It is one thing for Google Earth to depict the map of the world as is and another thing to manipulate it. It is one thing for any business to market its product and it is another thing to peddle something it does not own. Google Earth has arrogantly violated the universally upheld norms by arbitrarily taking it upon itself to name the Persian Gulf, the Arabian Gulf. With a few strokes of the keyboard, Google Earth has obliterated from the face of the map a greatly-cherished historical and cultural heritage of an ancient people.

One wonders what motivated this blatant action of Google Earth: a simple arrogant exercise of power or capitulation to the financial
rewards offered by those who aim to further their world standing at the expense of others.

Appeals by hundreds of thousands of Iranians and others to Google Earth to retain the longstanding designation of the waterway as the Persian Gulf and delete the newly-minted Arabian Gulf from the map have gone unheeded, thus far.

Demanding that the name of the Persian Gulf be retained goes beyond the fact that the Persians are rightfully proud of their heritage and strive to preserve the integrity of the historical documents that reference it as such. For the record, the name Persia has always been used to describe the nation presently known as Iran and its ancient empires since 600 BC. Also, the Persian Gulf is an apt name for the body of water that abuts Iran for over 2000 kilometers while about a dozen recently-created Arab Sheikhdoms and Emirates border the Persian Gulf on the other side. Without disparaging the Arabs, Iranians wish to retain their non-Arab heritage and strongly resent any attempt at denigrating or changing any aspect of their Iranian identity. Even inside Iran, the Iranian people have been constantly fighting and opposing similar attempts by the brutal dictatorship of the ruling IRI regime. The Persian Gulf occupies a pivotal place in the Iranian history and culture. The historical and geographical name of the Persian Gulf has been endorsed and codified by the United Nations many occasions and is in use by the UN, its member states, and all other international agencies worldwide. The last UN Directive confirming the name of Persian Gulf was issued on August 18, 1994. On almost all maps printed before 1960, and in most modern international treaties, documents and maps, this body of water is known by the name "Persian Gulf", reflecting traditional usage since the Greek geographers Strabo and Ptolemy, and the geopolitical realities of the time with a powerful Persian Empire (Iran) comprising the whole northern coastline and a scattering of local emirates on the Arabian coast. It is worth mentioning that the name of Persian Gulf has been admitted in all the live languages of the world, and all the countries throughout the world name this Iranian Sea, Persian Gulf. Even our Arab neighbors do not need to alter a historical name to have a gulf of their own, because there has been a gulf in their own name previously mentioned in the historical and geographical works and drawings, which is presently called the Red Sea (Bahr Ahmar). Iranians worldwide, as well as all people interested in preserving the integrity of historical and cultural records, are deeply affronted by this arrogant action of Google Earth. Acquiescing to practices of this sort is tantamount to appeasement which only serves to whet the appetite of aggressors and violators. Precedence may pave the way for a torrent of infringements on every aspect of every people’s cultural, historical, and other heritage. It is our hope that all enlightened and fair-minded people who value the preservation of humanity’s diverse heritage raise their voices and compel Google Earth to restore the rightful name of the Persian Gulf to the waterway. Contributing editor Amil Imani is an internationally known writer, essayist and pro democracy activist, who has dedicated his time to research on Iran’s noble heritage.

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2008-04-25 14:02:04
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