On Poets, Rulers & Us
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!
PS: Thank you Rita! Thank you CK for editing and Thanks Robo for the link to Iman’s great website.