Friday, August 26, 2005
Ahmed Kasravi
Chauvinism in Iran has not been started with Ahmad Kasravi. However, there is no doubt that he was one of the most effective theoreticians of chauvinism and his books, papers and ideas has inspired most of the chauvinists in Iran. To have a better view about his ideas, the environment where Kasravi developed his ideas should be studied.

Ahmed Kasravi

The period after World War I is one of the important and critical eras in Middle East. The collapse of Ottoman Empire and the formation of the Soviet Union gave a good opportunity to Britain to develop colonization in Middle East in the absence of its old competitors, Ottomans and Russia. On the other hand, the challenges on the Nationalism in Europe waked different nations in Middle East to define their national characteristics such as their history, language, borders… independent to the pervious most effective factor, i.e. Islam. Since this new definition prevented the establishment of any union among those nations, Britain gladly supported the new movements.
In Iran, as a country in Middle East, there was a same plan that was guided by Britain and performed by Reza Shah, the king of Iran, who had gotten the power in a coup, which was supported by Britain. Nevertheless, there was an important difference between nationalism in Iran and other parts of Middle East. Since Iran was a multination country, nationalism could disperse it. Because of the threat of communism, this was unacceptable for Britain. There was no doubt that small countries could join USSR easily. It is significant to note that, communism was new in that time and since Middle Easterners thought that all their difficulties and problems were the result of the imperialism of Britain, there was a tendency toward communism among them. To solve this problem, it is decided that Iran should be changed to a unit nation country.
Iran was the home of various nations such as Turks, Persians, Arabs, Kurds, Baluchs, Turkmen and …. Turks and Persians were the most populous ones. Therefore, Iran should be changed to a unit nation country with Turk or Persian nationality. There were some obvious reasons for why Persian was chosen. The last kingdom of Iran, Gajars, was a Turk kingdom. Since people were not happy with them and they thought that the lag from the developed world was an effect of Gajars Kingdom, they were more prepared to accept a Persian kingdom. Another reason was that, the establishment of a Turk country in the neighborhood of another Turk country, Turkey, could create a union between them that was completely against Britain’s policy. As another reason, the presence of Turk states in USSR and consequently, Turk communist politicians and publications was a threat in the sense that they could support and help communist thoughts in Iran. Another reason was that, there was a tight connection between Turk politicians and the politicians in Baku and Istanbul. It was proved that this connection was very effective in political movements like the constitution movement.
The mentioned reasons as well as some other ones caused that Persian was chosen as the only nationality of Iran. How make Iranians accept this? This was the next step that theoreticians like Ahmad Kasravi did it.
Kasravi started his fight against Turk people of Iran. He theorized and published his idea in a paper that was gladly welcomed by Reza Shah and ultranationalists. Later, Kasravi, by himself, wrote that after writing that paper, he had been accepted in some Britain foundations like London Asian Kingdom Society. In the paper, Kasravi claimed that Azerbaijanis had not been Turk and Turk Kings had changed their language. He supported his idea with claiming that people used to speak in another language, that he called that Azeri and claimed that that was a accent of old Farsi before Turkish be distributed by Turk Kingdom.
He mentioned that the names of rivers, mountains, cities and so on are one of the factors that show the characteristics of the people and their language. Then he divided the names of the cities, mountains . . . of South Azerbaijan into two groups, with-meanings and without-meanings! He put all Turkish names in the second group, claimed that some names are Aryan, and put them in the first one. Although he later confessed that there are some places, mountains … in Turkish but he argued that they were named by Turks later. This was the proof he used to prove that Azerbaijanis were not Turk. He supported his idea with the fact that there are four villages where people speak in Tati, an accent of Old Persian, but he ignored the fact that people in all other villages in Azerbaijan and many villages in other parts of Iran speak Turkish. He highlighted any word similar to Azari in history and called his discovered language Azari, while people use Azari as an abbreviation of Azerbaijani, which is possessive adjective of Azerbaijan and the accent of Turkish that is used in Azerbaijan, is naturally called Azerbaijani Turkish or briefly Azeri Turkish. To support his idea more, he claimed some Tati words as words of Azari. However, it is clear that if language of people in South Azerbaijan was Azeri, there should be many signs instead of just four villages that later proved that were a result of immigration of few Persian people in the time of Sasanian or 17 verses that was in Tati or Taleshi.
Some parts are taken from:
Monday, August 22, 2005
The court has sentenced Abbas Lesani to one year in jail for propaganda against the Islamic regime. Judge Nik Khah announced that Abbas Lesani had been found guilty of
  • attending in the Babak Castle Congress,

  • encouraging people to attend in the Babak Castle Congress,

  • making various placards with various dimensions about nationalism in Turkish and Latin,

  • writing papers, poetries, statements and announcing them in the illegal Babak Castle Congress,

  • publishing Pan Turkic calendar,

  • having close connection with his supporters and followers,

  • holding various meetings in various cities to advert Pan Turkism, Nationalism and separatism,

  • sending messages abroad by internet and making call to his supporters in abroad
which are clear signs of public anxiety and propaganda against the Islamic regime.
It is significant to note that Hedayat Zaker and Javad Abbasi, two national activities and teachers in the high schools of Khoy and Tabriz, are respectively sentenced to one year and six months in jail for defense Azerbaijanis human rights in some pervious months.
What is going on in a court of justice in South Azerbaijan?
Abbas Lesani, a political activist, answered to the questions of the new judge of his trial for attending in the 6th Babak Castle Congress on 16 August 2005.
In the pervious trials, Abbas Lesani managed to change the language of the trial to Turkish insistently. Likewise, the language of this trial was Turkish. Let us look at the trial briefly:
Judge: You are accused to activities in favor of

  1. Nationalism

  2. Separatism

  3. Advertisement against the regime
Abbas Lesani: I would like to write my defense.
Judge: Go on please.
Abbas Lesani wrote his defense in Turkish.
“In my view, my arrestment and all of this accusations are illegal and injustice. If I am just being tried for attending in Babak Castle Congress, be bold and announce it formally. In the first stages of the trial, I pointed out and I emphasis now that I have had many activities to defend the rights of people in Azerbaijan and I have a dossier for each of them in the court. I will surely do any activity for the freedom of my people in future. However, for this trial, since I did not do anything in this case, I should say that I do not accept any of these accuses.”
He gave the answers to the judge.

