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November 22, 2004

From caring about our national pride to Anti-Arab racism
Yaser Kerachian  [info|posts]

Persiangulf.jpgIt has probably started from one email. One day, someone has noticed that in the recent issue of National Geographic's Atlas of the world, Arabian Gulf has been used in addition to Persian Gulf, in a parenthesis. He wrote an email to his friends. Since then, the email has travelled hundreds of kilometers around the globe. Recently, a group of Iranian intellectuals also reacted to the issue and signed a petition. The Iranian government banned National Geographic reporters and sales of the magazine until Atlas changes.

A year ago, I was involved in a similar case against one of the local newspapers in Toronto. Initially I thought that my Iranian friends would be very reluctant to do anything. Unlike my expectation, there was a large number of phone calls, emails and letters to the paper. They finally had to beg us to ask our friends not to call them anymore after ensuring us that they will never repeat their mistake!

My initial expectation of weak reaction from Iranians to this issue has come from comparison with other similar cases. We are never good in doing any collective action in order to defend our rights or protest for them. It is also hard to see Iranians united on anything. In addition to that, recently, we are all very busy with our individualistic life and care much less about what is going around us. So, what has really happened that everyone now is very concerned about the gulf story?

It is definitely the right thing to protest against the use of Arabian Gulf instead of Persian Gulf. However, in my opinion, Iranians’ reaction to this issue is disproportionate and with a high opportunity cost. It is totally reasonable if an Atlas mentions another name of Persian Gulf in a parenthesis since it is now -right or wrong- used by many countries. I would like to argue that what has happened, mostly reflects our Anti-Arab racism other than anything else. We tend to be very racist toward Arab people and think that we are superior to barbaric Arabs. How many times have you stressed to your friends that you are not Arab? This racist subconscious has played its role here. We cannot tolerate others calling what is Persian, Arab! It is sad to see that Iranians don’t do much for other things when they should, take a simple example of defending the women's right to go to stadiums in Iran. The only thing that we are sensitive and may react to is when our so-called national pride is hurt meaning that others think that Iranians are Arabs! It is no doubt that the reason Arabs are using the Arab gulf reflects their racism toward us, as well. Having said that, this war on names seems to be a mini-racial war, and I would like to question its benefit.

Another interesting aspect of this story for me is looking at the type of the protest. So far, it has all been email forwarding and petition signing, the kinds of things that generally take less than ten seconds to do. We are all again good at doing these things! However, when it comes to persistence and patience and devoting a bit more time, it is hard to find anybody!

It is worth to mention the similar story which took place a few months ago. It was said in the news that Iran has asked to get a observer seat in the Arab League, something very normal in international politics. Turkey had filed the same request. However, at the time, there was a widespread protest even among some Iranian scholars saying that we are losing our national identity! Something that wouldn’t have happened if Iran was seeking to join a union with some countries with white people, if possible, EU. I'd like to refer you to the article that Pedram wrote about it at the time.

In such a difficult time in history, Iranians and Arabs should all put aside their racist minds and look for more cooperation. In many aspects, we have a lot of things in common with Arab countries, especially the fact that we are all rich in oil. Our countries are located in the same strategic region and we are all facing some level of dictatorship. We have similar problems and opportunities. It is only through our friendship with Arabs that would guarantee the correct naming of the Persian gulf.

Arash Jalali at November 22, 2004 03:10 AM [permalink]:

Dear Yaser,
I appreciate the view that all nations in general should rise above nationalist feelings and seek opportunities of global cooperation. However, I think in making this suggestion, you have failed to consider the historical background of this particular case, i.e. Iranians' resentment towards Arabs. I think the roots of this resentment, at least as far as Iranians are concerned, are more historical rather than racial.

You have also, it seems to me, provided an extremely oversimplified and idealistically far-fetched outlook for Persian-Arab cooperation. To avoid making a very long comment as usual, here I would just enumerate the propositions based on which I hope I will have a dicussion with you (or others) under this post:

1- The word "Arab" is sometimes too broad a term, politically, under which one might want to bring all those Arabic speaking countries. I propose a view which advocates cooperation with other countries based on merits and benefits without allowing for racial, or any other type of sensations to interfere with our assessment of benefits.

2- There is a clear distinction between politics and what is now known to be called "dialog among civiliations"; the former should solely be concerned with costs and benefits without caring for or necessitating any kind of deep freindship, whereas the latter is aimed at true friendship among people. I think you have somehow, and probably inadvertantly, mixed these two.

3- Sometimes, what you see or read in the news might be meant to serve a different purpose than what it seems. I am not a conspiracy theorist but the situation we are currently in (yes, I am refering to the nuclear case), requires nationalist sentiments and feelings to be at their highest; at least as far as the Islamic government is concerned. This gulf issue might not have been brought to everyone's attention by some good Samaritan concerned about our national heritage. Suffice it to say that after the deal made by Hassan Rohani et al. with the Europeans, and then the news of intensifed enrichments during the past few days, the Islamic government might be bracing for a possible political show-down which requires a high level of popular support. That can best, if not only, be achieved by awakening the nationalist feelings of the masses. Above all the people who could express an official view, including the foreign ministry's spokesman, last night, the Iranian TV showed a brief interview with Hassan Rohani about the Persian Gulf naming issue!

Mohammad at November 22, 2004 09:17 AM [permalink]:

Mr Kerachian,

Badly written article, weak inferences, with sweeping touchy-feely and irrelevant bursts of emotion. Not up to your standard at all. As you mentioned, it is hard to mobilize Iranians for a cause. Now that they are actually doing something good, you are applying some pop-pscychoanalysis to deconstruct the national feelings.

There might be some antipathy toward Arabs in Iranians, but it is pretty mutual. The revisionist act on the part of Arabs (governments and the people alike) and their general enemity towrd Iranians does generate resistance and negative feelings.

Contrary to what you believe, only a stiff resistence would show them that we are serious about this business. There are times when you talk, there are times when you talk forcefully, and there are also times when you fight back.

Remember that maps with Persian Gulf printed as the name of this body of water are banned in Arab countries. Why we should not do the same?

maryam at November 22, 2004 02:56 PM [permalink]:

dear Yasser
even for making a good relationship with arabs ( as you said "friendship") , we have to recognise & respect the cross lines of each other. what you say is reasonable & idealistic but does not work in the world of politic. there are some principes you can`t ignore even in friendship.

ghazal at November 22, 2004 03:06 PM [permalink]:

It is no secret to anyone that the issue of Identity (Muslim, Arab, Jewish , Kurdish, ..) has lead to lot of crises in the middle east. In this specific case whenever governments of Arab countries need Iran to back them we are their Muslim brothers and sisters but when they don't we are just non Arabs with our own made up version of Islam . So I think it is quite rational for us to look out for our own interests in the crises (they are not giving out “Halva” when it comes to politics) and not to mix it with emotion but we have to be careful to avoid clashes with cultures and increasing resentment in the area. It is not only morally wrong to do that but also no matter who is ruling the lands and what part of them as long as people live next to each other and share a lot, they better put up with each other as well

Eswin at November 22, 2004 03:54 PM [permalink]:

Dear Yasser,

I deeply regret that your piece is so unbalanced.

I do not know if this would sound encouraging to you or not, but I have done research on the amount of anti-Persian history that Arab children are being taught in North Africa, Hedjaz, Syria (yes even Syria!) and the PERSIAN GULF region Tazi states. I am confident using the word Tazi does not make you happy, forgive me for being so blatantly racist, I am following the footsteps of one of the early revivers of the Persian identity known as Ferdowsi of Tus, who by definition was not even Persian, but Iranic to be exact.

I do not think being anti-Arab in this sense is a bad thing.

Can anyone in one’s right mind anti-Russian and anti-German sentiments of the Polish people in the interwar period as racist? Yes, Iranians, and Iranics of modern time are increasingly supremacist, but this type of cultural supremacism has always been around and Arabs are equally, if not more, are guilty as well, if we want to apply your test! My contention is supported by the following:

Can you explain to me why even Palestinians during the Iran-Iraq war referred to us as "Ajami", why the term "Ajami" is still being used amongst the Tazi population of the Persian Gulf coast?

Please accept the fact the Iranian conversion to Shiism, perhaps mostly under the Safavids, caused Iranians a lot of grief. You had to, in all fairness, identified the causes of the Iranian grief against Arab Imperialism that almost all the time disguises itself in the expansion of Islam as the so-called religion of peace and equality! Troughtout the past 1400 years, it has been frequently used to massacre the Shiites and Iranians, which exactly happened in the late 1920s by the Wahabis in the form of such massacres in the Holy cities of Iraq! Is it just a coincident that Shiite and Ajami are often synonymous?

I WISH YOU HAD MENTIONED the Arab League's RACIST support for Iraq's invasion against Iran. Why do not you remind us that from 1927 to 1979, the Iraqi regimes of different kind violated the Iranian maritime and territorial borders by 86 times (I can cite you the source if you wish)?

On the face of it, and quite frankly with respect to origins of our people’s grievances, for a nation who has always been attacked by Arabs (except the Yemen invasion of Khosrow I), it is not a coincidence that we persisted in speaking Persian, and to your dismay we kept up with our Ancient Iranic traditions,… and the Syrians, and Egyptians do not! We resisted, and our idea of nationalism has been much older than any other people "of note"!

I would also remind you that the nuclear skirmishes between Iran and the West are of no relevance to your point. The causal relationship that you are pointing to is extremely slim, if not unfounded!

In short, your analysis is out of context and out of touch with the historical and political realities. In one sentence, it is a gross exaggeration of Iranic peoples’ anti-Arab sentiments.

I intend, time permitting, to write a succinct response to your post. After all, it seems someone has to speak up against all these "Semitic" types of nationalism that are causing so much conflict in our region, and yet there is no Persian/Iranic nationalism.

Arash Jalali at November 22, 2004 05:33 PM [permalink]:

Just for the record, I think it was only me who mentioned the nuclear situation in the comments, not Yasser :-)

I would also like to ask you a question, if I may:

Theoretically speaking, what is your position with regard to nationalism in general and Iranian nationalism in particular ? If you were to have a say in how Iran's system of education should be, would you advocate the promotion of a nationalist spirit among the Iranian youth and why ?

Eswin at November 22, 2004 05:55 PM [permalink]:

Hmmm, Thank you Arash, this is one of the problems of reading webpages when you read them on a hand-held! I apologize for this blunder!

As to your question, I think I would leave it to my forthcoming post. I think you can insert a degree of cultural nationalism that shows how a nation intentionally preserves its cultural in the face of imperialist invasions that are not merely territorial but also cultural. Arabic invasion of Iran in the seventh century was such an invasion. Almody all Roman invasions intended to be both cultural and territorial.

The Iranian invasions, even the Sassanid ones that were the most assimilationist of all, failed to be assimilationist of the Arab ones. In fact, the Sassanids were more hostile to the paganism of many main Iranian plateau Iranic tribes than those of the adjancent regions.

