Omid Memarian

Friday, March 16, 2007

What Do I think About "300"?

Here is the BBC News piece on the Iranian's opinion about the movie "300". Below is my compelte answers to the reporter's questions:

Omid: The movie has a great amount of historical discrepancies and errors to the point of almost fictitious. Not only does it give the wrong outcomes to battles, it grossly misrepresents the Persians and their civilization.

It is unfortunate that very few curriculum in the US cover world history and it is very easy to misdirect the general public on historical facts. The Persians are renowned for being brave warriors with tremendous amount of chivalry and bravery whether in victory or defeat—they have always been very just (let’s not forget that Cyrus the Great drafted the first Declaration of Human Rights in 539BC, freeing thousands of Jews from slavery!)

They have never been ‘savages’ or ‘barbaric’; most often they have been in put in the position to protect their land rather be the aggressor. All the director needed to do was visit the city of Shiraz and view the ruins of Persepolis left by the others Therefore, it makes perfect sense for Iranians to be upset of the way history is being rewritten erroneously, especially at a time when there is already tremendous amount of skewed media coverage on Iran and anti-Iranian rhetoric has escalated in the US, largely fueled by ignorance and lack of proper knowledge or understanding.

The misquotes and wrong impressions given in media coverage are only exacerbated by movies such as “300”. Unfortunately, although media has the power to disseminate information, it does not mean that it always correct. What has happened to the social responsibility that Media holds?

It is never good to take action which is ill-intended; however, at times when there is limited action that can be taken, the peaceful means of ‘google bombing’ a website is solely a reflection of the level of aggression Iranians feel toward a mis-portrayal of their history, culture, and heritage.


At 11:36 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wish people realized, 90% of americans are too dumb to realize that Persia and Iran are the same place. It doesn't make Iranians look bad because Americans have no clue that's who is being portrayed in the film. The only way they will figure it out is if the Iranian reaction gets a lot of media attention.

If anything, American viewers probably see Persians as abstract 'arab' peoples. That's no exactly good news for Iranians though, because most americans probably think Iranians are Arab.

-an American

At 11:39 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a U.S. citizen, I can say that the vast majority of Americans have no idea that Iran was once Persia, and they will not even think about Iran when they see this movie.

At 11:43 AM , Anonymous Andrew Ray said...

I think you've missed one vital point, and certainly the Iranian government has. Of those millions of American moviegoers that created this movie's box office success, I would say less than 1% of them will have enough historical background to associate Iran and its people with their Persian ancestors in the first place. And that 1% will also be aware of the errors in the movie.

In short, this isn't a campaign of information warfare against Iran - because the vast majority don't know and don't care that the Iranians of today are the descendents of the Persians depicted in the movie. They're going to see "guys with swords versus guys with arrows and swords", go "ooh ahh" at the CGI, then go home and promptly forget everything they've seen.

If the Iranian-North American communities, and Iran itself, had realized that, no one would have given this movie any more credence or value than Mel Brooks' "History of the World Pt. 1".

At 11:54 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

You do realize that this movie was based on a comic book, right? So do say that you want this movie to be "historically accurate" is a little strange. Are comic books ever really based on facts?

At 11:54 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Agree with the other comments, stop being so precious.

I'm sure there are plenty of anti-western or anti-US films etc circulating in the middle east, we don't go overboard about them. Its called free speech and something that we treasure as part of the democracy we enjoy.

Think about that when you see Pakistani lawyers being tear gassed.

At 12:05 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

No one should be surprised that Hollywood gives a distorted view of the ancient Persian empire in the film '300' - distortion of facts and total disregard of historical accuracy of any kind is their stock in trade. All Hollywood cares about is a good story, especially where it shows Americans as 'heroes' or the 'good guys' (since America had not been colonised by Europeans in the 5th century BCE, the 'Spartans' are naturally chosen as 'Americans-by-proxy' against the alien and unknown 'Persians') We in Britain have long since given up trying to correct the historical misconceptions of Hollywood screenwriters, directors and producers. Hollywood is simply not interested. It's not 'getting at Iran' -- Hollywood does the same to everybody! You could say the same about Shakespeare -- he wasn't particularly bothered about historical accuracy, either. He was more interested in exploring the human condition through drama and employed dramatic licence to do so.

At 12:20 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

To the writer that wrote that he's "sure there are plenty of anti-western or anti-US films etc circulating in the middle east, "

Well actually. No there are no anti-american movies in the "middle east", that is in the arab world or larger near east.

Despite a single recent release which was a comedy wherein Bush was
satirized by an AMERICAN actor, mind you, not a "middle eastern" one, and which tried to make light of the atrocious angst that the peoples of the region are feeling, on account of their region being the target of a big endless war by the americans,
there is NO tradition of anti americanism in "near eastern" film.

And certainly there is no regular american stereotype that regularly portrays american characters as dumb, treacherous, dishonest, stupid, dangerous, unkind, dirty, ugly, speaking in spit and a harsh language, unmerciful and altogether disgusting and unwholesome.

No we don't have that in what you call the "middle east".

You may find that suprising. But the middle easterners are historically tolerant forgiving spiritual and enterprising peoples who have consistently respected other nations - at least much much more than europeans ever did.

So we do not demean other nationalities in our film industry.
Nor do filmmakers ever make fun of religious beliefs, especially of others.

It's not out of censorship. This is a natural trait.

Middle easterners are not like you americans. They do not have that infamous snobbishness arrogance and automatic contempt for other peoples that americans have.

At 12:28 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous said:

> All Hollywood cares about is a good story

And so it should. It saddens me that artists don't have the freedom to create whatever story they want from whatever pieces of history they pick and choose but instead need to defend their work from people who don't understand the distinction between fact and fiction.

At 12:29 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

yeah dude, lighten up. plus all of the persians were masked so there was no real visual that would associate them with 'iranians' of today. plus, xerxes was speaking barry white english and was wearing some sort of bracelet crown on his face...hardly the imagery of your modern day persian descendent. if anything arcadian descendents should be up in arms for being depicted as card carrying wusballs. americans don't shell out $9 for a movie ticket to get a history lesson. they cough it up for entertainment and escape. maybe go to the quarter show in your area and then write about how adult features don't accurately depict reality. there's something to be pissed off about.

At 12:33 PM , Anonymous serendip said...

What's ironic is the fact that Frank Miller being so concerned about Islamic extremists as he should be tries to pick a bone with a civilization that was literally wiped off the map by Islam...Doesn't he realize that Islam and Christianity came several hundred years after the Greco-Iranian war had ended..

The outfits and headgear of the Persian infantry lend themselves more to the stereotypical garments of medieval Arabian and Islamic attire than to the ancient garb of the Persian army, while the elite Immortals have been given an East Asian guise.” Whatever happened to the research department?
There are many anti-IR, anti-Islam Iranian groups and resistance movements working actively against further Islamization and Arabization of Iran and the Mullahs. This movie sends a very wrong message and has already resulted in not only getting these resistance movements somewhat offside, but also given reason to the Mullahs to take advantage of the movie and further claim the Persian civilization and Islam as one and the same. Next thing we know the mullahs will claim that Cyrus and Darius were really Muslims in disguise! Therefore, the makers of the movie are reinforcing the Mullahs' stance, even if they don’t realize it.

If I were to say that Greeks & Macedonians were Christians during Alexander’s time, it would make me an ignorant person. Someone may have a good sense of telling me to get a clue.

As you might remember in my previous comments I thought it was not big deal either, however after sifting through 50,000 responses on the Yahoo Forum where Frank Miller himself asks the question "What have you learned about this movie", I realized that how the public opinion and perceptions are being shaped in a negative way. The problem is The West will see Persians equal Islam, Greeks equal Western Society.

Kudos to Frank Miller for giving the IRI more propaganda material.
There are many anti-IR, anti-Islam Iranian groups and resistance movements working actively against further Islamization and Arabization of Iran and the Mullahs. This movie sends a very wrong message and has already resulted in not only getting these resistance movements somewhat offside, but also given reason to the Mullahs to take advantage of the movie and further claim the Persian civilization and Islam as one and the same. Next thing we know the mullahs will claim that Cyrus and Darius were really Muslims in disguise! Therefore, the makers of the movie are reinforcing the Mullahs' stance, even if they don’t realize it.

