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Arrogance and ignorance
You motivated me to look into the Sivand Dam controversy and to read.  You empowered me to take a stand on this issue and to dig into the subject myself.


September 28, 2005

What is Pasargad and what is being destroyed?  What is Tang-e-Bolaghi? And is our heritage at risk?

These are serious questions relating to our origins.  But before we embark on answering some of these questions, I must address a few articles already written on this site.

When the article “Safe and Sound” appeared by Kamran Abdi and Touraj Daryaee, I was excited. I must admit, I was one of those “fellow Iranians who were misinformed” and for the authors to clarify some of the “misunderstanding” was important.

More importantly, these authors were “professional historian”.  They addressed each other as “professors” - as any respectable academician would - and “professor” Abdi was even given the honor of being called “eminent archeologist” by “professor” Daryaee in one of the articles.

What better?  I was excited.  Two “experts” on the field were about to give their opinions on one of the most important locations in our history.

Of-course, I wasn’t too concerned about the Tomb of Cyrus and Takh-e-Jamshid.  After all, with a brief review of what is out there, one can quickly come to the conclusion that the Tomb of Cyrus, the adjacent palaces and Takht-e-Jamshid will not be flooded.  But what is being flooded?

The article starts out by referring us to Iranian Cultural Heritage site whose job is to “inform” us of such “misunderstandings”.  Thanks for the reference “professors,” but there are over 40 articles there and it would have been nice for a “professional historian” like you to have given us - the “ill-informed” commoners - a brief word on what IS being destroyed without giving us the run-around.

The authors then goes on  insulting those who may disagree with them in advance by calling them the “grand conspiracy” types who believe that the “current government of Iran is set to destroy an Iranian national heritage” and refer us to a paper by a French archeologist.

But these authors can’t be serious.   This government would NEVER “destroy an Iranian national heritage”, would it? This regime has gone out of its way over and over to save our “national heritage”.  Why would these authors even consider the idea of a “grand conspiracy” by the Islamic Republic to destroy our non-Islamic heritage? 

Either way, no worries.  Because even if you are amongst a handful of those who suspect this government of ill-intentions, the “farangi” paper is there to inform us - the “misinformed”. And since the authors are well aware of our history of paranoia, they referr us to a French source and not to a “newspaperman in Briton”.  You know how we feel about those conspiracy theories  of the British.

And in case you are curious to know what the French paper says it basically says that Tang-e-Bolaghi: “has occupied a strategic position through many different historical eras, and, if we do not act now, we may never know what archeological evidence it contains.”

Great! So tell us, what happens to Pasargad?  Are these truly “sensationalized” “charades” made up by “charlatans” “making a quick buck out of people’s ignorance” and “settling political scores”?

Well, finally after that run-around to a site with 40 articles and a French article which even worried me more, there comes the main argument of the article. “Professor” Daryaee states: ”Not only the Sivand dam is posing NO threat to Pasargad, but it has proven to be the first opportunity for Iranian and foreign archeologists to collaborate on a salvage project since the 1979 revolution”.  In case you missed the argument, the word “no” in capital letters “NO” was the argument. 

Thank you “professors”.  I feel so much better now.  Thanks for clarifying this “misunderstanding” “charade” “sensationalized” by some “charlatans” settling some “political scores”.

But wait a minute. “Salvage Project”?  Last time I checked the dictionary, “salvage” meant rescuing an artifact from ruins.  “Ruin”, what ruin?   What is being ruined? 

OK.  So the tomb of Cyrus and Takh-e-Jamshid are not being flooded.  But WHAT IS BEING RUINED?  I need to know.

Do I sound “sensational”?  Am I panicking?

Well to ease my mind and assure me not to get rallied on an “ill-informed cause,” the following argument is made in the very next paragraph: “MUMMIFIED PERSIAN QUEEN” was a fake just like this argument!!!

Thank god, I was about to have heart attack.  How silly of me!

And in case you missed it in the follow-up article, such grand reasoning of linking the word “NO”, in capital letters and the fake “Mummified Queen” saga is called “Rationalism”!

The article goes on to ask us not to repeat the “mummified queen” “charade” by these “sensationalists” who have raised the ”banner of patriotism” .  And to prove that “Professor” Daryaee is the hero carrying the “banner of patriotism” we are given an attached picture with him kissing the tomb of Cyrus. 

The last paragraph is the killer.  Now that we are informed (remember “NO” and the “Persian Mummy” story).  We are advised that  “sensationalism” is “abuse of our national heritage” and not to settle “political scores”.  And instead of having a” multitude of  committees”  run by “amateurs” with no “grasp of intricacies of Iranian history”, we should give money to these “legitimate archeologists” to enhance our “knowledge of our beloved country”.

OK.  Let’s hold off on the money for now because the next two articles are just classics on “Rationalism”.  Just to remind you, the articles are supposed to be about the sites being destroyed by the Sivand Dam and Pasargad.

In the next article “Professor” Daryaee, writing on behalf of himself and the “eminent archeologist” Kamyar Abdi (Assistant Professor at Dartmouth College), starts the article talking about himself and his travels and teachings of ancient Persia.  And to prove that, he refers us to his website which contains “every source” on our “glorious past” for the “world to know”! 