Can we not teach a history that offers various narratives but emphasizes the persistence of the Iranic culture? Would this emphasis be tantamount to racism? Would it mean that a story of survival can always be used to antagonize a nation to the point that it forgets its diversity, eagnerness to embrace other alient cultures, and add to its richness wihtout accepting forceful cultural imperialism?

I think these are the questions that are upon us to tackle. The undertaking does require one to want to define the state a racially self-contained one, we are way beyond A.H. as far as I am concerned.

You may yourself want to tell us what you think about it. As you know from my previous posts on the Iranics' history, I think we have to start with that little needle from ourselves in teaching history and include our Iranic peoples' history in it squarely and fairly. This pre-requisite of fairness to include those who are historically our immediate relatives should also require us to re-examine our relationship with others. The unfortunate Arab hostility towards us, however, should not be exagerated, but our grievances, I would argue cannot be trivialized either. After all, the Shoobiyeh would not have risen from the ashes of the Sassanids if it were not because of the Arab racism of the Ummayed, and that history even Arabs do not deny as being Barbaric in terms of attempting to force Iranians to speak Arabic and giving up their culture completely. But to them, Islam was a one way bargain, and Persian or Iranics, were basically cheating!!!

What would you say to that? If we teach that we are telling our kids that they were Barbaric to us? If so, I would say so, after all, the Greeks have been teaching the same thing to their kids from more than Two Thousand years to their kids!

In the end, I think we can teach a more balanced history of Iranics in relation to others, but we cannot do so, if we are not teaching a balanced history of ourselves in the first place.

Eswin at November 22, 2004 09:39 PM [permalink]:
Dear Arash and everybody else, please forgive me for posting this again: I was writing on a handheld in a train and the result has been very confusing. The following is a more polished version what I exactly wanted to say in the previous post: Hmmm, Thank you Arash, this is one of the problems of reading webpages when you read them on a hand-held! I apologize for this blunder! As to your question, I think I would leave it to my forthcoming post. I think you can insert a degree of cultural nationalism that shows how a nation intentionally preserves its cultural in the face of imperialist invasions that are not merely territorial but also cultural. Arabic invasion of Iran in the seventh century was such an invasion. Almost all Roman invasions intended to be both cultural and territorial. The Iranian invasions, even the Sassanid ones that were the most assimilationist of all, failed to be as assimilationist as the Arab ones. In fact, the Sassanids were more hostile to the paganism of many main Iranian plateau Iranic tribes than those of the adjacent regions. Can we not teach a history that offers various narratives but emphasizes the persistence of the Iranic culture? Would this emphasis be tantamount to racism? Would it mean that a story of survival can always be used to antagonize a nation to the point that it forgets its diversity? Would we not pre-empt genocidal tendencies, if we remind our children of the eagerness of their ancestors to embrace other alien cultures? Would we not win historical scores in fairness if we remind our children that our ancestors show genuine enthusiasm to add certain traits of alien cultures enrich their own culture, but always resisted forceful cultural imperialism? I think these are the questions that are upon us to tackle. The undertaking does not require one to want to define the state as a racially self-contained one! We are way beyond A.H. as far as I am concerned. You may yourself want to tell us what you think about it. As you know, from my previous posts on the Iranics' history, I think we have to start with that little needle from ourselves in teaching history and include our Iranic peoples' history in the broader scholarship of Iranian history fairly and squarely. This pre-requisite of fairness to include those who are historically our immediate relatives should also require us to re-examine our relationship with others. The unfortunate Arab hostility towards us, however, should not be exagerated, but our grievances, I would argue, cannot be trivialized either. After all, the Shoobiyeh would not have risen from the ashes of the Sassanids if it were not because of the Arab racism of the Ummayed, and that history even Arabs do not deny as being Barbaric in terms of attempting to force Iranians to speak Arabic and giving up their culture completely. But to them, Islam was a one way bargain, and Persian or Iranics, were basically cheating!!! What would you say to that? If we teach our children about the Barbarism that others committed, are really dehumanizing them, or are we teaching them that all humans have committed inhuman atrocities! If we are telling our kids that Arabs were Barbaric to us and are unfortunately still proud of it, are we being unfair? I think we have to teach our children, how Arabs are dehumanizing us in their history books, and yet we, in the name of Islam, are embracing them! I would still say that calling others as Barbaric in such contexts is not really racist, afte ["Toooo long!" editors say, "Here: click to read the whole thing!"]
yaser at November 22, 2004 10:13 PM [permalink]:


In my opinion, you have used some historical facts to justify Iranian's racism toward Arabs. I, in my note, didn't care where this racism comes from or whether Arabs are also racists or not. This is not the point. The point is that we are racist and you seem to agree with that. You may say that this is not racism. I think it clearly is.

I have tried to address two points in my post. I) Where is all these collective action from?
II) What is the benefit?

My address to I) is that it is from our racist mind and to II) is that there is not much benefit. The solution I have mentioned at the end (friendship) which Arash critisized is not the key point of my post and I may be wrong about it. Just please someone tell me what is the benefit of spending all these time and energy on the Persion Gulf story? What do we get out of it? National pride? Who cares?

I think what is happening is that there is a wave of protest and many people are just in the wave without really rethinking the issue. Honestly, it is very unreasonable to ask National Geographic to not mention Arabian Gulf in the paranthesis.

Eswin at November 23, 2004 12:06 AM [permalink]:
Dear Yasser, Thanks for clarifying, I think I certainly understood your point, and yet found it unbalanced in failing to address the origins of the reaction that you identified as "racist". This is not just my impression, a few others who bothered to email me about your post had felt the same way. If it were not because of such a "minimalist approach that you have taken towards the origins issue, and the way you have exagerated it in terms of its causes and implications, i.e. as racist, why should I really bother considering a broader and "inclusive" response in the first place? Why should I find your approach unbalanced? Why should I find your approach trivializing what many of us consider, and rightly so, as "the big deal of Iranian grievances" against Arab imperialism and their cultural expansionism in disguise of their own conception of "Eslameh Naabeh Mohammadi" (the Pure Islam of Mohammad)? I am really sorry to say this but you are the one who is missing the whole point of the reaction, or rather what you identify as "overreaction" of Iranians! It is a big deal! And the reaction is to be addressed in ways that are not "minimalistic" as yours is in terms of the origins, and in ways that are not also depicting it in the most exagerating of all ways that is the inappropriate terminology of racism! There are other ways of explaining such reactions, such as the way the regime of Iran would like to depict Ancient Iran as some type of an advanced medieval age in which there was some type of cast system , and people of Iran were looking forward to the Muslim liberators to come and introduce to them ideals of equality and pursuit of science, along with two hundred years of exploiting Iranian peasants, raping their women, and sometimes young boys (as is the case of Khalid-i-bin-Walid)!!!! Should I remind you, and proudly so, that a Persian Slave was the one who assassinated the Greatest of all Khalifs, Omar? And that we Iranics have been celebrating Omar-Koshaan for around 1,300 years??? And that we were the ones who changed the dynasty from Omayyed to Abassids? and that we were the ones who liberated ourselves in the Persons of Taher and the Safarids? OH, Yes, it is such a big deal and I am so proud that my Sakaa ancestors liberated our Proud Iranic Land! This nationalism, I do not find racist! But I think there are other ways of explaining the reaction! Maybe this "overreaction" also comes from the fact that Iranians are also fed up with a regime that has done nothing but to discredit their ancient identity by various measures, starting from banning many Persian names (such as Datis, Surena, Shahriar, and many others...) and replacing them with many Arabic names (such as Amaar, Meysam, Somayeh, and last but not least, Yasser)? I am not going overboard if I call you an Arab apologist my friend, but certainly I would not go as far as calling you an "Arabist" my friend. Your like-minded fellows who occupy various positions of power as the initiators of Islamic Unity are the ones who have to explain about their pro-Persian Gulf approach, as mentioned by Arash..., by the way do you remember how the newspaper "Islamic Republic" (Jomhooriyeh Eslami) criticized President Rafsanjani when he praised ancient Achamenids in the aftermath of his visit of Persepolis in 1991...where does this hate towards ancient Persia/Iran come from? Can it just be explained by saying that "because the Pahlavis loved ancient Iran and hated Arabs", the ["Toooo long!" editors say, "Here: click to read the whole thing!"]
An Iranian Student (AIS) at November 23, 2004 12:08 AM [permalink]:

This piece was so incoherent and meaningless that it is hard to even respond to it!

"However, in my opinion, Iranians’ reaction to this issue is disproportionate and with a high opportunity cost. It is totally reasonable if an Atlas mentions another name of Persian Gulf in a parenthesis since it is now -right or wrong- used by many countries. "

I'm sorry you are such an ignoramus in this issue.
The renaming of teh Perisn Gulf is a coordinated affair by Arab countries and has started quite recently. It is a FACT that 50 years ago no Arab country , officially, called this body of water anything but Persian Gulf as was the case everywhere else. So this is not an instance of different people of a region historically calling someplace by different names.
there are instances of that like the river in our border with Iraq that we call "Arvand Rood" and they call "Shatt a-Arab" and although some extremists on both sides insist on one over the other , Iranians in general have nothing much against it. (The ARABS however never aknowledge the Persian name). So there you go, where did our "RACISM" go, Yasser?

I second what Mohammad rightly expressed. In one case people act responsibly and there we have another wise guy trying to make himself "shirin" in the intellectual arena.
I can only epxress pity. I don't think more time is worth wasting on this topic.

An Iranian Student (AIS) at November 23, 2004 12:38 AM [permalink]:

Instead of such articles, join in creating the google bomb about this "Arabian" Gulf.
Read about it here:
Making a Google Bomb in this case

An explanation of what a google bomb is:
Google Bomb: Definition

And here is the link:
Arabian Gulf

I suggest we all link to this site, and any one who adds a comment from now on or writes an article add a link as well.
This is the address:

Ron at November 23, 2004 02:29 AM [permalink]:

The National Geographic map also points out that Iran is occupying Abu Musa and Greater and Lesser Tunb. I would suggest to the Iranian govt. to cease immediately this cruel and illegal occupation of Arab lands!

An Iranian Student (AIS) at November 23, 2004 02:54 AM [permalink]:

Dear Ron,
Indeed! LOL!

mada at November 23, 2004 05:02 AM [permalink]:

One of the many problems with the Middle East is the ongoing sectarian conflict (i.e. persian vs. arab; shia vs. sunni; tribes vs. tribes)-whether real or perceived, and the painful baggage of history. Learn how to live with your differences (let bygones be bygones) and cooperate with your immediate neighbours to the best of your ability despite the feeling that your efforts are not being reciprocrated. Remember, it is difficult to prosper in a chaotic neigbourhood.Going solo comes at an enormous price. Sooner or later you will break your back...

