Apr 12, 2020, 2:07 PM
Journalist ID: 1842
News Code: 83747825
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Persian language moving up amidst int’l crises

Shiraz, April 12, IRNA – The recent developments and their consequences in the virtual space have caused a change in the stance of the Persian Language in the international community, which can be used for strengthening it as a language of power and diplomacy.

Writing in Persian, aka Farsi, was mainly limited to congratulations and condolences of the general public, politicians, athletes and their fans. Sometimes some original Iranian writers were nominated for or won a prize. Some other issues did appear in Persian, too. But, all in all, Persian did not have a strong role in world’s political system.

Writing in Persian has never been a custom for Western and American officials. Though, the US presidents wrote a few words for congratulating Nowrouz. Nothing more.

But writing in Persian during the recent crises and developments may be wings for the language to fly back to its previous high place in the international arena and diplomacy.

Use of Persian started in mid-autumn 2019 with US President Donald Trump tweet to threaten Iran, which was followed by many other US politicians’ Persian tweets. Of course, Trump had once used Persian language near the anniversary of victory of the Islamic Revolution in 2019. He used a photo taken by and Iranian photographer without permission.

General Soleimani’s assassination and writing Persian Language

After General Qasem Soleimani, the hero of fighting terrorism in Iraq and Syria, was assassinated by the US terrorist army in Baghdad. Trump started his Persian tweets again. In them, he addressed the Iranian people and politicians. He published four Farsi tweets in a weak, and thousands of tweets were published in Farsi by non-natives.

Trump would tweet in Farsi and the US officials would react in Farsi as well. But, the irony of the situation was that Iranian officials and some people responded to him in English.

Many US users used Google’s translation machine to interact with each other. And the US officials, for or against Trump, helped to promote Farsi.

Americans and Persian Language

Maybe, the Americans did so because it was the second language that their president has tweeted in. Trump has no tweets in languages other than English and Farsi.

Later, Trump threatened to hit 52 points that were important for Iranian culture, which brought about more Farsi tweets by the American celebrities and politicians. One actor wrote in Farsi that Iranian people and their culture are among the treasures of the world.

The first-ever Persian language spokesperson, Alan Eyre, in a tweet, used a funny Persian slang expression meaning, “Now anyone is using Persian in their tweets!”

There were innumerable tweets that were clearly translated by Google’s translation machine.

Later on, Dear Iran hashtag became a trend in the US which was full of Persian serious and jocular tweets in reaction to Trump’s threat to hit 52 points in Iran and in fear of Iran’s retaliation. The main contents of the page were apologies to Iranians and disavowal of Trump.

Some people from other parts of the Americas, especially Brazil, feared that Iran might avenge General Soleimani’s assassination by hitting all the American continent.

Ukrainian plane crash and Farsi

The disaster of the Ukrainian passenger plane that was mistakenly shot down heated up Persian tweets again. US president supported people’s gatherings for the commemoration of the deceased passengers of the fight. He wrote, “I have stood by you since the time I got office …” which was responded by a member Atlantic Council think tank with a funny Persian slang whose rough translation is “[Swear] on your [paternal] aunt, [so that I can believe you].”

Other side of Persian Language

In the midst of Twitter quarrels between the Western politicians, some other people showed their love for the Persian Language that is the tongue of kindness and peace. A video of Afghan President Ashraf Ghani was published in which he was reading Tarikh-e Beyhaghi (Beyhaghi’s History) which is a masterpiece of Persian prose. He later said in a strange remark that Farsi belongs to Afghanistan, which brought a lot of reactions in Persian Language in the news agencies and social media. Many Afghans reacted to his remarks saying that he is creating a rift.

His remarks can be interpreted as a reaction to the concept of Greater Iran, which includes Afghanistan as well. He may want to say that Iran speaks Farsi and Afghans speak Dari, to show that there is a political border between the two countries and a language border as well. Dari and Farsi are two dialects of the same language, which have been interchangeably used to mean Persian Language.

Coronavirus and Persian Language

In the coronavirus outbreak, Farsi changed into the language of civilization, classical literature, language of solidarity and resistance, and also humor.

The Chinese started to use Persian language, spoken and written, to communicate with and encourage Iranians. Later, one Chinese man speaking native-like Farsi, which was impressive, shared his experiences about coronavirus with Iranians.

Persian literature was a center of attention in the past weeks, too. Spanish prime minister read aloud renowned Iranian Saadi Shirazi’s famous poem that is written in the UN:

Human beings are members of a whole;

In creation of one essence and soul;

If one member is afflicted with pain;

Other members uneasy will remain;

If you've no sympathy for human pain;

The name of human you cannot retain.

Inclusive identity

Persian Language is one of the main pillars of Iranian culture and identity. It is the official language of Iran, but it has a wider identity than the Iranian Plateau; therefore, it is not vulnerable in this age of communications and the global village.

According to the Encyclopedia of Persian Literature, by Hassan Anousheh, there are more than 150 million Persian speakers in more than 29 countries, including Iran, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. Persian is well-known among Iraqi Kurds, as well. Less than 100 years ago, Persian was taught in the schools of Iraqi Kurdistan. Farsi speakers are also seen in China, Uzbekistan and Transoxiana.

As of number of countries, Farsi stands 6th after Spanish and before German. It is said that from among the 10 big poets of the world, five are Farsi speakers: Rumi, Ferdowsi, Hafez, Saadi, and Khayyam.

Farsi is one century older than Latin and 12 centuries older than English and is the second classical language in the world, after Greek. Latin and Sanskrit stand third and fourth.

Regarding the number of words and proverbs, Farsi is among the three first languages of the world. Persian Dictionary of Dehkhoda is 18-volumes. Farsi can make 225 million words – a feature which is very rare among languages of the world.

Farsi was the lingua franca of western and southwestern between 1000 and 1800 A.D. Before India was colonized by England, Farsi was the official language of the country. It is said that when Safavid King Shah Ismail (1487-1524) wrote an Azeri poem to the Ottoman king before a war, he answered it with a Farsi poem.

Farsi is the eighth most used language on the internet. It stands higher than Turkish, Arabic, and other Middle Eastern languages. It stands 18th in Wikipedia.

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