February 27, 2001
DON'T bring back Persia
I'm not sure how many times I've come across this 'name' argument but
it never seems to go away ["Bring
back Persia"]. Every time there is negative news from Iran, you
get someone making an argument to change the name back to Persia.
Not surprisingly most requests come from Iranians abroad. I feel for
them. I've been there. (I was in college, here in the U.S. during the hostage
crisis. It wasn't fun!) But the reality is that Reza Shah asked other
nations to call the country Iran, because Persia - at that time - represented
an old and backward nation.
Persia was synonymous with carpets and camels. A nation that had lost
most of its territory to the British, the Russians and the Ottomans. A
sick nation with no industry and a literacy rate that was perhaps in single
Ironically, the arguments for changing the name were no different from
the ones being made today. I guess one of the great things about having
two names is that we can simply switch when the need arises. Like some
worn out shirt we can throw away the old and wear the other, hoping that
enough time has passed to make it once again fashionable.
True to our nature - we yearn to take the easy way out. Woe to the
poor country that only has one name. The citizens of that nation have to
actually work to improve their country - and thus its name. They, have
no other option.