The Iranian

email us

Fly to Iran

US Transcom
US Transcom

Advertise with The Iranian


    Septembert 15, 1999

Only vegetables have roots

First of all,let me congratulate you on your piece in The Iranian ["I was once an Iranian"]. I think that you have brought up some very important questions. As a kid raised in Beirut in the thirties, I had some similar experiences.

I also have felt tensions about my "multiculturality" but I think that all Iranians have some kind of ambiguity in their inner personalities. This is perhaps due to the fact that since the 7th century we have been living on a kind of "double" cultural background: Our Persian-Zoroastrian-Aryan culture and the Arab-Islamic that was added .

These two never melted in a harmonious mixture. But then, all educated people of the world , no matter what their nationality, are more or less in the same predicament because of the estrangement of scientific and literary cultures since the early years of the 20th century!

I transformed my personal experience into a novel that was published in Paris in 1962 . I it I tackled the poblem of multiculturality and "identity " tensions; of feeling at home nowhere and yet everywhere!

I agree with what you say about our fellow Iranians in the U.S., and the "two" Irans existing side by side. Also your asssessment of intellectuals "still bound" by fundamentalism and nationalism makes sense. I have not enough time to go into all your remarks.

But I want to point out that Iranians, as well as others, are mistaken in searching for roots. I have coined the following phrase which I often use in my writings and lectures : "Only vegetables have roots"!

I agree with your distinction between migrants and immigrants. But let me tell you that the U.S. is not a melting pot. It is rather becoming a keleidoscope in which, as time goes by, all the nations of the world will be represented. (A kind of United Nations of the people of the world, not of the governments! I am preparing a piece about this idea of mine).

So don't be afraid of your "hybrid" background. To the contrary it helps you to see the situation more clearly. You can help your fellow Iranians both here and inside the medieval "trap" in which they have fallen, by sharing your experiences and opening their eyes on the true meaning of the Western culture.

Again congratulations and, please, continue to write.

Fereydoun Hoveyda

Copyright © Abadan Publishing Co. All Rights Reserved. May not be duplicated or distributed in any form