Friday, February 25, 2011

Tehran Where ?

Do You Know The Difference Between Arab And Persian?

Very Interesting.  Something you won't find in mainstream media.  Watch the video and then read the comment below the video that was posted by a "Persian" reader after viewing this video on the "Arab" cultural blog, "The Arabist" .

A couple years ago there was a pdf slideshow that had many of the same pictures as shown in the video above. As your comment (not everybody is a mullah?) sarcastically points out, a capitalistic/materialist life thrives for the elites of Iran as is true within many nation-states. More importantly, however, is the benefit of such images in combating misconceptions about Iran and the Middle East in general.

As an Iranian born and living in the U.S. (am I American? that's another story...) I value these images in order to provide a well rounded view of Iran. As you and many others may be aware of, Iran is in the mainstream news for certain topics and these certain topics only! (nuclear, Israel, terrorism, etc...)  Not to mention that most Americans don't know the difference between an Arab and Persian. Something that I work hard to dispel in the courses I teach (at a large public Midwestern University). While the video clip above is "strange" and the choice of music may seem random, it counterbalances the other images of Iran that are prevalent in Western media outlets.

I am a critic of the Iranian regime and would appreciate a more democratic and "secular" (is any govt. really secular?) regime in Iran. However, people in Iran, like my extended family, live average lives compared to the rest of the world and are not necessarily rich like the portrayal of some of the lifestyles in the video. However, Iranians that are middle class can travel and enjoy leisure time like much of the world.

The overall point is that when Americans say "I didn't know there were cities in Africa" because they only think of Africa has containing wildlife and tribal lifestyles, there is something wrong with how their perceptions are created. The same is true with how Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, etc... are portrayed in recent news coverage. As if Arabs could ever be civilized? Why do Americans and other westerners think this? This speaks to a large problem in our global order. One last example that may relate to the above video well is the representations of China - Americans still hold on to this lingering idea of an austere "communist" state. When in reality nothing could be further from the truth. Yes, there is a large peasant class in China, however there is a large and rapidly growing materialist/capitalist class. The term communism is void of all meaning when it comes to China. Therefore, not all Iranians are terrorists that hate the U.S.

Apologies for rambling, but since you didn't post much in terms of comment about the video I thought I might begin some dialogue.

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