• 1 September 2011
  • Posted By Lily Samimi
  • Culture, Human Rights in Iran, Let's Talk Iran

Promoting Global Solidarity & Peace through Art

Iara Lee is filmmaker, activist, and Director of CulturesofResistance.org. In 2008, Iara lived in Iran and supported a number of cultural exchange projects between Iran and the West with the goal of using arts & culture for peaceful democratic change within Iran.

Iara was spoke with us about her time in Iran and her insight on how creative art is being used as an initiative for change within Iran.

Posted By Lily Samimi

    5 Responses to “Promoting Global Solidarity & Peace through Art”

  1. Pirouz says:

    This is all fine and well, but how reasonable is it to expect that the Islamic Republic of Iran will ease up on its security footing when a Western directed cold war is intensifying against it? Not very reasonable, to this objective observer.

    Instead of contributing to the cold war by intentionally demonizing the country so under threat, we should be advocating peace and rapprochement. That is the key to an improvement in ordinary Iranian lives, and to an extent ordinary American lives, also.

  2. Iranian-American says:

    Pirouz, I say this in all seriousness: You should seek help. You have already managed to turn reasonable and thoughtful people away from this otherwise useful blog. You are continually ignored in your questions and requests for polls/evidence, since over and over again you have been given such polls and overwhelming evidence and yet completely ignored them, or you conveniently forget them in a few days time. You’ve been called out repeatedly, you apologize that you “missed it”, and do the same thing two posts later. You keep referring to the same flawed and incomplete evidence and bizarre “experts” (e.g. the Leverett’s- I’m not sure you have anyone else) whose analyses are almost always inconsistant with most known and respected analysts. Vaghan beekaree baba.

    P.S. I recently moved to the Bay area. I see what you mean. It’s horrible here. The lack of free speech, the constant police state, the religious close-mindedness. I don’t know how you do it. Stay strong. I have to go, my GMail just warned me about a fake SSL certificate. I’m pretty sure the US government is monitoring my email.

    To the moderators of this blog: It seems to me you should try to come up with a way that one person can not hijack a blog like this. If you recall, there was a time when people used to actually have discussions here. I realize the solution is not easy since Pirouz does not insult anyone say inappropriate things. He just repeats the same thing, over and over again. I’m not sure what the solution is myself, but it seems like the comment section of this blog has become completely useless.

  3. Pirouz says:

    Iranian-American, you think I’m the reason people have stopped commenting here? I’m not rude or offensive. I think I’m reasonable, and my views are sincere.

    You’re asking for URLS of the polls- again? Don’t blame me if you’re not keeping up. I’ve provided the URLs so many times, I’m not going to do it again. Google, Iran poll World Public Opinion, Iran poll University of Maryland, Iran poll Globescan, Iran poll International peace institute with Charney research.

    Also look up the Brill comprehensive election analysis Iran.

    I like the Bay Area, too. I’m a native. But I’m not chauvinistic about it, especially relative to a developing nation challenged by an externally applied cold war. And I’m not a naturalized citizen, insecure about my nationalities.

    My message has always been American-centric, and that message is peace and rapprochement with the Islamic Republic of Iran. Now I realize that nearly all Iranians in the United States are of a self-exiled background, with all the emotional baggage that comes with it. But I’m not of a self-exiled background, even though I lived and studied in the old country as a teenager. Perhaps the fact that I’m not a self-exile is the reason I’m able to remain objective over the issue of Iran.

    If I had to give a reason for why not so many people are commenting here anymore, I’d guess that the others who did were of that self-exiled background, and became disinterested once it became apparent Iran’s government would not be overthrown (which is what I’vd been saying all along, since the 2009 election).

    By comparison, take a look at the blog run by the LeverettsL Race for Iran. The Leveretts advocate peace and rapprochement toward the Islamic Republic of Iran, and each of their posts generate many hundreds of comments. That should tell you something, I-A.

  4. Iranian-American says:

    I absolutely do think you are the reason people stopped commenting. In fact, many of them would comment on my responses to you that you are not worth having a serious discussion with. You proved them right.

    You are not rude or offensive. While your views may be sincere, I would definitely not call them reasonable.

    I would characterize your views as bordering on dellusion. And from your last comments about your views, I would characterize your views *about* your views as wildly dellusional.

  5. Pirouz says:

    Well, we disagree, I-A.

    But I should point out that commenting has also dropped off at other sites where the editorial content was geared towards an expected successful sedition effort in the Islamic Republic of Iran, such as Tehran Bureau and Enduring America. Meanwhile, commenting at Race for Iran, where US rapprochement efforts toward Iran are advocated, the comment count continues to rise well into the hundreds.

    Putting the responsibility for these trends on me, personally, is absurd.

    Perhaps your suggestion that I am somehow responsible is a display of person frustration over the failed sedition effort of ’09. I don’t know. But I would like to see more persons comment here on this blog. And by the way, I do like the new site layout.

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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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