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Cultural Plunderers Roam Sistan
Gilan Heritage Up for Private Preservation
Discoveries in Hassan Sabah Castle
Mohammad Reza Shafiei-Kadkani
Alan Paton (South African writer, 1903-88): Who knows for what we live, struggle and die? Wise men write many books, in words too hard
to understand. But this, the purpose of our lives, the end of all our struggle, is beyond all human wisdom.
The Tree
T.S. Eliot Manuscripts Auctioned
Bicentenary Memorial of Napoleon’s Victory
Pakistan Sets Up Largest Baluchi Library

Cultural Plunderers Roam Sistan
Deputy head of Sistan-Baluchestan Cultural Heritage and Tourism Department for preservation and renovation affairs complained about a spate of overt and covert illegal excavations in the province, ISNA reported.
Mohammad Heydari estimated the 800 historic monuments so far identified comprise only one-tenth of the total number of heritage sites across the province.
Long distances of villages from each other and from police stations and main roads coupled with insufficient security measures all provide suitable conditions for plunderers of national heritage.
He recalled the case of Espidej region and said, “Only in 2001 did we recognize that the region was a valuable historic site after a number of relics were stolen away.“
He continued, “We also asked for credits to prevent scores of people who excavated the Chah Hashem plain every day, but to no avail,“ he added.
“Although commander of the Cultural Heritage Guards Unit, Brigadier Rouhi, had declared readiness to deploy forces in the region, nonnative guards cannot ensure security in this southwestern province. Because in border towns, almost every family owns illegal weapons and even armed soldiers would not be of any help for they lack the authority to take action.“
He continued that the sole alternative for preserving the monuments was to put them under the care of reliable influential locals, “but that policy failed too due to lack of coordination.“
He recalled, “One of the locals was assigned to safeguard Espidej in 2002 and he did so for seven months. However, he was finally forced to let go the job because he was not paid and this caused the locals to lose trust in us. It was right after that event when 450 illegal excavations were conducted in Espidej and the archeological site was pillaged altogether.“
He blamed absence of financial support for the failure of protection plans.
Heydari said the locals are driven toward illegal jobs due to their poor financial status. “Under circumstances wherein some people would do anything to obtain a sack of flour, the government’s financial support takes on special significance,“ he observed.
The official said he was totally unaware of any unauthorized diggings in the ancient village of Tis. “The village boasts many ancient relics dating from the 4th to 10th centuries,“ he stated.
Heydari however acknowledged that Delgan region in Baluchestan had been exposed to unlawful excavations, complaining that no funds had been set aside for safeguarding the ancient site.

Gilan Heritage Up for Private Preservation
Aq-Olar historical cemetery in Talesh, Gilan province
Gilan Cultural Heritage and Tourism Department will cede preservation of local historical relics and sites to private investors this year (ending March 20), deputy head of the department told ISNA.
Bijan Zahab added that all archeological bases in the province would be equipped with radio communication systems and other necessary equipment in the current year in a bid to protect historic and ancient sites.
He noted that a credit worth 800 million rials had been allocated by Iran Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organization to the province, adding the department was trying to promote preservation of the monuments through signing contracts with creditable private companies.
Gilan province has managed to efficiently control and prevent over 60 percent of illegal excavations and attempts to plunder historical assets particularly in ancient cemeteries, thanks to implementation of the comprehensive scheme for preserving heritage site.
According to Zahab, Gilan’s comprehensive scheme can serve as a role model for other provinces.
With the implementation of the scheme, all development projects including transfer of gas pipelines, as well as agricultural and mining activities will be subjected to DoE approval and permission, he added.
The official referred to efficient cooperation and collaboration among state-run organizations particularly Islamic Republic of Iran Police, private sector and cultural heritage supporters as Gilan’s major success in preserving heritage sites.

