Thursday, October 06, 2005

World's First Postage Stamp

Tehran, 6 October, 2005 (
CHN) -- The first postage stamp with the picture of Rumi has been published by Syria, to be followed by Iran, turkey, and Afghanistan by end of March 2006.

"Following the visit of director of the Post Company of Iran to Turkey, some negotiations were conducted for publishing a shared stamp between the two countries. Then Syria and Afghanistan announced their willingness to share in the publishing of this stamp, and finally it was decided to publish a share stamp with the picture of Rumi in the four countries of Iran, Syria, Turkey, and Afghanistan," said Mohamadreza Arab, head of the public relations office of Ministry of Information and Communication Technology of Iran.

Arab explain about the design of this stamp: "Following the mutual agreements, representatives of Turkey, Syria, and Afghanistan came to Iran and together they chose three designs of Rumi's portrait, his tomb, and Sama dance for the memorial stamp." Each country publishes the stamp with its own name and national features.

Now Syria has published the stamp and sent a sample of it to the Post Office of Iran. This stamp is actually the world's first stamp with Rumi's picture on it.

According to Arab, these stamps are displayed in the stamp exhibition of Konya for his birthday commemoration and the performance of Sama dances.

Jalal ad-Din Mohammad Rumi, also known as Mowlana (1207-1273 CE), is a Persian poet famous all around the world for his mystic Sufi words, focused on unity, and the longing to reunite with the primal root. His major work Masnavi Manavi is still a favorite among not only Iranians but many people around the world, inspiring artists, poets, writers, philosophers, and his general public followers from every generation.

Monday, August 22, 2005


The Silk Road,
The Road of War?

The Silk Road, is a real Road of Silk, road of trade, travel and cultural encounters, when there is peace. When there are strong governments. For which many countries, cities, towns and oasis are proud of being on this route.

Instability and lack of security is the enemy of silk and Silk Road. The Asian countries, from Japan, China, India to Iran and Central Asian countries seem to be aware of this.

From calling a pipeline, "Peace Pipeline" to "Promotion of Tourism Between Asian Countries", all are the signs of such awareness.

.... And this is just the beginning.

China is going to declare Iran as a tourist destination which is a great step in cultural understanding. We read that tourism between India and Iran is slowly on the rise, a level of connection and communication which has been long due. Central Asian countries are in favor of any project, from cultural to industrial for reconnecting them to their neighbors; which wer cut off for seventy years along the borderline of former Soviet Union. The good sign from the new Central Asian is their efforts in the last 15 years to translate literature of neighboring countries and introducing new majors in the universitie for knowing more about their neighbors.

Today I was reading about the joint effort of Iranian and Japanese Archeologists to trace Budhism along Silk Road.

Let's hope that the Peace, Security and Friendship along this old route, "The Silk Road" becomes more and more a source of Cultural Understanding.

In many countries on the silk road route, from Iran to Japan, there are permanent exhibitions on silk road. Here are some "Treasures of the Silk Road" at the Edo-Tokyo Museum:

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Encyclopædia IRANICA

In my webpages, whenever I needed a reliable source, I found Iranica the best place to start with. Unfortunately from the possible 25 to 30 volume only eleven have been published and part of it is made available on the Internet:
--Siamak D. Ahi

What is IRANICA?

The Encyclopædia Iranica is a multi-disciplinary reference work and research tool designed to record the facts of Iranian history and civilization. In fact, it is the only precisely documented reference work on the lands, life, culture and history of all Iranian peoples and their interaction with other societies. It is to benefit scholars, students, as well as intelligent general readers.

From the biographies of notable men and women in every field of endeavor to descriptions of all Iranian cities and monuments (ancient and modern), from oil installations to major banks, from Zoroastrian scriptures to Jewish shrines to Islamic rituals, from Persian classics to modern novels, from Iranian flora and fauna to Persian music and folklore, from philosophy and mysticism and Persian calligraphy to Persian and Afghan architecture, no aspect of life in Iranian and related cultural areas is neglected.


The overall responsibility for preparing the material for the Encyclopædia rests with the Editor. He is seconded by an Associate Editor, a Managing Editor, and two Assistant Editors, each a highly trained specialist in one aspect of Iranian studies. An International Advisory Committee comprised of eminent scholars from countries where Iranian studies flourish, and a group of 44 Consulting Editors, as well as a number of specialized consultants assist in implementing the editorial policy. Articles are translated, edited, harmonized, and cross-referenced according to exacting editorial guidelines, unique among multi-volume reference works, combining precision and reliability with a concise, readable style.