The hypocrisy of the mullahs is also breathtaking. While they are up and arm about this movie dishonoring the Pre-Islamic Persian Civilization, they are about to flood Cyrus the Great's tomb and all the histoical buidlings (pasargad) on that pre-Islamic plateau.

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At 12:38 PM , Anonymous Christian Jones said...

I think the Iranian reaction to this is going the opposite way of what they should be doing. If anything, the defensive, angry reaction to an intentionally fictional account based on a historical battle puts the Iranian community in a bad light for a lot of Americans, myself excluded from that opinion. I understand where you're coming from, but your accusations are baseless and don't hold any real water when examined closely.

We should take this oppurtunity to be constructive and informative, rather than defensive and destructive. Instead of outright protest of this movie, a positive informational campaign should be put together by the Iranian community, both in Iran and the rest of the world, to promote and highlight the beauty that is Iranian culture and their rich history which includes the Persian Empire. Recent discoveries show that there was a civilization in the region of ancient Persia which had developeda type of cuneiform writing even before the Sumerians. Truly this is a history to be respected.

As an American who is aware of Iran's Persian history, seeing this movie in no way altered my view of that culture or people. It is my opinion that anyone who bases a negative opinion of Persian culture on 300 is highly unintelligent, and most probably already had that uninformed opinion in the first place.

As to people saying the Spartans represented Americans, that's just silly ... they represented the Spartans, a culture dead thousands of years because of its narrow view of existence and inability to change with the world around them. Though some would say that's what America is. Well, history does repeat itself, now doesn't it?

At 12:41 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

> So we do not demean other nationalities in our film industry. Nor do filmmakers ever make fun of religious beliefs, especially of others.

This is a common claim, and making it relies on an asymmetry between the English speaking world and the Middle East. Only a small minority of those in the English speaking world speak Arabic or Farsi but a high proportion of those in the Middle East speak English. This means that works produced in English are subject to far greater scrutiny than those in Arabic or Farsi. The net result is that racist TV shows, such as Horseman without a Horse, can be shown widely in the Middle East without English speakers becoming aware of them. You don't have to watch TV for long in the Middle East to see Jews denigrated.

At 12:44 PM , Anonymous serendip said...

Christian Jones: Please see my blog. I have several(5 or 6) post echoing your exact sentiments.

You might have to scroll down and find them since they were posted on different days.

At 12:50 PM , Anonymous John Buchanan said...

Forget all the semantics involved - the truth is you must have an awful chip on your shoulder to be so overly reactionary. Its this kind of totally unecessary Middle-Eastern overstated knee-jerking that is creating a great divide between the Middle East and the west. Its a perfect example of the intolerance displayed, it reminds me of the reaction the Islamic community had to the cartoons of the prophet Mohammed. Completely self-centred and playing the victim with reactions that showed complete hypocrisy in one-breath saying 'they disgraced our prophet, kill the pope' I mean come on its ridiculous.

Hollywood has a history of riding rough-shod over history without any regard to the cultures it misrepresents - take Braveheart for example - did you see the Scottish getting up in arms when it totally rewrote history portraying one of its greatest heroes (Robert the Bruce) as a coward and a traitor? - No. On the otherside - did you see the English get all upset at being portrayed as letcherous perverts and homosexuals? - No. Why not, because they understood it was a film and nothing more.
You really need to take a more mature look at the situation and yourself and really well grow up! And by the way you spelt 'complete' wrong - not doing any favours for yourself as a journalist.

At 12:50 PM , Anonymous serendip said...

I also agree with anon regarding the propaganda machinery in the ME. The anti-Jewish and anti-Israeli propaganda in Iran is appalling and 24/7 on TV. A Jewish Persian friend of mine recalls when she was living in Iran, she was starting to believe all the venom being spewed about the jews in Iran...Thank goodness she is here now and she realizes how powerful propaganda can be.

At 12:53 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

This silly. Anyone offended by the film is insecure and has very thin translucent skin. This is a film based on a COMIC BOOK! HELLO,,yes I sais it,,a COMIC BOOK! Now go grow some tougher hides and get over it. And just for the record; I am of Persian descent!

At 12:57 PM , Anonymous Christian Jones said...

serendip: I added a link to your blog on mine. I'll check it out when I get a chance.


At 1:02 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have seen the movie and I have to say it was great. "Arabs and Persians" need to understand free speech and the difference between fact and fiction. You do not see Americans or other people protesting when Imans give speeches about hate. We Christians need to stick together and stop being so silent.

At 1:20 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

With all due respect to the writer of this blog, who does indeed raise a number of valid points, aren't we getting awfully worked up over a movie?

I saw this film a week ago, knew that the facts surrounding the Battle of Thermopylae were being twisted, and still had a ball watching the flick!

At 1:29 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can we get real with this 300 thing. It's a MOVIE. Much less, it's a comic-book style movie. It is not meant to represent anything. I have a love and fascination for Persian culture and find myself deeply connected to it. I don't watch such a movie and say "oh..THAT's how they ere." This is HOLLYWOOD we're talking's ficticious, even when based off of real events. It's meant to be. Rarely is a movie meant to be an accurate depiction of a true-life event. Anyone who goes to a movie theatre to get their historical facts needs a lot more than accurate facts on ancient Persia. I agree with previous comments that say that Americans won't even make the connection. Even so, just given the antiquity of the battle in question, how can you see it as some reflectino of modern Iran? I mean, c'mon now people...I don't get all offended when movies depict Nazi Germany as a country of Jew-hating bigots...but...if I went by your standards..I should be writing petitions and getting my fellow German-Americans on board. Persia's historical status is secured by hundreds of years of historical data...a few movies arne't going to rock anyone's perceptions.

At 1:42 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

My sympathy. I have tried to explain to my students and other people that the "heroic" Spartans were really a savage tribe, and the ancient Persia was a kind of an enlightened tolerant monarchy, a Hellenistic state before Alexander. Dareius's besdt commander was the Greek Memnon and there were more genuine Greeks in the Persian army fighting the Macedonian Alexander that in his army. Many myths, many misconceptions, unfortunately repeated and even overdriven again and again.

Jaan Kaplinski, author in Estonia

At 1:45 PM , Anonymous Helaleh said...

I could not agree more with every single word you said in this interview, specially regarding the social responsibility it's so true, everyone who calls him/herself an artist should be consciously responsible and SENSITIVE about the TIME and LOCATION the product is being presented at. An artist who ignores context will eventually end up sending wrong messages anyhow.

PS._ So anonymous, is this movie based on the lack of knowledge of audience to see Iran is Persia? Is the director assuming no one will figure it out? That is insulting all Americans intelligence then! Arts and media are supposed to be braoding the horizon instead of biasing negligence. Although this is not happening for the first time in American Media industry.

At 2:02 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Iran: Rock Bottom in Quality of Life Index
2007 Quality of Life Index:

Iran ranks 190th in Quality of Life Index from 195 countries. Congratulation to the mullahs and their reformist pseudo-intellectual shills in perstigious universities for such magnificent accomplishment in the name holy pestillence, Khomeini.

At 2:04 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I saw this story on the BBC's website. I'm British and firstly I agree with the US citizen who pointed out that the vast majority of Americans (and indeed Westerners) watching the movie won't even know that Persia is related to modern day Iran. They go to watch a movie, they don't take home political messages from it however much intelectuals (particularly in Hollywood) would like to think they do.

But the point I'd really like to make is - stop taking Hollywood seriously. The 'acclaimed' movie 'Braveheart' was, if anything, more historically inaccurate as a portrayal of the Scottish-English relationship than '300' is of Iran's history - and we're supposed to be their allies!

Hollywood is entertainment - they like to think they have political muscle (funnily enough, they usually want to use it to bash the Republican Presidency with) but they are only important if sensible, intelligent people react to their warped world view. Heck, if you believed Hollywood, you would think only American's landed on the D-Day beaches - dispite actually sending less troops then Britain.

At 2:10 PM , Anonymous serendip said...

