Monday, September 18, 2006
"Watching Woody Allen in Tehran"
The following are the comments that I made during a debate on Responding to Anti-Americanism in the Arab World: Has the United States Been Effective Since 9/11?, sponsored by The Donald and Paula Smith Family Foundation, which took place in New York City on September 12, 2006. Thanks to Antiwar.com for the great (!) above title above.
I remember landing in New York City for the first time about thirty years ago, and then driving into Manhattan and gazing at the majestic beauty of the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building and the Twin Towers. For me they were symbols of New York and what it represented: The energy and excitement of its people, commerce and culture.
In 1977, when I got to New York, there was a lot of excitement in the city. On Broadway, the hit, A Chorus Line was playing. There was Studio 54 and the launching of a new television show, Saturday Night Live. John Travolta was doing the disco on Saturday Night Fever and everyone was wearing polyester suits. And there was... Woody Allen.
For me – personally, and for many members of my generation – Americans and non-Americans -- the movie producer and actor Woody Allen and his artistic energy and sense of humor was and continues to personify that New York that I love and its great spirit.
So I was not surprised a few weeks after 9/11 to read in the New Yorker an interview with an Iranian woman by the name of Ava who was in love with America and who told the writer Joe Klein how devastated she felt watching the images from New York on 9/11:
"Do you want to know what I was really worried about? Woody Allen. I didn't want him to die. I wanted to know that he was all right. I love his films."
Now... since 9/11 America has lost Ava from Tehran -- she lost that loving feeling towards the United States -- as well as the hearts and minds of most Iranians, Iraqis, Egyptians, Turks and many, many others in the Middle East and around the world.read more.