• 23 March 2009
  • Posted By Patrick Disney
  • Culture, Diplomacy

Norooz Resolution update, with new updates

The resolution honoring Norooz, introduced last week by Rep. Honda (D-CA), has already attracted 25 cosponsors.  After President Obama’s historic video address on the occasion of Norooz, Congress should follow up with their own message to the Iranian people.

Write your representative today and support H.Res. 267, the Norooz Resolution!

update: Rep. Honda’s Norooz message:

[vodpod id=Groupvideo.2261187&w=425&h=350&fv=%26rel%3D0%26border%3D0%26]
update 2: Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) and Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) both delivered floor speeches yesterday marking Norooz.  Full text below the fold.





Monday, March 23, 2009

Mrs. MALONEY. Madam Speaker, I rise today in support of Nowruz, which marks the traditional Iranian New Year and dates back more than 3,000 years. Nowruz, literally meaning “new day,” celebrates the arrival of spring and occurs on the vernal equinox which this year happened on Friday, March 20th.

Through the ages Nowruz has provided the occasion for renewal and rejuvenation, displaying new resolve in settling old issues, and making new beginnings. Nowruz celebrates the core of our common humanity and our relation to Mother Nature. Although colored with vestiges of Iran’s Mazdian and Zoroastrian past, Nowruz celebration is neither religious nor national in nature, nor is it an ethnic celebration. Muslim, Jewish, Zoroastrian, Baha’i, and Christian Iranians as well as many other peoples celebrate Nowruz with the same enthusiasm and sense of belonging.

As an original cosponsor of H. Res. 267, which recognizes the cultural and historical significance of Nowruz, I am pleased that we are using this occasion to reflect on the many contributions Iranian Americans have made to our society. I am proud of the ethnically diverse district that I represent and greatly appreciate all that Iranian Americans have added to the rich and varied culture of New York City.

Recognizing the cultural and historical significance of Nowruz and in its observance, I want to wish Iranian Americans and all those who observe this holiday a happy and prosperous new year.





Monday, March 23, 2009

Mr. WAXMAN. Madam Speaker, I would like to take this opportunity to recognize Nowruz, a traditional Persian holiday taking place this week that celebrates the arrival of spring.

Dating back more than 3,000 years, Nowruz is observed by millions of people of Persian descent in the United States, Iran, Iraq, Central Asia, and many other regions of the world. The two-week holiday symbolizes renewal, health, happiness, and prosperity. The holiday’s ecumenical values are celebrated by adherents of many religions including Islam, Judaism, Zorastrianism, and the Bahai’i faith. It is considered a special time to share with family and friends and honor cultural traditions.

Here in the United States, Nowruz serves to remind us of the many noteworthy and lasting contributions of Iranian-Americans to the social and economic fabric of American society. I am pleased to join Iranian-Americans in my congressional district and others around the country and around the world in honoring this special occasion.

Posted By Patrick Disney

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Sign the Petition


7,350 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.



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