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Beyond the narrow confines of Iranianism

By Yariz Kangani
May 8, 2001
The Iranian

I want to draw an analogy between music and social behavior. Freddie Mercury, who was descended from Iranians on both sides of his family, embraced England, not Iran, and became world famous as the lead singer of Queen. Some say he was the greatest entertainer in the world (along with Elvis and Michael Jackson). Why don't more Iranian musicians enter the mainstream and use their talents to reach the world beyond the narrow confines of Iranianism?

General George Marshall was assigned to live in China for five years. While there, he learned the language fluently, learned Chinese philosophy, and learned the customs. When World War II began, he returned to the United States and organized the greatest army in world history. The man seemed like a god to his fellow Americans.

When the Schwarzkopfs lived in Tehran for four years, they took the time to learn about the culture, a fact that is evident in General Norman H. Schwarzkopf's autobiography "It Doesn't Take A Hero." William Shakespeare based many of his plays in Italy and on Italian characters. Hamlet was based in Denmark on Danish characters.

When Napoleon left Italian Corsica, and chose France as his new home, he never bemoaned the fact that he had left, and he never sulked over his lost homeland Corsica. He embraced the culture of France, and the French people rewarded him and his genius by making him Emperor of France.

British Prime Minister Tony Blair reads the Bible every day, but unlike American tele-evangelizers, he has taken the time to read the Koran three times -- an important move considering some Christians have misinterpreted the scriptures to mean that Middle-Easterners are satanic, and that Whites and Jews are God's chosen ones.

In other words, some people divide the world according to race, rather than seeing humanity as a world of individuals. That's why it's so important for Iranians to break free of all stereotypes, traditions, beliefs... and seek out what is superior, what is good, what produces good results, what produces peace of mind, and so on.

Iranians are being eyed by hungry wolves, but how can you even know that unless you and your children understand the religion of the country you live in -- and furthermore, you must become an expert on all the world's three main power-player religions (Christianity, Judaism, and Islam) in order to understand the collective consciousness of the masses and their political leaders. Why waste time reading the 1,400-page War and Peace when you can read something more apropo.

It humiliates me to think that there are still some Iranians living abroad who have not embraced local cultures, who have not made friends with Whites, Blacks, Latins, Asians, Jews... have not mastered the English language, have not read any biographies of the hundreds of great Americans and Europeans, from Peter The Great to Ulysses S. Grant to Rockefeller to Lyndon B. Johnson to Colin Powell.

America caters to every race and every taste. I think it's about time that Americans who are of Persian heritage, begin embracing this nation with an intense interest. Every man, woman, and child should take out a piece of paper, and write down seven interests, goals and dreams, and focus on them.

I realistically expect Americans who are of Iranian heritage to enter the all-American fields of public achievement such as basketball, country-western and rock music, theater, baseball, football, politics, and others. Every day it becomes more and more obvious that primitives will cling to their own culture and language like a scared baby clings to a warm blanket.

It takes an open-minded, humble person to reach out and learn about other influences -- like, for example Southern Black Blues, the U.S. Civil War, the messages in the Holy Bible, the applications of New Age psychology, and the meaning of E=MC squared. Or to take an interest in American physical activities like basketball, baseball, and aerobic exercising. Extra-cultural interests breed personal growth.

Recently, on a TV show hosted by an Iranian guy called Mikki, he and some Iranian musician called Davood Behboodi sang a Pink Floyd song and an Elvis song -- and afterwards, some very excited people kept calling in to say how much they liked that. We live in a new millennium where people are reaching out for new experiences -- and so be it!

Some poor souls always talk about being frightened that the younger Pepsi generation will forget about Iranian culture. What the hell is Iranian culture? Baba Karam? Snapping fingers and making loud noises? Fat guys with thick mustaches shouting "Assghar aaghaa! Biyaa beraqs deegeh"? Old women with nose jobs? Over-priced Chanel handbags? The ability to crush another person's feelings with total aplomb? Driving a BMW? Eating ghormeh sabzi and chelo kabab until you die of a heart attack? And you wonder why there is nobody over the age of sixteen in Iran anymore. HELLO!

Stop brainwashing your children by telling them they are Iranian. If you live in the United States, then you are American -- and you should begin thinking that way. The worst thing in the world is to be in transition, or in a temporary state, or half-way between one world and another. That factor contributes to a plethora of sub-conscious anxiety problems which result in an unattractive physical appearance, weak muscles, a vague or sometimes over-exaggerated personality, and depression.

Please don't retard your children's growth. Help them create an American identity which has adopted some cool Iranian influences, in the same way that Elvis was an American who adopted some cool Negro influences. Help them to act American, by taking the lead yourself, and then you'll see your problems go away, to be replaced by happiness, genius, and total victory.

America is the greatest nation on earth. There is no other like it. The sooner you embrace America, the sooner Americans will embrace Iranians and Persians. You have to give to receive.

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