Themes

USES OF THE PAST

‘Unwrapping theMummy’s Curse: what lies behind the tenacious myth of the Pharaohs’ revenge?’  article by Roger Luckhurst.

Reconstructing a Persian Past: Contemporary Uses and Misuses of the Cyrus Cylinder in Iranian Nationalist Discourse‘  article by Beeta Baghoolizadeh, Ajam Media Collective.

‘Falling For Ancient Propaganda, UN Treasure Honors Persian Despot’ article by Mattias Schulz in De Spiegel online.

 


 

IRAN

Video:  ‘The overthrow of Mossadegh in Iran’ 1953 British Pathé Newsreel, on the overthrow of Iran’s democratically elected prime minister, gives the British establishment’s official account of events.

‘The 1953 Coup in Iran’, [PDF] by Ervand Abrahamian (2001) foremost historian of modern Iran,  in Science & Society.

‘Real Men Don’t Wear Pijamas: Anglo-American Cultural Perceptions of Mohammed Mossadeq and the Iranian Oil Nationalization Dispute’,  [PDF] by Mary Ann Heiss, from Peter L. Haan and Mary Ann Heiss (ed.), Empire and Revolution: The United States and the Third World since 1945 (Columbus, Ohio: Ohio State University Press).

Film: A Fire (23 minutes, 1961, Iran) dir. Ebrahim Golestan.
“Golestan’s short documentary A Fire (1961), chronicles an incident of fire at the oil wells near Ahwaz, Iran, that raged for several months and the relentless efforts to put it out, [and is]  edited by poet and Golestan’s partner Forough Farrokhzad. […] Golestan digresses regularly from the happenings at the centre to observe the impact of the fire on the residents of the adjacent village and the firefighters themselves. When we are told that the villagers were relocated in order to avoid being poisoned by the residual gases… The plight of the firefighters, on the other hand, is even more affecting. Assigned to some of the most life-threatening tasks by the American site managers, they appear as if resigned to fate, their eyes betraying a deep fatigue that’s more than just physical, their bodies (literally) moving ever closer to death, like moth flies approaching a light source. However, Golestan’s film stands in stark contrast to Herzog’s beautiful and atrocious decontextualization game, Lessons of Darkness (1992), in that it recognizes that its subjects are not fuelled by madness, but charcoaled by despair.” (from the Iranian Film Blogathon hosted by Sheila O’Malley)

Film: Tehran Is The Capital of Iran (18 minutes, 1966, Iran) dir. Kamran Shirdel
Remarkable ‘documentary about the South Tehran slum of Khazaneh. The film presents us with images of unfathomable poverty and suffering and sets them against various expressions of official narratives of the Shah’s “white revolution” era: a representative of the The Organization of The Iranian Women [sic] pontificates on the “duty of the individual” and illiterate mothers and children learn to read using texts describing minutia of the monarchy. The result is a portrait of a government that seems painfully impertinent in the face of the realities of destitution. Upon completion, the film was banned and production of a second commission, Qaleh, was ceased.’ ©UbuWebFilm

Ajam Media Collective: a space for Persianate high & low culture
The Ajam Media Collective is an online space devoted to documenting and analyzing cultural, social, and political trends in the diverse Iranian, Central Asian, and Diaspora communities. We unite authors from various backgrounds and disciplines to promote diverse critical views of the region and seek to emphasize the region’s importance as a thriving cultural center whose multiple realities are too often obscured by the popular Western and global media.

 


 

OIL

A History of BP in 10 Objects an intervention by Art Not Oil

The Cosmogonies of oil traffic and visual culture in modern Iran 
Morad Montazami observes how some cardinal figures can reveal the “oil superego” which dominates unconsciously the Iranian modern visual culture. Vodcast.

All That Glitters: Sport, BP and Repression in Azerbaijan
The inaugural European Games Baku 2015 are about much more than medals. Held in Azerbaijan at the height of a systematic crackdown on human rights and democracy, the Games are the first of a series of international sporting events the country is hosting.

 

 

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