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Friday, March 10, 2006

An Iranian Lifestyle

After reading an article on NY Times Click here to read(by MICHAEL SLACKMAN Published: February 15, 2006) I asked my students to send me their comments on it. Here you can find an email from one of my students. (An engineer) I was in doubt as to whether publish this or not because, I really don’t want to belittle my fellow countrymen but I thought for seconds “In order to move ahead, one HAS To look at himself critically, so let it be.”
I would publish more comments if you would like to know more about Iran and Iranians:

Disclaimer: Publishing this doesn’t necessarily mean that the blogger agrees with all the content; it also doesn’t give the readers an overall view on how all Iranians live; It just shows how an average Iranian lives and thinks:

First of all, the aim of the present version is to clarify some points in New York Times' reportage of an awards ceremony in Tehran.
As far as I got, for the reporter, Lynsey Addario, it has been the first fortune to be in here in Iran. And likely she has been so surprised with the art events in Iran, where she never thought they may have any kind of culture. So, she has got some wrong ideas of the phenomena, qua she has mixed Taqiyah with the facts of Iranians' life.
To abstract the version, I prefer to analyze an Iranian in Iran. Perhaps as I am an Iranian, I can just see the defaults and not any extraordinary characteristic at them. But I try to issue some evidences to make it arguable.
Iranians like a lot to show off and exaggerate whatever they have or fake that they have. "Whatever" could cover a wide range of the things: religion, honors, history, bad situation, good positions, knowledge, villainy, humanity and…
In the roads they have always problems with the traffic codes, they see the other cars as constant obstacles which would be disappeared with blowing in their cars' unusual horns or even worse, for a while they think of being a kind of F1 drivers and then run their un-standard cars so fast and break all the rules while they never used to respect to. In the banks they are always in hurry and challenging with the others to let them be an exception and receive the services out of the queue sooner than the others. In the taxis, during the first 5 minutes, they complain f the mal-culture now a day we are having which expunge humanity from our society, after 5 minutes, they discuss how they have paid the bribes to escape from the impedimenta against their wills, as enrolling in the public universities without passing the exams, to rebuild their houses in the cheapest way how it didn't meet the standards, finding a job while they were not qualified to have it or escaping of any kind of the punishments one can think of; from canceling the disqualification in the university or at work till cutting the taxes or the reducing the amount of the police penalty. There is a lot which could be mentioned, I short it.
The best sentence for them is:
They are so often too excited and acting emotionally or they are trying to shortcut any kinds of the rules.
Encountering the technology could be said that they are the third hand customers of the technology. We buy a lot of things and we don't know why we should buy it. Microwaves oven, strange mobile sets, terrible car audio appliances and so many other things that we don't know why we should buy them are bought in our society.
Sometimes they try to cheat each other to gain more money by taking part in pyramidal marketing.
All above mentioned could be found everywhere in the world, but, as statistics, in here it is catastrophe. Nobody thinks of national heritage in Iran, nobody cares about nature, nobody think of the general situation of the society.
Iran is somewhere that one can become rich easily, without passing the necessary standard processes of enrichment like as working, educating or innovating. It is just enough to find the clue and pay the bribe, after that you will meet the success. In the other hand there are people who work for an age and never find whatever they had planed for their life.
In such a society, we have also a religious government who need to address people to something metaphysic and abstract to scatter their attention to a real life. During the past years we have paid a lot because of the conservative mindset in the top layer of our governments. But, why they persist in their ideas while we are just 60 millions people in the world who think like that? Is it to do something for the country? Is it to do something against the other countries? West charges us government of the terrorist actions, but no evidence has been handed to any international union to prove it. Why? Because there has been really nothing to be handed! They never fight with the others because of believes. They know that if they want to be rested on top they should be clever and more careful in international union.
It is to say that our problem is not this fact that we have not any kinds of individual freedoms in our country; our problem is not lack of the rock bands. These are the effects of something else.
The main subject is that people in Iran like to gain money easily and if sometime the conditions go to be like as a real society, there are many of them who oppose this idea.
During the years government and people have compromised on something; government make them free to do everything that they want; as drugs, black marketing, bribing, blackmailing, tax free commerce or whatever which is normally forbidden in the other society. Instead people should pay attention to the Islamic rules and just mind the appearance.
Sometimes young people oppose the conditions. The reason is that their wills and desires is not the same as what the last generation has accepted. They need just a fresh air. They want to be connected to the other cultures. They don't like religious subjects. It is true. But more than this, they don't know how they should balance everything. It is not a fundamental need. It is a result of the other things. The base is the other thing. Us youth just see that they have not so many beautiful aspects of art, we can't say whatever we want or experience anything. Even a miracle is useless here. We should be grown up in such a way who we can tolerate freedom. The capacitance of freedom is created by exercise and education and our generation is not present.
After all, I agree that there are red lines in the government. I agree that the red line is sharing the new ideas which oppose and challenge the system. But I don't agree that the main worry of the government is the Rock Bands or whatever. System doesn't properly pay attention to life style of people, it is true, but it seems that they let people do whatever they want privately, and, people have accepted it!
The other issue has been nuclear plants in Iran. I didn't get why the reporter has said such an issue besides the Rock music!!!  
I think she has been somehow concluding that as Iranian government doesn't agree with rock music or as the life is not as desirable as the west, then they should not have authority to use nuclear energy peacefully.  As an Iranian, I think the west is forcing us to ignore our rights. Nuclear bomb is terrible, but, if they had any evidence of it in here, it had been better to show it to all. It is sure that nobody agrees with nuclear bomb and everybody likes to have more advanced society. I think because of the increasing rate of the oil consumption in our country, we need to have nuclear plant.
Finally, I think more than 60% of the people like the present situation and have based their life in according to it. Somebody makes money easily here and never likes to mess this situation. Somebody because of the situation has enough reason to immigrate abroad and never comes back and such a situation gives them enough reasons not to be regretted of immigration. Somebody likes the religious face of the country and say "even if there are a lots of crimes, we prefer to live somewhere under the name of Islam". Then, it is better to find a solution which merges all the though together and average all the groups. I think individually that it can not be obtained so soon. We need to learn how to have civilization from the schools and be prepared to tolerate freedom.



