Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Arabian / Persian Gulf

I didn’t pay attention until last month when I found out about a group on Facebook that support Google’s Earth decision to put Arabian Gulf instead of Persian Gulf on the water bed separating Iran and Gulf states.

The name has always been contentious between the Arabs and Iranians – this is matter of strengthening identity upon land and sea – more to that, it is about pride and nationalism through history.

Yet, such a dispute on naming was of no importance to the west (or any where else in the world): for centuries, western civilization has its reference to this issue based on their ancient philosopher’s writings, where historic documents, maps (even treaties) used Persian Gulf as the official name. In addition, many important Muslim geographers in early Islam used in their documents two terms: Bahr Faris (Arabic for Persian Sea) or Khalij Faris (Persian Gulf). This has been referred to by many of history and geography books, which indicated that the name in fact came from Arabic/Muslim books. One main reason was that ancient written sources used that name due to the importance and the power that the Persian Empire on many lands used to have on each side of the Gulf, including Iraq and some of what now consists of the Gulf states. With the decline of power of that mighty empire and then its fall to the hands of the Muslim army, there were some focus on the name and by many historians who saw the need to change the name of the gulf to carry instead the name of that of the victorious party i.e. The Arabs.

I won’t go into details about attempts by many powers and countries to change the name to other than the two disputed ones, but I give examples of such attemptes: “Britain Sea” when British forces attempted to take control of the region in late 18 century; the attempt of Iran itself to change the name to “Islamic Gulf” after Khomeini's Islamic revolution – some sort of divertion to the common knowledge, and that a new power is born on the remains of ancient Persia; and there are who simply called it “the Gulf”, as heard by people on street, without attaching it to certain nationality or language or an ethnic group.

Time has went by, the rise of Arab nationalism in mid 1960’s calls by Arab countries to change the name to Arabian Gulf, or Arab Gulf, became louder than ever. With the oil booming in the region and businesses became the core engine behind interests from east and west - that gave some countries to feel the power and control of the region with such economic weapon, the dispute over the name reached a higher level, each side write the desired name in their dealings with other countries.

That did not force the non-Arabic speaking countries or written books to change the name.

The dramatic change in modern history Iran, and since the 1979 Khomeini revolution, the country was considered the ultimate enemy of the western civilization

Forget about Bush’s axis of evil, we know the story and what was planned

Iran became the biggest threat to the interests of the west in the region, especially the Unites States (because Germany and France, for example, did good business after the change of the regime in Iran).

To some extent, Iran’s influence diminished – or was only propaganda? This was achieved when a mad man called Saddam Hussain launched a bloody and very costly war that lasted for 8 long years. The west was backing Saddam with everything, militarily and propaganda wise.

Yet, the name of that bed of water did not change on the maps and books of history in Europe and else where.

Back to Facebook group: One of the members on that group neglected what is written in most of modern history books all around the world, and said "who cares what history books else where would say. Jerusalem is the capital of Palestine, this is a known fact, however, this has never been mentioned or written in history books published else where!"

Valid argument, isn't it?

Many agree that the decision by Google Earth by putting "Arabian Gulf" instead of "Persian Gulf" is politically motivated i.e. something to do with the ongoing tension between the United States and Iran - one way of “punishing” Iran.

I, for one, used to hear the word “Persian Gulf” in ALL movies I have seen in my life. The first time I heard the word "Arabian Gulf" in a Hollywood movie was in “Transformers” (2007), when a military official disclosed information about an attack (by un-identified object) on “military base in Qatar” located on “the Arabian Gulf”.


Shirin K said...

Couple of years ago there was a petition that was submitted to Google to correct the mistake of calling Persian Gulf as "Arabian Gulf" and it was approved.
Currently if you go to Google map and search for Persian Gulf then the main "Khalij Fars" comes up (what history knows as Persian Gulf)...and if you search for Arabian Gulf then it comes up with a very small body of water in Kuwait that connects to Persian Gulf.
So Google recognizes the history and the fact that there is only one Persian Gulf (Khalij Fars).

Anonymous said...

Given the fact that Google Earth has actively been distorting this legal and historical name, Persian Gulf, I haven't used Google Earth for more than two years now. Nor do I have any plans to use Google Earth again, ever!

I believe that it's a moral decision to boycott any organization that not only disrespects international laws (United Nations legal documents), but also a whole nation - despite the fact that over one million Iranians across the world have signed a petition, demanding Google Earth to stop using this fabricated and politically-motivated name, A..... Gulf.

Iranians don't forget nor do they forgive how much damage Google Earth has caused to their heritage. Simply, Google Earth is a racist company. Google Earth has no respect for Persian history. Google Earth has no respect for Iranian people. Google Earth has no respect for international laws. Google Earth has no respect for truth and honesty.

/Former Google Earth customer

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Age: 41
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You should know that Iraq is not other side ! it was not part of Persia ! It was the Great Mesopotamia and it's people came into the depth of science and art and literature but didn't care about war !

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