Sunday, December 12, 2004

Arabian Gulf

A couple of months ago I was thinking of having a new, preferably creative URL for my current blog or maybe even a future one. Using trial and error I found a URL which doesn't quite meet my criteria but which could serve another purpose many people seem to be so passionate about!

Today as I was inspecting my blogger account after a long time of absence, I stumbled upon that URL which I have completely forgotten about. To my surprise it happens to be!

I innocently chose this URL without even keeping in mind the Persian/Arabian Gulf controversy and I got a giggle out finding a few comments waiting for me on the test post I have published, disqualifying the authenticity of the name. Heh.

One of the commenters also has an entire blog dedicated to the cause of the “Persian Gulf.” What a commitment!

I’m not really big on names and labels and I don’t really care if the Gulf is “Arabian” or “Persian” even though arguments do favour the latter. In fact, Persia dominates the gulf not only historically, but also boarder wise. Not to mention that outside of the GCC no other country refers to it as the Arabian Gulf, even the Arabs used to refer to it as "Khaleeg Faris." As far as I’m concerned, however, it aint gonna make a bit of a difference in the world. As long as the sea/gulf border is agreed upon, I doubt this argument will go beyond, well, an argument! Plus, we have an entire sea named after us. That makes up for it, no?

For now, I’ll let myself enjoy this silly tickly sense of victory for unintentionally laying my hand on a controversial blogspot URL. *smirk*


At 2:53 PM, Blogger Mahmood Al-Yousif said...

good on ya, girl! Keep it or sell it to the highest bidder, let's see who can pay more and you enjoy the winnings! ;)

At 5:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am an Iranian who was following that googlebomb story. Your story was really a nice one, I liked that! As you said the gulf is apparently called Persian in English, but why National Geographic used Arabian Gulf as an alternative name, I just don't know and can not find any reason for that! If the argument were the gulf is called by the alternative name "Arabian Gulf" in some other countries then "Shat-ul-Arab" sould have been called "Arvand-Rood" in the Atlas of NG, since the river is called by this alternative name in Iran. Also "English Channel" should have been called by "La Manche", as it is called in France. As a matter of fact what-as an Iranian-disturbs me the most is not just a name change. what is more important is that National Geographic called three apparently Iranian islands in the Presian Gulf as "Occupied by Iran"!! Isn't that outrageous? In addition to that they called the Iranian island "Kish" by a very strange name that I had never heard before, "Qeys", apparently an arab name! Isn't that strange? Is it fair not to write "Occupied by Israel" next to "Gaza" and "West Bank"? The story seems heavily political.

I admit that some Iranians are anti-arab, however I think this reaction to all the changes that I mentioned was appopriate. I personally am not anti-arab and I think it would be a racism and I hate racism. I think it is very much in our interest if we, Iranians and Arabs all unite under the name of Allah for those of us who are muslim and for those who are not we should know that being united is very much in our national interests.

I am happy that I have found a new Arab friend, if I can call you my friend!

At 12:26 AM, Blogger global soul said...

Thank you Mr. Anonymous

There are two issues here that we need not confuse: (1) Territorial disputes and (2) Names of territories. I’m not sure which bothers you more but let me tell you what I think. Of course, it takes a geo-historian or a territorial disputes expert to give credible constructive feedback on this whole debate but I will give it a shot.

Let me start with the first issue: territorial disputes. I assume the 3 islands you are referring to are the Greater Tunb, Lower Tunb, and Abu Musa and you seem surprised and bothered that the National Geographic referred to those islands as “occupied by Iran”. But isn’t that the case? The sovereignty over those islands forms the basis of a long-held dispute between Iran and the UAE for as long as I can remember and it seems only common sense to me that a territory in dispute will continue to be considered occupied by the party in control until a final resolution is reached. And I really don’t think the island dispute have anything to do with the negative Arab/Persian sentiments that exist and neither do I think that this whole situation is “heavily political” in the conspiratorial sense of the expression. I see it as a pure strategic/economic issue. The islands are great assets in both their oil reserves and their very strategic location and both Iran and the UAE have justifiable reasons to claim them. Who would not want to claim the islands as their own when the possibility to gain sovereignty and enjoy the benefits exists? I’m afraid this is realpolitik. What I find arbitrary about territorial disputes is that solving them all depends on how far back in time we are willing to go and I don’t think there is one clear-cut answer (in most of the cases) because it greatly depends on our interpretation of historical events. I don’t know if I’m being naïve saying this but anyway…the point I’m trying to make here is that Iranians should not take this too personally and hold it as a justifiable reason to hate Arabs. There have been territorial disputes between Arab/Arab countries. In fact, the sovereignty of Hawar Island has been a long-held dispute between Qatar and Bahrain and it has only been resolved recently by the international court of justice. Fairly enough, since Bahrain had control over Hawar before the case was settled, the islands were considered “occupied” by Bahrain until the case was resolved and Bahrain gained full sovereignty. I don’t see why the term occupation won’t apply to Iran’s control over the two Tunbs and Abu Musa which I’m pretty sure have different names in Persian. This leads me to the next issue: names of territories which I have very little to say about.

