Thursday, July 17, 2008

To National Geographic regarding Iran negitavely portrayed in August 2008 issue

The cover story of your August 2008 issue about Iran, while presenting many excellent pictures, portrays Iran in an inaccurate and negative manner. Given the tradition that National Geographic has of being respectful Iran's history is inaccurately documented, indegenous terms not used like they are for other cultures, and people who are among the dregs of Iranian civilization are quoted.
First, the cover lists the story as "Ancient Iran Inside a Nation's Persian Soul" and makes frequent use of the terms "Persian" and "Persia". The terms "Persian" and "Persia" are a Greco-Roman patronymic for the correct terms "Farsi" and "Fars" for the province from which Kurush ruled and conquered other territories to form the Iranian empire and modern Iran. The misuse of indegenous terms continues, Hakhamanish as Achaemenid, Daryush as Darius, and Kurush as Cyrus, and in the last term you quote on page 49 jendeh ebadi, who's promoting dubious human rights abuse stories has hindered real action on human rights, to use the western Cyrus instead of the indegenous Kurush. The historical inaccuracy continues, your map has the territorial extend for all the Iranian empires, Parthian, Sassanian, Samanid, and Safavid which are mentioned. Though it is good to see Takht-e-Jamshid listed alongside Persepolis on the map the indegenous Darya-e-Fars should be there alongside Persian Gulf. Also the province boundaries are not clear and Mazendaran is mispelled.
Even worse is the regurgitation of the spoon fed myths about 1953 and savak. Mossadeq was NOT the head of government, as under Iran's constitution, which was forced upon Iran by the british and Russians in 1906, the Prime Minister/Vizier Bozorg was simply the head of the Majlis, Iran's legislative branch of government, and had no executive function outside the Majlis. By allowing units of the Iranian army to be placed under his control and allying himself with the Tudeh in a plot to overthrow Iran's legitimate government Mossadeq made himself a criminal. It was Iran's own government which requested CIA and foreign assistance in 1953 to remove that criminal Mossadeq, not some plot of foreign origin as is mentioned on page 65. Even worse you quote kuspedar rezaei, who's magazine over the past 2 years has become an ersatz for other Iranian news sites and built PersianMirror by taking advantage of the work of other writers she freeloaded off of, on page 65 to back up your statements instead of viewing articles there like the ones I published to get a more accurate perspective.
The information about savak on page 66 is inaccurate as well. The creation of savak was proposed by Mossadeq in 1951 but was rejected by Mohammed Reza Shah. After the Mossadeq debacle of 1953 Mohammed Reza Shah authorized the creation of savak in 1953 and it became a fully functional organization in 1957, instructed by british as well as american and isreali instructors, and was initially under the directorship of Teymour Bakhtiar, who tried to use savak to overthrow Mohammed Reza Shah, and despite Mohammed Reza Shah disoosolving savak in 1978 and many savak leaders being executed by the islamic revolutionaries many savak agents continue to work for savama and many savak instructors work abroad, including in america.
The description of taroof is presented inaccurately as well. While there is a polite side to taroof which is described in the article, taroof is also used negatively by people who make presents to someone then use the gifts as an excuse to take advantage of them or attack them.
One last inaccuracy is all the modern countries which were ruled by Iran. They include Iraq, Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikstan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakstan, Oman, Yemen, Bahrain, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Syria, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Pakistan, Lebanon, israel, Palestine, Cyprus, Turkey, Egypt, Sudan, Libya, Bulgaria, and parts of Greece, India, and Russia.
In this day and age when Iran and Iranian civilization is under attack misrepresention of Iran is nothing less than an attack. For a magazine with an excellent reputation for accuracy as National Geographic this lapse is not a welcome one and is as distrubing as the overfocus on Afghanistan and Central Asia in your 2001 Marco Polo feature shortly beofre the invasion and occupation of Afghanistan by america and the instillation of american military bases in Central Asian nations was then. Clean up your act.
Peter Khan Zendran
Author, "Iran; The Lion of War"
Editorial Contibutor Emeritus, PersianMirror


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