To My Brothers, Sisters in Iran

By Timothy King 06-18-2009

I have never met you but I have to thank you. You are half a world a way but I'm watching you on TV, reading blogs, looking at pictures and following your Twitter updates. In spite of the distance, you are an inspiration to me, an encouragement in my faith, and a reminder of my love for my own country.

We are different you and I. I am a Christian, you are a Muslim. I have light skin and blue eyes. You have dark skin and dark eyes. Your songs are not like my songs and your language is not like mine. Your culture often stands in stark contrast to all that I am used to and the tradition in which I was raised. Your day was not like mine. I was sitting at my computer in an air conditioned office when I saw you standing bravely in your dark burka in front of baton wielding riot police.

We are the same you and I. We are both young and full of hope. I have a family that I love and friends that I care about, and I know you do too. We believe that every day is an opportunity to take another step toward peace even in a world of unrest. We both pray and have faith that roots us, grounds us, and guides us. We both believe in a God who is found in human freedom and flourishing. We both understand that freedom is not simply the ability to do whatever we want but often comes through submission. We both poured ourselves into an election not just for a candidate but for a deeply held belief that our countries can grow and change.

I worried too when there were reports of shooting and you said that your friends were not yet back from the march. I saw when you helped a wounded police officer out of the crowd even as other police were spraying your friends with tear gas. Your heart broke and my heart broke when we saw the smashed door to the university dorm room, papers scattered, computers smashed, and its occupants missing.

I want you to know that I am not afraid of our differences -- I celebrate them. Each day, as I discover the many ways we are the same, I rejoice in our common humanity. As I watch you and your country, I learn from you, and I hope that you can learn from me and mine.

I pray that God gives you strength, that you stay rooted in faith, and that your work for freedom and peace will not be in vain.

The sign you were holding at the rally, I saw it.

I want to know if your vote counted too.

Allahu Akbar. God is Great.

A Friend in America

Tim King is the special assistant to the CEO for Sojourners.

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