The Shah and the Ayatollah: Iranian Mythology and Islamic Revolution

The Shah and the Ayatollah: Iranian Mythology and Islamic Revolution

The Shah and the Ayatollah: Iranian Mythology and Islamic Revolution

The Shah and the Ayatollah: Iranian Mythology and Islamic Revolution

Synopsis

Ambassador Hoveyda provides an illustration of the influence of myths in history-in-the-making. Indeed, he has found in the Iranian revolution many points that can be clarified only by the impact of old mythology and mindsets. He provides a very original explanation of the events that led to the fall of the Shah and the ascent of Khomeini, changing the political and diplomatic situation in the Middle East, the Persian Gulf, and the Caspian Sea regions.

Excerpt

As far back as I remember, I was always steeped in Iranian mythology. I was three years old, in Damascus. My mother and the servants who had been brought from Iran would tell me the deeds and fates of our legendary kings and heroes. To them these fearless champions had really existed and were part of our history. Hence my surprise when in grade two in the French Lycée of Beirut (I was six years old) I noticed that our teacher did not mention them in his version of Iran's history. To my query she answered: [Oh that! It's mythology!] At home my nanny shrugged her shoulders: [Your teacher is an ignorant! Don't listen to her!] Years passed on and we schoolkids became acquainted with Greek mythology and other legends. But I discovered that they were not told at home to European kids and at any rate their legends were very different from ours. For one thing, they referred to multiple gods who were not always morally right like our Wise Lord who continuously fought against Ahriman, the evil spirit.

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