Enlightened by Naďveté at November 23, 2004 09:01 AM [permalink]:

Dear Mada,

Your most precious comment, single handedly enlightened me. I will now pack my belongings and start a peace loving, humanitarian, all for one/one for all movement in a global scale. Let my name be lost in the course of history, yet let me trive on the joys I shall receive from the harmony and balance of the world, which would be the true fruit of my labours.

A few years from now I can see myslef helping the hungry and the sick kids in Rwanda, removing anti-personnel mines in Afghanistan, taking Persian food to my Arab neighbors, and dancing to "Give Peace a Chance" with Tibbetan monks.

yaser at November 23, 2004 09:54 AM [permalink]:

Regarding to the use of the word occupying for the islands. National Geographic doesn't have a court itself. In all the maps, when there is a land dispute, they mention that a country has occupied it and the other claims for it. Occupy doesn't necessarily have a negative meaning. It means Iran is now there though UAI says they should be there.

Mohammad at November 23, 2004 10:48 AM [permalink]:

Dear Mr Kerachian,

Politics generally works differently from the over simplified version of the world that many people want to create for themselves.

In case of Persian Gulf, the change of historical name implies aggressive and expantionist policies adopted by Arab governments. I list them for you:

1. If you cave in and say who cares, then the new name implies ownership by Arab countries. Hence the islands in the gulf naturally belong to Arab people and not Persians (i.e. Iranians). If Iran loses the three islands at the straight of Hormoz, it also loses a lot of leverage in international politics.

2. If the name is accepted, then it shows a level of national weakness and "who cares" attitude that you display that may be very encouraging for Arab separatists in Khuzistan. They have the goodwill and financial aid of Arab rulers in the UAE, Kuwait and even Syrians! The ultimate goal is to create a new Arab state covering the Iranian shore of Persian Gulf.

3. Losing these points (the name, historical supremacy, the islands, and the land on Iranian mainland) seriously weakens Iran's economy and international bargaining standing. Thus, fighting for this name is far more meaningful than loving our neighbors from hell (i.e. Arabs). Recent and ancient experience has shown Iranian people not to trust our western neighbors. Common sense generally has proved a better policy than some idealistic wishy-washy pipedream.

4. Please let me know what is worth fighting for? Just those issues considered kosher (or hallal :)) by the left leaning intellectuals?

It seems that you have a very limited understanding of issues related to politics and history, and your recent posts clarify this point. You could have done way better to ponder the criticisms levelled at your article and acknowledged that you are not entirely correct.


WhoMan at November 23, 2004 11:01 AM [permalink]:


See my comments below. No offense intended in the tone. I just tried to be sarcastic ;)

"It is also hard to see Iranians united on anything."
I keep hearing the same from Iranians. It is called diversity. Diversity is the necessary first step on the road to democracy. Next step is recognizing this diversity and respecting it instead of expecting everyone blending in one format (uniting).

"In addition to that, recently, we are all very busy with our individualistic life and care much less about what is going around us."
Caring less for what is going on around us? I agree with this part. As a starter, how many of us have tried to understand what is going on in the country where we live? How many of us know a little bit beyond the Middle East? How many of us know how a proper democratic system whether parliamentarian or else works? But instead all of us know in detail how the weirdly complex Iranian system work, a knowledge that in the end of the day benefits no one. As a casual research, take a look at the Iranian weblogs. How many Iranians look outside of their Iranian box and are interested in things that the rest of the world is interested in? We have buried our head in sand. Learning about non-Iranian stuff is not un-Iranian. It just makes us more concious of how damaging some of the things we hold dear are, and how common in the world some of things we think are holding us back are.

"reaction to this issue is disproportionate and with a high opportunity cost."
High opportunity cost? Can you explain what other opportunities we are missing out by protesting the improper use of Persian Gulf?

"I would like to argue that what has happened, mostly reflects our Anti-Arab racism other than anything else."

Wrong. You are simply generalizing too much here. I suggest you make a friend with a (hate to generalize also) Brit and look outside the Iranian box. Get close to him (if you are thick-skinned enough to get past their brutal sense of humour) and see what they could tell you about the French if put in the same situation.

BrainMafia at November 23, 2004 03:54 PM [permalink]:

NEWS FLASH!!! Iranians DO NOT call the Persian Gulf the "Persian Gulf"!

Iranians didn't name it "Persian Gulf" to begin with, if anything they should be asking National Geographic to name it "Khalij-e Fars" but that doesn't wash either because the Arabs have called it "Al-Khalij al Arabiyah" for just as long if not longer.

And since I am pretty sure the word Khalij is Arabic, then it would seem they have had the name longer than we have. What did we call it before the Arabs came?

Mohammad at November 23, 2004 05:15 PM [permalink]:

The correct name should have been "Brainless Mafia". Here it goes genius:

1. Greeks and Romans called it Sinus Persicus (Persian Gulf) or Mer Persicum (Persian Sea).

2. Persian speakers called it "Darya-ye Pars" (ref. Naser Khosro's "Safar Nameh" and Sa'adi's Bustan)

3. Arabs called it "Al Khalij al Farsiyyah" up to 1960's. Look up any Arabic geographic book published in 1940s and 1950s. Then following Jamal Abdel Nasser (who had a personal rivalry with the Shah) and based on Pan Arab aspirations, they changed the name to Arabian Gulf. Even then, just those Arab states who were far enough had the balls to do that. Saudis and Iraqis used both terms well into late 60s. Remember that UAE, Kuwait, Qatar,... did not exist then, and Bahrain was still part of Iran.

4. Wide spread use of the term the Gulf and lately, Arabian Gulf inside and outside the region dates to 1980s and the resultant weakening of Iranian power due to the revolution and then the war with Saddam.

5. I suggest you keep very, very quiet. One thing that you don't have is a brain. Else, you would check your facts before posting something as idiotic as that.

Roobah at November 23, 2004 08:02 PM [permalink]:

Firstly, your article could be an insult to me and many fellow Iranians who care about this issue beyond your short-sighted racism-based analysis. Do you think yourself and (at least) all Iranian students outside Iran still have a blind prejudice against Arabs? Have you not ever met a decent Arab person in Canada or wherever you study? Have you not ever had a decent conversation with an educated Arab about these issues? The answer seems to be NO.

However, I didn't take it as an insult because the fact that you've publicly announced that you DON'T CARE means you actually DO CARE to make people believe you DON'T CARE, which is more of a cheesy show off than anything else.

Secondly, my clever friend, the word PERSIAN in "Persian Gulf" is NOT a reference to any race, but it's a reference that links the gulf to the country of IRAN as a political entity with a long history and distinct culture etc. Therefore unlike what you said this is not a matter of racism (nobody has wrongly or deliberately claimed we were Arabs), but it's a matter of national interest.

Thirdly, in this very rare occasion the Iranian people have found the chance to express their views and support a (national) cause without the fear of being jailed or interrogated or censured or watched by gov. agents, and now you call it "disproportionate with a high opportunity cost"?? You're on the wrong end of the highway baba jan.

Fourthly, to my greatest surprise you have even questioned the way this protest has been done! You've written: "it has all been e-mail forwarding and petition signing, the kinds of things that generally take less than ten seconds to do"! FYI we're living in the 21st century and the Internet has become the most important medium of communication. And yes, sending an e-mail and signing an electronic petition shouldn't take longer than ten seconds, otherwise you're using the wrong system! and again FYI it's much easier and cheaper and cleverer to distribute news electronically, comparing to old fashioned methods that normally take "more than 10 seconds"!

Fifthly, you seem to think tolerating violations of rights, cheating, dodgy name changes and likes of that is the prerequisite for peaceful negotiations between neighbouring countries in our troubled region. For one thing I'm very happy that you're just a student in Canada and not a key diplomat in our ministry of foreign affairs!

Last but not least, Arab politicians have been very clever to silently and slowly spread the use of the word "Arabian Gulf" for decades in their own regions. It's effect has been exactly similar to the effect we're seeking through the Google Bomb. They wanted to increase the number of resources that use the word 'Arabian Gulf' to convince likes of you to say "It is totally reasonable" and "right or wrong- used by many countries". One-Nil to the smart Arab politicians, they've managed to score a goal somewhere in our team (although you're not in Iran, but who cares!).

"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter. - Martin Luther King Jr"

paymane at November 24, 2004 12:44 AM [permalink]:

Dear Friends, I am not writing this to challenge yasser or to disprove his points. You guys have already done a superb job in that. brilliant! simply brilliant. I can't add anything.
I am writing to tell you this.
I read your comments and was filled with joy that I am associated with such knowledgeable and smart people. I am proud of you! I am proud of being born a persian/Iranian. May god (call it ahura or allah) bless our country. May he help us bring the best of us to govern us. May he help us right the wrong that has been done to us for over 1500 years. The tragic, heartbreaking injustice that has been done to us. Any one who calls us "racist" or "ultra-nationalist" is doing us a great injustice.
Persians created the first empire where all cultures with different langauges and different races were truly tolerated. Cyrus was not called great becasue he killed more people like Alexander. History written by NON-PERSIANS proves he was the first and possibly the last emperor that was truly loved.
The way that iranians created and contributed to islamic culture & art and made it their own, shows clearly we are not intolerant.
I have talked to this Sunni arab from egypt.
Let me tell you what he told me.
"You are a Kafer because you celebrate nourooz" Says Taregh from egypt.
From talking to him, I reallized It is not us that hate them. It is them. Friends, a great portion of the arabic speaking countries, truly hate us for not abandoning our persian heritage.
I have read enough to know, we are going to get there. I have this faith that some day Iran is going to wake up, shake her shackles and chains off and be the talk of town. She will turn heads and she will shine again. I know she will, just as long as you guys are out there.
I thank you from the depth of my heart for being what you are. persians.


BrainMafia at November 24, 2004 01:26 AM [permalink]:

What National Geographic did is 100% correct and if anything they would have been amiss not to do it. For whatever reasons there are millions of people and school kids that grow up in neighboring countries that have grown up knowing the one name "Arabian Gulf". Those kids deserve to be able to find it on a map just as much an Iranian child does. If you don’t understand that, then you don’t understand how reference maps and all reference material work.

BTW, since the term “Arabian Gulf” (it does have a good ring to it, don’t you think?) has been used in the American Heritage dictionary maybe you could also start banning that and everything else that is published by Houghton Mifflin and DEMAND that they remove the term Arabian Gulf from their dictionaries.

As you said Mohammad, the Westerners named it the Persian Gulf and as far as I am concerned they can change it - or in this case augment it. If you were lobbying for the real Iranian name of it that is "Khalij-e Fars" then it would be different and only barely so. Why? Because it's THEIR map, and they can and should do what they want with it. If you are so proud then why don't you send one Iranian out of the 70 million or so to learn a bit of cartography and then have him come back to Iran, print a map of the World and name ALL of the water bodies in the World the "Persian this-and-that"? We Iranians are experts in taking credit and ownership of everything anyway.

An Iranian Student (AIS) at November 24, 2004 01:53 AM [permalink]:

Very interesting and informative BrainMafia, Thank you.
Now please shut up.

