Not ALL speak Persian

Encouraging Iranians to forget their local languages and traditions is wrong


Not ALL speak Persian
by Ben Madadi

Reading through comments, under articles related to the Iranian identity and its diverse nature, maybe one more article, further elaborating the subject, would not hurt. Some things may become repetitive, so I would like to 'warn' readers that they might not find the article very interesting unless they have followed related subjects before.

Beside angry comments which usually bring no arguments, some opposing ones do bring arguments that have been helpful in somehow assessing how various views hover around, and where they may come together. Unfortunately many opposing comments bring up issues which have wrongly been interpreted as being denied, or even mentioned, in my previous articles.

Nevertheless I do understand that such comments often bode well with those viewers who do not bother to read the article and go straight to the comments section, and in case they see a comment blasting at the author for purportedly having claimed something, they assume that the author had indeed (there or before) mentioned what the respective comment had brought up! This is an old and somewhat solid measure of misinformation, though in the long run (in an open and transparent medium) it can have less of an effect.

In my last article "Not pan-Turkism", I had brought up the subject of Iran's identity, again. There were some interesting comments under the article and I wish to go through some of them.

One commentator says "No one forced Persian on Azeris. There is one official language, since the constitutional revolution. Just because the country has one official language, it does not mean it is forced. The country can't have 30 official languages." Let me give a tiny little food for thought! Did anyone FORCE the Islamic regime on Iranians? The Islamic regime of Khomeini organised a referendum and got approval of unprecedented proportions. Doesn't that make the IRI an incredibly legitimate one? No, it doesn't.

First of all the Iranian regimes of the past century have not respected their own constitutions! Secondly, while a regime does not accept the participation of opposition in elections in a fair and transparent manner, then it cannot base its legitimacy on the approval it got in the past. Beside this, let's focus on the subject of the comment; the official language! Having one single official language for all of Iran is nothing wrong, though it is not absolutely necessary. The comment actually does not argue AGAINST anything I had written, but somebody reading it might think it does.

Is Persian forced on ALL Iranians? Yes, in schools, in case you do not speak Persian you cannot pass and there are many Iranian regions where locals simply do not know much about Persian. I have never said that we shall not teach our children Iran's official language! The official language was established in Iran's first constitution, in 1906, in which the people of Azerbaijan, Gilan etc heavily participated. And that is one of the most important signs that Iran is not based on a one-nation (depending on how we define nation) or one-ethnicity, philosophy, whether be it Persian, Azeri or else. The same constitution, and even Iran's current one, has never been truly applied, and they both give Iranians democracy of some sort, and their own rights for practising and promoting local languages and traditions!

Many people may justly argue that if English is used in America, why not use ONLY Persian in Iran? I do agree with one very simple argument, that it would be more practical and much simpler for ALL of Iran not to just write in Persian (Farsi) but even to speak in Persian, and Persian only. Persian is a beautiful, rich and old language! But I am also a strong believer in freedom and human rights. If the people of one of American states spoke a local language and would choose to establish that language, and that language only, as the official language (not English at all) then that would be the reality.

Americans freely have largely chosen English. Some American states have official LANGUAGES (plural), while the whole US has no official language. Iran being such a large and diverse country would be best run decentralised, not necessarily a federation, but definitely decentralised, in a way that regions would be able to devise various local policies and plans according to what their respective populations demand. This would reduce greatly the possibility of discrepancy in policies on local realities and desires, which are very often different from one place to another. Can one compare the people of Baluchistan to those of Gilan? They are likely more different than, let's say, Sicilians and Portuguese!

The same commentator continues "The Turks/Mongols that attacked Iran were barbarians, but it doesn't mean they are associated with Azeris." This is indeed something I had mentioned in the article. Iran's Azeri population call themselves Turks, and other Iranians call them Turks too. So, they have some things in common with those Turks who migrated to Iran! How much they have in common? That's nothing certain. But in common they do have some things, especially the language, which is similar to other Turkic languages.

Let's be clear on one thing; why do some people call Mongols or Turks who invaded Iran barbarians? Were they barbarians? I doubt they were nice to their enemies anyway. Has any Iranian, after having read Iran's history written by various people of prejudice, thought why some people are considered barbarians while others civilised? I have also seen many Iranian nationalists calling Agha Mohammad Khan Qajar a barbarian because he killed tens of thousands of people in Kerman, and he was a Turk, though nonetheless an Iranian. Was he a barbarian? Yes, he definitely was a man of limited humour, at best! He was a ruthless man.

But, the funny thing I have always found is that the same nationalistic Iranians talk about how big and glorious Iran was, and they long for those days of imperial and majestic oriental triumphalism. What the hell people! Wasn't the same blood-thirsty Agha Mohammad Khan, a barbaric Turk, who united this same old bloody empire you talk about? Didn't the same mass-murderer unite and re-create Iran? Then you say he was an uncivilised Turk who killed the ethnic Persian people of Kerman? Big, really big, smell of hypocrisy here! Nationalists must make their minds! What about Mohammad Ali Shah Qajar who subdued all of Iran except Azerbaijan, whose actions caused famine in Tabriz?

And what about Shah Ismail Safavi who cared no less if his Sunni opponents were Fars or Turk? His men showed no mercy! There was indeed almost no Fars-Turk issue with our historic tyrants. All they cared about was power! Either you stick with the 'civilisation' of Aryanism and Persianism, or with modern Iranian imperialism where barbaric Turks have been the cause of the foundation and preservation of the Persian Empire you so avidly take pride in! I definitely do not condone Iran's tyrants whether they were Turks, Persians etc, but the fact of the matter is that usually the same people who call Turks barbarians (even the historic Turks) take pride in the same empires those barbarians created and defended! Anyway, the other interesting thing is that historically speaking the winner has always been called barbarian by those who were defeated.

Greek philosophers called then-Persians savages and barbarians, and evidence is aplenty in Plato's and other Greek philosophers' rich and beautiful literary works cursing Xerxes and Persians in general. Romans called then-Germans barbarians! And Persians called then-Turks barbarians! Chinese called Mongols barbarians! Turks have never really called anybody barbarians as far as I know. Germans have never really called anybody barbarians either. Even British or Americans do not have a similar tradition.

So, it seems that those historians of one or two millennia back used to call their enemies barbarians, no matter what. And peoples who did not have such an old and rich tradition of writing have not joined the crowd of barbarian-bashers, or at least there is no evidence left. Were they really barbarians? I think everybody was a barbarian back then. And if they weren't barbarians, they were very often doomed to be taken over and even slaughtered by barbarians! It all seems to be public relations, archaic style. Now you call them terrorists. Then they were called barbarians. You call your enemies barbarians, they call you barbarians. Whoever won in the end burnt all the books and called the other barbarians!

And the same commentator ends with "Finally the immigrants to Tehran are from all over the place in Iran. That is a problem in any 3rd world country. Azeris are generally economically much better off than other Iranians." Yes, immigrants to Tehran are from all over the country. This part of the comment also does not ague AGAINST anything I had written, but there are some points worth clarification. Modern Iranian regimes of the past decades have invested heavily in Tehran and in some other more central areas of Iran. The reasons are not likely ethnic, but the facts exist. Protesting against such discriminatory investment policies are justified.

One example is that Tabriz has become Iran's fourth largest (and populous) city, though it used to be Iran's second, after Tehran. Azeris are doing better than some other Iranian groups, but that is largely because they have moved to Tehran and some of them have prospered there. And even Azeris in Azerbaijani areas are also doing better than areas such as Kurdistan or Baluchistan, maybe because Baluchis and Kurds are Sunni and have much less representation in Iran's central government.

Another comment mentions my remark that President Ahmadinejad congratulated "the Farsi (Persian) speaking peoples of the world" and I was wondering why he didn't also congratulate Azeri and Kurdish speaking people of the world! Are they any less Iranian? The comment was "the president congratulated all Iranians and also Persian speakers outside of Iran. So I think it is really covering everyone. For example Tajiks are not Iranian citizens but speak Persian." This may seem odd to some people that something seemingly so minor has bothered me. It is not just this, but the confusion that surrounds the whole Iranian identity, which is reflected in Mr Ahmadinejad's, and most other leaders', talks and actions.

Let's assume that the Iranian president said this "I congratulate all the Iranians for Iran's new year and also all the Kurdish-speaking people of the world!" Wow! That would mean the end of his political career, wouldn't it? Okay, in case he would mention Persian too, then that would probably be less of a catastrophe, but in case he ONLY mentions Kurdish-speaking people, wouldn't he suddenly become a PAN-KURDIST (I think this is also a favourite word in some Iranian corners)? I do think that Persian-speaking people of the world, Fars Iranians, Tajiks of Afghanistan and Tajikistan, and others, have all the rights to care for each other, and also keep in touch with each other for cultural reasons. That would not make them pan-Persianists, pan-Farsists, or anything. That would only mean their expression of their cultural freedoms, their rights, and it would be something normal for people who speak the same language to have some special contacts with each other.

The same would normally go also for non-Persian Iranians who have relations with citizens of other countries. Some other commentator suggested that pan-Turkism may mean more than just a belief in the creation of a super-state for all Turkic peoples. It would also mean relating to Turkic peoples culturally and to focus on being Turks. So then hasn't Mr Ahmadinejad by just congratulating Persian-speakers of the world focus on Persian-speakers, therefore become a pan-Persianist?