The truth behind "300"
By Cyrus Kar

For many Iranians the cinematic movie ‘300’ may come as a shocking revelation. But to those of us who came up through America’s school system, the ‘Battle of Thermopylae,’ which is what the movie ‘300’ is based on, is as familiar as George Washington’s fabled “cherry tree” incident. What is so distressing about this movie is the realization of the tremendous power Hollywood wields in determining a people’s identity. It is the same nightmare Native Americans endured during the whole ‘cowboy-movie’ genre. Perhaps the movie ‘300’ was a necessary wake up call. But Persia bashing will never disappear on its own. It is the main villain in the Western saga. The only way it will change is through the power of the rest below:

Help him make the movie in any way you can; it doesn't have to be monetary help, if you're Iranian-American or Iranian:

At 2:24 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

300 is a fantasy movie made from a comic book that was made in 1998. 300 has no message, it's only purpose is to entertain, which this movie does perfectly well.

People should stop being so oversensitive, and also not to bring politics into everything. By making so much noise about this will only make more people to go to see it.

If someone should be angry, it should be the gay community, because Spartans actually were very bisexual. And even in that case they should direct their hate towards the author of the comic book, not the makers of this movie.

Also as a European I have to say that such a outcry simply would not happen here, because atleast here people see what is fiction and what not.

At 2:34 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cry, cry, cry. It's movie, folks, grow some perspective. You know, the French don't really get a very respectful treatment in Henry V, nor do the English in Joan of Arc, but you don't see them bitching up a storm because of it.

It's whinery like this that makes it all the less likely that legitimate complaints coming from the middle east over western imperialism aren't given serious consideration.

At 2:52 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

helaleh said:

> Arts and media are supposed to be braoding the horizon instead of biasing negligence

The primary function of art is to be beautiful. I know it might not seem that way in a theocracy where everything is made subservient to the purposes of religious leaders. But in the rest of the world, art is intended to excite the senses in a pleasurable way - whether it's the architecture of ancient Rome, the drumming of West Africa, the choreography of martial artists or a Hollywood movie based on a comic. Since time immemorial, many artists of all cultures have produced works of arts by starting with reality and employing techniques such as embelishment, exaggeration and a variety of other methods that lead to the enhanced aesthetic value of the whole.

At 3:14 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's a myth that Iranian burned Athena to the ground, Athenian burned their own city so not to fall in to Iranian hands much like what Russian did during French invasion of Russia, Xerxes stopped the fire and started rebuilding Athena immediately after arriving there.
Never before or after Athena burning were Iranian being accused of destroying a city, their function was to provide much needed security for safe commerce between different cities in their realm and encourage local cultures to flourish independently from central government.
On the other hand Athenians, Spartans and Macedonians(which even today loath to be called part of Greece) among others were basically a pirate states which made their income from pillaging and burning other cities, few example are Troy, Sardis to name a few, Iranian went to Balkans to end the murderous raids being committed by Athenian on Anatolian peninsula which they achieved for more than 150 years.
By the way if you insist calling Iran by its Greek name "Persia", I shall insist calling American "gringos".

At 3:16 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hollywood has a habit of sacrificing the truth in the interests of entertainment. Someone has already mentioned Braveheart, a film only loosely connected with reality.

I'd agree that Persians might be right to feel aggrieved at how they were portrayed in this movie. I'm wondering if the Spartans feel the same way.

Has anyone asked them?

At 3:23 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Okay, I'm over 50 and haven't seen "300" nor do I intend to, because that CGI stuff has just gotten so silly I can't even sit through it.

But as a child I positively loved "The 300 Spartans" which is said to have inspired the graphic novel '300'.

Watching 'The 300 Spartans' inspired me to read about the actual events (only vaguely similar to the movie, as is typical of Hollywood projects), but it did not cause me to hate Persians, even though they were depicted as the invaders in the movie.

In fact, one of the things that puzzled me about 'The 300 Spartans' was that it was obvious the Persians could have easily wiped the Spartans out right at the outset (using archers) but didn't. My older brother said it was because that would offend the Persians' sense of chivalry (maybe he didn't use those words). Another thing I learned was that ancient Persia is called Iran today.

The main message of 'The 300 Spartans' seemed unrelated to the Spartans' foe: it was that the intellectuals (the Atheneans) were indecisive at a time of crisis. It was about heroism of sacrifice against all odds too, as might be depicted in a good Japanese samurai movie.

At 3:36 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, I agree with everybody that said "Lighten up!". Who would even associate the Persian Empire with Iran?? I think this is kind of trying to start a storm in a glass of water. Are people THAT bored that they need to start a protest about this too? If Iran is getting a bad image in the, admittedly, biased american media, is not because of this movie, but because of it's president. I was among the 1% of the viewers that knew the historical aspect of the movie was far from accurate, but I took the movie as an interesting story and great cinematography. Maybe I should go ahead and start a protest because Bram Stocker distorted the image of Romanian ruler Vlad the Impaler, created Dracula which makes some americans believe me when I say that I am a Romanian vampire from Transylvania.Chill out, there are far more important issues to protest about that a movie!

At 3:38 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Persia got spanked by the Greeks on land and sea and later by Alexander the Great. This shows the superiority of Western military techniques at the time. Unfortunately for Persia, it was conquered by Muslim Arabs and has gone nowhere since.

At 3:39 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

What are Iranian children learning in their schools regarding the US and the West...2 generations brought up on "Death to America" and "A world Without America" reap what you sow. There's more coming...Iranians and the Middle Easterners don't have a monopoly on propaganda, vindictivenss...

At 3:42 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think 300 was an excellent representation of a "comic book" base on the battle of thermopylae. The accuracy is debatable but it is a fictional representaion. To go and say that "The Persians are renowned for being brave warriors with tremendous amount of chivalry and bravery whether in victory or defeat" is a gross misrepresentation. The word Chivaly is dealing with courage, to be gallant, loyal and to swear off cowardice and baseness none of which the Persian or even the real chivalress knights of the crusade knew. Cyrus the great did do great things, after marching large armies across the middle east counquering babylon,Lydia and asia minor but this is heavily eclypsed by Darius's Bloody rise to the thrown followed by Xerxes continual tyranny. The battle of thermopylae was not the first engagements between the greeks and persia after Darius conquered the Greek Ionian people (modern turkey and greek archipalego) the people revolted and this revolt was assited by the greeks (Battle of Naxos 499 BC), for this Darius swore to have the greeks punished for helping the Ionians. They landed a large army of some 20-60,000 on the shore of Marathon and where decimated by the greeks (battle of Marathon 490BC), then 10 years later they return with an even larger army of 200-600,000 and took the land route through thrace (istanbul) and macedonia to thermopylae. The greek states where in disagreement over the corse of action, only King Leonidis and afew other greek states offere to hold the pass so the remained could build a fleet to defence the Gulf of corinth (which would allow a direct assault on Athens, Corinth and Sparta), the Spartans at thermopylae died to the last and this gave athens enough time to evacuate the city and help build the fleet. They did build teh fleet which led to the battle of Salamis later that year 480 BC. The use of ignorance in you answer to the reporters question is the only problem I see, the persians people are as much the Iranians as the greeks today are spartan and your baseless views of these people seems to be very one sided and doctored. To even claim that the Persians had chivalry (which means skill of arms, honor and pride) is a grave mistake because the persians used slaves to build there empire and bolster there army. I do believe you should do some more research.

At 3:50 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Being a Spartan, I am very pleased with the way this film potrayed my people. All of our men are tall and extremely muscular, able to kill thousands of men in battle. Our facial hair is like iron. And we are very good with the ladies. Speaking of battle, I've got to go pick up my loin cloth from the cleaners, rumor mill says that we're marching of to war again tomorrow.

At 4:04 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's hollywood!
For close to a hundred years we have had naked men on horseback with feathers in their hair defying the 7th Cavalry. What about all those pesky Hispanics in "The Magnificent Seven"? Recently the Brits had their own heroes usurped in "U-571"
As for portraying Greeks as true men of valour: we all know Greeks are a bunch of.....
"White man - he speak with forked tongue."

At 4:14 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Omid did you ever post anything regarding the Islamic Republic plans to destroy Pasargad; the Iranian pre-Islamic heritage and in fact, the world's?

The Islamic Regime of Iran is planning to flood this historical site.

Following the footsteps of Taliban, The Government of Islamic Republic of Iran is set to destroy a major part of humankind's cultural heritage***The flooding of Sivan Dam is pronounced evidence to the nullification of the human rights of the Iranian people; People of the world, People of Iran!

