Iran's and Iranians' identity is indeed largely based on what they see as Iranians being Aryans
July 19, 2007
Any individual belonging to a nation, people, or group (as he/she would identify) would normally wonder about the past, the present, and the future of his/her identity. Iran is a wonderful country in the sense that it is full of diversity, hence beauty, and full of many complexities, but also full of backwardness that cannot be ignored. These are realities due to Iran's historical and geographic circumstances.
There are indeed many who identify themselves as proud Iranians who would get angry for calling Iran a backward country, or even to associate Iran with the neighbourhood. They would argue that Iran is unique, great, and notably different from not just its peers but also from the rest of the world. And to prove this, the so-called Persian/Iranian nationalists (not calling them racists is just being nice) would proudly identify and associate themselves with Aryans, with no reserves at all, openly and arrogantly. Clear sign of backwardness! No further proof is needed. No further comment is needed. And in case, one, like me, would dare to question the legitimacy and diplomacy (is it okay in today's world to bring words about such a dodgy identity that has been buried by Westerners more than half a century ago?!) of such a popular stance, these proud Aryans would not hesitate to attack.
This may not seem a serious problem for some, but it is a serious problem for many. The identification of a nation is the first and the most important step for moving forward toward the future. People suffer from, or enjoy, the results of their leaders' actions or policies for generations to come. There have been great leaders whose legacies have not veined and offer little clues of veining any time soon. Examples are aplenty. Prophet Mohammad is one of history's greatest leaders whose legacy has changed the world, and is still changing. Jesus is another example.
And it is not just the prophets. Peter the Great of Russia has left Russians the most important legacy of any other Russian ever since or before. Hitler is one of history's most remarkable leaders whose legacy is no longer present in Germany's mainstream. But that does not mean there is no legacy left. Although it is arguable, and although we cannot credit Hitler with inventing the idea about Aryan supremacy, he was indeed history's most significant leader who promoted Aryanism heavily, and who influenced and inspired other leaders too.
One result of Hitler's legacy has been that the West, once the greatest fan of eugenics, and yes, the Aryan supremacy (Britons and many other Christian nations were no less fans of the Aryan race) stopped mentioning about Aryans or Aryanism after World War II. The other result, although mainly unknown to the West, has been the promotion of Aryanism in such unexpected corners of the world (unexpected for Westerners) such as Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan and also India. Afghanistan's airlines is named Ariana, and Iran's Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi named himself Aryamehr. Although officials or individuals within these nations, especially Iran, would have often tried to dissociate themselves from Hitler's more aggressive Aryanism it is indeed interesting to understand why these nations have promoted and still do promote themselves as Aryans (either officially or as simple citizens) if they do not believe in the Aryan supremacy that used to be promoted by Westerners before the second World War?
I don't see other peoples talking about race anymore. And in case you are wondering about Iranians talk about race you can simply consult the worldwide web. It is all over blogs, and even Wikipedia is full of Iranians (or others in the region such as Afghans) still promoting their Aryan identity. For those who are less Internet-addicted, Wikipedia is a type of encyclopedia that is edited by all Internet users and the outcomes of what can be seen on Wikipedia is usually what users can agree upon (usually using non-Wiki sources).
Iran's and Iranians' identity is indeed largely based on what they see as Iranians being Aryans. And this is, by association, a legacy of Hitler, through Reza Shah Pahlavi. It is not to say that either Hitler, or Reza Shah, invented the ideology. They were leaders who just used them and promoted them. Hitler's legacy died out (largely, not entirely of course) in the Christian world, though his legacy lives on well within not-so-blond Aryans of the Middle East. And this is indeed backwardness, at least by half a century (probably far more).
This is not the first time I am writing about this subject. There are two subjects that arouse Aryan/Iranian/Persian nationalism more than any other. One is about the glory of Iran's pre-Islamic imperialism, and the other is about Iran's glorious racial identity, the Aryan race. None of which are anything to be proud of. This is probably funny for many non-Iranians to read, but it is less funny when you are an Iranian and see so many of these folks. Especially when you are an Iranian Turk/Azeri who has been fed all over the place with the stupidest idea ever that you (the Turk, Azeri or whoever may think he/she is not Aryan... such a racial blasphemy), poor little you, are no less glorious, pure and supreme as us, but you have just been a bit less fortunate, a bit less inspired, and somewhat idiotic, and have fallen victim to a historical tragedy.
And what is that tragedy? The tragedy has been that you (the Turk/Azeri) have changed your language from an Aryan language to a non-Aryan language (Persian and similar languages are supposed to be Aryan), but you are still an Aryan, racially. How do you prove I am an Aryan, racially? Well, that's something you don't ask! Aryans don't have any established way of identification. It is almost like a fanatical religion, or other type of ideology, just like it used to be in Europe, though with not that physical aggressivity (yet).
This is just a simple example of a Middle-Eastern style stupidity that may seem out-of-date and quite hilarious to Westerners, but is much less of a fun when you are a part of it, within it, though not exactly it. It is possible that in case I (and others like me) was also a Persian Iranian I would not have given much attention to this Aryan ideology or policy. Thus I do reserve my due subjectivity in regards to the issue.
It would be very fortunate and welcome for the whole Iran, and Iranians, to have a change in discourse and put aside any mentioning of race, for the sake of not alienating, and also for the sake of moving forward within a modern world in which values have indeed moved on, in the right direction (though never perfect). However the reality is usually less idealistic and it is more likely to see more of the same until there would be some new leader, or leaders, who would inspire better ways of gaining confidence (by tolerance, hard work and cooperation rather than suppression and empty arrogance). Comment