Beyond the narrow confines of Iranianism
By Yariz Kangani
May 8, 2001
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
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.