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The Priceless Heritage of Cyrus the Great for Iranian People

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Statement of Pasargad Heritage Foundation on Cyrus Day, Oct. 29, 2017.

For the fifteenth year we are approaching the Cyrus Day on October 29th which is the anniversary of the day when Cyrus the Great announced his Declaration of Human Rights on a clay cylinder. The occasion is celebrated by many people in and outside Iran. After many centuries, the Iranians have come to recognize the unique values of a great historical personality belonging to their motherland. They gather at his tomb and adjacent city and give tribute to his name and memory. These activities highlight the importance of this event and Cyrus Day. It is an important event which reflects the natural inclination of Iranian people in celebrating this day.

The reason behind this vast attention to Cyrus and his declaration is twofold. On one hand it is due to the elevation of peoples’ understanding of human rights in this age of information and, on the other, it is a reaction towards the harsh and difficult situation, created and imposed on them by the Islamic Republic.
Today in the 21st century and information age, human beings cannot (and should not) live under oppression and inhumane conditions. Humanity has survived centuries of bitter experiences and has been able to create a world that, though still full of pain and misery, is enlightened by that brilliantly crafted document called the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Unfortunately, Iranians are today deprived of these very rights and, at the same time, have come to know that their ancient leader of 2550 years ago was the one who initiated the understanding of such rights. They compare the backward laws of Islamic Republic of Iran with Cyrus’ Declaration and their hearts are full of sorrow. Confronting the differences between the two sets of laws, makes them appreciate what Cyrus had done for his time.

Cyrus appears to be the first man in history who thought of his peoples’ rights, their freedom of religion and opinion, while negating slavery, releasing slaves and focusing on the well-being of his people. These facts cannot be ignored and these rights of Iranians should today be considered as part of their cultural heritage.
Iranians are cognizant that Cyrus was neither a prophet nor a saint. He did not walk on water, could not resuscitate the dead and was unable to cause splitting of the moon. Nevertheless, by giving the people the right to choose their own religion, and therefore their destiny, he led the way in creating a nation of free decision makers. Thus, paying homage to him, especially in a time when his children are deprived of their basic rights, becomes ever more significant and timely.

Pasargad Heritage Foundation, the entity that first suggested the observance of Cyrus Day, 15 years ago, invites all Iranians and Iran-lovers to pay their tributes to Cyrus wherever they are and celebrate his day with more glory and splendor than ever before. They are invited to contemplate the role Cyrus played in the history of humanity by bestowing the human race a declaration that could bring them happiness, peacefulness, and tolerance.

With love and best wishes for everyone.

Shokooh Mirzadegi
Pasargad Heritage Foundation
www.savepasargad.com

 

Crops Evolving 10 Millennia Before Experts Thought

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UNIVERSITY OF WARWICK —Ancient hunter-gatherers began to systemically affect the evolution of crops up to thirty thousand years ago – around ten millennia before experts previously thought – according to new research by the University of Warwick.

Professor Robin Allaby, in Warwick’s School of Life Sciences, has discovered that human crop gathering was so extensive, as long ago as the last Ice Age, that it started to have an effect on the evolution of rice, wheat and barley – triggering the process which turned these plants from wild to domesticated.

In Tell Qaramel, an area of modern day northern Syria, the research demonstrates evidence of einkorn being affected up to thirty thousand years ago, and rice has been shown to be affected more than thirteen thousand years ago in South, East and South-East Asia.

Furthermore, emmer wheat is proved to have been affected twenty-five thousand years ago in the Southern Levant – and barley in the same geographical region over twenty-one thousand years ago.

The researchers traced the timeline of crop evolution in these areas by analysing the evolving gene frequencies of archaeologically uncovered plant remains.

Wild plants contain a gene which enables them to spread or shatter their seeds widely. When a plant begins to be gathered on a large scale, human activity alters its evolution, changing this gene and causing the plant to retain its seeds instead of spreading them – thus adapting it to the human environment, and eventually agriculture.

Professor Allaby and his colleagues made calculations from archaeobotanical remains of crops mentioned above that contained ‘non-shattering’ genes – the genes which caused them to retain their seeds – and found that human gathering had already started to alter their evolution millennia before previously accepted dates.

The study shows that crop plants adapted to domestication exponentially around eight thousand years ago, with the emergence of sickle farming technology, but also that selection changed over time. It pinpoints the origins of the selective pressures leading to crop domestication much earlier, and in geological eras considered inhospitable to farming.

Demonstrating that crops were being gathered to the extent of being pushed towards domestication up to thirty thousand years ago proves the existence of dense populations of people at this time.

Professor Robin Allaby commented:

“This study changes the nature of the debate about the origins of agriculture, showing that very long term natural processes seem to lead to domestication – putting us on a par with the natural world, where we have species like ants that have domesticated fungi, for instance.”

Popular archaeology

Mehregan, The festivity of love, light and fidelity

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Mehrgan is one of the greatest and most ancient national festivities of Iranian people, observed on October 7, to denote the beginning of autumn. It is an occasion to celebrate love, light and fidelity and Iranians have observed it for thousands of years.

