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Don't be boring. Be Iranian

By Linda
May 10, 2001
The Iranian

A little reminder of some of the beautiful things that Iranians share.

Our Language: How many times have ignorant Americans asked you whether you were speaking French? Our language is very beautiful and even though it is bastardized in the TV shows in the U.S., people who speak the language correctly are a joy to listen to.

Our poets: How many profound poems have you read by the thousands of Iranian poets that existed or are still alive today, each time stopping and thinking damn she/he's so right. Sa'di, Jami, Shamloo, Forough Farrokhzad, Sepehri, Hamid Mossadegh, etc.

Our new year: What can be more amazing than starting the new year on the first day of spring? Sitting around the Haft Seen in anticipation. Reading from the Koran, Golestan, Hafez or whatever that brings inspiration.

Celebrating nature in the fields with friends and family on the thirteenth day.

Visiting the elderly and disabled on the first day of Eid. Even though their comments, criticisms and boring stories may drive us to the edge, would you have otherwise ever visited them? And what would you have felt if they passed away? That you never got to see them, ever?

Asking the elder or head of the family for advice and support when things went bad, knowing that they would be there for you. Would you really replace that with a $$$/hour therapist?

Asking a stranger for whatever it was they were cooking because you were pregnant and food smelled really good and more likely than not be received graciously.

Respecting the elders and listening to them (by force or otherwise). In hind sight aren't there things that they said that make perfect sense today.

Knowing that in most cases you're always welcome at your parents' house when things are rough. Can you seriously say that about the everyday American where you're accountable for the cost of food and lodging?

Having a million people stop by and ask you if you needed help if you looked stranded? Ever thought of the law suits that can follow if you do the same here and something innocently goes wrong?

Tarof. The one thing that kills most of us. But haven't there been times when you really wanted something and needed a little tarof to accept it with minimum guilt? Because after all, tarof oomad nayoumad daareh.

And our food. Forget outside Iran for a moment and go back home. Do you remember that you usually had "warm" foods in winter and "cold" foods in summer? That sabzi khordan, onion, somaagh and yogurt help digest food and kill harmful bacteria.

Remember the freshly-shelled walnuts, warm cooked beet, fava beans with golpar, zoghaal akhteh, aabeh zereshk? How nutritious is popcorn, hot dog, honey-glazed peanuts and cotton candy?

We have been invaded left and right. Have we ever become a commonwealth country? This shows the strength of our people. (Conspiracy theorists have a ball with this!!)

We've never had freedom of speech, so Iranians who do great things remain anonymous. Even here, we are afraid that one day we might get into trouble with the present goverment or the next. But with a little research we can find better role models than Freddie Mercury.

Ask anyone from any cultural or racial group and you will hear similar complaints about their culture, traditions etc. Take Thanksgiving. How many times have you heard people dreading the family gathering, the turkey, the stuffings?

As humans we're soooo alike. It's these little cultural, religious,... differences that make us interesting. Imagine everybody being 100% their adopted/inhereted country... Boring.

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