With the US and Iran about to make various historic hand and symbolic gestures at each other, beside the usual metaphor of a hand puppet show of shadows for children, those of us who aspire to seeing a Free Iran, sometime in our fast fading lifetimes, look at the ground these days, shaking our pretty little heads.
The great irony of this seemingly CNN "momentous occasion", while clearly invisible to everyone else, is not lost to us.
The dilemma is a profound one indeed. The last time a US government and an Iranian-people hating Iranian government got together behind closed doors and on private phone calls like this, we got the short end of America's soft walking stick.
Here's the rub, again for the few odd adventurous Americans who might stray off their Tea Party site waiting for an answer to their Obamacare comment flame, to check in on "Iranian chatter";
How can the US uphold it's own claims of being the voice of freedom and democracy in the world? When it so easily brushed those principles aside, and in the interests of a short term political win for a bad gambling President with nothing left to lose anymore, get in bed so fast with the newest promoted salesman for the Shiite Division of Islam Inc.?
Selling off those principles, by engaging Iran so eagerly, the US is playing exactly and directly into the well greased hands of Iran who has been for 33 years, claiming just how fickle and easily corruptible the US is.
Proof of Iran's contention is depicted at, "It took 33 years of standing firm for Allah, but now, just look how fast we made them crawl to us!"
And the ad being played across the moslem world right now is, "See, that is how you play this game! Go Iran!"
Which to us who know this game, pretty much appears to spell the end of this round of US vs Islam detente. The score? 2:1 in favor of Islam. Is the game over? Not by a long shot. But it may now take a proverbial "longshot" by the US (or possibly it's substitute player, Israel) to draw even.
To be certain, there is no winning this game. The only way to win is not to play. Even if Iran loses, it still wins. As long as you play, the longer you play, Iran wins.
The US still has not gotten this. Or that. Or the other.
On our end, we do what Iranians always do. We aspire to greatness. We dream of it, we imagine it, we'll even lie if we have to, in order to claim it. True, our greatness always tends to come from our past. But great we are, or at least were.
No greater have we been than when we were ruled by Monarchies. For 2800 years non-stop we have been ruled by one King or another.
Even today, it can be argued we are "ruled by the crown", albeit a cloth one, but an absolute ruler nevertheless. One who bestowed his title upon himself, rewrote the Constitution to suit his needs, to consolidate his absolute powers, absolutely.
King Khamenei I, is the latest in a long line and rich tradition of rulers who have ruled Iranians, since it first congealed into a thick and broad soup known as Persia.
And we have blessedly thrived under these Kings. For the most part. When they weren't busy killing each other off every so often. Doesn't Khamenei have a jealous brother?
On average since the first one about 2800 years ago, Iranians (formerly known as Persians) have had give or take 507 kings, or a new king every 5 years.
7 have been Mongol kings starting with Genghis, (apparently the origin of my Y chromosome).
64 have been various Arabs during the Islamic expansion in the 14th century.
But so yeah, like a new guy every 5 years or so has been our average.
Under these rulers we have certainly accomplished all the glorious things you have no doubt heard, and some you might have not.
Starting with the Cyrus Scroll, the arguable "loosest" (Both English and Farsi definitions apply) definition of human rights for the Jews of Babylon, yet sadly though, not for the Persian subjects of Cyrus, only for the variety of foreign ones he owned.
But did you know that Persians or more accurately, Zoroastrians defined the basic concept of the modern (in comparison) Christian holy trinity or Father, Son and the Holy Ghost? Except it was originally, God, Man, and the Spirit or Angels. Angels were also first designated in drawings by the halo oval above their heads.
In addition every winter solstice, the pagan Zoroastrian tradition of gathering in front of an evergreen fir tree to exchange gifts and well wishes, in hopes the cold winter would soon pass to the time of rebirth of the world in Spring. It was a celebration of such importance the Christian Pope eventually shifted the very birth date of Jesus to coincide with this date in order to compete with this far more popular holiday. Even changing the Gregorian calendar too. The only reason Christmas is on the 25th of December today instead of the19th or 20th or the exact time of the Winter Solstice, is due to to the mathematical error of the Gregorian calendar that was not discovered until it had shifted off the solstice, and was later changed to require a correction every 4 years.
Otherwise Jesus would by now have been born on Shabeh Yalda every year.
Speaking of Jesus:
The original 3 wise men depicted in EVERY SINGLE DEPICTION OF THE BIRTH OF CHRIST, were Persian scientists sent to investigate the strangely overly bright star appearing in the East somewhere above the Jerusalem/Nazareth/Bethlehem area. GPS was not invented yet.
