How did you think about Iran and Iranians before these protests?

Discussion in 'Iran' started by maxoud, Jun 28, 2009.

  1. Of Iran...

    I have a pretty basic theory about the way at least half the people live anywhere. I tend to assume, before learning anything else about them, that the majority of a people are going to be preoccupied with acquiring food, water, shelter, safety, and (peripherally) amusement...the little things that keep body and soul together, in other words. I don't think of this as a negative thing; I think of it as necessary for survival and sanity in most cases. I suppose that makes me something of a Maslowian.

    What I knew about Iran in particular? I knew their politics were isolationist and I assumed the government to be theocratic. I'd heard of the "Iran Hostage Crisis" growing up, but I wasn't old enough when it happened to remember anything firsthand. I knew from my history textbooks that Persia had some of the most sophisticated mathematical models in the world; I had a vague impression that the Iranians were well-educated, at least. (As fate would have it, several of my college professors were from Iran, though I didn't place their names and accents until I thought about the protest movement recently.) I knew from my amateur studies of folklore and mythology that Persia also had some of the most detailed and intricate artwork and enduring archetypal characters anywhere in the world. I had a vague impression that modern Iranians were well-mannered and probably put a great deal of emphasis on personal decorum, but that may have been some sort of propaganda the sensationalist media fed me.

    What have I learned? That I was right about most of the things I mentioned, if it doesn't sound too smug of me to say that. As I suspected when I heard the infamous "Axis of Evil" speech, the Iranian government doesn't actually represent the sentiment of its people at all. (Now, that makes me wonder how I should feel about the people in North Korea and Venezuela...) I was wrong about one key point, though: the Iranians are more than willing to put themselves in harm's way for a high-minded goal, possibly moreso than other places in the world. That actually challenges my most basic supposition: the people in Iran may adhere to ideals over the banal daily needs that absorb most people. I find that to be commendable, something people everywhere should take to heart.

    What the Iranians have taught me the most about, though, is myself. I now wonder every time I think of the Sea of Green if I would be brave enough to join in such a demonstration if it were necessary or justified in my home country. I'm ashamed to say that I don't have an answer to that question.

    But maybe, just maybe, not having an answer is better than being sure. If it comes to that, I'll have to prove to myself that I could.
  2. Ray Murphy Member

    How many Iranian people (in percentage terms)?
  3. SillyAmerican Member

    Aww... I'll be in my mid-late 50s too.

    Of course, the REAL question is.. How to make biscuits and gravy without using sausage?

  4. well duh, where else do they come from? ;)
  5. Kruge Moderator

    When I was a kid my mother (teacher) had a friend married to a Doctor from Persia. Their son was one of my best friends.

    In these days the Shah was still ruling and at one point he was visiting Germany. There were anti-Shah demonstrations where he appeared (back then it was the political left strongly opposing his regime) and there was pro-Shah people (I can't remember whether they were with his security forces or organized locally) attacking protesters with sticks - not unlike in Tehran...

    Later in school another of my good friends was from a Persian family. I do believe his father was either a Doctor or a lawyer. Both he and the family I knew before didn't stick out to me as "backwards" at all. If it wasn't for their slightly different skin colour and the fact that at home they had, of course, pictures and art from home nothing in their way of life would have marked them as "non-westerners".

    In school I learned about the older history of Persia, a little bit. And my mother (who once wanted to become an archaeologist) had a lot of books about history and architecture, amongst them about Persia as well. I never became the same kind of history fascinated as she was, but still I think I read a little more about such things than the average kid. It left me with the basic understanding that the whole middle east has a fascinating and important history that in many ways influenced the way we live today in the "west" as well. "0". Algebra. Alchemy. Collecting writings from all over the world and by that saving a lot of history being completely lost in the "dark middle ages" in Europe. - that sort of stuff.

