I can't hold on to the glorious
past when the present is rotting before my eyes
May 26, 2005
A country's natural beauty must be coupled with
the peace of mind that can only come from a modern and stable government.
For me to go to the Caspian Sea, I have to travel thru 4 hours
of traffic from Tehran, risking my life and loosing my sanity along
the way just to wind up somewhere "beautiful." Okay
so I may be called a Francophil or even an Arab lover by some,
but I will take that risk and admit that I prefer to spend holidays
In France or even Dubai, where I feel safe, free. I have
found that I can easily learn to appreciate what nature and the
I do not see beauty in repression
and forced hijabs, even alongside mountains, creeks
and trees. A repressive and greedy regime looses its natural beauty
once it becomes infested with smoke, stress and death. Does Saudi
Arabia promote life when it doesn't even allow its people to have
a movie theater in their neighborhood, or drive a car if
they aren't male -- or lead some semblance of a
life that compares with the rest of the world? They have mountains,
ancient ruins, and history, but what good do they serve when
people are depressed because people must cope with traditions created
thousands of years ago? At least
they have imported technology and a good economy, so people can
survive by living for the next vacation abroad.
Does Iran promote the beauty of life when the poor guy waiting
for the ambulance at the passport office dies because it takes
over 2 hours to reach him through traffic? What happens when
you imagine green hills or majestic mountains in the backdrop?
What's the point in constantly revering ancient ruins, houses
Shomaal or Kish Island when governments can't
are stuck in backward traditions and discourage visitors
from all parts of the globe?
Pride you say? Where does pride alone
get us in this world? Pride is turning a blind eye to reality,
my dear Persian. Beauty
is no longer only natural, it is man-made and interdependent on
mankind. If a country can't
get into the WTO, for example, that means they are a royal pain
in the ass to deal with.
Coming from Iran, I will be the
first to admit it's a tough place to visit, even for me -- an
Iranian citizen! I want to go to a place and have the option of
five-star luxuries, not three-star roach-infested
"luxury hotel" that robs tourists. I am
no snob, but this is a part of what makes a country attractive
to the visitor, no matter where they come from. The world has
changed and there's no going back. We must always look forward
and expect more customer service, more technology, more advancement
and more education. If a country isn't moving in that direction
clearly there is something wrong!
beauty gets hijacked, ruined, demolished by devastation, greed,
smog and natural causes.When beauty isn't preserved, or
becomes ruined by the stress of a rotting government, it's a mere
of what it could
be. Our nation, Iran, never had the chance to meld modernity and
tradition into a successful duo. And its psyche was devoured by
war, poverty and havoc on the souls of its people. It's not clear
what will turn it around at this point, but riding on the
coattails of past glory is a sad way of preserving
all had to fight along the silk route of the revolution to know
who we are, and how we can preserve what's left of being
Iranian. For example, some insist it's Persian not Iranian, because
it reminds us of a Rostam-inspired dreamy past. Well, unless you
were born when it was still Persia, then you are currently Iranian.
Some change their names to Mark or Dave
and some introduce themselves as Italian. Here's a tip: tell people
you come from Malta; few people know
it is and chances are they don't speak Maltese!
As a people,
we are damaged. As a country, Iran isn't what it used to be and
its people have had to deal with self-esteem
issues that stem from being hated, feared and just plain misunderstood.
Our people lost what good they had on
their own, and without intervention from "those Arabs." It's not
rational anymore to hold a grudge against Arabs and "their
religion" when the fact remains
that all the Arab countries in the Persian Gulf are also mainly
Muslim but are
Who was holding Bush's hand in front of TV cameras?
Not Khatami, but Saudi Arabia's uneducated Crown
I didn't vote for Bush but as the most powerful president
in the world, a friendly gesture from him could go
a long way.
The sad fact remains that Iran is going backwards,
while others are moving forward. All of our beautiful hills and
mountains, artists and painters, are victims of Iran's demise.
us who made
it out have to deal with the politics of being a minority,
racism and ultimately integration. And there is nobody to blame
but ourselves for our pain and suffering. Please don't defend
which you helped create with references to nature or the ancient
past, and don't pretend that you had nothing to do with
it because nobody believes you anymore.
Where is the beauty in the possibility that your
child will commit suicide after college because of the bleak
future ahead? Where is the beauty of Kish or Qeshm if you cannot
lie in the sun with your son and husband at your side? What
of the beauty of Mazandaran when the local Imam condones raping
girls caught at house parties? I just can't see natural
beauty among pain and lies anymore. I can't hold on to an ancient
past when the present is rotting before my eyes. I would rather
focus on reality, the future and helping Iranians move through
this difficult phase in our history.