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Letters to the Editor

Students jaded toward foreign cultures

I am a nineteen-year-old Iranian-American college student. I moved to Tampa four years ago. I have traveled many different countries, including China, Malaysia and Germany. Traveling has opened my eyes to the diversity of cultures and perspective of other people.

The one thing that amazed me about people in the United States was how we don’t know anything about other countries, except what the media tells us. It is ironic that when it comes to the culture, religion and politics of “foreign” countries, all of us think we are experts. It is frustrating to see how my fellow college mates do not know much about the world around them.

For instance, most of the people that I interact with daily do not know the difference between Iran and Iraq, Persians and Arabs.

Most people today know Persia, or Iran, through its carpets, its caviar and its costly war with its neighbor, Iraq, or through its importance as one of the world’s major oil-producing nations. Yet, Persia has one of the richest and oldest cultures in the world.

For over 2,500 years, Iran has appealed to many of the great empires created by the East and the West.

Throughout its turbulent history, Iran has served as an ideal ground for various settlers and invaders such as Alexander the Great, as well as Ottomans, Mongols, Turks and Tatars. Although the nation has experienced several invasions, Iran has never been directly colonized. Iranians take pride in their “national spirit” and throughout the centuries they have striven to maintain their common identity.

Today, people in United States think that because Iran and Iraq have the same first three letters, they are similar countries. The very bold difference between Iran and Iraq is that Iran is not an Arab country. Although Iran borders Iraq, it is descended from the Persian Empire and has a different language and cultural history than the Arab countries. The dominant language in Iran is Farsi, not Arabic. Iran’s location, the fact that it is an Islamic country and the similarity of its name to Iraq confuses people.

Persians are not Arabs. The ethnicity, race, costumes, traditions and people are very different. Iran has been invaded by Arabs, but Persians are not Arabs. So next time you hear about Iran, do not assume that it is any similar to Iraq or any other Arab country.

Kiana Kochakzadeh is a sophomore majoring in chemistry.

Repercussions of taxes won’t be felt for years
Re: “Not all pay equally on Tax Day” April 15

While I tend to agree with what Adam Fowler wrote on IRS day, I think he might be confused about a few things.

One, he asserts that the tax burden is disproportionate. That is unquestionably true, but his response makes it seem like there is nothing he can do to end this “travesty.” I’d like to refer him and anyone else who feels they did not pay enough, to line 70a of the 1040 form where it asks how much of your refund you would like back. You are welcome to write $0.00 if you feel all the money collected should stay in Washington D.C.

Two, it should be mentioned that the $7,000 dollar figure only applies to students who can claim themselves as deductions, for everyone else it is $4,750, so a lot of us have some tax obligation.

Three, our Social Security payments aren’t going to support us; our grandchildrens’ payments will be doing that, provided it exists 50 years from now.

Relax Fowler, once we get out of school we can get financially violated by the IRS for years to come. For now, enjoy the calm before the tax storm.

Joseph Yanes is a junior majoring in electrical engineering.