Forever Under Construction

On Poets, Rulers & Us

Posted in Art, History, Iran, Poetry, Politics by homeyra on February 15, 2007


Omens of Hafez
Iman Maleki
Oil on canvas 100 x130

Rita wrote:

If we assert that in Iran, poets and rulers occupy most of our historic memory and have influenced, more than all others, our collective life, will this be an exaggeration?

A simple poll around us can demonstrate the truth of the above. If we ask most Iranians to name the two most important historic figures of Iran, there is no doubt: a poet and a ruler will be the answer.

Isn’t it true that historically we are proud to have great poets and silly kings? And aside from these our memory has a feeble spot for other notable men? What have the rulers and the poets done to claim most of the books, publications, seminars, researches, etc… etc…?

It seems to me that both have been equally instrumental in unwrapping the concept of the Iranian and his destiny: The poets with their words, and the rulers with their acts. The Iranian, still a mystery to the social sciences of Iran, and perhaps to the world, can easily be recognized in the words and acts of these two.

A glimpse at our poet’s books shows that most of the words are about the unity of beings, purity of hearts, banishment of hatred, conciliation of thoughts and dignity of men. In other words, all that we lack, all that we aspire to; it is appealing to us and elates us in our minds eye.

And most of what has divided, stained our hearts, promoted hatred and wars, slighted our humanity and dignity has been the acts of the rulers. In other words all that any Iranian can easily become.

The essence of poets’ words is that the Iranian loves beauty since thousands of years ago, but to reach it, he must cross the rulers’ path. We have always kept the same distance from our poets’ vision, the distance of our governments.

Poets have reminded us that we are not perfect, not gods; that we are still in pursuit and we must finish this ‘unfinishedness’. And our obstacle is a corrupt power and until it is uprooted there will be no salvation.

Steered by our poets we have strived to realize our humanity by seeking rulers to decree: “be you humans“; a force to portend “your suffering will end and there will be happiness – and if I am your ruler I shall make it possible for you to be human, to live free, to be yourself.”

Before the two, the poets’ words and the rulers’ power, the intellect is powerless. It is prevailed in poetry by love, and in politics by passion.

We love poetry, we love this love, a love that is longing and goodness, a love that transcends, it is god and it is peace. Our rulers and politicians inspire passion in this love and draw us to realize the dreams made by our poets. But alas, the rulers reduce the poets’ pure love to an envious, egocentric, and narcissistic one. A love totally devoid of virtue, rooted in possession, greed, power and supremacy. And every time we expect someone who is different, one who will….

Have I drawn a dark picture? Yes, it is very dark and I should add that in my opinion a nation who is mostly proud of its poets and looks for historic legitimacy through the pages of its poets’ tomes and rely so totally in its rulers to accomplish its destiny is inevitably on the verge of madness, and … !

P.S: I was going to add a post script, but I changed my mind. It was to attract many … and I realize that I am not quite inclined to publish profanity!

بازگشت ابدي rita.jpg Original article: اندر حكايت شاعران سياستمداران و ما
Rita  Asgharpour, Eternal Return
Previous posts: Peace Game
Pride & Disgrace of Being

PS: Thank you Rita! Thank you CK for editing and Thanks Robo for the link to Iman’s great website.


28 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. iranfacts said, on February 15, 2007 at 8:55 pm

    Romanticism, is what we suffer(ed)!

    The (poetical) eternal longing for “truth” … mother of all (political) evil!

    Some are sad that the new generation of Iranians don’t give a big damn about our arch-poets and arch-rulers and that they are pragmatic fools who practice pseudomodernism! (Trust me, I know 35 years old technocrats who don’t even know who Shamloo is!–now I think THAT is unforgivable sin!)

    But I am not unhappy that our culture (so tanned by the whatever is the first name of that Moradi dude) has begun to lose its tendency for melancholy! (oh, we almost cruicified Shamlu–our modern arch-poet) for having said that once!)

  2. homeyra said, on February 15, 2007 at 9:22 pm

    True Naj.
    I don’t mind if the “Intellect” is lead by “love” in poetry, but in politics it might be handy 🙂
    This psycho-analyze of the Iranian psyche is quite realistic.
    It is true that each of us, Iranians, can practice all that we blame on the ruler of the time.
    On the blogosphere you can see all the “intolerant” people who denounce the “intolerance’…

  3. Bluebear2 said, on February 15, 2007 at 9:33 pm

    There is much wisdom in those words.
    So much so that it is hard to add anything.

