Instead I stuck with one dimension of criticism and focused on two or three relevant points among dozens. I didn't like President Obama's YouTube video so I made a YouTube video in response. Here it is, savor it:
A full transcript with sourcing follows:
"Today I want to extend my very best wishes to all who are celebrating Nowruz around the world."
Mr. Obama must be aware that about six million of those celebrating Nowruz around the world today are Bahai. The Bahai faith originated in the mid-19th century in Shiraz, Iran. Its prophet is regarded as the most recent in a line that includes Abraham, Moses, Buddha, Krishna, Zoroaster, Christ and Muhammad. The central theme of the religion is that humanity is one single race and that the day has come for its unification in one global society.
Islamic persecution has driven the Bahai faithful to all corners of the world. Today ironically, or rather fittingly, the Bahai World Centre is located in Haifa, Israel where they have thrived clinging to this small island of religious tolerance in the Islamic Middle East. They preserve beautiful shrines and holy places and maintain the stunning hanging gardens on the slopes of Mt. Carmel. But even in this far corner of the Middle East the long arm of the Islamic Revolution haunts them, and was able to reach them in the summer of 2006, when the Iranian proxy Hezbollah bombarded Haifa with hundreds of rockets.
Despite constant attrition about 300,000 Bahai's miraculously remain in Iran, constituting the country's largest religious minority. They have been systematically persecuted since the Islamic revolution of 1979. More than 200 have been executed, hundreds have been imprisoned, and tens of thousands have been deprived of jobs, pensions, businesses, and educational opportunities. All national and local Bahá'í administrative institutions have been banned by the Government, and Bahá'í holy places, cemeteries and community properties have been confiscated, vandalized, or destroyed.
Mr. Obama's cordial message to the Islamic regime of Iran is a slap in the face to millions of Bahai's across the world.
"Here in the United States our own communities have been enhanced by the contributions of Iranian Americans. We know that you are a great civilization, and your accomplishments have earned the respect of the United States and the world."
Indeed, the United States has been enriched by the creativity and productivity of the approximately half-million Iranians who live among us; but the very reason they are here is that the Islamic regime Mr. Obama addresses so politely drove them out of their ancestral homeland. The majority of Iranian-Americans arrived after the 1979 revolution; these were the intellectuals, physicians, engineers and businesspeople who saw their livelihoods threatened by a totalitarian Islamic regime. About 100,000 or 20% of them are Iranian Jews, who were eager to avoid a life of Dhimmitude under a radical Shi'ite regime governed by Shariah Law.
"Nowruz is just one part of your great and celebrated culture. Over many centuries your art, your music, literature and innovation have made the world a better and more beautiful place."
Indeed, Iranian culture stretches back thousands of years, well before the armies of Islam conquered Persia in the 7th century AD. Art, music and literature once flourished there but the regime Mr. Obama graciously addresses in his video has taken all those things away.
I quote from a 2006 study (HTML) published by the global free expression group, ARTICLE 19 (PDF):
"The direct censorship instruments at the State’s disposal are blunt and wide-ranging: these include highly repressive laws, supported by an array of regulations and guidelines that delineate and restrict what can be expressed, and how it should be done, assisted by a multitude of censors – diverse institutions that will intervene at different stages of the artistic process by assenting to or denying the much needed authorisation.
In the event that the government censorship apparatus presents some small cracks through which “controversial” expressions may be let free, vigilante groups intervene, self-mandated to protect society against “damaging influences” including through the use of force, threats and intimidations. Most powerful, however, is the culture of censorship within Iranian society that has blurred the line between what is imposed by the State and what has become inherent to society itself.
This has resulted in the powerful exercise of social censorship, as well as self-censorship of and by the artist. . In more ways than one, censorship in Iran is the extension of physical power into the realm of the mind and the spirit"
"In particular, I would like to speak directly to the people and leaders of the Islamic Republic of Iran... The United States wants the Islamic Republic of Iran to take its rightful place in the community of nations. You have that right -- but it comes with real responsibilities, and that place cannot be reached through terror or arms, but rather through peaceful actions that demonstrate the true greatness of the Iranian people and civilization."
Obama goes out of his way twice to mention the Islamic Republic of Iran, which is the official name of the regime in Tehran. This is a symbolic recognition of the Islamic republic as the rightful heir to the ancient Persian civilization. This only bolsters the power of the regime. As the New York Times noted, this language offered the first clear signal from the Obama administration that it would not pursue a change of government in Iran.
In summation, Obama's communiqué to Iran is not the manifestation of a new era in foreign policy. His is a well-worn foreign policy of appeasing implacable enemies. Obama is insisting to himself and to us as a nation that his peace overtures will somehow be received productively by a regime whose constitution is based directly on the Quran and which has contempt for our very notion of what life is and should be. And so the mutual respect Obama apparently seeks with Iran is by definition impossible. The United States is simply treading water, albeit more eloquently under Obama than under Bush, while our destructive and ultimately self-destructive enemy strengthens itself and prepares for the inevitable conflict.
We have learned that our President can pronounce "Eid-eh Shoma Mobarak", but we have not been given any compelling reason to hope for a non-violent political solution to the confrontation with Iran. It is the most dangerous foreign policy conundrum of our time, and will become increasingly dangerous if Mr. Obama's friendly orations continue with no political horizon in sight.