• 2 October 2009
  • Posted By Michelle Moghtader
  • Events in Iran, Human Rights in Iran, Iran Election 2009

“Ahmadi, Israel, Congratulations on your Marriage!”

While metro trains in the US are normally filled with the sound of music leaking from iPods, Iran’s are filled with political chants. Seen here in Tehran’s metro system, (yes, they have a metro system, a very advanced one I might add) are people chanting, “Ahmadi, Israel, congratulations on your marriage!” Followed by, “Basjis, Israel, congratulations on your marriage!” During the protests following the election, Basijis were called “Israelis” by other Iranians, because they responded to small attacks, people throwing rocks, with a disproportionate amount of force and guns.

There are a few lone voices chanting, “Death to Israel,” but those don’t seem to take hold. They are probably from Ahmadinejad supporters unhappy with the predominant chant. At the end, the tried and true “Death to Dictator” is chanted. Despite Ahmadinejad’s strong words against the state of Israel, many Iranians seem to see them as one and the same.

Posted By Michelle Moghtader

    3 Responses to ““Ahmadi, Israel, Congratulations on your Marriage!””

  1. Someone says:

    Hah. Great stuff! Claims to be from Sept 18th, Quds Day.

    Btw, they finally end not with “Marg bar Diktator” = “Down with the dictator” but rather “Marg bar jire-khor” = “Down with the the receiver of payoffs”*.

    * Maybe someone can offer a better translation of “jire-khor” I was only going based on Google’s translation of “jire” as “noun 1. allotment 2. livery 3. ration”

  2. Pirouz says:

    The significance of this video is not that there are marg bar dictador chants being staged inside a metro car with a phone video camera. This is obviously staged. The real significance is that ordinary people in the car, from out of the blue, actually offer up pro-Ahmadinejad chants.

    Iran is politically divided, especially in Tehran. But the World Public Opinion poll results show that this division is heavily tilted toward the pro-government faction.

    This may be a sort of “silent majority”, the kind of which Nixon referred to here in America, during a time of massive demonstrations and street violence during the ’60s and early ’70s.

    NIAC should really be taking that into consideration.

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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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