Discoveries in Hassan Sabah Castle
Hassan Sabah Castle in Alamut region of Qazvin province
New archeological findings in the historical site of Alamut revealed that the main tower of the Hassan Sabah Castle had three stories, director of the Alamut archeological base said.
As reported by IRNA, Hamideh Choubak expanded that contrary to former estimations based on which the tower had double stories, the new evidence testifies to the existence of three levels.
Latest archeological studies showed that the two upper floors caved in, with only the lowest floor, about 30 square meters, remaining.
During the excavations, archeologists came across the main tower of the fortress which had been hidden under the buildings of the Safavid era (1502-1736), Choubak noted, adding further discoveries were expected.
She estimated that archeological excavations at the site would probably last for 10 years.
“The team intends to excavate from lower to upper parts of the Alamut Valley, for experts believe remnants of the castle might still be found inside the valley,“ the official stated.
Choubak stated that the current season of excavations would last through Oct. 7, after which the team would begin restoring the unearthed objects. With the advent of the cold season, the operations would be suspended until next year (March 2006).
The official noted that the castle would be open to public once archeological excavations are halted. “Even now, about 1,000 visitors tour the castle on public holidays,“ he mentioned.
Complaining about the insufficient budget set aside for the operations, Choubak asked for more financial support.
Alamut Valley is located in northeastern Qazvin province in an area of more than 886 square kilometers and contains 94 villages.
There are presently close to 20 ancient castles and citadels in Alamut Valley, the most famous of which is the Hassan Sabah Castle. Others include the Monkeys, Shirkouh and Lambsar castles.
Hassan Sabah Castle is linked to the Ismaili religious sect. Ismailites were a fanatic Islamic sect who grew in power between the 11th and the 13th century. They became famous for murdering their enemies. Their headquarters was based in the impenetrable Alamut Castle. The cult was led by Hassan Sabah.

Mohammad Reza Shafiei-Kadkani
Iran’s famed writer, poet, literary critic, editor and translator, Mohammad Reza Shafiei-Kadkani was born in Kadkan, a village northeast of Neishabour in Khorasan Razavi province in 1939.
He started composing poetry at an early age. He wrote his first poem at seven years of age, but his more serious endeavors in composing poems were during adolescence.
Shafiei-Kadkani started learning under his father and became familiar with Arabic language well before he mastered reading Persian.
At an early age, he found the opportunity to become a seminary student under luminaries of the time such as Adib Neishabouri II, Mirza Hashem Qazvini, Ayatollah Milani and other religious figures.
He was admitted as top student to the University of Mashhad, Faculty of Persian Language and Literature in 1962.
There he was a student of Ahmad-Ali Rajaei and prominent writer and researcher Qolam-Hossein Yousefi.
He later became an employee of Khorasan newspaper.
Having graduated from the university, Shafiei-Kadkani came to Tehran in search of higher education opportunities. There, he was acquainted with modern inclinations in poetry and literature and benefited from the useful instructions of distinguished literary figures such as Badiozaman Forouzanfar, Azminavi, Azkhanlari and Qolam-Hossein Masayeb in Tehran University.
Shafiei-Kadkani worked for a while at the library of the then Senate. He earned his Ph.D. in Persian Literature from Tehran University by writing a dissertation on Imagination in Persian Poetry. He was immediately invited to teach at the University of Tehran.
He carries out a lot of research and wrote many poems in those years.
He became so famous that Ali Dashti-Nadideh in a letter introduced him to the then sovereign Mohammad Reza Pahlavi as one of Iran’s venerable and eminent scholars.
However, Shafiei-Kadkani headed for America and England in 1973 to continue studying and teaching. While in west, he became familiar with new theories and methods of literary criticism.
He has already published several poetry books. He has also authored and edited a number of prominent literary works. The History of Neishabour, Divan-e Shams, Asrar-e Tohid, The Music of Poem, and Contemporary Arabic Poetry are but a few examples.

Alan Paton (South African writer, 1903-88): Who knows for what we live, struggle and die? Wise men write many books, in words too hard
to understand. But this, the purpose of our lives, the end of all our struggle, is beyond all human wisdom.

