What do you like about Iran?
The picture was taken in one of the matches Iran had in World Cup 2018, when Iran had to play with Morocco, Portugal, and Spain.
Question: what do you like about Iran?
I remember the time I used to chat with a French boy. Once I asked him his idea about France. He started criticizing French citizens to be envious to other people and not being tolerant and happy when they see others are improving in their lives. He also talked about his dream to get out of France- which seemed like a hell to him- and to start living in another country like Germany. Another time I asked a Czech medicine student about his country; the answer was quite the same as the answer of my French friend. These two friends of mine lived in countries that many Iranians dream to live in. I believe that I would have get the same answer if I start speaking about this matter with many others. Generally speaking, it seems that nobody is satisfied with the place they live in. Seldom do we think about the advantages of living in the country we were born and raised in. Therefore, I needed to think for some hours, ask my other friends, and ask my parents about the advantages of living in Iran. Here I list what I heard and what I thought about:
1- Working less and having more free time: I have never been in developed countries for a long time, but from the things I have heard and read, I can simply say that we work less than people of the developed countries. Sometimes I call my friends or relatives who live abroad; I ask them about how they feel by being out of Iran. Many of them mention that they have to work much harder than when they were in Iran to earn enough money. You can consider working less both as an advantage and a disadvantage. The advantage is that we do not have to run around the clock to survive; we have more free time to spend in the way we want. The disadvantage of this is that our country will never grow financially and industrially to be developed if we do not change the way we live.
2- Living with like-minded people: For a practicing Shia Muslim, one of the best places to live in is Iran. Many people may not agree with me, but this is how I think. I personally think it would be really tough for me to live in a country whose people are so different from me culturally, religiously, ethnically, etc. I think I would get into trouble with making new friends and socializing when people are so different. However, I may assure about what I said some months later if I get accepted to study at a university abroad.
3- Speaking Farsi: I speak both Farsi and English fluently, but speaking English makes my brain tired. Sometimes when I have to speak English for some days/weeks, I miss Farsi and I would like to speak Farsi again with people surrounding me, which is nearly impossible when I work in an environment that most of my coworkers cannot understand my mother tongue.
4- Root matters: this is what we don’t think about as well. Maybe we, as Iranians, sometimes say that “we are proud of being Iranian” or these kind of bullshits, but rarely do we think about what we actually talk about; we take having national identity for granted. I watched some videos on “kult America” Youtube channel about nationality of Americans (watch it please by clicking here). I also read an assay talking about how Americans have been trying to find a story about their roots to tell their children. At least, most of us do not have to think about it. We know that we are Iranians; we know that my ancestors were Iranians too; and we do not have to make up a story about our roots to tell our children. Maybe we do not take it serious, but root matters!
Arman was waiting near a bank to get the credit card number of his friend in order to give his friend’s money back. He was born in Iran, but his parents took him to America when he was less than a year old. He did not come to Iran until four years ago, when he came here due to some reasons and started teaching us English. After these four years in Iran, I asked your question from him: what do you like about Iran? And what do you dislike?
“Security, good culture, and low living prices are the most important advantages of Iran” he said. “but as you know, everything is changing because of bad economic situation.”
“And the disadvantage is that people are sick” he said. When I asked him what he meant by being sick, he told me “people are hopeless.”
I asked this question in July 2018 I guess, when everything was in chaos; this is really what I mean: everything.
5- Culture: As Arman said, Iranian culture is amazing. I do say that everything is great; we have a lot of customs that I really hate and do not care about personally, but there are many other customs that fascinate me. As an example for culture, I can mention “Nowruz”_ the first day in Iranian calendar_ that few people other that few people celebrate around the world.
I remember once I talked about Nowruz with my German roommate once I had some classes abroad. When he heard that, and searched more to learn about it, he also was amazed by how interesting and different Nowruz is.
Another thing I should mention is that people’s culture differs a lot when you travel from north to south, or from west to east , getting from languages to foods or many other things. Although Farsi is the official language of Iran, the language, the dialect or the accent that people speak changes when you go from a place to another one.
Did you know that languages other than Farsi, such as Azerbaijani, Arabic, Turkmen, etc. are spoken in Iran?
