Sunday, March 12, 2006

ایرانی کیست؟

مطلب زیر را که عنوانش ایرانی کیست؟ است در یکی از نشریات انگلیسی زبان به چاپ رسانده ام
Who are the Iranians?

The question “Who are the Iranians?” is interchangeable with the familiar question “What is identity?” because in answering the first question one must adopt the same attitude necessary to define the identity of other nationalities.
Insofar as we approach the Iranian identity with a common point of view, we can point to some particular cultural norms, languages, dates, and literary works in order to delineate the parameters of Iranian identity.
Based on these assumptions, the Iranian identity would be a system of some norms with which the inhabitants of this territory have lived for centuries, an opulent and famous language called Persian and a deep and long history, over the course of which Iran has experienced some great incidents, such as becoming acquainted with Islam, and has produced some influential literary works such as the Shahnameh of Ferdowsi, the Masnavi-e Manavi of Molana Rumi, the Golestan of Sadi, and the Divan of Hafez.
Although it is essential to adopt this attitude when attempting to answer the question “Who are the Iranians?”, the effort would be doomed to failure if we do not view Iranian nationality as an identity composed of both human and material images.
In fact, like all other identities, being an Iranian is also pictorial and consists of some general images of the world, humanity, wisdom, and society.
From this point of view, the Iranian identity has experienced two significant interactions. That is to say, it first of all became familiarized with both the humanitarian spirit and the tenets of Islam, and then, after some centuries, it encountered the Western culture.
These two significant interactions have made the Iranian attitude toward the world, humanity, cognition, and society a mixture of the Iranian, Islamic, and Western points of view.
First of all, we belong to the Iranian–Islamic culture, which differentiates us from the Arab cultures and bestows on us some different conceptions toward people and the world.
On the other hand, the impressionability of the Iranian–Islamic identity to the influence of some aspects of Western cultures has been inevitable.
All cultures influence one another, and likewise, our culture, which was the cradle of the scientific and cultural developments of the West, is now becoming influenced by Western civilization.
In the interactions of different cultures and the resultant cultural cross-pollination, the culture that is influenced assimilates the characteristics of the influential culture. This fact must always be kept in mind.
Speaking in the language of the new philosophers, it can be said that in cultural interaction it is important for the adopted culture to be synthesized with the local culture, but this cultural interaction should not lead to fragmentation of the local culture.
The main problem with our Iranian identity is that, although we have been quite successful in synthesizing the Arab culture into our Persian culture, we have failed to conduct such a synthesis in our encounter with Western civilization.
Therefore, the most important question facing the Iranian identity is how to deal with Western culture.
We believe that our culture possesses sufficient logic and wisdom to establish constructive and optimal relations and interactions with Western culture, and thus to create an ideal synthesis.
Although it may seem a difficult task, it is possible to initiate logical interaction with Western culture. We can adopt various cultural elements from the West that are compatible with the elements of our identity.
Nevertheless, it should be understood that this is not a solution to the great question “Who are the Iranians?” and that this question is still alive. However, it is important that we do not regard it as an unexpected question, but as a natural ambiguity facing the Iranian–Islamic identity.