I don't think anyone realizes how bad their Farsi is until they try to learn to read and write it.
I have always been fluent in conversational Farsi, but for more then a few months I've been learning to read and write this glorious language. And I must say I wish I had learned it earlier in life.
It has opened a wide variety of doors for me. I am able to read articles that give me a new perspective on Iran. It's an extraordinary feeling to look at something written in Farsi and being able to read it. I feel more connected to Iran then I have.
My generation — the children of the revolution who left Iran after 1979 — are fortunate enough to be getting an education in universities in Europe and the Americas. We don't live under an oppressive government. We weren't killed off like many of our brothers and sisters in a bloody eight-year war. We understand what is good and bad in the West.
Yet for a lot of us our only Iranian cultural activity is the occasional trip to the chelo kababi, or tbecoming overnight Googoosh fans. How many times have you heard somone say “Man aashq-e Googoosh-am” (I'm in love with Googoosh) from someone who barely remembers Andy and Kouros?
Our shortcomings stem from our lack of knowledge of ourselves. Rather than learning about Iran, we choose to live in a fantasy world. The Iran in our head is a country where everyone was rich, partied and lived in freedom. If this “great Iran” ever existed then why did it disappear?
I and many others are standing at the crossroads of history; we are the descendents of an ancient culture. We can either take this gift and really understand it and give back to it as much as we can, or we can just forget our culture and become like the countless other immigrants that have come to the U.S. and lose our true identity.
If we don't learn our language, and our history, then of what use is this Iran we claim to love so much?