Translator of ‘Roots’ has said the Americans have two illusions: being special and leadership of the world.
Mehr News reported that the Leader of the Revolution had addressed the specifications of the Dominance and colonialism in his recent meeting with Basij commanders of the country.
During few months, the Leader had recommended an English language novel, Roots: The Saga of an American Family, by Alex Haley. The subject of the book was a pretext for us to an interview with Alireza Farahmand, the translator of the book from English into Persian.
Mr. Farahmand, please introduce yourself to our readers.
I am a graduate of Oil Engineering. When 21 and after graduation, I went to Keyhan daily newspaper, since they needed a translator and then l loved journalism. Through winning a bursary in journalism I visited the US and traveled to 30 states out of possible 48 states of the US. My visit coincided with public opposition to Vietnam War, and in southern Los Angles, there was a great demonstration. Meanwhile, I came across Alex Haley the author of the Roots. Later, his book came out in print. I wrote a letter to him demanding him allow me a right to translate his book. He later came to Iran and visited us.
In what respects is the book interesting?
There is an ongoing illusion as to the centrality of the western world. 20 or 25 countries designated as the West among the world’s 193 countries. The public may assume that we should catch the West, which is a false assumption, when we reach west, our identities are victimized. I most favor a Chinese saying that ‘let flourish thousands of flowers; a garden with only a single flower would not be a garden’. The mentality emerged out of the crusade, in fact it was rooted in ancient Greece which assumed that they were different. Following that, colonialism came; the spirit of conquest was quite high among Europeans. The kings had embarked on conquest of faraway lands before, but they had nothing to do with the identity of the defeated lands and only demanded tributes. Colonialism though, constructed the defeated countries in a way they favored. For example, in India local people was cotton farmers, the British colonialism forced them not to cultivate cotton. They imposed on the locals inhumane practices. Colonialism is a dark chapter of humanity, which continued in the form of imperialism.
How are these two (slavery and capitalism) related?
Slavery was rather an old phenomenon, with long history behind. Capitalism is a recent phenomenon, about 300 years of age. In ancient Rome, slaves were part of the Roman Empire, working in mines of salt. However, we should admit that slavery was also practiced in northern Africa by Arabs, but in small scales. But the US has extended the slavery into a profitable trade. With the rise of capitalism slavery dwindled and instead, now workers from the laity received daily wages. Slaves of course had had no rights ever. When a slave family borne children they were also treated as slaves owned by their master. During the feudal age in Europe, the slavery was practiced, and when capitalism came, workers, weekly holidays, working hours, and .etc, were created. A feature of slavery is fostering slaves. An objection often raised against the modern period is that they educate people and they steal them, brain drain. For example in India, or in Iran, elites and geniuses are the good examples. Now, a mentality in the US has been finding popularity that the young age was better for self-indulgence. They would ask why they would waste time in education. They would recruit employees from other countries for example from India and other countries, which is called by many a type of slavery. Other types of slavery were also practiced such as prostitution in eastern European countries (Albania).
What changes have been wrought in the cruelties by Dominance against the public in poor countries?
The people in the US have two illusions, which of course may not be irrelevant. First is that they are special. Second the mentality governing part of public and the government is that they could take into their own hands the fate of other people of the world. In fact, they are right, since they provide the world with great technologies and industries. The US has created an imaginary enemy as Islam to keep this mentality alive and in other countries; it would call other people for accepting US support. This is also an illusion.
Many revolutions have taken place such as French Revolution, but Islamic Revolution in Iran was greater revolution, in terms of the popularity, and it reverberated in faraway lands from Indonesia to Mauritania. The pre-Revolution system of government had been extirpated. The future events indicated that Revolution in Iran was in harmony with the future, that is, the end of the Cold War and also end of bipolar world.
Interview by Hussein Emami