Culture does not only reflect itself in languages, customs, and foods. Taking a look at buildings that are totally different in their shape from the European buildings can help you understand what I mean. Architecture and other arts may work as a mirror that show how a culture looks like and is different from other cultures.
Once Arman said some years ago when he was playing cards with his friends in America at night, some robbers opened the door and came in his home. They robbers had guns with themselves, so Arman and his friends did not take a risk and gave them all the money they had.
6- Security: We have security here in a way that at least you do not expect someone to open our home’s door, put his gun on our foreheads and ask us to give him all our money. Security depends on the place you live in or you travel to. Usually, the places that Iran shares its borders with countries such as Afghanistan, Iraq, and specially Pakistan are more dangerous than places such as cities in the middle of Iran. Media in western countries try to show a picture of Iran that frightens even the bravest people to come to Iran; this is not true. You can get more hands-on information about the security of the place you want to go by talking to some locals or the tour guides in Iran.
7- Seeing modern and old together: I guess you have been in Isfahan; haven’t you? You pass through streets that are full of cars, light, and see a lot of signs of modern living at night, but you suddenly reach “Naqshe-e Jahan Square”. Although you see lights made by electricity there too, you find a beautiful palace, two amazing mosques, and a huge bazaar that differ greatly from what you saw on the other streets. These places were built around 400 years ago; their design is really different from other buildings that are made these days, and also very different from what you see in European countries. Isn’t it interesting?
8– Good climate: Personally, I cannot tolerate cold climate easily. One of the advantages of living in Iran, and for me living in Isfahan, is its climate for me, and I cannot generalize my personal preference to others. Additionally, Iran is a big country and every part of it has a pretty different climates.; it makes this country even more intriguing. As an example, it usually rains and the air moisture is higher in north of Iran compared with many other parts of the country; in the cities in the middle and in the Eastern part of Iran the weather is warmer and drier than many other parts, and in the south the weather is usually warm and humid. Many foreigners think that Iran is a country which only has deserts; this is somehow true, as most of the areas in Iran are warmer and drier compared with many countries in Europe, but it is not completely true as I mentioned above.
I took this picture in north of Iran about two years ago.
9- Beautiful destinations: Even if the government bans someone from going abroad, there are many places in this country that are worth visiting. Iran has 31 provinces, several of which I have not visited yet, and I assume I will not have enough time to visit many beautiful places existing in this country till my death. The beauty of Iran is not restricted to cities with high population such as Isfahan, Tehran, Tabriz, and Shiraz. There are many other places that you will be amazed if you travel to them.
10- Hospitable people: people are really hospitable here; only the people who have been in Iran can understand what I say I presume. You asked about hospitability of Iranians another question, so I will answer in detail on another day.
Once I asked my mother if living in Iran has any advantages. Being interested in foods and cooking, she answered: “yes, Iranian foods are really tasty.”
11- Eating great food: There are a variety of delicious foods in Iran that you can try. The spices the people use, the plants that grow in local areas, the culture and origin of people living in a place and many other factors causes this variety. For instance, the foods that people cook in south of Iran are usually chilly. As I know, one of the reasons is that many people in south of Iran have Indian origins, so they cook the way their ancestors cooked. Maybe the hot weather of south of Iran and the similarity it has with the India’s weather has helped this cuisine to survive through all the centuries after these people’s migration to southern Iran.
12- Things to change: Iran has the potential to become one of the strongest, most modern, and most beautiful country in the world. There are a lot of things that we should change here in Iran. The things we can change and the role I can play to contribute to changing inspires me to stay here, work harder, and like Iran as a place to live more. If I were born in a country such as Germany or the USA, I would know that my country is developed and maybe I did not have as much as motivation to contribute to changing and improving my country as I have right now as an Iranian.
I hope to have answered your question in a great way Patrik. I will answer your other questions soon, InshaAllah.
P.S.1. This post is the first post of a series that I write about how I see Iran as an Iranian. Please take a look at this blog at least once a month to see other posts related to Iran. Thank you.
P.S.2. I am still working on this post and adding some new information to it.
P.S.3. This time I am answering Patrik P’s questions. If you have any questions, you should be patient. Rarely do I have enough free time to post on my blog.