Unfortunately, by the advent of the Islamic Revolution in Iran, all secular and popular festivities were banned and they were not allowed to be observed in public places. Nevertheless, and as far as it is possible, Iranians celebrate the occasion, far more expanded than the pre-revolution times. Outside Iran, millions of Iranians observe it vastly with enthusiasm and perseverance.

In 2010, the Pasargad Heritage Foundation (PHF), an NGO registered in USA, working for preservation of tangible and intangible heritage of Iran, applied to UNESCO for the registration of Mehrgan as a festivity with its roots in the soil of human regards for nature and mankind’s happiness.

This was a symbolic gesture because UNESCO only accepts those applications in this regard that are made by the governments. Thus, PHF has done so with the hope that in the future the road for Mehregan registration by UNESCO is paved and the bureaucratic procedures are facilitated.

World Teachers’ Day

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The United Nations’ (UN) World Teachers’ Day celebrates the role teachers play in providing quality education at all levels. This enables children and adults of all ages to learn to take part in and contribute to their local community and global society.

Teachers are recognized for their contributions to society on World Teachers’ Day.©iStockphoto.com/Ekaterina Monakhova
What Do People Do?
Various events are arranged in many countries around the world on or around October 5. These include celebrations to honor teachers in general or those who have made a special contribution to a particular community. The day may also be marked by conferences emphasizing the importance of teachers and learning, extra training sessions for teachers, recruitment drives for the teaching profession among university students or other suitably qualified professionals and events to increase the profile of teachers and the role they play in the media.
Trade unions or other professional organizations that represent teachers play an important role in organizing World Teachers’ Day events in many countries. These include:
• The Australian Education Union.
• The Canadian Teachers’ Federation.
• The Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (Canada).
• The All India Secondary Teachers’ Federation.
• The Japan Teachers’ Union.
• The Teachers Council (New Zealand).
• The National Union of Teachers (United Kingdom).
• The National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers (United Kingdom).
• The National Education Association (United States).
Moreover, international organizations such as TESOL (Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages) and Education International organize international, national and local events. In some areas posters are displayed and pupils and ex-pupils are encouraged to send e-cards or letters of appreciation to teachers who made a special or memorable contribution to their education.
Background
On October 5, 1966, the Special Intergovernmental Conference on the Status of Teachers in Paris, France, was closed and the “Recommendation concerning the Status of Teachers” was signed by representatives of UNESCO and International Labour Organization. On October 12, 1997, the 29th session of UNESCO’s General Conference was opened. During this conference, on November 11, 1997, the “Recommendation concerning the Status of Higher Education Teaching Personnel” was adopted.
On October 5, 1994, the first World Teachers’ Day was held. This event has been organized on the same date each year since then. However, local events may be on some other date close to October 5, so that they do not fall during fall (northern hemisphere) or spring (southern hemisphere) school vacations. In 2002, Canada Post issued a postage stamp to commemorate World Teachers’ Day.

Ancient Roman neighborhood unearthed in France

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According to CNN, a team of archaeologists have unearthed a well-preserved ancient Roman neighborhood complete with mosaics and furniture on the outskirts of a city in southeastern France.  The discovery and the site of excavation is on the banks of the Rhone River in Vienne, where three new buildings have been planned to be built.

The team have expressed their surprise that the site is in such great condition as they believe that two separate fires almost destroyed the town in the second and third centuries AD.

Preventive excavations began in April, as the team worked to prepare the site for the new buildings.

It is now reported that France has classed the site as an “exceptional discovery,” allowing the archaeologists, who were due to finish the excavation in September, to continue until December. The public will have a chance to view the archaeologists’ findings, with exhibitions planned for 2019 and 2020 at the museum of Saint-Romain-en-Gal according to CNN.

UNESCO Assessing damage from hurricane Irma to heritage sites

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The UNESCO Heritage division extended its condolences to the residents of the Caribbean islands struck by hurricane Irma between 5 and 11 September 2017, for the loss of human lives and the hardship resulting from the devastation.  UNESCO also acknowledges that the first priority after such a disaster is always rescuing people and providing humanitarian aid. Following that, UNESCO has been in close contact with local authorities, assisting with efforts to assess damage to cultural heritage in the region and supporting initial recovery efforts.

The areas affected by Irma include Cape Verde, Antigua and Barbuda, Saint Barthelemy, Saint Martin and the Virgin Islands, the countries of the Greater Antilles, the Bahamas, and Florida (USA).

Some of the heritage sites affected by the Hurricanes (including Irma) so far in this year’s hurricane season include:  Brimstone Hill Fortress National Park (Saint Kitts and Nevis), Old San Juan (La Fortaleza and San Juan National Historic Site in Puerto Rico), Old Havana and its Fortifications (Cuba) to just name a few.  These islands’ environment and landscape have been greatly impacted by the hurricanes as reported by the news outlets and it will take many years for the infrastructure and tourism industries to be built again.