Naughtius Maximus at November 24, 2004 02:29 AM [permalink]:

BrainMafia, that is if you take their action to be professionally oriented. The thing is, it is not. They don't label bodies of water according to various local names that exist for them. They do that to cities, like where Milano and Milan are both on the map. In essence, we see this as a political move, and so we have mobilized people to voice their counter opinion. Nobody is lynching NG editors in the street or burning their offices. Stop being a pain in the ass bro. And Iran already has a very good cartographic institution, thank you very much.

Naughtius Maximus at November 24, 2004 02:36 AM [permalink]:

And for what it's worth, they also have a very ugly photo of Tehran in their city section. Some hezbol guy and a chador-clad gal riding on an old motorbike! Come on, that could be any Western Asian town! Contrast that with other cities where they often use a nice photo of a landmark or other.

Habashneh amer at November 24, 2004 08:11 AM [permalink]:

Dear all

With all my respect to those who participate in this long debate about this subject, I think we still have much to do in this region rather than dispute.
However, the western sources are those whom wrote and draw the oldest maps of this region during the colonist era, and they are the same who are giving the names know,
For the sake of telling the truth at least in my opinion, the following comment may highlighted:

1- it's true that the most known name to the world is the Persian not Arabian.
2- also it's a fact that the gulf is part of Arabian sea that extended to the southern coast of Iran ,Pakistan and even part of India.
3- neglecting the number of countries shoring the gulf wither they are Arab or Persian ,we can't neglect other fact that the coast at the Arabian side are more longer when compare to opposite side .
4- part of the Iranian side is inhabited by Arabs known Arab Stan (Iranian name khozstan)

5- the one who control the gulf are the Americans ,so I suggest the name to be (American Gulf)


cat lover at November 24, 2004 09:40 AM [permalink]:

American Gulf it is then. Poor American's haven't got a single body of water named after them. Let us just give it to them, we can always be proud of the Persian Cat, after all more than 70% of the cat is also water.

Javad at November 24, 2004 09:52 AM [permalink]:

I like that. American Gulf. Now all we have to do is to get the Americans to ban and stop reading National Geographic until such date when both Gulf and Gulf have been replaced with American Gulf.

Ron at November 24, 2004 11:55 AM [permalink]:

Hey, be nice to the Americans here. Every American knows this body of water is the Persian Gulf from the Gulf War in '91. Thank CNN for that.

WhoMan at November 24, 2004 03:27 PM [permalink]:

Someone wrote:

"For whatever reasons there are millions of people and school kids that grow up in neighboring countries that have grown up knowing the one name "Arabian Gulf". Those kids deserve to be able to find it on a map just as much an Iranian child does. If you don’t understand that, then you don’t understand how reference maps and all reference material work."

You know what? There are also millions of people and school kids who call English Channel 'La Manche'. These kids also deserve to be able to find their channel on National Geographic map. Why doesn't this esteemed magazine accomodate these kids' concern?

yahya at November 24, 2004 08:21 PM [permalink]:

Juan Cole, an expert on Middle East, has an interesting comment about the Persian Gulf issue at
his weblog:
Informed Comment

His weblog is a must read for people who would like to keep track of what is happening in Iraq.

An Iranian Student (AIS) at November 25, 2004 01:23 AM [permalink]:

The kind of links you give shows your mentality and stances very clearly yahya. I'm just sorry.

BrainMafia at November 25, 2004 04:48 AM [permalink]:


National Geographic does use "La Manche". But it does so in their French language publications. La Manche is the French name for the Channel. The "Persian Gulf" is NOT the Iranian name. Also, the French all have their own atlases and maps that they use and don't need to depend on others. You don't hear them complaining do you? I can hear your response now. "Why doesn’t National Geographic, the imperialistic, Zionist, Arab-loving, Iranian-hating tool of the West - publish in Farsi using all Iranian names?" The same reason they don’t publish in Yoruba – go figure it out.

Of course we Iranians - as always - want the Westerners do it for us, at their cost but at our specs! You don't like the way they do it, then do it yourself and stop whining. Simple.

Naughtius Maximus at November 25, 2004 06:07 AM [permalink]:

BrainMafia, you keep changing your arguments. So it isn't about the poor school children? Afterall, those Arabs don't speak English as their first language anyways. They can get their own Arabic atlas and call it what they want. So there goes your point about proffesionalism. And, we are not objecting because NG isn't publishing Persian copies of its atlas, what are you smoking? For heavens sake, have you even seen the size of that thing? I don't even have a bookcase that big!

Mohammad at November 25, 2004 10:41 AM [permalink]:

Brainless Mafioso,

If you insist on brown nosing Arabs, be Saddam's guest. No problem. They have a ton of losers in Iran who'd rather be Arab rather than proud Iranians. But the truth stands that you are not an informed, well read, or even intelligent person.

We have read your posts, and let's put it mildly, no one agreed with you. If so many people think what you say is not correct (all of them better informed than you), then chances are that you are wrong.

Please keep your ideas to yourself.

WhoMan at November 25, 2004 02:22 PM [permalink]:

Thanks for your input and little tutorial on the European geography, BrainMafia.

Back to your comment, I think you are going too far here:

"Why doesn’t National Geographic, the imperialistic, Zionist, Arab-loving, Iranian-hating tool of the West - publish in Farsi using all Iranian names?"

and here:

"Of course we Iranians - as always - want the Westerners do it for us, at their cost but at our specs! You don't like the way they do it, then do it yourself and stop whining. Simple."

Who said we call National Geographic that way or we want them to do things for us that we fail to do???

They are not a bunch of drolls in the boonies spewing out some "specs" for fun. They count. So that's why it concerns me what they say and write about me and anything related to me. Why am I not concerned about what English Channel is called or Japan Sea for that matter? I don't even give it a rat ass unless someone sets me right in a proper and decent way.

Although I acknowledge that no one is giving an ant's ass also about how that gulf is called, I want to be that 'someone' else who tries to set things right about Persian Gulf.

What do you call someone who doesn't even raise a finger for what s/he thinks is right?

heydarbaba at November 25, 2004 03:45 PM [permalink]:
Is the name Persian Gulf or Arabian Gulf? I say it is Persian Gulf and I am not even waving the flag. It is easy to search and find out this is the true name and it should stay that way and I have a good feeling it will stay that way. Does it matter? oooooooohhhhhhh yes it does. So by preserving the name of the Persian Gulf are we supposed to look like anti- Arab?. I don't think so and I know for sure I am not anti Arab or anti Jews or anti American for that matter. To turn against someone because of who they are is not my cup of tea and we have enough of that going on in the world , but to dislike someone because of what that person does is another matter and I can tell you that I have my own shit list. Don't we all? In order for you to qualify for a position in my shit list you have to do something that hurts my feelings, damages my bank account, damages my property, insults me or my religion and few other things some minor and some major. Nations have their own shit list and just like individuals they have some criteria before they enlist any nation there. Should Arab countries who tempt to call the Persian Gulf Arabian Gulf belong to our shit list? I would say that is a bit childish. You see we are neighbors and they have their houses we have ours; sometimes between neighbors some issues come up and both sides argue for their own interests and maybe even they go to court and somehow they resolve their differences but more often than not they don't become enemies just because one side lost the case in the court. This is one of the few good aspects of the civilized world. It is very practical too. After all none of these neighbors are going anywhere. Nobody is moving out so we might as well get along with each other. They say good fences make good neighbors and in this case the fence is the Persian Gulf. Our Arab neighbors have a lot in common with us when it comes to religion, culture and what have you. I am not even going to use a 19-20 century word and concept such as Imperialism to bemoan a 1400 year old event under the term of cultural imperialism, and act as a totally traumatized Iranian not to mention that the word Imperialism somehow doesn't sound like an Iranian word to me. To use a foreign word, a 19-20 century concept and apply it to a 1400 year old event somehow is an odd mix plus it would make Lenin jump in his grave; so I won't even go there.I can give examples of how similar we deal with the most important events of our lives, on how similar we enjoy the simple pleasures of our lives All you have to do is watch the way we celebrate our happy events and mourn our sad ones. Just look at the way we conduct our funerals. Be it Iranians' Arabs' or Jews' funeral. Our funerals are very loud, and get progressively louder and they plateaue only when the participants start running low on energy. We, be it Iranians, Arabs or Jews like to make some horribly annoying noises at the funerals, we beat our chests and our heads. You won't see us wearing sunglasses in our funerals, the hell with those. We want the entire participants to see our tears and their sizes and more important how big they were, we want them to hear us and remember how loud we yelled and screamed; and then of course we are probably the only people on earth who like to charge at our deads as if we were attacking an enemy. Of course others, present there, wont let us to complete the attack and jump into the grave. In fact in almost every funeral of ours, be it Ira ["Toooo long!" editors say, "Here: click to read the whole thing!"]
BrainMafia at November 26, 2004 02:37 AM [permalink]:


That's sounds like an argument that Hitler would make.



cat lover,

I love it.


I know I am going too far, but THAT's what got a rise out of you!


Please refer to the "cat lover" post above for an example of succinct writing.

cat lover,

I thought it was 90%.


Get a life. While on route, stop and pick up a brain - it will come in handy.

And finally,

What does Chomsky have to say about this?

Javad at November 26, 2004 03:08 AM [permalink]:

AmericanWoman at November 26, 2004 09:32 AM [permalink]:

I am liking "Americana Gulf." Aren't all bodies of water feminine?

WhoMan at November 26, 2004 11:17 AM [permalink]:

"That's sounds like an argument that Hitler would make."

Do you even stop for a second to think what I mean before making comparison to Hitler?

BrainMafia at November 26, 2004 02:00 PM [permalink]:

WhoMan dude,

I am pulling your leg. Take it easy. It was a joke - not a good one obviously since you didn't get it - unless you have problems with the "dozAri" and in THAT case, it was pretty funny.

Dave G. at November 26, 2004 06:10 PM [permalink]:

You guys got me thinking about how important these geographical names are. We've got this body of water near here called the Gulf of Mexico. Now I don't know why it shouldn't be called the Gulf of America. After all, a bunch of American states from Texas to Florida have alot of coastline on it. And any one of those states is worth two Mexicos (ask any American). Someday we'll want to claim all rights to everything there so we might as well lay claim to it now.

And there's this ocean that borders our west coast, the Pacific. From now on we should campaign to have it called the American Ocean. Better yet, the American Ocean #1, since we'll want to be calling the Atlantic Ocean American Ocean #2. And that Indian Ocean - why do the Indians get to name it? Let's call it the American Ocean #3. I know, I know. We don't have any land bordering it. Well, no matter... we will someday.

