The Nationalist Emotion

I didn’t come running back into my language and my people for nothing. Years ago, I found my Farsi in shambles, and I couldn’t even remember when eid e noruz occurred. But after reading Molana with my father on some random day about three years ago, I had a certain feeling. It called me and pulled me back to my people, my language and my history. And it pulled me back into chelo kabob, unsurprisingly.

The nationalist emotion is what I call it. That feeling opened my heart. I felt it right in my throat and my eyes. The nationalist emotion was narrow. It only made me want to cry or else it made me proud and jubilant. It’s not as sophisticaed as other emotions. But it makes sense to my heart and to my mind. 

An article in WashPo once examined the God gene. And while I’m no scientist, and while I didn’t read the article, it made me think “Wow, so when I hear the call to prayer and feel like praying to God, inexplicably, I now know that this may have some genetic basis.” I doubt that is what the God gene really implicated… but you see where I’m coming from. And where I’m going.

Is there a nationalist gene, hot wired to my heart, that makes me go crazy when I see my people, developing, evolving and struggling? Does watching long haired Tehrani boys and made up girls, with green ribbons, make you feel like crying instantly? Haha. When I look at an Iranian flag, hear ey Iran, smell the streets of Ardebil from Houston, why am I pulled in?

See, the most confounding part of this is that I have absolutely no childhood connection with Iran. My parents are Iranian, of course,  and we had our own little Iran while I was growing up… but why and how does Iran call me from so far away?

Excerpted from Coleman Barks’s translation of “The Force of Friendship” by Molana.

Suddenly a raven grips the mouse and flies off. The frog too, from the riverbottom, with one foot entangled in the invisible string, follows, suspended in the air. Amazed faces ask, “*When did a raven ever go underwater and catch a frog?*” The frog answers, “This is the force of Friendship.” What draws friends together does not conform to Laws of Nature. Form doesn’t know about spiritual closeness. If a grain of barley approaches a grain of wheat, an ant must be carrying it. A black ant on black felt. You can’t see it, but if grains go toward each other, it’s there.


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