• 3 November 2009
  • Posted By Matt Sugrue
  • Culture, Events in Iran

The Bakhtiari Alphabet Documentary

Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, Connecticut is screening “The Bakhtiari Alphabet,” a documentary that follows the nomadic Bakhtiari tribe. The Bakhtiari are located in southwestern Iran. The film is directed by filmmaker Reza Ghadiani and Professor Cima Sedigh. According to a press release for the film,

“The Bakhtiari Alphabet” was created over the course of 7 years in the remote and mountainous regions of Iran, where the Bakhtiari live and migrate. Over that time, Dr. Sedigh lived with the nomadic tribe anywhere from a few weeks to a few months each year, studying their geography, history, economy, politics and culture. The film reveals both the struggle and humanity of this rapidly disappearing culture.

The screening will take place Friday, November 6th at the Schine Auditorium.


Posted By Matt Sugrue

    21 Responses to “The Bakhtiari Alphabet Documentary”

  1. One NIAC Member says:

    Matt; Thank you for posting this info. I am a Bakhtiari descendent who has been looking for information on my ancestral history and culture for a long time. This sounds like a fantastic place to start. Thank u again.

  2. Dordaneh Maleki says:

    to the producer of this documentary: Thank you for your strenghth, perseverance and love of Iran. Thank you for bringing the beauty of our culture and bakhtiaries into our daily lives.

  3. Kyle Olson says:

    Does no one watch the film ‘Grass: A Nation’s battle for life?’ anymore? Either way, should provide a pretty interesting basis for comparison; Iran has changed quite a bit since a couple orientalists rode a wagon from Istanbul to Khuzistan to find the ‘Forgotten People’ and climb Zardeh Kuh with Haidar and the Bakhtiaris in the 20s. Regardless, the tone of the film seems strangely familiar… maybe so much hasn’t changed with regard to the way nomadic peoples are romanticized. Either way, it looks good and I will try to find it when it is released.

  4. ali a says:

    Of course Grass is a seminal film. I think it is the FIRST documentary. If you have not seen it go and find it. I once saw GRASS on TV (AMC) and was so taken that I immediately tracked down the distributor in New York to get a copy. He also suggested the follow up film to Grass which is called “The People of the Wind”. It was done in the late 70’s. The current film is the third in the series………

  5. Lois Libby says:

    The brilliant and colorful life of the Baktiere are well represented in the film. It engaged all of my senses intrigued me to know more about these people, their mores, and their philosophy.

  6. adriana says:

    great and detailed insight into the bakhtiari’s life.

    You should be rewarded for the time and physical/financial effort that you put into the making of this documentary.
    Today, worldwide, there are just a few people like you…….people that go beyond their means to show us that there is a life outside of the daily “needs and wants”…..
    Finally, I also commend you for dedicating your life to education and charity….two of the most noble causes on earth…..you are an inspiration to all of us.

  7. Kevin Sowti says:

    A superb educational experience; an amazing work of art, and a pleasure to watch. I am humbled by the amount of work, dedication, knowledge professor Sedigh has but in this documentary.

  8. Veronica Hart says:

    Vividly captures the ancient ways of a contemporary, indigenous tribe — masterful photography, rich sound — brilliant!

  9. sondra melzer says:

    A powerful and haunting portrayal of survival in a world little known to us. An evocative study of family, friendship and the vicissitudes of survival of nomadic life.

  10. Christina F says:

    Wow! What a powerful piece about a part of the world that I was unfamiliar with until this video. This is a great educational movie. The video must have taken a lot of hard work and it certainly paid off.

  11. Samantha M says:

    Cima, I just wanted to thank you for opening my eyes to an extraordinary culture I knew nothing about before seeing your documentary. Your film wonderfully captures the lives of these nomadic people and portrays the strength of this mirgrating tribe. It is obvious how much hard work went into putting this film together so congratulation on such an amazing accomplishment.

  12. Tara Siemieniewicz says:

    This documentary is an extrodinary portrayal of Cima’s dedication and willingness to educate the world about different cultures. Focusing on these nomadic people in particular gives all of us a different perspective on not only the lives of the Bakhtiari people, but into our own lives as well. I want to thank you for committing yourself to teaching the importance of gaining multicultural perspectives and showing us that if we are passionate about something, we can truly make a difference. Your work and teaching is truly inspiring and I thank you for all that you have done and are sharing with the world.

  13. s.karimi says:

    The Bakhtiari Alphabet Documentary movie is one of the wounderful and great educational and artistic movie which introduce’s and show the life and the culture of the Bakhtiari’s tribe of Iran.you should be rewarded for your perseverance and your love to human beings.

  14. Xela501 says:

    I am not knowledgeable in this area, and this film looks intriguing. I look forward to seeing it 🙂

  15. Henna says:

    Very original.

  16. Maryann says:

    The trailer held my attention and was extremely interesting. I cannot wait to see the film in its entirety

  17. Alison Hart says:

    Powerful and inspiring work of art! A revealing look at an extraordinary culture. Your dedication and passion is not only commendable but apparent in everything that you do. You’re an inspiration to us all!

  18. Brendan says:

    I watched this film when it showed at SHU, and it is every bit as intriguing and exciting as it looks in this trailer. Cima spared no time or expense in bringing the life of the Bakhtiari into perspective for a whole new world. Like many in the audience, I would have never been aware of these traditional people and their incredible lifestyle if not for Cima’s work. Thank you Cima! Your dedication is appreciated.

  19. Susan Dowd says:

    I saw this film at Sacred Heart and was captured by the beautiful scenery. The film shows the migration of the Bakhtiari people and the challenges they face in educating their children. I found it so interesting I purchased a copy to share with my children. Beautifully done and very enlightening.

  20. Jennifer Hernandez says:

    Following seven years of in-depth educational research in Iran, Professor Cima Sedigh announces the presentation of her documentary, The Bakhtiari Alphabet, in conjunction with The George Washington University and Georgetown University`s Iranian Cultural Societies. The film will be presented on February 27, 2010 at 7:30pm in the Amphitheater of The George Washington University.


  21. Eynard says:

    Trying to make contact with Bakhtiari people who would consider people with the same eponymous Fereydun
    In despair.

Leave a Reply

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

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.



Share this with your friends: