Professor Yarshater: A life dedicated to the preservation of Iranian culture
June 20, 2012 by Editor
From Editor’s Desk- Shahrokh Ahkami – Issue 66 – Summer 2012
In this issue we are honoring a gentleman who has dedicated his life to the preservation of Iranian culture and history. In his own words Professor Yarshater simply and honestly opens up himself to our readers. He shares with them many aspects of his life. I am certain after reading this interview that you will be overwhelmed with admiration for him and the productiveness of his life. It is my sincere hope that you, and especially our youth, understand the importance of his work; the preservation of the culture and history of a nation. This need not be a lesson just for Iranians but, for all cultures.
I hope that you will all finally understand why we at Persian Heritage magazine are dedicated to preventing a change of name to the Persian Gulf (and other landmarks). We hope you, regardless of your ethnicity, will begin to understand that the changing of the name of such a historical landmark is not a trite matter. Such a change will redirect the course of that nation’s history and the history of the world. If this happens the veracity of every printed history book will be challenged as opinion rather than fact.
A name change applied to the Persian Gulf can virtually lead to the division of Iran as a country. After reading this interview I trust you will understand the importance of stopping political world manipulation and campaigns to change the name that now defines Iran and Persia. Whatever Iran’s political fate may be, we must be certain it continues to be Iran as we know it, undivided and not renamed.
Over the past few 100 years we have watched Iran slowly be carved away with the creation of new nations.
Efforts to create a Pan Arabic state in the Middle East started with Nasser in Egypt and continued with Qassem who led a coup d’etat in the Iraq kingdom. And thus began his campaign to change the name of the Persian Gulf to the Arabian Gulf.
This movement gradually gained momentum through Arab oil money and Arab leaders in Saudi Arabia and Saddam Hussein. Millions of dollars continue to be pumped into the propaganda campaign to rewrite and rename Persian history. I am very sad to report that in many aspects, this campaign has been successful. This is reflected in many of the world’s greatest museums in Paris, London and New York. The success can also be found in the pages of Oxford and Cambridge publications, the Encyclopedia Britannica and other important and valuable publications. These locations and printed words now show the Persian Gulf as the Arabian Gulf and Persian Art as Islamic Art. How can this be acceptable?
This campaign continues to grow because of the US military influence in the Persian Gulf. It is also influenced by political payouts by surrounding Arab nations and by payouts to political campaigns and world leaders. It is disheartening to me, as an American of Persian ethnicity, to hear my Secretary of State, Ms. Hillary Clinton and others refer inappropriately and deliberately to the Persian Gulf, by another name. MONEY DOES TALK but we as a united group must make sure that when it comes to dividing Iran and the change of an historical name, NO ONE LISTENS.
It is interesting to see that the Arab nations, so divided on human rights issues, are so strongly united on the campaign to change the name of the Persian Gulf.
This movement continues to demoralize Iranians in Iran who are already oppressed because of hostile relations between Iran and the West. This movement can be successfully defeated if, we as a group counter it through writing, publications and strong will. This is a very SERIOUS matter. It must be faced with unity and strength. Today one of the most successful tools to distribute information is through the internet. With a click of a button, information, truth and propaganda, reaches the world masses. Look at the influence and power Google, Yahoo, Face book, Twitter, texting, etc. has over the individual. These avenues can make our campaign against the movement more difficult unless we use it to our benefit. Again Arab oil money has helped their movement penetrate universities and the media. We CANNOT idly sit by and convince ourselves that this name change campaign is TRITE. We must defend the honor of the Persian Gulf. If we do not act quickly, I fear that in the very near future we will not find the Persian Gulf on any map, in any publication and eventually not in the mind of any Iranian. Understand that this issue is not only important to the Persian Gulf but also a movement like this can proceed to a change in the history of other nations, especially today when money plays an important factor.
Why I ask you has this issue become “trite” to us and to those who can effect a change. The answer is simple; CEO’s and overnight billionaires are not interested in the integrity of a nation but rather the bottom line of their financial reports. They do not understand that the dismantling of a nation and historical landmark such as the Persian Gulf, can eventually lead to movements to change the Gulf of Mexico to the Gulf of the United States or the Gulf of Texas. This sounds ridiculous but, if we are all willing to let the power of money guide us rather than the integrity of the heart, the world is on a greedy downward spiral.
