Persian Gulf, Symbol of Iranian Identity

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Saleh Zamani 

1.    A major component affecting unity and solidarity inside a country as well as social, political and cultural continuity in a society is considering identity as a general concept because this will pave the way for recognizing other aspects related to identity. National identity plays a more axial role compared to other identity components. Therefore, nations-states and political systems try to invest in identification, bolstering and enhancing their national identity symbols. Dynamism of national identity is so sensitive that almost all political units which shape the world system see themselves threatened with identity crisis and attach the highest significance to internalization of national identity among their citizens.

2.    The noteworthy point is that, symbols of national identity should, firstly, be defined free from an ideological slant, and secondly, should be recognized by everybody without being overshadowed by any other political or economic concept. Undoubtedly, our country needs such indexes due to high cultural variability. The concept of being an Iranian draws on an ideology (Islam), a common cause (fighting enemies), as well as various cultural values according to geographical coordinates of every ethnic group. Having such a high cultural capacity, Iran has been able to protect its culture against the enemies for many centuries.

3.    When discussing geographically-oriented identities, Persian Gulf should be mentioned as the most important symbol of Iranian identity. We mean Persian Gulf not as a hub for free trade zones or a commercial region with beautiful coasts for tourists, but as an identity which depends and puts emphasis on sovereignty of Iran and the Iranian culture over it. Therefore, that geographical expanse plays a determining role in establishing a dialectic relationship between nation, Iranian identity and geographical coordinates. A glance at history and retrieving historical symbols is the most fundamental epistemological aspects of national identity. Many Iranian traditions and myths as well as archaistic ideas, prove the existence of a bound geographical expanse (Iran) on the side of the Persian Gulf. All legal and international documents as well as historical evidence clearly prove that. Regardless of their political, economic and cultural viewpoints, Iranians have always confirmed the Iranian nature of the Persian Gulf. This issue is of such high importance that even modern Iranians are trying through unofficial education as well as official education at schools and other social institutions to transfer that identity and cultural value to next generations. This collective movement, if directed as a consolidated and coordinated cultural action, would have positive, long-term effects on bolstering Iranian identity.

4.    It seems that agreement on a common value is very difficult, if not impossible, at a time that the onslaught of global values does not spare any nation-state. In the Middle East, where war and presence of foreign forces has become routine, the issue of national identity becomes more important. Under these conditions, the sole lever against mounting political pressures is emphasis on the concept of national identity and its indexes. Therefore, Arab countries overemphasize their claims to ownership of the Persian Gulf, though they are clearly aware that their claims are legally baseless. However, since Persian Gulf has a high potential in shaping their identities and domestic solidarity, they insist that it is an Arabian gulf. Therefore, ownership of Persian Gulf is more of cultural significance today and is somehow similar to a nationalistic advantage than sovereignty over a geographical expanse. This is apart from its economic and political functions for the littoral states. Therefore, the historical and identity robbery by Arab countries of the Persian Gulf is solely a function of their identity and cultural issues.

5.    We are clearly aware that presence of the United States and some Western countries in the Persian Gulf pursues many political goals the most important of which is disintegration of countries like Iran because they know that the time for political collapse is over and they should find new political formulas. When they sense a crisis they rapidly move to charge the Iranian government with attempting to eradicate some ethnicities, thus trying to divide the nation. National unity and solidarity will abort such political intrigues and Persian Gulf is the axis of the identity on which our unity and solidarity is based. In fact, despite the fact that political and cultural plots against Iran are multifaceted, emphasis and even debates over the Iranian nature of the Persian Gulf and introducing it as a national value can bolster cultural identity and political solidarity of Iranians.

6.    Disputes over this part of our country have increased during past years while active participation of nongovernmental organizations in defending the Iranian identity through the cyberspace has amazed the world. Basically, the more pressures are exerted by nongovernmental organizations and the Iranian society, the higher would be their effects. Naming a special day as the “national day of Persian Gulf” can play a decisive role in bolstering Iranian identity because silence and passivity under present circumstances may weaken our future position. Although certain circles try to aggrandize some personality traits of Iranians such as social indiscipline and cultural weaknesses, but their outwardly intellectual gestures should be ignored, because they have never liked Iranian traditions and have remained silent in the face of problems related to history and identity of this ancient land because they have not been able to come up with any cultural or social solution. On the other hand, emphasis on national identity and common values along with religious faith has become a center of gravity for social solidarity and national unity. Maintaining and emphasizing on such cultural indexes will be the most basic formula which will dissuade enemies of the Iranian nation and thwart their plots.


طراحی و توسعه آگاه‌سیستم