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Iranian Identity Essay

2283 words - 10 pages

Millenniums and centuries ago the Persian Empire illuminated the World. Nowadays, the powerful Persian Empire has been replaced for the weak Islamic Republic of Iran. Astonishingly, through the centuries Iranians were able to keep parts of their identity. Unfortunately, the Islamist Republic has sought to prevent Iranians to keep any identity different to Islam’s. The images in this documentary will help you acquire a better idea of the major changes in the Persian individual and identity through the first and second millennium after Jesus Christ until 1953. We will first give the main characteristics of the Iranian identity and then will see its evolution through the Islamist conquest of ...view middle of the document...

Later on we will see how Mossadegh used taarof during his negotiations.
Their identity is also perceived through their language. In some inscriptions left by Darius 1 and Xerxes it is said that the Persian language is called Ariya which translate to “Iranian”. The Iranian language has transformed through the years. The proto-Iranian can be seen as the first Iranian language. From this language appeared the old Persian seen as the Achaemenid language. Evolving from the Old Persian appeared the Middle Persian followed by the New Persian commonly called Farsi. Language for Iranians identity has been crucial in two ways. Firstly, their ability to communicate with an original dialect made them unique. Secondly, Persian has enable Iranians to differ from an Islamic identity. They kept their language influencing Arab. After the Islamist conquered Iran in the 6th and 7th century the Iranian language was less important. When Ferdowsi wrote the Shahnameh in a perfect Persian, Iranians were finally able to have a base to their language keeping it closely similar until nowadays.
The Achaemenid Empire with Cyrus the Great could be considered as the apogee of Persia. It is during this period of glorious power that the Iranian identity clearly started appearing.

The Islamist conquest of Iran between 633 and 651 can be seen as the first real struggle Iranians felt towards keeping their national identity. Kalid ibn Walid and Caliph Umar attacked the Iranian territories gradually implementing Islam as the main religion. Most Iranians resisted and fought to death. Unfortunately, Islam was forced to be accepted as their new religion and the Zoroastrians since then have been diminishing. But the Iranian identity was actually mainly kept after the conquest.
Firstly, the Persian language did not change to Arab even if everyone had to learn Arab, the new language of the country. Iranian had been part of their identity and losing it would have been terrible. Moreover, Persian language acquired words from Arab and vis versa! For example, about fifty percent of Arabic words were part of Iranian in the 6th/12th century. The continuity of the Persian language has proved compared to other Middle-Eastern countries that the Iranian identity is strong and will not be forgotten in the sparks of a regime change.
Secondly, the cultural identity Iranians acquired with Zoroastrianism partly continued after the Islamic conquest of Iran. The principal reason why the Zoroastrian philosophy stayed in the Iranian identity is because of the rituals and believes Islam inherited from Zoroastrians. For example, the call to prayer, the ablutions or the head coverings are similarities between the two religion. Otherwise, even if Islam had imposed its philosophy, Zoroastrianism is still believed and people attend traditional rituals daily. The Zoroastrian followers have kept the true Iranian identity and the converted Iranians brought part of their identity to Islam.
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