In response to "Bad thoughts, bad words, bad deeds":
I usually read the letters section of Iranian.com site with great interest. I have never written any letter to this section before, but after reading the letter from persian lover about our anciant faith, I decided to write this letter, not as a response but as a extension to what our friend had written and I really hope it gets published.
I have been living abroad for the last 19 years and perhaps because of this believe that those of us abroad have been more concerned about certain historical facts of our nation. Since kids, whe have been told that we're not arabs and this hatred or dislike toward arabs has come to us generation after generation. Once abroad, in order to avoid others to consider us arabs , we have learned to defend ourselves by relying on our pre-islamic past, by naming known people such as Cyrus, Darius etc..
Perhaps some of us have felt this constant need to 'struggle' for 'defending' our persian identity. I am not Arab, I am Persian. This has been a very usual response to our friends and colleagues, no matter where we live.
But I personally have had a hard time convincing myself, not alone others that we Iranian are not Arab. My only weapon in this battle has been tha fact that 'my' name is not Arabic nor I speak Arabic language. I have relied on Cyrus and Achemenians, Parthians far more times than required to prove to others my non-arabic heritage.
However, there have been times when people have believed that my statements weren't true. If my name is Hussein, my last name is Abdolahi and I'm dark skinned and up to 80% of my daily spoken and written so called 'persian' language is Arabic, and if on top of that I'm muslim, how on earth am I going to convince others that I'm not arab? Common and daily words in our language such as 'Salam' and 'Tashakor' are of the purest arabic language.
One day, at the place I was working at the time, a colleague (Non-Iranian) told me the following: Well, maybe you consider yourself to be different that an arab, but your country and people have long lived with and under arabic culture.
I've noticed how most of us have simplify this issue with our 'Aryan' heritage. We're Aryan? Is that really so? I have spent years searching what really happened after Sassanid empire fell apart and arabs took over persia. Our friend 'Persian lover' mentions the harshness of Zoroastrian cult and he is quite right in saying that people where somehow oppressed under zoroastrian system.
However, the reasons for the fall of zoroastrian empire are far more complex than that. Parthian and Sassanid empires had long fought against rome and as a matter of fact this long wars had become a burden on Iranian economy and that meant high taxes on people. The empire had to defend itself against nomadic tribes from the east border as well. So we had romans, tribes on the east and finally arabs on west and south west. To that we should now add what our persianlover friend mentions and that is, pressure from zoroastrian priests and kings as well as some known incompetencies and rivalities among kings and princes.
All this led to a defeat against arab invaders. But what really matters is this 'myth' that the Iranian found in the 'new' religion their relief. According to historical records from 'Tarikhe Tabari', and researchers such as 'Ali Mirfetros' and 'Dr. Shaffa' as well as other western historians, persians put a fierce ressistance to that invasion. We should simply imagine the scenario, an old, well stablished civilized nation with sofisticated social system and cities is all of a sudden invaded by a completely different people who speak a completely different language, look different and besides being extremely harsh and aggresive have no respect nor understanding of Iranians (Ajam) life style.
Can I possibly hug and love a new religion if I do not understand a single word of it? Can I really see as savior people that are invading my life and killing and taking my people as slaves to be sent to Arabia?
The reason for our current situation, our Arabic names and our arabo-persian language spoken, our arabic customs and culture is the following: 'Relocation and stablishment of many arabic tribes from Arabic peninsula into persia, over the next two centuries after the invasion' The stablishment of many arabic groups into different parts of Iran led to a progressive intermariage between the two people and the slow acceptance of Islam through this mixing of people. Heavy taxes and harsh rules on 'Gabr' (zoroastrian who kept their religion) and heavy military response in supressing any uprising over the centuries, led to the so called 'Arabization' of persia'.
Therefore, it's been long since we stopped being a pure persian nation and what we really are is a mixed nation as result of mixing of persian and arabs. There're many cities and small towns that were initially arab stablishments. The city of Arak, for instance, is in fact what used to be called 'Araghol ajam' in the past. When you visit this town you notice the strong arab physical features among its population. Same thing happens in 'ghom', tooserkan, malayer, toos and many other cities and towns across Iran.
That's why Ferdowsi says: Ze Irano torkano tazian nejadi padid ayad darmian, na dehghano torko tazi bovad, sokhanan be kerdare bazi bovad. By saying 'Torkan' Ferdowsi reffered to the Moghol tribes from torkamanistan.
Persian people never regarded Islam as their savior. Islam got into our culture along with the Arabs who brought it, through progressive and often forced mixing of arabs and persians. This is even visible in the avarage physical features of Iranians. We're parcially arab and should accept this as a fact. This explains the very noticeable 'duality' that foreigners see in our culture when they visit Iran.
If we take into account this fact then perhaps Ferdowsi's sentence would make more sense: Basi ranj keshidam ze in sale si ajam zende kardam ze in parsi.