I usually do not get too worked up by articles in the news. But this one brought a lot of thoughts. You would think that Amnesty International would mention a little about Iranian history.
I always come across people who take one look at me, and say, “your name is Ali, and you are not a Muslim”. I say to them, the name Ali is older than Islam. In fact Islam is pretty young. I usually then give a sermon, it goes something like this.
***Warning: below is a long explanation.***
Iran and most of West Asia is where language was born. The names there are from the oral tradition, that are from the last galactic alignment (see my Astrology web site). Suffice it to say, that to say “Islamic name” is wrong.
Ironically Ali, is the first apostate from the accepted faith in the 7th Century AD. Iran was under the Sassanian Empire at the time. People in Iran then did come under a number of religious waves. Christians began proselytizing people left right and centre. They still do. Zoroastrian Iran, as the Christian writers later named us, began to retaliate, against changing our name.
But the real roots are elsewhere. I start with Kartir, who was a Sassanian General, who tried to stop people losing their Iranian identity, to something else that put its morality above Iran. The arguments we had at the time, were no different to any arguments we have had since. Free Will vs dogma. Religion vs Secular State. Foreign names vs Iranian names.
The first major shift in thinking came, when people stopped thinking in terms of Ohrmazd and Ahriman (Iranian Yin Yang) as polarity, and moved to good and evil. Mani was the first to do this. The concept of polarity became dualism. Dualism then became Good and less Good. Good and less Good became Good and Bad. People began to move from seeing life in colour to black and white. What made it worse, was when living activities became equated with bad, and only heavenly activities were deemed as good. Name of God was more important than the name of Iran.
The motivation to live and be productive, as we see it now, existed in Iran, and led the country to be the most advanced culture of its time. It did not happen once. It happened three times, each three hundred years long. Much of what they call Islamic science, is actually Iranian science; that came again after many Iranian scientists, who had now changed their name to Islamic names, tried to pick up where their ancestors had left off before Islam came around. Their work still continued under different names.
People nowadays forget, that in Iran we had had six centuries of Christians trying to change Iran, and it did not get anywhere. Our Astrologers, Magi, or Wise Men had predicted the birth of Jesus of Nazareth. Iranian wise men, had seen the coming rises and falls of the nation, thousands of years before anyone. Look up Jamasp. The country ruled the planet Earth. The Emperor had to know what was going to happen, and to safeguard it. So the concepts adopted for Iran, were almost intuitive and timeless. That is the reason why we adopted concepts like Free Will, Human Rights, and it later developed into the poetry of Rumi, Hafez. The truth remained no matter what has happened to the name.
Iran, being where literature began as in the Proto-Elamite script, was the knowledge hub, and its Knowrooz (Nowrooz) philosophy tolerated anything natural. Life and nature are the heart of our Heaven on Earth existentialism. So we tolerated as much was possible. But when our very national identity and culture became threatened by religion, people like General Kartir became violent. That produced violent backlashes. What Kartir, who was the Sassanian High Priest of Iran, led to creation of his Islamic counterparts as in Khomeini, or others in other fanatics religious orders. So Islam copied Kartir. Warriors continued under a new name.
It is necessary to read all the above, when you begin to read about history of religion in Iran. Christians and Moslems will not tell you any of this. I would be skinned alive if I said this in Iran. So when I read that a Christian Pastor getting freedom, I start to think, that there is a lot that is not being said, that needs to be said. You cannot ignore thousands and thousands of years of ancient history of Iran. It is there, no matter how well they burnt our books, crushed all our statues, and ancient monuments. It is still there, especially in every Iranian’s heart, no matter what our name is.
If you put an Iranian from 2000 years ago, in a time machine, and brought him to the present day, he would be astonished, and his wife would probably faint, seeing how many Iranians have lost their true identity. They did a good job then, keeping fanatic thought from taking advantage of Iranian concept of Free Will, as written in the Zend Avesta. Free Will philosophy allowed Iran to have the first charter of human rights on Earth. Iran was the hub of the world. Persepolis was structured to greet the whole world. Look up Persepolis Gate of Nations. And the people who build it were treated humanely and paid well. Unlike any other Empire Iran was not built by slaves, and their names remain in cuneiform.
Nowadays Christian and Moslem, never mind the others, do not dare to mention how advanced we were. Who would read what they had to say, if they knew that others had done a better job, years before them, in the way we treated all citizens in the world. So much of what Iranians first said was basic common sense, that it all came back naturally in the new worlds such as Americas. People seem to think that they are the first to think of these things. But people who really do not plagiarize and give credit where it is due, like Hegel in his Phenomenology of the Spirit, refer to the Zend Avesta. He mentions our name, “The principle of development begins with the history of Persia; this constitutes therefore the beginning of history.”