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Declaration on UN Security Council’s Resolution 2347 In regards to the protection of heritage

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On Friday March 24, 2017, the UN Security Council unanimously adopted resolution 2347 for the protection of heritage, deploring the unlawful destruction of cultural heritage and affirming that such attacks might constitute a war crime and must be brought to justice (1). The resolution can be a serious action against “cultural cleansing” in the Middle East, Asia and Africa.

During the discussions on this action, Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO, calling the resolution a historical document, said that “the destruction of cultural heritage was a war crime and tactic of war, and that defending that heritage was a security imperative”.

As far as Pasargad Heritage Foundation (PHF) is concerned, we consider the passing of this resolution a very hopeful step. PHF has been active in the field of preserving the cultural heritage for 12 years and wrote an open letter to UNESCO 10 years ago (November 2007), suggesting that:

– “UNESCO must become more proactive in its responsibilities and more sensitive to the desires of peoples rather than the governments.

“Although all above proposals require further study and collaboration for making them acceptable and operable, we believe that the time has come for the cultural crimes dealing with human civilization be treated as being not less important than the physical crimes dealing with lives” (2).

 

Now that this historical resolution has been announced, one can hope that UNESCO would go further and substitute the opinion of governments on cultural heritage issues with that of experts and activists in this field who have the support of their people. The reason is that all the totalitarian governments, especially in the Middle East, have shown that the condition of cultural heritage in their countries is of no concern to them, and they rather play an obvious role in the demise of such heritage and consider “cultural cleansing” (of the past) a part of their policies.

Shokooh Mirzadegi

On behalf of the PHF

3.27.2017

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1. http://whc.unesco.org/en/news/1648

2-http://www.savepasargad.com/November/Reform%20in%20UNESCO-English.htm

 

www.wchv.org

International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery

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The United Nations’ (UN) International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade is on March 25 each year. It honors the lives of those who died as a result of slavery or experienced the horrors of the transatlantic slave trade. It is also an occasion to raise awareness about the dangers of racism and prejudice.

The International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade remembers the lives of transatlantic slave trade victims.

What Do People Do?

Various events are held on the International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade. These include memorial services and vigils for those who died in slavery, as a result of the slave trade, or from campaigning to end of slavery. In addition, African-American inspired music is performed and exhibitions of art and poetry inspired during the slave trade era are opened.

This day is also an occasion to educate the public, especially young people, about the effects of racism, slavery and the transatlantic slave trade. Educational events are held in schools, colleges and universities.

Background

About 17 million people were transported against their will from Africa to North, Central and South America during the 16th century and up until the 19th century. Millions more died while being transported to the Americas. This mass deportation and resulting slavery are seen as one of the worst violations of human rights. Some experts believe that its effects are still felt in Africa’s economies.

Slavery was officially abolished in the United States on February 1, 1865. However, racial segregation continued throughout most of the following century and racism remains an important issue today. Hence, the International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade is an occasion to discuss the transatlantic slave trade’s causes, consequences and lessons. It is hoped that this will raise awareness of the dangers of racism and prejudice.

On December 17, 2007, the United Nations General Assembly designated March 25 as the International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade. It was first observed in 2008.

The personality of the year 1396/2017 in the field of “Cultural and Historical Heritage”

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Dr. Youssef Madjidzadeh, an archaeologist, researcher, professor of archeology and art history at several Iranian universities, member of the scientific council of the Journal of archeology and history of “Markaze Nashre Daneshahi”, is selected as the personality of the year 1395, in the field of “Cultural and Historical Heritage”, for:
– His tireless and life-long efforts in preservation of historical and cultural heritage of Iran
– Teaching archeology and art history to many generations of Iranian students
– Directing the excavations in Qazvin Plain and Tepe Qabristan excavations,
– Directing the excavations at Prehistoric Site of Uzbaki in the County of Savojbolagh of Tehran Province.
– Directing the excavations at the Prehistoric Site of Konar sandal in the city of Jiroft in the Kerman province.
– And all of his invaluable research on Iranian history and culture.
Dr. Majidzadeh received his training in pre-historic Mesopotamian archeology from the Oriental Institute of Chicago University and directed research and extensive excavations in Qazvin, Tehran and especially in Kerman. His contribution to the history of Iran is unrivaled. The excavation in Jiroft under his supervision proved that Iran was one of the first cradles of civilization, with urban life and government circa 5000 BC, i.e., long before the pre- Achaemenid period. In addition to his influential role in shedding light to forgotten period of Iranian history, Dr. Majidzadeh’s is a popular figure due to his social life and demeanor. His students, his colleagues and the local people of areas where his excavations have taken place, all believe that he has a humble, esteemed and lovable character and personality.

