Wednesday, March 28, 2007

What good came out of the 300?

Well, it mobilized all sorts of Iranians to roll up the sleeves and do a bit of cultural exposition, riding freely on the back of 300's success!

Let's be honest, what better than a popular comic to make our esteemed Persian scholars write about Persian history in a compact, digestible and comprehensible way?

I ask this question of myself and of all my fellow Iranian friends: Why have we never attempted to gain on the capital of our cultural heritage? Persian, is a culture full of myth andmetaphore; full of fairy tales and romance, full of passion and poetry, full of wars between good and evil, full of goblins and heroes, full of stories that make one laugh, make one cry, make one become a better person. We have all had a grand mother, a nanny, an aunt, who has filled our childhood with folk songs, folk stories; have we not?

The majority of Iranian professionals in exile are doctors, engineers,nuclear physicists, woman right activists, human right advocates, political scientists, mathematicians, ets. This is perhaps because we have left Iran to further our education in science and technology and acquire skills unavailable to us in Iran; or maybe it is because many of us are forced out of Iran because of the political dangers or the burden of our undemocratic society or families. But where are our simple stories?

Is it not time to reach the world in which we live with tales of where we come from? Is the banal community of the LA pop artists a true ambassador of our cultural heritage? And can we really blame others for misrepresenting us, when we have done so little in portraying a culturally coherent picture of ourselves?

Yes the Iranian cinema captured the art world by storm in the 90s; Yes Rumi is translated and is becoming popular, yes the Axis of Evil comedians are doing a great job touring around and debunking stereotypical notions about the Middle Easterners.

But what good came out of 300?

Fist it made Dr Samar Abbas, from the Institute of Physics, Bhubaneshwar, India, to write a long and informed essay about the historical background of The 300 Savages at Thermopylae and provide scholarly reference that debunks the "freedom-fighterliness" of the Dorian Sparta who in historical reality shared many characteristics with later totalitarian states:


Not only were the petty Greek tribal states full-scale slave societies; they were racist slave societies, with the indigenous Pelasgians and other tribes enslaved by a tiny minority of Greek invaders.

In protest to film's portrayal of the Iranians as paying no respect for human life, he draw attention to rampant culture of human sacrifice amongst the Greeks (and offers reference: Hughes 1991,Schwenn 1915).

Samar Abbas asks a simple question about the Pan-Occidentalists intentions of the film:


Who stood for civilization at Thermopylae? The 300 members of the Dorian tribe from a village called Sparta, or the 400,000 strong army of the largest and most powerful empire the world had seen ? This is just like asking whether the rabble of Goths at Adrianople stood for civilization, or the legions of the Roman Empire. (readmore)

But others used the film even more favorably towards Iran. Behzad Sarmast (who goes by the name Robert Sarmast and is the author of The Discovery of Atlantis) has an ironic take: He calls the fight between Persians and the Spartans a fight of religions; (Persian) monotheism versus (greek)paganism and suggests a reversed reading of the the 300's metaphore:
Cyrus and his successors always fought under the banner of Ahura Mazda, the one God. You can see it on their royal seals and read it in their numerous inscriptions, but so little of the historic records bearing the Persian viewpoint have survived the ages that the world sees things only through the Greek perspective. [Credit for thatereasure goes to our beloved Macedonian, Arab and Mongolian conquerors. I suspect America's stewing nuclear attacks will do a great job in effacing the rest of this civilization] It takes but a little of study to realize that the Persians saw this fight in a totally different light. In fact, their standing in the ancient world and their international policy at the time seems eerily similar to that of the US policy today.

The Persian Empire at around 500 BC seems so similar to the US Empire today that the present analogies drawn from the movie “300” should not only be modified, but completely reversed! The Persian Empire was, in its heyday, about as large as America and should really be thought of as the “United States of Persia,” because it was comprised of multiple nation/states with different languages, religions, and races. And they were all tolerated under a “Declaration of Human Rights” penned by King Cyrus himself. The world had never seen such a thing before. Again, you would have to be familiar with the pitiful state of our distant ancestors to truly understand what a remarkable and revolutionary feat this was, and what it meant to people living in those times. Cyrus’s Declaration of Human Rights was a historic landmark and a breath of fresh air for its time, and the actual [replica] clay barrel bearing the inscription is currently on display in the UN building in New York. [The inscriptions on the clay iwere translated to all official languages of teh world in the 70s by the UN]

We know that King Cyrus and his armies entered Babylon in 539 BC and deposed its wicked ruler, Nebuchadnezzar, without using force. Cyrus then did something that was simply unheard of: he freed all the Hebrews who had been enslaved in Babylon, and sent them back to Israel to rebuild their temple. To say that this was a revolutionary event would be an understatement. Kings simply did not do such things, ever. A king’s job was to expand the empire by sacking cities, taking their wealth, and capturing slaves in order to build and strengthen the empire. They did not organize armies and conquer distant lands to free slaves! One can only imagine the controversy this created with the Persian populace and the world at large. The king of the largest and most powerful nation on earth gave people freedom of religion, human rights for all races, and actually went around doing good and freeing slaves? This must have sent shudders through down the spine of tyrants and despots of that day, and created overwhelming respect and adoration for Cyrus among the more progressive Persians. [Emphasis was mine] (read more ...)


