By Roya Monajem, Tehran
While needle-working a rather large circle on a square piece of canvas, pondering upon all the obvious and symbolic meanings of these two geometrical shapes, and trying to keep the threads of thoughts concentrated on specific subjects in the same way that cotton threads are controlled with the needle, I think about the Persian proverb: "Iranians do not buy Iranian goods" (including ideas, concepts, etc).
Suddenly, in contrast to all the negative emotions I used to register while thinking about this proverb, a reasonably positive idea crossed the mind as a possible cause for this Iranian trait.
If this proverbs hints at the lack of the kind of solidarity and support one sees in the majority of other 'nations,' it might be because Iran, historically known as Persia is the name of a country once bigger than what is now called Middle East, inhabited by many different people, including Kurds, Lors, Turks, Turkmens, Khuzestani Arabs, Baluchs, Armenians, Assyrian, Parsis, and the so-called Persians (the inhabitants of the central area), and various nomadic or settled tribes such as Bakhtiri, Qashqa'-ee and...
Initially called Iran-Shahr, meaning the land of Aryans and situated along the Silk Way, with its first Empire founded around 550 years BC by Cyrus, the surviving "federation" called Iran now has always been exposed to other civilizations and in its long history has naturally been conquered and ruled by rulers from many different races and people. Remembering another relevant fact, that there has been some kind of rebel, movement, upheaval, if not a change of government nearly every 20-30 years throughout its long history, it is not difficult to understand the gist of the above proverb, that is why Iranians do not apparently buy and support Iranians, as do most other people, belonging to the same country usually do.
Leaving human characteristics of competition, envy, jealousy, and... alone, what all these different people suffered as the result of being ruled by 'alien' rulers throughout their history, makes it difficult for them to trust and thus enjoy solidarity and commonality unless attacked by another country, as was the case with Iraq...
The cotton thread is finished and naturally the thread of thoughts is cut as well. I remember the mail that Yahya, 127 music band's drummer has sent me in my request to write about his feelings in the past two weeks, when the other members of the group are waiting in Dubai for their US visa clearance to go to a US Tour (already losing their first scheduled concerts because of the delay), and he is left behind because of his military service. Let him speak now:
"Stress, despair, insomnia, grief, loneliness, momentary hopes! Various combinations of these emotions form in me ever since their departure. I don't know when I find hope and when lose it to the last speck... All very unlikely of me who used to consider himself a 'stable personality!' Now the interval between the two emotions hardly reaches a second. Very unlikely of me, who used to be the symbol of "self-confidence' among my friends while I am now constantly blaming and cursing myself, from morning to night. I never imagined I would say good bye to them in this way! Although, it wasn't the first time that I was left behind due to the same reason, but this time it is totally different. This time all of them are gone to one of the most determining trips for the future of the band and its members, and I am sitting here alone unable to do anything. Very unlikely of me, who cares even for the water the group drinks, now have to stay behind and watch them from this long distance going to US to participate in the SXSW music festival and the tour...
I know they are equally worried how they can manage it without the drum!
Since their departure, I couldn't even pass our studio for a few days. When I finally managed to drop by, it was then that I realized and actually experienced the depth of my loneliness. I could hear the voice of each one of them when we sat and talked for hours. I went to the studio where whenever we five entered it, it was as though the outside world stopped existing....It is the place that echoes and resonate 127. In the past ten years that I play the drum, never had the interval between my practices reached two days. But now since their departure two weeks ago, I haven't even touched it! I don't know for whom I wish to play! Before, even when I played alone, I knew they are around. But now...
But now from the minute I get up after a restless night, I just say: God, I hope today the miracle happens and when the night falls, and I am all in despair, I tell myself, perhaps tomorrow..."
The weight of his grief and despair drives me back to my needle-work; the circle, symbolizing the 'division of chance,' the wheel of life, the philosopher stone, the eternal machine of perpetual motion...fate, karma, accidents, free- will, miracle...the inevitability of human suffering! Which one of these subjects do I wish to keep the threads of thoughts concentrated on now?
Iranians don't buy Iranian....
May this even be the original reason that I am writing in English?
Thank goodness, it is the 21st century now and the time of tribal, national, racial and by virtue of the Western Civilization even the religious, cultural, social, sexual and familial prejudices have the chance to disappear from the surface of the earth, if not promoted and inflated by the world's rulers.
Not taking anything very
seriously, as no matter what, the wheel of fate or chance, the circle, will turn
the way it wills... and the green color of the cotton threads and the song of
nightingales remind me of the fact that spring is near, and I am just sewing a
sofreh (table cloth) in preparation for the imminent celebration of the
ancient Iranian New Year or
Norouz ceremony, one of the few remaining rituals held by and thus uniting
all Iranians, despite their origin...
... Payvand News - 03/11/08 ... --