September 22 2000
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
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.