The Persian proverb of “bringing a head instead of a hat” is well known to Iranian people. This is in fact reflecting one of the biggest issues that we as a nation, have had for a very long time ensuing in creation of numerous problems for us throughout the history. It seems to be a historical issue which, even though we could get away with it at some points but, running into difficult and obnoxious situations have always been a greater possibility. The events in year 1978 and beginning of 1979 could count for one of these occasions in which, we lost control over our extreme emotions and became a tool in implementing aliens plans with a little domestic icing on the cake!
During the ancient historical period, Iranians created the largest empire on the planet and showed that they are the best when it came to territorial expansionism. At the time when burning villages and towns of defeated were practiced by all parties involved in wars, Iranians managed to set the biggest fire on Athens to provide a good motivation for Alexander of Macedonia to do the same thing in their capital of Persepolis. The price for this particular event was so heavy that it took Iranians a few hundreds of years to make a come back.
Extremist behavior of Iranian kings towards the end of Sasanid era in imposition of all kinds of taxes on ordinary people to support their own lavish living style and their unnecessary wars in fact has been one of the most important factors in crumbling of their dynasty. Giving excessive privileges to clergy and association of them with ruling class along with unjust possession of wealth and holding of large number of women in the harems of powerful people culminated the uprising of Mazdak with another extreme ideology to bring in justice for all!
Massacre of Mazdak and his followers by Anosheravaan (the just!) was another extreme reaction to that extreme ideology albeit resulted in deferment of a revolt by people who were pushed into desperate situation by their rulers but never resolved any problem. Excessive greed for concentration of wealth, power and women by the Sasanid ruling class was also shared by their associates in army and clerics who had higher status than the rest of the people in the society. This issue contributed tremendously in weakening the link between the king and his people and consequently paved the way for destruction of a highly organized and sophisticated empire in the hands of primitive invaders.
There is little doubt that excessive corruption of the rulers was mostly caused by their own greed and the associates whose lust for material gains had driven the nation towards a religious revolt against the system and the clergy who had become an integrated part of it. That revolt did not succeed but weakened the status of the rulers to great extent. After the rush and take over of new religion which came from Arabian desert and fall of Persian dynasty of Sasanid, the vast wealth and extremism of Iranians continued to serve as a tool for the expansionism of newcomers. The number of attacks by Iranian kings on other nations for spread of new religion is beyond ordinary. As a consequence, a huge wealth of jewelry and gold from conquered nations was collected to empower the kingdom while weakening them and leaving them vulnerable to attacks by others.
The extreme love of prophet Mohammad and his descendents by Iranians led into creation of a whole new branch for Islam based on family relation of caliph with prophet Mohammad mixed with centuries old Iranian tradition of hereditary succession of the throne in kingdom.
On the other side of extreme, at some other point in our nation's history, the Iranian communist party of Tudeh, with all its highly educated leaders, went out of its way to become the mouth piece of Soviet Empire's interests in our country and completely forget about patriotism!
The examples of extremist behaviors could be seen even in our daily lives through the choices that we make for grocery, finding a doctor, buying a bicycle, a watch, a car, a TV, etc… etc..! Why should we always be the “best” at everything even the “worst” possible subjects! One day we want the Shah to live for eternity and another day we want him dead! One day Khomeini is our heart and soul and we see him in the moon, the other day he is butchering our people, young and old, men and women, with the help of his extremist supporters! There does not seem to be a middle ground anywhere! Apparently, resorting to extreme measures and staying away from moderation in anything has become embedded in our culture!
What should we do about so much energy and potential which mostly goes to waste through this behavior that seem to be out of control most of the times?
One of the strangest things very clearly visible in this regard, is the behavior of Iranian elite which has kept away from all political and social activities to show its extreme modesty that in fact was the reason for which a charlatan like Khomeini could put himself in the forefront of people's movement 28 years ago! This behavior still continues today and while everyone is enthusiastic to criticize others for any move but they are all reluctant to make the move themselves because they are being very modest! Once again, another sort of extremism is holding us back this time to make something positive happen from all the good “critiques” which we are extremely good at!
This seems to have become the most urgent issue that we have to deal with in order to be able to move forward in a constructive manner towards establishing of a new era in our nation's history. We need to be aggressive about our own rights. We need to get into discussions and debates with each other and learn to live with our differences. We need to be vigorous about our nation's rights and understand that any one of us with different views is part of the same nation.
We need to end the madness which has been ruining everything for our nation during the past 28 years and start a productive dialogue amongst ourselves without tearing each other apart! There is no nation in this world where there are no differences. We can only survive as a nation if we face our common enemy in a united way. A nation can live with differences but can not survive too long with extremist behaviors in today's world. May be it's time for dialogue and move forward as a nation with different views but in a united front against a common enemy, before others play savior role for us.