We are a threatened country

March 9th, 2012

Fragmentary impressions of a journey to Iran – Published on Current Concerns, by ev, March 1, 2012.

Once again war plans are unabashedly considered – this time against Iran, a nation with a rich, ancient culture, with an impressive tradition and history, which – unlike all the Western colonial powers and modern spokesmen of “democracy” and “freedom” – has not yet waged war of aggression. And the people are well aware of their culture, which is well taken care of and estimated.  

Those who visit, for example, the mausoleum of revered Persian poet Hafez in the rose city of Shiraz (14th century, known for the “West-Eastern Divan”, highly esteemed by Goethe) meet countless – and mostly young – people there; even whole kindergarten classes are made familiar with their cultural heritage. The rug merchant, who especially expected the arrival of his friend from Switzerland on the day of our visit to Isfahan, reminds with noticeable pride of the 6,000 year-old history of his country when talking about both countries.

Family bonds are obviously very well maintained – always and everywhere we meet families who jaunt together, everywhere – not only in the premises of the mosques of Isfahan – they picnic together and are constantly talking to each other – just like the many groups of young people we frequently encounter.

Note also the great openness – it is easy to get into a conversation without more ado, and these conversations are often initiated by the young Iranians themselves. It is likewise striking that there is a large share of women among the academic youth – in fact, women represent 60% of university graduates, as the former Swiss ambassador to Tehran confirms to us. We always meet groups of young men and women who devote themselves to their tasks or chat in a friendly and meaningful way. Some express their religious opinion in a thoroughly convinced way, but very friendly and at ease with regard to Western tourists – in Iran, both Jewish, Christian and other religious communities can freely live according to their beliefs … //

… Likewise, a student summarized his opinion in the following words: “We are a threatened country. We will not attack anyone; if we are attacked however we will defend ourselves.”
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