I once met a very intelligent person, who did not know about Iran. Sounds weird. Sounds arrogant maybe.
I said to him, “you know, Persia”. “Oh Persia. Well I know Persia, yes the Shah of Persia, what a glorious Empire”.
If you are an Iranian, you know exactly what I am talking about. We in the diaspora, come across this all the time. Iranian comedians, have huge audiences of Iranians, laughing at themselves, over ways we introduce ourselves.
Normally, we Iranians need to apologise why we are in this mess, after having so many Empires and civilizations predating the Bible. The legacy is immense. Empires were built on secular principles. Empires were built on human rights. Persepolis was burnt down, but the precious remains are still found in tiny tablets, that record people being paid for their labour.
No they cannot black out the ancient history of Iran. Herodotus was wrong. Alexander was half Iranian, read Eskandarnameh. Yes the Chinese learnt from Sassanian Princes and not before.
“So where did you all go wrong. Why is it that an irrelevant zealot managed to dislodge The Shah of Persia for God’s sake”, is what we all get asked. And I got asked. So my fellow Iranians, lotfan, read on.
The answer is simple. The Shah of Persia did a lot of what The Queen of England just did. Unlike Queen of England, Shahanshah Aryamehr, would get much more involved. He would, like The Queen of England make comments about public policy. His Imperial Majesty, would have frank chatter with correspondents. It degraded the Royal Institution of Iran. The media ran amok. It went mad, and the madmen got power.
Imagine The Queen of England, making all sorts of comments about Moslem fanatics, on a daily basis, not just this time. What would happen? Imagine some Moslem madman making direct comments about The Queen of England. Imagine the tabloids in England, went plastering the media, with all those horrible comments. It would destroy the British Royal Institution. Ayatollah Khomeini did just that. Or the British tabloids did that.
The culture of ancient old countries needs to be safeguarded against political, religious or commercial influences. The Queen had her Jubilee, and it was a celebration of British culture. It was not an election, Christmas, or a commercial excersize. It showed the distinction.
We had the Olympics, and we all saw what exists outside the areas of politics, religion and commerce, for all nations. The culture of all nations, needs an institution whose responsibility is to its heritage and nothing else. The people running that institution need to stay within this responsibility, or else be subject to winds of change.