Encyclopædia Iranica is a Columbia University project and is prepared by its Center for Iranian Studies.
Since 1979, the Encyclopaedia has been supported as a "major project" by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), the foremost sponsor of educational, academic and research projects in the US.

Encyclopædia Iranica is a historic undertaking: the most extensive compendium ever conceived on the past and present culture of the people who speak an Iranian language and their contribution to the broader history of human civilization. In fact it is the only precise and reliable reference work on the lands, life, culture and history of all Iranian peoples and their interaction with other societies.

To ensure the completion of this monumental work the Encyclopaedia Iranica Foundation has been established since 1989. Partially supported by the NEH, the ongoing publication of the Encyclopædia Iranica is made possible by donations from institutions and individuals to either Columbia University or the Foundation, both tax exempt organizations.

To find out how you can help with an ongoing research project which is designed to promote the study of Persian history and culture please
click here.

Editor Ehsan Yarshater Professor Ehsan Yarshater is the Hagop Kevorkian Professor Emeritus of Iranian Studies at Columbia University and Director of its Center for Iranian Studies.
He has authored and served as the editor of numerous scholarly works. Among others he has authored Persian Poetry in the Second Half of the 15th Century (1953), Southern Tati Dialects (1970), and has edited the third volume of Cambridge History of Iran, in two parts, covering the Seleucid, Parthian and Sasanian periods (1983,1986), and Persian Literature (1988). He is the General Editor of the 40-volume Tabari Translation Project, and the Founding Editor of the Persian Text Series, the Persian Heritage Series and the Persian Studies Series. Lecture series in his name have been instituted at Harvard, the University of London, and the University of California at Los Angeles

The Beautiful pictures here are taken from Iranica Gala

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Hafiz : Master and Slave, "Der Herr und Der Knecht"

.......................................................................... Hafiz

Master and Slave
Der Herr Und Der Knecht

I am Slave;

of efforts
of the one,

Who is Free;

from what is,
dyed in

‘Chain of Belonging’.

-Under the Wheel.*

Translation of a line of a poem by Hafiz, is what I feel committed to do. Just because I used it as headline for introducing this Page, and because of Readers who cannot read in Persian.

Translations of Hafiz can vary, not only because of transferring the concepts and meanings, or loosing its Persian music, but also because of the way you write it in English.

This line, after translation, reminded me on a well-debated philosophical piece. The Hegel’s famous work Der Herr und Der Knecht, “Master and Slave“. …So, I used it as the title. There is quite a deep difference between Hegel, raised with cultural heritage of slavery, and Hafiz who just heard of slavery. (the origial form of translation couldn't appear here, because of software limitations) --Siamak D. Ahi 7.23.05

* Since in different editions of Hafiz, turning “Wheel” of universe, is 1) described as being boland, (high), or kabood, (gray), and 2) It goes with the meaning , and my taste, I didn’t include it in translation.
If the readers like to include boland or kabood in translation, can read: 1) “-Under Gray Turning Wheel,” or; 2) "-Under High Turning Wheel,” or any other versions of it.
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Sunday, July 17, 2005

Iran, Susa, 2100 B.C.

Narundi and Arundhati

Alcor, the small star near zeta Ursae Majoris or Sapta Rshis, is known in India as Arundhati.

There is a correspondance in the Akkado-Susian (Elamite) Narundi, sister of the Sibitti, the "Seven", known as such since Babylonian times.There is a statue in the Louvre Museum of earth goddess Narundi dated from the time of Elamite king Puzur-Inshushinak, near 2100 B.C. Her cult was already known to the Akkadian predecessor.

We have also the Seven Wise Ones who laid the foundation of Uruk in the Gilgamesh epic in which Enkidu also prophecies to the goddess of wine of eternity, named Siduri Sabitu (seven) who had lured him into the city: "the wife, the mother of seven, shall be forsaken."

Are Narundi, split perhaps as Na-rundi, and A-rundhati also etymologically connected?



Sculpture:Empire de Puzur-Inshushinak
Material : LimestoneDate : near 2100 B.C.
Artist :
Time of : Puzur-Inshushinak
Place : Louvre MuseumIran
Rerelated : Suse (Elam)
Acquisition : Fouilles J. de Morgan (1907)

Friday, July 15, 2005

Reichstag on Fire
Part Three

The New Reichstag and
German Identity

By: Siamak D. Ahi

I don't use the words like "Remodelling" or "Renovation", I write about the "New Reichstag" . The "New" building is not a continuation of the old one at all. Even though a major part of the buildings are the same. The final product resists to resemble the old one.

