Who is he and can he save Iran?
March 15, 2005
When you flip through the Iranian satellite channels
you eventually get to MA
TV. You will see the figure of a middle-aged
man with a slick hair style
and flashy clothes often matching the colors of the Iranian flag. Last week his
followers stunned the world by refusing to deplane a Lufthansa flight bound to
Brussels unless they talk to high level European officials and brief them about
the dismal situation of their country. This is one of only a few operations that
and his followers have thought of with the intention to free Iran. [See: satire]
In Fouladvand's TV station you won't see Persian singers with Mexican
back-up dancers or ads about buying condos in Dubai. You only see the face
of one man up to 10 hours a day in front of what seems like an out of focus camera.
His mission is to educate Iranians about their history and more importantly their
religion, Islam. His weapon is a good knowledge of Islamic history and more importantly
fluency in the Arabic language.
At times Fouladvand will focus his camera on the
words from the Koran and spends hours translating the sentences
word by word. The
translation is at times worrisome, making one think whether this
is the very book that so
many Iranians swear by when it speaks of beheadings and
killings, especially of those who choose to oppose Islam (the evidence of which
these days in Iraq). Unless someone else with strong Arabic language
skills disputes these translations, they seem pretty darn believable.
by choice but tradition. None of us are capable of having read the Koran
in its original Arabic. Of course, in the Persian translations
we see how easily words and phrases can be taken out of context
pray five times a day in Arabic without really knowing what these
words mean, yet many swear by them. We have made gods from figures
Ali and Hossein without knowing about their past, who these people were
and what type of lives they lived.
Even our young educated elite (see
Sanaz Fotouhi's "Your
loss") believe in old and crooked traditions of spending valuable
time and effort in mourning the death of these foreign figures without
what good this useless act is suppose to achieve. They believe traditions
kept no matter how empty they may seem.
Where would the Europeans
be today if they continued the Medieval practice of burning those
who spoke against Christianity? Ignorance is one major
our country is gone back
to the dark ages when the rest of the world is light years ahead.
Fouldavand's words have generated some questions
of my own that no one has been able to answer:
-- When we seek medical
advice, we see a doctor who knows about the most recent advances
in medicine. But when
it comes to religion, we are somehow satisfied with the contents
of a book written ages ago for a society where women were buried
-- When want to hire someone for
work, we check their credentials and look into their background
to make sure they are able to carry out the task satisfactorily
and at a fair price. But when it comes to historic Islamic
men, even though our knowledge of them is based on word of mouth
or accounts that can not really
be validated. Why?
-- Finally, do we
really have to have a religion in order to be good human beings? Is
it necessary to open up a book in order to know that one has to
be good to others, be productive and be
active in the society?
These are questions that Fouldavand
has raised and has made many think twice about a religion that
was imposed on them. Fouladvand's
is to bring
back our identity and give us back the pride that once we enjoyed.
He tells stories about Persian heroes like babake khoramdin and
tells us to wake up and not mourn the deaths of people who attacked
our land 1,400 hundred years ago, raped our women and decimated
our beloved land.
Although I agree with almost all of Fouladvand's
sayings, I wish he uses fewer profanities when he's making a
point. It's hard to change
if the beliefs have strong roots. He must tone down
his rhetoric and yet strengthen his logic and reasoning. All
in all, Mr. Fouladvand, you have chosen the right path and we hope
that through you and your soldiers
we can all go back to a free Iran.