It is surprising that my Iranian friends and peers take this matter so lightly. What is even more disheartening is the disregard of this issue by Iranians in influential positions. We have ethnic representation in the top internet companies such as Google Youtube, Yahoo etc. Instead of taking a position to maintain the purity of history, they are joining campaigns to change the historical course of the Persian Gulf. They need to stand firm behind statements that concern the integrity of the Persian Gulf. Even more irritating is when these media outlets take no position; instead they remain neutral and don’t name the Persian Gulf at all. WHERE IS OUR INTEGRITY? Is the color of money rather than integrity the driving force?
I am begging the influential Iranians in politics, leaders of companies and the media to break their silence and openly defend against a name change. Often I sit back and think about my friends who are highly intelligent. They expend so much energy on events they cannot control, yet remain aloof or silent when it comes to the Persian Gulf. How can we, outside of Iran, turn a blind eye to a nation’s historical integrity? The oppressed people of Iran fight everyday to maintain their integrity and the integrity of Iran.
Please understand that it is not the change in name that is at issue, it is the effect that name change will have on the people of Iran, Iran as a nation and the world. It will further weaken history. Who do you think will come to our defense? Is there one Arab nation willing to defend our honor? I do not think so. Even Palestine, who received financial support from the Government of Iran, clearly stated that if in fact there was a war between Iran and Israel, they would take a neutral position. My dear friends, we stand alone. There is a Persian expression that speaks to the friendship between two teddy bears. It means the Muslim brotherhood between the Arab nations and Iran is superficial because we will be stabbed in the back.
We of Iranian ethnicity, living outside of Iran have struggled to achieve a better life for ourselves and for our children. Our children have achieved high positions in business, the media and politics, thus we have been successful. But, we are unsuccessful when it comes to remembering where we came from and what we left behind. To feel emotion and want to help those in the nation of our birth, or want to protect the integrity of that country’s history does not make us less American, German, French etc. In actuality it makes you an individual with integrity, one willing to stand up against falsity and defend the truth. It makes you one who is more impressed with veracity rather than financial gain and title.
Please do not think my words are empty and naive. We do have the ability to defend the honor of the Persian Gulf, the people of Iran and the history of a great nation. As I stated before there are influential Iranians in many walks of life, throughout the world, in politics, the media, business and the internet. If they are constantly bombarded by emails, phone calls and letters, they will no longer be able to take a neutral position on this matter or IGNORE IT.
Your SILENCE, on this matter is only GOLDEN to those who want to see a name change to the maps of the world.
I have a reoccurring dream. In it my grandchildren and I are watching a documentary on Iran. They show a map. No longer is Iran designated with its beautiful shape. It is now shown in small sections. The borders are unfamiliar to me. It also shows the Persian Gulf as the Arabian Gulf. Sadly I point out to them that this entire area use to be Iran and that body of water use to be the Persian Gulf. They then turn and ask me, “What happened?” Before I can answer I wake up. I am filled with fear and my strength to prevent this dream from becoming a reality increases.
I want my reality to be as follows: One day while with my grandchildren we watched a documentary on Iran showing the prosperity of the nation and its people. They then show the beautiful shape of Iran on the map and next to it a beautiful blue body of water called the Persian Gulf. I want to tell them, “My dear children you know many years ago there was a campaign to divide the nation of Iran and change the name of this body of water. Because of the pride of the Iranian people, they prevented this from happening. Every day they called upon influential individuals in the media, industry, finance, universities, medicine etc to help stop a movement to change the course of Iranian history. Eventually, people who were driven by the power of money realized that more valuable than the value of a stock certificate was the integrity of an individual and the truthful history of a nation. They realized that if those who led the world continued to be guided by the power of money and title, that soon there would be no truth to the world and the world would lose itself. They realized that personal achievement; individual wealth individual title has no value. It is what you do with that title that makes you a valuable person. The value of an individual is measured by their integrity. Because of this my children the ethnicity of your roots, its history and culture remain as it should be, Iran undivided flanked by the beautiful Persian Gulf.”