The main part of the roof, the new dome, neither in proportions, nor in respecting elements and materials, nor transparency and reflection has anything to do with resemblance of the "Old Reichtag". Instead, what was once sitting on top of parliament, is now flying from the top.

A rchitects around the world can see many careful renovations of old buildings these days. There are thousands of of examples of careful renovations these days. Careful renovation of less important buildings, less expensive ones, with less viewers.

ir Foster has a great ability in creating architectural and engineering products. What is wrong here is the concept of treating history. Parliament, as a great achievement of every nation, is usually surrounded by "Positive Energy" and "Optimism", because people believe they can do it toghether. People have more "Trust" in each other. What they build is the sum of such positive energy and trust.

Only because of the great social attention to Parliaments, they are preserved carefully. They are used in the same old form and style longer than most buildings.

Reichtag didn't have the chance to be used for a long time. But it was still the product of social consciousness and trust. Not the product of war, destruction and distrust. This is the missing part in the concept of "New Reichstag".

If Sir Foster missed this point, why the others didn't mention it. Perhaps the Germans themselves missed the point. Perhaps they used temporary post-war building instead for too long. Perhaps they have given up Berlin as a capital city for too long. Perhaps they forgot the original positive energy. They apparently forgot Reichstag's role in shaping the German Collective Identity.

Instead the "New Reichstag" is comfortable with renovation of Destruction and War. What is destroyed and missing, is more celebrated than what was remained from "Old Reichstag".

The highest part of the buildings, the dome, has a long history of being celebrated as engineering advancement, signature of certain style and providing new dimensions, space and charachter for people below it.

When the dome is ignored. The charachter of building can go with it. This is what happened here to the "Old Reicstag". The most important element and charachteristic signiture of the "Old Reichstag" was replace by a "Fake Dome from Disneyland"....!?

I f the dome fails, the architects fail...! This time if not because of mastering building construction technologies but because of lack of mastering "Building History, Traditon and Identity".

Disrespecting the old architecture of Reichstag, particularly in this magnitude, is not an architectural tradition. It is rather the reflection of "War and Destruction".

Michelangelo finished St. Peter's Basilica, the Bramante's work, some 500 years ago in 16th century. If his way of treating Bramante's work was not a good example for the gang of architects in Berlin. Couldn't they find any other example, from the times before or after St. Peter's experience. Where and when an old building is treated so brutally by architects? ....

Unfortunately and ironically this particular one is being displayed twenty four hours a day, seven days a weeks on TVs for millions of people around the world....

W hat an architectural message...!?

Weren't there in Berlin, not long ago during Internatioal Building Exhibition (IBA), architects who compared Georges Pompidu Center in Paris to Schlakhterei...?

Now, what can they say about their own Reichstag?

To be continued...

part one:
part two:

Reichstag on Fire
Part Two

The new Reichstag and
German Identity

By: Siamak D. Ahi

This part is dedicated to reminders of the past and global impotance of Reichstag.

Destruction of a Parliament building to this extent is rare globally.

A historical moment of WWII. Defeat of Hitler is celebrated on the ruins of Reichstag.
But Reichstag was destroyed years before WWII. Ironically, also after the war, this symbol of German Parliament stood empty on the most dangerous spot on earth in cold war era.

Standing exactly on the frontline of East and West superpowers for half a century, Reichstag suffered greatly from politics nationally and internationally as well.

Does the "New Reichstag" express the unparalleld global importance of Reichstag? Can it convey the historical message of Reichstag to Germans? Does it serve the healing of German Collective Identity?

part one:
part three:

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Reichstag on Fire
Part One

The New Reichstag and
Greman Identity

By: Siamak D. Ahi

Whoever put Reichstag on fire, where I believe Hitler himself is to blame, was comfortable with destroying an important part of German Identity.

What kind of German would do that...?

Reichstag was built in 1892, a symbol of German Parliament. The German Parliament was founded in 1871. It took 20 years to build the symbol of "German Collective Identity". It was destroyed in 1933 fire and suffered damages during the WWII. It stayed Silent for half a century on the border of two worlds, the two superpowers.

This Symbol of German Collective identity has not been in practice for 60 years...!!!

After 60 years of silence, Reichstag again, became active to play a role in German Collective Identity. Does this new version of Reichstag symbolize the original cause of 130 years ago? Does it resemble the original German Ideas of parliament? Does it reflect the German traditions and way of life? ....After all, this building is a major symbol of German Nation.

Germans lost Reichstag once for sixty years.
This time they may loose it forever...!

Who is to be blamed this time?

To be continued...

part two:
part three:
For more information;