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Heritage shmeritage
‘Preserving’ Iranian culture

March 25, 2005

New York has a network of dead Iranians. Last week they took to the streets to take part in the embarrassing and misnamed ‘Persian’ parade. Pick up a copy of Persian Heritage magazine and you will know what I mean. This local, bilingual rag, which benefits from advertising the event, carries articles so stale it can only have a readership of zombies. (Judging by its content, its editor must have died shortly after Cyrus the Great). ‘Persian’ culture is reduced to a few idiots waving flags wearing strange outfits and those inane American smiles, happy and brain-dead. Even if you are not much of a flag-waver, to see your country’s standard in the hands of escapees from Michael Jackson’s Thriller video stirs objections.

Photographs published on this website chart the corpses plodding around Manhattan bearing placards emblazoned with wit such as ‘The Khorassani of Iran’ or ‘The Qashqaie of Iran’. I suggest next year they all march under a single banner: ‘The kheyng of Iran’.

Meanwhile, Iran Heritage Foundation, a UK charity, is busy ‘preserving’ Iranian culture in association with London’s Victoria & Albert museum... and its long-running love affair with film-maker Abbas Kiarostami continues. Here’s their May programme in full:

‘Arabian lights, magic through a lens, and Kiarostami’: a lecture by Time Out critic Geoff Onion.

‘Taa’ziyeh’: the director’s masterful study of Islam through break-dancing.

‘Goats, camera, action’: Kiarostami and the simple genius of ‘magic reelism’.

‘Recipe for success’: Ms. Atiqheh Qajar-Davenport on Kiarostami’s influence on the Persian kitchen.

‘How Kiarostami nationalised the oil industry’: a lecture by Professor Ahmad Karimi-Hikkup.

‘Hejab and its limits’: Kiarostami directs the Tehran All Star Women’s Synchronized-Swimming team live in Hyde Park.

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Peyvand Khorsandi




Book of the day

My Uncle, Napoleon
A Comic Novel
by Iraj Pezeshkad
translated by Dick Davis

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