Iran News ...


Past, Present, Future

By Zohreh Rastegar


Walking through my past, I stop at Persepolis near my birthplace, Shiraz,

The tall columns standing proud are the pillars of my strength and I am in awe,

Then come the images of humble Pasargad, surviving through the centuries,

Humble, and magnificent, reminder of a great time,


Cyrus the Great, sleeping at peace, a king and a paradigm.

A king who freed the slaves and pardoned the captives,

Not with arrogance, but with grace and calm.

The king who planted democracy in that far away time,

Teaching generations humanity and Right from Wrong.



I walk through my history and I am inspired by the great lessons to cherish,

The humanity, romance and the philosophy of life,

I learn through the sweet words of Saadi, Hafez and Khayam.

And those great teachers of humility, selflessness  love,

Among them, Rumi, Nizami and Ferdowsi,

They sure stand tall.

Perhaps listening to these voices can make me worthy of calling myself human,

Worthy of living at this precious time.


I feel the romance in the air walking though the gardens of my memories,

There, I smell in the air the aroma of Jasmines, the smell of apples, and I can even taste,

The sweetness of dark figs, white berries and plums.

Life seems so colorful visualizing the lovely skin of pomegranate and,

Life seems so simple in the smile of pistachios in my grand mother’s antique jar.


My thoughts travel to the magnificent Isfahan and kashan,

The great wonders of architectures in the mosques,

 And in the public baths called, Hammam.

Attracting the western artists to this day,

Traveling to my land,

Wondering about such great minds,

And so much achievement, with limited technology,

In that era, in that time.


Oh, I feel proud to travel to Khorasan to remind me of Toos,

And the most celebrated, the true Son of Persia, Ferdowsi,

His verse the crown jewel of poetry,

The poet who kept alive the language,  the name of Iran.

He spoke of a genuine Nationalism with the pure words of Farsi,

And the spirit of, “cho Iran nabashad, tane man mabad”,

Which means: I do not want to be alive without Iran.


Through this quiet journey, I follow my roots,

Hubris reaches high, knowing that I must not be fooled with pride.

Proud of the past, yet I must not fantasize,

I must not stop at the gates of Persepolis and Pasargad.

 I must move.

I must go on…


I must not ponder only who I was, but who I am now,

I must gather my strength and observe the present,

And I must be resourceful for the generations to come.


I must ask earnestly,

Who am I?

Am I just a spectator waiting for my destiny?

Or I am the maker and the shaper of my life?


The history has never been so unkind,

My land is not the Axis of Evil, my people are not terrorists and bane to the mankind.

The words of Unity said by Saadi, so beautifully,

That “humanity is one”,

Written at the crown of UN, it will forever, shine.


The sun always rises from the East; the cradle of great philosophers,

 Yet my present plight is only a distorted, mispronounced name on the map.

 My land is smeared with oppression, atrocities, and ignorance,

 I must learn not to mistake faith with fanaticism.

 I must distinguish god from greed, right from wrong,

And while I am proud of my past, I should not be blind with pride.

I must act upon the future.


I am the future, you are the future, and we must once again shine,

As our revered poet said,

 “If I rise, if you rise, everyone will rise

  If you sit, if I sit, who is going to rise?”


My branches are far from their roots but the seeds are still in the soil,

The 21st century is here and I must grow,

I have a duty and I have a dream too.

I must rise, I must transcend beyond the ignorant forces,

I must stand for the truth, fairness, I must act, I must move.

I should not give in to the foreign rule, neither to the rulers who are ignorant and cruel,

I must pass on my great heritage to our youth,

Tomorrow is mine, and is yours.


The roses of Kashan must still grow,

And the jasmines must smell love and humanity once more.

Our women should not be shrouded as dead and our daughters must not be sold.

Never in history again we should be labeled, a terrorist, ignorant or poor,

We have all the resources not mentioning the Oil.

A nation with three thousand years of history,

Cannot be evil, not with such history and strong roots.


I am the sister of “Irandokht” and “Pourandokht”.

Long before Hillary, Rice and many more,

Those women had power, wisdom and they ruled.


I shall rule too with the a great mind, and I will borrow my strength from the past

I will not allow the packaged democracy from the west,

And I shall not be bound with autocracy, In the name of religion from the East.

 I shall be the ruler of my destiny,

With a vast reserve bestowed on me from the believers of democracy,

A beautiful blend of the East and the West,

A mix of all that is good, the greatest, and the best.


Let my past shine and guide me on my way

Let my present be a learning lesson,

Thrusting me to a future that I deserve.


Zohreh Rastegar

Washington, DC

October 2005

... Payvand News - 8/12/06 ... --

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