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.