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S. Ahmadi

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A TASTE of IRAN

talks there are a familiar thread “stand in their shoes; develop empathy; waging war when we don’t understand; peace and war, etc.”

All Iranians are invited with all kinds of mind (opened, closed, semi-opened)
All non-Iranians interested to know Iran as it is in real are Invited.

Let’s take up the challenge and make a joint effort to learn more about Iran.

this topic is made as a part of the series of ""A TASTE" SERIES: to explore the countries and cultures of those in conflict!" by recommendation of Dear friend Wongmo R.

http://www.ted.com/conversations/3131/a_taste_series_to_explore_t.html


please ask your questions about Iran.
other Iranians please participate.

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    Jun 22 2011: Hi. This is one of the most interesting topics I've seen on TED. It's always good to get to know other cultures.

    I have some questions about Iran that relates to my difficulty to understand Middle East dynamics (from outside is really really hard to understand complex historical process). A professor said to me that Iran is the modern Persia, but i don't like accepting just this as explanation of Iran (what is rather obvious, nothing can be explained like this), so:

    - How do Persian culture relates to religion?

    - How Iran relates to neighbors culture? The same professor said that no one likes Iran on Middle East cause of cultural differences, is that right?

    - How do you guys relate to statements that Iran doesn't respect human rights? Is it true, rhetoric, ideological pressure from the West? (i live on Brazil and my country was recently criticized for supporting Iran, and i think this is a rather politicized question)

    Hope none of my questions are stupid. If you wanna ask about Brazil i can explain some misconcepts too, we are usually portrayed as jungle monkeys.
    • sha b

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      Jun 22 2011: "How do Persian culture relates to religion? "
      What we have as a culture in Iran today is a mixture of Persian culture and religion, Sometime you can't tell them apart and sometime you can.

      How Iran relates to neighbors culture?
      I assume by Iran, You mean Iranian people, Not the government.

      Arabs and Turks: Well when one looks back there is a long history of conflicts, wars and today? We still carry "cultural differences" with Arabs after all this time, Turks kind of had made their way inside, I have to admit Iranians sometimes don't like Arabs much, I can't say the same for Turks thought, a major ethnic group in Iran is Turks. Also in southern Iran there are Arabs who have mostly migrated to Iran a few generations before.

      There are this countries:Iraq,Turkey,Armenia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan. Never noticed anything about Iranians general attitude toward others, they only noticeable one to me is Iraq, Which is an Arab country, who was as we all know at war with Iran not long ago.
      And the other thing that comes to my mind is the Arabs constant try on renaming the Persian Gulf to Arabian Gulf.

      "How do you guys relate to statements that Iran doesn't respect human rights? "

      Like I have said before to others too, don't equate Iran's government with it's people. Who's human's rights is being talked about here? That's right:"ours". The ones that made that statement in the first place were ourselves. The West is just repeating it for their own benefit.

      The way you putted it, sounded to me like you believed Brazil supported Iran's government out of goodness of its heart? Like if Lula has seen with his own eyes that people in Iran were getting killed, He'd say "ok, Who cares about money and power when someone is hurt? I am stopping any trades with Iran because I am compassionate like that".
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        Jun 22 2011: Hi, thanks for the many answers, especially to the ones relatives to culture.

        When you put "Like I have said before to others too, don't equate Iran's government with it's people." this was just the intention of my questioning. I've never met a iranian on my life so i couldn't know this. From outside we can rely mostly on media, and media can't get all the facts (or don't want to).

        There was a recent case of the woman sentenced to be buried on ground and etc... That's just what i know about the case, because the media only portrayed this fact. There are no speculations about if the social consciousness is in favor of it. My intention was to discover if there was political cohesion between someone here at TED and the political elites of Iran (as i can see from the debate below this answer could be very different if S.R had responded).

        But the most interesting thing you pointed out in your answer was the fact that media really portrays that Human Rights claims are something to be seen from outside to inside Iran. The fact that an Iranian that put his face on tv and lay some critics on the government and on human rights will probably get in to trouble helps the western media monopolizing that process.

        About Lula's question, the political approach to Iran was based on purely ideological movements of his advisor on external affairs (Marco Aurélio Garcia, a stupid pig). The real interest was to create a movement where Brazil would be skirting on USA's influence to make an coalition of interests outside USA's arm. This would have an pragmatic objective cause Brazil aims a seat on Security Counsel. I found Lula's external affaris approach very stupid. Brazil has NOTHING in common with Iran, and no matters in common, and this was a stupid movement. USA's sanction on nuclear weapons matter on Iran proved that this was stupid, they pissed on it. Our new president tho (DIlma, Lula's sucessor) has changed brazilian position towards Human Rights and external affairs.
    • sha b

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      Jun 22 2011: "we are usually portrayed as jungle monkeys."

      I think of Brazilians as *very* happy people.
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        Jun 22 2011: yeah, the monkey thing comes usually from USA. We are happy people, but not so much as the movies and propagandas say (this happiness has some touristic interests involved).

