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Aurora’s Taste of Ethiopia and El Paso

August 5, 2019

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There is something special about seeing a community, seemingly invisible much of the time, to burst forth – in all its color, music, dress – and of course food – into the public eye in celebration. 

Two days ago, Saturday, was the, among other things, the seventh “Taste of Ethiopia” event in Aurora, one of the occasions – there are several – when the Ethiopian community of Colorado, most of whom live and work in the greater Denver metropolitan area – come out in droves to celebrate their culture. In seven years it has become a major cultural event, well publicized in the local media and drawing thousands, perhaps tens of thousands.

This year’s festival was no different.

An entrepreneurial people par excellence, Ethiopian merchants of call kinds came to show their wares – Ethiopian clothing vendors,  coffee shops, restaurants, hairdressers galour. People dressed either entirely or in part in the green, yellow, red and blue of the Ethiopian flag strolled about, people of Ethiopian background of all ages speaking Amharic, Tigre, Oromo as well as English. And of course there was music.

Being there, watching this Ethiopian Community in all its vibrancy, its own singular diversity and talent, I couldn’t help thinking of my Russian-Polish Jewish grandparents who came to the United States a hundred and fifteen years ago (1904 to be precise). Of course Eastern European Jewish immigrants then and Ethiopian immigrants today are quite different, but…both come from a historically rich cultural heritage, both value education to an inordinate degree and both are attached to the food and language from whence they came. And both had/have barriers of prejudice to overcome…and overcome of them they did and will do. Read more…

To Be Iranian in Colorado Today: with Ibrahim Kazerooni and Rob Prince. KGNU – Hemispheres, Middle East Dialogues. July 23, 2019 – Transcript, Part Three

July 31, 2019

Dr. Ali Zarrin, Persian-American poet, reading his epic poem on Immigration, Immigration Rights Rally, Denver. February 4, 2019

Transcript – KGNU – Hemispheres, Middle East Dialogues. July 23, 2019 – Transcript 3

Part One, Two

This profiling, this vilification of Islam has become so extensive, again, huge, as a result of the funds received from different philanthropic organizations through this Islamophobia network. One thing which we need to keep in mind. I reject the idea that this pattern was created as a result of domestic activities alone. Once this kind of pattern becomes commonplace along with the fear it generates, it manifests itself into public policy, foreign policy and it becomes extremely detrimental and dangerous.

Unfortunately, this American philanthropy and Islamophobia given the enormous sums of money that has been provided, now Islamophobia and Islamophobia institutions have become part and parcel of the electoral process. Islam and Muslims have been systematically defined as inherently violent and this is become an integral element of thinking among the American upper echelons.

This becomes extremely dangerous and requires discussion, an organized response.

Ibrahim Kazerooni

(Discussion continued)

Rob Prince: Turning to Ibrahim, I wanted to ask you, given your extensive experience here in Colorado. You lived in Colorado for fifteen years, something like that, is that correct?

Ibrahim Kazerooni: Yes, approximately fifteen years.

Rob Prince: Now you are in the Detroit area, which has the largest Arab and Islamic population in North America – your experience in Colorado, Michigan, being someone for whom at least a part of your family heritage reaches back to Iran, can you elaborate on some of the themes that Kevin has raised?

Ibrahim Kazerooni: Yes certainly. Listening to Kevin, my memory flooded back to what we were going through after 9-11 (September 11, 2001). At that time the same kind of thing – it was general. It was not only specifically Iranians targeted; it was right across the board effecting all Muslims and Middle Easterners – Iraqis, Iranians, Arabs, or even anyone that looked Arab which is part and parcel of how this happened, how the profiling is organized. Read more…

To Be Iranian in Colorado Today: with Ibrahim Kazerooni and Rob Prince. KGNU – Hemispheres, Middle East Dialogues. July 23, 2019 – Transcript, Part Two

July 30, 2019

CAIR Report on Islamophobia – 2019

“To Be An Iranian in Colorado” Transcript – KGNU – Hemispheres, Middle East Dialogues. July 23, 2019. Transcript – Part Two.

