There are millions of Iranians, inside and outside of Iran, who are still trying to make sense of what happened to them and their country almost 30 years ago. Some blame it on the British, some on the Americans and some on location of Iran being the crossroads between East and West and therefore more at risk of being the victim of the whims of external forces and their interests.
There are also those who have a fatalistic view of this all being the will of Allah and it all becoming very clear soon, an “Aha!” moment in the future. Surely Allah must have a plan in mind to allow all this misery to visit this historic land and these noble people. This is usually a view shared by the least fortunate and the least educated, those who, largely, did not have the resources to escape the insane Islamic Republic.
It is Ironic that those who are most savagely subjugated and converted turn out to be the most fundamentalist adherents of the conqueror oppressor’s faith. It is as if once the shock and trauma of the defeat and butchery has waned there has to be an explanation for “why?” Why did it happen to us? Obviously if our God was as powerful as we believed, he would not have allowed this to happen. If it did happen then their God is not probably, but most certainly the most supreme.
This fundamentalist view shared by the common Moslem Iranian, is similar to the beliefs of the common Pilipino and Central and South American indigenous peoples who were just as savagely conquered by Catholic Spain, Portugal and Protestant Europe. Since we are endowed with a rational brain, we have to find a reason for all events, good and bad. We have to fit in God’s ultimate plan and if “shit happens” then it happens for a reason. If things happen without reason and or without God’s ultimate intervention, then this is truly a very scary universe.
Prior to my retirement, I had the opportunity of being a member of a rehabilitation team on a psychiatric ward. The mission of our team was to provide physical and cognitive retraining to individuals who had experienced various forms of traumatic brain injuries. Due to the nature of brain injury, many of our patients had good long term memory but almost no short term memory. They were constantly trying to make sense of the present. They saw themselves in the past but could not fathom the present.
This, to me, bears a striking similarity to what is happening to the Iranian psyche today. Those at home and those adrift in exile see their former lives and the distant glory of the Persian Empire but can not make sense of the present misery. They, therefore, have to ascribe some meaning to the present state of affairs in order to satisfactorily explain it to themselves and their dependents. In order to make it fit in the continuum of their life and history; in order to compartmentalize it. A specific example of this internal conflict comes to mind.
On a field trip with a group of patients in Sonoma County, a patient pointed to a large house on a hill and exclaimed “There’s my house!”
A staff member asked, “Where are you John?”
“Macon, Georgia”, John stated.
“No John, we’re in Sonoma.”
“Yep, Sonoma, Georgia.”
“No John, Sonoma, California.”
John thought for a minute or so and finally exclaimed in disbelief,” Damn, we made good time!”
It is time that we Iranians begin to deal with present events in their own context. Perhaps Omar Khayyam said it best:
“And if the Cup you drink, the lip you press,
End in what all begins and ends in - - Yes;
Imagine then you are what therefore
You were - - hereafter you shall not be less.”
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