November 26, 2003
4, Page 5
* Cannot ignore evidence
I thoroughly enjoyed reading your laudatory essay on Soltan Ahmad
essay provided the reader with some insight into events that helped
shape the future of Iran, a future that was lead by the House
you fail to take into account the historic events, and repeated "fleecing" of
our mighty motherland, that lead Qajar Iran into the predicament
it was facing back in 1919. Your essay shows the disdain
and resentment you have for the men that did for Iran in under 50
what your kin
to do in
over 150 years: bring dignity, prosperity and respect to a
nation and its people.
Mr. Eskandari-Qajar, you simply cannot ignore the factual evidence,
which you claim to be solely propaganda initiated by the British & Pahlavi's,
which explain how and why Qajar Iran was in a sate of total collapse. How
can you fail to explain the bankrupt imperial coffers? How
can you fail to explain the bartering of Persian lands simply to
finance the gaudy lifestyles
of the family and its harem? How can you fail to explain
the collapse of the economy due to imprudent economic policies
set forth by the Qajars?
economy that laid in ruins during the Qajar years, which is strikingly
similar to present day Iran, was once the pride of Asia, as it was
during the reign of
the Pahlavi's. It seems that history does repeat itself
in relation to our Iran as the Mullahcracy has succeeded in bringing
back to life the darkest
years of our country, which span the 150+ year reign of the Qajars,
in a mere 25 years.
You may view these comments as mere
envy from a Qajar-basher, as you have repeatedly done to any
objective commentary, such as the one put
forth by Mr. Esfahani. However, I firmly believe that to understand
and acknowledge accomplishments and shortcomings, especially
of the exclusive "Hezar
Famille", as we were the country's principal architects,
is the first step in appreciating who and
in addition to gauging how we came
to be where we are today.
Once you perform this monumental
task, you will be able to understand why 99.9% of the Persian
populace view the
great dismay. (See reply below)
* Arguments. Not cheap shots
reply to above: Dear Mr. Kalhor,
Thank you for your comments below. It is obvious that
well-meaning individuals looking at the evidence can come
conclusions. Sometimes evidence comes to light that
necessitates a change of perspective. Sometimes one comes
to the realisation
that evidence till now has been manipulated to present
a certain picture and that there is reason to suspect
why that was done. I have merely called upon readers
to ponder the question anew.
Yes, I must admit, it is
very tiresome to someone like me to hear such nonesense
about the Qajars in most of what has been published
in the name of academic rigor, and, no, they are not right
in all their criticisms. It is transparent to anyone
with a sense of fairness and a willingness to re-evaluate
cherished views that this cannot be so. Specifically,
Mr. Esfahani's comments ["Leave
us alone"] were beyond the pale, as
were Mr. Vassigh's ["Iruni-baazi"].
God knows I have a sense of humour, but
this was vile, and to defend that kind of expression
is also vile.
I would be willing to consider issues and
discuss them on the evidence until the end of time, but
sometimes one must stand up and say something. This happens
to be the issue on which I will not compromise, not fanatically,
but with reasoned arguments. If I have left out anything,
I would be glad to look at it and rectify it, if need
be. Arguments. Not invective, not cheap shots,
not ad hominems, not vulgarities. Doon sha'n maast!
I am sure you would do the same if the issue concerned
you, as I trust, you too must be a man of honour. (See reply
* Go right ahead, argue
A reply to above: Dear Mr. Eskandari-Qajar,
It clearly is so easy for
you to dismiss other people's viewpoints by calling them
vile or accusing them of an attempt at humour. Rather,
as others have no doubt noticed, it was your article that
was the most humorous of all in its unthinkable suggestions
which you continue to attempt to support by assuming that
we are stupid.
I also notice that in your second article
published in the "Iranian" that you have made
a greater effort at providing some factual evidence for
your contentions rather than pointing all of your intelligence
and abilities toward defending some of the worst traitors
in Iran's history.
