Wednesday, June 14, 2006

I don’t want to keep writing about football so I promise this is the last time. Actually I better not promise anything because you never know.
So we’re playing again on Saturday. This time against Portugal. And I’ve already started to feel a little uneasy. But to tell you the truth, it’s not the game that I’m feeling uneasy about because really what’s the worst that can happen? If I’m honest what I’m really dreading is the part before the game. You know, the bit when they all come out onto the pitch and exchange little presents. Yes, LITTLE. Did you hear that Iranian team? LITTLE PRESENTS. Like what the Mexicans brought: a little green flag type thing with a little tassel at the end of it.
And what did the Iranians bring? A huge chunky, golden frame with some sort of strange carpet type thing inside it! It was huge, wasn’t it? And no doubt quite heavy as well. No wonder poor Daaee was so tired by the time it came to playing.
Now that’s nothing. I mean if you remember the last World Cup Iran qualified for, you’ve probably noticed that they’ve mellowed down a lot with their present giving since then. Back then every time Iran had a match, they would walk out onto the pitch with a huge bunch of flowers, a big silver tray and a selection of Iranian handicrafts!
By the time the present exchanging part was over, the captain of the opposite team, standing there with his bunch of flowers and his tray and his tea set or whatever else he had been given, had an air of a young innocent girl about him for whom a suitor had been found and was about to be married off to him against her wishes!
Why do we do this? Why can’t we just keep things simple and give out little flags with little tassels at the end and get it over and done with?
So ok I guess this time was a lot better than the last World Cup; at least we didn’t look like we were trying to marry the opposite team. We gave a big, chunky, manly, frame with no flowers or tea sets. But then just as I thought, ok the embarrassing part is over now and it wasn’t really as embarrassing as I thought it would be, the Iranian National anthem started playing :-(
I just want to ask you one little question here my fellow Iranians. Am I the only person in the world who has bothered to memorize our national anthem? Seriously. Hands up, who knows the Iranian national anthem. Come on, don’t be shy. Don’t go putting your hands up just for the hell of it either. Do you actually know all the words? From ‘Sarzad az ofogh…’ right through to ‘Jomhoorieh eslamiyeh Iran’? Umm, yes I thought so. You don’t know it.
Don’t worry about it though; you’re definitely not in the minority. Even our football team didn’t know it! Nor did their supporters who had gone to watch the match in Germany. I have a feeling that even the people who sang the original version that gets played everywhere had not memorized it properly either. You know that part, a little before the end, where they go up really high, ‘Pyamat ey Emam, esteghlal, azadi, naghsheh janeh maaaaast’ it really sounds like they all think that is where the song ends but then the music keeps going and so they’re like, ‘What? What happened? Wasn’t that the end? Oh yeah there’s another bit. Shit.’ and then they come in again really quietly as if they’re not exactly sure whether they’re singing the right part or not, ‘shahidaaaaaan, pichideh dar goosheh…’ they’re still a not sure, ‘…zaman faryaaaadetan…’ then suddenly they’re like, ‘oh yeah, now I remember, Paayandeh maani o jaavedan, jomhoorieh eslamiyeh eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeran.’
But it’s not really that hard you know. It’s quite short as well (in fact it is very very short compared to the one before it that just went on and on and never seemed to end really) but I can understand why a lot of people have not learned it yet; they think ‘What’s the point? It’s only gonna change again in a few years time and we’ll have to memorize a new one.’
It’s true; we Iranians have changed our national anthem more times in the past thirty years than most people change hairstyles in a lifetime. First there was ‘Shahanshaheh ma zendeh bada’ (Long live our king) then there was ‘Ey Iran ey marzeh por gohar’ (Iran, my prosperous land) then there was ‘Shod jomhoorieh eslami beh pa’ (The Islamic republic came about) and now we have ‘Sarzad az ofogh mehreh khavaran’ (From the horizon, shone the kindness of east ‘,:-\ or something like that. If you think you can do a better job of translating these lines, please be my guest.)
So I can understand why most of you are reluctant to learn this and of course I can’t promise you that it won’t change again next year but please, if you won’t do it for your country, do it for me! I’m serious. I think I might end up having a nervous breakdown if I have to sit through another one of those horrific national anthem experiences with some of the guys from the Iran team going, ‘Oh yeah I know this part, Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeey doshman ar to sangeh khare-i man aahanam…’ with the guy next to them elbowing them in their side going, ‘Shut up. That’s not it.’
‘What is it then?’
‘I have no idea. Don’t sing, just move your lips and pray to god that some of our supporters at least know the words.’ and with some of the supporters singing ‘Shod jomhoorieh eslami beh pa’, some singing, ‘I will survive!’ and the rest just standing there, scratching their heads and picking their noses going, ‘Is this still the Mexican’s national anthem?’
[Blogger sighs] I mean it’s bad enough that we don’t seem to know what our flag looks like with some of us waving a flag with an Allah in the middle, some carrying one with the lion and the sword in the middle and the rest (the agnostics) carrying plain red, white and green flags (apparently they do not deny the existence of some sort of symbol in the white part of the Iranian flag but rather hold that one cannot know for certain if the symbol exists or not)
[Blogger sighs again] Well I know I’m just wasting my time putting this here and you lazy lot are never gonna learn it but here it is anyway in case anyone is interested.