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Biography of Dr. Youssef Madjidzadeh
Dr. Youssef Madjidzadeh was born in the year 1315 (1936)in Tabriz, and finished his undergraduate education in Tehran. In 1341(1962), he graduated with the degree of B.A. from Tehran University in the field of archeology as the top student. Upon receiving a scholarship he continued with his studies in the field of Near Eastern archeology specializing in prehistoric archeology of Mesopotamia and Iran in the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago in the United States starting in 1344 and graduated with the degree of Ph.D. in 1976 (1355). He started working at Tehran University as assistant professor in the Department of Archaeology and History of Art at the Faculty of Literature and Humanities in 1350 and was promoted to Associate Professor in 1356 (1977). Dr. Madjudzadeh was later elected as the chairman of the Department of Archaeology and History of Art and the director of the Institute of Archaeology at Tehran University. He was also appointed a member of the Council of appointments and promotions of the Faculty of Tehran University during the earlier months of Islamic Revolution for 3 years before he retired in 1367 (1988).
Scientific activities outside the university:
Member of the Scientific Council of the Journal of archeology and history of Markaze Nashre Daneshahi since 1366
Archaeological excavations at Tepe Chogha Mish in the province of Khuzisgtan for three seasons.
Participation in the excavations of Qazvin Plain and the director of Tepe Qabristan for eight seasons.
General Director of the Excavations in Qazvin Plain and the director of the Tepe Qabristan excavations for two seasons.
Director of excavations at Prehistoric Site of Uzbaki in the County of Savojbolagh of Tehran Province from 1377 (1998) to 1381 (2002).
Director of excavations at the Prehistoric Site of Konar sandal in the city of Jiroft in the Kerman province from 1381 (2002) to 1387 (2008).