(Part One)

(Discussion continued)

(Note: The discussion continues with extended remarks by Kevin Amirehsani. Kevin analyzes the politics and economics of Iran for the Economist Intelligence Unit. He is also the head of the Colorado chapter of the National American-Iranian Council, or NIAC as well as a current board member of the Abrahamic Initiative, a Denver based organization committed to increasing interfaith understanding through understanding)

With that having been said, many of my Iranian many of my Iranian brothers, sisters, friends have had different experiences and I was hoping to share a few of those. There are things that go “under the radar.” These are very discriminatory events that are either directly precipitated by the U.S. government or they are U.S. government policies that indirectly have led to a violation of rights of Iranian Americans. – Kevin Amirehsani, National Iranian-American Council of Colorado

Rob Prince: To be an Iranian in Colorado, Kevin, what’s it like?

Kevin Amirehsani: What’s it like? That’s quite the question!

First off I’d like to say thanks to KGNU Host Jim Nelson for having me on; I’m a big fan of Hemispheres. Thank you to Rob and Ibrahim for all the great community work you’ve done over the years.

For me being an Iranian-American in Colorado – I’ve had largely positive experiences to be honest. People here are curious about Iran, curious about the culture. Occasionally I get the offhand comment – or a comment that makes me feel that people are curious and want to learn more about my heritage, and want to learn more about Iran.

I don’t think it’s typically coming from malice – I could be interpreting this a bit optimistically but I’ve had pretty positive interactions with Coloradans. Knock on wood! I love Colorado; it’s a great place here.

With that having been said, many of my Iranian many of my Iranian brothers, sisters, friends have had different experiences and I was hoping to share a few of those. There are things that go “under the radar.” These are very discriminatory events that are either directly precipitated by the U.S. government or they are U.S. government policies that indirectly have led to a violation of rights of Iranian Americans.

Most people don’t know about this stuff. Read more…

To Be Iranian in Colorado Today: with Ibrahim Kazerooni and Rob Prince. KGNU – Hemispheres, Middle East Dialogues. July 23, 2019 – Transcript, Part One

July 24, 2019

Afshin Shariate and his lawyer, Denver’s legendary (no exaggeration) defense lawyer Walter Gerash

“To Be An Iranian in Colorado” Transcript – KGNU – Hemispheres, Middle East Dialogues. July 23, 2019. TranscriptPart One.

What was the Iran nuclear deal?

The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (the Iran Nuclear Deal) was an attempt to normalize U.S.-Iranian relations after decades of mistrust and hostility. That normalization had – or was meant to have – consequences far beyond Iran. The normalization of relations with Iran could have been the first step for making peace with Syria; there was even talk – you can read it in the news of the day – that the improved U.S.- Iranian relations would give momentum to Israeli-Palestinian peace talks. It seemed “the sky was the limit”. So that agreement was not simply about whether or not the Iranians would put a lid on the enrichment of uranium in exchange for the lifting of sanctions (which never happened). The JCPOA was a statement – Iran exists, it’s not going away, it won’t be defeated militarily, the U.S. might as well negotiate.

Jim Nelson: This evening on Hemispheres we continue the Middle East Dialogues and as always joining me from Dearborn Michigan is Ibrahim Kazerooni. Rob Prince is with us in the studio. We have a special guest in the studio this evening, Kevin Amerihsani. Kevin analyzes the politics and economics of Iran for the Economist Intelligence Unit. He is also the head of the Colorado chapter of the National American-Iranian Council, or NIAC as well as a current board member of the Abrahamic Initiative, a Denver based organization committed to increasing interfaith understanding through understanding

Ibrahim Kazerooni: It (the Abrahamic Initiative) is the same organization I used to head up for four whole years during the good old days when I lived in Denver, Colorado. It was based at the Episcopal Church.

Jim Nelson: So let’s get started. This evening’s discussion topic is about Islamophobia, specifically its manifestations targeting Iranians in Colorado and the United States as a whole.