In the next paragraph, he continues to talk about himself and how it’s his “religious pilgrimage” to visit Pasargad.  And to prove this, he tells us that his dissertation was on Fars province, but more importantly, again we see a picture of him next to the tomb of Cyrus as a reminder of his religious fervor.

The next paragraph then insults Dr Nooriala and Mrs. Mirzadegi of - amongst other things - as people who “appear like poets” (I guess “appearing” like poets is an insult since Homer since poets aren’t known for their looks).  And these “poet appearing” individuals who have taken a “cause outside their knowledge” have “belittled us by associating us with the Islamic Republic of Iran”.  He then lumps all the Iranians outside the country as amongst those “who tend to scream and shout.”

Excuse me, but they didn’t “accuse you of being associated with the Islamic Republic”.  They accused you of “defending the IRI’s irresponsible action” which you have done through three waste-of-time articles without any logical and well-informed argument.  As far as associating with the IRI is concerned, any reader can put two and two together and guess on someone who refers to IRI as a “government which certain people don’t like” and “I really don’t care about who is in charge”. 

In the next couple of paragraphs, he is again praising himself and his works and travels. He especially has praise for “his” letter which gave historical reasoning for the name “Persian Gulf”.

OK “professor”, is this about Pasargad or about you?  Two articles and you managed to talk about yourself over and over again and insult others in very childish immature manner.  Where are our answers?  What is being destroyed? 

A little later, Kamyar Abdi writes an article called “Sensationalism vs. Rationalism”.

I thought there was hope.  Maybe this “eminent archeologist” can enlighten us on this “misunderstanding” or “grand conspiracy”.  I was excited and happy.  Maybe now they will write something of value -  something that can ease my mind; an article which will clear this “sensational” “charade” caused by “charlatans” , making a “big fuss” and “taking people’s money” just like the “ fake mummified queen”  saga.  Mind you, the Committee to Save Pasargad doesn’t accept donations, just volunteers, but these “legitimate archeologists” apparently are looking for money in case you wanted to donate.

But unfortunately, yet again, I found this similarly worded, condescending, and at the same time arrogant article by “eminent archeologist” Kamyar Abdi who calls such concerns “absurd”, “pseudo-intellectual” and “quasi-nationalistic” void of telling us what IS being destroyed.

He first gives us a lecture on “historians” vs “archeologists”. Then a lecture on “gharbzadegi”.  He then vents his “frustration” and his “amusement” at some “doktors” and “mohandeses” who apparently are not taking him seriously.  He then gives us a lecture on spelling and grammer.  Followed up by criticism on the wording of the petition. 

In between all this, he states: “We would like to reiterate our argument by reiterating the facts”.  What facts?  Which argument?  Through four articles, there is only the “Fake Mummy” argument and the word “NO” argument.  And for facts, you just refered us to the Iranian Cultural Heritage site or the Farangi-French article.  What facts?  Are you guys for real?

OK , what happened to Pasargad?  What’s being ruined?  To their credit, they do tell us repeatedly what is not being ruined including the Tomb of Cyrus and several adjacent palaces.  But apparently, they are ignorant of what IS being ruined. 

Well, he skips this question again and refers us to a paper he wrote stating that the “Islamic Republic of Iran has no longer any reason or incentive to destroy Iran’s pre-historic past”. 

OK “eminent archeologist”, you’ve already inferred many times through ridicule of those who are trying to settle a “political score” that this government would NEVER do such a thing.  Of course not! This government is all about Iran and nothing else.  So get on with the point, what is being ruined?

A page later, he finally gets to the point. 

OK, here is the final answer by a “legitimate archeologist” informing us - the “ill-informed”, “amateurs” “with no grasp of intricacies of Iranian history”.  He proudly states:

“I do not know how many sites are in Tang-e-Bolaghi... I’ve heard of 30-130 and  as for “uniqueness” of these sites, one has to bear in mind that every archeological site is unique, but not indispensable”.

Thank you “Professors”.  You didn’t even bother to read the articles YOU referred us to at the Iranian Cultural Heritage site during your “rationalism” argument.

Thank you for nothing.  Actually, I take that back.  Thank you for the insults and the ridicule.  Thank you for belittling the works of others.

You motivated me to look and to read.  You empowered me to take a stand on this issue and to dig into the subject myself.

Because of your lack of argument and facts, I was forced to spend the last two weeks reading every article I could find on the internet, including over 40 articles at the Iranian Cultural Heritage site about Sivand Dam.  I even took a day off from work to travel to another city to interview a dear Iranian archeologist who had spend 27 years of his life in Pasargad. 

And in Part II, as an “ill-informed” and “amateur” member of the “International Committee to Save Pasargad”, I  would like to talk about the few facts which are available on the internet about our cultural treasures which either you are ignorant of or simply you don’t think are valuable.

Amir A Fassihi
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Amir Fassihi

pasargad debate
* Cultural Heritage news (1) (2) (3)
* Radio Farda: Pasargad foundation head says monument not in danger but has other worries
* Deutsche Welle: Rights group will sue to prevent destruction of historical sites
* BBC Persian: Will Pasargad go under water?
* Petition: More than 10,000 signatures
* Open Letter: Mirzadegi & Nooriala



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Three volume box set of the Persian Book of Kings
Translated by Dick Davis

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