Had it not been for the 300, would we have felt the indignation to actually write about the Iranian origins of the charter of rights and freedom? (click on the image for more information)

But the other good thing about this movie was to learn that Iran is actually investing in animation projects such as Jamshid & Khorshid
[follow links, film is displayed upon entrance] that are bringing the national heritage of Iran to the popular screens:
Once upon a time somewhere in the old Iranian plateau…

Jamshid is a young shepherd who lives in a plain far from the city. One day his friend, Mahan, urges him to go to the city where people are preparing for a celebration which every body knows about it except Khorshid Banou the daughter of the king.

The king, who doesn't have any son, has invited the princes of the neighboring countries to participate in a competition and the winner would be the king's so-in-law and also his successor. The party has been prepared for the entrance of these princes. WhenKhorshid knows the matter, she disagrees with such a forced marriage. She doesn't want to be the prize of a competition. The king blames her because she has rejected to accept the court astrologer's love.Khorshid goes to the portico of the palace and this is the first time that Jamshid sees her and an unknown feeling arises inside his heart.

[would anyone object if I suggest that "women's right" is central to the present popular culture in Iran ?...]

51 comments:

Wolfie said...

If you wanted to simply use this opportunity to educate people on the sophistication and complexity of ancient Persian culture I would normally support you, ancient history is one of my favourite subjects.

However you (and others) have used this "opportunity" to take a racist and misinformed swipe at our Greek brothers, who also have every reason to be as proud of their ancient heritage as you have.

How easily you desert fools are played by the American Judeophiles.

I'm very disappointed in you.

Amre El-Abyad said...

women rights is very elastic word that takes different meanings in different culture .
For instance, Swedish women complain about male chauvinism in Sweden! .

In the Arab world the state of women rights in Iraq, Egypt, syria, lebanon,Tunisia needs to be improved, especiallly among the less fortunate portion o the population , yet it is by far better than anyother muslim country.

Our conception of women rights is based on the Arabic phrase"al7ora al3arabiya" " the free Arab lady"

How do you think the concept of women rights ought to be anchored in the Persian republic! ?

Sophia said...

Naj,

I agree with Robert Sarmast's analogy with some nuances. The core of the problem that Miller, the author of the original story of 300, is highlighting is the unwillingness of western society to go to war. The story is meant to exalt the warrior sentiment and this is how it was felt by viewers. There is however an utopia in this, civilisations cannot go backward. The world is divided in two parts, people who have nothing to loose and are prepared to fight and die and people who have all to lose and aren't prepared to fgight and die. And how the west is getting out of this with its imperial wars ? By making people, who are prepared to fight and die, fight against each other...

Mystic Rose said...

hi Naj,

thanks for leaving the comment on my blog...cos now I've discovered you..:)

..and its been a pleasure to read such a wellinformed person!! Persia has always has this mystical, wise. enchanting image in my mind..:). Well of course, you know Rumi is one of my favs.

most of my own knowledee about india's real history(and presnet too), and the mythological events has been gleaned as a kid from this immensely popular comic series we have..called Amar Chitra Katha..with awesome art work, and dramatised events...

yes, i had read about the Persian empire. I guess you could call India the United States of India as well..considering that each state has its own language, culture, traditions, food..but somehow kind of uniformed through the country.

hmmm..yes, while much of the world was still selfishly brutal, a few civilizations had already become the idealised epitomes...

and jamshid and khorshid sounds like an intriguing tale, the kind that rumi would write about to transfer a few spiritual truths. ... will look that link up.

thanks, Naj!! went thru the previous post as well, yesterday, and towards the end my head reeled, and Im in total admiration for how strongly you present your facts and how well informed you are.!

Dave On Fire said...

Well I for one am learning. Thanks, naj for this ironic yet uplifting corollary to 300's warmongering racehate.

@wolfie: the word "chill" springs to mind!
However you (and others) have used this "opportunity" to take a racist and misinformed swipe at our Greek brothers
The image of the Greeks as enlightened, free and civilised is as simplistic and misleading as that of the Persians as primitive barbarians. To put the Greeks' undeniable acheivements in context is neither racist nor misinformed as far as I can see.
Calling people "desert fools", on the other hand, probably is. How disappointing.

Anna said...

"""Calling people "desert fools", on the other hand, probably is. How disappointing."""

Desert fools! Yes. The as simple but sure way to expose ones own racism one though is blaming others for.
How disappointing, indeed

Anna said...

"""Calling people "desert fools", on the other hand, probably is. How disappointing."""

Desert fools! Yes. The as simple but sure way to expose ones own racism one though is blaming others for.
How disappointing, indeed

Naj said...

Wolfie:
Swipe at our greek brotheres?
Huh?
"we" desert fools?
My moto is: it takes a racis to detect a racist!
I am sorry to have disappointed you; but I have intended none of what you have perceived in this post.
=============================
Amre
I think you can find my views of what I mean by "Woman's Right" in the Iranian context, throughout my blog. and by following the links provided.
=============================
Sophia
I agree with you on this one. But I think there might be some hope for "us desert fools" to still turn this plot back.
=============================
Mystic Rose
You are right, civilizations often do go through these peaks of utopianism; at which point they assume too much rightousmess to their own demise.
I think, one of the secrets of Persia's survival has been its cultural roots in Zoroasterianism, and the ability to abstract the good and evil beyond the "material" (as embodied by the greek gods, for example). The abstraction of objectives to "spiritual" goals has aided us through our history to let go of hatred, revenge, rage ...
The myth says, Iran's borders where determined by Arash, who walked to the sun, and pulled his arrow, and whereever it landded would become the border of the land, and Arash never returned from the sun ... and Arash had no blood on his hand ... and he gave his life to the sun, not to any mortal enemy ... and how can a nation avenge the sun (khorshid) for killing its hero?
=============================
Dave on Fire
I couldn't have said it better than you ... thank you.

