As Long as We Have Friends like You, We Won't Need Any Enemies!
I am going to try very hard, not to be rude in my criticism of your
must be a Jew". It's been said that a little knowledge can be
a dangerous thing and its ten times worst when it mixes with prejudice
perception of an issue.
When you talk about Iranian people and their hatefulness and lack of
compassion towards other nationalities, races and religions, you should
take a moment and try to remember who you are. The people of Iran consist
of us. You and I and others like us and if it so happens that some uneducated
and ill-informed individual, makes certain ignorant remark about certain
creed or belief, it must not be interpreted as a widespread preconceived
notion, which Iranians have been passingon through generations. If you
get a chance, perhaps in one of those walks, you seem to like to take after
ending a conversation with name-calling and insults, you might want to
pick up a light history book and try to dig a bit deeper and examine the
roots of what appears to be nothing but a kind of irrational behavior on
our part (about all of those you said, were being subjected to Iranians'
antagonistic maliciousness and hatred).
Let's start with Jews. In your play, which by the way, was going rather
well before you jumped in head first and announced yourself a Jew to show
your sympathy for them and the contempt you felt for their enemies, you
proved nothing but your own lack of understanding and knowledge of Iranian
I can't be sure about the new generation of Iranians who grew up under
the blistering governmental propaganda and how impartial they could be
in their opinions and beliefs, but somehow I don't think you meant them,
when you said: "They don't like us either". By the way who is
this undefined "us" you mentioned here?
Any way that is not important. I would only like to inform you that
you are very much mistaken when you say "Jews are being perceived
by Iranians as evil, cunning and greedy creatures" and being "trashed"
by them. What is being detested and scorned by our people is not the nation
of Israel, it is the state of Israel that was brought to power and established
by the West (Britain) to be "a strong fortress of civilization and
to defend it from all those savages and barbarians who were surrounding
it, at any cost." And naturally the burden of carrying the cost was
on the shoulders of Arabs, whose existence seemed to mean less air to
breath and less land to build as far as the new invaders-occupiers were
concerned. They didn't try to hide it either. The policy of intimidation
/ evacuation / elimination was put to work from the very beginning and
it was proclaimed that the Arabs were unwanted guests on their land and
it was time for them to disappear. You know, these are the same Arabs
that you accused us of hating (I am drawing a line between you and us,
since you made it clear, it shames you to be considered an Iranian). So
what are we doing defending those Arabs now?
I definitely have no plans on taking anyone's side. I am only voicing
my anger and frustration with injustice and unfairness in the world. We
condemn Hitler for what he did to Jews and the anguish he caused them and
the excruciating agony he put them through. Do we agree so far? Now,
why shouldn't we use the same standards of condemnation here, when Arabs
are being persecuted, imprisoned, tortured and expelled from their homes,
jobs and schools, in a consistent and nonnegotiable manner?
I recall doing some research for my essay about the P.L.O (Al-Fatah)
and their struggle to regain power in the occupied territories (it was
when universities reopened after being shut down for three year during
the Islamic Cultural Revolution!). When I found out that Palestinians
had more than 287 Groups and Parties (at the time), all pursuing the same
resolution, you know what I thought? Well, you're going to find out any
way! I said to myself they deserve what is happening to them. These people
are so vain and pigheaded that they can't even reach a compromise amongst
themselves for the greater cause of a common goal. I said that because
I was angry, not because I truly believed they weren't worthy of living
with dignity and to be proud of what they were fighting for. You see,
sometimes individuals say things without really meaning them. I agree,
It doesn't justify the wrongfulness of the act, but ...
We don't despise Jews, nor hate Arabs or Blacks -- and that is a fact.
Some Iranian immigrants, who live in North America or Europe, had to go
through cultural clashes and had to deal with unimaginable indignities
of being refugees or new comers from a country with that sort of reputation.
Pressure forced them to rush into joining the main stream culture to gain
acceptance. Western values were adopted by them without question and every
thing Iranian, all of a sudden became ancient and senile, and they basically
had no use for it. Some of us changed our names. When asked about their
country of origin they would mention Italy of Greece or Spain -- anywhere
but Iran. I personally know so many families here in Toronto, Canada,
who converted to Christianity only to distance themselves from, and denounce
"the thing" that -- they believe -- brought them nothing but
shame and disgrace in front of the rest of the world by portraying them
as a bunch of uncivilized savages.
