead of being a genuine cultural greeting and expression of good will for the New Year (“Eid e Shoma Mobarak”) the “Statement” was no more than a political statement on what Iran must do to solve the nuclear issue with the United States and the Security Council. The flavor is revealed by the following excerpt:

As I have every year as President, I want to take this opportunity to speak directly to the people and leaders of Iran.  Since taking office, I have offered the Iranian government an opportunity—if it meets its international obligations, then there could be a new relationship between our two countries, and Iran could begin to return to its rightful place among the community of nations.

It was kind of like receiving a Christmas card from someone who is threatening you with a gun, closing with a “Merry Christmas”. It goes to show, more than anything else, how wet behind the ears, lacking in true international experience, and ultimately incompetent Obama’s White House writers and foreign policy staff really are.

There is no internal evidence in the document that suggests Obama either drafted the statement himself or was meaningfully involved in its review, aside from the self-referential use of the first person singular pronoun and the fact that he did deliver the statement.

The full text of the statement follows:

The White House Ofice of the Press Secretary March 18, 2013 Statement by President Obama on Nowruz.

Dorood.  As you and your families come together to celebrate Nowruz, I want to extend my best wishes on this new spring and new year.  Around the world, and here in the United States, you are gathering at the Nowruz table—to give thanks for loved ones, reflect on your blessings and welcome all the possibilities of a new season. As I have every year as President, I want to take this opportunity to speak directly to the people and leaders of Iran.  Since taking office, I have offered the Iranian government an opportunity—if it meets its international obligations, then there could be a new relationship between our two countries, and Iran could begin to return to its rightful place among the community of nations. I have had no illusions about the difficulty of overcoming decades of mistrust.  It will take a serious and sustained effort to resolve the many differences between Iran and the United States.   This includes the world’s serious and growing concerns about Iran’s nuclear program, which threatens peace and security in the region and beyond. Iran’s leaders say that their nuclear program is for medical research and electricity.  To date, however, they have been unable to convince the international community that their nuclear activities are solely for peaceful purposes.  That’s why the world is united in its resolve to address this issue and why Iran is now so isolated.  The people of Iran have paid a high and unnecessary price because of your leaders’ unwillingness to address this issue. As I’ve said all along, the United States prefers to resolve this matter peacefully, diplomatically.  Indeed, if—as Iran’s leaders say—their nuclear program is for peaceful purposes, then there is a basis for a practical solution.  It’s a solution that would give Iran access to peaceful nuclear energy while resolving once and for all the serious questions that the world has about the true nature of the Iranian nuclear program. The United States, alongside the rest of the international community, is ready to reach such a solution.  Now is the time for the Iranian government to take immediate and meaningful steps to reduce tensions and work toward an enduring, long-term settlement of the nuclear issue. Finding a solution will be no easy task.  But if we can, the Iranian people will begin to see the benefits of greater trade and ties with other nations, including the United States.  Whereas if the Iranian government continues down its current path, it will only further isolate Iran.  This is the choice now before Iran’s leaders. I hope they choose a better path—for the sake of the Iranian people and for the sake of the world.  Because there’s no good reason for Iranians to be denied the opportunities enjoyed by people in other countries, just as Iranians deserve the same freedoms and rights as people everywhere. Iran’s isolation isn’t good for the world either.  Just as your forbearers enriched the arts and sciences throughout history, all nations would benefit from the talents and creativity of the Iranian people, especially your young people.  Every day that you are cut off from us is a day we’re not working together, building together, innovating together—and building a future of peace and prosperity that is at the heart of this holiday. As you gather with family and friends this Nowruz, many of you will turn to the poet Hafez who wrote: “Plant the tree of friendship that bears the fruit of fulfillment; uproot the sapling of enmity that bears endless suffering.” As a new spring begins, I remain hopeful that our two countries can move beyond tension.  And I will continue to work toward a new day between our nations that bears the fruit of friendship and peace. Thank you, and Eid-eh Shoma  Mobarak.

More than anything else, the Statement shows that “the gang who couldn’t shoot straight” is still running the White House on foreign policy matters. It sounds like a simple press statement issued at the White House Press Secretary’s daily briefing, not a direct message to the Iranian people from the President.

This year’s “Statement on Nowruz” represents one more lost opportunity to communicate something meaningful and of substance to the people and government of Iran. You don’t express good will by veiled threats of potential military attack, and telling the other party what they must do to regain their good standing with you, and with the world.

There is no warmth in Obama’s heart expressed in this Statement. It compares unfavorably with the three previous Nowruz greetings issued by the President. The tone of what is essentially a political policy statement does not even reflect recent advances in the five-plus-one talks (the permanent members of the Security Council plus Germany) with Iran.

One final point is significant. The statement begins with “dorood”, an antiquated greeting which has Islamic overtones.

Durood or Darood Shareef (from Persian: درود‎ dorood) or AS-Salatu alan-nabi (from Arabic: الصلاة على النبي‎) is an invocation which Muslims make by saying specific phrases to compliment the Islamic prophet Muhammad. The Islamic view is to say durood whenever a Muslim reads, speaks or hears the name of Muhammad. Durood, which is a kind of prayer and is mentioned in hadith as well as in Qur’an, are also recited in the form of Wazifa.
Wikipedia

It is extraordinarily inappropriate for Obama to begin his Nowruz statement to Iranians with an Islamic greeting. Not everyone in Iran is a traditional Muslim. There are Bahai, Zoroastrians, Sufi, Christians, and people of other beliefs, who are often oppressed.