Abbas Lesani

Judge: What are these you have written?
Abbas Lesani: Azerbaijani Turkish!
Judge: Why did you write them? Who gave you the permission?
Abbas Lesani: I do not need any permission to write in my mother and national language!
Judge: You have done a huge mistake by writing these.
The judge was blushed since he was angry and desperate.
Abbas Lesani: If there is punishment for writing in mother language, it is easy to tolerate the hardest punishments of the world!
Judge: You are nothing! You are just pretentious. Remember that you are just a butcher who is working in the bazaar, nothing more!
Abbas Lesani: I am a humble person. Why are you so angry dear judge? And why are you afraid of your own mother language this much? … I should say that I am proud of being a butcher because this job causes that I do not work against my people like some others!
The judge became angrier!
Judge: Start to write some of my words in Persian.
Abbas Lesani: I would do just in Turkish. If you would not like, I will not defend.
Judge: Whereas I am talking with you in Turkish, why do you not write in Persian? You are supposed to respect the law.
Abbas Lesani: Not all laws are fair. Unfair laws should be changed. Moreover, I should say that I could read and write Persian very well. Nevertheless, I am determined to write in Turkish now and this is my obvious right. About that, you said you speak in Turkish and I write in Persian, since neither could you translate well nor I tend to waive my right to write in my mother language, I should say that I do not accept that too.
Judge: You maimed the formal language of the country under your feet and this is a big guilt.
Abbas Lesani: Do you forget 15th and 19th norms of the constitution? Moreover, you know very well that Azerbaijanis, despite the fact that they are Turkish, have been forced to learn and speak in Persian since 80 years ago whereas you do not tolerate writing some Turkish words by me! I spoke in Turkish to show that how much Persian Chauvinism and people like you have negative sensitivity about Turkish language. Let all people see that how there is language cruelty as well as economical injustice in Azerbaijan.
Judge: These words show that you are a separatist!
Abbas Lesani: If speaking in mother tongue and defense for my identity is separatism, I am a separatist! If I could not defend in Turkish I will not defend anymore.
After long and hot debate, the judge asked Abbas Lesani to sign.
Abbas Lesani: I will not sign this since it is written in Persian.
Judge: These are what you wrote in Turkish as well as what you answered as defense for not writing in Persian.
Abbas Lesani: I would sign it on a condition!
Judge: What is that?
Abbas Lesani: I should add some in Turkish.
The judge accepted it desperately. What did Abbas write in the paper?
“You said that my speech in Turkish is enough to prove that I am guilty. Therefore, I write in Turkish and I will write in Turkish in trials in future. I am ready to tolerate the hardest punishments of the world for this. Moreover, perhaps you, dear judge, have never read in the present laws, which have never been executed, that judge should try the accused in his or her mother tongue”.
Some 100 people thronged into the tomb of Baqer Khan in the Constitution Park to remember the 100th anniversary of constitution in Iran on the evening of Friday (5 August, 2005).
After hours of debate, police allowed them to attend in a controlled and simple ceremony. When one of the political activists, Abbas Lesani, wanted to give a speech, police disrupted the affair and arrested some of the participants. It is said that two political activists, Abbas Lesani and Abdol Aziz Azimi gadimi Ardabili were taken away.
Meanwhile, an official ceremony to honor the constitution was held elsewhere in Tabriz. Unlike to that ceremony, participants of this one who were mostly governmental people such as former culture minister Ataollah Mohajerani and interior minister's political deputy Morteza Mobaleq, were entertained very well!


Sunday, August 07, 2005
South Azerbaijan
This site belongs to south Azerbaijan, that is a vast region in the north west of Iran. I have not seen any English weblog for south Azerbaijan so far. So I think this is the first one, unfortunately!

Why does south Azerbaijan need a weblog?!
Well, it is that hard to answer. As a start, I should say that south Azerbaijan is a part of Azerbaijan (as a great region) placed inside Iran. People of south Azerbaijan constitute a big minority in Iran. Azerbaijanis are Turkish. They have common history with other Iranians like Persians. Actually, Iran is a multinational country. Other nations in Iran are Kurds, Arabs, Turkmans, Baluchs,... . All these nations had been got along well from ancient age until about 80 years ago when Reza Khan, a dictator king, started to change Iran to a unit nation country. He got power in Iran with the help of Britains by a coup d'etat. He changed all laws and legislate new rules which defined Persian culture and language as the only formal one. This policy has been continued by the government so far. Whenever other nations of the country asked for their own right to develop their culture or learn their mother tongue, the government has suppressed them. They accused them as commonest. Pan-Turkist, Pan-Arabist to reduce the pressure of the west. They have disregarded even the most primary human right by this accusation and because there has been negative attitude about communism,... the west has tolerated and in some occasions even helped them to suppress the fighters for human rights.
This weblog will try to make a bridge between the minorities of Iran, specially Turks, with the west. I will try to translate and write about the minorities of Iran.