Well I finally bit the bullet and saw 300. I must say that I was thoroughly entertained and impressed. I really should stop being swayed by the opinions of the herd that populates the labyrinth of today’s communication networks and has been handed a rather large megaphone to which I find myself subjected more often than I would like; but that is merely a weakness on my own part.
What I saw at the crux of the story was not a battle between people of different nations but that of ideas. Here, the Greeks and Persians are merely the vehicles of those ideas, carrying the message through the story as the plot unfolds.
One must pay attention to the not so obvious points in the film. Look at the way, for instance, that the clergy was presented, even in Greek society itself. We see the grotesquely deformed men that belong to a long gone era, holding society back with irrational mysticism; something that no freedom-loving Iranian today should be unfamiliar with.
However, the response I saw in many Iranians in regards to the movie was rather acute in my opinion, which is partly the reason that held me back from watching it for so long. I believe this was a result of, first of all, ignorance and a complete misunderstanding of the whole point of the film, which in large part was just to entertain, and secondly because of cultural and historical sensitivity.
I do realize the monstrous light in which the Persian Empire was presented in 300. But being the optimist that I am I simply place this fact on great historical misunderstanding regarding the nature of the Empire. This is not a new trend but an ancient one and in large part due to the legacy of Herodotus and today further amplified by the horrific actions of the clerical regime in Tehran. Very few scholars have understood the Persian Empire well and I will bear no malice against anyone who thinks of it as an empire of slaves and conquerors and will merely associate that thought with ignorance.
As the old Persian saying goes, we are a snake bitten nation, and 300 is just another black and white rope. And that is truly the sad part. A myriad of wars and oppressors throughout the last few centuries have made us weak, robbed us of self confidence and left us with an inferiority complex that is triggered by the slightest of events.
What hope could you ever have in a world such as ours if you are shaken to your core by something as simple as this film?
This reminds me of the story in the classic comedy of Daiee Jaan Napelon, where someone at the party has an accident of the flatulent kind which results in the families breaking apart and warring amongst themselves over the question of who the real perpetrator was. I realise I am trudging on tasteless waters here but the perceptive writers of the sitcom have really captured the story of the Iranian people in a nutshell. Our whole world can come crashing down with a simple fart!
I see our society and I truly wish we were more like the Spartans of 300; proud, unnerving, masculine warriors. Maybe if the notion of kneeling before any man, or god for that matter, was unthinkable to us, maybe if staying alive didn’t mean more to us than the simple idea that every man is born free (first uttered by Cyrus himself I might add!), then maybe on that day the blood of every wretched soul connected to the ruling regime in Tehran would flow through the streets. And what a glorious day that would be.
But instead I see a deeply feminine nation and it sickens me to my stomach. Just look at the line of women from Los Angeles to Tehran who call themselves our leaders! Actually I am just insulting women now and I apologise for that. Iranian women have far more metal than the weak, pathetic men who value life above freedom. But that is not to say we do not have real men. Indeed we do. You can find them all in Evin or 6 feet below the ground. And the best thing I could hope to accomplish in my life is to eventually join them; heart, body and soul.
So do allow me to leave you with this sentiment: The day your safety means more to you than freedom… well that my friend, is the day life ends and slavery begins! The history of every free nation is written in the blood of thousands. And so shall be ours. That part is not negotiable.
We must give and we must shed, or we will not be at all…