My reply to Minnesota nice

by Ashref

I am Ashref. If you read The Minnesota Daily in the past few weeks you would have read about me: I was the subject of the article âÄúTunisian visitor shares philosophies, views of the U.S.âÄù I was more than happy when the article was first published. I felt pride and happiness to see my ideas shared with the students and people of Minnesota, a place that I love. I was proud because I felt that I am telling the truth, that I am helping my people express themselves and making their voices reach the United States. I was proud because I was expressing the ideas that a lot of my compatriots are afraid to say. When I went back to my country, many students and others considered me to be brave, daring and strong. However, I was surprised, even shocked when I read the second article published about me. In the article âÄúNo longer written in stoneâÄù Mrs. Miller said that I regretted what I had said. I contacted Katherine Lymn, the writer of the first article, and she told me that the State Department told them that I made up my mind and changed my opinion. So I write this to explain to all Minnesotans that I did not regret any word I said. I write this to explain to all Tunisians that I did not deceive them and that my ideas are still the same. This is what happened exactly: The Department of State talked to me about the article and asked if I would face trouble with the Tunisian government when I returned home. I said âÄúperhaps,âÄù so they suggested removing my name from the article. To this I responded, âÄúIf you think that my article represents a threat to the program in my country and that the government may cancel it because of me, youâÄôd better remove my name.âÄù This was my reply exactly. I never said that I regretted anything. The whole matter is that I did not want to be selfish. I did not want to be the force preventing other Tunisian students from coming to the United States and having the same experience I had. I did not regret anything, and I do not care about what will happen because I know I am right. This, at least, is what I have learned during my stay in Minnesota and what I have learned from the great Rep. Keith Ellison when I met him. In spite of the misunderstanding, I want to thank those responsible in the Department of State for caring and for their good intention to protect me. I want also to thank the talented journalist Katherine Lymn for her help, and I want to apologize for the troubles I created for her. Thank you Minnesota for the few weeks of freedom that IâÄôve had, and thanks to all the Minnesotans for their hospitality. I hope to be back one day but not before my country becomes a better place. Ashref University exchange student