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Sehaty Foreign Exchange


September 22 2000

Fooling ourselves

In response to "Okay, I'm a racist", and it's responses: I read the article and many of the responses and I'm left with the solemn, worried Iranian look on my face (we all know what that is). I have nothing against dAyi Hamid for honestly expressing his views, although I may not neccesarily agree with him.

As a child, I always felt intense bitterness towards the Arabs for what they did, stripping us of our culture, our empire, our religion, our dignity... essentially, it bothered me a lot. But then I realized that what happened to us is something that has, one way or another, happened to all countries. Germans, Greeks, Celts, and Romans were converted to Christianity and consequently lost a lot of individuality, customs, freedoms, and, of course, their old religions.

The Great Empires of Eygpt, Phoenicia, and Tunisia all fell to Arabic identity, thought, and religion. We as Iranians are lucky to have even maintained our old cultural traditions, our language, our country, our older religion, and especially our cultural pride. We have to go forward with what we have and not force ourselves to extremes that our fellow Iranians can't agree with.

We would be fooling ourselves to return to pre-Zoroastrian, newly Persian ways, and we would be murdering 4000+ years of struggling to maintain our one common thread (being Iranian) to retard ourselves into dark age fundamentalist Islamic ideals. What would've happened if the Arabs hadn't invaded? It would have been Christian influence, or Hindu, or Buddhist.

Zoroastrian Iran was so internally rotted that Iranians no longer had even enough faith in themselves to pick up their swords and fight to save their country and their ways. Our lack of self-confidence, self-esteem, and unity resulted in our defeat.

Sadly enough, one can see the same thing happening today: Right-wing Muslim Iranians running our government are trying to finish what the Arabs started. Most Iranians just bitterly complain. About what? About how things have gone too far, or that the revolution never should have been "Islamic," about how Iran is not Islamic enough.

We fall back on our history or our religious faiths, but we never associate with what we have become as a people today. Why can't we be at peace with our opinions? Why can't we appreciate honesty? Because, in all truthfulness, we don't feel good about ourselves today. We feel good about our background, some of us feel good about our faith, but what about what we simply ARE as a people NOW?

I think Sassan Behzadi put it best when he said: "What has held Iran back is not a 1,400-year-old invasion by the Arabs, or a 50-year-old coup by the CIA. To see the real culprit, just take a hard look in the mirror. We've done it, it's our fault, and only we can fix it."

So we can all be ultra-proud about our past or fervent about our religious beliefs, but neither one is going to take us anywhere as a whole until we start respecting what we all have in common with one another: That we are all Iranian.



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