It’s as pointless to try to beat nationalism and patriotism into someone’s head as it is to try to beat it out. Hence, the meaningful act is to state an opinion and hope for the best. Plus, more often than not, people confuse nationalism and patriotism with a mix of fascism and “sheepism” (the thoughtless pursuit of which ever direction the herd is lead towards). A true patriot or nationalist must criticize her/his government, think and be informed about the issues, and be vigilant against corruption. Healthy criticism is the bread and butter of governance by the people and for the people. Beware of those who try to shut criticism of any government by patriotic jingoism, appeals to nationalism, or out right intimidation in the name of national security.
Having said that, I think it’s unrealistic to compare a nation to a loved one: husband, wife, mother, father, etc. A nation is more than any of these. Such comparison is often made poetically, but aside from its romantic illusion; it’s not a fitting comparison. Nations are not just the geographic territories that they occupy, or their citizens, or the culture and language that develops within them. They encompass land, people and culture, but they’re much more than that. They allow their citizens to take root and flourish. Nations are more like a foundation, a solid ground to build your life on. As a side note, I’m one of those idealists that dreams of a one world nation, but humanity doesn’t seem to have its act together, so for now we’re all stuck with national boundaries!
I have not mentioned any single country on purpose. This is what I would say to anyone, be they Iranian or not. And to practice what I preach, it goes without saying that Iran has problems. Religious, social, and political freedoms are absent. Women’s rights along with a wide range of human rights are violated. However, if you still would like to insist in comparing countries or nations to a loved one, I would like to give you another analogy.
Suppose that your husband or wife has a brain tumor or a neurodegenerative disease. And suppose that this situation is taking its toll on you, shattering every aspect of your life. What are you going to do? Are you going to leave your husband or wife and look for a new one? Or are you going to stick by her/him through sickness and health? I’m not advocating either choice. I have my personal beliefs on it, but for now I’m extending an analogy that was made previously.
Countries don’t betray people. Betrayal is the handy work of men. But, if you’re an immigrant and feel “betrayed” by whatever country you left behind, have no doubt that you may also be “betrayed” by whatever country you have adopted. And then what are you going to do? Move on over to another country? Note that I’m not condemning immigration. My argument is against pinning betrayal on a whole country/nation. Leave Iran if you like. It’s your right to do so. Keep some of its culture and language if you like or cast it all aside and adopt a new one. Hell, even go back once in a while for a vacation. But do it for the right reason. Do it because the problems of Iran make it impossible for you to live there. Do it because in the current situation you have better opportunities elsewhere or because the challenge of fixing the problems is too much. Iran has not betrayed anyone. Some Iranians have betrayed their fellow citizens. That’s more honest.