Two days ago, on January 22, 2007, Islamic’s Republic of Iran’s (IRI) Minister of Energy announced his intention to begin flooding the Sivand Dam within a week. This Dam will flood the ancient archeological sites of Bolaghi Gorge and Pasargad Plains where the mausoleum of Cyrus the Great - the author of the first declaration of Human Rights in mankind's history - is situated.

At 4:15 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Iranian-born singer Azam Ali is on "300", the movie soundtrack. Listen to her interview:

She's lent her voice to a variety of soundtracks -- from TV shows like Alias and Prison Break, to movies like Matrix Revolutions and Dawn of the Dead.

It seems that when directors want a sort of futuristic sound that somehow sounds ancient -- they pick up the phone and call Azam Ali.

Her latest big-screen effort is for the film "300" -- which opened a few days ago in US theaters.

At 4:18 PM , Blogger mole said...

hello all. i disagree about the blog being too "precious." in another time, a film about "free men of sparta" battling persians would be just another bunch of hollywood crap.

but in light of current events, it is another attempt to use ancient history to justify a contemporary "clash of civilizations." miller, the comic's author, is just this side of a fascist if his other work is any indication. if i'm not mistaken he recently had batman fighting osama bin laden, if you can beleive that.

again, the question is not: is the film accuarate? it is not, obviously. the question is, why now? why $$$ on a movie like this now? and why does anyone care?

because of the tremendous push for a never-ending war of "west" vs. "east" being pushed by writers the likes of samuel huntington, victor davis hanson, and others. and these men are not fringe lunatics: hanson is a personal friend of scooter libby, who calls him his favorite historian, and was even invited to a dinner at cheney's house once. read his writings and you will see: these sorts of simplified ideas may not carry weight with you or i, but they are part of an ongoing effort to not-so-carefully bend world history to the will of the neo-con agenda, wherein america's invasions of afghanistan, iraq, and now iran are being fought in the name of justice and liberty.

omid, if you haven't done so, i recommend a tack that doesn't so much try and re-cast persian/iranian history, but that critiques the 20th-century construction of ancient greece as some sort of liberal democracy.

the ancient world may as well have ben another planet as far as ideas of ethnicity, freedom, nationhood, and individual will are concerned. not so very long ago greece and rome/italy, were looked down upon by england and the early US as backwards, dirty, undeveloped, unadvanced nations. only in the 19th century did the colonial powers decide that they themselves were the contemporary torch-bearers of "ancient civilization", and began duly robbing tombs and sarcophagi and statues for their museums to prove it.

naturally none of this ever occurred to a fascist like frank miller, eager to enlist thermopalye into his own version of the "clash of civilizations" hypothesis. leave it to an idiot like him to forget to mention that his "free man of sparta" were living in a heavily militarized, slave society. not exactly a free market paradise.

At 4:18 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

The movie "300" is based on a Frank Miller comic book. It's grounded on fiction and not facts. It is not an actual historical portrayal. It is the creative fantasy of a comic book genius. The mere connection drawn by some Iranians and liberal lefties only emphasizes the problem with the deep disunity we're facing in our country; when it comes to the arts and literature: these are separate creative spheres that exist independently of politics and politicians

For the actual history I highly recommend Tom Holland’s “Persian fire : the first world empire and the battle for the West”.

A very good book not only on wars but also on persian empire. In a time when cultures of East and West seemed farther apart than ever, Holland concentrates on explaining the mighty Persian culture which, from the time of the victorious Greeks to our own day, was mocked, denigrated, and underestimated. He makes a fairly clear argument that this kind of cultural misapprehension, after the famous Greek victory, led to an alienation between East and West which had not really existed prior to the Persian invasions, and which affects our understandings even today. This book goes beyond these events, and covers much territory concerning the founding of the Persian Empire, and early Greek city-states, and the inevitable clash that resulted from their proximity.

In a world where the East rubs up against the West he can fill in the historical blanks that still bedevil us to this day. And today it still seems to me that we are living in the same battle of the past (East) versus the future (West). PERSIAN FIRE sets todays headlines, in some respects, against a 2500 year old backdrop. As we might watch the CBS news, the Athenians, in the shadow of their burned and gutted Acropolis, would watch the young buck playwright, Aeschylus, stage THE PERSIANS one year after the exhausted Greeks had won the war and returned to the abandoned Athens. Spartans, that weird and long-haired race of warriors, get their fair share of exposure but lose some of their mystique in Holland's re-telling of Thermopylae and the Spartan king's last stand.

He shows just why the Persian culture - in many ways, far superior to that of the more primitive Greeks - deserved respect for its own accomplishments, as well as how and why the Greeks came to blow up their honest victories and denigrate their Persian foes. All these points give PERSIAN FIRE a peculiarly modern resonance, as well as telling some of the greatest stories of antiquity with clarity and flair.

At 4:20 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

You know, I did come out of the movie feeling as though I just received a small dose of propaganda, but in an entirely different way. I am speaking about the whole "freedom isn't free" speech that I constantly hear in country-western music.

Regardless, this movie is indeed based off of a comic book and it is completely obvious. Be reasonable, if the movie was really made out to be anti-Iranian, then it would have been much more believable. There are deformed hunchbacks, soldiers dressed up like samurai (Persia never conquered the Japanese, fyi), over-sized elephants like those in lord of the rings, a fat mutant-man with swords for arms, and Xerxes is an eight foot tall black man.

Also, the Spartans were also misrepresented. They did not march to battle in their underwear and a cape. They wore chest armor and they had leather kilt like bottoms.

Seriously, if Iranians think that anyone other than the most stupid American would have a more negative view of their history or nation because of this movie then it is they who owe the Americans an apology for insulting our intelligence.

P.S. Your average American is pretty ignorant when it comes to world issues and history, but even an ignorant high school kid (hopefully) knows that there are no mutant-men with swords for arms in Iran.

At 4:22 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Omid: Are you ever outraged by the savagery pepetrated by the Islamic Republic since its inception?

What's wrong with this picture?
By Lance Raheem

...We have spent countless hours debating, arguing and writing about absurd and silly subjects

"...There is hardly a day that I can open a newspaper without reading about the suffering of the people of Darfur in Sudan. Similarly, the suffering of the people in Palestine is recounted 24 hours-a-day on radio and television in hundreds of different languages around the world. The plight of our people, however, is hardly ever mentioned. Whose fault is this you may wonder? Is it possible that there's some international conspiracy of silence when it comes to reporting the indignities our people face? Is it possible that all of the media outlets around the world are agents of the Islamo-faucist regime or at the least working in close cahoots with it? It would be easy for us to conclude this because we, after all, are a nation of conspiracy theorists, but that would be just a little too easy, don't you think?

The sad and shocking truth is that we have no one to blame, but ourselves for the world failing to notice the plight of our people. Some of us, in fact, fail to notice the plight of our people anymore. We get caught up in the hustle and bustle of our own personal lives and somehow the troubles facing our friends and family in Iran seem so very far away. Instead of telling the horror filled stories of the Iranian people, many of us write about things which are of little or no consequence to anyone or we write nothing at all. More than a few Iranian-North American writers seem to enjoy frittering their time away writing about one little manufactured tempest in a teapot after another. Perhaps, that's what having a comfortable expatriate life is all about; having all the free time one needs to create and write about the latest "crisis" in the Iranian-North American community. I doubt that there are many writers in Iran who have the luxury of manufacturing crises to write about when so many of them are targets of the regime.

While our lives in North America are immeasurably better than tens of millions of our countrymen in Iran, I hope that I never see the day where we get so comfortable that we are unable to hear the cries of our nation, or to feel the pain of our people. With Nowruz just around the corner, I pray that the West's seductive lifestyle never renders us unable to recognize that the heart of the Iranian nation is that thumping sound we hear in our own chests? Though distance and time have separated us from our homeland and people, we must never forget who we are. The day must never be allowed to come that our tongues and pens fall silent as long as our people continue to suffer. We must be their voice to the English speaking world and we must make their thirst for freedom and hunger for dignity known to the world.

