Nationalism, ethnocentricity, and ethno-nationalism is an integral part of the “Iranian-ness,” particularly of those who still have their umbilical cord connected to the Mother-Persia of glorious Korush days and glorious past. A potentially dangerous blinding connection that constantly feed us the feeling good juice of هنر نزد ایرانیان است و بس under the influence of this ether, we rarely have opened our eyes, carefully looked around, and the asked ourselves, our kings, our rulers and governments where is that Art? Where is that Science? Where is that Discovery? Where is that Invention? Where are the Innovations? What this abstract and meaningless notion of having the MONOPOLY over ownership if “ARTS” has done for us? In what meaningful way we have contributed to the welfare of not only our citizens, but human species?
Nearly 1500 years of domination of an alien culture had done nothing but liquidation of every possible value that was Iranian and no one has ever stood for defending them. The cannibalization of Iranian culture, and replacing it with the Dark Age religious culture of Islam, had made us what we are, confused, who are we? Is “Religion” a very important part of an “Iranian” DNA?! Why the present leaders, including a.n., the president, are desperately trying for fusion of Islamic extremism and nationalism? I am sure many remember his sardonic smile, clumsy theatrics and masquerade when Korush Cylinder was visited by him while on loan to his government.
Islam entered the culture and fabric of Iranian culture by the power of sword, force, and bloodshed. The nation’s spiritual welfare was enhanced an “up-graded” from گفتار نیک، پندار نیک، رفتار نیک، and we got the symbols and artifacts of Golden Islamic Civilization– its architecture- -in Isfahan Masjed Shikh Lotfol-Laah, Masjed Shah, Masjed Jaame and Masjed this, Imam-zadeh that elsewhere!!
At this very vital juncture we need to re-examine a lot of things. Korush lived “gloriously” BUT that was 2500 years ago. Ferdowsi died in 1020, almost 1000 years ago. Raazy, Aboo-Ali Sinaa, Dariush Shah, are all dead, gone! We are proud of them and what they have done is a very important part of our history, that part we LIKE to remember! But we must cut the umbilical cord and move on. An emotional nationalism and irrational attachment to the glories of the past real or perceived, romanticizing nationalism and ideological belief in our Race, Language and History has been one of our major problems causing us taking our eyes off the ball and instead of playing the ball; play (with) other players!
Different aspects and impact of this sentiment can be seen in 1906 Constitutional Revolution, Nationalization of Oil, Iran-Iraq War, AryaMehr ideology and the 2500 year of history celebration, and today’s desperate attempt by ruling Islamist to somehow infuse “nationalism” in their interpretation of the word of God and the resulting ideology for governing their theocracy. History has shown that in some environment nationalism and patriotism has been an effective tool confronting colonialism and it modern day replacements. It remains to be seen whether in today’s Iranian political, social, and cultural environment nationalism can remain independent of religion and therefor an effective tool in challenging the word of god and his earthly representatives? Or the Islamist, as they have been successful to cannibalize and liquidate the Iranian culture, will be also successful to diffuse this strong sentiment which still is shared by many Iranians? Another step towards selling the absurd and phony idea of Melli-Islaami.
The following is an interesting quote from Erich Fromm, take a read. His comments regarding this polemic and contentious topic is honest and I think it provides for a fructuous discourse.
“Nationalisms a form of incest, is our idoratary, is our insanity. “Patriotism” is its cult. It should hardly be necessary to say, that by “patriotism” I mean that attitude which puts one’s own nation above humanity, above the principles of truth and justice; not the loving interest in one’s own nation, which is the concern with the nation’s spiritual as much as with its material welfare, never with its power over other nations. Just as love for one individual which excludes the love for others is not love. Love for one’s country which is not part of one’s love for humanity is not love, but “idolatrous worship”