Us vs. Us
Iranians are not locked into a constant
struggle between the Tazi's and Turani's; this is no way to live
January 21, 2005
I recently wrote an article on the much contested
name of the body of water that lies between Saudi Arabia and Iran,
as the Persian Gulf ["The
Gulf wars"]. I took a critical approach to the unimpeded
accord that came about through the paradigm of property and ownership.
A lamentation if you will, considering the more urgent and incessant
state encroachment on the daily lives of Iranians. I have received
many replies to this article; both praise and criticism. Here,
I would like to address the letters of criticism that I have received.
Although, I enjoy a good critique of one's work, in this case,
the criticisms made against my argument, only aid in validating
my arguments in the article. For instance, a letter was written
to me berating my name and referring to me as an Arab.
I would not have responded to such a base form of crititquing,
however, because Mr.
Charmchi's language is indicative of his latent
racism, I felt it needed to be acknowledged. The second letter
received, quoted a well-known verse of Ferdowsi's: cho Iran
nabashad, tan e man mabad, and goes on to say, "this was written by
our grandfather, Ferdowsi."
The above-noted quote is an example of the simple mythologizing
of Iranian historiography. Iranians are not locked into a constant
struggle between the Tazi's and Turani's; this is no way to live.
Ferdowsi is not my grandfather; he was a gifted Iranian writer,
besides, my grandfathers name is Salar Momtaz.
Though he did not
resort to quoting Ferdowsi, Mr. Charmchi's response wreaked of
the defensive nativist nationalism that has plagued third world
social movements since the rise of nation - states. An integral
part of this has to do with the gendering of the land, which Charmchi
does, when he states - "There is however, plenty of disgrace
in pandering to the enemies of Iran and attacking those who seek
to defend her." By the way, I am the disgraced one in Charmchi's
Charmchi's response also reads like a Harlequin romance gone
sour:"the Arabs have repeatedly attempted to invade, pillage,
rape and loot the Persian heartland since they stormed out of the
desert in the seventh century." It is obvious that Charmchi
is not a historian, and that's fine.
However, the dominant narrative
being promulgated by the Charmchi's, is not only historically
debateable, but is counter - intuitive. Let us stop resorting to
of the other; this constant polarization in argumenting a distinct
peoples. Instead, let us focus on our universal connections,
while recognizing distinctions, and not making distinction the
Mr. Charmchi concludes with: "All I am saying is that the
Arabs need to respect Iran. Short of that, I'll be damned if I
keep silent while they distort history to suit their racist impulses."
All I am saying, Mr. Charmchi, is that maybe when Iranians begin
to respect their history and their struggles, by not resorting
to the occupation of a binary world, they will turn their eye right
inward and begin recognizing that their anti - Arab sentiments
are not as a result of actions on the part of Arab countries or
peoples, but as a result of their own governments disdain for any
ritual, culture, language, or history, that is not in line with
the perverse ideology of the Iranian state, that calls itself Islamic.
Samira Mohyeddin has a degree in Religion and Middle Eastern
Studies from the University of Toronto, and is currently pursuing
a collaborative graduate program in Women's and Middle Eastern