The revival of the ethnic identities for attending a modern nation

Sedigheh Adaleti

The world today is in the pace of the recognizing the differences between the nations rather than encouraging the similarities. Particularly in the developed and modern countries, in which there is the co-existence of different ethnic groups under the same body politic, there are a lot of attempts for accepting the various ethnical identities.

Unfortunately the same process is not followed in the third world countries. Iran is one of these countries with multi-ethnic characteristics. Ethnical diversity is seen as a complicated problem in this country and the Iranian policy tries to solve it by over looking the ethnical identities.

The first steps for Iranian society to have a place among the modern nations is to adopt secularism, respect the equality between different ethnic groups, to recognize the various ethnic identities and adjust the policy of social justice.

Undoubtedly the different groups in society indifference of their race, religion, and language must enjoy all social and economical possibilities equally.

Additionally the various groups must be free in practicing their ethnicity; I mean they must be free in speaking and teaching their native language, learning their history and culture and teaching it to the next generation. They must be free in using tele communication and mass media for expanding and protecting their ethnicity.

Since the transformation of the government and power from Azerbaijan to Tehran in the end of the 19th century, Azerbaijan has become a colony of Iran. The Persian regime with its assimilation policy and illogical ways has tried to annihilate the Turkish culture in Iran. The Iranian Turks have been denigrated for their ethnicity.

The ethnic movement of Azerbaijanis in different periods of the last century is an identical sign of their attempts to reach their human rights and the deserved status in Iranian society. These movements have always been interpreted as the separatist movements. However during the history when the integrity of Iran has been threaded by foreign powers Azerbaijanis have done their best to defend this country. As the latest example, during the Iran-Iraq war they were the first flow of the defenders and fighters in the front.

For a long time Turkish intellectuals have had no place in Iranian society, they had to leave their Turkish identity and adopt a Persian one and through it they were expected to prove their loyalty to Persian culture.

As a result of the assimilation policy some Azerbaijanis were ashamed of their Turkish identity. They rejected it and tried to adopt the Persian one.

By the independence of the Turkish republics, increasing the ethnic movements all over the world, the Azerbaijanis in Iran have realized the fact that as an ethnic group they do not need to give up their identity, they must defend it and use it as a strong power for organizing and mobilizing the believers for obtaining the human rights and the right of participation in the economy and politic of their country.

In the last decade the movement of the Azerbaijanis in different parts of Iran shows their awareness of their historical mission. Here the Azerbaijani intellectuals together with the Azerbaijanis from different classes are united to organize the ethnic movements in Iran. They request a pluralistic government in which all the ethnic groups have the right to decide and participate in the politic and society.

The aimed freedom and human rights have to be achieved intelligently. In this movement the human power has been sustained with the weapon of science and knowledge. The Azerbaijanis know that the nationalistic feelings and ethnic sentiments without profiting from the modern science and developed communication system is not enough for reaching an ideal modern, secular and democratic society. They know it and try to mobilize their movements in accordance with the necessities of the 21. Century, they are aware of the fact that the only way to have place in the modern and developed world is to obtain information in different political, economical and social aspects.

One important opportunity for the minority groups in the last decade was the relative and controlled freedom of press in Iran. Some important local newspapers and magazines are published by Azerbaijanis in Azerbaijan and Tehran. The authors try to reveal the inequalities and discriminations in Azerbaijan. They have begun to write essays in Turkish language. They present the importance of the Azerbaijani ethnic group, its language and its place in the Iranian history. Although many of the newspapers are doomed to forbidden and many of the correspondents have become arrested and tortured, but new one tries to replace them.

Unfortunately the Islamic republic of Iran can not see the necessity of a decentralized power. Its duty is to prevent the centralization of power, since in the societies with centralized power, power is concentrated and acts as a pyramid, there is no possibility for the participation of the various groups, and they are behaved as the marginal in society.

However with a decentralized power there is a restricted and controlled ruling power in the society.

All over the world the centralized powers have been doomed to annihilation. In different periods of the world history we see the defeat of the big empires and dictators.

It must not be forgotten that freedom, equity and equality of the various groups in the society are inseparable conditions of a modern nation.

In conclusion the Azerbaijani movement in Iran can be interpreted as the movement of an ethnic group in search of its identity, which tries to split the present values and uses its ethnicity as an instrument for the mobilization of its power to achieve its human rights and deserved status in the modern world.