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The Curse of the Cyrus Scroll

Balatarin

This summer, the famed Cyrus Scroll makes its long awaited rounds of the elite Iranian-American communities. On loan from it’s historically ironic home, the British Museum in London, and having passed through Washington DC, New York, and Houston, it now makes its way to San Francisco from August through September, ending it’s conquest of what is left of Iranian-American objection to tyranny in Los Angeles sometime in October.

 

It is certainly a curse, and the very best exemplification of the bane of Iranian freedom, or any lack thereof.

 

So called the “first declaration of human rights" by the UN as ordered to do so, by the former Shah of Iran, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, as he donated it to the UN, in his quest to self promote, prestige, and legitimize 1970-era Iran as a right, proper, and valid member of the world community, back then in those happier days before Islam “modernized".

 

The sheer PR re-painting of Cyrus as a humanitarian of ancient times, from his real image as a ruthlessly efficient and violent conqueror, is nothing short of damning and completely counter to ANY desires by modern day Iranians to become free of the dynasties of monarchy that have systematically ravaged Iran in turn, even and especially couting this dynasty in power today, the dynasty of most foreign religion, and a forced God.

 

The celebration of this tour by the continually self absorbed and deluded Iranian-American wealthy and their apologetic ignorance of the true symbolism that this scroll conveys, is nothing short of a group syndrome of denial, an embodiment of “The emperor has no clothes" parable.

 

Mind you, free Iranians, free to think anything they want, in America today, are this blind. And do not see as questionable and stunningly embarrassing, their automatic worship and commercial advertisement of a symbol that NEVER granted them or the ancient Persians ANY of the so called “Rights" bestowed upon the Jews of Babylon.

 

Or that the scroll was not so much a human rights declaration, but rather more or less a standard tax payment and property rights assignment contract, made by Cyrus with the peoples he conquered, merely taking Babylon from the defeated previous King, declaring himself the new King, and giving back to the Jews of Babylon their original land and property once he had heard their grievances.

 

MOST importantly however, the scroll further contracts the newly restored Jews of Babylon, the responsibility of managing the collection and payment of Persian taxes, and to ensure that there was NO delay or interruption in the singular primary reason of sacking Babylon to begin with. With the firm reminder of the consequences, should Cyrus be required to return to Babylon “for any reason".

 

You see that is how Cyrus rolled. He did not wander all the way from ancient Persia, on horse/camel back, to Babylon, just to be nice and to free the Jews, or anyone else for that matter. Overwhelming force, combined with a spear-proof contract, to secure tax income. An extensive protection racket. Nothing more, nothing less.

 

Certainly not a “global declaration of human rights". If it was such a thing, then even the Iranian-Americans might have gotten the clue by now, that above all other people in the world, Iranians themselves, former Persians might deserve some of these rights.

Especially in Iran.

Balatarin

Visfor Voy @VisforVoy

Voy! Is an Iranian expression of great frustration. A play on the film and comic book adaptation "V is for Vendetta". Get it? Object to Iran, and put energy into Pragmatic (not reckless, dangerous or foolhardy) Opposition to it.

DC

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ghourbagheh

ghourbagheh

What you are saying is nonsense at best, and insulting at worst. To get an idea of where your point of view comes from, note that you write the Cylinder is "on loan from it's historically ironic home, the British Museum in London." The British Museum may be described as the Cylinder's (and that of many other priceless treasures) historical prison, but it's not their home! The Cylinder was discovered in what is today Iraq, and was essentially given to Brits by the order of an Ottoman despot that didn't give a damn and the intrigues of the British ambassador. Despotism and British colonialism made the British museum it's "home"! Let's not forget that. Ultimately, artifacts like the Cylinder are the historical heritage of their original people, and the museum fees should go to them.

Hypocrisy is the basis of Western culture. There was a recent court case in Paris brought by Hopi Natives of Arizona who claimed a set of masks that were going to be auctioned in France were stolen and should be returned to them. A French court ruled against them on the basis that if they were to return the masks and judge in favor of the Hopi, the case could be used as legal precedence for other artifacts held in France. Essentially, it's not that the Hopi's claim was false. It's that if the court would agree with them, then most of the Louvre would have to be emptied! Read about it here:
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2308119/Stolen-ancient-Native-American-masks-OKd-sale-French-court-despite-tribal-pleas-return.html

I'm elaborating on this point so that I can demonstrate where people like you who claim to be free thinkers get their thinking from. Just like the Aryan invasion theory, the Cyrus Cylinder Propaganda theory is the latest thing that people like you regurgitate straight from a the mouth of Westerners. Now, lets get to the detail of your article.

