If there is one person that Iranians unanimously have agreed upon liking – regardless of opinions or stances in other matters – it is Cyrus the Great. Today, he is being celebrated by Iranians all over the world, and the respect and admiration that unites millions both within Iran and abroad is indescribably admirable itself.
And it makes me wonder how things would have been like if he still had been alive. Would we have listened to his words or would we have opposed him? Would we have shown him the respect we so loyally are showing him now or would we have defied him? If he, hypothetically speaking, had come back as someone else – would we even have noticed him?
It may feel natural that we glorify people after they have gone and left us with their legacy. But there might be Iranians around us today who are just as great as Cyrus the Great, who, perhaps, aren’t aware of their potential and honourable qualities, and who are neither being heard nor noticed. It could be someone you’ve only run into, it could be a friend or a family member, and it could even be you. By treating each other with the respect that we’re showing Cyrus the Great, we can both awaken greatness in those around us, and become better ourselves. That is, after all, probably what Cyrus the Great would have wanted anyway.