Proud of what?
We had Hafez thousands of years ago, what do we have now? Certainly
August 16, 2004
Arash Miresmaeili's refusal to compete with
his Israeli counter part is another black mark for the reputation
of Iranians around
the world [News].
His irresponsible and ignorant decision has made
the International Olympic Committee (IOC) question whether
Iran should even be in the Olympics.
Since the establishment of the Islamic Republic, Iranian
pride, respect and image has taken a dive for the worse. First,
with the US embassy hostage crisis, when people around the world
saw at least some Iranians are capable
of such a despicable act. During the eighties and nineties the
dismal human rights record became more revealing to the
outside world, with the latest incident being the murder
of journalist Zahra Kazemi.
A few weeks ago, a friend of mine approached me to discuss
a little "problem" with his son. Apparently the little
boy was telling his father that he did not feel comfortable
revealing his Iranian nationality to his friends. My
patriotic friend started lecturing his son. First, he gave the
come from a county with 6000 years of history" speech .
Then he shifted to "You
have to be proud of youe country as many famous poets like Hafez
and physicians like Avicena have been Iranian."
As he was
telling me all this, my right brain, being more logical than my
left, kicked in. Exactly what do we have to be proud of?
If we saw what has happened to Iran and how Iranians have behaved
in the past twenty five years through objective impartial
eyes, would we be really proud of being Iranian?
Exactly why should anyone be proud of the fact that Iran has produced
people like Hafez and Avicena? On the contrary, it is deplorable
that a country that has produced prominent figures is now ruled
by a group of ruthless, uneducated clerics. We Iranians are a nation
fixated with the past. We had Hafez thousands of years ago, what
do we have now? Certainly not respect.
A recent survey revealed that regardless of the type of government, 40% of Iranians
want the future government in Iran to be a religious one. When the West is making
technological breakthroughs, our people are still hooked on the actions of fictitious
religious figures like Mohamamad, Ali and Hossein who lived two centuries ago.
Instead of celebrating the bravery of our own heroes
-- like the six-year-old who strapped grenades to his waste and
blew up an invading Iraqi tank in Ahvaz, or the Mohamdi
brothers who are emaciated by torture and disease just for wanting freedom
of expression -- we celebrate the bravery of unknown individuals
from another land
Isn't it shameful and ironic that one of the Persian kings, Cyrus the Great,
was the first to write the first charter of human rights in an era when nations
were massacring each other? Now, in the 21centruy, many countries have
embraced the contents of the charter. Yet the country of Cyrus continues
to trample on human rights.
How many of us really feel proud when westerners ask us about the murder of
Zahra Kazemi and we have no rational answer to give them? How many of
us feel proud when Iranians are being tortured and killed in prisons simply
with the regime? Let's not forget the people who are doing such deeds are not
American, Canadian or Spanish. They are Iranians brought upon by a revolution
that all Iranians helped bring about.
Exactly what is there to be proud of in watching the leaders of our country
on different news channels wearing strange looking robes with ragged clothing
exceptionally unattractive features? What is there to be proud when we see
members of the Iranian women Taekwondo team is wearing the hejab
underneath their gear
looking like creatures in "Lord of the Rings"?
Let's not let our emotions dictate our judgments. Being Iranian these days
is nothing to be proud. May be if we hit rock bottom will we wake up one day
and try to fix our country and its image.