And did you guys know that when Americans planted our flag on the moon, we named it the American Moon? That's right. But it's fitting, since it's in the American Solar System.

heydarbaba at November 26, 2004 08:52 PM [permalink]:

A real joke is the one that you have to declare it as a joke!!! time before you tell a joke please declare it as a joke so we know it is really a joke and laugh at it as if we heard a joke eventhough if we didnt think it was a funny joke but since you declared it as a joke we laughed at it as if you didn't declare it as a joke and we heard a real funny hialrrrrrius joke i mean a joke is a joke but declaring it adds a little insurance to that joke and makes us laugh at it as a I am totally losing it....succinct enough for you chum? :)

hajir at November 26, 2004 11:31 PM [permalink]:

I strongly agree with Yasser that this disproportionate reaction has to do with Racism. There is no doubt that the correct name is Persian Gulf and it has to stay that way but when I see the type of people and the type of language and methods that are used to protest against this forgery, I personally refrain from supporting that cause.

The google bomb thing, that someone excitingly brought up above, is one example of upright racism. It is a shame for educated iranians to have anything to do with that kind of behavior.

No, the end does not justify the means gentlemen. You may regain your lost pride by erasing the phrase 'arabian gulf' from the national geographic atlas, but you may have lost your manners in doing so.

Consuming the lost national pride of our ancestors as a medicine for our disasterous situation expired long ago in the last regime.

WhoMan at November 27, 2004 12:56 AM [permalink]:

"I strongly agree with Yasser that this disproportionate reaction has to do with Racism."

Hajir, you may be able to help me, 'cause I never heard anything from Yaser back.

Why is it disproportionate? And why do you associate it to racism? I am serious. Maybe I don't read or hear what you read or hear. But wait a second it's got nothing to do with what you read or hear per se, 'cause you later went on:

"The google bomb thing, that someone excitingly brought up above, is one example of upright racism."

How is googlebomb is "upright racism"?

I took part in googlebomb too and I don't see it a bit racist.

"It is a shame for educated iranians to have anything to do with that kind of behavior ... Consuming the lost national pride of our ancestors as a medicine for our disasterous situation expired long ago in the last regime."

I have written tons of stuff at my weblog on how national pride is used as opium for masses to balance out the effects of other downers. Yet, I don't have any idea why you think googlebomb was mean.

Bottom line: To argue back that what I did was NOT mean or racist, first I have to know what makes you think that it was.

BTW, I think I love this discussion thread since it is like cheering for your sports team. In the end of the day, the result doesn't really affect anyone's life who is disinterested in the subject (billions of people out there) no matter how hard you scream and yell at the arena. And you are not talking about something that you are absolutely clueless at (like the future of Iran or Iran's nuclear activity).

An Iranian Student (AIS) at November 27, 2004 04:41 AM [permalink]:

Hi Hajir, where were you? Missed you, though you had some true surrogates, so your legacy was well defended, have no fear.

"The google bomb thing, that someone excitingly brought up above, is one example of upright racism."

in the line of what you and some others have said here and in the spirite of what Ron expressed earlier let us declare this loud and clear for the whole world to hear:

Down with Racists and Occupiers!
Idiots of the world, unite!

Marxists Inc. at November 27, 2004 03:25 PM [permalink]:

We hereby condemn any use of our recorded and principal literature in inappropriate and unauthorized circumstances, such as the previous comment. Possible suggestions:

"Come together, you idiots of the world!"
"Cooperate idiots of the world!"

An Iranian Student (AIS) at November 27, 2004 07:47 PM [permalink]:

Naaa, Honorable members of Marxists Inc., it doesn't have the same ring.

But honestly, as real Marxists, tell me why you think your motto is being used in inappropriate and unauthorized circumstances?
after all most of the real "workers" never really bothered with your olympian visions anyway. (damnation upon those petty lumpens!)
I was still follwoing the same noble principles and replaced one word with a more passing one that encompassed the wider range in the multi-culti postmodern world of the 21st Century.

What is wrong with you?! Today, the idiots of the world are faced with wider issues from the racists occupations of The Arabian Gulf and its islands like Abu musa and Kish,Or Khuzestan and Azarbaijan and Kurdistan by those "Persians", Gaza and the entire Palestine by those "Zionists"? The racist attacks on the Holy Establishment of the United Nations by those "Neocons"?
The racist occuping capitalist corporate invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan, the Balkans, South Korea, the Oppressed Japanies, Germany, Italy, Viccy France (or todays France for that matter) those "Yankees", the eventual corrupt media based occupaion of our noble soviet motherland by the imperialists and the threat against North those "Capitalists"....
Don't you see this revolting trend of racism and occupation anymore?
Have you also turned in to a club of petit-burgois?!
Be men, comrads! All your other idiot brothers need you around the globe!

Learn from your Islamist brothers!
They are keeping the tradition of resistance alive.
You are in this together.
Join hands ....

hajir at November 27, 2004 10:12 PM [permalink]:


Facts stay facts. Zionists did occupy palestine, americans did occupy Vietnam, Panama and Iraq, Saddam did occupy Kuwait, Arabs did occupy Iran, so on and so forth. Your eloquence in rediculing the cause of the oppressed people around the globe may be admired but don't forget that it's not you who change history; it's the hands and the words of those who seek change and fight for what they believe whether communist, muslim, capitalist, terrorist, etc, that make history.

So until another meeting my friend, preach on and give people here some of your wisdom. No thanks I prefer to be on the other side where the idiots are, if you are wise.

AmericanWoman at November 28, 2004 01:28 AM [permalink]:

Seriously though, why is everyone so hot about the loss of the name? Every other time the subject has come up, there is a lot of affected disdain for the term "Persian." Why is no one advocating a google bomb for "Gulf of Iran," or a compromise like "Big Gulf?"

An Iranian Student (AIS) at November 28, 2004 05:54 AM [permalink]:


I seriously doubt one can "chosse" to side with idiots, usually they just do it as the result of nature or something.

An Iranian Student (AIS) at November 28, 2004 06:55 AM [permalink]:

in a place like the middle east, names are important. Iran's neighbours are not those of the US, like Canada or Mexico...ours are the Pakistanis and the Arabs (ie the pinnacles of morality and human civilisation). So forgive us (the racist persians among us anyway) for being a bit concerned about such actions.

hajir at November 28, 2004 03:10 PM [permalink]:

I apologize to all pakistani and arabs who just read the above post. I just want them to know not all iranians are racist and intolerant and narrow minded as the above person.

I am happy to be a muslim; in my religion all humans are equal regardless of their race, language and origin of birth. If Islam had given me only this love and compassion towards humanity, it has given me enough. I bear witness that Islam is superior to nationalism and racism and God is superior to any nation or race.

Humanist at November 28, 2004 03:34 PM [permalink]:

I also apologize that in that Islam has been the source of inspiration for thousands many out there to commit honorary killings in Pakistan against women, keeping thousands of women in accused of unproven crime of adultery in jails. I also apologize that Pakistan committed so many crimes against humanity against fellow Bengalis in Bangladesh, including systematic raping, to the point that the infidel army of India had to come and save them.

hajir at November 28, 2004 05:25 PM [permalink]:

Dear humanist, whatever you are, you are not good in history. Iranians also have committed a lot of crimes in their history. Nobody's hands is clean. Iranians are not angles, they are just humans like others and have had weaknesses along with positive things. Iranians had their civilization like other nations and that civilization failed just like other civilizations. We have good people and bad people just like any other nation. We have had good people like "insert here whoever you think was good" and bad people like 'bijeh' who assaulted and killed around 20 young kids. We are not special and we are not better than others nor are we worse than others.

And don't forget that the crinimals who are running Iran now are before anything iranians. That's true that they claim to be muslims but that doesn't make them non-iranian.

Ased Hamze at November 28, 2004 09:33 PM [permalink]:

Dear Hajir,

Are you trying to argue constructively, or you just want to defend Islam? I am not advocating your opponents here, but it seems that you can always save your religion, by getting "the bad people" out of it. It won't help, because Islam still kills, and so does the US.

[I somewhat agree that] according to what you said above, anyone can be good or bad regardless of their religion, which is basically what many people have been trying to say since 4000 years ago.

However your notion of religion [as I have been following incognito, since your appearance in the comment section] is something extremely personal and in fact non religeous. There is no religion that has no social aspect, and there is almost no religion that does not tell/guide/advise/show you what to do. If you have a one on one personal relationship with God, good for you, but unfortunately that is not a religion, and certainly is not Islam, and for that matter if you only rely on your one on one relationship with God, and your rational/sensual judgement, you are not a Muslim, you are a mystic, and as a mystic with Islamic background, I would happily call you a Suphi.

In the discourse that is going on here, there have been many generalizations, which will and have hurt sides and are often incorrect factually, but typically when people talk about religions, such as Islam, what they have in mind is the social and non-mystical aspects of it, the culture associated with it. You might not like the people running the country calling themselves Muslims, and defending their crimes in the name of Islam, but the fact remains that many Muslims do consider what such "Muslims in Power" do as Islamic.

hajir at November 29, 2004 11:29 PM [permalink]:

Dear Ased Hamze,

I disagree with drawing a line between mystic and non-mystic aspects of religion. I think religions, and Islam speceficlally, are multi dimensional and allow interpretation. There is no clergy in Islam, this means nobody and no group can ever claim to posess the essence of (official) Islam i.e. there is no official Islam. So if a person is against a reading of Islam, he should acknowledge the fact that he is against only that specefic reading of Islam not Islam as a whole.

As soon as you acknowledge the fact that not all of Islam kills, not all of the readings and understandings of Islam promote hatred and terrorism, not all of Islam is anti-women or anti-progress,... then we can have a dialogue. By declaring all of Islam evil you are only making the problem more complicated because the first group that is hurt by that declaration is the progressive muslims who believe in a merciful religion and trying hard to change the culture in Islam. What happens then is that the hardliners gain more support. This is not what we want as humans who want to live in peace on this earth.

