Liaaghat nadaashtim

A reply to Alidad Vassigh's “Iruni-baazi

Little Jack Horner
Sat in a corner,
Eating a Christmas pie.
He stuck in his thumb
And pulled out a plum,
And said, “What a good boy am I!”

Dear “Jack”,

I realize it must have taken all the energy, education and mouth you could muster to come up with such brilliant prose and self-satisfied turns of phrases. How wonderful to be able to show off that as an Iranian you are also hip with the lingo of the “hood” and generally smooth and “with it,” but what is it with this fascination with the Qajars?

I have often marveled at the lengths to which people such as yourself are willing to go just to land a jab at anything or anyone Qajar. What is it? Are we Qajars really still this threatening to your fragile egos that it is impossible for anyone of your kind to make an argument for anything without simultaneously having to tear down, bad mouth and carry on about Qajars and what they did or did not do? What manic logic is this, that to prove loyalty to the Pahlavis one could only do so by ritual repetition of curses on the “good for nothing” Qajars?

Let us ask this of our little Jack: By what superior knowledge and deep study has he established that Qajars have done nothing worthwhile, and that whatever they did, they did badly, to the point of deserving to be the object of derision of little Jacks such as himself everywhere?

Well, if they indeed were only about what our little friend is so eager to remind us, then presumably, to take him at his word, the Qajars weren't so enough, otherwise they would still be in power and all the bad little boys like our little Jack would have their filthy little mouths washed out for speaking words too big for their little heads.

But, instead, the Qajars are gone. They left the throne and the country not because they were cowards or could not think of ways to retain it, but because they were noble, something little Jacks and their buddies big bully Jacks would never understand. They are gone and have mostly fallen silent because their dignity demanded of them to let go of power before becoming servants to a shop-keeper nation with dreams of being world emperors.

It would have taken nothing any brute could not muster for them to retain power and put on airs, but they did not because of who they were, and now they still have to suffer the indignity of slanders and the foulness of language such as this, for simply having been noble at a time and for a nation who preferred the language of the brute to that of a king who called upon his nation to be great by following not him but their conscience, their reason and their constitution.

Well, maybe instead of making fun of them we should poke fun at ourselves, sitting in cafes in Madrid or Paris or Los Angeles thinking ourselves clever for having such filthy little mouths. What ought we to expect of a brutalized people but becoming brutalizers in turn?

As we are marking the fifty year anniversary of the 1953 coup against Dr. Mossadegh and are approaching the centenary of the 1906 Constitution of Iran, instead of smirking at the inanities of our clever-by-half Jacks, we should bemoan our fate and repeat to ourselves: “Khaak bar saremaan ke liaaghat-e yek Soltan Ahmad Shah raa nadaashtim. Khaak bar saremaan ke liaaghat-e yek Dr. Mossadegh raa nadaashtim.”


Manoutchehr Eskandari-Qajar is professor of Political Science and Middle East Studies at SBCC. He is also President and Founder of the International Qajar Studies Association (IQSA) and President of the Kadjar Family Association (KFA).

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