Persian Jews welcome the return of the Cyrus Cylinder homeThe Cyrus Cylinder did not "return home" and it is not "a Persian artifact." It was excavated in the ruins of Babylon, so, if anything, it is an Iraqi artifact. But, as I've said before, I prefer to think of it as part of the cultural heritage of humanity.
Friday, 24 September 2010 09:47 | PDF Print E-mail
By Brokhim Davoudian from Tehran for CAIS
LONDON, (CAIS) -- The Cyrus Cylinder loaned by the British Museum to Iran and currently on show at the National Museum in Tehran has attracted attention nationally and internationally and has excited all Iranians including the small community of the Iranian Jews.
The Cyrus Cylinder signifies humanity and kindness and it is considered by many scholars to be the world’s first declaration of human rights issued by the ancient Iranian emperor, Cyrus the Great in 6th century BCE.
Amongst Iranians the most excited for the return of the Cyrus Cylinder being home after forty years, is the small Jewish community. The Iranian Jewish population better known as ‘Persian Jews’, constitute the largest among the Islamic countries.
A Tehran Rabbi excitingly stating: “it is wonderful and I’m much exited to see that the Cylinder is home – in fact I am doubley exited, as an Iranian as well as a Jew.”
He continued: “the Cylinder is a Persian artefact, but its contents concerns the history of Jewish people as much as Iranians, which echoes the past and is the voice of our ancestors – it tells us about the history of my ancestors, the Hebrews who were liberated by the ‘anointed of God’ from Babylonian captivity and their return to the holy land. It is the history of my forefathers who stayed behind and who had chosen Iran as their home.”
Background here and follow the links. For the Spiegel article, the Payvand response to it, and my thoughts on Cyrus and human rights, see here and here.
UPDATE: I don't mean to dismiss the understandable fact that Iranians, and especially Iranian Jews, are interested in the Cyrus Cylinder because of its content. Whether that was sufficient reason for the British Museum to loan it to Iran under current circumstances is another matter. I'm not convinced.