Sar zad az ofogh mehreh khaavaran
Foroogheh dideyeh hagh bavaran
Bahman farreh imaaneh maast
Payaamat ey emaam, esteghlaal, azaadi, naghsheh jaaneh maast
Shahidaan, pichideh dar goosheh zaman faryaadetan
Paayandeh mani o jaavedan, jomhoorieh eslaamieh Iran

Easy peasy lemon squeezy.


Anonymous said...

Forget the national anthem, what's this all about then????? oh dear

Anonymous said...

this being iran's world cup song...

Sima said...


Those were my thoughts when watching the game. But I have to confess I didn't know the words either. I still remember "shod jomhooriyeh eslaami...." cuz that's what it was, I think, when I left Iran. This post was awesome. One of your fak o famila sent me here by the way. I liked this post a lot. I'm gonna check out the rest.

arthemis said...

I have been reading your blog for a while now and just wanted to let you know that I enjoy it very much.

Mohd said...

They did something nice too. They gave the Mexican goalkeeper a bouquet of flowers since his father had just passed away. As for the national anthem, where I live (in Toronto, Canada), you can't even find the official flag of the county. All flags still have the sun and lion emblem. Looks like the last 27 years has not even happened. So lets sing together “Shahanshahe mah zende badaa..” what the heck..

Alireza said...

Awesome post.

Mehr in this context actually means sun. So it's "The Sun of the East rose from the horizon etc etc"

GazanKhan said...

"A very nice and highly professional critical obsevation that is in fact critically funny too, puts one in a critical situation too too early in the morning; and ofcourse deeply educating too and too..."
The New York Times.
After quoting this From The New York Times on your artcle I saw that nothing more needs be added really. So I just say that you are my favorit journalist too Shirin, not just the favorit ilustrater.

Tess Durbeyfield said...

Here people who are interested can hear the anthem if they want:

Behrooz said...

About the presents, Hummm?

The question: yes I know the anthem.

The unreasonable changes of the anthem you have a point.

What I liked most this post was that you argued the whole thing without getting into politics or getting too much chauvinistic. A big bravo for this careful distancing of both.

Shirin said...

