This article was
published in my previous weblog in 04 September 2011 and I move it now to the
If you happen to watch BBC World, listen to BBC radio or interview of a British official, you may notice a region called The Gulf. First you may think of Mexican Gulf, Gulf of Thailand or Gulf of Aden but by following the line you will realize that it’s apparently somewhere in the Middle East which has been called Persian Gulf at least since 2000years ago.
I’m not going to prove that it’s Persian Gulf not The Gulf or whatever else. It’s been done by experts and historians, one of them Mohammad Javad Mashkour who in his short but comprehensive book (History of Persian Gulf’s names) lists all available historic evidences (in Greek, Arabic and Latin) in which this region is called Persian See, PersianAquarium or Persian Gulf. What is really surprising is talking of a gulf without using a name for it and this is done by entire of a civilized nation like a national policy. By prime minister, journalists, TV speakers, maps and even in a vacancy ad in British Embassy Tehran (…possibility of traveling to Gulf States). Is there a nameless river or mountain in the world? Can you find a street or even an alley without name?
There are many streets, schools and different other places in Iran named after those who lost their lives for the country. They are only names but for the families of those brave men and women these placesare symbols of pride for their loved ones. Few weeks ago I hosted another traveler friend, this time an original Brit from Darlington. In his profile photo in the website he was sitting somewhere in Bulgaria near his small tent, bicycle, luggage and his Union Jack. He was carrying the flag all on his trip from UK to God knows where. He was proud of his country’s history, of Winston Churchill, of Shakespeare, of his native language (spoken now in all countries) and of course of the British flag, the symbol of all this pride. In my recent trip to Germany I missed my own. I wished I had a small Iranian flag on my back sack or suitcase.
It’s the same for Persian Gulf. Iranians are proud of Persian Gulf because it carries the name of their nationality as English Channel does for the British. I wonder how they would feel if someone used The Channel instead of its historic and real name.
Personally I don’t believe in bordering between nations and categorizing people into Brit, Iranian or German because before being labeled by our nationalities we’re all born humans. I’d rather look at the common grounds than the differences. But we also have our own cultures, languages, history and traditions which combined with each other make the earth a beautiful colourful place to live. I’m also too far from Uncle Napoleonism to “blame it on the Brits”; on the contrary I should be very grateful of them for giving me the opportunity to work with them, earn living, learn and develop. I also admire Britain and Brits for their beautiful language, their literature, politicians and its significant contribution in “ shaping the modern world” during history as a leading nation but it’s really surprising that such a developed and cultured nation systematically doesn’t use a name for such an important body of water. They may believe in a name other than Persian for this gulf but does it make sense not to use a name for it?
As far as I know, changing Persian Gulf’s name began gradually since 1960s when Nationalist Egyptian leader Gamal Abdel Nasser came to power and following his Pan-Arab policies, called it first The Gulf and then Arabian Gulf. He seemed to forget the motto for his idea of Arab Nationalism which was “من المحیط الاطلسی الی الخلیج الفارسی” (From Atlantic Ocean to Persian Gulf).