The argument on the Cylinder being propaganda essentially claims that Cyrus is saying he is a better king than Nabonidus, the Babylonian king. The proponents of this theory argue that Cyrus (actually the Babylonian priest who they claim Cyrus paid off) put Cyrus in a positive light and Nabonidus in a negative light, saying that Nabonidus got what he deserved and Cyrus did what he had to. The argument is more or less that. Well, so what? Yes that is propaganda. Even today, Bush, Blair and Obama portray themselves as liberators. Here we assume that Cyrus was not as good as his supposedly paid-off priests say he was. That's quiet an assumption, considering that the Cylinder is over 2500 years old. The Iraq war is barely a decade old in the age of computers and printed books. Yet Western pundits and historian can't quiet decide if the current and past heads of British and American governments are war criminals. But they can pass judgment that Cyrus was a despot! Cyrus may have used some propaganda. This is not news or even history. We don't know for sure after 25 centuries, nor would it be unusual, even by today's standards.

The real deception in this argument is the second part, that because Cyrus is being embellished, his legacy must also have been embellished, that Cyrus was "a ruthlessly efficient and violent conqueror" as you put it. Let's put in this debate a bit of comparison and historical context. If Bush and Blair are not criminals and Obama deserves the Nobel peace prize in the 21st century, then Cyrus was a pure angel in 5th century BC. For the standards of 5th century, Cyrus was a great king and a humanitarian. He set the Jews free and gave them the stolen gold from Jerusalem, and for this he was mentioned in the Old Testament over 20 times! More over Cyrus and the Persian empire are known for mercy and tolerance in numerous sources, not just the Cylinder. If the Cylinder is propaganda, what about the Bible, what about the Persian legacy that is mentioned in many other sources? Mind you the same archeological community that readily dismisses the legacy of Cyrus, often uses the Bible as a source and proof!

The rest of this argument is essentially for simple minded people. For example, the Cylinder is "more or less a standard tax payment and property rights assignment contract". What does that have anything to do with it's humane declarations? Which king or government doesn't collect taxes? Aren't Iraqis paying their American "liberators" with lucrative oil contracts that give away their wealth for cheap to Western oil companies? If Cyrus demanded a tax, at least he wrote it down in a straight forward deal, not with deception which is typical of Western hypocrisy.
The Cylinder is not a DECLARATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS, because by today's standards Cyrus would be a democrat (I think he probably deserves the Nobel Peace prize more than Obama did!). Rather, it's a great declaration because 2500 years ago after a war, the winner writes down that the people who lost the war will not be enslaved, that they can live in peace. And for as much as historical evidence tells us, Cyrus did exactly that.

Finally, there are also context that is missing from the argument. For one thing, fragments of the scroll are missing. The Cylinder is a partial document written over two millennia ago. But the hypocrites have determined it was written by paid-off priests. In addition, we must judge Cyrus in the totality of his legacy. For example, his tomb in Pasargad is rather humble for an emperor of his stature. At a time when emperors would bury themselves in elaborate temples and tombs, Cyrus the Great was buried in a rather simple structure. Or is that propaganda too?

Just to fend off some expected attacks, I am an Iranian who supports a democratic, secular Iran. I detest the current theocracy and the previous dictatorship of Pahlavi. I think Iranians deserve better than both of those. But that starts with us, and in part with looking at our own heritage with our own eyes, not parroting after Western charlatans and hypocrites.

khalehmosheh

khaleh mosheh

This V person has been at it for a while. Under the name anonymous observer was writing that Hafez was a pedophile now this drivel....

VisforVoy

Visfor Voy Voy! Is an Iranian expression of great frustration. A play on the film and comic book adaptation "V is for Vendetta". Get it? Object to Iran, and put energy into Pragmatic (not reckless, dangerous or foolhardy) Opposition to it.

Look how far off the main issue and point you drift! In order to avoid the slightest risk of saying what is in your heart, what you truly want to say, but your head, which has been brainwashed with 2800 years of automatic servitude to "Power" prevents you from saying.

