The Iranian


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Sehaty Foreign Exchange


March 13, 2001

Where are the Persians?

It sounds like disagreement is a more powerful incentive than agreement or it's that way in our culture. I happen to understand and completely agree with G. Motamedi's view on the insanity that was behind Reza shah's decision about asking other countries to say Persia instead of Iran ["Bring back Persia"].

I don't understand why those who introduce themselves as Persian and not Iranian don't send a letter! I personally witness everyday that more than ninety percent of our people introduce themselves as Persian and not Iranian! I don't need anybody to agree or disagree with me on this because I see it everyday for myself.

What it tells me is simply that there is a problem here! And when someone brings up that issue for a reasonable discussion and reevaluation, almost exclusively those irrational and angry people respond! Some even start lecturing that "let's talk about more important issues..blah, blah, blah." This is like trying to shut off other voices in a very sneaky way. You can talk about anything that you think is important and let others talk about their preferred subjects, how does that sound?

This is the point: that article didn't seem to have any problem with the legitimacy of the word Iran. To me it sounded like a simple question: what was the need to ask foreigners to call our country Iran and not Persia, which by the way happens to be a pure Persian/Iranian word derived from the name of Cyrus's main clan i.e., Pars and not really a foreign name. I don't see anything wrong with the word Persia.

Imagine even Germans did not send us a letter to ask us call them German rather than Almani! Isn't it funny? They even have a third name that only they use! So what was the advisor thinking? That we are more nationalist than the Germans (I wish we were)! What was wrong with having a native name and an international name like many countries in this world, and that word happened to be well known, well sounding, respected and intermixed with many historically bright points.

What about those of us who have picked an American middle name and keep our native name as well. Should we be forced by you to drop our foreign names? Even some of the protestors have a mixed American-Iranian name! Please be a little reasonable.

And those who disagree only because they think this is only an attack on Reza Shah are wrong too. This must have come from an intellectual's mind who thought this was the only way to gain respect from foreigners (Germans). This I think is more insulting. Otherwise, I don't think anyone has questioned that the term Iran is the one that we use in Persian, Ferdosi used it, it is sacred, it is a very old term,... etc!



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