My article, "Leave
us alone", despite its grammatical
problems which arose in the process of publishing, was
not intended as a joke like Mr. Vassigh's ["Iruni-baazi"]
or as propaganda like yours. As Richard Hofstadter writes in his "Anti-Intellectualism
in American Life," a book which I assume you have
read, as you seem to give yourself airs, justified or not,
on having rational arguments for your pre-determined viewpoint
on the Qajar legacy:
"He [the intellectual] may
live for ideas, as I have said, but something must prevent
him from living for one idea, from becoming obsessive or
grotesque. Although there have been zealots whom we may
still regard as intellectuals, zealotry is a defect of
the breed and not of the essence. When one's concern for
ideas, no matter how dedicated and sincere, reduces them
to the service of some central limited preconception or
some wholly external end, intellect gets swallowed by fanaticism.
If there is anything more dangerous to the life of the
mind than having no independent commitment to ideas, it
is having an excess of commitment to some special and constricting
With all due respect, Mr. Eskandari-Qajar,
I implore you to re-read this fine book. As you yourself
have written, "this happens to be the issue on which
I will not compromise, not fanatically, but with reasoned
arguments." Please, go right ahead. Provide us with
these "reasoned arguments," or forever hold your
On a lighter note, do you not find it slightly
odd that the only ones defending your viewpoint are either
members of your privileged family or a certain "Princess
Nadine Sultana d'Osmana Han" (I thought the Ottomans
were deposed from power in 1922! I suppose I was mistaken.),
who calls herself the "Valide Sultan of Turkey" and
no doubt comes from a similar background which allows her
to make pithy remarks ["Dogs
bark"] on history and society
without even having read anything on the subject, as if
respect the words that will come out of her romantic notions
of her social position (or former position, as the case
Times have changed. And regarding the Hofstadter
and other such sources, I will gladly send you a reading
list of materials to study before you decide to write
pluses and minuses
Your ex- and present Imperial Highnesses, My Noble Lords and Ladies,
and Dear Sirs/Madams (apologies if any category is left out as I am taking
utmost care not to disrespect the Princely pride of certain members of
this mailing list), ["Persia's
Although the resumption of this debate will have ZERO effect on the
outcome of the present and future system of governance in Iran, in the
interest of historical research I would like to extend an invitation
to all those concerned to compile a list of contributions made to Persia
(as it was called then) and the Persian way of life, during the rule
of the Qajar dynasty.
I believe that instead of, philosophising, or as the Professor Prince,
Manoutchehr Mirza Eskandari-Qajar(Kajar) - did I miss anything? - would
prefer to put it, interpreting the facts, or names calling, and character
assassinations, all it takes is a simple, no-frills, fact-based, list
of all the pluses and minuses committed by the Qajar rulers, from the
beginning to the end of their reign.
I am particularly interested to hear from my noble lord, the Professor
Prince whose chairmanship of the International Qajar Studies Association
(IQSA) puts him in an exceptionally privileged position in as far as
representing his dynastic heritage is concerned. (See reply below)
* Attitudes will slowly change
In reply to above,
As a firm believer in open debate, I feel passionately
that unless one is willing to face criticism, even of the kind and
here in this series of e-mails and op-eds, one should not enter this
arena. As to presenting the evidence and debating it anew, this task
has already begun.
It began with the efforts of Drs. Abbas Amanat and
Layla Diba, with the comments of Prof. Ehsan Yarshater at the various
conferences pursuant to the earlier individuals' efforts, etc. My efforts
and those of our association are simply a continuation of those steps.
In our own sweet time and in our own sweet way!
Attitudes will slowly
change. New documents will come to light. More people will be willing
to publish and research along these new lines.
Given close to an hundred years of concerted efforts at writing a
certain history by interpreting facts one way only to suit the designs
new ruling elite, it is hard to argue for a renewed look over night.
slowly, ever so slowly, people will come forward who will be willing
to put things differently.
