Political Underdevelopment in the Iranian Diaspora

So there’s a group about Iran on facebook and someone posted a picture of Muhammad Reza Shah and his wife and captioned the picture as “Reza Pahlavi and his wife.” This is disturbing for two reasons: 1. She liked the Shah enough to post his picture but didn’t know enough to get the names right: Reza Pahlavi is the freeloader living in Virginia, Muhammad Reza Shah is the tyrant ousted in 1979, and Reza Shah was the founder of the Pahlavi dynasty; 2. When she was pressed as to why she posted this picture in a group about Iran, she wrote: “ummm this is bout our loving iran HE IS PART OF OUR CULTURE AND PART OF IRANS HISTORY IF U ARE REALLY ASHAMED TO SAY HE IS OUR SHAH THEN IM FEELING SO SORRY FOR U IM PRETTY PROUD OF HIM AND I DIDNT PUT THIS PICTURE TO SAY MY OPINION BUT TO SHOW OUR PAST…AND I LOVE IRAN NOT THE DICTORS OR ANYTHING ELSE….”

First off, yes, he’s part of Iran’s history, but at the least, she could have gotten the names right. Second, Hitler is part of Germany’s history but that doesn’t mean Germans are posting his images in groups about Germany. Third, how does this slave to the west who was struck with Euromania represent “our culture.”

I’ve noticed a general interest in politics developing amongst Iranians in the diaspora but I can’t tell if it’s a genuine interest in real issues or chauvinism. For instance, there’s the war in Iraq, the ethnic cleansing in Palestine, the prospects of war in Iran, class conflict, abortion, the Patriot Act, immigration, you name it, but so many of my peers seem overly and exclusively excited about making sure the Persian Gulf stays Persian. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate historical accuracy and I think it’s important that the Persian Gulf retain its historic name, but when I see my peers only excited about that issue, I get worried about the chauvinistic overtones and lack of political development that may embody such sentiment: “How dare they call the Persian Gulf the ‘Arabian Gulf.'” And then there’s another group with over 700 members titled: “Fuck you, I’m from Iran. When we had a civilization, you hunted buffalos.” I’m embarrassed, no doubt.
And then I saw this picture of a guy’s tatoo:


It reads: “Once you had a Persian, you never want another persian.” What does that even mean? Do you see my point?

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