‘,:-| How bizarre! I think that was what one of the guys in the team was singing when they played the national anthem ;-) ‘Ey Jaavidan Iran’ yeah baby! I best shut up now before I start taking the piss because I know one the guys in that band and I think I’ve got him into trouble once already when I bumped into him once in London and gave him a hug only to be told off by their manager who shoved me out of the way and gave me a long lecture about how if I am a true fan and if I truly love their music, I should stop acting like this or the authorities will stop them from playing! Seeing that the whole future of this band was for some reason dependent on my actions, I told the strange man to keep his knickers on and went on my way. It was weird being told I was a true fan though when up until this morning, I had not even heard one of their tunes! Thanks for the link :-)

Thanks Sima. ‘Shod jomhooeih eslaami be pa’ was a good one. I whish we’d stuck with that. This new one is ok but it just doesn’t have much oomph to it I don’t think.

You have good taste Arthemis. Only kidding ;-) Thank you very much for saying that. That’s very sweet.

Mohd, yes you’re right; that is very nice. There’s also a rumour going round that the only reason we let the Mexicans win was to make that poor, yateem goali of theirs happy. Now that’s just lovely isn’t it? ;-)

Thanks Alireza. I wish I’d known that myself. While I was writing that bit, I remember thinking maybe I should forget about translating this part as in the current state of affairs it can sound quite sarcastic; our national anthem, ‘From the horizon shone the kindness of east’ our president, ‘I’m gonna bomb you.’ See what I mean? ;-) Gott’ laugh aint you?

Thank you Gazankhan :-) You’re making me blush ;-)

Tess Durbeyfield, Thank you so much. That is such a brilliant site. I’ve been listening to revolutionary songs all day and feeling nostalgic at the same time as getting butterflies in my stomach.

Thanks Behrooz. Now do you think there might be hope for me to become a football writer one day ;-)

Anonymous said...

All the anthems are nice, but my vote has to go to "I Will Survive." Not only does everyone know the words, but it has a great beat and you can dance to it.

As for the gifts, a flag with tassels, what the hell is that? If anything, I wish the Iranian team would go even more over the top, like maybe some carved golden buttocks on a silver platter, or maybe a light lunch wrapped in iridescent paper. --That's great TV for ya.

Lastly, the Lion flag is way cooler than the present one, but a little hard to see from a distance, and also kind of similar to the Assyrian one. Couldn't YOU, as a daughter of the Homeland-in-Exile design a better one? You know you could!

The Spring Breeze said...

THANK YOU SHIRIN! finally, someone actually wrote about this... I've felt embarrassed by our national team’s singing abilities way too many times to remember. I’m sure if they had actually listened to the anthem playing throughout their professional careers, they would have learnt it by now!

Ezafeh said...

salam fak o famil
chetori? kheili neveshtehat bahaale, be khosoos bara man ke ba sedaye Babajoon et mikhonamesh.

omidvaram farda doobare in team e aziz ye kaari nakone ke beshe beheshoon khandid.
merci az national anthem, man ke hefz naboodam, vali khodaeesh kheili sheer e sakhti dare, ye joori saghil e.

age hafte dige babam to gay parade raghsid barat ax esho mifrestam.

be haj aghatoon salam beresoon.
in vara nemiayn?

Shirin said...

Justagirl, I really like your idea of ‘carved golden buttocks on a silver platter’. I kind of think it’ll be a waste on the Portuguese though; I can’t really see them appreciating it that much. Maybe it’s better to keep that idea for an all Iranian game, say, Perspolis vs Ghazvin? Just a thought.
Now about the flag. Firstly thanks for believing in me and thinking that I can design our nation’s flag. I’m truly flattered. However I think you might have misunderstood our dilemma here. Our problem is that we seem to have far too many flags as it is so I really don’t think me adding to the confusion by designing a new one, with say, Wallace and Gromit on it, is going to do anyone any favours.

Laziness, my dear Spring Breeze, it’s just pure laziness ;-)

Ghorbanat Ezafeh :-) Merci.
Man ham hamash daram ba khodam nazro niaz mikonam ke ina baaz kharabkari nakonan. Man yeh zarreh omid daram chon meskeh Daaee az team rafteh.
Can’t wait for the pictures ;-)
To ham beh hajaghat salam beresoon.