        We work very hard around here, but the impression this symbols pass is that we are always on carnival hehe.
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          Jun 22 2011: I've never heard of Americans referring to Brazilians as jungle monkeys!! I work with some Brazilian people so I will ask them.

          I think virtually all cultures are largely misunderstood by those outside their own culture, and for good reason: people live within their own culture and it is hard to imagine another culture that is different.
          For me, the thing that helps overcome that ignorance is conversations like this. Also having the opportunity to live in a place where there is multi-ethnicity.
        • Jun 23 2011: I totally agree, Jim. Living with multi-ethnicity is the best way to truly come to respect all people. I would say that goes for all prejudices...the best way to get over them is to be put in a real life situation that proves them to be false.

          I have never heard that negative reference used to describe Brazilian people either. I think American culture is fascinated with Brazil, not disrespectful toward Brazil. That is only what I have seen though.
        • sha b

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          Jun 23 2011: Is it a bad thing to be a happy nation? What's wrong with attracting tourists?
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        Jun 23 2011: Jim don't get me wrong, surely it's not a widespread habit, the monkey comes with insults or bad jokes.

        But many times, when asked, americans think we live on rainforest (a guy asked me on vegas if it was true that there were leopards on street on Rio de Janeiro). It's the same thing as most of brazilians think of all americans being the a typical new york citizen. The bad jokes and insults come with fat persons eating hamburguers (which is a image as bizarre as portraying us as monkeys).

        And surely, talks like this are the best way to discover more about people. Especially this on Iran, which has a so different context than ours on the West.

        PS: I hope i wasn't misunderstood, i love America and have some american friends, but these histories or images are perpetrated by some alienated persons.
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          Jun 23 2011: Mario -- No not at all! I liked your responses very much. Without conversations like this one it would be almost impossible to ask questions of other cultures, etc. unless you went out on the street and stopped people - not a good idea usually...

          Thanks for being so honest and considerate -- You can never be too much of either one!
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          Jun 23 2011: Mario, like Jim about the monkey statement, I was like WHAT? I have never heard an American say that before....and again, I am in disbelief. Now some thinking that leopards roam your streets and that if you live on a rainforest and even if your country was in Africa I would have believed it as most Americans are "geographically challenged" and are only now realizing that there IS a world beyond our borders that they need to know about mainly due to globalization and the net!

          What I found to be interesting about this site, is that I think Americans are in the minority. By randomly looking at 20 pages of members, I saw that there were way more international Tedsters than there are American ones! And even though more than likely these Americans are not "geographically challenged" , we sure can learn a lot about other countries and their people by just reading and partaking in what this part of TED offers us.

          Regards from Florida (and NO...I do not have alligators roaming my neighborhood ;-)!)
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        Jun 23 2011: It's not bad in essence, but it creates a stereotype that every brazilian is happy or likes to party very much which it isn't true. Brazil is a huge melting pot but the typical image that is shown outside is of a small portion of the people, that lives by the beach on Rio de Janeiro (i'm included on this, i like being like this), but extending this to all brazilians is kinda messy.

        Sometimes it creates problems -which is minor and sometimes funny- with celebrities too, that come here thinking that they can do anything (this is just an example, but Nick Oliveri of Queen of Stone Age got naked on the stage cause he thought Brazil was the country of carnival, all get naked, and this is not true).
        • sha b

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          Jun 24 2011: "got naked on the stage"?!!! ...*Now* I totally understand you.
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        Jun 23 2011: Hi Linda, like I said before, these things are said by some alienated persons, that believe on stupid jokes.

        Like this one, on Simpson, which i find very disrespectful, although i love the series:

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VCfdOVhkdwQ

        If the person is alienated, and sees something like this, he will have only one view of people on Brazil: monkeys, jungle, and so on.

        About the aligators, it's funny because in fact here where i live there are crocodiles (small ones tho) and i see them everyday. This is not common on Rio or Brazil tho. But i never associated Florida to alligators hehe.

        Regards from Rio!
    • Jun 23 2011: Dear Mario Tinoco,
      "The same professor said that no one likes Iran on Middle East cause of cultural differences, is that right?"
      this is different if you consider governments or people.
      If you consider people near all countries like or even love Iran specially Iraq Syria turkey Bahrain Azerbaijan Egypt Pakistan (Shia people of Pakistan have huge religious pilgrims to Iran) Only in few countries some groups of people hate Iran specially Wahhabi people in Saudi Arabia (in Saudi Arabia there are two main sunny group which one is Wahhabi and near 10-15% shia. Only Wahhabi people hate Shia and Iran. Wahhabi people have power in saudi Arabia but government (Saudi family) is not so much friend with Wahhabi group. and few extreme branches of sunny people. But most sunny people like Iran and Shia Imams. Like Egypt people.
      in mid east countries loving Iran in order:
      But if you consider governments it is different and it determined by relation to US. How much a government has more close relation to US and Israel it has more bad relation to Iran. Iran and Israel are two opposite extreme. The only country has very bad relation with Iran in middle east is Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia has extreme fear from Iran and US has some important military base in Saudi Arabia.