    The painting is beautiful!

    The details at the website are simply amazing, right down to the gold threads in the jeans and the washed thread appearance of the inside seams of the cuffs.

  4. Bluebear2 said, on February 15, 2007 at 9:35 pm

    Hi homeyra,

    I guess I was staring at the painting while you were typing. LOL

  5. honestpoet said, on February 15, 2007 at 9:37 pm

    I very much enjoyed this post. As an American I find a similar problem here. The “father” of American poetry, Walt Whitman, also spoke of the unity of humanity (for that matter, of all creation), the importance of love and tolerance, while our rulers, as you know, seem to have a different perspective.

    Unfortunately many of the people here don’t seem to read poetry at all, and therefore share the attitude of our leaders.

    But not everyone, not even close. If America attacks Iran it will be against the will of many of us. I am sickened by the possibility.

  6. Bluebear2 said, on February 15, 2007 at 10:15 pm


    If America attacks Iran it will be against the will of many of us.

    I would venture to say MOST of us!

    I likewise am sickened by the possibility.

  7. homeyra said, on February 15, 2007 at 10:18 pm

    Hello BB2, this evening Robo sent me an email with the link to this artist’s website. I had this post prepared, and this painting seemed so appropriate:
    the Us, the Poet and the Rulers demolishing, building and selling in the horizon!
    I am glad you liked all of it!
    And the magic continues: An honestpoet finds her way to this blog! I think Rita has some hidden powers 🙂
    Thank you honestpoet for your visit and kind comment. I recommend that you read also the other post, a translation of another article by this same writer: The pride and disgrace of being.

  8. Bluebear2 said, on February 15, 2007 at 10:32 pm

    There is hope

    There is hope

  9. homeyra said, on February 15, 2007 at 10:40 pm

    This reminds me of the “Pet Goat“. I saw it in Naj’s place the other day! In fact this can be a very scary picture!

  10. 99 said, on February 16, 2007 at 12:01 am

    That really is a scary-good painting. It looks almost like a photograph superimposed on a painted background.

  11. naj said, on February 16, 2007 at 1:56 am

    oh! You do read my posts! 😉

    Homie, I went to Yasavoli publisher’s house and I was astonished by how many new artists have started finding their ways into the popular coffee-table books. I was pleasantly surprised by not only the number of new artists, but also by the quality of their work .

    When I see reproduction of paintings (nowadays digital) I always think of Benjamin’s work of art in the age of mechanical reproduction.

    I wish I had bought more post cards, I had donated less of them to my friends, or at least I had scanned them and jotted down the artist’s names before giving the cards away.

    But my German impressionist painter friend was amazed that such high quality realism was painted in our FUNDAMENTALIST country.

    Just like my Canadian friend was impressed that the Iranian foriegn affairs minister knew about the history of Canada.

    Do people of the ADVANCED world think Iranians are cavemen or something?! 🙂

    Today, my art historian neighbor, who is married to a professor of geopolitics, was asking my husband: so when you were in Iran, did you have sand storms like the snow storm we had yesterday?!

    Let’s keep getting the pictures out …

  12. Bijan said, on February 16, 2007 at 7:10 am

    I was just gonna say that I REALLY like your blogs, but then I’m reminded of that Persian saying about the bare foot laborer who jumps in the middle of two intellectuals’ conversation (amalehe paa berahneh parid vasateh harfe dotat adameh hesabee.) I feel so out of place! The discussion is way over my head, so I’m just gonna look at pictures and advertisements, if any. If I may make one observation about the “beautiful” painting is that it is too realistic and for my ignorant opinion it’s too good to be true. But, the what do I know? It also reminds me of the nonbelievers’ famous phrase, “We are called upon, we lax agnostics, we noncommittal nonbelievers…” If this is a real painting, which probably is, it’s priceless. The details are too superb and I lack the knowledge and sophistication to justly describe and give the praise it deserves. As far as our rules and poetry goes, it’s out of my league. Specially poetry.

