The Iran-Iraq War: The Politics of Aggression

By Farhang Rajaee | Go to book overview

5
Cultural Identity in Danger

MEHDI HOJJAT

My concern here is with the cultural heritage of a people whose works, both intellectual and material, are grand and priceless. They are an invitation to meditation and deliberation. The founders of Iranian civilization and culture, its protectors and promoters, throughout history and at present, created awe-inspiring works that cause any beholder to bow in respect and charge not only Iranians but the people of the world to preserve their value. The identity of a nation is made up of its cultural heritage. Without appreciation of the heritage and recognition of its main components, no cultural planning will be fruitful.

The Islamic revolution has its roots in history, the understanding of which is necessary for further solidifying its foundations. Historical documents are often inaccurate because of their authors' intentional distortions or prejudices or because of their distance in time. Relics of the past could serve as a criterion to test the truth of historical events.

Archaeology is a tool for delving into the life of the ancient past; anthropology is the study of the present. Together with traditional crafts that represent the generations, they pave the way for understanding the past. To achieve this understanding, after the victory of the Islamic revolution the Organization for the Preservation of Cultural Heritage was founded. The foundation of this organization in the early stages of the Islamic revolution and the allocation of facilities, equipment, immediate funds, and an annual budget of approximately 5,000 million rials (about $60 million), even in the midst of war, indicates the value of cultural heritage for the Islamic Republic.

The members of the newly founded organization felt a great respon-

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