Are you one of those people who change to suit others in order to gain
their approval? There are other ways to prove your worthiness and gain
acceptance. You can make them change their minds about us. We can show
them the side of us they are not familiar with (well, as hard as it might
sound, we actually do have a good side!). The side which, with great endeavors
of the Revolutionary Government of our country, has diminished without
trace, as far as the majority of the population of the earth is concerned.
We can redeem ourselves and our country by standing proud and stating
what we genuinely believe.
We don't have to justify the wrongfulness or injustice done by them
and their followers, to be considered a patriotic Iranian. At the same
time we don't have to exaggerate the damages just to show an I-am-totally-different-from-the
rest-of-them attitude. Why do we have this enormous emptiness inside us,
this huge gap, this intolerable void, this lack of identity, that sends
us on a crusade to find and grab the first thing crossing our path just
to satisfy our thirst for belonging? I think I can see why the need is
there, but not the way it is being addressed.
What I'm saying is, some of our people, perhaps not even through their
own fault or flaws in their personalities, maybe just because they couldn't
come up with a better way to handle the feeling of inadequacy, took-up
the attitude you mentioned in your article. But what we must remind ourselves
of (and certain others), is that this small group, is not representing
our nation as a whole.
And about Blacks. Do you remember the celebrity soccer player, Ali
Parvin? Have you ever heard or read anywhere, any reference to his being
Black? Have you forgotten about our southern provinces that are mostly
populated by our Black-Iranian? Or they are not Black enough for you?
Have they ever been called names and treated as inferiors by the rest
of the county?
Jewish-Iranians have always enjoyed the open-mindedness of their fellow
countrymen and had the opportunity to prosper and live in peace and comfort
(at least up until the revolution, I must add), just like anyone else.
Now if they had the brains and the will to make the best of those opportunities,
it is only to their own credit. Nobody is saying, they should be grateful
because of those opportunities, because they had a right to it as much
as any other Iranian. As a matter of fact, it is the rest of us who should
be thankful to them for enriching our heritage with the qualities they
brought with them and for setting examples by working hard, having a vision
for the future and sticking together and protecting each other through
thick and thin (the last one is obviously the hardest one for some of us
to learn). I personally admire them for their endurance and achievements
throughout history and some of my best friends here are Jewish, whom I
love and respect from the bottom of my heart. But when the state of Israel
and its policies are involved and the atrocities being done in Palestine
in the name of Judaism, my feelings of admiration takes a different turn.
And about Bahais, I only wish people like you could find the ability
to differentiate between the governmental policies and popular beliefs
of ordinary people (even that has to be divided into two parts, before
and after the so-called revolution and the chaos and confusion it caused
in peoples' minds). I am from the north of Iran. I was born and raised
in Sari. Some of best-loved and most-respected people I knew were Bahais.
Both my parents were educators and in constant contact with their Bahai
colleagues and they never said anything but compliments about them. As
a matter of fact, most of the time the subject of their religion wouldn't
even come up, because of its irrelevancy. Although I have to admit, in
my last trip to Iran, I had a couple of visits with some old friends which
was quit heart breaking and I realized, how systematically the government
was implementing its policies of intolerance.
Iran by definition, is a multi-national county and it always has been.
A nation, if I can remember correctly, is defined as: A groups of people,
who live on a specific geographical region, speak the same language, share
the same back ground, history and culture and believe in a same religion.
Iran is consisted of several nations that meet the above criteria: Turks
(and Turkmans in the north), Kurds, Baluchis, Arabs and we have large communities
of Armenian, Jews, Ismailis, etc., in different parts of Iran.
I think one more thing should be brought to your attention here: We
are not a pure Aryan race anymore. The Turkish and Arab invasions made
us a mixed race (my condolences to the ones, who - in their quest to gain,
recognition- assumed we are still Aryans!).
And please, please, PLEASE stop bashing your own people. Putting them
down won't move you up, believe me. Next time you meet someone like the
lady you mentioned, try to educate her and correct her mistakes, instead
of leaving her in her ignorance and...