Where's Iran in Year of Rumi?
By Mostafa Mousavi
TEHRAN, May 27 (Mehr News Agency) -- The United Nations Educational,
Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has named the year 2007 after
Molana Jalal al-Din Rumi (1207-1273) and has recognized Afghanistan, Egypt, and
Turkey as the organizers of the commemoration of the 800th anniversary of the
birth of the Persian mystic and poet.
The decision was taken as a result of the efforts of those
Turkey has been struggling over the past few years to prove
that Rumi belongs to their country due to the fact that Rumi's mausoleum is
located in Konya, a city in central Turkey. However, the country's program in
promoting Rumi is targeted at increasing the tourism revenues his mausoleum
The online version of the Turkish daily Zaman has reported
that the municipality of Konya is preparing to publish Rumi's famous work
Masnavi (Mathnawi) in 20 languages, including Greek, Japanese, Urdu, Arabic,
Russian, Kazakh, Turkmen, Hindi, Swedish, and Albanian.
The municipality will publish the various translations of the
Masnavi by the end of 2006 and plans to send copies to presidents and culture
ministers of several countries.
Last year, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan
presented Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi an Italian translation of the
masterpiece. He also plans to present a German translation of the Masnavi to
Chancellor Angela Merkel at the May 26-28 meeting of the Turkish-German economic
council in Berlin.
Despite all the renowned encyclopedias in the world, even
UNESCO, the world's most prestigious cultural organization, recognizes Rumi with
the Turkish spelling "Mevlana Celaleddin-i Belhi-Rumi".
Egypt and even war-torn Afghanistan have allocated funds for
the ceremonies scheduled for the Year of Rumi. Thus, they were able to convince
UNESCO to consider granting them a role in holding the ceremonies for the Year
It's shocking to hear that the Prince of Wales has pledged
financial support for a documentary about the life of Rumi, which will be
directed by London-based Iranian filmmaker Aryana Farshad at the Temenos
Academy, as the online version of the British daily The Telegraph recently
Farshad, 50, hopes to complete filming by the end of the year
and has promised the prince he will be the very first to see it.
Iranian cultural officials finally awakened on Saturday, three
days after the Cultural Heritage News (CHN) agency released a report naming
Turkey, Egypt, and Afghanistan as the organizers of UNESCO's Year of Rumi.
In an impetuous action, MP Seyyed Mahmud Dowlatabadi of the
Majlis Cultural Committee said that measures to hold events in Iran for the Year
of Rumi are on the committee's agenda, but gave no details.
"Molana is an Iranian poet, and he is a personality who we are
proud of. But it is a shame that we have no program for the year while other
countries are planning to participate in the programs that will be held during
the Year of Rumi," he said.
"I will certainly keep the issue in mind and will bring it up
in the Cultural Committee. The committee will begin working on the issue in
order to oblige the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance and other relevant
organizations to coordinate with UNESCO on this issue," Dowlatabadi
In light of all this, the key questions are: What is the
position of Rumi in our country? Furthermore, where do the other Iranian
luminaries stand? What have we done to introduce these figures to the world?
Many days have been named after them in the Iranian calendar, but that is all.
What are the tasks of the Ministry of Culture and Islamic
Guidance, the numerous parallel organizations, and Iran's cultural
It seems that if the tombs of Iranian luminaries like Sadi,
Hafez, Avicenna, Ferdowsi, and Attar were not in Iran, we would face the same
problem in proving that they are Iranian as we have encountered in the case of
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