I have not been following the whole debate about NG using Arabic names and I don’t think I am really interested. I also do not know if there is a hidden Arab intention to arabicize as much places as possible to satisfy its ego. But what baffles me about this whole thing is why it’s bothering so many people. Politically, economically, and strategically I don’t see how names of places would make any difference? Names of places have never, and I don’t think will ever, change the nature of places or to whom they belong! As for Kish Island, most of the mainstream Arab media including Aljazeera refer to it as Jazeerat “Kish” and I’m quite sure most Arab sources refer to it as Kish as well. I personally had no idea “Qeys” was an alternative name. But again, I don’t see why that should matter given that there is no debate over the fact that Kish belongs to Iran.

Anyway, I really don’t think these issues should translate into racial hatred. It is very sad and disappointing to have the relationship between Iran and the Arab World not as good as it could be. I think efforts from both sides should be exerted to elevate the situation. Officially, there have been great commendable improvements but what is more important is to have PEOPLE from both sides be more respectful and appreciative of each other. I agree with you, we should all unite under the name of God. We share a great religion and a great culture and there is no doubt that unity is in our best national interest.

At 8:44 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

People called the Persian Gulf the Persian Gulf centuries before the world got to see Arabs, and long before the islam..

so let them change some other names;

the Persian Gulf was, is and will always remain the Persian Gulf..

At 7:41 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is good to have a look at the following links. Finally they decided to correct most of their mistakes.

National Geographic and Map MachineThey changed Qeys to Kish, removed "sheykh sho'eyb" as an alternative name for Lavan island, and removed "occupied by iran(claimed by UAE)" from their map. Also they removed "Arabian Gulf" as an alterbative name for the Persian gulf and added an explenation as follows "historically and most commonly known as the persian gulf, the body of water is referred to by some as the arabian gulf".

Do you still think that it was not politically motivated?

At 8:02 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Persian Gulf will always be Persian!

At 6:01 AM, Anonymous CreditBoss said...

This whole discussion reminds me how I met one Azerbajanian researcher who specialized on Armenian-Azerbaijanian conflict. Armenians seemed to be wrong all around.

At 4:50 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey, interesting comments, though Arab Gulf is called that by all Arab countries not just GCC, and Persians were never really dominant in the Gulf historically speaking, until Mohammad Reza shah (pronounced mammad in persian) the persians didn't have a navy, and usually relied on Greek/Hellen mercenaries to form their navies.

The Arabs in fact were the most dominant cultural group in the area, they were the ones who established sea trade routed to India, and the rest of South Asia.

Furthermore, most of the islands present on the Arab Gulf were settled by Arabs until Iran began annexing and invading them with British collusion.

Look at the primary sources, the documentation the British government published recently, look into the documents from the late nineteenth century onwards, the case will become more than clear to you; Arabs were the dominant group for most of the Arab Gulf's history, and farsis relied on british help and collusion to invade the Arab islands present on the Arab Gulf

At 9:00 PM, Blogger Saed said...

Salam. I Am an Iranian. Like you I study in Canada, and I am happy for your nice discussion. As u say and all Iranian believe, no matter what u call it, It is just a sea, a little peace of land from God. And no matter what it is called, now it is not just for Iran; as something obvious many of our beloved arabian neighbours have a part on it. But the problem is that changing history and reality really bothers everyone. When the name is Persian Gulf , it is supposed to call Persian Gulf. The name of our country is in that name and we like to keep it becouse of history. It is not a big demand. It is going to be very stupid if we call Bahrain "BahrIran". u see even don't make any sense. still its ur country. so just better to keep everything as it is supposed to. believe me if sometimes Bahrain is called someting else, I ll object as u will. We all love our countries and expect others to respect our rights. What that means when UAE calls three or four of our island as its own! So Iranians do not have a big request, just to respect everyones right.
I thank you a lot and remember we are all brothers.

At 9:00 PM, Blogger Saed said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 7:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi, My name is Parsa and I am a Persian and my land called always Persia, although, since 50 and somthing through some stupid idealogy and diplomatic matter from UK have been tried to rename my land as Iran and now again the same beast Satan culture mostly orchestrated by UK and its nasty alliance are trying to take advantage of that name which was centuries called " PERSIAN GULF ".
but we are alarmed anytime anywhere, have many as the same thing for them i.e. UK and its N.Irland, or Scotland or Falkland and etc.... and we ready for them to wipe them all out of our territorial land.


PS: to that iranian or else whoever he is, guy from Canada who doesn't mind about the name and said that is just a name for a land, hey dude don't be so naive OK. Others take advantage of such simpleton.

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