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Minorities: Not an Iranian problem

I read Laleh Khalili's "Forgiving Salm and Tur." First things first. I am a history buff, so let me get it off of my chest! Salm is not a reperesentative of Arabs, and Tur is not a Turk. This is a problem that came about when Persian alphabet was changed to the present one, and Tur looks awfully like Turk! In fact, Salm, or more correctly Sarm, is supposedly the ancestor of an Iranian nomad tribe of central Russian steppe called Sarmatians. Tur is probably a figure that is associated with Turanies, a Scythian tribe in the eastern caspian who are also known as Massaggets, and they are the ones who killed Cyrus! Oof, that's off!

This idea of "race," refered to several times in Khalili's article, itself does not imply to Iran. Probably because of living too long in a country (U.S.) with major racial problems, you have forgotten what it is like back home. The idea of race and different ethnicities in Iran is something less than a hundred years old. It first entered the minds of our roshanfekr intellectuals via the writings of Edward Braun, Hertzfeld, Christensen, and other Iranologists.

The fact is, in Iran, we have never had the problem of race prior to this. In your article, you point to Persian Iranians several times, and then talk about "Indo-Europeans" and what they are. Well, do you know, or do you not know what they are? How excatly do you define this unusual being called a Persian Iranian? Is he a fictional being or is he real? You refer to "ethnic minorities" of Iran, Kurds, Baluchs, Turks, Qashqayis. Have you ever studied them? How are they 'ethnic minority'? Do they have different physical characteristics? Or is their blood of a different color than your given Persian Iranian?

The idea of racial minorities is an American one, and you are trying to incorporate it to Iran. Kurds are among the purest of "Persians," however you define that. Linguistically, their language is the closest living relative of Pahlavi Sasani. Same goes with Baluch and Qashqayi. Turks are racialy Iranian, and you can see that by careful anatomical comparison between Azari's and Turks of Kharazm, better known as Uzbeks, who are racially Uygur-Ughuz. Azeris spoke a language which was a dialect of Pahlavi, up to the 14th century.

You spoke about the first Arab member of the cabinet in 50 years! How many "Arabs" are in Iran? How can you then overlook the presence of other "minorities" in our governments since the beginning of this century? Minorities like a Shah from Mazandaran, and a Azari prime minister, and a leader fromMashhadi, and two prime ministers from the Bakhtiari tribe, and a president from the Yazdi "minority" and so on!

Of course, you can divide Iranians however you want, but the fact is, we are all Iranian, and we have never had problems living, befriending, and marrying other "minorities." Have you ever heard an Irnian telling his daughter not to marry that guy because he is a "Borujerdi" or "Kermanshahi"? Come on, get a grip, and realize the fact that we as Iranians may have lots and lots of problems (and God knows we do), but this one problem is a foreign import.

Khodadad Rezakhani

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