By Sheda Vasseghi
Recently, the Islamic Republic Supreme Leader Khamenei, upon visiting an
international book exhibition and noting decorative Achaemenid statues
representing pre-Islamic Iran, immediately ordered the removal of all such
items or else the organizers would face serious problems. The Minister of
Religious Affairs promptly removed the Achaemenid decorations which were so
offensive to Khamenei.
| Prince of Persia, the movie, is
based on a video game by the same name
In related news, we hear that "some" people are "insulted" by the casting in
the movie "The Prince of Persia". The problem seems to be that the casting
for this film's lead went to a white male. The role of a prince from Persia
(Iran), you see, was "originally envisioned for people of color."
As if stealing Iranian arts and sciences under the banner of Islam wasn't
damaging enough to a nation that has been struggling for centuries to preserve
its national identity; now "some" people are redefining the Aryan stock.
Iranians are Aryans, a branch of Indo-Europeans. They were not people of
color. Therefore, casting a white male as a prince from Persia is correct. A
nation's heritage such as Iran is not open for arbitrary changes or
alterations to suit ignorant whims.
Some 200 years ago, misinformed Europeans traveling in the Middle East and
noting a predominant Muslim faith coined a term for their arts and sciences.
They labeled all sciences, literature, paintings, and architecture in the
region as "Islamic arts and sciences."
This terminology is not only baseless, but offensive to the various Western
Asian (Near Eastern or Middle Eastern) nations. These nations are home to people
of various faiths. Its people formed the "cradle of civilization," and lived in
the region centuries before Islam. Islam, a 7th century religion, expanded after
its conquest of one of the two major powers in Western Asia and Europe, the
Sasanian Persian Empire (224-651 AD).
The Sasanian Persian Empire was a continuation of the rich and resourceful
Iranian culture that took shape with the coming of the Achaemenids (550-530 BC),
the creators of the first world empire. Iranians, who had managed empires for
over 12 centuries, continued to run the region under Moslem Arab overlords.
The progress of Iranian arts and sciences continued regardless of Islam or any
other religious following. In other words, Islam had nothing to do with
post-7th century Iranian contributions to human civilization.
Yet, 18th century European travelers, without any regard to Iranian national
identity which is considered sacred by many as it dates back to at least 15th
century BC, labeled Iranian artwork and sciences as "Islamic." They were unaware
or uncaring as to the ramifications of such an irresponsible categorization
spreading across European media and educational institutions.
Today museums and universities have "Islamic arts" as a topic of study while a
predominately Christian Europe preserved each of its nations' unique heritage
without labeling the entire European portfolio of arts and sciences as
Many of the Middle Eastern artwork and sciences labeled "Islamic" are Iranian in
origin. Yet, by mislabeling Iranian contributions to human civilization, its
national heritage has been robbed since most people, who see the label
"Islamic," mistakenly assume the subject is of Arab origin. It will take decades
of research, political warfare, and funds to correct this grave error against
Iranians on the part of the European "intellectuals" of 18th and 19th centuries.
Of course, the fall of an Iranian nationalist, secular government in 1979 to an
Islamocentric, anti-Iranian mullahcracy has perpetuated this egregious act.
The Western Civilization which was greatly influenced by Iranian heritage
should not spread misconceptions about Iranian people and culture as they are
both presently under attack by an Islamofascist regime in Tehran.
Sheda Vasseghi is on the Board of Azadegan Foundation and is a regular
contributor to WorldTribune.com on Iran’s Affairs.
This Articl published in the
this is a courtesy copy to the original article.