For me and my family, Ferdowsi is King, and always will be. The Shahnameh, and a fine bottle of red wine (a Persian invention, as was beer), will always have a place on our haft-seen table on Norouz!
Ferdowsi celebrates Iran’s heritage and it’s original identity before the stain of Arab domination. He, like Sadegh Hedayat, celebrates the heroic glory of pre-Islamic Iran, and obviously, mourns its tragic loss at the hands of an inferior, bedouin culture. Notice I did not use the term “race” — I hope one can still admire and promote his or her original culture, one which promotes good words, good thoughts, good deeds, without being belittled as a racist.
We should celebrate and promote Ferdowsi’s pro-Iranian mantra far more than the fatalistic poets, who promote indifference and subjugation to our foreign masters — these are not the times for indifference and submission to tyranny. But of course, Islam by definition requires “submision” as the word “Islam” itsef is a contraction of “taslim.”
In our world today, how can we celebrate poets who celebrate the idea of “taslim” to a regime that rapes and murders its citizens for having a differing opinion? This is the part of our post-Islamic “makeup” that just baffles me as someone who was born in Iran and left at the age of 9, one year before the revolution. Having grown up in America, where we’re constatnly taught that “anything is possible” with hard work, it’s hard to take this darvishian hashish-induced fatalism, this blatanly defeatist poison.
We need more writers and poets who emphasize our ancient Iranian heritage, promoting an all-you-can-be mentality, a do-ers mentality, a Rostamian-Kavian-world-beater mentality — in short, a fighter’s mentality and not a quitter’s nirvana. As another blogger recently noted, is it any wonder that the old British Empire, which cultivated the opposite characteristic amongst its Iranian subjects, actively promoted poets like Rumi, Khayam and Hafez? And now, it is the IRI’s turn to promote submission and taslim in the popular name of Hafez.
In the final analysis, Hafez preaches the ordinary Iranian, who can be truly extraordinary in all fields of life, to quit the good fight, to resign, to be indifferent — in short, it tells us to be quitters. This is not only anti-Iranian and anti-American, but it is anti-human progress.
As my old elementry school teacher in upstate New York used to say, “quitters never win, and winners never quit,” specially when your’re fighting against tyranny for the most basic human aspiration… **Freedom**