    At the same time I became more interested in what happened in the world and thought about Iran something like "shit, they traded a 'military' dictatorship against the 'religious' type, I don't think they'll be too happy with this". That was when the regime under Khomeini started to become more obviously islamistic to me.

    In the 90s when I was running a computer games shop I had a window cleaner, a *really* nice "simple" bloke from Iran, who actually while chatting about this and that thought me several things about Persian people I didn't know before.

    One thing was he explained to me that Persians are NOT Arabs (an easy mistake to make - you see the whole region there and forget that it is as diversive in itself as Europe or other places). He is one of the openly friendliest people I ever met as a grownup. He is extremely proud of his family (including his daughters - I never got the "women are 2nd class humans"-vibes from him at all) and really loves them. He was always planning to some day go back home and he invited me to then come and visit him. And somehow I'm certain he really meant it too.
  6. change your mind

    I'm Iranian and first i wanna say that we have a great people,we have a great places,we have a great resources,we have a gulf(PERSIAN gulf) and the biggest lake(khazar).if someone had a bad day with ONE iranian,it doesn't mean that all of the iranian people are bad.iran has a great history and we have more than 3000 years history.moslems religion is a religion of a a person who christ and other prophet said about him.if you say moslem are terorism,it means that you have said terorist to our prophet and your prophet too and at first we were zorestar and know that islam is diffrent is cauntries,we have sonni and shie,and i'm shie and it's the most complete.guys please change your ideas about iran and our people and our religion.we are great and love all the peoples in the world.if a person who manage this cauntry doesn't mean we are bad too.we aren't like goverments.
  7. I have always thought of Iranians as our neighbors, and their political issues were always very similar to ours. We are the same, we are dealing with the same anti-secularist assholes.

    But I don't worry. They have, and will come, and we have, and will, win.

    And then there will be cake. Delicious and moist.
  8. Ray Murphy Member

    Well in my own case, Islam and Iranian people were ok by me before the election, but since arriving on this forum I have a better impression each week.
  9. I don't remember when I learned about the differences between the attitude of the Iranian Government. I felt their situation was similar to how some in the US felt, that they had an extremist idiot for a President making them look bad just like the United States.

    The fact that the Iranians were the people who held candlelight vigils for the victims of 9/11 was another good counterpoint to whatever propaganda that was spread.
  10. As an Iranian who has lived in the United States for over 30 years, I am proud to say that as of last month I feel as if our two people have come closer together. For the first time I am seeing Americans smile at me when they find out I am Iranian. Not that Americans had not smiled at me before, but this time the smile is strictly because they found out that I am an Iranian-American. It is so heart warming to see people's views towards Iranians have changed for the better.

    May god bless the freedom loving people of USA, Iran and the rest of the world.
  11. Ray Murphy Member

    Further to what I said above about liking Iranian people more each week since I arrived on this forum:

    One thing that bothers me is the viciousness of the basiji, some police, some prison guards and some of the leaders. Is that a Middle Eastern thing or is it universal?

    I suspect it might be a universal thing because the protestors - who seem to represent the majority of Iranian people have, in the main, shown astonishing patience and restraint - or is that fear driven? Would they, if pushed much harder turn like dogs (in self defence) on those who are vicious? I know Australians, Scots, English and Americans certainly would - and they would do it very quickly. Probably most nationalities would.

    Is it possible that a tipping-point could be reached soon, where Iranian residents start defending themselves and disarming everyone who can harm them?
  12. Cattypuss Member

    TO RAY

    This article will help you understand how the basiij were used in the past - and how they are used today. Most Basiij members were orphans taken by the regime, brainwashed and groomed into a SS style unit for use by the regime's elite. They will do the regime's bidding - no questions asked. They will kill Iranian citizens when the police apparatus refuse to do it.....and my my....look who was the head of Basiij operations during the Iran/Iraq war.