It's rather simplistic and naive to attack Islam (the easiest thing, usually, is not the right or the useful thing to do). It's impossible to defeat Islam. What we can do is to understand it and understand those who practice it, be respectful to them and try to find common grounds on which we can base a friendship.

heydarbaba at November 30, 2004 03:32 AM [permalink]:
Dear Hajir, After having read your posts, it is fair to say that I am a bit confused even though I do agree with many of the things you say. The followings are sources of some of my confusions: 1)Killing another human being is allowed in Islam under the right circumstances defined by the Book. Killing enemy combatant, some one who has, let say, invaded your country, capital punishment is allowed by Quran, but it says that it is better to forgive , however unlike Christianity it is not a must, forgiveness is an option. To say that not all Islam kills is not true in my opinion. As a Muslim I don't see any need to be apologetic about this aspect of Islam, after all we are living in a real world and not in a wonder land and Islam or any religion to be taken seriously by me better give me some SOLID PRINCIPLES on how to deal with the issues on this very REAL world and I am glad to say that Islam does offer those principles and not killing is not one of those. The fact is that Christianity preaches TURN THE OTHER CHEEK and yet the deadliest weapons on face of the earth are built by Christians (and communists). You don't need all thses deadliest weapons to turn the other cheek. To me this hypocrisy is only another real proof that Islam is more real and life oriented than Christianity. 2)Another thing that many Muslims seem to be defensive about is this "Islam a violent religion" cliche from the Islam phobics. If war and fighting and killing your invading enemy is violent , which is, Islam allows this and I don't need to be apologetic about it. This is something that even the international norm and international law allows. If these insurgents in Iraq don't kill the civilians , under international law, they have every bit of right to attack and kill the occupying soldier, I would say this is a very violent thing but is allowed in Islam and international norm and law.(this has nothing to do with whether you agree with those insurgents or not, something that I don't ) Why do I have to be defensive about this? Lets not forget that prophet Muhammad (PBUH) after becoming prophet, fought one war or one battle on average of every 23 days till he passed away. (Janghaye peyambar by Ali Shariati). To me Islam is a religion of Peace, peace inside me, peace among us humans ,and it gives me a great sense of harmony with my surroundings, be it nature or humans, but peace doesn't always mean absence of war. This is common sense. I like to add that I don't agree one bit with this Jihadists movement by Bin Laden Inc. It has been a major failure for Muslims who were fooled by it and it is hard to find justification for that in Quran. 3) I agree that there is no clergy in Islam if by clergy you mean some VASETEH between you and the God but I do believe in Olama, those learned people who are dedicated in learning and articulating the Islam. I rather listen to a learned person whose main task has been to study Islamic literature and different aspects of Islam than someone who simply reads Quran and Nahjulbalagheh and comes up with his/her own interpretations. A mulla, an akhond, has every bit of right to preach Islam as , say, Soroush, who is the leading figure of "there is no clergy in Islam". Mullas are more organized and more dedicated than non-mulla scholars and spend more time among masses and connect well with them ( which is natural). Non Mullas do as well when they do interact with common masses but their number is not very many. Shariati was a non mu ["Toooo long!" editors say, "Here: click to read the whole thing!"]
Omni at November 30, 2004 04:24 AM [permalink]:

This is an interesting issue; thank you for posting about it.

Ased Hamze at November 30, 2004 09:39 AM [permalink]:

Dear Hajir,

The way you deal with this issue, only saves Islam for you. Your Islam will not be defeated and it is always good and nice. This will not make the Islam "out there" any different or better. If you really believe in your vision and its universality, instead of keep saying the above, it is time to do something about it.

That is the problem I have had with the "different readings" interpretations of Islam, as mildly advocated by Soroush and Kadivar and more aggressively by Shabestari. The insistence on the personality and hermeneutics of religion is philosophically and artistically nice and inspiring, however it fails to help those who suffer from the other readings of the very same religion.

Having a dialogue in this sense, should not be in defense of Islam as a whole, but should be between the different readings of Islam. That is instead of defending your personal version of Islam against that of "enemies of Islam" you should defend it against other readinsg of Islam, which indeed kill, and kill a lot of innocent people.

We can talk about this more, but this has already become to divergent from the original topic of the post.

headache at November 30, 2004 08:20 PM [permalink]:

Who let the mullahs in?

paynenurass at November 30, 2004 11:58 PM [permalink]:

the ones who sent Aalaahazrat to a permanent vacation.

An Iranian Student (AIS) at December 1, 2004 12:29 AM [permalink]:

Oh, it's not really that bad.
At least in the case of the "Buddy", we get exciting excerpts all the time from the world renowned and famous bestseller series "The Fantastic Stories of Heydar-Baba, The Adventurous Muslim 'Buddy'".

From titles like these:

"Heydar-Baba and the mysterious elections"
"Heydar-Baba the intrepid interviewer and his foolish colleagues"
"Heydar-Baba and the shocking 12-Step alcoholics' program revelations"
"Heydar-Baba and the challenge of the infidels"
"Heydar-Baba and the Radio-hosts conspiracy"
"Heydar-Baba and the adventure of the Abgoosht in Ramazan"
"Heydar-Baba and the case of the foolish film-maker"
"Heydar-Baba and the thieves of Jerusalem"
"Heydar-Baba and the adventures of Jenin"
"Heydar-Baba and the unbelievable misfortunes of Naser in hospital"
"Heydar-Baba and the ordeal of anti-Arab bigots"
"Heydar-Baba and the mystery of the secret tape of Bazargan"
And many many more to come!

As you know those books are very expensive nowadays and wildly coveted by the old and young.
We lucky bastards get to read the best parts of them continously and for free.

heydarbaba at December 1, 2004 01:00 AM [permalink]:

hey...this time you made me laugh...I never thought that would happen but ..never say a matter of fact I am writing another one right now...I don't know what to name it is about evil things..I am tired of writing about good stuff..let me try the evil...but that cheese cake I just had is putting me to sleep. I have a good feeling you will read that one r a type of mouse who just can't resist lucky bastard...:)

J at December 1, 2004 12:55 PM [permalink]:

All I can smell here is the heavy smell of sadistic guys!
Is this the way you people argue and support your arguments??
But after is called 'free thoughts'!

WhoMan at December 2, 2004 11:12 AM [permalink]:

Dear people of FToI,

I don't know whether ignoring commenters as you have done with my questions is customary;) but here is another comment.

I think I hadn't had the right exposure to the Iranians' reaction to the use of alternative name for Persian Gulf in some magazines. Now that I have seen some zealous bigotry on my weblog, I see the point to some of the comments made here. Back to those people:

You don’t have to be racist or over board to make a fair point. Gees. A guy once called religion the opium for masses, he didn’t have any idea about conspiracy theory.

I think a more rational view on this issue would be avoiding hypocracy and be more even-handed on the subject.

Every nation wants to have something after its name. I don’t see anything wrong with Arabs per se trying to flip the name of the Persian Gulf to something else. Iranians would do the same too.

Those of us who are stricklers of history and historical facts should be careful not to sound hypocritical here. There was once a river that for centuries was called Shat-al-arab. We started to call our half differently first and then started calling the whole river our way. Where were these history cops back then?

I don’t see anything wrong with westerners mincing Persian in the name of Persian Gulf either when they walk into our tribal war. That’s what we would do too when put in the same situation. You want to treat matters even-handedly and avoid to offend any one in these situations. Are all name used in the language of Persian based on history and historical facts? C'mon.

I think I read some smart ass saying somewhere that when a large group of people start using a word like 'ain't' no matter how grammarically wrong it is, dictionaries include them also. The same logic goes with National Geographic. S/he has a point.

All of that said, with the same logic that every party and group in this issue has a reason for doing what they are doing, Iranians should also explore all the ways possible to keep the Persian Gulf Persian. But it should be done in a cool-headed way not by implying that Iranians are a bunch of backward bigot stuck in their forgotten history. 'Az mast ke bar mast'!

BrainMafia at December 4, 2004 03:47 AM [permalink]:
Hey WhoMan, I'll try to give an answer and also some pointers. To begin with that's Mr. Smart Ass to you buddy. We just ain't that close. Now that the pleasantries are out of the way, here is an attempt to answer your question and also let you know why other commenters seem to have ignored your post. At first I tended to agree with you that the original attempt at righting the perceived wrong that NG had made was not necessarily racists but I was still not comfortable with it. I knew something about it stank but could not put my finger on it. Then you yourself gave me the answer! You said you didn’t give a rat’s ass what English Channel is called or Japan Sea! Well, that means that your original objection to the Persian Gulf issue did not come about because of a rational, scientific approach to correct “historical facts” or “truth” per se but pure irrational nationalism. AND nationalism is the absolute WORSE type of racism there is. Traditional definition of racism is when you hate one group of people. But nationalism is the worse type because it puts your own people first therefore not just relegating one other group of people to second class citizens but ALL others. This nationalism combined with the historical Arab racism that existed and exists in Iran makes what is going on inexcusable. Why is the google bomb racists? Well it isn’t in its concept. If anything it is irrelevant, childish, and a waste of time and resources but not racists. Also, what it really does is the absolute opposite of what it intends to do as does this whole flare up that the Iranians started up. Namely, it draws attention to the “controversy” (which btw, it is only so in some Iranian people’s mind) and reinforces and publicizes the Arabian Gulf argument. But the “error” page that pops up when you go to the goggle bomb result is racist! Why? Because it is condescending and rude to Arabs that are the real target of the bomb. This is not designed for bunch of Iranians to go to and find it cute or funny. It is designed to make to Arab school child that wants to research and write about the “Arabian Gulf” to be told to go and “read some history books.” To make them feel stupid. On why I think your comment was ignored, it is that the question you raised is tough to answer and easy to ignore. Most people (not all) that are here or on any other blog are there not for “true” exchange of ideas or dialogue. They are there for the same reason that Romans went to watch gladiators kill each other. They want a bit of entertainment at the expense of others. It is unfortunate that the most intellectual (they all think they are intellectuals and smart – where as I am THE ONE – haha*) of these bozos** live for their next Gucci toilet paper, their double cream double chocolate cappuccino from the new Starbucks, vote based on 30 second adds on TV, read only blogs, and have their head where the sun don’t shine. Essentially they are posers. Posers of the first degree.*** *[pointer: Be sarcastic and put the reader down where you can while elevating yourself to the stratosphere!] **[pointer: Be mildly dismissive without being outright rude. It gets their goat and tends to draw a response.] ***[pointer: Now really rip into them. It doesn’t have to make sense, just use some big words and rip into them. Use different ways (a la Captain Kirk) and one will hit the spot.] [pointer summary: Be a bit of an asshole. Just like nice guys don’t get laid in rea ["Toooo long!" editors say, "Here: click to read the whole thing!"]
An Iranian Student (AIS) at December 4, 2004 06:18 AM [permalink]:

At this stage of the show I want to ask a rather philosophical question:
(clears throat)why are so many people SOOO stupid in this world of ours?

Poser of the first degree at December 4, 2004 09:49 AM [permalink]:

Put down the coffee, and no one will get hurt.
If you leave it at that, he does win.

BrainMafia at December 4, 2004 10:57 AM [permalink]:

Too late. I won. nananana na na.

WhoMan at December 4, 2004 03:07 PM [permalink]:

"...that means that your original objection to the Persian Gulf issue did not come about because of a rational, scientific approach to correct “historical facts” or “truth” per se but pure irrational nationalism."

You read my comments very carefully. But I am surprised that you failed to see my obvious hint that I look at it as cheering for my team (supporters of Persian Gulf).

Now you might go "Team? Cheering? Like the way Romans did when gladiators chopped each other's head off? Wow. That is too primitive!"

Whatever I am I am not hypocritical. I don't hide behind "historical facts" when they are on my side and the next second can't care less about them when they are in my way. How many Iranians cry foul whenever Sea of Japan is called Asean Sea or vice versa? None. How many cry foul when despite all "historical references" the Arabic version of Arvand Rood is called Arvand Rood? None.

At least I am upfront in saying that I call it Arvand. I call it Persian Gulf and if I see any cracks I start calling them Persian Sea and Persian Ocean also.

I don't play devil's advocate here to an extent that I even confuse myself also --unlike some of us here ;)

You and I ain't that close but we are on the same wave length in terms of sense of humour. So you should get it. Now where is your nationalism-worse-than-racism in that?

