European Centre for Zoroastrian Studies

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Dr. Khosro Khazai
Historian of civilizations,
Archeologist and Linguist
Head of European Centre for Zoroastrian Studies

The Louvre Museum: A Great Swindle

The big scam organized by the Louvre Museum in Paris, blatantly called‘The Arts of Islam’, demands a response.

Indeed, it is perfectly understandable that there has been an immense sadness, incomprehension and anger expressed by thousands of Iranians around the world in response to this pseudo exhibition. Hundreds of emails exchanged during these last weeks clearly reflect these emotions.

How could the managers of the Louvre, particularly those of its Islamic department, put into the same bag the arts of diverse cultures, some rooted in a history of several thousand years, and label them together, ‘The Arts of Islam’? One can only assume either a great ignorance of these cultures, dubious intentions or a real disdain for the intelligence and culture of their French countrymen.

Particularly obnoxious is that the pieces from Iran, which make up the majority of works in this exhibition, have been labelled without shame as ‘Islamic’.

The following are a few examples of those who works are included:

The great Ferdowsi, author of the monumental Book of Kings in the 10th Century, who fought Islam throughout his life, reviving the heroic pre-Islamic culture of Persia; Omar Khayyam, whose beautiful quatrains in the 12th century speak constantly of happiness of the present moment, wine and kisses, who said:‘I would never exchange a moment of happiness with my beloved or a glass of wine sitting in the moonlight, with all of Allah’s paradise’; the great Hafez, revered by eight generations of Persians, for his poems of unsurpassed beauty, who called mosques ‘houses of quackery’, whocould not live without a cep of wine, without the lips of the beloved, without music and without the songs of nightingales, who was receiving from the wine bringer the messages of freedom from distant boundaries of Existence and who, in great reverence, refers 57 times in his poems to ‘the master of the Magi’, that is Zarathustra.

These great symbols of Persian culture would turn in their graves to see their works presented in this pseudo-exhibition under the label ‘the Arts of Islam’.

To better understand the ridiculousness of this situation, imagine for a moment that the management of the Louvre should collect the disparate works of poets or philosophers of different cultures in Europe, such as Shakespeare, Molière, Baudelaire, Goethe, Nietzsche, with the arts of different styles such as Louis XIV furniture, realism, impressionism, expressionism, cubism, and put them together in the same bag with the label ‘The arts of Christianity’! How would you, as French, react?

Our French friends must understand that today the Iranians are engaged in a relentless cultural struggle, against the Islamic Republic, to reconstruct their shattered identity from their history of several thousand years. In this battle, the radiant stars of Persian culture you shamelessly include under the Islamic label are precisely their symbols and the instrument of this struggle.

Dr. Khosro Khazai

25 October 2012

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