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We deserve better
Azeri, NOT a forgotten identity

By Elyar Gizilchi
August 7, 2003
The Iranian

Why does every Iranian think he or she is a politician? Every one thinks they know all about Iran, its politics and policies, its people and its culture, its past and recent history. But I'm sorry for the breaking news, "you have no idea."

To begin I have a simple question for our friend here [Azeri nationalism is Iranian nationalism] criticizing our other friend [Are there any questions?] about his pre-mature sense of national pride, Baraitna, can you tell me what an ethnic group is? Or is it beyond your level of highly sophisticated mind that analyses twisted political and racial issues. I wonder...

What makes a group an ethnic one? It can't be only about the color of skin. An ethnic group is a minority in a society of people with a different racial background. For example the Kurds have always been referred to as an ethnic minority, although they are much closer to the Persians and they have a sub Persian language. Where as the Azeris speak a Turkic language, a language that was spoken mostly in south east of Siberia. There are no doubts that Azeris are a part of a different racial group which is a minority in Iran.

I totally appreciate your love for the Azeri people by mentioning a few names. But that does not mean you know the history of the people and the circumstances under which they had to make decisions. In Tabriz Sattar Khan's house of the revolutionaries, where they made decisions, was next to my great grandfather's house, a good friend of Sattar Khan, by the way. I was not born at the time but I've been close to people who were. Their reason for their movement was totally a different thing that what we read in history books, obviously edited by some Persians. They (Sattar Khan and Bagher Khan) both wanted respect, prosperity, fairness and equality for their people; it just happened that the Persians shared the benefits.

You read the books and my grandfathers have lived the times. We lost our lands during the Pishevari movement, labeled capitalists; my family had to move to Tehran. So I'm not really in favor of the Soviet backed movement to separate Azerbaijan from Iran, or Pishevari and his Soviet friends. As I said most of you guys living outside Iran know only how to talk the talk but you don't know how to walk the walk.

In some ways I agree with you. But don't forget we the people of Azerbaijan have the right to read and write in our own language, follow our customs and habits and have Azeri names for our children, rights that have been taken away from us for many years now. Why should we forget who we are? Why should a race of people, their culture and language be sacrificed for another? For a greater Iran as you put it, especially in a country that the same ethnic minority is doing all the work.

Do you think that speaking our own language would make us want to be separated from Iran? I don't see Azerbaijan being separated from Iran, no never; we have put so much in these lands to let it all go. But I see a Greater Azerbaijan all over Iran. As you implied, the land does NOT belong only to the Persians.

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