Naj said...

anna,

we think alike :)

Badragheh said...

Hi,
Actually I was searching Iranian English writers.
you also have good blog.
wish best
for 300 take a look at this
http://www.persianhub.com/thread.php?threadid=56013

Sophia said...

Naj,

I didn't want to answer Wolfie's comment but as some of you have answered I must tell you that you misread his comment, and most importantly you have not read carefullyall of it.
I think it is too much of an honor to attribute to 300 an educational role on persian and greek cultures. Moreover pitting one culture against another is exactly what we should not be doing. There are no clashes of cultures. There is only one big chain of human knowledge going historically from one culture to another through mutual understanding or sometimes, and sadly, through wars and invasions...And in every culture there is the good and the bad. Sparta and Athens were two aspects of one culture and so it is of most cultures.

QUASAR9 said...

Hi Naj, indeed Persia then was as large as the USA today ...
the USA proposes freedom of religion, but with rule from the USA - and whoever happens to be the President and have the ear of the president of the day.

I don't think anyone denies that the Greeks were a bloodthirsty lot, with some trying to unify the rival cities into one nation.

The image of Sparta (where children belonged to the state and not the mother) is an image of a warrior tribe - 300 fought to the death against an army of 40,000. A group of men can hold off a larger number at any narrow pass. Symbolically it was meant to hold off the -Asian- invaders, and unite Greece against a common enemy

But in the end the remainer were simply put to death with a shower of arrows.

Nuclear Physicists from Iran - ironic that what is missing from Iran to make it great(er) are the very people who have left Iran, not just because of the Cultural Revolution (deposing ths Shah) but the lack of democracy(?) since.

Mind you an Iranian dentist in Cambridge, educated in Sweden, is doing nicely, thank you very much and building a mini-palace back at home, seems things are getting better

David said...

Naj, I am familiar with the story of Cyrus the Great freeing the Jews from their enslavement in Babylon. I also know that Jewish people have lived in Iran for about 2500 years and that there is still a very sizable Jewish community there. Are there any stories or historical facts that talk about why so many Jews decided to move east to Iran so long ago? Btw, my ancestory is part Jewish, so the question is of more than simple academic interest.

David said...

One more thing. My friend Khodadad is a Ph.D. student studying Persian history. He has been writing about Persian history for more than 10 years on his own web site. You might find some of his articles interesting. Here is a link:

http://www.iranologie.com/history/history.html

.

Naj said...

Bardagheh
Welcome to Neo-Resistance.

==================
Sophia

I am afraid the misreading is mutually Wolfie's and yours.

First, I am quoting scholars who are trying to contextualize the demonization of the orientals versus occidentals. This doesn't autmatically mean that "I" or anyone else is puttin the Greeks and the Orientals in opposition to eachother. The fundamental philosophical diferences between the West and the East, as you are well aware, are undeniable. Yet I am of the strong opinion that diference is (and should be) the source of enrichment, and not clash.

Secondly, I don't see "Attribution of edcation to 300" as an honor to anyone. It is a simple fact, that because of this film, Iranian scholars have started speaking loudly about Persian heritage, in popular media. Never before, had I seen such an intensity of cultural expression in the Iranian community.

If you pay attention to the intention of my post, that is exactly what I am arguing: That Iranians need to do more to bring their culture out of obscurity, and this is not to claim or assume a seat at the table of power or divinity, but to share the beauty of their culture, which is underexplored due to lack of access to Persian language and sources. Unlike the rest of the middle east, or India, Iran has never been colonized: as such, majority of Iranians do NOT have a second international language. Speaking English or French is limited to those group of western-dwelling/educated Iranians, who have gone abroad to acquire western knowledge, or to escape tyranny!
As such, scholars such as Arthur Pope and their contribution remain unknown to many an Iranians and Amricans.
==========================

Quasar9

Yes, "brain-drain" is Iran's greatest loss. I know 3 Iranian nuclear physicists with the following stories:

1) commited suicde, as he was packing up his stuff to go back to Iran, a few years ago.

2) is living in the states for 8 years on a student Visa; which allows her intellectual contribution to her American university, but if she leaves the States she will not be given another visa to come back.(she had her PhD before 911)

3) Was barred from school and forced to change her PhD thesis in the wake of 911.

Some years ago, there was a study done by some American institute, that should Iranian physicians decide to leave the US en mass, the US would be facing serious deficit of medical specialists.

Yes many Iranians like your Swedish-Iranian friend were staring a parallel life in Iran before GWB called Iran an axis of Evil; and made the reformists movement fall on its face!

But luckily, since Iran is remaining such a frightening place to go back to, no one is packing to go. But I encourage you to poll Iranians you come across, and see if they wish they were still in Iran.

============================
David
Historical facts about the Jewish migration to east, I don't know. Historical stries all revolve around the support of King Dariush the thrid of the Beni-Israelis who were enslaved by the egyptian pharoes.

You know, one ironic fact about Iran is that although it's amulti-ethnic society, pretty similarly to the US, it is really not polite to remind the minorities that they have come from somewhere else.