      "- How do you guys relate to statements that Iran doesn't respect human rights?"
      Islamic laws have some conflicts with UN human rights. So Iran does not respect them. For example in Islam the hand of thief should be cut and the punish of some Islamic crimes is being killed. For example if a married woman have sex with another man should be killed.
      But according to UN pressures on Iran such rules are not carried out or limited.
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        Jun 23 2011: Thank you very much for your views S.R Ahmadi, it's important to listen do different opinions.

        About Brazil doing business with Iran, i agree and Iran has a huge food market that would be great for Brazil answer this demand (food production is Brazil's driving economic force on international market).

        But doing business is doing business. I'm not doing a moral critic on Iran, but on strategic thinking, aligning with Iran was an error, based on a unrealistic view that aligning with isolated countries can make Brazil be a leader of the interest of these countries. USA wrote down an sanction against Iran, and Brazil was forced to sign. This was PATHETIC, an awful error of diplomacy.
        • Jun 24 2011: "But doing business is doing business."
          I disagree. doing business is a sign of friendship.
          why US does not do business with Iran?
          why US banned all US companies to do business with Iran.
          Iran has no problem to do business with US companies. but it is banned by US government.
          UN only banned some special businesses with Iran mainly related to nuclear.
          but US illegally and out or UN rules forces all US companies and even forces all countries to stop business with Iran. why?
          now no bank in world do any transaction with Iran.
          but many countries and many companies does not care about US and do business with Iran. although some do business hidden to US does not know and make problem for them.
          business and politics and strategy and moral are mixed. not separate.

          "aligning with Iran was an error"
          it depends on beliefs and related to religion.
          US is big supporter of Israel and Israel has great in influence in US government and parliament.
          if any parliament member in US say anything against Israel should say bye bye to parliament.
          you mean Brazil should agree US and Israel in politics against Iran? why?

          please note Brazil is not alone.
          now many countries are with Iran and one by one countries are leaving US and joining Iran in world balance. Egypt revolution highly changed the balance in favor of Iran. Mubarak was puppet of Israel and Egypt quickly started biz and policy with Iran and now tied with Iran. the future is for Iran. because Iran has no nuclear military thing. and all Iran nuclear is peaceful and for energy and UN is watching everything related to nuclear in Iran and nothing found like nuclear nuke not found in Iraq. and work finally will know truth that all the sanctions has source in Israel and all US veto against Iran is for supporting Israel.
          the two main pole in world are Israel and Iran. and US and UN are only puppets in hand of Israel. media is controlled but internet helps very much to people know truth.
          world is changing and future is for Iran.
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        Jun 24 2011: There are no such things as puppets States. US supports Israel only if it sees that supporting Israel is better fo US, this is valid for UN, Israel or any other country, international organization, NGO's, and so on.

        Yes, i agree with you that US makes sanctions on Iran on economic, business and trade not because of nuclear weapons, but because it's interesting for Israel and they support Israel. But this is purely POLITICAL MOTIVATION. Brazil has no interest on Israel or Iran, or Middle East in general. There is no reason for Brazil meddling with this, no one -except for the ideological view. Aligning with Iran was a STRATEGIC error, not ideological error (if that exists) or in terms of amity or enmity.
        For Brazil, doing business with Iran is just business and trade. For US, Israel, UN, it's not just business, for sure, it's politics.

        And sorry, i don't want to opposite to your beliefs, but Iran and Israel are not the two main poles of the world, there is no main pole in the world, it's a web of interests.
    • Jun 23 2011: About Brazil:
      The past and current president are supporter of Iran and also new president and Brazil does not recognize business sanctions against Iran and have good business with Iran. Iran has huge business with Brazil. I heard some Brazilian company managers said me:
      "Brazil is with Iran"
      Brazilian people are very similar to Iran people in culture (said by a iranian woman married to Brazilian footballer)

      About Iraq Iran had war and problem with Ba'ath Party leaded by Saddam.
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ba%27ath_Party
      But Iraq people are mostly Shia and love Iranians. Recently after Saddam Iran has huge business with Iraq and because of high cost of transport of materials nearly only Iran is now reconstructing Iraq.
      Iran has huge export to Iraq and Iraqi people prefer to buy from Iran.

      Dear sha b,
      "Like I have said before to others too, don't equate Iran's government with it's people."
      I believe at least 60% or more of Iran people want Iran government because Islamic beliefs. And I consider majority of Iran people supporting government although people have many economic and job critiques with government.

      "Lula has seen with his own eyes that people in Iran were getting killed,"
      A president of a country is not is ignorant to get information from propaganda of media. Brazil president knows truth about Iran.

      Dear mario,
      About woman sentenced to be buried on ground :
      Yes this is an Islamic law for a married woman having sex with other man. but according to UN pressures nearly is not carried out.
      Please note Iran rules are made from Islamic rules.

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