How have we gotten to the point where the general North American public knows that some of us don't like the movie 300, but they don't know that women are frequently stoned to death and minors are routinely hanged in Iran? Why is it that they know that we'll loudly scream "police brutality" and "racial/ethnic discrimination" when one of our pampered young men refuses to obey a policeman's lawful order to leave the UCLA library and as a result gets tazed, but they don't know how our women are beaten in broad daylight on crowded Tehran streets by club-wielding Islamo-faucist trash? How is it that they know we'll collectively raise holy hell if National Geographic has the nerve to call the Persian Gulf, the Khaleej al-Arabi, but they don't know of all the newspapers which have been closed in Tehran and of all the reporters, and bloggers who've been arrested, brutalized, raped, imprisoned and, even, murdered by the regime? Some among like to insult Americans and Canadians with hurtful comments about how little they know of our country. Why, may I ask, would the average Joe or Josie in North America want or need to know about Iran? The answer is they wouldn't. If they don't know the plight of our people, it isn't their fault, but ours. Some of us pompously expect our non-Iranian neighbors in America and Canada to know about and care what happens to Iranians halfway around the world without us having to do anything to enlighten them. People, I ask in all humility, what's wrong with this picture?

We are not powerless. The only way we can rightly consider ourselves powerless is if we think of ourselves as victims. While all of us have met fellow Iranians who've lived their lives in North America as if they had a big scarlet letter "V" tattooed on their forehead, none of us are victims. We may have a few self-absorbed sissies in our ranks, but no victims. Our brothers and sisters who have suffered for so long under the boot and lash of the un-reformable monstrosity call the Islamic Republic of Iran are victims! Much to their credit though, they have never faltered in courageously facing the cruel indignities heaped upon them by their tormentors while we have lived our fat and happy lives abroad, far from their suffering and even further from their anguished cries for help. While they most certainly deserve our love, our honor and our respect, they, most of all, deserve our help. We are the lucky ones if one can think of life in a Diaspora as being lucky. Our community lives in freedom; our community members are highly educated, and; collectively, our ethnic group is filthy rich compared with other ethnic communities across North America.

While we all share a love for our homeland, we are not all alike. Each and every one of us is an individual with a distinct personality. Likewise our community is comprised of different kinds of Iranian-Americans and Iranian-Canadians. Many amongst us are North American immigrants who were born, raised and educated in Iran. Then there are others among us- those in the second-generation who were born and raised outside Iran to Iranian-immigrant parents and then there are those like my sister and I, who are of mixed parentage.

One thing that the "born-abroaders" and the "mixis" have in common is that we were neither born in Iran nor have we ever lived there. The tie that binds us and our elders who emigrated, before we were born, to our homeland is not merely one based on blood, but one of love; love for our homeland, its culture, its language, but most of all, its people. All North American Iranians... not just Persians, but the entire tapestry of ethnic groups who look east in the night sky when they think of our Iranian homeland...must use their talents to make the world see, understand and feel the suffering of our nation. The way we do this is by making our voices heard. We ought to make it our mission in life to inform our non-Iranian friends and neighbors of what is and has been happening in Iran for three decades.
Those among us who are more comfortable writing in Farsi about the injustices our people endure should be writing everyday. If you more comfortable writing in Farsi, get a friend or younger family member to help you translate the passion of your heart's words into English, so you can share those important words with non-Iranians. Those of us who are members of the second-generation have a part to play as well. We can't shrink from our responsibility to communicate the horrors facing our cousins in Iran just because we weren't born there.

Those of us who were born and raised in English speaking countries are far more comfortable than many of our elders in putting English onto paper. We must do our part in communicating the situation in Iran to the wider English-speaking public, especially to those who are young, successful and highly educated, like us.

Many of our upwardly mobile non-Iranian friends will one day be in positions of power and authority throughout Canada and the United States. If we can make such people want to befriend our nation and our people, then someday they just might be in positions of power to do just than. I hope that the suffering of the people in places like Darfur and Palestine ends soon. However, I feel that our paramount responsibility is to collectively do what we can for our people before we think of trying to help others. How can we possibly hope to make a positive difference in the lives of others if we don't first make a positive difference in the lives of our own countrymen?

At 4:25 PM , Anonymous Helaleh said...

You know, anonymous, many great artists of the world's sole intention has not been to give the observer pleaseure only! They have had messages inside that they could not deliver in any way except art. That's why we have so many books written about philosophy of art(there is something behind it), trying to decipher these deep down messages of art, but the outcome is beautiful because it's coming from very deep layers of human spirit, I am sure Davinci did not make David only to give people pleasure! That's the American Hollywood interpretation version, trust me, in more artisitcly sophisticated places of the world art is not considered like that! Talking about Roman Architecture, is to celebrate the Roman's historical peek of prosperity and wisdom. A ll the immortal pieces of art in the world are there for some reason more than entertainment! Each of them has a story that has been narrated over and over throughout time, sometimes even narrating sorrow and grief instead of pleasure and has nothing to do with theocracy, it's just a different perspective from having a basket of popcorn in front of a movie that gives false historical information to the audience just to entertain them. Even entertainment has boundaries too, just like a while ago a comedian got into trouble for spitting out an improper word for African Americans on stage.

At 4:28 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Middle easterners are not like you americans. They do not have that infamous snobbishness arrogance and automatic contempt for other peoples that americans have."

You're right! They have finely DIRECTED anger and contempt for other people/groups (i.e. Jews and Westerners). Next!

At 4:36 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Most of Iranian objection to this movie is not specifically about this movie, it's about 100 years of Hollywood making positive images out of historical figures from Alexander and Changiz to Dillinger and Al Capone but non from Iranian figures, you might say well there are no good character from Iran worth making a movie about, well has anybody wonder why there hasn't been a single movie about Cyrus the great which is the only dude being noted as a Messiah in Torah/Bible unlike Alexander, also you might say well we only like white western people as role model for our culture, hey if you think Anglo, Normans, Romans or Greeks are whiter and westernisher more than Aryan(Iran=Land of Aryan), you don't know nothing about western cultures. Still I'm waiting for a movie out of Hollywood to make me feel good for a change ($10 to be exact) and yet Hollywood moguls praise my ancestors in weekends in their temples but come Mondays they're tattooing number 666 in my Iranian forehead.

At 4:47 PM , Anonymous Mike said...

Once again, a misguided and misplaced reaction. In the West we have the term "Making a mountain out of a molehill." It is the act of making something that really wasn't a big issue into something big and important. Really, all I see here are shills and propagandists making a whole bunch of noise to get the attention of the Western media. You want a hint, sure you'll drum up some support among those likeminded with you, but if you think you'll change the views of your opponents, or even the uninformed masses who couldn't care one way or the other please note: You are only giving the movie director free advertisement. I mean, the Southern Baptists and other very Conservative groups over here hold the same tactic as yourself, one of reaction and threats, but it never gets taken seriously because the majority sees it as a circus sideshow. Sometimes even a stamp of approval over what is being protested because "well, it must be good if it is getting those "Christians"/"Muslims"/"Iranians" up in arms over something." In honesty those of us with enough historical sense see as much absurdity in Iranian ire over this movie as we do with those who would see the movie as historical. Iran may have those of Persian descent but to equate Iran with Persia is like saying Italy is the Roman Empire. When first the Greeks, then the Muslims conquered what geographically know as Iran, Persia ceased to be. Later there were some of European origin who marked the area as "Persia" on their maps, but really to say there was a strong geographical or political entity known as Persia would be a misrepresentation of facts. As for the premise of the movie, the Spartans could have been fighting Orcs for all moviegoers cared. We didn't care who the enemy was or what they might represent. We wanted to see an underdog hero, fighting against all odds and standing up for what is right, face a despicable enemy (not necessarily realistic) unto the utter end, and even be willing to make the ultimate sacrifice to protect that which they loved. In this story, a historical story was the inspiration so of course Sparta was the hero and Persia the villain. But anyone attending this sort of movie who understands Western culture knows that the roles have been exaggerated and simplified. It is the art of the melodramatic. You make the hero utterly heroic and the villain so despicable that you loathe them. But once the movie is done and you drop your empty popcorn bag off in the trash can, you don't think "oh, those awful Persians" you think "I wish I were as brave as those men on the screen." An interesting point: who was portrayed as more barbaric, really, in this movie? I mean while the Persian king through wave after wave of soldier against a strong position, this was normal warfare. It was King Leonidas who was eating an apple and his mean joking around, while they piled the bodies of the men they had just killed into a pile they later used as a wall.

At 4:47 PM , Anonymous Lynne said...

