Saleh ِAl-Qallab
Jordanian writer, Former Minister of Information, Minister of Culture and Minister of State. Member of the Board of Trustees of the Saudi Research and Marketing Group

The Real Not Today's Iran!

There is no truth whatsoever, with all due respect to our “Iranian brothers,” to the claim that there is such a thing as an Iranian nation. Indeed, I was surprised, as an observer, to find that so-called genealogical DNA tests had demonstrated that 56 percent of this brotherly nation is of Arab origin, while 24 percent has ancestors from South Asia... The rest of the population has divergent origins and is composed of races!

There is nothing shameful about this in the slightest; this region…as in these countries, had been a passageway or a “home” to intertwined peoples and nations who came one after the other in succession and intermixed. They continue to intermix with what is considered the Arab nation… Here, I am not digging deep into old history or genealogy… Even the descendants of the minorities who had arrived not so long ago continued to take pride in their Arab roots, and there is an abundance of evidence to back up this claim.

It is a well-established fact that “almost all” of the “symbols of Arabism” were members of the brotherly Christian community who became prominent figures within the Arab Nationalist Movement and the Arab Socialist Baath Party… That is, Dr. George Habash, Professor Nayef Hawatmeh, Michel Aflaq and Wadih Haddad... This, of course, “clashes” with the Muslim Brotherhood and some of the other religious parties.

What I mean by all of this is that our Iranian “brothers,” the Persians in particular, had, albeit in the past, taken pride in their Arabness, regardless of the fact that they no longer fawn over neither the Arabs nor Arabism. This is true despite the fact that they know that Islam launched in the Arab world… And that the Holy Quran is Arabic… And that the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, is an Arab... The same applies to the Rightly Guided Caliphs.

This does not at all imply support for radical commitment to nationalism… Indeed, as has already been mentioned, the majority of Arabists who became prominent figures, be it within the Arab Nationalist Movement or the Arab Socialist Baath Party, were Christian brothers… Religion is for God, and the homeland is for all... Nonetheless, pan-Arabism, as a political movement and force, was introduced by our Christian brothers... Michel Aflaq, Dr. George Habash... and Professor Nayef Hawatmeh... as well as many figures who hailed from Karak and As-Salt... And, of course, the Holy City of Jerusalem.

Of course, the Arab nationalist movements, even the parts of the Arab world where there had not been of our Christian brothers originally, swiftly became “brimmed” with members of this community, which we have the deepest respect and admiration for. This rise of this correlation as Arab nationalism rose in prominence was political and founded on the basis that religion is for God and the homeland is for all.

Here, the emergence of nationalism… and the subsequent rise in prominence of Arabist parties like the Arab Socialist Baath Party and the Arab Nationalist Movement, as well as the other groupings and organizations, came to confront the challenges and foreign interventions plaguing the Arab world, like the French occupation of Algeria and their flagrant interference in the Maghreb region as whole… And like Iranian interference in Iraqi affairs… And like the many interventions in Arab countries.

As is well known, the Turks left the Arab lands they had controlled in agreement with colonial West powers. The Arab world was thus ripped apart in the west and east- everywhere. Western colonialism thereby replaced Turkish hegemony, and the most important cities of the Arab world came under occupation for many years.

And so, the “ruthless” French occupation swallowed Algeria fully at the time, annexing the country and turning it into a French province for one hundred and thirty-two years. In turn, the British put their hands on the most prominent Arab cities, leaving the entire Arab world defiled and under the brutal domination of foreign powers.

France was not satisfied with occupying and annexing Algeria, which became part of the former’s “kingdom;” it also occupied Syria and Lebanon… Britain, which was dubbed great, occupied what used to be Mesopotamia (Iraq) and its capital, Baghdad, the great Harun al-Rashid’s former capital- an annexation that had, in fact, continued for many years, taking an array of forms.

It is perhaps worth pointing out here that, very sadly, even al-Rashid’s capital Baghdad is under the control of Iranian occupiers… They subordinated it alongside the majority of Mesopotamia, as is the case today.

This is the same Iran that the Arab world had cheered for as the regime of Shah Reza Pahlavi was overthrown. The Arabs chanted in support of the country’s people so forcefully that their voices went out. They clapped and cheered so hard their palms became sore. In the end, they found that Iran was the same country it had been... That all the changes it has undergone were for the worse… That this Tehran is actually worse than that which had been ruled by the Shah... And that the “enemy” remained as it had been before... It cannot become your friend.

Of course, what we are talking about here is not the brotherly Iranian people and the “progressive” political forces of the country. Rather those we are referring to are no different to the Shah. They just wear “turbans” under which they harbor anti-Arab ideas.

Beyond a shadow of a doubt, the Iranian people have demonstrated, throughout their history, that they are a civilized and brotherly people. They have contributed to the modern civilization of this region with their remarkable achievements and refined skills. Therefore, we will certainly see the day when the tragic contemporary state of affairs changes... The people of Iran will find their glorious historical path once again- this is inevitable.

In fact, the real problem is that the colonial powers, Britain, France, as well as Italy, and later Spain, if you wish, engaged with the Arabs as though they were Turks. They engaged with us as though they didn’t know that the Turkish “Ottoman” occupation was an annexation more vicious and primitive than that of any of the region’s occupiers who had preceded them.

This is a fact… And this fact is undoubtedly more bitter than Oleander, and this Ottoman hegemony over what became the Arab nation had been crueler than that of any of the occupiers that the region has seen… This is true despite the immensely bitter experiences undergone during the occupations of the French and English, as well as the Italians and then the Israelis…
Here, in the end, though this issue does not end, we must stress that the vicious and horrific occupation of part of the Arab nation and the people of Palestine… And the Holy City of Jerusalem in particular is a colonial occupation like all the others seen in this region since and before… And in every historical epoch!