“Dorood” is not the word normally used by Iranians to greet each other. “Salam” (Peace), or “Salam aleikum”(Peace be with you) are used instead. There is something very strange about “Dorood”, which Obama’s writers either pulled from a dictionary or are using with some kind of a religious slant. It adds to the whole statement being way off the mark as a goodwill message.

Onama’s statement is not a genuine greeting or expression of goodwill. Consider the combined effect of his use of a weird religious salutation: “Dorood”; the timing of his travel to Israel where he stood by at a joint press conference while Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu threatened military action against Iran; and his own repeating (in Israel) of his mantra, “All options are on the table,” which in code amounts to a threat to use military force against Iran in violation of Article 2(4) of the U.N. Charter.

It is a bit like poking your fingers in someone’s eyes, on the one day in the year when he or she and his or her family and relatives from around the world are paying close attention to what you have to say.

Sadly, Obama’s 2013 “Statement on Nowruz” represents yet another episode of incompetence in foreign policy from “the gang who couldn’t shoot straight”, the Obamians.

The Trenchant Observer

“eide shoma mobarak”—President Obama sends 2012 Nowruz greetings to Persians, denounces “electronic curtain” in Iran

Tuesday, March 20th, 2012

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Presdent Barack Obama has sent the Persian people his New Year’s Greetings on Nowruz, 2012.

Links to the text and videos of the message in English, Farsi and Arabic can be found here.

The text of the President Obama’s remarks follows:

Today, Michelle and I extend our best wishes to all those who are celebrating Nowruz around the world. In communities and homes from America to southwest Asia, families and friends are coming together to celebrate the hope that comes with renewal.

To the people of Iran, this holiday comes at a time of continued tension between our two countries. But as people gather with their families, do good deeds, and welcome a new season, we are also reminded of the common humanity that we share.

There is no reason for the United States and Iran to be divided from one another. Here in the United States, Iranian-Americans prosper and contribute greatly to our culture. This year, an Iranian production – “A Separation” – won America’s highest honor for a foreign film. Our navies have confronted the danger of piracy, with U.S. sailors even rescuing Iranian citizens who had been taken hostage. And from Facebook to Twitter – from cell phones to the Internet – our people use the same tools to talk to one another, and to enrich our lives.

Yet increasingly, the Iranian people are denied the basic freedom to access the information that they want. Instead, the Iranian government jams satellite signals to shut down television and radio broadcasts. It censors the Internet to control what the Iranian people can see and say. The regime monitors computers and cell phones for the sole purpose of protecting its own power. And in recent weeks, Internet restrictions have become so severe that Iranians cannot communicate freely with their loved ones within Iran, or beyond its borders. Technologies that should empower citizens are being used to repress them.

Because of the actions of the Iranian regime, an electronic curtain has fallen around Iran – a barrier that stops the free flow of information and ideas into the country, and denies the rest of the world the benefit of interacting with the Iranian people, who have so much to offer.

I want the Iranian people to know that America seeks a dialogue to hear your views and understand your aspirations. That’s why we set up a Virtual Embassy, so you can see for yourselves what the United States is saying and doing. We’re using Farsi on Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus. And even as we’ve imposed sanctions on the Iranian government, today, my Administration is issuing new guidelines to make it easier for American businesses to provide software and services into Iran that will make it easier for the Iranian people to use the Internet.

The United States will continue to draw attention to the electronic curtain that is cutting the Iranian people off from the world. And we hope that others will join us in advancing a basic freedom for the Iranian people: the freedom to connect with one another, and with their fellow human beings.

Over the last year, we have learned once more that suppressing ideas never succeeds in making them go away. The Iranian people are the heirs to a great and ancient civilization. Like people everywhere, they have the universal right to think and speak for themselves. The Iranian government has a responsibility to respect these rights, just as it has a responsibility to meet its obligations with regard to its nuclear program. Let me say again that if the Iranian government pursues a responsible path, it will be welcomed once more among the community of nations, and the Iranian people will have greater opportunities to prosper.

So in this season of new beginnings, the people of Iran should know that the United States of America seeks a future of deeper connections between our people – a time when the electronic curtain that divides us is lifted and your voices are heard; a season in which mistrust and fear are overcome by mutual understanding and our common hopes as human beings.

Thank you, and Eid-eh Shoma Mobarak.

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No mention was made of Iran’s involvement in Syria, or the presdent’s statements regarding Iran during the recent visit of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
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The Trenchant Observer

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Obama: “eide shoma mobarak” — The President’s Nowruz (New Year’s) Greeting to Persians Throughout the World

Wednesday, March 24th, 2010

See also the following related articles:

The Trenchant Observer, President Obama’s 2013 “Statement on Nowruz”, March 20, 2013

The Trenchant Observer, “eide shoma mobarak”—President Obama sends 2012 Nowruz greetings to Persians, denounces “electronic curtain” in Iran,” March 20, 2012

“President Obama’s Nowruz Message,” The White House, (with links to video and written text in Persian), March 20, 2011

President Barack Obama has issued a 2010 Nowruz Greeting to Persians in Iran and throughout the world who are celebrating the Persian New Year. The video in English with subtitles in Farsi, a version of the video in English with subtitles in Arabic, and the text in English may be accessed by clicking on the preceding links. The written texts in Farsi (Persian) and Arabic may also be downloaded as pdf files from the White House web site.

The Trenchant Observer

www.trenchantobserver.com
E-mail: observer@trenchantobserver.com
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Comments are invited, in any language. If in a language other than English, please provide an English translation. A Google translation will be sufficient.