A simple question
What are the criteria for being an Iranian?
November 27, 2004
Before the reader jumps to any conclusions and decides
to group me as being a supporter of a certain sociopolitical view
a certain philosophical background, let me assure you that this
is a simple innocent and yet very personal question.
As an individual
born in Iran, and now residing in the West, at one time or other
I have struggled with defining who I was, and at times such definitions
seemed irrelevant and at other times would occupy my mind to the
extent that I could not concentrate on anything else.
many "Iranians" here and recalling many "Iranians" from
Iran, I finally decided to pose this question, hoping that someone
would answer this question to my satisfaction.
reluctant to pose such an open question, after browsing through
a few rather pointless articles on the site in regards to the use
of word "Persian" versus "Iranian", I felt
that my question would be at least more meritable than a question
of mere rhetorics.
The reader is welcome to address this question
from any perspective/background. Just to facilitate some discussion,
here are some questions I can think of off the top of my head:
- Is it simply enough to be born in Iran to be called an Iranian?
In other words, if I were born in Iran, and just hours later I
was flying to England or France, would you consider me an Iranian?
This is not a legal question. It is a question about your definition
and your view of being an Iranian.
- Do you feel ashamed when someone thinks you are from the Middle
East/Iran (is there a difference?) Do you pretend to be from Spain,
Italy, or Greece?
- If you know someone who was born in Iran, but resides here
and neither speaks nor writes or reads in Persian, is that person
Iranian? What if the person is familiar and acts (or doesn‚t)
according to our cultural traditions?
- If you know someone who is full of Persian proverbs, very cultural,
and spent most of his life in Iran, and yet has been involved in
activities that have directly or indirectly hurt our national pride,
is that person an Iranian?
- If you know someone who was born in US, but
married to an Iranian individual, moved to Iran, learned the culture,
has been trying
hard to correct misconceptions of his/her friends and colleagues
from US about Iran, can you call that person an Iranian?
- If you know someone who never lived in Iran, knows nothing
about Iran, does not care what goes on in Iran or where Iran is
but his grand grandfather was an Iranian who married his mother
who was, say, German, is that person an Iranian?
There are many similar questions that you can pose as well, and
I would appreciate your views on the topic.