As such, there is almost no education in the school curricula about where different ethnicities originate from. I am not sure if this is so good, but from a very non-political point of view, this is a matter of etiquette. We just do not start a conversation with "others" about their roots. Au contraire, in our own clans, we spend ample time making sure which tribe we, ourselves, have come from. So, Iran is not entirely a melting pot, but the "difference" is not something that is highlighted either.

I think Khodadad may be better equipped to answer this question; as I do not have my Persian sources, from which most of my education comes from, with me. But I will keep my eye open for answers that may be of interest to you.

Anonymous said...

All:

The "300" has nothing to do with Modern Iran; this all B.C. stuff. What goes by the name of Iran today is a recent creation (16-th Century).

Contemporary Iranians have constructed a mental universe of their own history that is mostly fable rather than historical truth.

And then they huff-and-puff about the supposed misrepresentation of that historical fantasy as though that has anything to do with the Modern Iran and her people.

This reminds me of Modern Israel and her population's insistence at the authenticity of the fictional line that they draw from themselves to Ancient Israel.


Of the Ancient (pre-Islamic) Iran this much has survived:

Iranian languages: Dari Persian, Kurdish, Pashtu, Gilacki, and Baluchi (with a few minor lanuages here and tehre)

Iranian Festivals: No-Ruz, Yalda, Mehrgan, Siavoshan (a.k.a. Ashura)

Iranian Texts: Soghdian texts discovered in Turfan, a few inscriptions in Ancient Persian, Gathas in Avestan, A few texts in Sassanian Pahlavi (including Zane-Avesta). There are also
Persian Texts from ancient lost sources: Shahnameh, Kalil-e & Demneh (itself translated from Sanskirit), Aphorisms of Bozorg Mehr (much of it incorporated into Nahj-ol Balagh-e), Samak-e Ayyar, and a few other such texts. All these texts will not fill a book case.

Iranian cuisine: that is very differengt than Arab or Indo-Pakistani cuisine.

And a certain disposition of spirit that is difficult to describe in this short space.

The Modern Iranian identity has to do with the Safavids and Shia Islam - Imam Hussein. (In fact, the Safavids resurrected the idea of Ancient Iranian State: for example by paying story tellers to go around and recite Shahnameh).

I am not denying that there is a relationship between Modern Iran and Ancient Iran - but it is rather indirect, convoluted, and imprecise. There is no continuity between the Islamic Republic of Iran as a State and the State of Achamenids.

pen Name

nunya said...

there is no proof that Ancient Greeks practiced human sacrifice

Wolfie said...

First of all thank you to Sophia.

Naj, as you have probably gathered I'm bordering incandescent on this issue. That this puerile American movie is being used as a basis to start a cultural "pissing contest" by some Iranian bloggers (strange I've always found Iranians I have known to be too smart for such a thing). The political timing of this movie is quite clear and frankly it really isn't worthy of comment. Your post selectively highlights the "benefits" of the Persian Empire whilst ignoring its equally bloody history while highlighting the less glamorous side of the Greeks. Failing quite succinctly to highlight the benefits that both cultures enjoyed both before and afterwards through cultural and technological exchange in peace. Lets not lose sight of the fact that the Greeks did not make this movie and it has enjoyed quite extra-ordinary promotion for one reason - to inflame the passions of those who wish to ferment a "Clash of the civilizations" culture in the minds of the easily led and that goes for both sides. Those who would be so easily manipulated by this tripe are the "desert fools" of whom I refer - and none other.

Naj said...

Pen Nameh,

My blog-rule is that I do not argue with anonymous people. You an I starkly differ on the religious scale, and on the humility with which we comport ourselves ;)

I agree with "There is no continuity between today's IRI and the Achamenid state"

I also concur that Shiism becoming the state religion during the Safavid Dynasty marked the birth of Iranian nation and claimed its cultural identity.

At some point, however, we may get into what good or what bad of the Safavid shiism evolved into our current IRI! Was it the dark Safavid Shiism or a true renaissance?

You have counted a number of items that "have" survived centuries of invasion of Iran. And I think we need to make them available to a larger number of people in the human society.

(You are still invited to write the post I suggested before.)

Naj said...

nunya

I personally treat the ancient histories of ANY nation as myth. To me, whether the Greeks of 3000 years ago did human sacrifice or not is rather irrelevant.

Human sacrifice is a concept that I have learned from through biblical stries of Abraham having to kill his son and etc.

But I also do not hold the ancient humans accountable to the same set of moralities that we exercise today. So, who cares who sacrificed whom?

Wolfie
Again, I suggest you read my post (and my reply to Sophia) more carefully. I totally agree wit hall you are saying. But I am trying to emhasize on the very "simple" fact that popular culture is the BEST way of informing and building the cultural bridges.

================================

The reason why I picked the quotes that I posted here was not to "promote Persians versus Greeks", it is to illustrate that there different perspectives about any historical representation.

Unfortunately, certain people seem more focused on the bad aspect of the "reactionary" sentiments about this film, and so obsessed with this as the ultimate conspiracy of clash of civilizations.

If a block buster has made Pen Name cme here and talk about continuity of Persian history; if a block buster has made nunya to dig up inf that the greeks did not do human sacrifice, if a block buster has made wolfie to express his passions about how one should talk about the common good in people who were equally blood thirsty, if a block buster has given people a trigger of mind to put the current affairs of the world in a istorical context: THAT IS A GOOD THING!