Anonymous Jay said...

I read your post "An Iranian Lifestyle" and I was intrigued.

Please let me introduce myself. My name is Jay. I am a law student at the University of Arkansas in the US. I am on the Journal of Islamic Law and Culture. Currently, I am doing research for an article I anticipate to write next year. My current stage of "research" is preliminary. I am essentially immersing myself in different perspectives searching for the right topic.

I would be interesting reading more post on the responses of your students. Are physically located in Iran?

I look forward to hearing more about you and your students when you have the opportunity.

Thank you.

10:36 AM  
Blogger jarvenpa said...

Hello Frank, Yes, I too would be very interested in hearing more from your students (I live in northern California, in the US).
What I found most interesting about Hamid's essay is that so much of what he writes could be, with minor changes, be said of the culture in the US--the focus on money, the difficulties reconciling spiritual vision, art, music, freedom--with what's happening now.
And as a side note--I find it wholly preposterous and frightening that my government is so prepared to challenge the Iranian government over nuclear power issues--while in the US nuclear testing has resumed, and while our government is chatting all friendly-like with governments that already possess nuclear capacity.
thanks for your blog, Frank. I often stop by to see what's up with you.

3:55 PM  
Blogger Sampsa said...

Nice to read Iranian views on life. As everywhere money makes the world go round...

11:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


I'm a student from the United States originally from Pakistan. I would also like to say that this is an enlightening article. Its not common that we get an opportunity to hear from the people whom the media reports about. We should only make judgements about an issue after hearing from all available perspectives. And finally, I would like for you to tell your students that they have friends all over the world. I also hope that this new generation of youth can have an international perspective on issues to help bridge gaps and to build understanding between different people.


11:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

congratualations on your student to have such a unbiased view over our country's problem,he depicted our weakness and strength point in a very logical way, yes I agree, education and getting more civilized through it, are the key factors to get freedom and prepare ourselves to get it.

Maryam, Tehran

4:48 AM  

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