Ghazal for Iranians Who Don’t Hate Arabs

To Rom, and Parichehr

Today I met Iranians who don’t hate Arabs.
They smiled and said “hey, selam,” even knowing I was Arab.

They didn’t have green eyes, yet they seemed to bear up
pretty well without them, and they don’t fault Arabs,

not all of us, at least, for Nahavand, and the bloody flare-up
at Karbala; after all, remember, Imam Husayn was Arab.

I was a little scared at first, but soon I scraped my chair up
closer and acknowledged half our poetry and science isn’t Arab.

Half? Two thirds! Three quarters! All Persian! I went clear up
to The Arabian Nights, to Ibn Sina; who says he was Arab?

We parleyed on Ferdowsi. They didn’t want to tear up
all the Arabic words in Farsi, since they don’t hate Arabs.

They didn’t insist, “Say ‘Persian!’” or “We’re Aryan, like Europe.”
They felt kin to “Third World” peoples, even Arabs.

Not royalists who think the Shah just got a bad rap,
though they don’t love the Republic, they don’t blame Arabs.

For making Persians browner, for conquest, and Umayyads,
if it helps, janem, I apologize, on behalf of Arabs,

and for implying by misnaming that the Gulf belongs to our hub
(let all the waters be yours! who needs water when you’re Arab!).

Paradise we got from Persians! It was a one-way educarab,
as backward as we were (there’s not much more to rhyme with “Arab”).

For forcible conversion of the all letter p’s we could scare up
to f’s just so they could trip off the tongues of Arabs—

por priendship and pondness’ sake, I give it all—all—up!
Mohja’s relieved to find Iranians who don’t hate Arabs.

Mohja Kahf

10 thoughts on “Ghazal for Iranians Who Don’t Hate Arabs”

  1. But what is the relationship between the Aryans and whiteness? It was Hitler who made that mythical connection. Anyway, if these distinctions (Aryan, Semitic, Dravidian etc) mean anything, they describe language families, not races.

  2. hey! slow down, majority of Persian/Iranians hate you Arabs! you destroyed a civilization 1400 years ago and we will never never forgive you Arabs, okay? no more fantasy please!

    1. the old civilisations in what is known as Iran today were non-persian.. the Elamite were semetic, their kingdom dates back 5000-7000 yrs ago, well b4 the persians migrated to what was later named Iranian plateau, and the today’s inhabitants of arabstan or ahwaz region or khuzistan or huzistan(re-formation of the word ahwazistan or huz being singular of the plural Ahwaz, meaning farming plot or boundry..etc. the mede who established their kingdom in north-western iran were non-persian, in fact they were the ancestors of the today’s kurds of Iran. etc etc, however later on the persians – who descended southward form central asia and parts of the southern edge of europe and settled in parts of modern day iran – established their own kingdoms, empires and went on to dominate and ruled vast areas of “Iran” and beyond under the achamenides, ashkanians, sassnides etc..obviously having assimilated and integrated the newly conquered peoples, groups and communities into their folds and domain, they utilised and added to the old systems and established their own civilisation which lasted for centuries. So these are the facts and let’s separate them from myths. no persian person should be offended by this true version of history. in fact they should be proud. and as a non-persain iranian i too admire that. We should wake up and face reality. Let face it there is nothing for Persians , arabs or any nation in third world countries to be proud of as all are backward politically, economically, technologically, socially and so on. What counts is what we are now not what we were in the past which exists only in dusty history books..

  3. Iranian surrendered against the Arabs within a few years and some of the people from Old Iran means Paersia left their own country and settled in other country as a refugees. I read some places like wiki pedia that in first war Iranian were sold as a slave in Arab’s market and slowly slowly Arab captured whole Persia. Some persian accepted Islam by force and some by impression.
    After destruction of Persia, Arab concentrated todays’s India and killed millions of Hindus. But still Muslims were never able to convert all hindus into muslims.
    I feel very proud of my ancestor that even after 1000 years we were able to save our old religion and culture but Persian were not able to do that.

    If you will see the history Persian and hindus had very strong relationship but once Iran became Muslim the the same kind of relation was not possible.

  4. What garbage. I am a Pakistani and it is disgusting how this poetry sounds. Islamic civilization was the best thing to happen to Persia. The great Persian scholars learned from Arabs like Imam Jafar As-Sadiq (Rad), who is considered by many to have introduced the scientific method, chemistry, etc. Ibn Al-Haytham, Ibn Khaldun, etc. were Arabs. You are exaggerating. The Persian scholars of that time were Sunnis and they did NOT have the resentment towards Islam or Arabs that many modern secular Iranians have. From the 7th to 16th century, Arabs and Persians were united as Sunni Muslims and many Persian-Sunnis found pride in being descendants from the holy and pure Prophet (SAW) and the Caliphs. The modern Iranians who are Shia or non-religious have NO claim on Rumi (Rah), Saadi (Rah), Attar (Rah), Jami (Rah), Khayyam, Hafez, etc. who were Sunnis from Sunni backgrounds and did not espouse the fake theories of Europe such as those pertaining to Aryans and Aryan-nationalism. The Safavid Shias destroyed much of this civilization, but traces of the Sunni-Persian civilization may be found in Afghanistan and Khorasan, where the Sunni-Persians do NOT hold resentment to Arabs, but love them and are very devout Muslims. Shia lies against the Sahaba must be stopped. The greatest thinkers, scientists, etc. of Persia were all devout Sunni Muslims.

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