- The Washington Times - Saturday, July 1, 2000

Column reveals a horrifying Clinton policy

I send my gratitude to The Washington Times and Arnold Beichman for publishing and writing "A sick immigration policy" (Op-Ed, June 28). As a woman who experienced the mullah's jail, I understand what Mahraz Samadi is going through and am worried about her well-being in prison and what might happen to her if she is deported to Iran.

If she is sent back to Iran, undoubtedly, she will be publicly hanged or will have some other kind of severe death sentence (such as stoning) to make an example of her, and that would be only after a series of severe tortures.

I feel Ms. Samadi's anger, outrage and disappointment at the system. She came to this country looking for freedom and to work against human rights violations. Is that a crime? If so, many Americans should be jailed. This work is what this country was built on, and it was based on freedom and democracy.

All of us should guard at keeping the ideal alive. But the message from the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) is clear. The INS supports the State Department's new strategy toward Iran to appease the "reformist" government in Iran.

President Mohammed Khatami is not a reformist. He is a new puppet of a faltering regime. The news coming from Iran is not filled with signs of reform. It is filled with signs of the last minutes of the regime.

I wonder why the State Department and its advisers aren't getting the same message. I am confident that an apology will be endorsed by the next secretary of state for the mistake of this current strategy toward appeasement.

People do and will judge President Clinton's foreign policy and what his administration is trying to do with the new strategy toward Iran.

Ms. Samadi is only a victim of this appeasement strategy. Everyone, however, should know that to Iranians inside and outside of Iran and to all human rights and freedom activists, she is and will remain a hero.

SHIRIN PANAH

Burke

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Arnold Beichman described the administration's policy toward Iran very well in his column, "A sick immigration policy." It is appalling that the administration has incarcerated Mahraz Samadi, a former prisoner of conscience in Iran's jails, to forward its appeasement of Iranian mullahs. One wonders how far the administration is willing to go before admitting to the failure of its policy.

PARHAM ALAEI

Minneapolis

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I would like to extend my gratitude and thanks for the informative, just and factual column, "A sick immigration policy."

Siding with whoever is in power and at any price for selfish reasons is not only horrifyingly wrong for the Iranians, it also is dangerously incorrect and fruitless for the entire world.

Let us hope this policy of the State Department will be replaced soon.

FRED PARSAY

San Diego

U.N. secretary-general impressive at university's graduation

I received an honorary degree from the University of Notre Dame along with U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan on May 21. Reading the June 23 Inside the Beltway item "Long commencement," I am dismayed by the distortion of the overall theme of Mr. Annan's remarks with the one paragraph expressing his concern that the wealthiest nation of the world could do more for the poor of the world.

Mr. Annan's speech was a message to the students about volunteerism and public service. He inspired me, as well as the students, about making a personal investment to make the world a better place by contributing one's knowledge, expertise and commitment.

I found Mr. Annan a man of courage, insight and compassion, who reminded us we do not live alone in an unassailable fortress America, but are brothers and sisters who must work and live together to build world peace and prosperity.

I am surprised The Washington Times would allow this column to be used to support a one-sided political agenda against the United Nations. I understand the pressure to generate controversy and debate, but I think The Times can do better by a thoughtful analysis of the issues.

ELEANOR M. JOSAITIS

Executive director

Focus: Hope

Detroit

Palestinian refugees, Israel and 'National Pan-Arab' nations

In her letter, "Palestinian refugee fund not a wise investment" (June 17), Sarah Brutlag conveniently ignores the more than 800,000 Jews driven out of Arab lands after Israel's 1948 war of independence, with little more than the clothes on their backs. Israel at that time, although in financial straits and close to starvation, readily accepted these Jewish refugees from Arab persecution, not demanding and certainly not getting reparations or compensation for properties that these Jews were forced to abandon in their hasty exodus.

Contrast that to the treatment that the 400,000 Palestinian Arabs received from their fellow Arabs after the 1948 war. When these Palestinians left, they were confident that they would return in victory after Israel was invaded by the armies of six Arab nations with assistance from local Arab militia.

Instead of returning in triumph to reclaim not only their own properties but those of their Jewish neighbors, they have been isolated from their fellow Arab kinsmen in refugee camps designed to humiliate and degrade them as interlopers.

If Miss Brutlag wants Israel to reimburse Palestinian Arabs who left their homes during the 1948 war, confident of victory and returning to claim the spoils of battle, then certainly Jews who were forced to flee from Arab lands should be similarly compensated.

I assure her that when the balance sheet is drawn, there will be an overwhelming credit in favor of the expelled Jews and Israel. If Arab nations pride themselves as being one people, then certainly Palestinian Arabs should be made welcome and not forced to live in refugee camps. They should be able to join the Arab societies of their new homelands.

The balance sheet is obvious. Israel owes nothing to Palestinian Arabs if their fellow Arabs refuse to acknowledge their debt to Jews driven out of lands where their ancestors had lived for more than 1,000 years.

NELSON MARANS

Silver Spring

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Sarah Brutlag's letter "Palestinian refugee fund not a wise investment" suggests a solution to the Arab refugee problem in Jordan and Lebanon. Namely, that these refugees should be given both a right of return (which means to Israel) and compensation.

This is an insult to the Arab people and to the Palestinians in particular. It is saying that the "National Pan-Arab" people cannot absorb fellow Palestinian Arabs because "Former refugees will struggle to integrate into these Arab societies, their efforts hampered by inherent socioeconomic and political inequalities."

This is a sad commentary on the "National Pan-Arab" nations and, I should think, an insult to the Arab people themselves.

Perhaps Miss Brutlag and the Arab world can learn from the experience of more than 800,000 Jews forced to flee Arab countries when the state of Israel was declared in 1948. These Jews were absorbed into many Western countries and into Israel. They integrated into different societies and different political systems, overcoming any "socioeconomic and political inequalities." They became first-class citizens and contribute in many ways to their countries.

If the Western world could absorb 800,000 Jews in 1948, then certainly the National Pan-Arab nations with its huge land mass could have absorbed a smaller number of Palestinians in 1948 and can certainly do so today.

WARREN A. MANISON

Potomac

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