  13. Kelly said, on February 16, 2007 at 7:16 am

    I am cracking up. I just saw the link to zereshk polo a la kiki. Thanks! 🙂 That painting is so beautiful, and of course brings me memories of the night some women at a party read me my fortune from the big Hafiz tome. K

  14. homeyra said, on February 16, 2007 at 9:41 am

    I forwarded a link found at Kelly’s place writing that this was part of an online campaign to show that Iranians don’t have tails 🙂
    Proggiemuslima wrote back:
    No tails? Well, there goes another theory down the drain!
    Thank you thank you and thank you! Don’t you worry about this pa-berehneh davidan… as this is usually my own expertise! I have quite a reputation for it! You are more than welcome paberehneh or ba kafsh to take part in anything going on over here.
    As for “talking” or “writing” about an art work, for non expert such as ourselves, it is interesting is to say what we see in it. The interesting conversation isn’t the “technical praise” rather what we discover in our self when seeing it …
    So forget about the “knowledge” or lack of it.
    and you can find above the falafel à la PPGG! I have decided to have at least some useful links! 🙂
    Thank you for your visit.

  15. AA said, on February 16, 2007 at 11:40 am

    What an interesting post!

    I have mixed feelings about the painting though. It is an amazingly painted work in style of Orientalists. I think to paint in this style in this day and age is not very forward looking.

  16. homeyra said, on February 16, 2007 at 3:21 pm

    Hello AA
    Rita has a very inspired view of things.
    As for the painting … personally I have nothing against the liberty of the artist to choose his century… or choose many centuries and pass from one to another, I guess this could be a long debate, and I can anticipate many pros an counters…
    but again, it all depends of where Iman is heading to…

  17. servant said, on February 16, 2007 at 9:58 pm

    Fascinating discussion going on here! I feel like a bare foot laborer.

    Thanks for having these discussions you all. I’m beginning to change my thoughts on Iran. Maybe everyone there doesn’t have a tail. 😛

    He he. I joke. Even intellectuals enjoy a little humor while they are halving up the world between two hands.

    On the other hand, maybe not! I’ll be lurking near by if you need anything.

    Thanks for all your emails Homie.


  18. honestpoet said, on February 17, 2007 at 2:35 am

    I love the painting. The realism allows for real expression on the two young women’s faces, and the poignancy is palpable.

    I’ve linked to the Enough Fear site, btw, at my blog. That’s really heartening, those photos. I’m going to have to find a digital camera.

  19. neoresistance said, on February 17, 2007 at 5:07 am

    speaking of poets, Forough was visiting my heart …

  20. Monte said, on February 18, 2007 at 3:09 am

    Surely each nation’s uniqueness must be the jewel that it could bring to the family of nations. Living in business-mad USA, I can only imagine what it must be to think of one’s country as a nation of poets. Oh, to overcome these foolish separations between us, and learn from each other!
    PS to honestpoet: “the poignancy is palpable” – nice!

  21. peoplesgeography said, on February 18, 2007 at 11:08 am

    Ditto! A lovely post and would that we held up poet-philosophers rather than vacuous celebrity culture to the same degree. Iran is all the richer for it.

  22. homeyra said, on February 18, 2007 at 11:10 am

    Nation of Poets and Nation of Rulers!!
    There is indeed an extremely “humanist” poetry providing some sanity since centuries.
    In the other hand a lack of “intellect”. Though even this is explained within the poetry.
    And finally the actual state of things… way to go!

  23. Bijan said, on February 20, 2007 at 12:10 am

    You are very kind. I tried to write a parody about this post, but halfway through I went on a different tangent and gave up and posted something about “Rulers & Leaders…” It’s not that easy to be funny 🙂

  24. saa said, on February 22, 2007 at 12:54 pm

    Such a beautiful painting, I wish I can paint like him. I don’t want to be van gogh or da vinci, I would like to be the painter above…he put the life in his painting. Excellent!!!

  25. […] These two delightful posts by Rita give also a glimpse at the eyeranians psyche:) On Poets, Rulers & Us, and Pride & Disgrace of […]

  26. […] Original article: War, the Great Victor of History? by Rita Asgharpour Also by Rita: Pride and Disgrace of beeing On Poets, Rulers & Us  […]

  27. Jasmin Ramsey said, on May 4, 2009 at 5:54 am

    I really like all his work.

  28. homeyra said, on May 4, 2009 at 5:17 pm

    Thanks for your visit Jasmin:)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: