Flying It High!


Flying It High!
by Goudarz Eghtedari

Sometimes I see things that bring tears to my eyes; it usually is an emotional moment and often nostalgic.  This is one of those moments; a message exchange between two American friends: 

Jackie;  Have a wonderful time - and be proud of Iran, as I know you are.  The Rick Steves piece was a gentle reminder of the potential of "our second home", and the true nature of this special country!  You are carrying the hopes of many of us for new relations with Iran.

The background story is that Jackie, who served with the Peace Corps in Isfahan during the 70s has twice gone back with her husband Mike in the past few years.  She was selected to march in the Peace Corps section during the President Obama’s Inauguration Parade in Washington, DC.  All volunteers were also asked to carry the flag of the country they served in.  Gretchen is a former City Commissioner and State Senator, who served in Zanjaan as a Peace Corps volunteer in the mid 60s, and has similarly traveled to Iran recently. 

For us, the Iranian Diaspora, the dilemma with our own flag is amazingly difficult to understand for non-Iranians.  The problem arises because each one of us from the old guard identifies with a different one of the emblems on the three-color flag.  To me seeing an Iranian flag carried in front of hundreds of thousands of Americans in honor of the most important change in the history of this nation brings the same pride that I feel when I see the flag in the World Cup, or at openings of the Olympic Games.  In addition, as Gretchen pointed out, Jackie carried it as a symbol for the hope that millions of Americans, Iranians, and Iranian-Americans have for better relations between the two countries.


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Few words from the flag bearer....

by Goudarz Eghtedari on

Thanks Goudarz. I enjoyed reading your blog about the inaugural parade. I understood when I was carrying the flag that it was the Islamic Republic’s flag, and not at all the same government which we lived with while in the Peace Corps. But I thought the shah’s government had problems too that I also didn’t approve of, so  I personally am not going to identify with this flag or any flag, I am just here to show that the people of my country and the people of this flag’s country are in solidarity about wanting peace and good relations.

I met a young Iranian-American man who was also marching in the parade as an RPCV. He had served in Namibia. He and his parents moved to LA from Esfahan in 1988 when he was a child. He sought me out before the parade to introduce himself and talk about Iran. After we talked, I said “Let’s take a picture of us together, and let’s be sure to get the flag in it for your parents.” He sort of laughed (or snorted) and said, “My parents are not too excited about seeing this flag.” That’s when I realized that not everybody would see this situation like me. So I just said, “Well, I’m not too fond of the Islamic Republic myself, but I am carrying this for the people of Iran.”

Also, here is an email I received from Farzaneh, my friend in Iran who taught Farsi at PSU last year:

salaam Jackie,
wow, I am so proud of you. kheili mamnoon,
you brought tears to my eyes,
It is the greatest honor for me that you are carrying the flag of my country.
I hope this will be the first spark of hope

This is from an Iranian in Iran, and it tells me there is another point of view, a strong one, that it was a good thing for that flag to be in the parade.

In any case, I loved every minute of it. It was a high point of my life, in fact.    



no flag

by Anonymoust (not verified) on

Would you have rather had no flag... no reprsetation
at all?


Arabic and Obama's lessons...

by howabout (not verified) on

It might be surprizing to you, living in the LA gettos. Had you been to the country you would have known that Persian is written in Arabic. So may be you smart people should start your revolution and change Persian transcript to English, sameway Ataturk did in Turkey. That way your flag will be decorated with clean English words not dirty Arabic. Or may be you rather khate mikhi on your flag?
And to those of you who lecture us by Obama's speech, how about if you learn the lesson from him that instead of sitting on your balls, you should move the behind, go back to Iran and do the change you want to see, any volunteer?


The flag with its arabic

by sikh (not verified) on

The flag with its arabic writing is exactly the same as the flag of the muslim Sikh, which is appropriate because Khomeini's ancestors were hindi. Check Wikipedia. It's truly tragic.


Iran's flag with arabic writings!!!

by T.h.e.P.o.p.e. (not verified) on

Me too, "Sometimes I see things that bring tears to my eyes": like the arabicized flag of my homeland, Iran.


I like Bunyip's too.

by desi on

I like Bunyip's too.  That's definitely old school and OG but it reminds me too much of a dreamcatcher.


In a group yet individual

by Mehdi on

Sometimes it is tough to be part of a group and yet maintain your personal views and integrity. We want to be a member of the greater group names mankind but we are ashamed of some aspect of that. Who'd want to be part of what just took place in Gaza and say that we are all the same? Being Iranian and identifying ourselves as part of that group runs into the same thing these days. But we always know what we mean by "Iranian." We mean the good part ;)


I prefer this

by Bunyip on


just a point of reference

by Anonymous commentor (not verified) on

the below comment by anonymous commentor is not "me" who has commented on several blogs as anonymouse commentor (unless of course you didn't like what i said. in that case, bash this guy to the max. :-)

i make no claim as to the meaning of any iranian flag. my information comes from iranians that i know. the majority of them prefer the one with the lion because they rebell against the islamic republic and the one shown in the picture is reflective of the current regime.

however, most americans don't know the difference.

so i guess it depends on your feelings towards the islamic republic. is that fair to say?

irregardless. i am happy and proud to see iranians showing their support of iran and iranians, NOT the islamic republic. i can't wait for the day when we see iran acknowledged in a FAR greater capacity and with more respect.


Damn, didn't realize there

by desi on

Damn, didn't realize there were so many choices.  I guess I'd pick the Afshar flag.  Nader Shah's sun seems happy.


Which flag would you prefer?

by John on

According to // there have been many Iranian flags.  Which one is the "real" one for you?

Personally I like the ones with the large sword-wielding lion.


Sorry, but that's not the

by desi on

Sorry, but that's not the Iranian flag.  


Obama to IRI and other terrorist countries

by romans (not verified) on

Obama to IRI:
by sing (not verified) on Tue Jan 20, 2009 09:30 AM PST

President Obama's inaugural speech:

"We will not apologize for our way of life, nor will we waver in its defense, and for those who seek to advance their aims by inducing terror and slaughtering innocents, we say to you now that our spirit is stronger and cannot be broken; you cannot outlast us, and we will defeat you.

For we know that our patchwork heritage is a strength, not a weakness. We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus - and non-believers. We are shaped by every language and culture, drawn from every end of this Earth; and because we have tasted the bitter swill of civil war and segregation, and emerged from that dark chapter stronger and more united, we cannot help but believe that the old hatreds shall someday pass; that the lines of tribe shall soon dissolve; that as the world grows smaller, our common humanity shall reveal itself; and that America must play its role in ushering in a new era of peace.

To the Muslim world, we seek a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect. To those leaders around the globe who seek to sow conflict, or blame their society's ills on the West - know that your people will judge you on what you can build, not what you destroy. To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history; but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist."



Your Flag

by Rokgoo (not verified) on

This flag symbolizes the emblem of a bunch of Non-Iranians who occupy our country. while you, as an apologist of these riminals, proudly shed tears for this flag, milions of Iranian have tears of plight and lost of their loved ones in eyes. Shame on you and your like.


The flag of shame

by Anonymous commentator (not verified) on

The currrent Iranian flag is not a flag of peace and pride. Its emblem is a pungent reminder of a tyrnnical rule that so far has brought death and destruction to millions of people - mainly Iranians. This is the regime that President Obama warned them thus:
"To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history; but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist."

Let us not forget what the Iranian regime has done and what it stands for.


Wow, that's great!

by Anonymous8 (not verified) on

I had no clue.