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Reputation

Proud of what?
We had Hafez thousands of years ago, what do we have now? Certainly not respect

August 16, 2004
iranian.com

Arash Miresmaeili's refusal to compete with his Israeli counter part is another black mark for the reputation of Iranians around the world [News]. His irresponsible and ignorant decision has made the International Olympic Committee (IOC) question whether Iran should even be in the Olympics.

Since the establishment of the Islamic Republic, Iranian pride, respect and image has taken a dive for the worse. First, with the US embassy hostage crisis, when people around the world saw at least some Iranians are capable of such a despicable act. During the eighties and nineties the regime's dismal human rights record became more revealing to the outside world, with the latest incident being the murder of journalist Zahra Kazemi.

A few weeks ago, a friend of mine approached me to discuss a little "problem" with his son. Apparently the little boy was telling his father that he did not feel comfortable revealing his Iranian nationality to his friends. My patriotic friend started lecturing his son. First, he gave the familiar "We come from a county with 6000 years of history" speech . Then he shifted to "You have to be proud of youe country as many famous poets like Hafez and physicians like Avicena have been Iranian."

As he was telling me all this, my right brain, being more logical than my left, kicked in. Exactly what do we have to be proud of? If we saw what has happened to Iran and how Iranians have behaved in the past twenty five years through objective impartial eyes, would we be really proud of being Iranian?

Exactly why should anyone be proud of the fact that Iran has produced people like Hafez and Avicena? On the contrary, it is deplorable that a country that has produced prominent figures is now ruled by a group of ruthless, uneducated clerics. We Iranians are a nation fixated with the past. We had Hafez thousands of years ago, what do we have now? Certainly not respect.
 
A recent survey revealed that regardless of the type of government, 40% of Iranians want the future government in Iran to be a religious one. When the West is making technological breakthroughs, our people are still hooked on the actions of fictitious religious figures like Mohamamad, Ali and Hossein who lived two centuries ago.

Instead of celebrating the bravery of our own heroes -- like the six-year-old who strapped grenades to his waste and blew up an invading Iraqi tank in Ahvaz, or the Mohamdi brothers who are emaciated by torture and disease just for wanting freedom of expression -- we celebrate the bravery of unknown individuals from another land and culture.

Isn't it shameful and ironic that one of the Persian kings, Cyrus the Great, was the first to write the first charter of human rights in an era when nations were massacring each other? Now, in the 21centruy, many countries have embraced the contents of the charter. Yet the country of Cyrus continues to trample on human rights.

How many of us really feel proud when westerners ask us about the murder of Zahra Kazemi and we have no rational answer to give them? How many of us feel proud when Iranians are being tortured and killed in prisons simply for disagreeing with the regime? Let's not forget the people who are doing such deeds are not American, Canadian or Spanish. They are Iranians brought upon by a revolution that all Iranians helped bring about.

Exactly what is there to be proud of in watching the leaders of our country on different news channels wearing strange looking robes with ragged clothing and exceptionally unattractive features? What is there to be proud when we see members of the Iranian women Taekwondo  team is wearing the hejab underneath their gear looking like creatures in "Lord of the Rings"?

Let's not let our emotions dictate our judgments. Being Iranian these days is nothing to be proud. May be if we hit rock bottom will we wake up one day and try to fix our country and its image.

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