If I didn't have the "300" in the title, I am SURE we will not have been compelled to talk about history to eachother.

That said, I think "How easily you desert fools are played by the American Judeophiles." is a racially suggestive thing to say:

"you desert fools"
"judeophiles"

And yes, if Iranians would start burning Greek restaurents over 300, we will call them foolish, but if they would start making a film about the origins of the charter of rights, that IS a good thing.

The new film, if I am to direct it, doesn't need to demonize the Greeks; but if it does, I will blame it on the taste of the violence-loving audinces, not Persian conspiracy against Greeks!

goatman said...

You are a true scholar. Thanks for the background on the arabic and persian calenders; that gives me information on which to continue my study of your wonderful history. A culture which is at least 3000 years old can only give us help in understanding each other.

nunya said...

Ok then, let's talk about what's going on right now.

Visit my friend, JP

Amre El-Abyad said...

Naj

i detect an elemnt of emotional blackmail in your post and comments.

The core storyline of your patriotic post(which i dont blame you for) is the about the necessity to present the "true" image of the great ancient Persian civilsation!

Paradoxically enough, while you do so, you blame oyur readers for relying on a blockbuster to build their constructs of the East-West, Greek-Persian, Muslim-Christian culture differences!

Finally,in order to make yourself consistent, you use the very feminine tactic of negative power. You blame the others for letting themselves being horded by a blockbuster to the extent that they misread a post where your ultimate goal is to stimulate iranians to revive the ancient persian culture-which is in your own words both dead and alive at the same time!

The skewed behaviour of the readers can be attributed to either their inherent evil or ignorance of the "true histories".

So you, and consequantly ancient Persia( the ancestor of Iran), immedietly emerge as the victimised ones .

I clap you.........

Naj said...

goatman

I am happy information I provided was helpful. Enjoy!

Amre
Thanks for clapping! Clapping makes life festive!
I'm afraid "we are victims" is not a mantra of Persians! Sorry to disappoint.

I neither considered the comments of my readers inherent evil, nor ignorant! I am afraid I cannot help you understand things better, but may I ask you to not read judgements about other people from "my" POV, and mind your own business, please?

Nunya Yes let's see what's up in the world. But you know, I have decided to wait and see what is coming out of all this little cat play between Iran, UK and US. To me it seems like a game at this stage; I am watching it closely, but I will not comment yet. Every one is huffing and puffing a little too much for me to suspect there is any real escalation in progress!

Iris said...

Hey Naj,
Enjoyed reading the post. I like reading history... draws images which will be hard to describe here:)...

I have not seen the movie 300, but from the trailers, it looks like a great deal of special effects (sounds and graphics). With a right amount of abstraction, and as a neutral(only in terms of geography), I am sure I will enjoy the parts that I might deem entertaining. But, I can understand the sentiments it can evoke on one who feels has been mis-represented. I also have to wonder if the film makers tried to send a message or even tried to accurately portray history... probably should have tried to stick to 'entertainment' and not 'history'.
But wont it be simpler if one did not take the movie at face value and rather try to read the fine prints - dig the facts - may be there was even a disclaimer some where [just speculating]. Then again, the disclaimer could have been an eyewash - something that just had to be 'legally' done.

I know names like 'Iran' and 'US' or any other country or government or Ideal that is mentioned (here and else where in any discussion) represent a part of such entities that are core to the issue at hand and not everything about them is the subject of discussion. But often those names turn into symbols that represent anything and everything that is enclosed under the geographical boundary and gets generalized, exaggerated and a subject of 'passion' - some sort of unconscious affinity to them. Sure enough, I get confused :).

I will keep visiting here when I can and take what I can, I am sure i will enjoy it. But being an under educated in politics, I would refrain from shouting out opinions too soon :)

I observe that you have a flair for drawing information from a variety of sources and forming educated opinions. Keep it up and Keep an open mind.

Good day to you.
~Iris~

Naj said...

Hi Iris

Thanks for your comments.

My personal beef with 300 was in the way it was advertised: by the publishers
"Frank Miller's 300 illustrates the under-reported battle of the Persian invasion of Greece as no other has". So as you see, there was no "disclaimer" ;)

I made a foot-note post about it, which (unintentionally) drew a large attention to itself: Hollywood Propaganda.

And I stand by my assessment of it (and any other one of these good-vs-evil films of the past 6 years) as Propaganda! I throw in that basket, Lord of the Ring, King Kong, V like Vendetta (which are the ones I have seen, and enjoyed, and have also analysed with an eye on the apparatus theory.)

In this day and age, we don't need Leni Riefenstahl; we have computer animation!

And mythology is a POWERFUL tool, that works in subliminal ways on one's consciousness. As such, it ought to be confronted, discussed, interpreted and properly contextualized to make sure it doesn't work on its audience on a solely emotional basis.

:)

Hope to see you soon again

bijan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
bijan said...

I don’t want to say, “I told you so!” I reiterate, it’s more & more sounding like, Much Ado About Nothing., my original impression. I don’t mean any disrespect to anyone or their opinion, but it made for exciting blog comments and everyone’s genuine reaction. I for one enjoyed it. It was just an entertaining movie, with all the commercial ingredients for a block buster features like sex, violence, betrayal, revenge and more. It was an okay movie and I was glad to see it. Did I forget to mention, bunch of nice looking guys with great bodies who perhaps also moonlighted at the new Chippendales show? Thanks to Naj, for bringing it up and moderating this stimulating and interesting dialogue. I have no complains. I’m trying to be as neutral & indifferent as possible and still leave a comment about it.

