August 21, 2004Top
* Yes! We're Central Asian
How very right you are [I'm...
Central Asian]. Some twenty years ago, when I had moved
to exile in Europe, I wrote a draft of my memoirs and sent it to an English
friend who passed it on to the reader of a publisher. Her comment was
that obviously Iran is much more of a Central Asian country than a
Middle Eastern one (the memoirs were never published because it was
druing the hostage crisis).
I agree with you and have written about
it, including on iranian.com (where you can access my first article,
Defending our turf, in which I say that Central Asia is no less than
our Jerusalem). I also organize lectures and other cultural programmes
in which Iran and Central Asia are dealt with together. Like you, I
have Georgian ancestry, and my father was born in Ashkabad at at time
when the majority there were Persians and Russians (the Turkmen were
still nomadic then).
Unfortuntately it is the policy of the West, especially America and
Israel to separate us and to keep Iran within the Arab Middle East.
Studies would have disappeared from the West, if it were not for the
donations of dedicated Iranians (many of whom, like you, believe in a
Federative Union of Greater Iranian parts). However, the policy of Turkicizing
Uzbekistan and if possible, Pashtunizing Afghanistan (even though they
too are ethnic Iranians) and now getting the Kurds into a collaborative
association with Israel, plays against our cultural and economic interests
and ultimately may harm our common culture (it has already done some
harm to the Persian language).
The most recent issue of the Central Eurasian
Studies Review (published at Harvard, web address: cess. fas.harvard.edu)
plainly states in at least two articles that this is policy. One article
praises German scholarship, '"unburdened by the gross imbalance
regrettably impoesd on Central Aisan or 'Central Eurasian' studies in
the United States by the preoponderance of support for (and hence the
production of ) scholarly work that is supposedly relevant for policy
makers (with deleterious results for both scholarships and policy)." Right
from the horse's mouth.
In my sad experience, most Central Asian 'experts'
even associate the influence of Persian in Central Asia to the arrival
of Islam and Arabic, not as a reaction at the Samanid court in Bukhara
to revive Persian in a new idiom for a new world.
But we have been through worse in history and with the likes of people
like yourself who refuse to accept propaganda, we can eventually establish
our unity and work together not in the name of Islam, but in the name
of a culture and history that is far older than any of the three monotheisms,
all o fwhich were substantillay influenced by Zoroastrianism.
We must keep in touch to show that the will of the peoples of those
countries and their rich culture are stronger than the force of passing
Thank you for your article. This is the sort of thing I have been
Fatema Soudavar Farmanfarmaian