If the Iranians in the audience are unhappy with the way their remote ancestors are portrayed in the movie 300, I encourage them to make their own movie. There are apparently very talented Iranian writers in North America and I'm sure there are fine actors and directors. Isn't it wonderful that you live in a nation that allows freedom of speech and expression.

At 5:00 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

lynn: I couldn't agree with you more...The enforcers of the Islamic Republic (i.e. their lobbists) are all out in full force to peddle the criminal mullahs here in the West. The Islamic Republic has dispatched thousands of fake dissidents to the West strategically placed in some of the finest universities to promote its agenda among the useful idiots (i.e. Liberal/progessive).

At 5:04 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Most of wanabe western historian take Herodotus as a source for Iranian history, it's like history of Jesus by Judas. Read Xenophon´s Cyropaedia, much closer to truth than Herodotus novel and yes he was a Greek historian.

At 5:09 PM , Blogger VJ said...

Somebody was talking about freedom of speech and democracy etc. and asking the Iranians not to over-react. I happened to remember the renaming of french fries as freedom fries and bull dozers running over dixie chicks CDs.

At 5:09 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...
Afghanistan and Iraq are half a world away from the United States, but the most important front in the war on terror may just be a mouse click away. Correspondent Scott Pelly takes an in-depth look at the world of Jihad online, including how ordinary Americans are fighting back.

At 5:13 PM , Anonymous Helaleh said...

I agree with Lynne, freedom of speech is most definitely nice, the only contradiction for me here is how freedom of speech is coinciding with all this lack of knowledge! I remember one Friday at work an old coworker of mine asked me about my plan for the weekend and I said I am planning to go to Napa for some wine tasting event! The guy who has traveled all around the world with multiple phds from MIT and Berkeley looked at me with raised eyebrows and said, "it's very interesting for me to see a Muslim girl go wine tasting!" My answer to him was where Napa was when Hafiz, the great Iranian Poet was admiring Shiraz wine (Shiraz is a city in Iran, as Omid said, the French version is Syrah) more than 600 years ago! but unfortunatley looks like people mostly tend to listen to what Hollywood preaches and somehow taking that as the real world instead of taking advantage of all kinds of other ideas out there!
Maybe it is time to make a non-fiction movie about Iran!

At 5:15 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello Omid,

GREAT blog. I have no opinion on 300 yet because I haven't seen it. Initial impressions are that it's about as historically accurate as the old Sinbad movies (stereotypical as they were, I admit I still love them).

As entertainment goes 300 could be great or terrible. All depends on the script and acting but I don't rely on Hollywood for my history. I'm not even sure the film's producers intended it as such.

The film may very well be inane but I don't see how it can be actually racist as per the KKK view. As if it makes any difference Persians/Iranians are 'Caucasian' people and so are most Spartans/Greeks.

If you don't like the 'history' in the film, really, the best commentary you can make is to laugh at it.

I'm a 'white western' guy, proud of my country, but I was brought up knowing that modern human civilization owes by far its greatest initial debts to the crucial developments in the Fertile Cresent, North Africa, Europe and also India during the past 10-13,000 years. (Of course other regions made valuable contributions, we're all from Africa, and the industrial revolution came later).

I don't want to sound like a hippie, but I say this; people need to get over their manufactured 'differences'. If we could ignore our respective dictators I'm sure we'd find we have much more in common than not.

To my freedom loving Persian brothers and sisters, respect.

At 5:19 PM , Anonymous Helaleh said...

I hope that movie does not get censored though!
Yes, censorship does exist in America too in a very sophisticated way! For more info. watch Charlie Rose's interview with Robert Redford, how he complains about numerous movies that he made and could not make it out there to theaters (were not allowed to be watched) just because they were making people think about issues they did not want people to think about or worry about! It startled me!

At 5:26 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I haven't watched the Hollywood "Historic Epic" 300 yet and if I ever do, it will probably be on a pirate DVD. I have had lots of emails about boycotting the movie and protests etc. In my experience however these kind of actions against a movie are either pointless or they just create more publicity for it.

Anyone with half a brain cell also knows that when it comes to historical accuracy, Hollywood is pathetically hopeless. Sensationalism brings more revenue than historical accuracy, thats a fact.

However if we are so concerned about the historical reputation of our ancestors, we could do a lot more good than sending emails to each other to boycott a movie which is already breaking box office records. Few years ago a young director by the name of Alexander Jovy wanted to make an epic movie about Cyrus the Great. Some of my Iranian readers may remember me interviewing Alexander on Azadi TV, outside the British Mueseum in London.

The budget for the Cyrus movie was estimated at 50 Million Pounds. Two non-Iranian investors had each provided 20 Million Pounds towards the making of the film. Both investors wanted to show the spirit of tolerance and greatness in Cyrus. Had the film been made, it would have been a source of pride for all of us. Yet not one Iranian investor came forward to close the remaining £10M balance!

Even people like Iranian born Lord David Alliance, with a huge personal fortune, were approached. Lord Alliance however was not interested, complaining that the UK Labour government had closed the tax loop holes for movie investments. One would have thought the Jewish Lord Alliance, would have had more incentive to make the Cyrus movie than just think about the tax loop holes.

So if our heritage and our ancestors are now being shown in a bad light, lets point one finger at Hollywood but four fingers at ourselves. Iranian ex-pat community includes many super wealthy individuals, the vast majority of them have lots of money but no sense and passion about Iran.


At 5:43 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...


You say "They have had messages inside that they could not deliver in any way except art."

I completely agree, people like to use the fact that art excites the sense and emotions to convey messages 'inside'. So stop looking at the literal story because you're meant to be looking 'inside'.

At 5:47 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Secular Islam Summit - Press Conference PT1

At 6:06 PM , Anonymous serendip said...

Engineering Persian Empire by Canadian Broadcast Company on You Tube:(4-parts)


At 6:14 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...


At 6:17 PM , Anonymous paxmun said...

But these complaints by Iranians are strange to understand.
Aren't the current Iranians vocal supports of the same Islamism that finally massacared and wiped out the Zoroastrian Persian empires of Xerses, Porus, and other Persian kings.
Can't have your cake and eat it too!

At 6:20 PM , Anonymous serendip said...

Sorry, it was 5 part:

Part 5 of Engineering Persian Empire:

At 6:24 PM , Anonymous helaleh said...

You are right! for someone who doesn't know art, simply gets excited when being exposed to a piece of art without knowing why. Artists have certain concious/subconcious/unconcious ways to create that excitement through your mind diagrams. Art is a medium to transfer those feelings which in all cases contain messages. They have been programmed to have messages to be able to communicate and impress. When that communication, that 'aha' moment takes place is where the joy comes from. It's not that the artists simply want to give you a joy, then give you a joy! Study art just a little bit!For example Roman Architectue is designed to make you feel you are smaller than those monuments, to make you feel like give in, to say vow, all of those out of human scale coloumns and high ceilings are there to make you feel modest. when confronted with, to be empowered, that's the message, do not think the architect had no clue while designing that, there are courses in Architecture school that teach you how to send the messages! It's not only about pleasure, you can manipulate much more than that with art, that's why the responsibility aspect of art gets brought up!

At 6:25 PM , Anonymous serendip said...

Paxmum: The only Iranian who are supporters of the Islamic Republic of Terrorists are

1. Pocketbook supporters (reformists, IRGC)

2. Zombified believers (hardliners and true devotees, mostly provincial uneducated)

3. Paid shills (mercenaries who will support anyone who pays them well)

All of these 3 groups have a lot at stake if the government is toppled. Other than that, anyone with a half brain will not support this murderous regime.

At 8:30 PM , Anonymous JD in LA, CA said...

Ancient history was always propaganda; there was no idea of objectivity in historical reportage, but rather edification and justification. If the desire is for "fair and objective" coverage of the wars of ancient peoples, the first step would be to jettison all the ancient historians. Rather than condemn the movie, it is more fitting to praise it for its correct portrayal of the mythologizing hero-worshipping portrayal of Greek historians. "History is written by the victors" was never more true then than now.

As to the historical accuracy of the film, if we look at Herodotus as a source, we can clearly see his particular bias was pro-Athenian. Since the Athenians were frequently involved in warfare with the Spartans after the Persian war, it would be natural for Herodotus to disparage the contribution of the Spartans when he wrote the history of the Persian war. Instead, he praises the Spartans, which leads a historical scholar to believe that a good portion of what he has to say about the Spartans at Thermopylae is relatively historically accurate.