An Iranian Student (AIS) at December 6, 2004 04:18 AM [permalink]:

Poser of firts degree,

There are times when further arguing becomes a waste of time, brother. The case is laid. If there is someone home, one knock should be enough.

bahre ajam at December 6, 2004 01:43 PM [permalink]:

Conspiracy to change a heritage name "The Persian Gulf"

by M.Ajam,

Historical and unique name of The Persian Gulf and its equivalents in different languages has been continuously in used since 3000 years ago in all languages, cultures, and all civilizations throughout the centuries and across the world. More than 2000 ancient literatures, books and maps belong to the past three millenniums, which contain this historical and heritage name are proof to the Persian Gulf as the right nomenclature. It was in 1952 after confiscation of British Petroleum properties by Iranian government that false and politically motivated title of Arabian Gulf was suggested by BP. then it was Roderick Owen (a British representative in the then colonialized Emirates) that for the first time put this suggestion in his book The Golden Bubble of the Arabian Gulf, This suggestion was later imitated by some Arab racist extremist and fanatic leaders and the BBC was first to support this dirty conspiracy.

Recent Distorting and denomenclature of the Persian Gulf name is not only an insult to the ancient cultures and injustice to the history and overall heritage of mankind but also an aggression to a universal accepted and established 3000 years ancient and heritage name. Assault to a heritage name is similar to the tragedy that happened to the Afghanistan statute and museum of Baghdad on assaults of 12/4/2002 and both are criminal act.

Persian Gulf, has been recognized as the real and rightful nomenclature not only by all ancient and past writers and historical nations but also by all modern international organizations and Int. societies among them the followings:

1- United Nation.
2- UNCSGN-United Nation Conference on Standardization of Geographical Names.
3- UN Cartographic Unit Staff.
4- IHO-International Hydrographic Organization.
5- IMO- International Maritime Organization.
6- IAPO-International Associations of Physical Oceanography.
7- IHB- International Hydrographic Bureau.
8- United nation Documents on geographical names.
9- UNICODE-Encoding Standards Consortium.
10- ISO-International Standardization Organization.
11- IHA- International Hydrographic Association.
12- UNGEGN-United Nations Group on Geographic Names.
13- UNGIWG- United Nation's Geographic Information Working group.
14- UNGIS- UN Geographical Information.
15- IAPO- International Association of Physical Oceanography
16- UNEP- United Nation Environmental Program.
19- WB- World Bank.
20- ICA- International Cartography Association.
Incomplitization and distorting this historical name, is an illegal and unconventional act and in contrast to the resolutions of the UNGEGN and UN Conferences on the Standardization of Geographical Names.

Converting this name by a new false name is a clear breach of international laws and regulations. If we don't join hand this heritage name will be vanished by petro monies of the fanatic leader in region.

detail in Persian language click:

Persian Gulf equivalents and synonyms = Mare de Persia -Sinus Persici- -Sinus Persico- - Mar Persiano-Sinus Persico Mare Persio-Persiski Zaliv ,Persischer Golf ,Sino Persico . Pars sea- Bahre Fars . Bahre Ajam. Perza Obol- Porucha Wan-Parsitstsots- Persiste Habbugt. Persicus .Persicon ˇ Persique. Persicum. Parsitstsots. Persidski.


BrainMafia at December 9, 2004 12:34 AM [permalink]:

I don't know what this Ajam fellow is talking about but the fact is that none of the international organizations that he names have a "rightful nomenclature". You are welcome to visit the site of any of the organizations and do a search on "Arabian Gulf". You will see there are hundreds of official documents using the name. Here is an example:
The document in the example is a Note by the Secretary-General and distributed by the General Assembly on 26 July 201. It has numerous references to the "Arabian Gulf" and NON to "Persian Gulf"! It is irrelevant how, why, or for how long some Arab people started using the name "Arabian Gulf". The fact is that there are enough people that know this Gulf by that name alone that would warrant it's inclusion in all reference books as a secondary name. Exactly as National Geographic has done. Also, as an Iranian, I am ashamed of some of the things that my nationalist (read racist) fellow countrymen have done to deal with this issue. I apologize for it.

Here are a couple of more examples that use "Arabian Gulf": The World Bank The European Union

Hyrcania at January 10, 2005 08:22 AM [permalink]:
The question is why the world is confusing Iranians with Arabs, and not Turks with Arabs, for instance? Iranians are closer to Turks than Arabs in many ways. But still the uneducated world sees us as Arabs. In Tajikistan and Ossetia (all speakers of Iranian languages) the Cyrillic script is adopted, since it has all the phonetics that Iranian languages require. Nobody refers them as Arabs, even if the majorities are Muslims + of Iranian origin. But why are Persians wrongly confused with their Arabic neighbors? The major reasons are: 1- The obvious: the current “mullahcraty” in Iran 2- The unfortunate similarities between the names “Iran” and “Iraq” 3- The Arabic alphabet used for Persian. I think the ultimate proof of Iranian pride would be to change its alphabet into Cyrillic or Latin. Why are we using an antagonist’s (= Arab) alphabet? Arabic has always been the challenge of our culture, and we’ve surpassed it in many aspects (by religion, language, race etc.), but not by writings. The first step to self pride would be to diminish Arabic alphabet in Persian. And automatically, Arabic elements + words in Persian will disappear. Persian would sound more correct and Iranians can once again build up their country based on reality and not on a fake identity. That’s a first step towards a modern and democratic country. Iran’s backwardness starts at school. In all modern and democratic countries, people learn about their history, heritage and civilization already at school. In France, one can chose Latin or Ancient Greek as a foreign language. The logical reason is that the French language derives from them. Iranian doesn’t derive from Arabic! That’s the problem. The Persian language derives from Avestan and Pahlavi languages spoken long before the Aechemenids even entered Susa! When Iran will be secularized, I would hope to have Avestan and Pahlavi as options for small children to learn at school. Just like Latin and ancient Greek, there are many books written in ancient Iranian languages (I have several one at home), such as juridical codes (dâdestans), epics (kârnâmags), the Gathas (Avesta) etc. It’s amazing how one can easily read & understand un-arabized Persian, written some 2000 years ago! That’s not the case for Ancient Greek and Modern Greek, as an example. But anybody who speaks Persian can easily read “Kârnâmag e Ardaxšer Pâbagân” and understand the verses. Such identifications as “Persian” and “Iranian” will bring a better meaning. Not to prove our non-Arabic identity, but to better understand our own singularities and heritages. Remember that being Iranian doesn’t necessarily mean Persian. Mazenderanis and Gilanis are one of the few groups of Iranians who maintained a very pure form of Iranian Language, closer to the language of Zarathustra, than any other dialects in Iran (not even the mighty Persian language). Meaning that Cyrus the great or Xerxes would be likely more understood in Rasht or Sari of today, than in Tehran or Shiraz of today. Anyway, anyone who claims that Persian sounds like Arabic must either be lying or be definitely deaf. It’s useless to even discuss the obvious. Iranian is naturally an indo-European language, and Arabic is an afro-Semitic one. (I’m just writing that because some people on this forum don’t seem to know the essentials). Iranians say “khodâ” for God (Ancient Persian use the term “Ghowda” similar to the Germanic “Gud” or God), whilst Arabs say “Allah”. Iranians say “Panj” for 5 (Greeks sa ["Toooo long!" editors say, "Here: click to read the whole thing!"]
Iranian at January 12, 2005 12:10 AM [permalink]:

Some people point to Iranian nationalism and pride calling it barbaric. May I ask then who is not barbaric? Are we really that civilized? No. We're the same animals we used to be, same emotions, same instincts, only we drive cars where clothes, etc. Just look at the US. Where they kind and respectful. No. Once America was founded they believed they had a god given right to take over all the land right to the pacific. And they did. To their credit their ambition has given the role of the world's sole superpower. If you look at Iranian history whenever Iranians were proud and dignified in their actions, and felt highly nationalistic about their culture they rose the position of world power. When Cyrus (kurosh) united the Iranian tribes they founded the achaemenid (hakhamanishi) dynastsy, one of the greatest periods of advance in history. Later came the parthians and Sassanids. Now I'm not calling for anti-arab racism, but Iranians need to make a stand for their heritage. Already Iran is a mere speck of its former self. Iran needs an ambitious generation and this requires nationalism, something we don't see much of. And don't think the Arabs are victims. They called Iranians derogatory names and consider themselves superior. They believe Islam is the only truth and forced it upon Iran. Yet look at them, they started out in Saudi Arabia now they own the near east. Even Farsi today is barstardized with so much Arabic and their religion is the second largest and growing. Even in Iran where they killed so many the entire population worships their way. I do not call for racism against others, but for a pride and feeling of superiority in our own heritage and a defense of it.

Mahyar V. at January 20, 2005 02:06 PM [permalink]:

I am not an Arab and, I will teach my children the same. None of the above makes me a racist or anti Arab. I think Islam and Islamic ideas are distractive and have to be purged from Iranian society in general.

Only by promoting good thoughts, words, deeds, and love for our fellow countryman we will unite and weather these difficult times.

Ali at January 20, 2005 09:10 PM [permalink]:

Hyrcania, what should our children do then? Learn the "Arabic" alphabet in high school just to read Ferdowsi, Sa'di, or Hafez?

Mahyar V. at January 21, 2005 01:11 PM [permalink]:

please do not forget Arabs never had alphabet or grammer!

If you come accross a nanuscripts of the zoroastrian Avesta you will see that the alphabet they used is very simmier to alphabet we and arab use today. During sasanian period our people used Aramaic alphabets to read and write.

Aramaic is one of the Semitic languages, and including also Arabic, Hebrew, Ethiopic, and Akkadian (ancient Babylonian and Assyrian).

Earlies Aramaic comes from a small number of ancient royal inscriptions from almost three thousand years ago (900-700 B.C.E.). from a small Aramean kingdoms, in the territories of what is called (Syria and Southeast Turkey) today. However, Aramean got their alphabet from Phoenicians who were anything but Arab.

Aramaic was used by the conquering Assyrians as a language of administration communication, and following them by the Babylonian and Persian empires, which ruled from India to Ethiopia, and employed Aramaic as the official language. For this period, then (about 700–320 B.C.E.), Aramaic held a position similar to that occupied by English today.

so alphabet we use now is not arabic but a form of Aramaic who they borrowed it from Phoenicians and god knows if Phoenicians invented the alphabet or borrowed it from some other people.

I think we have to modify the alphabet we use to fit with our language needs. For example we use four kind of z, four kind of s, two king of t and many more redundant and stupid letters that are absolutely useless in Pahlavi(Parsi).

Persian at January 25, 2005 03:33 AM [permalink]:

Yaser Kerachian,
I think it is better for you and your kind to go back to Rub' al-Khali where you came from and leave Persia to Persians and people who love this country. Arab infiltrants like you will finally be killed like rats or sent back to their desert. I assure you that.

