Monday, March 11, 2013

Cyrus Cylinder hype

CNN: Ancient blueprint for Mideast peace tours U.S. Five-city tour began Saturday in Washington.

A headline often does not reflect the article accurately, but unfortunately this one does.
WASHINGTON (CNN) —An ancient Persian symbol of freedom, tolerance and coexistence has joined documents like the Declaration of Independence, the Bill of Rights and the Emancipation Proclamation in Washington.


"The Cyrus Cylinder sets up a model to run a multifaith, multifaceted, diverse society, leaving a model of the Middle East as a unit and what it could ideally be," said Neil MacGregor, director of the British Museum, in a recent TED Talk.

Both headline and article are over the top. The "blueprint for Mideast peace" or "model to run a multifaith, multifaceted, diverse society" consists of the following:

1. Become a Middle Eastern dictator.

2. Conquer the countries around you and set up an empire.

3. Refrain from inflicting atrocities on those you subjugate if they surrender promptly and then pay whatever tribute you demand.

4. Then do a few nice things for them.

5. Make much of point 4 in your propaganda.

This actually was being an enlightened ruler in antiquity, but I don't think of it as a political model for today's world.

Background here with many links. Additional commentary on the Cyrus Cylinder and human rights etc. can be found by following the links at this post.