Since the American and European world claims patrimony from Greco-Roman (rather than Persian) ideals, it is the Greco-Roman histories that have been accepted as the best barometer of "truth" regarding ancient history. Hence, we have the movie 300, with all of its biases and inaccuracies intact from that Greco-Roman lineage. The attempt to label the movie as false and misleading is certainly going to require more than a "bombardment" of its website; rather, you have 2500 years of Greco-Roman historical heritage to try to undo.

Good luck with that.

At 8:46 PM , Blogger Berkeley Forum said...

i watched the movie at Daily City, California. eveytime an Spartan slaughtered a persian, the audience cheered for the Spartan like he was one of their own soldiers!!

At 9:23 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I cannot believe the way the world has become. You are upset at the the way that comic book characters are depicted in a film? I wonder if hunchbacks are going to sue for the way Ephialtes was depicted as the traitor. I for one am upset at the misrepresentation of the dwarves in Lord of the Rings

Bewildered, USA

At 11:58 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I find your concern somewhat, no, very comical. I had already planned to go to the move based on the previews. My interest was about special effects and fantasy/fiction. I read about protests like your blog and others and it made me even more interested to see the movie. I agree that most of the younger crowd will not associate Persia with Iran. If you really think that ANYBODY can watch that movie and believe that it is an accurate representation of ancient cultures (Greeks or Persians) then you need some counseling. Anybody who would believe that would call Sponge Bob a documentary about life underwater! Let it go ... all you are succeeding in doing is selling more tickets for Frank Miller and Hollywood.

At 1:45 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Paxmum comment deserve a answer, "Aren't the current Iranians vocal supports of the same Islamism that finally massacred and wiped out the Zoroastrian Persian empires of Xerxes, Porus!, and other Persian kings?"
Shi...t happens, Macedonians, Arabs, Mongols among others. For the sake of argument let us assume that several thousand years of Iranian consciousness attends to the light at a end of tunnel, so either we can act like Israelis (or last Shah) in a middle of sea of Arabs and Mongols saying my way or highway and still not achieve any results, or we can join them and work toward our goal from within, much like how Persian gold bought Spartans to deflower Athenian independence in ~400BC till 20th century(Spartan .... Turks) without a need for arm intervention. Word of wise to current confederate president, I hear they moving to South Atazonia soon, again! heehaa.

At 5:49 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

"The movie has a great amount of historical discrepancies and errors to the point of almost fictitious."

That's generally what hollywood movies are, genius.

At 12:07 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear brother Omid Memarian,

I am an arab. Do not be saddened or upset by the movie 300. No iranian should waste time getting upset by it.

Despite the damage it tries to do the the great Persian heritage, it only manages to testify to the ignorance and malice and racism of its own producers.

Rest assured that the civilised world in Asia, Africa, South America and among the educated from Europe and Canada still recognize the important civilizations that the land of Persia has spawned, from Medes (Media) to Persia to Parthia to Sassanid and then Muslim Iran (sunnit and shi'a).

The contribution of Persia to the Indo-European languages and learning cannot be denied especially in Lydia in the centuries that preceded the pre-socratic Miletian philosophers, starting with Thales.

Hollywood and american popular culture has the unfortunate custom of disparaging ancient peoples and civilizations, sparing no one (babylonian, egyptian, canaanite, chinese, japanese, indian, russian - and even germanics like themselves like France and Germany).

Is it any wonder that the youngest civilisation on the block - the industrialized anglo-saxons and their nation-state offsprings (the anglo-saxon commonwealth) are so contemptuous of the real elders of this world? In the nineteenth century, the British fancied themselves the "most evolved" among the white "races".

That line of thinking alone would tell us that they were on the wrong track then , just as they are now.

While they fancied themselves the most evolved humans in the world, they went about looting and desecrating the nations of the world, from India to Africa to British columbia, instilling in them feelings of inferiority by manipulation of education programs and culture. Then proceeded to leave the most intractable geo-political messes in modern times (the palestine and kashmir problems) by ruse and theft and treachery.

These are an arrogant vain and utterly immature people. Their culture is one that despises the other and sees itself in supremacist terms both religiously and materialistically.

So don't bother with those folks at Hollywood spewing forth that hatred and misinformation.

As we they say. They are the blind leading the blind.

God help them grow up, and protect us all from their deadly belligerence.

History marches on and the belligerent always end up forgotten and despised in its wide folds.

Take care, and best regards.

At 2:13 PM , Anonymous Vladislav said...

Americans are soooo mature when it comes to criticisms of their own culture or society. Which is why they, in true democratic, civilized fashion, can appreciate films made in other countries that in any way suggest they may not be the strawberry shortcake they pretend to be. Films such as Dogville or Dear Wendy (see here reviews full of indignant, self-righteous bile, by reputable film critics -

So stop telling people to grow up and accept your mucking about with other nations' histories and identities. It's NOT just a comic-book. It comes out at a sensitive political time, namely one of near WAR with the descendents of the people depicted. And, no, don't hide behind your ignorance either, people aren't so stupid as to not make the link between Persians and Iranians, and between Greeks and Americans. This movie justifies American superiority and the right to wage war against Iran. Eat up propaganda if you want, but don't try to force it down everybody else's throats too.

At 2:13 PM , Anonymous Vladislav said...

Americans are soooo mature when it comes to criticisms of their own culture or society. Which is why they, in true democratic, civilized fashion, can appreciate films made in other countries that in any way suggest they may not be the strawberry shortcake they pretend to be. Films such as Dogville or Dear Wendy (see here reviews full of indignant, self-righteous bile, by reputable film critics -

So stop telling people to grow up and accept your mucking about with other nations' histories and identities. It's NOT just a comic-book. It comes out at a sensitive political time, namely one of near WAR with the descendents of the people depicted. And, no, don't hide behind your ignorance either, people aren't so stupid as to not make the link between Persians and Iranians, and between Greeks and Americans. This movie justifies American superiority and the right to wage war against Iran. Eat up propaganda if you want, but don't try to force it down everybody else's throats too.
By the way, here's a review:

At 7:36 PM , Anonymous Arab Sister said...

Dear anonymous Arab brother,
I am an American and yes, you are my brother. That's the beautiful thing about most Americans. We can trace our heritage back to many wonderful people and races. I am English, Italian, African, Native American, Greek and Arab. How can I think badly of anyone of any other race or culture, when I very likely have their own ancestor's blood running through my veins.

I know that our movies and television send a very egocentric view to the world. But, the reality is that the people I know are loving and generous and very tolerant of all people.

Please don't judge me by what my elected officials do, and I won't judge you by what your government does. I know that you are much more than what is presented to me in the media. (ie. not all people of middle eastern decent are terrorists)

Peace and love,
Your Sister

At 10:41 PM , Anonymous Captian Gibbs Halls said...

Omid: "The movie has a great amount of historical discrepancies and errors to the point of almost fictitious."

Hey, maybe if you actually took the time to WATCH or READ THE COMIC BOOK THAT IT WAS BASED OFF OF, or just took the 10 seconds it would take to figure out that it is a FICTIONAL movie, then your comment could be taken seriously.

Also when you say
"Not only does it give the wrong outcomes to battles, it grossly misrepresents the Persians and their civilization."
that is not true. It depicted the battle correctly. The 300 Spartans and 7200 Greek Hopolites did defend Hell's Gates until Ephialtes gave away the side passage.

Again, about depicting the Persians, IT WAS A FANTASY FILM. I highly doubt that Xerxes was 10' tall. I also doubt that the "Immortals" (Which did exist, they where elite Asian troops) where derranged in the face and that is why they wore masks.


At 10:50 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Vladislav said...
“...It's NOT just a comic-book. It comes out at a sensitive political time, namely one of near WAR with the descendants of the people depicted. And, no, don't hide behind your ignorance either, people aren't so stupid as to not make the link between Persians and Iranians, and between Greeks and Americans. This movie justifies American superiority and the right to wage war against Iran.”

