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Sehaty Foreign Exchange

    Pressure cooker

March 1, 2000

Our own worst enemy

By Banafsheh Zand

Recently I wrote a response to a man who had posted a shall we say "call to arms" on The Iranian. His claim was that Iranians were Europeans and was inviting "us" to join his efforts to oust the presumed ner' do well Africans, Indians and some such alleged human debris from his homeland, Canada. As usual I copied said response to the Iranian, not necessarily for posting but just for laughs with my friend Jahanshah Javid. Jahanshah, knowing what a firecracker I can be, went ahead and posted it - I had no objection. Afterall I thought, if other Iranians see this, maybe TOGETHER we can "convince" Mr. Chessman, the Canadian, that he is barking up the wrong tree!

A day or two passed and I started receiving e-mails from fellow Iranians, my compatriots in whom, it seems I'd naively placed my faith. In all fairness, I did get a couple of very kind and bolstering e-mails BUT then, I began receiving e-mails from folks who were calling me a mental midget for not only considering myself but also refering to myself in a public forum as an Aryan and the fruit of the Silk Route. I was told that there are no more "pure" Aryans found anywhere and that I should mind my p's and q's when making sociological references.

I was insulted, berated and generally reprimanded for my lexical choices. I tried to explain time and time again that those assertions were made on a purely metaphoric level; I uttered them in order to make a point. Unfortunately these words fell on deaf ears. Why do we as a people in exile, a minority who should be it's own best friend, always feel the need to act reprehensibly toward each other? Why is it that most Iranians I meet, no matter how brilliant, clarify, within the first 20 sentences of making their acquiantance: "You know I really don't know a whole lot of Iranians and I generally prefer to stay away from them!"

This always makes me want to reply by saying: "Oh thank you, thank you for deeming me worthy of association!!" What does this behavior say about us? We've become our own worst enemies or were we always? Why is it that we think that the "non-Iranian" is more aadam than we are? Iranians usually have this way of as we say in Farsi, taaghcheh baalaa meezaaran, for each other! I always get the impression that it's always a one-upsmanship.

Rarely well-wishing or uttering an encouraging word, never casting anything short of a disregarding eye. I frankly am stupified by all this self-loathing and misguieded contempt. I love my Iranian friends and am always psyched to meet more - ones who are refined and down-to-earth! Does that make me a freak?


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