By Behrouz Bahmani
March 11, 2004
As we move through the millennium (has it started yet?) and we observe the
many missteps and mistakes made in the world today, it becomes only too obvious
to Iranians just how khar (dumb as a donkey) some people are and what an
olagh (ass) they make of themselves. Although as Iranians we have an innate sense, no-
gift, for recognizing stupidity when we see it, we nevertheless mistakenly associate it with being a donkey.
But let's face it folks,
whether we like it or not, for better or worse, the donkey has been our national
symbol as far back as you want to go. I'm not talking
about the cute fuzzy burro or the proud and surefooted mule. I'm talking about
your basic, vw beetle, 2-speed gray and white model, good old dusty, dahati-khar.
Now, if you can stop foaming at the mouth with anger and stop taking everything so personally, at what I just wrote,
and listen for a minute, you might agree that this symbol of at once obstinate
stubbornness, and never give up, can do it or by golly will die trying....er
ness, is in fact very well mated to our very individualist character as
a prouder than most, people of the world.
You can't make a khar do just anything, and many have tried, but what he puts
his mind to do, he will do, and surprise you at how well he did it, and amaze you at
what seemingly insurmountable obstacles he overcame to do it. Surely this is an admirable
khar is a true independent. Watch and you will rarely see a group of
donkeys following each other step by step. Look closer and you will see each
donkey makes his own path, sure they may be close,
unique, as if to say, "I'm going, but I'm going
my own way". That's
us. Sure we're all Iranian, sure we all drive beemers and benzes, sure we've
all over-splashed Eau Sauvage and Chloe just to go to a chelokababi at one time or another. But look closely
at our subtle differences. Admit it, you know what I'm talking
And let's also be absolutely clear, donkeys are not camels!
Whether you agree or not, the khar has been our cultural nemesis.
A symbol we have been hesitant to accept. And you know what? I say it has
hurt us. I say we must face our fear. I say there is nothing to fear! I say
we embrace our
inner khar and let it out!
Let Us Bray!
Would it help if Illustrate with a few examples? OK then.
hundreds of years Iranians have faced the dilemma of which side of the modern
we ought to be on. While the ancient Persians who invented organized religion
in the first place, and gave the world many of the religious customs we
have come to believe aren't ours (christmas, gift giving, feasts, angels, the halo, unicorns, beer, and ice
cream etc.), modern day Iran however is currently a moslem state. Historically though, we have yet to see
any of the tangible benefits, maybe because we have never quite
fit in with the rest of the moslem world. We have our own interpretation of
when it seems that all the really cool moslems are Sonni. Just look at our Mosques.
built them differently. Compared to standard mosques, Iranian mosques are
why we just can't seem to quite surrender to Eslam like we're supposed
to. Come with me for a minute and just play along, you'll see the logic if
right. This picture depicts Mohammad riding a camel, but next to him it shows Jesus riding
a donkey. And there
on a donkey as well.
Now I'm not implying
that the donkey symbolizes us or we are the bearers of Christ or anything like
that. But I am saying that you'd think the Son of God could
choose any ride he damn well pleased. So why would he choose
the donkey over the camel? If in fact Jesus chose the donkey over the camel
for it's many benefits and it's character, then this should serve well as proof
of the donkey's blessed greatness.
But if we continue by our pre-conceived notions that
is lowly, then we
wrong. Also, this raises a question, "Why didn't Mohammad choose a donkey
to ride?" Did he choose the camel because he wanted to be higher up, kind of
like a 14th century justification for an SUV. Did he reject the more compact donkey?
Did he reject us? Is that why we feel like we don't belong with the rest of
the moslem world?
Oooo! That's Deep!
Need a more practical
advantage of embracing our inner donkey? OK how about sports? Think of this,
ever had a unifying mascot. Some of us liked Persepolis,
some of us liked Taj (for some insane reason!), and that's pretty much been
it. We had as good a national team as ever in '98 but with one difference, no
mascot! We came close again last time, but faltered and fizzled
match against Ireland. Some blame the coaches, others blame player
egos. I say it's because we
unifying symbol that embodies our truest spirit.
And what other sport do we really excel in? Winning title after title, gold upon gold? Weightlifting! Let's see, a small stocky creature that can carry an unusually large amount of weight. Hmmm! Sounds familiar! If we had a proper mascot, maybe
during those times when we need it, we could draw on for that extra bit of strength,
to haul that load one more step, to carry that burden, to stretch
out just a little bit further... and prevent the damn ball from rolling into the back
of the net! I say we look no further.
finally we come to the very symbol of our national identity. Our flag. A country's
flag is supposed to represent the land, and the spirit of the people
or have some historic meaning conveyed in colors and stripes. It's supposed
to be unique and bring out nationalism when you see it. It's supposed to make
you cry when it is raised at the Olympics. Let's face it, our flag does none
of these things (except maybe make you cry, but for entirely different reasons).
About the only thing our flag has ever done is to
be mistaken for the flag of Hungary (upside down flag of Iran) or the sideways
flag of Mexico or Italy. Personally, I don't see any benefit in being mistaken
for an Italian, Mexican or Hungarian. Although I was treated to a round of Corona
the Iran-Mexico match. But that was only because we lost.
But I say enough! I say we fix this once and for all!
I say enough of flags with wild-eyed blood thirsty lions holding swords with
rays of sunlight shooting out of their...er-backs. Enough of flags with wild arabic
runs in circles all around the edges
screaming "allah allah allah allah allah! allah! allah!" until
you finally want to choke a small animal (not a chicken).
I say we get
a flag that depicts the real spirit of the Iranian people. A spirit
us steadfastly through history, a spirit that is indomitable, unique, stubborn,
determined, reliable, small but sturdy. Ladies and gentlemen I present the new flag
And you want a country slogan to go with it? How about,