Iris said...

I like how you deal with 'facts' :)
neat.

Daniel said...

It's ironic really, debating ancient history and talking heatedly about non-existent cultures while we are poised on the knife edge of nuclear war. It's rather like playing a very old, groaning violin while Rome burns.

Friends, the past is gone forever. We can only guess at it. The future may lie ahead. Then again it may not!

Eat, drink and be merry.

Cheers!

Naj said...

Daniel

Let's add to "eat drink and be merry", work! too :)

But I have to disagree with you on one things. Whereas the objective of this post was "not" to debate the ancient civilizations, in general, I find historiography to be an important tool in understanding the "current" lives we live.

In fact, I think much of our present perils are because we have not dealt with the past in an honest and straight forward manner.

The history, even though a can of worms for us who want to forget our land of "the free" is built on the grave of the aboriginals of this continent, needs to be engaged with, learned and understood. The educational value of exploring the Aztek history for me is no less important than exploring that of Egypt; and quire relevant to understanding today's world.

Bijan
Keep your comments coming and keep me posted about whatever good Hollywood you see :)

Amre El-Abyad said...

naj

The histroy of Egypt doesnt need to be explored!

Ofcoure it is open to further studies. But what i mean is that Egypt along with china and Iraq and to a much lesser extent Persia are the only ancient civilsations whose history and ancient chronologies are recorded in full detail and explored thouroughly by ancient Greek, medival Arab as well modern historians.

The survival and continuity of the mesoptamian and Egyptian cultures goes to the fact that they both along with Greek and to a lesser extent Persian and Ethiopian elements formed the major constituents of the contemporary Arab culture which are the integral sum of the indigenous near-eastern cultures(ARABIC).

Therefore, we could very well state that ancient Egyptian as well as ancient iraqi cultures are the only surviving ones of the near eastern civilsations. THANKS TO THE OVERARCHING SEMITIC ARABIC culture that is indigenous to that region.

Unlike the Persian culture which is Arien in Origin , and allien to the region as it did not contribute much like the formers to the origin of civilsation, it basically drew so much on the near easte during the successive waves of bloody Perrsian invasions .

The modern irani culture is Hybrid of Turko-tartaric in the north, Indian in the east and belluchstan, and Arabic in the south east and south west.

The remaining Persian part that likes to mystically link itself to the ancient dead persian culture, is actually Arabised in religon, language as the modern irani language has incorporated so many ArAbic words and structures while in the mean time language incorporates so many Arabic words. And to my own surprise i have just learned that IN IRAN THEY USE ARABIC ALPHABET.

bottom of the line i think it is the Persian history that need to be explored along with that of other dead cultures like somatra in Indonecia, astik in America and koshitic in Ethiopia..........

Naj said...

Ladies and Gentelman:

Meet Amre!

(and clap ;) )

Anonymous said...

Amre El-Abyad:

Leave Sweden and come live in Iran for a few months - I think you will part with your illusions.

Anonymous said...

naj:

"clap" is a venereal disease, i.e. Gonorrhea.

Amre El-Abyad said...

@anonymous

if i visit Iran the Egyptian police will put me in prison! i might be charged of esponage whenever i go back to Egypt.

Otherwise, definetly i would have visted "PERSIA" I hope that would make it up for you!

just tell me what do you want Persian empire or the islamic republic of Iran

Anonymous said...

Amre El-Abyad:

We in Iran are not interested in the empire project.

Nor are we interested in ruling over alien peoples such as yourselves.

Even meeting with people like you is difficult & painful for us.

We have an Islamic Repubic, we have our independence, and we wish to be left alone to sort out our internal problems.

We are not shitting in our pants everytime US President says something or EU frowns upon us unlike the Arab governments.

We, the Shia of Ali, the Comrades of Hussein, the Lovers of the Household of the Prophet, are out there: every time a Palestinian child is murdered by Israelis, everytime an old man is humiliated by the Zionists, in the rubbles of Lebeanon and the bombings & assisinations of murdering Arab Sunnis in Iraq; we are there - healing the wounded, helping and arming the resistance, and guarding the weak.

The Arab people have no better friend than the Peoples and Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Wa Al Sala'am o Aleikom wa Rahmat O Allah-e wa Barakata.

Naj said...

I appreciate everyone's personal comments and suggestions here, but I like to emphasize that the "only" rule of this blog is to please refrain from using profane language, and racist suggestions.

I do not tolerate "you versus us" in my home! Those who do not hold a citizenship of the world prior to their Pan-whateverism, are asked to respect the rules of this house.

Thank you.
Naj

Amre El-Abyad said...

heeeeeeeeeeeeeeee you make me laugh you are out there for paeltinaina heeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

you never fired a bullet on Israel. on the contrary, you were allied with israel in all our wars with us. 1973 you prevented full iraqi intervention.

israel tanks running by Ieanioil.

Khomoni calling for toppling the regime of the most powerful and developed country that along with Egypt and syria might have shifted the strategic balance in the regionin favour of the Arabs .

what is worse: during the iraq iran war ISRAEL WAS SUPPLYING khomini with arms and training..........