Prof. Yarshater's answer to the question why
more people are willing to say positive things about the Qajars now was: "distance." There
were volumes in that answer. In the mean time people such as yourselves
may feel satisfied in poking fun at the Qajars with sexual innuendoes
or poking fun at people's names or their family to satisfy sophomoric
needs from the comfort of the anonymity of e-mail. To each his own, I
In the end, however, the only thing that counts is the reasoned
argument in the arena of ideas, freely expressed and firmly supported,
and the judges over the validity of an argument presented in that arena
will be people of good will everywhere. The rest is only so much flotsam
and jetsam, haughty in its appearance, but quickly dissipated and forgotten.
is always so much easier to tear down than to build. Let us see who the
builders are! For the rest, for God's sake "yek chiz-e taazeh
* He'll back ancestors
I am an Iranian and love my history. I read about it and even try to
master it so that I could teach my children about our native country.
Now, I have one question for Mr. Manoutchehr Eskandari-Qajar. He always
backs the Qajar era. Off course he has to back his ancestors.
any doubt, the founder of this dynasty was a brave man. He was able
to organize the Persian army and push the intruders back to their limits.
But what happened when he died? Bunch of lazy, unqualified princes
took their turn to become kings and take the country back to the dark
I definitely do not want to discredit the Qajar dynasty. In fact,
we must admit that Ahmad shah did not return to his thrown because
not want to bow to British and the Ottomans. However, I also know that
later in his life he was in a depression due to his weight.
Amir Kabir? A lazy Qajar king named NasserEdin. I like Mr. Manoutchehr
Eskandari-Qajar to defend NaserEdin if he could.
* Persia's what?!
Iranian.com is one of the best websites, and I visit it almost daily. Once
in a while, I come across an article that makes me laugh.
I came across the one titled "Persia's
honor". At first
I thought I had misread it, but then, upon closer examination I realized
had actually read the title correctly. It is often difficult to
get Iranians to agree on one thing. parcicularly in politics. But
most Iranians I know, agree about the following:
The Qajars were
amongst the most inept of all Iranian dynasties. The loss of
population and territory that happened under the Qajars was almost unparalleled
in Iran's history. Agha Mohammad Khan was a butcher, the rest of
the Qajars were inept, and Ahmad Shah left the country as soon as he
I don't particularly care for the Pahlavi dynasty,
but in all fairness, Reza Khan and his son at least managed to do some
good for Iran. The words Qajar, honor and Persia should not appear
in the same sentence.
Anyways, just my 2 cents.
* Skipped chapter on Qajar dynasty
I enjoyed reading your article in Iranian.com, "Persia's
May I kindly ask what stuff you have been using that gives you such
a great high and hallucination. May I ask you where you get these
so that I get a high just like you.
Khejalat ham khoob chizieh
baba. Do you honostly think that
the Qajar dynasty was a golden period in our history? Aren't you
the chair of Middle Eastern Studies in Santa Barbara City College? Did you
skip that chapter on Qajar dynasty, Palang o Doleh va Babr ol Molk
and how the Qajar dynasty took a big dump on Iran?
that was actually a super power in the Safavid Dynasty became so corrupted
and poor that its effects are still noted in the Iranian
culture and society.
While the Western countries experienced the industrial revolution,
our Qajar kings were too preoccupied in their heram, they
experienced another revolution, the sex revolution.
Did you know
that more Iranian women started wearing chador during the Qajar
dynasty? Guess why Mr. Professor? To cover
themselves from the king's horniness.
Have you forgotten about the execution of Mirza Taghie Khan also know
as Amir Kabir? Should I give you a lesson about Amir Kabir?
Have you forgotten about Agha Mohammad Khane Qajar, his slaying of thousands
of women and children? Gharardade Turkamanchaie? The cowardiness of
So next time you write something for Iranian.com, do your research
professor since I just lost respect for the educational system of great
More letters (November 26, 2003)
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