Archive Sections: letters | music | index | features | photos | arts/lit | satire Find Iranian singles today!

The plague
I wonder how much longer it will be before we start to lose some of our archaic customs and mores that gnaw from the inside and cripple us at the individual level


September 11 , 2005

I am writing from Dubai waiting to depart back to Iran, to the land that time forgot. Who ever said time travel is impossible. Just board your nearest Iran Air plane and voila, back in the dark ages.

My friends who knew me have always accused me of being a pessimist. I always thought of myself as a realist. I see things as they are and ask "why aren't they better?" If that makes me a pessimist, then so be it. But the reality is that things (in Iran) can be better.

I don't have to tell you what. Anyone who has lived abroad with an open mind and eyes can see all the ails and shortcomings of Iran and Iranians. And it has less to do with the regime in power and more so with an ailing national character -- an epidemic of sorts -- the engrained cholera plaguing our nation since its long-gone glory days.

Sure Islam (as practiced in Iran) can be used to explain part of this ailment. But the very fact that such an Islam took shape in Iran and dominated every aspect of life for centuries points to a more primordial cause, which I will leave to the socio-psycho-pathologists of our national character to decipher -- a Dr. Holakoui raised to the power of ten.

I used to be optimistic about Iran -- and to some extent I still am. I used to think all of the open-minded graduates with advanced degrees would return to Iran and rebuild the nation based on today's global value systems, rights, conveniences, industry and technology. I didn't realize the enormity of the task nor the extent of the ailment. I am still optimistic, to be sure, only now I'm a little less influenced by my once rose-colored glasses.

Maybe I am being a pessimist after all. Maybe my two months in Iran and the extent of the utter backwardness (I've always cringed at using that word -- but no longer!) I've seen has colored my judegement with new, darker-shade glasses. Maybe my recent visit to Dubai [photos: Old & new], my first, and the contrast of what is possible and what we have has unduely influenced my opinion.

Maybe recent articles by Setareh Sabety and Mersedeh Mehrtash ["Exile, Part II" and "More, please"] on their experience spanning the far ends of the globe have reaffirmed the worst I always feared. Maybe the entangled, devoid character of the Tehrangeles community -- who live in the prime of convenience and liberty -- and yet, by and large, have embraced its basest values, has finally taken its toll.

Are we a hopeless, hapless nation indeed? I hope and believe not. But I wonder how much longer it will be before our national consciousness awakens from a centuries-old slumber. I wonder how much longer it will be before we start to lose some of our archaic customs and mores that gnaw from the inside and cripple us at the individual level. I wonder how long it will take before the national epidemic of duplicity and tazvir begins to crumble.

The shah was no panacea to our ailments. He simply tried to cover a crippling, decrepit nation in a new modern garb, the result of which was revolution. Nor is the Islamic government helping with its chaste duplicity and false pretense raised to new levels that far surpass the worst aspects of the 20th century.

This is now beyond civil rights, human rights, form of government, religion or secularism. This begins at treating the cancer that cripples our society, not by removing one or two organs, but by intensive chemotherapy of the body-whole -- at the individual cell level. Like the plague, it is the cell itself, the individual, that needs cleansing.

For letters section
To Moe





Here & there

Book of the day

Lost Wisdom
Rethinking Modernity in Iran
By Abbas Milani
>>> Excerpt

Copyright 1995-2013, Iranian LLC.   |    User Agreement and Privacy Policy   |    Rights and Permissions