OK, I'll say it for you, The Cyrus Scroll belongs to Iranians not the British, or Americans, it should not be in ANY foreign museum, and we above all need to heed the semi cryptic instructions on it, of standing up to our continued oppressors, and be a proud AND responsible people for once, capable of even tossing away the Cyrus Scroll, that condemned us to the fate we now exhibit all too willingly.

You may choose to use elaborate references to the mighty Hopi, and bring up the always convenient excuses of American and British conspiracy to undermine Iran in 1953 (Again? VOY!), but at the end of they day, I'll still say, it's on us and only us.

At the end of the day, Iranian ON Iranian violence, oppression, and unreasonable tyranny, is the "Historic Evidence" that is undeniable.

We need to clean our own house and look at ourselves, not dig around like pigs in the mud, desperately looking for the smallest excuse to blame every single betrayal we have incurred to be the fault of others.

Voy!

Samanro

Saman Just Iran and politics.

Yea, ok mr. anarchist.

ghourbagheh

ghourbagheh

My friend, it's ignorant to presume what is in another person's heart and mind at all, much less from an online post. It's also theatrics to condemn me to "2800 years of automatic servitude to Power". There are so many things wrong with that statement!

I gave a qualified reply in as much as an online post would allow. If the discussion was face to face (hopefully accompanied with a glass of Shiraz or a cup of tea), I would be more exact and go into more details.

We do agree on one thing, that the responsibility is ultimately on us, and that we need to get our own act together. Where we differ is the method and thought process that we need to achieve our freedom. You may think that you are thinking free, but you're only dancing to the latest Western tune being trumpeted by two Western "historians" (with questionable motives) and an Iraqi who sounds very much like a 'house slave', to borrow from Malcolm X. I believe that it's time that we stand for ourselves and analyze our own history, examine the evidence through our own lens and not a Western lens. And I DO want us to be unbiased. What I like is no bias, but definitely no Western bias.

You are also to dismissive of US/UK/European aggressions towards Iran and the rest of the world. For 500 years, Europeans have ravaged the planet like a plague leaving behind destitution, poverty, war, slavery, and the worst that a human has done to another human. They have reaped the short term benefits of their acts of aggression and looked to any means to perpetuate their thievery and control. And the worst part is that the victims still aren't awake enough to see colonialism for what it is, in all its forms. Just one recent item, the latest rounds of sanctions against Iran makes it illegal for anyone to carry out any transaction involving Iranian currency. So if you give dollars in US (or Euros in EU) to a friend so that his family could give money in Iran to your relatives, you and your friend are breaking the law! That is outrageous and it's being done because there is a de facto policy to make Iranians second class citizens globally. This is not conspiracy theory. It's a realistic assessment of Western laws and their impact on Iranians. Mind you, if any country deserves the unprecedented sanctions that Iran is subjected to, it's US, UK, Israel, France, Germany. All of them for egregious crimes against humanity committed worldwide.

To get back to history and archeology, you give Western-centric theories a cart blanche. Look at the Aryan Invasion Theory. It was proposed at the height of direct, classical colonialism and by the 1990's it was pretty much rejected. The data just didn't make sense. The Harappan archeological sites, especially Mehrgah, stood in contrast to the European origin of the Indus Valley civilization. Or how about the current debate on the age of the Sphinx. The geological data supported by respected geologists contradicts the archeological and historical theories on the age of that structure by several thousand years. My point is that Western historians and archeologists are dogmatic and have a history of tailoring their theories to go along with the current political views. When colonialism was good, Aryans had invaded and brought civilization to Asia. And now Iran and Iranian are treated worst than the most bloodthirsty criminals; therefore, Cyrus is a despot worried about his self-image.

If anything, you ought to free your mind from its gilded, Western cage!

omeedvar

omeedvar

With friends like Voy, who needs enemies! Contrary to Voy's interpretation of Cyrus the Great Cylinder, most Iranians are proud of this historic artifact which had been kept in London museum for centuries, and they did not know much about it. They feel good when they show it to their children and grand children at the exhibition. They have the same feeling when they see this poem by Sa'adi at the entrance of the United Nations:

"Bani aadam a'zaye yek digarand, ke dar afarinesh ze yek goharand, cho ozvi bdard aavarad roozegar, degar ozvha ra namanad gharar, to kaz mehnat digaran bighami, nashayad ke naamat nahand aadami"

After trying to remove the poverty and miseries of the WWII in Iran, bring peace and security to the country, improve the economy, and promote free national health and modern education; Shah wanted to make people aware of their past history, to be proud of their ancestors, and try to improve the country even further, through the celebration of 2500 years of Iranian history.

However, a bunch of mullahs-bazaries-lefties who found these improvements against their interests, orchestrated a revolution, taking advantage of foreign media, and deceived Iranians before they become aware of their past, and present blessings, compared to other neighboring countries. Therefore, people lost everything they had, especially Iranian women.

A couple of millions of them died in Iran-Iraq war, or by execution. About five million of them have took refuge in other countries, and the rest of them are struggling to obtain some food to survive, while worrying about another war, atomic or else!

In England there is a huge royal industrial complex with sufficient budget, to advertize and promote Royal Family and their their luxury living style, and to take care of their mistakes, such as immoral relation between Charles and Camilla while he was marries to Diana, etc.etc. But when Shah spent a few millions for festivities and celebrations, to make Iranians and the world aware of our glorious past history, he became the subject of ridicule! "Az Maast ke bar Maast!"

VisforVoy

Visfor Voy Voy! Is an Iranian expression of great frustration. A play on the film and comic book adaptation "V is for Vendetta". Get it? Object to Iran, and put energy into Pragmatic (not reckless, dangerous or foolhardy) Opposition to it.

Great poem. God! How I wished it applied to Iran and Iranians in the world today. Sadly, according to your valid quotation of Saadi (Thanks I had forgotten about that one!) and the greater evidence of over 33 years and 35 more before that during the Pahlavi phase of insanity, it doesn't.

Makes my point about the syndrome of congneital Iranian cowardice even more...

"...cho ozvi bdard aavarad roozegar, degar ozvha ra namanad gharar..."

Apparently, once again, Iranian/Persian expressions of humanity, apply to everyone except Iran and Iranians.

So, according to Saadi and now you, if Iran and Iranians have been "...bdard aavarad roozegar..." Iranians have no choice but to "...BEmanad gharar..."

Or, as long as Iranians don't DO anything about their fate, they must remain in misery.

Lovely! Just Lovely!

trawetsdor

trawetsdor


"They have the same feeling when they see this poem by Sa'adi at the entrance of the United Nations..."
I'd appreciate a photo of that entrance showing the inscription of the Sa'adi's poem.

Zendanian

Zendanian An injury to one is an injury to all.

Not sure who's behind this whole speakers' circuit. But this dear V&V sounds a lot like dearly missed Vahid to me.
BTW there's nothing wrong with a critical healthy debate on ancient Iranian history according to latest scholarly works. This rubbish above is just silly and obtuse, just like you know who used to write.

Samanro

Saman Just Iran and politics.

Whether Cyrus destroyed our enemies or freed them, I do not care. I am proud of him and his kind (Nationalists) who made our nation stronger.

VisforVoy

Visfor Voy Voy! Is an Iranian expression of great frustration. A play on the film and comic book adaptation "V is for Vendetta". Get it? Object to Iran, and put energy into Pragmatic (not reckless, dangerous or foolhardy) Opposition to it.

The second part of your comment is more telling. [You] do not care. Congratulations, you are in good company, with a majority of Iranians.

Samanro

Saman Just Iran and politics.

All Im saying is that it doesn't matter what Cyrus did. Im always going to be proud of him and people like him in our history.

trawetsdor

trawetsdor

Voy, voy, voy. Like your name and article. Will you write more?

VisforVoy

Visfor Voy Voy! Is an Iranian expression of great frustration. A play on the film and comic book adaptation "V is for Vendetta". Get it? Object to Iran, and put energy into Pragmatic (not reckless, dangerous or foolhardy) Opposition to it.

Much more to come... wait until I address the "Cho Iran Nabashad, Taneh Man Mabad... great fallacy.

Samanro

Saman Just Iran and politics.

I personally would rather him murder all our enemies anyways.

VisforVoy

Visfor Voy Voy! Is an Iranian expression of great frustration. A play on the film and comic book adaptation "V is for Vendetta". Get it? Object to Iran, and put energy into Pragmatic (not reckless, dangerous or foolhardy) Opposition to it.

My point exactly. You'd rather have someone else stand up for Iran, as long as you don't have to...

Samanro

Saman Just Iran and politics.

You don't know me. I think you're just mad that most Iranians support nationalism rather than whatever youre offering.

Samanro

Saman Just Iran and politics.

Btw, I said this once before. Amelie Khurt and Wouter Henkelman are jews and Zainab Bahrani is an Iraqi arab.