If we do expand the meaning of pan-Turkism so far, in order to use it as a tool of intimidation and insult, therefore it would be fair to call believers in cultural links between ethnic Persians and Tajiks as pan-Persianists! Which I don't agree with anyway, because there is nothing wrong in having relations with others with whom one has strong cultural ties. But Iran's president is supposed to be the president of ALL Iranian peoples, and not make any differences. Or that is supposed to be the theory! Are we worried that statements, or actions, that relate to some ethnic groups, inside or beyond Iran, would weaken Iran's unity or possibly encourage separatism? Many Iranians have genuine concerns about this. This is even more important especially because Iran is located in the Middle East, surrounded by Middle-Eastern countries.

Okay then, that is even more strong a motive for leaders and politicians for NOT using race and ethnicity related statements or policies which are used for the whole of Iran. So, what I am trying to say is that when representing the WHOLE of Iran it is not okay to associate it with ANY ethnic group. I strongly believe that the vast majority of Iranians make up the Iranian population on free will. I do believe that statistics are right in showing that the vast majority of Iranians, Persians, Azeris and others WANT to be part of Iran FREELY. So, why all this empty and cheap attempt to label people? Azeri Turks did not all-the-sudden feel they were part of Iran after all the Pahlavi-era propaganda about Iran's Aryan supremacy or the glorification of the pre-Islamic Persian Empire. They already felt very strongly about Iran based on their FREE WILL. I know that the term 'free will' is not a commonly used one in a Middle-Eastern country, but in case we want to move toward freedom and democracy we ought to get used to it.

Jokes about Turk, Luri, Rashti or others in Iran are not something to care about. They are harmless, and very funny. In case there are almost no jokes about Persians it is because there is not really an ethnic reality called Persian in Iran. Or we can at least say that it is a dodgy matter. There are also jokes about Isfahanis who speak Persian with their local accent. Luris may also be considered Persians, with their own accent. But when the central government invests in some areas and ignores other areas, then that is absolutely wrong. When the central government openly encourages (by not allowing to study their languages in schools or in any sense officially in their own areas) ALL Iranians to forget their own local languages and traditions, that is absolutely wrong too. And when the Iranian identity is related to one race or ethnicity, whether it is the so-called Aryan race, or Persians in particular, that is absolutely wrong too. It is generally wrong for any country to base its identity on race, but it is particularly wrong for such a diverse country like Iran.

My intention is indeed to bring the subject to the attention of my fellow Iranians, and not really to ask for changes of policy from the Iranian government. The reason we have an undemocratic government which misuses our resources, and mismanages our country and mistreats every and each of our countrymen is mainly because we believe that we cannot have any say in all of it. We are used to believe that we are not supposed to rule our society. And that is because we have historically proved to be idolisers of rulers and the powerful. Our tyrants usually told us something, and we either agreed, or in case we didn't agree we tacitly went along. It's time to look for different views and think them on our own!


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more from Ben Madadi

Well well well...

by History (not verified) on

You said you do not blame others but you just blamed Islam and Iran's Turkic rulers.

Had islam/(turkic) rulers had not led us to the humiliation of a 3rd world country that we have today, I would not have blamed them. Pahlavis have their own share of blame too, but at least they disrupted the ghajar rule who had lost generous part of our geography and were in the process of losing more.

It is shame that YOU and many other like you hang on the 1.400 plus history so much. I don't :)

Your shame is my pride since that period was as iranian as it could get, and was quite successful too. I could not say it any better, except that you don't say why: maybe because you don't have a sense of belonging to that period. Your iranian history apparently starts with when turks migrated in, mine starts 7000+ years ago.

I think even after Islam we have had quite plenty to be proud of.

I already mentioned this, but except for the few scientists, the rest is literature in "persian" language that you want to curb. I already said that if we ignore the 1400+ years ago, then there is not much remaining to work with, and what remains (predominately, literature and geography) are being curbed or ripped apart by your article and likes of it. You don't see the contradiction in your words, do you? You are proud of post-islamic iran (only), yet you want to displace its main components one way or the other.

Ben Madadi

Re: 'history'

by Ben Madadi on

I hope I won't repeat too much of the same!

1) Let me again say it, when you say someone is jealous that person must NOT have something that you have in order to be jealous. While I am no less an Iranian than you then it is literally incorrect to say that I am jealous.

2) I do not consider idolising the rulers of 1.400 plus years beneficial. That is something that does not give us much of a moral ground in today's civilisation, or civilisation in general. However I don't want to erase any history. It is something great that the Iranian plateau has had such a long history. The same is true for Iraq, China, Palestine/Israel, Mexico, Peru, Greece, Italy etc.

3) You said you do not blame others but you just blamed Islam and Iran's Turkic rulers. It seems that you make a clear distinction between Turkic Iranians and non-Turkic Iranians. Have the Safavid, Afshars, or the Qajar been any less Iranian than the Pahlavi? You are blaming Iran's ills on its Turkic rulers. Don't you think that is wrong?

4) It is shame that YOU and many other like you hang on the 1.400 plus history so much. I don't :) I think even after Islam we have had quite plenty to be proud of. Ferdowsi, Raazi, Ibn Sina, Khayyam, Saadi, Hafez, Nizami and many many other men of great achievements, that have given us what we can indeed cherish. We have also had freedom-fighters that we can be proud of. Tyrants? I'm not proud of them. Not all they did were bad, but I'm not proud of tyrants.

5) I feel belonging to Iran, its bad and good. I hope you can read my text with more open-ness. Thank you for your comment!



by History (not verified) on

I could not be jealous of something you may have while I have in an equal share.

Yeah, but what you have an equal share of, you don't want! You want something else in its place, don't you?

One thing I can say is that if all a nation can be proud of goes back 1.400 years then that is so little and so sad.

Unfortunately that is true, and you even want to get rid of that "so little" too, as you do not consider belonging to that history. I have news for you: beyond that "so little", we don't have much to show for 1400 years of islam and mostly-turkic rule, do we? All we have are (1) a piece of geography, (2) persian-language literature, and (3) some lingering customs; and all three are under attack by pan-minorities or islamists. Had it not been for the oil money and pahlavi regime, who disrupted ghajar rule, we would be looking at a carbon copy of afghanistan/pakistan in iran.

Maybe we should learn from westerners who cherish their age-old founders and founding documents on a daily basis. Did you know that Thomas Jefferson, an american founding father, had "two" copies of Xenophon's "education of cyrus" in his possession, one in english, one in original greek? It appears that the "so little" that you discredit is still cherished by others, even after 2500 years.

And in case one wants a modern Iran that will not be achieved by blaming others but by working on current defects rather than apparent qualities of 1.400 years ago.

I do not blame others, I blame iranians who failed to confront all those invaders, let them be Omar and his arab army, various turkic/mongol/tatar invaders, or imposed khomeini/islamic fascism.

And yes it is a shame that we have to hang on to 1400+ years ago as we were better off then in so many ways than we are today. But that is a bitter reality that we do not have much to show for except for what we had 1400+ years ago. Even our top-notch post-islamic literature is often based on what we had pre-islamic (ferdowsi, poems of hafez and attar and nezami,...: endless lyrics of simorgh, vis-o-ramin, khosro-va-shirin, ...).

You really don't feel like belonging to the historical iran that we know of, do you? You only want the land, but something else in its cultural place, don't you? Please be honest, just this one time!


This is typical of them!

by sanazi on

a lot of turks from turkey and Rep. of Azerbaijan have the same views that Ben Madadi has about the history of persians/iranians.

I dont even know why Ben continues to identify himself w/ iranians,,,he obviously has no interest in being iranian.



by Kurdish Warrior (not verified) on

I’m not going to elaborate on that as it will take me a lot of time to write. I will write an article about that in future with all the details about Iranian Kurds (past and present). But let me ask you this, if the Pahlavi, the previous regime treated the Iranian Kurds fair, then how come majority of Kurds which was an unfortunate, supported this Shia Islamic revolution, even though, most of them were Sunnis. I believe they were desperate for freedom, which again they were let down and lied too. Pahlavi regime was good for some but bad for many. Did you know that Reza Shah and his father were trying to Persianize all Iranians with diffrent methods. As for this new government, well there are no words to describe these animals.

Ben Madadi

Re: 'history'

by Ben Madadi on

I replied that I could not be jealous of something you may have while I have in an equal share. The rest I am not sure I have WRITTEN HERE anything that would contradict your opinion.

One thing I can say is that if all a nation can be proud of goes back 1.400 years then that is so little and so sad. And in case one wants a modern Iran that will not be achieved by blaming others but by working on current defects rather than apparent qualities of 1.400 years ago.



by Anonymouss (not verified) on

Did you know that the most under developed areas in Iran is where the minority lives. And as for prosecutions, the minorities specifically Kurds has been the most victims who suffered during the last regime and the current regime.

I believe, most if not all, persians are well aware of these facts and saddened by them. But I would like to ask you to elaborate on the part "suffered during the last regime" if you have any reliable and quantifiable data. I am really curious about if kurdish areas were equally neglected then or if they disproportionately suffered by atrocious behavior from the central government. Thx!


Less Iranian?

by History (not verified) on

You are less iranian than I am only if you want to. However, iran is a country, a nation, with a long history, with good and bad, and you want part of its culture taken away: its historically rooted language in its own historical territory. Iran without persian language is like egypt without its Coptic language (an arabic nation), or asia minor or central asia without persian language (turkish nations of turkey, Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, ...). Do you know why Bukhara, the heart of once-iranian culture, is iranian no more?

You were the one who called whatever iranian glory as "BS". And that glory is all that remains of iran today; otherwise it is a 3rd-world country in turmoil, being ripped apart by islamists on one hand and pan-minorities on the other hand, catalyzed by left-over leftists and internationalist intellectuals.

Maybe you should look at the civilized countries of europe or america to see how emphatic they are on survival of their language as a major tool of unity amongst them, or maybe look at canada to see how language has placed the country on the verge of partition for the past 30 years.

You are welcome to be as much iranian as anyone else, but you can't be both iranian and act like a 5th columnar. Then what is the difference between you and those iraqi arabs who just can't tolerate seeing an iranian identity next door. Only you can decide if you really want to be iranian or not. But you should realize that iran and its culture go hand in hand and at the core of that culture is the persian language and its various dialects. You cannot be iranian, associated with an iran that never existed or you wish to reinvent. That would be iran no more (like turkey), or iran by name only (like egypt). Of course, part of that iranian culture is respect for minority rights and cultural flavors, including local languages. But as you see in europe and america, a nation is not a hodgepodge of whoever wants to do whatever; rather it is a people sharing a common history and a common way of communicating. You do not seem to see the emphasis that there is, in modern democracies more than dictatorships, on a common language as well as the same set of laws and cultural norms, albeit with some local variations.

Once Bahar, the famous azari poet, was asked about separation of Azarbaijan and its possible enjoining with the country of Azerbaijan. His response was that within the context of cultural history, not only that such a separation does not make sense, but rather it makes sense that the country of Azerbaijan, once separated by force, to enjoin its cultural roots, the country of iran.

Kamal Ataturk may have made a lot of contributions to turkish nation, but harmed turkish identity by reinventing its alphabet, thus making its history and literature far less accessible. Maybe similar is what you have in mind?



by Kurdish Warrior (not verified) on

You make it sound like I’m a separatist. I have mentioned over and over and quite to be honest with you I’m sick and tired of explaining myself. I’m totally against any type of separation. I’m proud Iranian Kurd. What I criticize is all those governments (secular) or religious who failed to treat all Iranian citizens fairly. Did you know that the most under developed areas in Iran is where the minority lives. And as for prosecutions, the minorities specifically Kurds has been the most victims who suffered during the last regime and the current regime. I don’t understand why some of you want to ignore these facts and try to avoid discussing it. If we all are going to leave in peace with each other then we need to start listening to each other rather than branding or accusing one and another.

Ben Madadi

Re: 'history'

by Ben Madadi on

Why should I be jealous? I can be no less Iranian than you, or anybody else? And I am no less Iranian than you. Why would I be jealous? :)

If I wasn't Iranian I would have probably been... jealous, or maybe your assertion may have had some logic. But I am an Iranian, no less than you are. Why should, or would, I be jealous?


Your problem is...

by History (not verified) on

actually don't give a damn about Turkish, Turkic, Azeri, Azerish, Persian, Farsi or any other sort of nationalism or anything like that. I prefer English anyway ;)

I was so tired to have read so much BS about glory of Iran, imperialistic BS, hidden riches of all sorts, and thoughts of superiority (which were not just Persian, but IRANIAN as whole). Where is that damn glory? 2.500 years ago? 1.000 years ago? 500 years ago? BS and BS all over the place! Not that there is no glory now, there wasn't all glory even back then.

Your problem is that you are jealous, maybe not conscientiously. That is why you cannot tolerate anything with persian roots. You exit one door, and enter from another door to re-express yourself but you end up in the same place. Jealous of beauty and richness of iranian culture, which existed when there was no sign of turkish existence in that neighborhood. That culture was mostly destroyed by non-iranian elements, the islamic culture implemented by 1000 years of turkish rule in iran. And you want all the remaining signs, from persian language to persian nationalism, displaced by their turkish counter-parts, the same way that mullas want to replace the same culture with islamic/arabic culture as they consider it a threat to their existence.

What culture you may ask. Yes, iran is not much of anything these days, after a thousand years of being beaten by islamic values and brutal rulers. But no, iran was glorious before islam. You only need keen eyes to see that, as it is older than we can imagine, and need knowledge about our own human history, specially of recent history, specially of western history that we all happily live under.

What glory you may ask? The glory of ruling without defeating, that is the biggest achievements of all. Why has there not been any genocide at any level by iranians in their long history, likes of was implemented by likes of Ashurbanipal to Nebuchadnezzar, from Turkey against Armenians to Nazi Germany against jews, or against American indians or by Pal pot's rule. Even when Xerxes set fire to a greek town, as shameful as it may have been, it was set to an "empty" town devoid of people in response to a similar act by greeks to an iranian town in asia minor "full" of people.

The glory that likes of slavery that was practiced up until a hundred years ago in the civilized west was not practiced in iran...

The glory that women who had no identity of their own up until some decades ago in the west, were rulers, land owners, army generals, etc. in iranian civilization...

The glory that the only iranian religion that we know of has nothing of hidden mambo jumbo and legalized atrocities that all three major Abrahamic religion have had...

The glory that at the time of invasion of Omar, the first thing that he did was to set fire to the royal library in Ctesiphon with some 60,000 books on sheep skin. Visit any library and see what greeks had in the same period which did not survive that fire...

And on and on and on...

However, there is something unique about iranian language and persian identity. It is that it pretty much remains in only ONE country (no offense to tiny countries of Tajikistan and northern Afghanistan), and that is why it should be jealously guarded. Turks have multiple countries, and so do arabs, to maintain their language and culture; but not iranians.

You are just irrationally jealous, and you back it up with your incomplete and biased knowledge of iranian history, backed up by the disaster that the fake revolution of 1979 brought upon us. Yes, you are jealous and want to get rid of anything iranian, you just do not want to come out any say it loud.

My question to all those who really do not want to be iranian, turks or arabs, is this: why bother with beating the drums so loud on the only remaining cradle of iranian civilization while there are easier solutions: there are lots of turkish or arab countries to become citizen of if you are more pan-turk/arab than pan-iranian. Why so much destructive trouble do you have to go through when the solution that you seek is just next door?

Ben Madadi

Re: Amin

by Ben Madadi on

I have sent another article to JJ that will appear some time soo, this year ;) We can discuss further there.

The only TRUE reason (behind having the hobby) for me writing things like this is because we are an stigmatised and paranoid community and I feel that people like me can, challenging the mythgs and prejudices, reduce these social negativities.

I actually don't give a damn about Turkish, Turkic, Azeri, Azerish, Persian, Farsi or any other sort of nationalism or anything like that. I prefer English anyway ;)

I was so tired to have read so much BS about glory of Iran, imperialistic BS, hidden riches of all sorts, and thoughts of superiority (which were not just Persian, but IRANIAN as whole). Where is that damn glory? 2.500 years ago? 1.000 years ago? 500 years ago? BS and BS all over the place! Not that there is no glory now, there wasn't all glory even back then. The thing is that others have moved on and we are stuck. The ony glory I have seen in Iran is literature. Iranian people (including me) are generally not so honest, to each other and others and arrogant. Somebody needs to say these things! The more the better ;)

About ethnic issues. Many people have not read my articles with good faith but with their own hidden prejudices, believing that if they feel they are this or that, then I must be the opposite. My writings about these ethnic issues have also been related to fallacies. At the same time I have also brought up issues about human rights that have often been ignored, due to many prejudices and fallacies.

Would Iranians become conflicting because of somebody like me? I could only be a pretext, and I cannot do anything about that. Having verbal conflicts now is better than letting them add up for the future to have a much bigger flare.



by Amin287 on

Kurdish Warrior writes:
>After all as navid mentioned none of us want another
>Yugoslavia which be a disaster for all of us.

In one of my arguments in another article of Ben I wanted to talk about Yugoslavia, but I kept myself. I thought we shouldn't even talk about it. I am sorry for you guys. Don't worry, we won't shoot our brothers and neighbours. If we will become on the verge of being something like Yugoslavia, I, as one, surrender to you and let you have Kurdistan and Azerbaijan.

@ Ben:

I think it is not "free will" yet, but it may become. More and more you will write these articles you bring doubts in the minds of more Azeris that "Are we really Iranian or not?", then the genie will have come out (as per your wish), and people of Azerbaijan should choose. That is what you want by writting these kind of articles, isn't it?! What will be your vote then?


@ Navid

by Amin287 on

Navid writes:
>As far as i know my Dad was a 100% Azeri. So why
>do you say i am an ANTI -TURK

>AMIN you are Silly

Sorry. Then you are actually defeating Ben here. Think about it, you will undestand why.

Navid writes:
>I disagree with you. Over the past Glorious FIFTY years you
>mentionsed how many Baluchis, Kurds, Azeri, Turkmen,
>Arabs, Sunnis, Bahais, jews, Christians, Lurs, etc have
>been BUTCHERED by the central goverment in IRAN because
>they happend not to be PERSIAN and SHIA Muslim

Ben Madadi

Re: Choghok; Excellent point!

by Ben Madadi on

Thank you for your objective reasoning!


Iranian identity

by choghok on

The comments here alone show how much important this discussion is. I myself am Persian from Khorasan with some Kurdish mix and may be Arab (mom is "seyyed"). I have Iranian Kurdish and Azeri friends.

It is tragic that some people want to reduce the importance of this very important issue. If we do want to have a thriving democracy in Iran we should start by acknowleging the shortcoming of Iran and do not blame these problems on English, Americans and Mullahs. "Az mast ke bar mast, chon digari nist".

For those of you saying things like Iranians were not barbarians, tell me one war which was won without bloodshed. Cyrus, Xerxes, Nader Shah, Shah Abbas and so one increased the size of the Persian empire not by sitting and reading poems for their enemies but by killing a lot of people. Nader shahs troops for example killed 10s of thousands of people in Delhi for 3 consequent days. People like to brag how he stold peacock throne and Koh-e noor instead. Another king was the Lur Karim Khan Zand which wanted to serve the people and not rule, during his time there was a calm and prosperity in Iran. Not many nationalist Iranian would think of him as a great king though although he might have been the greatest.

But that is ancient history and do not solve any of todays problems. For todays problems we need to pay lots of respect and embrace our differences. It does not matter whether we are Persian, Azeri, kurd or Lur. We all need to keep in touch with our culture and identity and respect others.

Bidar bash ke ma bekhabim

Ben Madadi

Re: navid

by Ben Madadi on

I know!


Ben I was disagreeing with ARA. not YOU

by navid on

AMIN you are Silly



by navid on

As far as i know my Dad was a 100% Azeri. So why do you say i am an ANTI -TURK


The Fear about Azeri Rights

by navid on

"Some among the secular nationalist elites as well as
Islamists in Iran have been wary about ethnic rights,
especially language diversity. They worry that teaching
in ethnic languages may threaten Iran's territorial
integrity and national unity. Yet Iran's history offers
little basis for this apprehension. Azeris, for example,
have played major roles in every turning-point of Iran's
modern history.
This was true even during the constitutional revolution
(1905-1911) when the overwhelming majority of Azeris
could not even speak Farsi. Another example is the
popular satirical paper Mulla Nasr al-Din (edited by
an Azeri-Turk, Mohammad Jalil Qulizadah) that was
crucial in enlightening people in Iran and across the
Caucasus at the turn of the 20th century; its sharply
anti-clerical and anti-despotic cartoons were originally
published in Azeri-Turkic as well as Farsi."


The above is from a paper by Nayereh Tohidi


Navid, thank you for pointing out;

by Kurdish Warrior (not verified) on

You are absolutely right that Iran has had poor history of treating its minorities for centuries. That is why many of us believe that one of the best options for all Iranians to have their rights and prevent any more suppression is to follow the same path and structure that Switzerland has done. Unfortunately some of us Iranians are so radicals that as soon as we talk about this issue,we get accused for being separatists, traitors, zionist agents and etc. If we all are going to be united for a better and strong Iran in future, we need to start listening to each other and find ways to resolve our problems. After all as navid mentioned none of us want another Yugoslavia which be a disaster for all of us.

Ben Madadi

Re: Amin

by Ben Madadi on

1) Yes, maybe, we need some proof. Did the Greek justifiably call Persians (Iranians of the time) Barbarians? Who is going to be the judge? We, Iranians? ;) They, the Greek? Anyway, but if you and I are unbiased, we shall agree that they were right in their own time and mind to call others who wanted to invade their land barbarians. And they did invade their land, killed so many and put so much on fire and tried to subdue them!

2) It hasn't always been free will, but it was free will when all the propaganda I mentioned started. It is free will now because if you do some polling the majority will say that they belong to Iran. They want to belong to Iran on free will :)

3) I don't think Navid had that intention though this is the first time I saw this ID.


Some Related articles and comments

by Amin287 on


Anybody can call any other a "Barbarian" (present day meaning), but it needs proof.

>Azeri Turks did not all-the-sudden feel they

> were part of Iran after
all the Pahlavi-era propaganda about Iran's

> Aryan supremacy or the
glorification of the pre-Islamic Persian

> Empire. They already felt very
strongly about Iran based on their


It hasn't been "FREE WILL". We haven't chosen our culture according to free will as we never did it with our mothers.


Navid write:
>I disagree with you. Over the past Glorious FIFTY years you
>mentionsed how many Baluchis, Kurds, Azeri, Turkmen,
>Arabs, Sunnis, Bahais, jews, Christians, Lurs, etc have
>been BUTCHERED by the central goverment in IRAN because
>they happend not to be PERSIAN and SHIA Muslim

Now it is getting funny. Navid, are you Iranian at all!? Or you are a anti-Turk who wants to defeat Ben the other way.

Ben Madadi

Regarding the word 'barbarian'

by Ben Madadi on

The Greek term meant foreigner, or ignorant, or probably simply unknown. But they didn't only use that term to describe Persians of that time. Of course they were enemies. They usually descirbed their Persian foes with worst possible terms their language could permit.


Some Related articles and comments

by Amin287 on

To make the accessibility of the related articles simpler. I am adding the links here:

I suggest the viewers to read the articles and comments.


The word "Barberian"!

by Ghooch-ali (not verified) on

If I remember correctly, watching a programme on History channel: Barberian is a Greek word, meaning someone or a group of people who speak a forign language. It was not used to insult other people or nations, but, to tell that. Of course these days it's used to bring others down.




by Sarzamine man (not verified) on

I think having discussion about these issues are very pointless, and I do not understand why should we waste out time in this situation to argue how we should talk, our women are being stone to death for God sake and all you guys can come up with is deciding which language we should talk, I have always spoke farsi in my life and do not know any other languages, but if I go to school tomorrow and they tell me from today I should study in Turkish or Kurdish I will gladly do without any objection, I need the language to communicate with my people, to live with them happily, as long as I can do that, I have no other problem and I think we Iranian should think like that, use the language as being happy and for communication.


Good Luck from I R A N

by I R A N (not verified) on

Hey Ben,

I just wanted to make sure you wont feel offended with the comment I left. That was not my intention. That was just my personal opinion. Sorry for any unintentional bitterness :)

I am waiting for much better articles from you.

Best :)


"...that language only...(not English at all)..." !...!!!

by I R A N (not verified) on

Ben, You have said:

" If the people of one of American states spoke a local language and would choose to establish that language, and that language only, as the official language (not English at all) then that would be the reality."

This is totally baseless. You can refer to only two states: New Mexico and Louisiana which over there,BESIDES ENGLISH(I DO KNOW IT FOR SURE, IT IS BESIDES ENGLISH), Spanish and French are ALSO served. so there is no such states any other languages would be considered as the ONLY NON-ENGLISH OFFICIAL language. nevertheless what you claim is not even practical and would not serve the needs but makes further problems as it would make it even harder for society as a whole to communicate while running the country as a whole!!!

The issue is you are asking more than what is fair and even based upon a democratic system is not disputable. All regional languages should have the absolute right of education and instruction supports for the local languages besides the first language; .Every region also should have the right of establishing the private higher educational institutes where the local language may be considered as the main one besides the general state and public ones where the main language is the national one; this is the realistic solution serves all needs fairly. But respectively we have no right even in a deomcratic system to suppress Persian language as the language of this ever existed country under the pretext of promoting our whatever favorite local one; This is not serving us any better but is as much wrong as what the IR is doing and totally unacceptable.

I used to think you was a fair guy with unbiased judgments but the more you write, the more I get to believe I was wrong... I hope I am wrong.

Regardless of the fact that you're talking about a country like the US where has been established solely by the population of Immigrants where the native Americans been actually the owner of the land... ofcourse the immigrants who all of them occupied this country should have some sort of compromise among them as a portion of the whole population who just took over the land but yet if you want to go beyond the federal government as well as if you're to pursue your education at a school, college or university no matter if its state or a significant private one, there is only one language to take you where you want which is ENGLISH. There is no place in the US, English is not served. English is the only interstate language and the only one running the country as the lingo of national education, media and politics.

In the United States, English is the de facto national language. Although there is no official language at the federal level, some laws—such as U.S. naturalization requirements—standardize English. Some Americans advocate making English the country's official language, as it is in at least twenty-eight states. Both Hawaiian and English are official languages in Hawaii by state law. While neither has an official language, New Mexico has laws providing for the use of both English and Spanish, as Louisiana does for English and French. Other states, such as California, mandate the publication of Spanish versions of certain government documents including court forms. Several INSULAR territories grant official recognition to their native languages, ALONG WITH ENGLISH...

Considering this undeniable fact that almost all the Spanish language regions in the U.S. including Californian, Uta, Nevada, New Mexico, Arizona and Colorado - called "The Mexican Cession" - had been originally a part of MEXICO lost in 1848 treaty when the war between the U.S. and Mexico was over, Yet the language policy there is not the way you have claimed.

These are only few individuals who constantly talk about Turks and Persians... We do not consider people of Azarbayjan as Turks the same way people of Africa are not French or English due to the language spoken there but if you yourself recognized your identity as Turk, I should respect your own personal recognition but yet Iran can not let Turks impose their own minor issues to the land and culture ever existed in this plateau.

Iranians historically have not ever blamed a monarch's failures and brutality due to his so called ethnic background(which I don't believe in Iran) like when they judge the Qajar dynasty when one of them lost almost a quarter of historical Iran in its dumbest way some one may ever imagine; it is all because Iranians do not believe in Turk and Fars divisions which is nothing but a language profile you are so insisted on and obsessed with...( You have the absolute right to be obsessed with that language and have so much passion to get the rights to promote that language though but fairly )

We as people born and lived in this land generations after generations can not plot the same with the same pretext! Here is Iran. Been always Iran as long as history remember so no one can hijack this land. Iran is not occupying any other nation's territory; Iran with its current territory been constantly shrinking and now holding its smallest size as history ever remember.

We do not need to make Iran, another Israel-Palestine.

Fortunately there is a country called Turkey watching and embracing the Turkish nation which you can join in case you love to develope Turkish as the ONLY language and NOT PERSIAN AT ALL!!!( Like you said!!!)

By the way you don't have to ridicule Persian language to promote your favorite one by your odd "!" these are the hidden signs you yourself can not help to ignore showing some kind of insincere intentions.

Ben Madadi


by Ben Madadi on

David, I agree with you. However I don't always understand why so much radicalism among our fellow Iranians. Saying that the regime is all the problem is not solving anything. I see all these articles as nothing but articles, and we write them because we like writing, and those who read them seem to be liking to read. That's all. But many Iranians radicalise so many things and interpret everything to be either hateful or dangerous etc. Probably because this is the way they are themselves. We need to chill and have normal discussions, or ignore each other in case we can't.

Rostam-e-Dastan, I am always trying ;)

Ara Serjoie, I propose to view people's opinions and writings with good faith, I included. Thanks!