Irani at February 1, 2005 12:03 PM [permalink]:

F. to all Arabs and F. to Islam.

Pesar e Irooni at February 6, 2005 09:54 AM [permalink]:

The Persian Gulf should be the Persian Gulf because Iranians have died fighting for it. It is ours. Bahrain was taken, now they are trying to take the tonbs and even Kish. Borders should be respected from now on. The Arabs should have their 3 miles from their coasts (according to international law) but the rest is the Persian Gulf. However, let the racism towards Arabs by Iranians stop, because it is totally wrong. Iranians are only 55% Persian remember. We must respect every minority and foreigners.

Irani at February 6, 2005 12:09 PM [permalink]:

to Pesar e Irooni

I respect your opinion, however, while you say that Iranians should stop racism towards Arabs "very noble Idea" Arabs want to destroy what makes us Irani i.e. our history our heritage and replace them with their stupid religion, language and so on. They want to overtake our land because they think it is their god given right to do so. My back ground is from Azerbaijan and Gilan. I am Iranian and this issue is not about Persian and non Persian. I consider myself Aryan and Iran is our land and we have to protect it.

beast regards

jew at May 10, 2005 12:27 PM [permalink]:

fuck off with the all persian rabels
u should die in hell,
the all persian r fucking bitch and dirty ass
god bless jews from persians terrorist rabels
yousef shuanorl-haifa-israel

jew at May 10, 2005 12:34 PM [permalink]:

Federal Judge Juan Jose Galeano, who has been conducting the investigation into the bombing of the AMIA Jewish community center in Buenos Aires in 1994, handed over a 400-page document to Interpol, indicting “radical elements of the Islamic Republic of Iran” in connection with the act. According to the judge, members of the Lebanese Hizballah apparently carried out the bombing, which killed 85 and injured 200. Four warrants for the arrest of Iranian diplomats were issued, partly on the basis of key information received from an Iranian defector, Abdolgassem Meshabi. Meshabi implicated senior Iranian officials, such as Spiritual Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and then Acting President Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, both in the AMIA and in the Israeli embassy bombing in 1992. A spokesman for the Iranian Foreign Ministry rejected the accusations as "rumors spread by Zionist circles.

fuck off with the all persians"

The Bass Voice at May 10, 2005 06:42 PM [permalink]:


You are barking at the wrong tree, pal. You can see for yourself by actually reading the articles that this web site and its contributors are by all means against such atrocities as the one committed in the Buenes Aires bombings. The extremists you are so furious at are doing most of the harm they possibly could to the same people you insult by your words, that is the Iranians, and a large part of that nation, the persian. They are guilty of many more crimes in our homeland and hopefully the stain they have made on this nation will someday soon be removed.

From what I know, persians and jews have historical bonds together. Surely you know, telling by your name, about Cyrus the great who is hailed as a great King in the old testament. If not, don't miss the upcoming movie about him.

Although an apology is the only sensible thing you can do right now, but if you are so blind not to see the sense in my words and would instead like to continue with your insults, at least direct them to the real people you think are behind the Buenes Aires tragedy. Go to *their* web sites and forums and weblogs, and spare us the venom in your words. We are stung enough by them, no need to to your poking, thank you!

Kaveh at May 13, 2005 06:05 PM [permalink]:

I fail to understand why so many Iranians identify themselves and their culture(s) as "Persian".

Persian is a language. Iran is a country. Islam is a religion. Boring is an adjective.

Arash Jalali at May 15, 2005 01:32 AM [permalink]:

Kaveh, here is what the American Heritage says:

Per·sian adj. Abbr. Pers. 1. Of or relating to Persia or Iran, or to their peoples, languages, or cultures. n. 1. A native or inhabitant of Persia or Iran. 2. Any of the western Iranian dialects or languages of ancient or medieval Persia and modern Iran.

Moshe at May 15, 2005 07:04 AM [permalink]:

Excellent debate.
I thank you for parting your insights.
Altough I'm an outsider to your debate,
it gives a different perspective to us of not
the same culture.
(In a narrow sense, since the crawling
globalization creates some sort of common cultural

All the best,

*returns to the crowd*

(Jerusalem, Israel)

hay32 at June 29, 2005 06:56 PM [permalink]:
Dear readers, I do not know if you ever will get as far as the bottom of the page, but If you do, it is much of pleasure for me to represent you with facts that a) Persian legacy that is well alive today has never tolerated such racial resentments against any friendly nation, ethnic group, religious group and so on including Arabs, a) why there are periodical conflicts in the Middle East region, c) what can be done to end these conflicts. d) What happens if we do not. First, I want to agree on one matter that Mr. Karachian mentioned: "when it gets to collective action, Persians are very weak." even right now, I am contending in addressing the issue by simply writing a short posting. But to tell you the truth, as some one who has lived in Iran for 17 years since the birth, the period when the memory is in its best shape, I never remember to feel such a racist look or resentment towards Arabs in Iran. Think of Arabs who live in the south of Iran. Just like all other ethnic people like Kurdish, Turkish, Baluch (it might be surprising to some readers that we even have black in Iran.) and etc. in Persia, Arabs are perfectly free to pursue their own culture, religion, and language. This is the Persian legacy that grants its people the utmost freedom (Persia, the land that once covered the whole Middle East and far beyond that, from the beginning has never been a single-race,-ethnicity,-religion,-or-nationality nation.) That is why, when Arab,-US,-and-the-world backed Iraq (we all have seen the picture of Donald Rumsfeld shaking hands with Saddam Hussein) attacked Iran in 1980, to their surprise, Arabs of Khuzestan (who are indeed a bit influential and wealthy in the region) did not rise against Persians, but were among the first to rise in support of Persians just as the Kurds did for example. This was another event for keeping alive the same Persian legacy which all people of Persia including those Arabs share. Unlike other nations, when there is such a nationalist uprising in Iran, it is not that of in support of a single-and-unique nation (since Persia from the beginning has never been a single-race,-ethnicity,-religion,-or-nationality nation.), but in keeping alive the legacy of Persian world that "every ethnic, race, or culture is free and granted to keep its own way of living within harmony and respect for other nations, ethnics, races, religion, and cultures. THE LEGACY OF WANTING TO BE DIFFERENT AND STAYING DIFFERENT IN UNION, BECAUSE BEAUTY AND ADVECMENT IS SOLELY POSSIBLE IN UNION OF DEFFRENCES. (It is so true that Persians have nothing in common but their heart-connecting culture of tolerance.) Accordingly, as long as the Arab nations and groups of the region respect this notion and want to stay different, but in harmony and respect for others including people of Persia, the Persian culture would recognize them as part of union and thus our brother and sisters (to Persians, countries’ borders are not the boundary of brotherhood.). To prove the existence of this legacy in today’s Persia and awareness of the Arabs that Persians do have such a legacy, let’s look at a post-Iran-Iraq-war event: after the war, 400,000 Iraqis took refuge out of their country. Half of theses people took refuge in Iran and were granted refuge. Do you know any nation or people in the world’s history that yesterday has fought a devastating-and-brutally-waged-against-it war with an enemy (hundreds of thousands of mothers lost their kin and in forefront their y ["Toooo long!" editors say, "Here: click to read the whole thing!"]
An Iranian Student (AIS) at June 29, 2005 10:06 PM [permalink]:

nice words like tolerance and the like, Hay, but somehow you seem unwilling to include the West in your convoluted mentality.
Your comment simply stinks of anti-west bias. Wake up! the time of this kind of nonsense is near over in Iran (or Persia as you like to call it). We have heard mulla-talk a lot. give us a break.

Mehran at July 7, 2005 07:02 PM [permalink]:

I can't beleive any self respecting Iranian would ever accept the Persian gulf to be called anything else. Maybe we should start calling the arabian sea, the Persian sea, people already call the arvand roud as the "shatt al arab" Iranian people must fight for our history and culture when ever we can.

Persia 4 ever

American Kaffir at August 2, 2005 06:24 AM [permalink]:

"... it is not a coincidence that we persisted in speaking Persian, and to your dismay we kept up with our Ancient Iranic traditions,… and the Syrians, and Egyptians do not!..."

I've heard persians make this comment many times. Traditions aside, what very few people realize is that Egyptians, Syrians, and other Semitic people had languages that were grammatically and syntactically similar to Arabic (another semitic language) which made it very easy to adopt. Farsi is based on the Indo-European language family and therefore difficult for Iranians to adopt Arabic. Sadly, many individual Arabic words and pronunciations were absorbed into Farsi and continue to do so to this day.

Kianoosh at February 6, 2006 06:51 PM [permalink]:


Persians are not racist. The only reason most of us refuse to be called Arab is the fact that our great country was invaded, our women and kids were slaughtered and our men were beheaded by Arabs. This is how they forced the Islam religion to our land which in Arab term is translated "By Sword"! Whatever we are suffering now is because of Arabs and their Islamic Laws that removed the right from our men and women and gave the power to so called Sheikhs. So that they could keep us in need of education and our own money to suck the blood of this great land that was once a place to farm and grow just like any other country. Now see where we are! We are debating and fighting over names because that all we can do. You said Persians are only good for taking 10 sec and write emails when it comes to protest! but my friend, have you ever had your tongue pulled out of your trout for complaining? or have your sister ever got jailed and raped for reading a book titled “Freedom” in uni? you are not even Persian. Your name is Arab and your last name is some sort of Armenian. Do yourself and everyone else a favour and dont judge Persians. As far as Arab debate concerns, we are Persians, they are Arabs, we have always had relationship with them and will continue it, but deep down inside, we will never be their friends not in billion years for what we suffer at this day is still because of Arabs and their Islamic religion. Unfortunately because of Arabs, Iran is currently ruled by Islamic laws, but we are not Arabs bot all the above reasons.

Now for the Jewish faggot who insulted Persians:

You don’t even have a land! Your people were given a shelter by Palestinian and you took their land of them with the help of Americans! The whole world knows this but we (as the whole world) keep quiet because you don’t harm anyone except poor Palestinians. If you use your empty Jewish head and read the article, you can see Persians are against the government and are trying their best to get rid of this Islamic laws and acts. You complaining about the unfortunate death 85 people, we are talking about of 100s of Persians getting killed every month by this government not mentioning the hundreds of thousands of Persian lives lost because of this bloody Islamic government. Do your fuckin research before opening your stinky Jewish mouth and while you at it, have a bath, get a hair cut and shave the fuckin beard it look gross!

An Iranian Student (ais) at February 6, 2006 07:13 PM [permalink]:

Persians are not racist.
Kianoosh is very much racist.
Kianoosh is not Persian?

At least contradict yourself in a different post.

AIS at February 6, 2006 07:27 PM [permalink]:

Just because "a jew" up there is obviously a pathetic fascist a**hole does not make you any better.
(It seems I had missed these lovely comments here!)

ihatearab at December 27, 2006 06:26 PM [permalink]:

Comment removed due to the violation of Rule No. 4 of FToI's comment policy.