The list of international technical and scientific publications in English
1. “The Land of Aratta”, Journal of Near Eastern Studies35, No. 2 (1976).
2. “Correction of the Internal Cronology for the Sialk III Period on the Basis of the Pottery Sequence at Tepe Ghabristan”,Iran 16 (1978).
3. “The Development of Pottery Kiln in Iran from Prehistoric to HistoricalPoeriod”,Paleorient 3 (1955-77).
4. “An Early Prehistoric CoppersmithWorkshop at Tepe Ghabristan”,Aktendes VII Internationalen Kongress für Iranische Kunst und Archaologie, 1979.
5. “Sialk III and the Pottery Sequence at Tepe Ghabristan: The Coherence of the Cultures of the Central Plateau of Iran”,Iran19 (1981).
6. “Lapis Lazuli and the Great Khorasan Road”,Paleorient8/1 (1982).  
7. “An Early Industrial Proto-Urban Center On the Central Iranian Plateau:Tepe Ghabristan”, A. Leonard Jr. and B. B. Williams (eds.),Essays in Ancient Civilization Presented to Helene J. Kantor, The Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago(Studies in Ancient Civilization, No. 47) ,Chicago, University of Chicago Press, 1989.
 8. “The Arjan Bowl”,Iran30 (1992)
9. “The Oldest Narrative Pictorial Phrase on a Pottery Vessel from Tappeh Qabristan”, Iranian World, Essays on Iranian Art and Archaeology, Presented to Ezat O. Negahban, eds. A. Alizadeh, Y. Majidzadeh, S. Malek Shahmirzadi, Iran University Press, 1999.
10. “A Sumerian Statue from Khark Island on the Persian Gulf,” in N.F. Miller and K. Abdi, eds., Yeki bud, yeki nabud: Essays on the Archaeology of Iran in Honor of William M. Sumner, Los Angeles, 2003, pp. 152-55.
11. “Les fouilles d’Ozbaki (Iran). Campagnes 1998-2000,”  Paléorient  27/ 1, 2001, pp. 141-145.
12. “Au berceau de la cvilisation Oriéntale,” Archéologia 399, Avril 2003, pp. 36-45.
13. “Un litige à propos d’un achat du Louvre,” Archéologia 405, Novembre 2003, pp. 4-6.
14. “La première campagne de fouilles à Jiroft dans le bassin du Halil Roud (janvier et février 2003),” Jiroft fabuleuse découverte en Iran Dossiers d’Archéologie 287, octobre 2003,  pp. 64-75.
15. Jiroft, the Earliest Oriental Civilization. Cultural Heritage, Handicraft and Tourism Organization, Tehran 2003.
16. “La découverte de Jiroft,”  Jiroft fabuleuse découverte en Iran Dossiers d’Archéologie, n° 287, octobre 2003,  pp. 18-63.
17. “L’ ancêtre des ziggourats à Jiroft,” Archéologia 413, Juillet-Août 2004, pp. 14-25.
with Jean Perrot
18. “Découvertes récentes à Jiroft (sud du plateau iranien),”  Académie des Inscription et Belles-lettres, Comptes Rendus des séances de l’année 2003 (juillet octobre), Paris 2003.
19. “Récentes découvertes à Jiroft (Iran): résultats de la campagne de fouilles excavation 2004,” Académie des Inscription et Belles-lettres, Comptes Rendus des séances de l’année 2004 (juillet octobre), Paris 2004.
20. “L’iconographie des vases et objets en chlorite de Jiroft,” Paléorient 31/2, 2005, pp. 123-152.
21. “À travers l’ornementation des vases et objets en chlorite de Jiroft,” Paléorient 32/1, 2006, pp. 99-112.
The list of publications in English language published in the Journal of Archaeology of Tehran University
1. “The Excavations in Tepe Ghabristan, The First Two Seasons, 1970-71”,Marlik2 (1977).
2. “The Oldest Pictorial Phrase on the Pottery from Tepe Ghabristan”,Surveyand Excavation3(1979).
3. “A Sumerian Fragmentary Statue from Khark,” in Iranian Journal of Archaeology and History, vol. 11, nos. 1-2 (Autumn-Winter 1996 and Spring-Summer 1997, Nos. 21-22), August 1998, p. 2 (in English), pp. 14 (in Farsi), 23 figs.

The personality of the year 1396/2017 for “Preservation of Environment and Natural Heritage”

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Dr. Hossein Sedghi, a hydrologist, geologist, and university professor is selected as the personality of the year 1389, in the field of “Natural Heritage and Environment” for:
– His invaluable efforts in expanding education and awareness of the environmental and natural heritage amongst the people in Iran.
– Training experts in the environmental fields
– Publishing many articles and papers and participating in interviews relevant to the natural heritage.
– Giving timely warnings and notice of changes related to the preservation of Iranian heritage and environment to the authorities and activists.

In the current critical and ever worsening conditions of natural and environmental heritage of Iran, and while most of the activists are either completely absorbed by the governmental agencies or have chosen to be silent, Dr. Hossein Sedghi is one of the rare activist in the field who has continued his activities in both informing the public and also the authorities regarding the damages that are being inflicted to the Iranian heritage. With the courage and honesty that is expected from a distinguished expert, and with keen and educated observation, Dr. Sedghi has warned and explained about the catastrophic conditions that have developed in Uromieh, Khuzestan and many other parts of Iran.

Archeologists discover statue in Cairo slum

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Archaeologists in Egypt discovered a massive statue in a Cairo slum earlier this month as reported by a number of news outlets.  The experts believe that the statute may be of Ramses II, one of the ancient Egypt’s most famous and longest ruling pharaohs.

As reported a large portion of the head of the statute was pulled from mud and groundwater by a bulldozer was around eight meters (26 feet) high.  The large portion of the head which was removed from the ground was near a street market in the slums of Cairo.  However, the experts believe that it will be very difficult to excavate the area further as there are structures and buildings where people live.

The team of German-Egyptian archaeologists have said that this is an impressive find.  Ramses II, who took the throne in his early 20s as the third pharaoh of the 19th Dynasty, ruled Egypt more than 3,000 years ago. He is credited with expanding ancient Egypt’s reach as far as modern Syria to the east and modern Sudan to the south. The expansion earned him the title “Ramses the Great.”   Historians believe that Ramses II ruled Egypt for 60 years and besides his military exploits is known for being a great builder whose image can be seen at a string of sites across the country. Massive statues of the warrior-king can be viewed in Luxor, and his most famous monument is in Abu Simbel, near Sudan.

In November last year, Egyptian archeologists discovered a village and cemetery used by officials tasked with building royal tombs. The findings at the site some 250 miles (390 kilometers) south of Cairo included 15 large tombs dating back to the Early Dynastic Period, more than 4,500 years ago.

Happy Nowruz – March 20, 2017

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Nowruz is first day of Spring and the beginning of the Iranian year.  Nowruz is celebrated on the day of the vernal equinox, on 20th March or the previous / following day depending on where it is celebrated.  Nowruz is celebrated and observed by Iranian people as well as several other countries across Asia including Afghanistan, Turkey, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Tajikistan and many more.   The new year starts at the moment the Sun crosses the celestial equator and equalizes night and day or exactly when the Earth has completed one cycle around the Sun.

The celebration has its roots in Ancient Iran. Due to its antiquity, there exist various foundation myths for Nowruz in Iranian mythology.  The Shahnameh dates Nowruz as far back to the reign of Jamshid, who in Zoroastrian texts saved mankind from a killer winter that was destined to kill every living creature.  In the Shahnameh and Iranian mythology, Jamshid is credited with the foundation of Nowruz.  In the Shahnama,  Jamshid constructed a throne studded with gems. He had demons raise him above the earth into the heavens; there he sat on his throne like the sun shining in the sky. The world’s creatures gathered in wonder about him and scattered jewels around him, and called this day the New Day or Now-Ruz. This was the first day of the month of Farvardin (the first month of the Persian calendar).   On Nowruz, families gather together to observe the rituals and celebrate the beginning of the new year.

In addition, it is believed that originally the celebration was the holiest Zoroastrian festival, and Nowruz is believed to have been invented by Zoroaster himself, although there is no clear date of origin.  Since the Achaemenid era, the official year has begun with the New Day when the Sun leaves the zodiac of Pisces and enters the zodiacal sign of Aries, signifying the Spring Equinox.

International Nowruz Day was proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly, in its resolution A/RES/64/253 of 2010, at the initiative of several countries that share this holiday (Afghanistan, Albania, Azerbaijan, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, India, Iran (Islamic Republic of), Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkey and Turkmenistan.

 

International Women’s Day (8 March)

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International Women’s Day (March 8) is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity.

International Women’s Day (IWD) has been observed since in the early 1900’s – a time of great expansion and turbulence in the industrialized world that saw booming population growth and the rise of radical ideologies. International Women’s Day is a collective day of global celebration and a call for gender parity. No one government, NGO, charity, corporation, academic institution, women’s network or media hub is solely responsible for International Women’s Day. Many organizations declare an annual IWD theme that supports their specific agenda or cause, and some of these are adopted more widely with relevance than others.

“The story of women’s struggle for equality belongs to no single feminist nor to any one organization but to the collective efforts of all who care about human rights,” says world-renowned feminist, journalist and social and political activist Gloria Steinem. Thus International Women’s Day is all about unity, celebration, reflection, advocacy and action – whatever that looks like globally at a local level. But one thing is for sure, International Women’s Day has been occurring for well over a century – and continue’s to grow from strength to strength.