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The Culture of Arguing Politics Amongst the Iranian Diaspora

With love and respect to Iranian women who patiently and graciously tolerate us: their argumentative, politically brilliant husbands!

 

Consider yourself blessed if you haven’t witnessed Iranian men argue politics at a gathering such as your six-year-old son’s birthday partyyour daughter’s weddingor your grandma’s funeral. We Persian men, at least most of us (and yours truly included)do not need differing point of views to disagree; all we need is a political topic to spark a debateTo us, arguing politics inational pastime, an obsessionand a symbol of our masculinity. To the women who watch us with horror-stricken eyes and slack jaws, our testosterone-imbued mulishness is a viral flu so contagious that an epidemic breaks out the moment we gather in an assembly.

 

We enter the debate arena like a gladiator and with the aim of proving our superiority by belittling, vilifying, and annihilating our unworthy opponent so that on the way home we can brag to our mortified wives (girlfriends or partners) about our own intelligence while decrying the worthlessness of those disagreeing with us—basically everyone else. We resort to flagrant trickery, which is comparable to kicking an opponent in the groin during an Olympic-style Greco-Roman wrestling match, pulling a Mike Tyson and biting a challenger’s ear off, or trying to shatter the kneecap of a fellow athlete before the Olympic competitions begin. Referencing non-existing sources, fabricating facts, claiming to have read books or articles we haven’t read are just a few of the tools that tilt the scale in our favor.

 

Iranians are compassionate people; veracity, humility, rectitude, and fairness are values we live by, but not so much during political arguments.

 

I’m not opposed to healthy dialogue, and admire the handful of males to whom my generalizations do not apply, but I worry for the rest of us who take umbrage with differing political views and see arguments as an exercise in self-glorificationfear those who grow louder when facing opposition, and become more assertive, more abusive and more intolerant. grow uncomfortable with people who shout speakers down at public gatherings, and fear those who applaud their actions because it’s their side that’s drowning the other voice.

 

Democracy cannot be a gift of the Western world imposed on us by forceful means, it’s a way of believing, thinking, acting that needs to be woven into the fabric of our culture, in the way we treat each other, the way we respect and even embrace opposing point of views. Our doggedness in pursuing one-sided arguments makes me wonder if developing democratic values is feasible in a culture in which half of the population, like the regime that rules it,has an egregious need to be right all the time, and aspires, in the course of what should be a friendly exchange of ideas, to maxim out of Sun Tzu’s The Art of War: “A clever fighter is one who not only wins but excels in winning with ease.”

 

 

 

Mahbod Seraji is the author of Rooftops of Tehran.

 

 

Balatarin

Mahbod Seraji @Chupaun

Mahbod Seraji is the author of critically acclaimed ROOFTOPS OF TEHRAN. Rooftops has been translated into 15 languages and has won numerous honors.

San Francisco, CA

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amirparvizforsecularmonarchy

amirparvizforsecularmonarchy I Love Waterfalls and Find One of the most humorous things in the world; is the notion that Americans are a greater force for good & more civilized than Nazi's, Mullahs and Communists.

Mahbod this was very good piece, if you can even grasp how beautiful and true your comments were about democratic culture vs. democratic systems. The first being beneficial to society, the second with out any doubt being the worst mass crime ever imposed on humanity so far, so much so it is the parent of/supporter of religious government like what has been imposed on Iran.

alimostofi

Ali Mostofi Astrology, Current Affairs. Princeton Class of 1981. Iranian.com member since 2005 http://iranian.com/main/member/alimostofi.html http://iranian.com/mostofi.html

Do you think Zoroaster argued like the author implies?

amirparvizforsecularmonarchy

amirparvizforsecularmonarchy I Love Waterfalls and Find One of the most humorous things in the world; is the notion that Americans are a greater force for good & more civilized than Nazi's, Mullahs and Communists.

"it’s a way of believing, thinking, acting that needs to be woven into the fabric of our culture, in the way we treat each other, the way we respect and even embrace opposing point of views," well put. It's not given to any one by any one. It has to be earned and worked towards and needs to be part of the national culture, not necessarily the political system. Societies that are democratic culturally Include the UK and Holland far more than the USA, despite all having democratic systems. Society and Culture in the UK and Holland both Monarchies embrace people power on a cultural level unlike the USA and this is very important.

Democratic Systems, do not give people power, if that was the case Nigeria, India, Haiti, South Africa and others would be democratic. It is the culture that needs to be developed towards it. Iranians are in no way, shape or form ready to go from tyranny that is there today towards a democratic culture. Iranians need to stop listening to political group backed by foreign powers in their society, like commies and mullahs and start following those who have helped delver to the people more power and pride in themselves. I won't mention any names although I know the late shah comes to every ones mind as one of the most democratic acting leaders in the world.

A peaceful, tolerant King who cared more than anything to help his nation enjoy the largest growth of middle class in the entire world. Which is a major foundation of people power.

behsaba

behsaba

"I won't mention any names although I know the late shah (I THOUGHT YOU SAID NO NAMES?!) comes to every ones mind as one of the most democratic acting leaders in the world." PFFFFFF HAHAHAHAHA!! Dastmal much brother?

amirparvizforsecularmonarchy

amirparvizforsecularmonarchy I Love Waterfalls and Find One of the most humorous things in the world; is the notion that Americans are a greater force for good & more civilized than Nazi's, Mullahs and Communists.

OMG The late shah is a title, as is the king. DOES IT MAKE ANY SENSE that Neither are a name. A name would be Mohammed Reza Pahlavi. Now you think I am going to be able to inform a person that does not know the difference between a Name and a Title, regarding 1) democratic acting leadership decisions and 2) a culture of democracy 3) How unproven Democratic systems of government are? It doesn't work that way, if you want to be able to think for yourself you need to learn "how" to use your own brain first, then with the brain you were given you would be able to grasp what is being discussed.

The Koran and Religion in general, was made for those who do not know how to use their own brains. It is why the media works so well on telling masses of people what to think, not for themselves.

This is why a reputation can be bought for money and destroyed with money and also why any system of government based on such a flimsy foundation is guaranteed to be going in the wrong direction for all of Humanity, not Just Democratic Systems, but also Religion in Government as both are telling people what to think, and neither are presenting a real choice. Anyone that understands what people power is would never take seriously any system that removes real choice from the masses. To that they would say PFFFFFFF HAHAHAHAHA! Dastmal much brother?

behsaba

behsaba

Hey Brain, "mentioning no names" is called a "phrase" in English, meaning that you won't identify anybody. When you say "the late Shah", there is only one person you can mean, and that's the one who used to make Colonel Gaddafi look like Jesus Christ, such was the amount that he lavished on himself.
Rather than dismissing religion based on it's followers, look at the religion itself. You'd have a better argument by mentioning how corruption makes the rulers unreligious, and then deducing that corruption is within the Iranian culture, and not something created in the last 34 years.

amirparvizforsecularmonarchy

amirparvizforsecularmonarchy I Love Waterfalls and Find One of the most humorous things in the world; is the notion that Americans are a greater force for good & more civilized than Nazi's, Mullahs and Communists.

"mentioning no names" is called a "phrase" in English, meaning that you won't identify anybody. That is not true. Have you never heard of this phrase used in jest to out someone? No names mentioned, the man in the brown hat... or, no names mentioned the lady with glasses on. No Name is being mentioned and People are definitely being identified. This is because the phrase being used tongue in cheek, but then what would you know about the uses of language? Nice try, i am not passing you on the use of words. You failed, start again. I think we should not go beyond definitions, until you can progress from knowing the meaning of a word, I don't want to risk introducing you to the uses of language.

I dismiss religion based on "No Evidence to Support it," now that does attract a certain kind of person, especially when there is plenty of evidence to oppose what is written in religious books. Religion is one of the 2 major Hoaxes people have put their belief into, the other Hoax, which not only has no evidence to support it and also at the same time has an entire body of evidence to disprove it would be "democratic systems of government" and the illusion that the people have power.

Your Instructor, APFSM
Javid Shah, Shah-han-Shah!

amirparvizforsecularmonarchy

amirparvizforsecularmonarchy I Love Waterfalls and Find One of the most humorous things in the world; is the notion that Americans are a greater force for good & more civilized than Nazi's, Mullahs and Communists.

You are obviously not Iranian, those living within Iran know how much more people power and freedom their parents enjoyed with the late shahs team and before the disastrous Khomeini/IRI was backed by the west. Today Iranians vote and every year for 34 years their lives get a little worse for most at the hands of the unqualified and ignorant trash in power.

Zendanian

Zendanian An injury to one is an injury to all.

We've had many "democratic" & "open minded" leaders in Iran. Shah, Khomeini, Khameneie,..they have all been very "open minded" about physical elimination of all their opponents. They all have had an equal opportunity policy in "democratically" killing all who oppose them.
Of course these blood thirsty mullahs make that clown of a "king" look like a boy scout!

amirparvizforsecularmonarchy

amirparvizforsecularmonarchy I Love Waterfalls and Find One of the most humorous things in the world; is the notion that Americans are a greater force for good & more civilized than Nazi's, Mullahs and Communists.

Why are you not discussing the Truth "Democratic Systems of Government" execute and torture their opponents on a scale that no one can even pretend to have ever been the case with Iran's Monarchy. Why not inform people that in "democratic systems of government" thanks to their "Justice System" propaganda of name they have given their criminal system, it is not even unlawful for the government to indefinitely imprison a person or to torture their citizens to death? This is definitely the fact of the matter. However in Iran during the late shahs time torture was unlawful and a crime. Not only did severe beatings never occur, solitary confinement was considered too harsh and also not in use.

The Mullahs are preparing Iran for a "Democratic System", they are 9/10th of the way there too, the media is already a propaganda tool used to deceive the people, exactly like in all the "democratic systems". Since the Mullahs have no concept of how to make any money, unlike "democratic systems" where victory always goes to the candidate with the most money, the mullahs have not yet figured out the uses of money, so they just disqualify who ever they want directly, without any show.

"Democratic systems" have always been of the powerful, by the powerful, for the powerful. Corruption is incomparably worse in "democratic systems" Can you say Halliburton? Katrina? Congress? For you Zendanian, I wish for you to live in a democratic system, just not in Iran. Take your lies to the west and stay there. When you decide you want to debate, do it not in a machiavelian way based on lies, but stick to the truth and based on evidence that would stand up in a society that thinks and acts like a court of law.