What we are offered in the memory of our fragile
Princess, is a lesson in love
March 28, 2005
Sunday was the 35th birthday of Iran’s Princess Leila Pahlavi
who died in June 2001 in London. Her death was by and large due
to the pain of an exile that had become unbearable to her. Accordingly,
the coincidence of her birthday with the days of Iran’s greatest
national celebration, marking the beginning of spring could not
have been more felicitous. This beautiful Princess renewed in our
hearts a passion for the country she could not live without. She
made us search in our souls and see that what was sine qua non
to her was also absolutely essential to our own spiritual survival.
Her tragic death made us more than ever aware of the urgency of
liberating our homeland.
That day at her funeral in Paris with Iranians coming from all
over the world and all walks of life carrying white roses (Princess
Leila’s favorite), one could witness how the deep bottled
up desire of Iranians for freedom was waiting for an opportunity
to express itself. That day for me, like many of my compatriots
was a watershed and start of entering into a pact with our own
consciences to see our country’s white, peaceful revolution
through. I personally owe that political awakening and inspiration
to Princess Leila Pahlavi. Furthermore I know that I am not alone
in such indebtedness. Her grave has turned into a pilgrimage for
many patriotic Iranians who have a chance to visit Paris.
Princess Leila’s death could not have had such an impact
upon our collective national consciousness if she was not the person
she was during her short but intense life. All those who knew her
testify to her being passionately in love with her country. She
cherished her Iran with a heart receptive to the rich melodies
of its magical poetry and a mind sensitive to its great and remarkable
In a book recently published by Prince Gholamreza about the legacy
of the Pahlavi kings, "Mon
Pere, mon Frere, Les Shah d'Iran", several pages are devoted
to the memory of his niece Leila. He describes how the late Princess
used to “turn into a fireball when the topic of discussion
reverted to Iran”. “Her love for Iran was boundless.
Any fresh injury that Iran underwent in the hands of its tyrannical
rulers cut her to the quick and deeply wounded her soul”.
Her uncle writes of the great passion Leila had for Persian literature
and history. The favorite gift she frequently made to people was
a book of Rumi’s poetry.
And who better than this great
Iranian mystic poet could understand what afflicted Princess Leila?
Who could interest the intricacies of a fine sensibility better
than the great philosopher who was weary of wickedness and in quest
of true humanity? Rumi was well aware of maladies of the heart
that gnaw and torment the soul worse than any physical affliction.
He wrote of ailments that bewilder the wisdom of all the great
physicians and frustrate the curing power of the most effective
The love that afflicts the heart
Produces a pain different from all other maladies
In love lies the clue
To all the divine mysteries
And what we Iranians are offered today in the memory of our fragile
Princess, is a lesson in love. In our struggle today to free Iran
from the dark forces of tyranny, if we overlook the importance
of this love, we shall deprive ourselves from one of the most effective
weapons that has empowered all peaceful revolutions throughout
the ages. Regardless of how much scientific accuracy we invest
in our plan to free our country, without the indispensable ingredient
of love we shall struggle in vain. Without the vitality of this
love, all the persuasive arguments for political change shall merely
emanate from sterile hearts and fall onto deaf ears. Without the
moving power of this love, all the polished and elegant phraseologies
are like sounding brass and tinkling cymbals. Without the unselfish
camaraderie created by this love, Iranians will be more concerned
with finishing one another off than putting an end to the monstrous
dictatorship of the mullahs - one of the main reasons that the
cause of freedom has failed in our country for the past 26 years.
Remembering our Princess, we should keep in mind the urgency
of moving forward in our collective efforts for democratic transformation
in our country. In such a journey our most powerful vehicle is
love and devotion to our country. And this is the great legacy
of Iran’s crown jewel, Princess Leila Pahlavi.