I rarely think about the place where I spent the first twenty two years of my life. That place has a name, and it is Iran. I don’t know the reason. Maybe I am just too caught up with the daily life. Or I just don’t want to think about it. Perhaps, I just don’t care anymore. On a second thought, probbaly it is because I feel the same about Iran as James Joyce did about Ireland. With some minor modifications, really just chaning a few names, what he said in his lecture, Ireland, Island of Saints and Sages can be applied to Iran. Here is the updated version of Joyce’s, and my, sentiment.
“The Irishman Iranian, finding himself in another environment, outside Ireland Iran, very often knows how to make his worth felt. The economic and intellectual conditions of his homeland do not permit the individual to develop. The spirit of the country has been weakened by centuries of useless struggle and broken treaties. Individual initiative has been paralyzed by the influence and admonitions of the church mosque, while the body has been shackled by peelers basij, duty officers and soldiers. No self-respecting person wants to stay in Ireland Iran. Instead he will run from it, as if from a country that has been subjected to a visitation by an angry Jove.”
But sometimes my mind wanders there. One of those times was today, August 19. It coincides with a day that, in my view, snuffed out any hope, albeit faint, of Iran becoming a modern and democratic country. It is the day that Mossadegh’s government was overthrown after a coup d’etat, later known as Operation Ajax, some 62 years ago. Mossadegh was a man of priciple, maybe even he had too much principle. He was illogical in the extent of his nationalism and strangely parochial in the way that he dealt with world powers. Nevertheless, he was a man of principle. Mossadegh and Fatemi, one of his cabinet members, are possibly the only two Iranians that serve as inspiration for me. Not in the way that they viewed the world, which I disagree with, but in the way that they decided to bring self confidence to a battered nation. They managed to do it, but only for two years. Maybe it is just looking at the past through a romantic lens, but I always wonder what would have happened if his government life was not cut short.
“Excitement filled the air as the Security Council assembled on October 15 to hear from Mossadegh. Delegates fell silent when he entered the chamber. All gazed at the tall, elegant-looking statesman who had riveted the world’s attention since coming to power six months before. Mossadegh seemed completely at ease, and with good reason. He was, after all, a trained lawyer from a distinguished family who had been educated in Europe and honed his persuasive talents in countless trials and parliamentary speeches. More important, he was utterly convinced not only that his case was just but also that Providence had brought him to this moment. He had come to New York to carry out the mission to which he had devoted his life.” – All the Shah’s Men, page 122