Meanwhile to the West, another contingent of Persian scientists had been dispatched to investigate another rumored fascination. A mythically beautiful beast, similar to a horse but with a long horn protruding from it's forehead. The singular MOST AWE-INSPIRING CREATURE OF ALL TIME, was in fact recorded as in existence in the mountains of India, the records of this and many other discoveries lost during the burning of libraries during the invasions under Moslem expansion.
Add to this, the genius of Sina and his contributions to medicine, surgery and the simple general idea of the antiseptic prevention of disease and infection. and you could stop right there and be done.
Except you can't. For there is more.
Add to all of this, the invention of Beer and Wine as useful fermented alcoholic beverage with benefits, Ice Cream just for the pure culinary enjoyment of it, home air conditioning, plumbing in order to bring in water and provide indoor toilets, the modern sewer to remove human waste from the home, coinage, the concept of the credit card as a trusted form of payment, the reliable timely delivery of mail and postage, the incandescent light, and the design and cultivation of a beautiful and aromatic garden of specially selected and bred plants and flowers purely for aesthetic pleasure.
Add to this yet more; the invention of a common efficiently written language, and of course all of the military inventions and contributions, from naval, artillery, cavalry, including the use of covert "Special Forces" as well as espionage, double-agents, counter intelligence to feed your enemy spies dis-information.
All courtesy of the always smiling but unassumingly quiet Iranian who lives on your block. Once in a while washing his obscenely large Mercedes in the driveway by hand. Like his father used to make him do when he was a boy, every Friday afternoon.
All courtesy of some sort of Monarch.
The current Cyrus Scroll and the source of it's notoriety? Thank the Shah and his sheer dogged personal determination to force the UN to acknowledge this cracked artifact with it;s suspiciously missing chunk, as a declaration of human rights. Sort of. Even if it was a mad quest of sorts to establish Iran in 1972 as a 4th most important nation of the world.
I often wonder what that missing chunk says though...
Mad indeed, leading to the 2500 year celebration of Persian Civilization. Madder still, by serving the largest collection of heads of state ever assembled to this date, in Persepolis, to wine and dine on endless bottles of the finest French Champagne, and most delectable Pheasant under the glass from Maxim's in Paris, (oddly there are no Pheasants in Iran), flown in by the hour on the latest Concorde supersonic airliner.
In contrast, I looked for even one contribution that mighty King Khamenei I has brought to Iran. And about the only credit I can give him, is this:
Under Khamenei I's rule, Iranian Women have apparently become distinctly more beautiful. For some reason, there is apparently a beauty secret to the hejab that no one, not even the self taught, and self appointed scholar who wrote the hadith ever saw coming.
As I said, with the mad desire that Iranians have these days to be free, many appear too quick to dismiss Monarchy. Automatically on reflex as a bad thing.
I say, not so fast. Given the obvious benefits that Monarchy has proven over 2800 years, maybe there is a way everyone can be happy. Maybe in spite of Maryam Antoinette, there is way to "have our cake, and eat it too."
To that end I give you the Constitutional Ceremonial Monarchy:
This would put a clause in a new Constitution restoring the 2800 year old tradition of Monarchy, but without any of the official powers or authority that have always ended up badly for the monarchs and us. Especially us.
According to this new Constitution of Iran, that gives us all the usual human and civil and civic and political rights, it designates the monarchy as a ceremonial fixture in Iranian society.
The monarch would be required to (only) sign all official documents, using the finest commemorative collectible Mont Blanc pens, and put a royal seal on laws, and governance, purely as a ceremonial duty, according to the will of the people, as expressed through their democratically elected representative politicians.
The monarch would then hold the responsibility of maintaining the cultural and historical heritage and symbolic credibility and honor of Iran, by representing Iran at official heads of state gatherings around the world, as well as hosting visiting dignitaries with full honors, pomp, and circumstance. And open the Games of the Olympiad.
Gold fringe, tassles, lots of tassles, braided brocade, shiny medals, sparkling jeweled crests, brooches, and motifs would blind the tearing eyes of every heq'-heq'ingly choked with pride Iranian. The 16 horn salute in advance of a military band playing "Eye Iran", would cause everyone to burst and bawl out uncontrollably at soccer games and national gatherings. Even if Iran lost the game. Again.
Who would assume the throne? I'm not particular, I could go either way, a Pahlavi or a Ghajar, both seem deserving enough. Both seem to have a reasonable claim. Maybe an arm wrestling match, or a duel!
Or we can just go on as usual, as we have for the past 33 years, and wait and see what Rouhani and Kerry have to announce they "agreed to explore in future place to be determined closed door meetings" next.