Shahpour Bridge in Savadkouh district, Shirgah, Mazandaran province.The historical passage dates back to the Qajar era (1796-1925). (Photo by IRNA)

The Tree
I came out of the soil, budding. At first, I was frightened. But then again, I figured I had to grow and I did. I grew to become the tallest of all, the most corpulent. I took great pride in myself. I overshadowed the plants around me, taking away the light and the life of all buds. Then someday, I was struck hard by a sharp blow. My turn was coming up. The axe didn’t give me a second chance.

T.S. Eliot Manuscripts Auctioned
A series of largely unpublished letters from T.S. Eliot and a first edition of “The Waste Land“ poem inscribed by the author sold for nearly $438,000 at auction, Reuters reported.
The lots included sets of letters from Eliot to his godson Tom Faber and Tom’s mother Enid. Faber, who died in 2004, was Eliot’s first godchild and the son of his friend and publisher Geoffrey Faber.
A series of 50 typed letters sent to Tom were signed “Uncle Tom“ and revealed a humorous side to the poet.
In one letter he wrote, “I should like to put you in touch with Mr. Mandlebaum of New York, who is writing a thesis on the Dynamics of Audience-Response to the Cocktail Party. This is called Sociology and is an American disease.“
A first edition of Eliot’s classic poem The Waste Land, inscribed by the poet, sold for 32,400 pounds ($58,480). With the letters and other inscribed first editions the collections totaled 242,652 pounds ($438,000).
Born in St. Louis, Missouri, in 1888, Thomas Stearns Eliot moved to London in 1914, where he worked as a teacher and a bank clerk. He died in 1965.

Bicentenary Memorial of Napoleon’s Victory
Some 4,000 amateur historians will reconstruct the Austerlitz Battle.
The memorial to mark the bicentenary of one of Napoleon’s most famous victories was inaugurated at the southeastern Czech town of Zbysov on the site of the battle of Austerlitz, AFP reported.
The so-called Battle of the Three Emperors on Dec. 2, 1805, saw Napoleon deceive the forces of Francis I of Austria and Tsar Alexander I of Russia into thinking his army was smaller than it was and then surprising his enemies with reinforcements.
The memorial, erected by the Czech Napoleonic Society on the famous battlefield, comprises three granite columns 3.6 meters high, each representing an emperor and made from the granite of each country.
Some 30,000 people are expected to attend a series of events to mark the bicentenary between Nov. 30 and Dec. 4 including some 4,000 amateur historians from 20 countries, dressed in period costume, who will reconstruct the battle on Dec. 3. The Battle of the Three Emperors killed 15,000 soldiers and led to the dissolution of the coalition between England, Austria and Russia.

Pakistan Sets Up Largest Baluchi Library
Largest reference library on Baluchi language and culture, co-funded by Iranian Baluchs, was launched in Karachi, capital of Pakistan’s Sind province.
Manager of the Seyyed Zohourshah Hashemi Library told IRNA in Chabahar, Sistan-Baluchestan province, that Iranian Baluchs extended support for the library, which was established in an area of 600 square meters with over 5,000 book volumes.
Azim Dehqan added, “The library is aimed to provide university students, schoolchildren and researchers of Baluchi language with references on Baluchi lifestyle and culture in Persian, Baluchi, English, Arabic and Urdu languages.“
Dehqan, an Iranian Baluch residing in Karachi, commended professor Saba Dashtyari and professor Abdolhamid Baluch of Quetta University for their major financial and spiritual contribution to the project.
He noted that more than 30 university instructors, students and pupils, especially Iranian Baluchs living in Pakistan, benefit from reference books available in the library.
Seyyed Zohourshah Hashemi is the fifth library on Baluchi language and culture set up in Karachi.
Baluch is a nation consisting of 500 tribes, who speak a common language called Baluchi. This language was driven from ancient Indo-Iranian language.
Baluch tribesmen live in a vast land called Baluchestan located in eastern part of Asia occupied by three modern countries Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan. The Iranian Baluchs live in southeastern Sistan-Baluchestan province with its capital as Zahedan. Pakistani Baluchs mostly live in western province of Baluchistan with Quetta as its center.