Sunday, March 25, 2012

West. Civ. as told by Iran.

Had an extra hour last night, didn't feel like reading, so went to Netflix and looked for a short documentary and selected: "Iran: Forgotten Glory."

Right off the bat, there is something a little strange about it.

It starts with Cyrus the Great, who was "revered and worshiped by all." You know, that kind of florid language. Hmmm. I get the sense that I'm getting a different perspective.

Cyrus, you see, was more or less forced to conquer the Middle East because if he hadn't he would've been attacked by all the other countries. "Hey, I didn't really want to be conqueror! You made me do it!"

O.K. So far, I'll buy "The Great" part, because he outlawed slavery and allowed freedom of religion (and freed the Jews from Babylon.)

So far, the documentary is pretty dry, I hate to say it, nearly boring. It's visuals are mostly showing the same ruins and wall reliefs over and over again.

If you've seen one knocked-over pillar you've seen them all. It's really refreshing when they show the occasional standing pillar.

When it comes to the wars with the Greeks, it starts getting really strange. See, the Greeks were traitors and betrayers, who refused to be nice, docile subject people and Darius the Great was forced to land at Marathon and spank them. He was temporarily indisposed.

His son Xerxes attacks, and while briefly hindered by "an army of Spartans (no mention of The 300) and Athenians and their allies" goes on to burn down Athens. But he's such a nice guy, he goes ahead and rebuilds the city.

Meanwhile, there is a brief mention of a "storm" that hinders his fleet. (But it doesn't really matter because Greece got most of its ideas from Persia, anyway.)

The documentary portrays Alexander as a pipsqueak who was about to be beaten back by Darius II, when the emperor is betrayed.

O.K. That's interesting. I'm all for revisionist history -- "History is written by the winners" is the quote they use.

By now, the documentary is an hour old, but I decide to go ahead and watch the second half.

It's even more fallen pillars and marble slabs and beat up wall reliefs, but now it takes a religious turn. No, not Islam. Not yet.


O.K. That's kind of cool. I admit I don't know a lot about Zoroaster.

Thus spake Zarathustra.

I'd almost think the documentary was made by Zarathustrians, except I'm not sure there is such a thing. Be'hai's are the closest thing to inheritors of this philosophy, but the documentary doesn't mention them. He is considered one of the prophets by many of the religions, so...I'm just not sure why this is so prominent in the film.

Anyway, after a brief reign of 65 years by the Greeks, the Persian empire makes a comeback, defeats the Romans and and finally meets it's demise under the "arab" Muslims. Up to now, I'm thinking this is an Iranian production, but they do so little with the Muslim aspect, that I start to doubt.

Anyway, a strange little film, that I don't think I'd recommend unless you think you want to see someone else's perspective.

No comments: