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Surprisingly, much is being discussed these days and of all places, this site, about the recent death of another Pahlavi, Prince Ali-Reza. Surprisingly, because this site is progressive and usually a hotbed of modernism. Which mostly means an Anti-Shah sentiment.
So forgive me as I pause us a moment to note the relatively mild treatment and even supportive reaction that this most recent news is getting, here on this site.
Possibly this is because deep down, I think most Iranians, especially those of us who wax so poetically about the mighty Persian Empire and it's unparalleled dominance over the world at it's zenith, deep down like the idea of Iran as a Kingdom, rather than a bland and soulless republic.
Before several of your heads snap off, allow me to qualify. By Kingdom, I do not mean an absolute monarchy. That would be foolish in light of the current state of the art in governance and civic strategy.
But I think, when we all sit and think about it, we kind of like the idea of a benevolent King, a humble Queen and a bunch of cute princes and princesses in cuter outfits romping happily around historical pristine palaces and gardens.
Kings that torture, and imprison aren't what we want, but kind benevolent, generous and charitable royalty with missions, purposes, and projects that use their position to help, we do.
Being Iranian today is being a bi-polarized society. On the one hand you have to be calculatingly cool and logical with a firm position on "Democracy", but on the other you must be culturally loyal, ferociously defending Ancient Persia from the merest attacks by Universities in Chicago, to a fat emir coveting an Arabian Gulf. But do it all without mention of a King.
Meanwhile, we must loudly celebrate Cyrus, Kambiz, Dariush and their accomplishments, at least once a year, often accompanied by charts and graphs and Flash animated maps showing the breadth of the Persian Empire through the ages. And PowerPoint.
Cyrus ruled for a mere 23 years, his father Kambiz I for 29, his son or the impostor Bardiya for 7 months, who was then killed by Cyrus' son in-law Darius I who barely lasted for 35 years.
Each of these kings we have come to admire, adore, and more often deify, was fraught with controversy, crisis, evil, oppression, corruption, and oppression.
Most will grant the Pahlavis, Reza Khan. Although brutal, he was undoubtedly a savior of sorts. His son Mohammad-Reza while obviously the lesser had equal amounts of good and bad, maybe a bit more bad than good, or vice versa depending on your own personal tribal situation, and preferred flavoring of what "bad" is, and what "good" is.
From everything I have seen, read, and heard emanate from the mouth, pen, and computer of his son Reza II over the past 50 years, RPII seems to be just about the right temperature for what we might be more willing, and more importantly, able to handle at this time in our fast disappearing history.
Yes, in case you forgot, Iran is no longer Persia, Iran is the IRI. A firmly "established terrorist sponsoring state" filled with boogiemen who hate Santa Claus and Jesus. That's your legacy as of now. That's what people think if your soccer team makes it to the world cup. That's why even though you insist he is, Andre Aghassi insists he's not Iranian. What Iran is and who you think you are is not what you think.
As the famous 20th century poet A. Rose said, "Welcome to the jungle".
30 years of the current form of rule has left a bitter taste, and as the commentary and interest expressed on a site like this has shown, a definite sense of emptiness and a palpable void in our collective cultural psyche.
No way am I advocating going back to an absolute monarchy, even if Cyrus the Great was the monarch in question. But I am suggesting that maybe the current strategy of blocking even the slightest consideration of having a King of Iran once again, maybe should be revisited.
Consider that every single country in the world with the flimsiest historical record worth bragging about has one to go with their democracies (can you name them?). Why not the one with the longest richest most accomplished history the world has ever known?
I mean really, with a current government with it's head up the 14th century, are we actually that modern? Too modern NOT to have a King?
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