Drowning in noise
Iranian experts say Pasargadae will not be drowned. But what
do they know? The British know better!
September 6, 2005
I am writing on behalf of myself and not Professor
Kamyar Abdi, the eminent archaeologist at Dartmouth College
who excavates in Iran every year. I write as a historian of ancient
Persia and someone who has basically has spent half of his 38 years
of life dedicated to ancient Persian Studies.
I have been writing
on the subject and teaching
ancient Persian history and religions and travel to
Iran to do research and document every piece of information on
for everyone in the world to know. For this I have created a website
to document every source for this period of our glorious history
I visit Pasargadae and Naqsh-e Rustam every year
which I consider my religious pilgrimage. The only time I
feel religious is when I come across monuments of ancient Persia.
My dissertation was on the province of Fars and it is this region
and its antiquities
which I love and study and want the world to know about.
it is rather disheartening that the lady and gentleman who
appear to be poets have taken on a
is outside of their knowledge and rather than accepting people’s opinion
who are at the sites and have information on it, they try to belittle us by associating
us with the Islamic Republic of Iran. [Not
I assume they are part of the people who
have not gone back or could not have gone back to Iran in the past 25 years
and tend to scream and shout and rather accuse people freely of
this group or that group. This should be familiar to Iranians, especially in
the city which I live in, Los Angeles.
Since I do not have that baggage and
was only 12-years old when the revolution happened and have lived
most of my life
abroad, I think that ideas of freedom and Democracy come with education and
opening of the young Iranian minds. Pressuring governments is
one thing, making a lot
of noise for nothing is another matter.
For the love of my country, I travel
to Iran, lecture, publish books on my domain of study, help the
many poor students who have no means
of finding information in my academic field and simply talk and listen to people.
I do not accuse anyone with any specific political party. I also began the
journal in Iran dedicated to the history and culture of ancient Iran since
1979, which continues
to be published.
When our cultural heritage is at stake, no one can
take it lightly, and when the name of the Persian Gulf was purposefully
by the National Geographic,
my letter which gave a historical reasoning for the name Persian Gulf was
published by Iranian.com.
When I first heard
about the “flooding” of Pasargadae, it was several years ago
when I was in Shiraz and I was beside myself, and my blood pressure was
the roof. How could they dare to do such a thing? But then after speaking
with the archaeologists and the people at the Center for Fars Studies,
clear that Pasargadae will not be flooded.
Now this is what archaeologists
say. I am not the speaker of any government and have no allegiance to
any party or government. If someone is suddenly concerned,
ask the right
people, and not cite a newspaperman in Britain, someone who probably
has never set foot on Iranian soil.
Unfortunately, everything that is done in Persian
Studies has taken a political dimension. Fear of reprisals is making
it difficult to say what seems to be the truth
in research. It would have been easy for me to get on the
bandwagon and rise up my banner (alam) and say “Oh people our beloved
tomb of Cyrus is in danger.”
If it was the case, I would not scream
from abroad. I would go down to Pasargadae and defend it with my life
and they would have to kill
me before they flood the place. But my scientific obligation tells
me to judge based on facts and the facts say that it will not be
As I have been
called “gentleman” by Mr. Nooriala (to hide my expertise
in the field), or Professor Abdi's, the people in charge of the Pasargadae
shall write soon enough to clarify the matter. But I am afraid that
some people are so emotional / poetic about the matter that even that
will not calm them down.
I suspect this is because there is the idea that
anything that is done during a government, which certain people
can not be good, and everything that is done by a government that
is all good. This is rather childish
to say the least. I really don’t care who is in charge, my
allegiance is to my culture and its past.
What this dam has done is to make it
so that sites which were never surveyed before to begin to be surveyed
before the dam is completed.
For the past
3 years, for the first time an international committee has been put
together to restore
Pasargadae, to repair it. I have been there (photo above).
fix things and then flood them!
In regards to Iran not needing money
for excavations, I should say that Mr. Nooriala is dead wrong.
Every country in the world, perhaps with the exception of Saudi
Arabia, has European or American money and
excavating teams being paid by those countries.
In Iran, things
are now done jointly with Iranian and foreign money. Iranian
archaeologists have to be
involved and share the work. In fact money is needed for the
many sites to be excavated in Iran and the more money is spent
know about our
But what do I know or Professor Abdi? after all
we are just ancient historians of Persian and Archaeologists
who are in Iran every
year; we live and breathe the smell of the province of Fars.
People in Britain know better!
Touraj Daryaee is
Professor of Ancient History at
California State University, Fullerton.