Flower delivery in Iran


Opinion * FAQ * Write for The Iranian
* Editorial policy

I'm an optimist
Life is beautiful because people survived the holocaust

By A. Shahmolki
January 8, 2002
The Iranian

I have a great deal of faith in humanity. No, I am not one of those happy people who always sees the glass as half full. In fact quite frequently I am certain it is half empty. The difference is, that is precisely why I have confidence in the human spirit; that it will go on in spite of the emptiness.

I finally figured this out because a professor of mine told me so. Some time ago, in a class called international law and ethics I had to do a presentation. I really looked up to the professor and I hoped I would impress him with the depth and breadth of my learning.

So this was one of those rare instances in my academic career when I had put a great deal of time and effort into my project. I had read tens of books and articles and had devised what I was certain was a mind-bogglingly sophisticated argument.

On the day of the presentation I spent about one hour talking. I also successfully weathered the questions and challenges of my classmates. Then I looked at the professor. This was the moment that a great deal of my self esteem hinged on.

He looked up from his notes, turned his face left in my direction. I was looking past his thick glasses, straight at his eyes, trying to get an instantaneous read before he opened his mouth. Nothing. The glasses were too thick.

What he did eventually say was far more significant to me than I had expected. He said it without a hint of sarcasm or condescension.

"You have a great deal of faith in humanity don't you."

No, I thought; I am a cynic, maybe a pragmatist. Then I did a quick review of my paper in my head...

You know how people talk about insight and self knowledge; that moment when you simultaneously know and feel a truth about yourself. Well, this was as close as I am ever likely to come to experiencing that kind of thing. "Yes!" I said "I do!"

And from that moment on I knew the cynicism, the sarcasm, the doom and gloom were simply my own special way of expressing my faith in fellow human beings.

Life is Beautiful is the title of a movie. It was not a happy movie though. The beauty of life is not revealed when all is well but when we are confronted with adversity. Life is beautiful because people survived the holocaust and went on to live, have jobs, marry, have children, be happy, be sad, be human.

Life is beautiful because we can be certain at least some of us will most certainly outlast any evil that is thrown our way.

Click Here to Pay Learn More Amazon Honor SystemIt is also about the man in front of the tank. We all remember the image. The man who would not let the tank get past him during protests at Tiananmen Square in Beijing. He knew why the tanks were on the move. He decided to simply stand in front of them. He did not shoot. He did not strap explosives to himself and explode himself underneath the tank. He simply stood in front of it. A man -- only a man -- armed solely with his dignity, as the only obstacle to evil.

When I think of that man I remember the torture survivors I have talked to, the soldiers I have read about, the news we hear about women and children who are repeatedly subjected to degrading and inhuman treatment, the men and women who have lost loved ones at the hands of savage murderers.

And I know their story did not and does not end there. Most survive. Many go on to have productive lives. A few will act to relieve the suffering of others and demand a better life for themselves and their fellow human beings.

It is a new year. Here's hoping it will be a good year. But if things do get rough, the only faith I need, is the knowledge that somewhere, sometime, someone, a man, a woman, or a child braver than me, will stand in front of that tank.
Comment for The Iranian letters section
Comment for the writer A. Shahmolki


We all want to smell roses
What we learned from 2001
By Fariba Amini

Last refuge
A discourse on humanism
By Hamed Vahidi

No heroes
Democracy and democratization
By Behrouz Enayati

What forgiveness?
Reformists need to acknowledge their past
By Naghmeh Sohrabi

Keeping accounts
... too carefully
By Zara Houshmand

By A. Shahmolki

Soft spot
I wonder when, if ever, I will get back to gentle America-bashing

Virtually impossible
A rational look at stoning


* Recent

* Cover stories

* Writers

* All sections

Flower delivery in Iran
Copyright © Iranian.com All Rights Reserved. Legal Terms for more information contact: times@iranian.com
Web design by BTC Consultants
Internet server Global Publishing Group