YOU ARE ONLY GOOD at making hollow threats nobody takes seriously. otherwise, Israel would have done to you what it had done to the iraq reactor in 1981 and the assassination of Egyptian atomic scientists!

You are TERRORISTS whose hands is dipped in the blood of Arabs!

the worst of all your crimes is the blood of inncoent iraqis your government's hands is dipped in.

PUSHING TERRORIST MILIANTS INTO IRAQas well as two million arabic speaking persians( whose nationality had been dropped during the iraq-iran war) into iraq to alter demography of great Arab country.

My proof is the statements of Mr "Mohamed Abtahy" the deputy of Mr "Mohamed Khatemy" in the UAE center for strategic studies.

He clearly stated that
"if it hadnt been for Irani collaboration Bahgdad would have never fallen"

"sooner or later Iran and Israel will get together: there is no fundamental diffeences between them!" (Benjamin Netenyahoo,1997).

I forgot to tell you i'm direct descnedent of Husien Bin Ali and Fatima. Ali and mohamed are both my grandfathers..still i'm a sunni muslim. i lovethe household, ali hussien and fatma. But, i also love OMAR. because we have forgotten about the 1400 years old rivalies. we look up to the future, instead of coming out with a wiered crazy doctrine that makes the UNVERSE CENTERED AROUND some rivalyy over the caliphate that had been settled long time ago.

Naj said...

Pen Name,

I like to ask you to please do not engage in further discussion with Amre, I do not wish to give much room to self-claimed racists in this blog; and the more you toss him, the worse it stinks.

Elsewhere, Amre is expressing that one of the greatest signs of Saddam's glory was that he expelled Jews from Iraq (and that made Amre proud.)

He is also spending a lot of time across different blogs, discussing facial features of Arabs and drawing geneologic lines.

Racist commentators are NOT welcome on this blog.

Amre you have a blog; and those who are interested in your views can find their way to your site. You have over-extended your welcome here.

Anonymous said...

Amre El-Abyad:

Your accusations against us once again confirms to me the almost visceral hostility of many segments of Sunni Arabism to Iran & Iranians.

We did not destroy Iraq - the Ba'ath and Hussein did that by attacking us and later Kuwait- we were minding our own business. And your country, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Jordan were all complicit in this by aiding and abetting him. For in 1983 we were close to defeating him and throwing him and the Ba'ath out. That outcome, would have saved Iraq.

And during the Iran-Iraq War, which your country, Egypt, supported to the hilt by supplying man-power to the Butcher of Baghdad, we fought with what we could and did what we had to do so that the light of an Islamic Republic may not be extinguished from this Earth.

We did not actually fought Israel, but we defended and helped arm those who did and do to this day. But what are you and your fellow Sunni Arabs do - are you fighting? No, US or EU tells you to jump and you say: "Yes, Sir! How many times and how high?"

And calling us names like terrorists - that is really un-called for. When our cities were being emptied during the Iran-Iraq War because of the fear of chemical weapons attacks from Iraq - that is what I call terrorism.

While the Ba'ath were gassing Kurds, you were silent since you do not care about non-Arabs. You want us all dead or humiliated so that you may be able to enter into the Dream Palace of the (Sunni) Arabs.

But the Book teaches us something different: "en-allah-a ya'amero be'al adl-e wa al ihsan ..". Regardless of your ancestry, you are not listening to the message of the Prophet. For you have silenced his voice in your heart and replaced it with the ravings of an idol called Arabism.

And please stop repeating the usual Arab lies about Arabic-speaking Persians and all that. We saved the Iraqi people, the Shia, teh Sunni, and the Kurds. We are proud of what we have done for Iraq and we will continue on this path of helping Iraq overcome the terrorists supported by Sunni Arab populations that celebrated also the 9/11 attacks on US.

And, contrary to what you think, we the Shia are not concerned about Omar and the Caliphate. The salient feature of being a Shia is the Martyrdom of Imam Hussein and the Passion and Suffering of himself and his exalted family. It is here, in this nexus, that you will find a refinement and delicacy of feeling and of pathos that is completely absent in the rest of Islamic world.

naj:

Learn from this exchange: Iran is surrounded by enemies that seek their greatness in her demise.

Watch and learn that there is no such things as "World Citizen".

Learn of the visceral hatred of these pathetique people who have lost "al serat-el mustaqim".

This man, who lives in Sweden, who has seen more of the world than most human being alive on most Arabs, this man is against the Jews, the Persians, the Iranians, the Kurds. His hatred has no rationalAmre El-Abyad:

Your accusations against us once again confirms to me the almost visceral hostility of many segments of Sunni Arabism to Iran & Iranians.

We did not destroy Iraq - the Ba'ath and Hussein did that by attacking us and later Kuwait- we were minding our own business. And your country, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Jordan were all complicit in this by aiding and abetting him. For in 1983 we were close to defeating him and throwing him and the Ba'ath out. That outcome, would have saved Iraq.

And during the Iran-Iraq War, which your country, Egypt, supported to the hilt by supplying man-power to the Butcher of Baghdad, we fought with what we could and did what we had to do so that the light of an Islamic Republic may not be extinguished from this Earth.

We did not actually fought Israel, but we defended and helped arm those who did and do to this day. But what are you and your fellow Sunni Arabs do - are you fighting? No, US or EU tells you to jump and you say: "Yes, Sir! How many times and how high?"

