A Leauki's Writings

Most Americans probably imagine Iran as a whole as it is today, paired with a vague recollection that once it was more like the comparatively liberal Arab sheikhdoms around the Gulf.

But before the revolution, under the Shah's rule, Iran was quite different from what we think of as a middle-eastern country, and actually looked and felt pretty much like a western country.

This was not because the west had so heavily influenced Iran that Iranians forgot their own culture and heritage. Rather it was because what we call "western" is to a great extent part of Iranian culture, or, to phrase it more accurately, Iranian culture is part of our so-called "western" civilisation. Thus a western lifestyle did not seem foreign to Iranians but appeared as a natural conclusion of Iranian culture having influenced other countries and returned from there, much like Europeans often find elements of European culture in customs coming into Europe from the British Isles or America.

Until 1979 the word "Persian" implied, to Europeans, a sense of wealth, artistic perfection and nobility. Today, "Iranian" implies a woman following her husband's orders and small people shouting antisemitic slogans.

European (and ultimately American) culture was formed over the millenia, and is a mixture of Celtic (mostly Irish), Germanic (mostly Saxon), Roman (mostly French), Greek, Roman, Israelite and Iranian culture.

Western culture, the ultimate surviving combination of all those cultures comes natural to its ancestors. And Iranians from the 19th century were as open to western culture (which they helped create) as middle-eastern Jews were when western (mostly German) culture were introduced to Israel in the 1800s.

This is what Iran and Iranians looked like in the 1970s. The photos show people, postcards, streets, and advertisements for western and Iranian products. The only feature foreign to us is the fact that the 70s were a weird decade.



P.S.: I have ignored the Spanish. I don't know anything about the Spanish except that they ruled the world when ruled by a German emperor. And I must apologise for discounting the influence of Lebanese culture since some of it arrived via the Israelites and Christianity while the full extent of Phoenician influence on Europe's culture is only being researched and discovered now.


on Jul 30, 2010

Could the students who demonstrated against the Shah in the 60s and 70s and who celebrated "Ayatollah" Khomeini please explain the difference between Iran in those pictures and Iran today?


on Jul 30, 2010

Pity the younger folks in Iran can't see this.

on Jul 30, 2010

Nitro Cruiser
Pity the younger folks in Iran can't see this.

They know.

This is why the Iranian regime is collapsing, held in power only by western and terrorist support.

That's why Iran is so anti-Israel.

Iranians have more reason to hate Arabs than Israelis. The regime has nothing to gain from them by demonising Israel.

Most Arab countries see Iran and Shia Islam as a danger and are not falling for Iran's anti-Israel posture either. And Iran's regime knows that the support of the Arabs does not help them with the Iranian population either.

No, Iran's antisemitic stance is solely to gain western support. They have learned, like so many, that you can kill as many people as you want; as long as you are anti-Israel, nobody will hold you responsible and attempts to point out what you do will be regarded, in the west, as attempts to excuse Israel's alleged crimes.



on Jul 30, 2010

Lots of changes since Xerses!

I remember buying an authentic Persian rug back when in the early 70s.  It was my pride and joy!  yes, I thought I was someone because I had a Persian rug!