A few moments ago I received email from the Iranian who first asked me to try to help the dissidents fourteen month ago. I reproduce his email and my response in its entirety, except that I omit information that might identify him.
> Dear Eric ,
> On behalf of most Iranian people , I’m “so sorry” that you feel like this :(
> Your actions are and will be so valuable to us and we appreciate your
> attempts from the bottom of our hearts .
> If I knew that you will face with such a barbarian threat, I’d never
> emailed to you about what happened in Iran last year :(
> I’m very very sorry for what’s happened to you …
> God bless you Eric , and take care …
> Sincerely Yours ,
No apology needed. Nothing I have experienced is even comparable to
the risks and suffering Iranians endure daily in their struggle to be
free of the mullahocracy.
I am grateful to have even have had the chance to try to help. The small risk
to my life was more than justified by the potential to strike a blow at an
In thinking about the risks, and deciding I could accept then, and doing
so, I acted on my most fundamental values. I walk a little taller and feel
a little happier today – more fulfilled, more myself – because I passed
That test was a gift. Thank you.
UPDATE: For the blog, I have a bit more to add:
I do not want to be thought of as heroic for risking my life in the defense of liberty. Instead, I want this to be understood as the ordinary duty of every American.
In 1961, President John F. Kennedy said this: “Today we need a nation of minutemen; citizens who are not only prepared to take up arms, but citizens who regard the preservation of freedom as a basic purpose of their daily life and who are willing to consciously work and sacrifice for that freedom.”
JFK was not proposing anything novel. Rather, he was reminding Americans of their roots as libertarian revolutionaries, as the people who said a resounding “NO!” to tyranny and backed that up with their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor.
This is what being an American means. And it’s why, though I grew up on three different continents and forgot two languages before I was thirteen, I am and always have been American down to the bone.