And calling us names like terrorists - that is really un-called for. When our cities were being emptied during the Iran-Iraq War because of the fear of chemical weapons attacks from Iraq - that is what I call terrorism.

While the Ba'ath were gassing Kurds, you were silent since you do not care about non-Arabs. You want us all dead or humiliated so that you may be able to enter into the Dream Palace of the (Sunni) Arabs.

But the Book teaches us something different: "en-allah-a ya'amero be'al adl-e wa al ihsan ..". Regardless of your ancestry, you are not listening to the message of the Prophet. For you have silenced his voice in your heart and replaced it with the ravings of an idol called Arabism.

And please stop repeating the usual Arab lies about Arabic-speaking Persians and all that. We saved the Iraqi people, the Shia, teh Sunni, and the Kurds. We are proud of what we have done for Iraq and we will continue on this path of helping Iraq overcome the terrorists supported by Sunni Arab populations that celebrated also the 9/11 attacks on US.

And, contrary to what you think, we the Shia are not concerned about Omar and the Caliphate. The salient feature of being a Shia is the Martyrdom of Imam Hussein and the Passion and Suffering of himself and his exalted family. It is here, in this nexus, that you will find a refinement and delicacy of feeling and of pathos that is completely absent in the rest of Islamic world.

naj:

Learn from this exchange: Iran is surrounded by enemies that seek their greatness in her demise.

Watch and learn that there is no such things as "World Citizen".

Learn of the visceral hatred of these pathetique people who have lost "al serat-el mustaqim".

This man, who lives in Sweden, who has seen more of the world than most human being alive on most Arabs, this man is against the Jews, the Persians, the Iranians, the Kurds. His hatred has no rational bounds.

Learn - there are always enemies.

Protect us God from “al Sheytan al Rajim”.
bounds.

Learn - there are always enemies.

Protect us God from “al Sheytan al Rajim”.


ah az vaghtee ke soosk sokhan migoyad!

Naj said...

Religious preaching and rhetorics are also unwelcome.

Anonymous, I do not like anyone who assumes he/she can tell me what to learn.

Perhas if you eased down on your self-rightousness, more of us would have been in Iran, engaging in dialogue, and learning from one another!

I do not espouse your values Anonymous. And visceral hatred of others only teaches me to not develop them myself.

This is my final word both to anonymous and to Amre. I reserve the right to delete their further comments, should they stray far from the stated objectives of this blog.

Amre El-Abyad said...

if you continue interfering in Iraq there willl be another "FAO"

remeber what the Egyptian experts did in that battle

By the way, i hate el-quaeda and sunni terrorists as much as i hate terrorist government of Iran, not the irani people(i mean the good ones).

i dont hate jews, i just hate zionist racists!!!! and any other racists who claim that arabs are not one people despite of the fact that Arabism is not based on race.

About the expulsion of jews, most of the Jews that had left Egypt left by their own choice those who stayed turned out to be spies in Egypt and Iraq, during Egypt's war with israel i 1956. Therefore, we expulled them instead of trialing them where they definetly would have been condemened. So expulting them was humanitarian pardon!!!!! because they had lived in Egypt for a long time........

Dr Victorino de la Vega said...

“Cyrus then did something that was simply unheard of: he freed all the Hebrews who had been enslaved in Babylon, and sent them back to Israel to rebuild their temple.”

Well that’s actually one good reason why the civilized world should always side with Europe [Sparta] and Saddam Hussein [Babylon] against those wicked Israeli/Iranian invaders!

;))

Naj said...

;) Dr. V.

I know you are an enlightened fellow, so I let you get away with your sarcasm :)

Anonymous said...

Friends,

"PLEASE, DO NOT GET YOUR EYES OFF THE BALL. THAT IS WHAT THE BUSH AND CO. WANT."

Making sound judgments about ancient history and historical facts require lots of reading, investigations and fact findings.

A dialog is constructive if the involved parties come to the table well informed and with an open mind.

We're all bright, talented individuals with good intention. Reading through this blog, I've also found naj an inspiring intellectual. I humbly suggest that we adhere to the format and rules that she has established for the visitors to her virtual home and get engage in a civilized conversation.

Once again dears: "Be smart and not let the Fascist Bushists write the history for our children the way they want."

Naj said...

Anonymous, I am very happy about your change of attitude :) < but I doubt you are Pen Name. >

Yes, Sophia very early on made this very same suggestion:

The world is divided in two parts, people who have nothing to loose and are prepared to fight and die and people who have all to lose and aren't prepared to fgight and die. And how the west is getting out of this with its imperial wars ? By making people, who are prepared to fight and die, fight against each other...

It's ironic, that this post brought out all such sentiments in certain people who ignored the objective of the post (a letter to Iranian intellectuals who need to do more to educate people about their country), and went rampant in the facile direction that Sophia warned; using this opportunity to vent off their unresolved personal complexes!

Dr Victorino de la Vega said...

Hi Naj,

I'm sure you'll love Gary Brecher's latest article:

http://www.exile.ru/2007-March-23/war_nerd.html

Amre El-Abyad said...

by your side Naj i stand in peace.

Remeber that i signed the petition of protest against at 300.

Therefore, i expect from you sympathy and support to my Arab nation. Because if that doesnt come from our Islamic neighbour the guardian of a great old civilsation and culture, then who else would support our nation

FurGaia said...

Naj, you might want to read Red Tory's post on this issue.

dining_philosopher said...

300 was Jewish nonsense.