    Matthias Küntzel: Ahmadinejad's World
  13. Cattypuss Member

  14. that's a very interesting article, thanks for sharing. i first heard about those plastic keys from reading marjane satrapi's persepolis and think it's pretty godawful that the US backed saddam during that war. from what i read from other sources, children of different religions and ethnic backgrounds were sacrificed, but the way the iranian gov commemorates them makes one think they were all of the same background.
  15. Ray Murphy Member

    Thanks a lot for that link.
    How disgusting it all is!

    Can anyone here tell us how and when religious leaders started controlling politics?
  16. Cattypuss Member

    [Can anyone here tell us how and when religious leaders started controlling politics? ] let me see there. Are we talking about Islamic leaders or just religious leaders in general?
  17. Ray Murphy Member

    I thought someone might ask that :eek:

    Start anywhere in history and see what happens
  18. atmasabr Member

    I tend to hold the view that Islam is at the point where older religions were when they were 1500 years old.

    Eventually, through many tragedies and atrocities, its followers will know failure and schism and realize they're not all that after all. Maybe someday we'll have a Muslim New World. Since that hasn't happened yet, to be honest I don't have much patience for listening to any representative of the Muslim religion.
  19. Ray Murphy Member

    If it wasn't for oil in the Middle East, most westerners wouldn't even know what Islam was, and when the oil dries up they will stop learning what it is.

    I also think we in the west need to remember that the British Empire and later the United Kingdom has never had complete democracy because of The House of Lords, and the U.S. didn't have it either during the period when it banned Communism and persecuted its supporters.
  20. i dunno about that. wasn't it the middle east that held the torch of civilization while europe was going through the dark ages? they've had quite an impact by preserving & cultivating knowledge during that era. we kinda owe them for introducing us to soap.
  21. Ray Murphy Member

    I was referring specifically to Islam - not to the many other useful things that have come out of the Middle East.
  22. JohnDoe Moderator

    I married one! I quickly got educated that Iranians are not Arabs. And my spouse has always preferred they are Persian - and actually they are.
    The Iranians I know love their history, their poets, their traditional music. They are among the most hospitable people in the world, and when I a few years ago finally managed to get to Iran I was treated like royalty - almost overwhelmed with kindness.

    The one thing that I am so pleased about from what is happening, is that many more people are getting to see the true Iranians, not that Amamadman and Khaminidiot do not represent the real people at all. And that all those rallies we use see on the TV, people now understand they were set up & forced to be there by the regime. Whereas the protests following the elections were the real protests they were from the heart of the people.

    What do I think of Iran & Iranians? I love the people, I love the food, I love the poetic language, I love the culture!

    Zindabad Persia - your day of freedom is coming, maybe even closer than you think!
  23. What did you think? Not only we know what nachos are, I bet we know much more things that you never even know it exists.
  24. ramin.ger Member

    Hi there,

    First of all: Great topic ! Nice one.

    I am wondering why most poeple here agree with the following article:

    That upsets me. If most of you agree with the Iran-is-not-arabia point, how can you agree with that Shiis-are-Basijis created by Matthias Künzel ?
    And actually, in the german version of his website, he even never mentioned the shia or any kind of differences in the islamic world, which complexity is hard to understand.

    Most part of germans poeple are great. Yes they are great poeple, that make me feel home in germany. I really thought to myself, when the protests begun , that this would change the Anti-Islam-discussions, that are lead by many poeple here, who think that political-incorrectness is something very beautiful.
    Maybe this is the reason, why an Agyptian young woman was killed in front of a court.

    I am just afraid of that. I am not that kind of persian that want to see Mr. Künzel dead ! Don't get that wrong. It's a shame to mention that, but after the satanic-verses-affair, it's better to prevent misunderstandings.

    don't believe in the beauty of incorrectness.

    so long....
  25. Ramin.ger

    You sound drunk!
  26. ramin.ger Member

    Maybe i am wrong ! I can accept that. Indeed that would be something positive, for me in particular.

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