• 5 September 2008
  • Posted By Patrick Disney
  • 0 Comments
  • Election 2008, Presidential 2008 Elections

A Day in the Life…

Now that the convention proceedings are finished, things are markedly slowed down for everyone here in Minnesota, and we have time to go into some details we may have missed in earlier posts.  If you’ve never attended a major party’s convention, let me give you an idea of what’s involved for the most dedicated participants:

Imagine waking up for a breakfast event at 8am (though if you’re like most of the people we talked to, you might have slept through this one) where you’ll sip coffee and try to stay conscious through some presentation brought to you by corporate sponsors.  Then you’ll head over to downtown St. Paul where all the real action is.  (You can tell how close you are to all the events by counting the number of police in soft riot gear and the number of protestors in…well, anything you you could possibly imagine.)  

Walking past the MSNBC stage with Chris Matthews and Rachel Maddow talking about the latest news and analysis, you’d probably head into the Ordway Center to hear a panel discussion on national security in the 21st century.  After hanging around the post-event reception, shaking hands and passing out business cards, you’d make your way across the street to a swanky hotel for the first of probably three or four cocktail parties during this day, where you’d listen to impromptu speeches and talk to anyone and everyone about what kind of work you do.  (Notice that none of this time is spent eating full meals, or anything that could even pass for actual food–it’s strictly finger foods and desserts all week long).

With the right connections, you’d then be handed your credentials to get into the convention hall for that evening’s speeches–a nice chance to rest your weary legs and listen to the political elites addressing the nation.  But as soon as that’s over, it’s off to the after parties where you’ll find anything that could pass for dinner amid the hob-nobbing, glad-handing, and drinking.  This is where the real connections are made–people go to these to have a good time but also to meet people who can become good partners on work in the future.  Lots of fund-raising deals are made here, and future business ventures are planned out, with the occasional friendship formed along the way.  This goes on until 4 or 5 in the morning sometimes, after which you collapse into bed, only to do it all again tomorrow! 

Which is probably why they only have these things once ever four years!

Posted By Patrick Disney

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Sign the Petition

 

7,349 signatures

Tell Google: Stop playing Persian Gulf name games!

May 14, 2012
Larry Page
Chief Executive Officer
Google Inc.
1600 Amphitheatre Parkway
Mountain View, California 94043

Dear Mr. Page:

It has come to our attention that Google has begun omitting the title of the Persian Gulf from its Google Maps application. This is a disconcerting development given the undisputed historic and geographic precedent of the name Persian Gulf, and the more recent history of opening up the name to political, ethnic, and territorial disputes. However unintentionally, in adopting this practice, Google is participating in a dangerous effort to foment tensions and ethnic divisions in the Middle East by politicizing the region’s geographic nomenclature. Members of the Iranian-American community are overwhelmingly opposed to such efforts, particularly at a time when regional tensions already have been pushed to the brink and threaten to spill over into conflict. As the largest grassroots organization in the Iranian-American community, the National Iranian American Council (NIAC) calls on Google to not allow its products to become propaganda tools and to immediately reinstate the historically accurate, apolitical title of “Persian Gulf” in all of its informational products, including Google Maps.

Historically, the name “Persian Gulf” is undisputed. The Greek geographer and astronomer Ptolemy referencing in his writings the “Aquarius Persico.” The Romans referred to the "Mare Persicum." The Arabs historically call the body of water, "Bahr al-Farsia." The legal precedent of this nomenclature is also indisputable, with both the United Nations and the United States Board of Geographic Names confirming the sole legitimacy of the term “Persian Gulf.” Agreement on this matter has also been codified by the signatures of all six bordering Arab countries on United Nations directives declaring this body of water to be the Persian Gulf.

But in the past century, and particularly at times of escalating tensions, there have been efforts to exploit the name of the Persian Gulf as a political tool to foment ethnic division. From colonial interests to Arab interests to Iranian interests, the opening of debate regarding the name of the Persian Gulf has been a recent phenomenon that has been exploited for political gain by all sides. Google should not enable these politicized efforts.

In the 1930s, British adviser to Bahrain Sir Charles Belgrave proposed to rename the Persian Gulf, “Arabian Gulf,” a proposal that was rejected by the British Colonial and Foreign offices. Two decades later, the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company resurrected the term during its dispute with Mohammad Mossadegh, the Iranian Prime Minister whose battle with British oil interests would end in a U.S.-sponsored coup d'état that continues to haunt U.S.-Iran relations. In the 1960s, the title “Arabian Gulf” became central to propaganda efforts during the Pan-Arabism era aimed at exploiting ethnic divisions in the region to unite Arabs against non-Arabs, namely Iranians and Israelis. The term was later employed by Saddam Hussein to justify his aims at territorial expansion. Osama Bin Laden even adopted the phrase in an attempt to rally Arab populations by emphasizing ethnic rivalries in the Middle East.

We have serious concerns that Google is now playing into these efforts of geographic politicization. Unfortunately, this is not the first time Google has stirred controversy on this topic. In 2008, Google Earth began including the term “Arabian Gulf” in addition to Persian Gulf as the name for the body of water. NIAC and others called on you then to stop using this ethnically divisive propaganda term, but to no avail. Instead of following the example of organizations like the National Geographic Society, which in 2004 used term “Arabian Gulf” in its maps but recognized the error and corrected it, Google has apparently decided to allow its informational products to become politicized.

Google should rectify this situation and immediately include the proper name for the Persian Gulf in Google Maps and all of its informational products. The exclusion of the title of the Persian Gulf diminishes your applications as informational tools, and raises questions about the integrity and accuracy of information provided by Google.

We strongly urge you to stay true to Google’s mission – “to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful” – without distorting or politicizing that information. We look forward to an explanation from you regarding the recent removal of the Persian Gulf name from Google Maps and call on you to immediately correct this mistake.

Sincerely,

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