Looking back historically, one can find many examples of the roots of the current Islamophobia in the West. I was first made aware of it by reading Edward Said’s book, Orientalism. Said points out that the world “oriental” has had a long deep dark history in the West. We’ll be getting into some of that history later in the program. Read more…

75 and 80 Years ago, and We´re Again Sleepwalking! – Vor 75 und vor 80 Jahren, und wir schlafwandeln wieder! — WiPoKuLi

July 23, 2019

Addition – Nachtrag: Facebook going rampant over my article – Facebook dreht wegen meinem Artikel durch: facebook-going-rampant–facebook-dreht-durch click link above – den Link hier drüber anklicken! Deutsche Version unten A Break from the Break Though I´m still busy with some important projects which force me to lay my_blog_to_a_temporary_rest, I feel obliged to have a short […]

via 75 and 80 Years ago, and We´re Again Sleepwalking! – Vor 75 und vor 80 Jahren, und wir schlafwandeln wieder! — WiPoKuLi

To Be Iranian in the United States Today – Racist Slandering a People to Prepare for War (Again): with Ibrahim Kazerooni and Rob Prince. KGNU – Hemispheres, Middle East Dialogues hosted by Jim Nelson. July 23, 2019 @ 6 pm Mountain Time

July 22, 2019

December 19, 1980 Afshin Shariati, right, and defense attorney Walter Gerash talk to members of the press Saturday shortly after the Denver Iranian resident was acquitted on all charges in the fatal shooting of a Denver teenager and the wounding of two others.

“To Be Iranian in the United States Today – Racist Slandering a People to Prepare for War (Again)” – with Ibrahim Kazerooni and Rob Prince. KGNU – Hemispheres, Middle East Dialogues hosted by Jim Nelson. July 23, 2019 @ 6 pm Mountain Time. 1390 AM, 88.5 FM or available by streaming at www.kgnu.org. 

Special Guest: Kevin Amirehsani. Kevin Amirehsani, analyzes the politics and economics of Iran for the Economist Intelligence Unit. He is also the head of the Colorado chapter of the National Iranian American Council (NIAC) and a member of the board of the Abrahamic Initiative.

In this program we are going to look at the tenuous situation of Iranians living in the United States, often victims of discrimination and hate both because of their Iranian origins and the fact that they are Middle Eastern immigrants to the United States.

In a manner very similar to how the Iraq government was slandered and vilified in the period leading up to the 2003 U.S. led invasion of Iraq, as a part of the build up for military action against Iran – which appears more and more likely – Iran is being vilified by both the Trump Administration and a willing media.

There is nothing new about this tactic which entails half truths and lies about the Islamic Republic, distortions about the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, and an increasingly hostile view of Iranians living in the United States.

Call-ins welcome. 303-442-4242

All that and more!!

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Photo – As an example of the wave of anti-Iranian racist hysteria that exploded nationwidein the aftermath of the overthrow of the Shah of Iran in early 1979, followed by the seizure of the U.S. Embassy in Teheran by Iranian students and the holding of the embassy staff as hostages, a wave of anti-Iranian racism – unprecedented until them – broke out throughout the United States. It was common to see graffiti all over the country “Nuke Iran.” In that charged environment, made only worse by national media, a group of teenagers, many of them inebriated on beer, went around the neighborhood near what was then Loretto Heights College in Southwest Denver, looking for Iranian names on mailboxes. Seeing what they they thought was an Iranian name on garden apartment mailbox, three young men proceeded to smash to Garden Apartment living room window in of Afshin Shariati and his wife with baseball bats. His home and life threatened, Shariati picked up a rifle he had and shot the intruders, two of which were wounded, one of which was killed. For defending himself, Shariati was indicted on murder charges. Defended in court by legendary (no exaggeration) Denver lawyer Walter Gerash (pictured above with Shariati), Shariate was found not guilty of all charges. The jury deliberated for seven hours to come to that conclusion

Ethiopian Unity Across Colorado – KGNU Magazine – Summer, 2019

July 20, 2019