How long ago did Frank Miller write this graphic novel? How long ago did they start making the movie? In the movie aren't the Persians the ones with superior numbers? Aren't they invading another land? If anybody really wanted to take this movie as propaganda then wouldn't America be associated with the invading Persians and countries like Iraq, Iran, etc would be represented by the Spartans in this movie? I question your logic. On top of that, the movie is so fictitious I really don't see how anybody could take it as a political statement. To link Hollywood with the current political leaders in America is also strange. The republicans (especially conservatives) can't stand Hollywood because so many question our current actions overseas!

Not on here to demean or name call. Just trying to bring counter points to what I am reading. With so many real problems in the world I can't believe that you consider this movie a real threat or insult. I just don't see it.

At 11:01 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Berkeley Forum said...
i watched the movie at Daily City, California. eveytime an Spartan slaughtered a persian, the audience cheered for the Spartan like he was one of their own soldiers!!

I think we call that rooting for the underdog. Stop trying to attach political meaning, PLEASE! It's a damn comic book made into a movie. It's about people vastly out numbered facing certain death and not turning away.

At 2:49 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...


"Rest assured that the civilised world in Asia, Africa, South America and among the educated from Europe and Canada still recognize the important civilizations that the land of Persia has spawned, from Medes (Media) to Persia to Parthia to Sassanid and then Muslim Iran (sunnit and shi'a)"

If you bother to make the effort you'll find that among the educated of Asia, Africa, Europe, Canada *and* the US there is nothing but the greatest respect for the early civilisations of Persia, including the early Muslim civilisations. Don't create fictional divisions between Americans and other cultures where there there are no such divisions. Browse a bookstore in the US and you'll find many of the same books available in the other countries you mentioned. In any bookstore in the US with a decent history section you'll find plenty of books on early Iranian civilisations and you *won't* find anyone dismissing them as unimportant as trivial. By claiming that such divisions exist you do humankind a great disservice. Shame on you.

At 3:07 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...


I spent a chunk of my life studying ancient Near Eastern history. I recognise '300' as what it is - a fantasy. It takes about 5 seconds of watching the movie to recognise that's what the movie is. There is no "lack of knowledge" here. When my British ancestors are portrayed as savage brutes in Roman accounts, and modern portrayals of those accounts, I think nothing of it. And I certainly don't imagine an anti-British propaganda campaign by the Italians.

But you're not ignorant, you know all this already. I can only presume you say what you are saying out of some darker motive. How unpleasant.

At 8:23 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Let me tell you what I think. I think us Iranians should get all our Millionairs to gether and have them invest in a GOOD Persian empire movie with the help of hollywood. There has been too many movies from hollywood that has made the Persians look bad, and maybe even fueling the american public for a war against Iran.

I would think the era of Cyrus the Great when he drafted the first declaration of human rights in 539 BC, freeing hundreds of thousands of Jews from Babylonian slavery would make a good movie. I think this would help the world understand that the movie 300 is not real.

This move would be more productive than making online petitions and protesting infront of movie theaters!

-A Persian that cares

At 8:34 AM , Blogger Ben said...

I have not had time to read all 80 comments, as I have to get to class. But I feel the need to leave my two cents, and hopefully I am not just reapeating someone else. The interesting thing about history, is that it is never often "fact". Even more so, neither is Hollywood. History is always written by poeple who, whether they try or not, can never be trully objective. There will always be differing views and partrayals. One side may portray the Persians or Spartans as great cultures who have made significant positive impacts on the world. One may also portyray both as evil and barbic cultures, it is about the individual perspective (who wrote the hisory). This is why I find the threat of "google bombing" the most troubling aspect of this issue. It is a form of censorship by denying access to information, and borders on propoganda. The "free" and "open" flow of information on the internet should be protected, to allow all view points to be heard. It may be simply principle, but "google bombing" would be a terrible hypocrisy, whether or not it denies anyone access to viewpoints or information. I will not deny those who see "300" as an attack on their culture their view, but I will also ask that they allow others to hold their own views.


P.S. I thought "300" was a great work of visiual art, yet was scared by the film's ability to rile the violent and vindictive aspects of my 19 year old male mind.

At 4:10 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's true most americans do not know that Iran and Persia are the same place. I believe that making a big deal about this movie only fuels bigger box office returns. This movie was based off of a comic book and not based upon reality. There were huge discrepancies in the movie, for instance I don't think the Persians actually had any chained up giants on their side. Nor was the Spartan king's wife forcibly raped by a councilman. The Greek traitor was also never depicted as a crazed hunchback. Aside from these things the movie is great if you enjoy massive amounts of violence and blood. I wish the Iranian people well and hope they will focus on ensuring their country is not invaded by mine anytime soon!

At 6:23 PM , Blogger david said...

Memarian, I´m Brazilian, so excuse my poor English.

The entertainment isn´t a great place to look about historical trues. Did you see "Tourist"? We, brazilian, kill you, visitors, to make business with your kidney, lungs, etc.
I don´t care: it is a fool movie, to fool people.
Is the same (ok, almost) thing about '300': Is a movie to make entertainment, not to be a historical factor.
I know the Persian history. You know the Persian history. They don´t, as a lot of anothers things about people out of their country borders...
In time: No, our government headquarters isnt Buenos Aires and not, we dont speak Spanish...

At 8:18 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

WTF, it's just a damn movie. What's the big fuss about all this crap. Lighten up and enjoy the movie. Don't be so lame.

At 12:22 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am amazed by some of the comments, but I suppose I am more amazed that anyone would be upset over the historical 'accuracy' of the movie. After all, its just a movie, and neither Frank Miller nor the producers EVER said it was historically accurate. Instead both said it was based very losely on events. To call the movie propaganda is sheer ignorance, as is claiming that most Americans are too dumb to know that Iran sits in the cradle of Ancient Persia, or that Iranians are the descendants of Persians. Going so far as to say that Americans are not taught proper world history... if anything you sir are spreading the propaganda.

The movie is just that, a movie, based upon a graphic novel by Frank Miller who writes works of fiction.

Honestly people, grow up!

At 12:49 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Happy Persian New Year to all my Persian and non-Persian friends. May you have a wonderful 1386 (that's right we're about 700 years behind, even though we've been around since BC - I have no idea how that works.) This year I want to make a sequel to the movie "300" called "600." It's about a Persian who gets into his 600 series BMW and runs over a bunch of Spartans. It's also called "The Persian Estrikes Back!"

At 8:59 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Now that's funny!

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

300 the movie is fiction and they weren’t trying to pass it off as anything but fiction (closing credits says so), based on a comic book which is also fiction. Everyone agrees on that, right? Ahmadinejad’s comments about the Holocaust? Shouldn’t that be more relevant than a comic book movie about something that happened thousands of years ago?

At 3:44 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Every Iranian should read the following article:

A Response to the Hollywood Film '300' By Dr. Samar Abbas, India.

This article refutes many of this historical errors and propaganda of the film.

At 7:04 AM , Anonymous Emanuela said...

The uncultured part of the world will not even realize the bond between old Persia and actual Iran. The cultured part will be conscioud that this is a work of fiction (since when Spartans did fight bare-chested?), whose aim is to portray an epical battle with amazing visual effects. It's not propaganda, the original graphic novel wasn't meant to be propaganda. As to say, the rhetoric in the queen Gorgo's speech, the only part (not existent in the original graphic novel) gets completely blasted away, in the viewers's eyes, by her stabbing of the bad guy of the situation: it's not politics, it's showtime.

At 10:29 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's based off a comic book for Petes sake. Get a grip. People want to blast Hollywood, or blast the film itself. The film was true to the "Graphic Novel", or "comic book," if you will. I disagree with what has been posted about americans not understanding the facts. The History channel and Discovery channel have been running programs about Sparta for the past few months. At the end of the day the facts are that the Persian Army lost by land and by sea, even though they had a significantly larger army and navy.

I agree with what has been posted about anti american films. I have seen a few of them. Those films are present day films attacking americans currently, not attacking american from the 1800's. Even so, anti american films and even anti christian films (and there are many) may produce protest, but they never produce violence, distruction and murder. Can the same be said of protests against anti arab/muslim films, and the like?

americans and christians are lampooned, made fun of, ridiculed, etc. unceasingly in the media. We take it in stride and laugh at ourselves. How many Jesus skits have we seen on SNL? But no one dares mention mohammed out of fear. That's present day news. Isn't there something barbaric about that?

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