White imperialism is much commented upon in modern times. All aspects of white expansionism are taught to be negative. Racism, slavery, death, disease, cultural annihlation, making the mother earth angry, these and more are the consequences – none positive – of whitey roaming about in the world at large. It is of course a stupid hypothesis and untrue. Even more insipid is the complete lack of analysis of the greatest imperialist pestilence to arise since the time of Christ. The Arab onslaught, the deforming features of the Koran, and the bloody consequences of Islamic imperialism are not even discussed. Fair and balanced? Really.
Look at Persia or modern day Iran – one of the many victims of the Arab expansion. There are many aspects of former Persian greatness which are rarely commented upon. Engineering prowess, a state-faith, military technology, trade innovations, and ordered bureaucracy, denote a highly attenuated and developed state. Persia or the land of the Fars, was the major world power circa 500 B.C. The achievements of the Persians at that time were simply remarkable. A cursory glance at Persian history reveals a skilled and advanced people, who took inhospitable terrain and fashioned the largest empire of pre-Roman times.
The Farsi speaking tribes in southern Persia were long dominated by the Medes to the north. Under Cyrus the Great in about 550 B.C. this changed. The Persians overthrew their Median lords. From there they conquered most of the Middle East with the descendants of Cyrus adding Egypt, Thracia, the Aegean islands, all of Turkey, most of Arabia, and parts of Libya to the realm's holdings. By the time Xerxes was defeated at Salamis in 480 B.C. and his general Mardonius thankfully killed and defeated at Plataea in 479 B.C. the Persian empire encompassed an area, even greater than that of later Rome.
In this remarkable expansion a few key items stand out. The Farsi tribes were for instance, wonderful engineers. In the tough geography of Iran they built water and irrigation systems, cities with plumbing and waste removal, and turned arid slopes into heavily used agricultural terraces. Along with access to precious water, innovations in crop rotation, crop breeding, and the large scale quasi industrialisation of cattle and sheep meat production [the Farsi diet was meat based], ensured adequate supplies of food to feed a growing population. As the population surged, its war-making potential increased as did the necessity of further engineering and farming innovations.
Sitting astride the key trade routes between the Near East and the Orient, Persia once unified, was set to thrive. Dominating the spice and textile caravan routes the Persians quickly accrued the necessary specie and skill to further their civilisation. Cities, roads, secured trade posts and routes, a standing professional army, police, and a burgeoning bureaucracy, attest to the rapid rise after Cyrus, of a confident and luxurious empire.
There were of course issues with the centralisation post Cyrus of Persian affairs. Under enlightened and intelligent rulers, an Oriental despotism, for all its weaknesses, can survive and flourish. When the leadership is poor, or in times of war, killed, then the system of course collapses. In the pre-Greek world of tyranny, where the concepts of modern representative democracy and institutional development were unknown, the Persians had what must have been, the most advanced political-economy until the Roman era of circa 100 A.D.
Another fascinating feature that is pertinent to modernity of ancient Persia, is Zoroastrianism. This is the world's earliest monotheistic faith. Zoroaster was a pre-cursor in many ways of Christ. His religion no doubt influeced later Judaic-Abrahamic-Christian ideas. One God, free-will, the necessity of good works, the creation of the world by God, the fight in all souls between good and evil, these and other ideas, must have flowed from Zoroastrianism to the Abrahamic faiths. In that sense the ancient Fars religion is the progenitor is some ways of much of our modern faith, and ideals, which have shaped the modern world.
Zoroaster taught in the 9-10th centuries B.C. Mani, another Iranian religious leader, who developed Manicheanism in about 220 A.D., was convinced that Zoroaster was a prophet – in the line which included Moses and Jesus. In any event the importanace of Zoroaster is that the Persian empire, at least in its core homeland, had a unifying spiritual faith and culture – something every empire of course needs. His ideas must have traveled far and wide along the trade caravan routes and no doubt would have impacted the thinking of Jewish tribes conquered by the Persians in about 540 B.C.
In terms then of architecture, city-building, irrigation, agriculture, horse and cattle rearing, textile and craft production, military technology [inferior to that of the Greeks but superior to the rest], and in government, the Persians were the richest and most civilised empire until the Roman legions subdued the Mediterranean basin. This was true even as the remnants of the Persian empire slowly collapsed [swallowed by Alexander the Great and then resurrected in various forms until 600 A.D].
Thankfully for the West, the Greeks defeated the Persians in 479 B.C. thus preserving our Western heritage. But compared to the Arabs, the Persians were, until 650 A.D., centuries ahead of the Bedouin tribes in all facets of culture, education and development. Compared to Persia, Arabia was a backwater and an uncouth, illiterate one at that.
What then became of this great Persian tradition?
In 643 A.D. the Arabs over seven years eradicated the old, proud, rich and intelligent Persia from history. The Persian cultural heritage – Oriental and of course despotic – nonetheless had shown brilliance in matters of engineering, canal building, commerce, agriculture and goods production as well as in bureaucracy. The Persians once the conquerors of the Arabs, were forever put under the heel of the conquering Muslim armies in the mid 7th century.
Arab imperialism devoured and then erased independent Persian from memory. The main tool of Arab cultural imperialism – the Koran – became the basis of Persian society and life. The Farsi elite, the ambitious, the angry, or the uninformed, embraced Islam, as much to escape taxation and apartheid, as out of any conviction that the moon cult deity from distant Mecca should replace the Zoroastrian God. From the 7th century until today, Arab imperialism has twisted, deformed and caused undue suffering unto Persia. It has certainly destroyed its once proud tradition and its ability to build a modern, functioning and advanced modern state.
The Persians, unable for various reasons to defend themselves, have become nothing more than the cultural and ideological slaves of the Arabs. This slavery to Arab ideology now results in a deranged Iranian elite threatening the world and Israel with nuclear weapons. Fascist genocidal utterances and a fanatical devotion to crushing domestic rights, free-will and debate are the hallmarks of the Arab-inspired Iranian regime. The great traditions of Persia are forgotten. In their stead for over 1300 years has grown the sick weed of ideological cant and racist, supremacist fascism.
This is all thanks to Arab imperialism. This is a story that is never told. One of history's most interesting empires, completely obliterated by the Arab onslaught. One has to wonder, what intelligent, independent and modern Persians think of this?