by Kian Mokhtari
Two and half thousand years ago, the known world was almost identical in its affairs to the world we know today. The main difference was that the Persian Empire ruled over most of the known world. Highly advanced in its workings, administrative model and social management, it was a wonder the likes of which the ancient world had never seen.
On the Western edges of the Empire, dotted along the northern and eastern Mediterranean, existed a number of city states that unhappily and reluctantly paid tributes to the Persian Empire. The Mediterranean-rim city states that contemporary Western historians have bunched together as “Ancient Greece” gave rise to writers, philosophers, scientists, and so on, whose works have become the foundation and the pillars of modern Western culture.
Many of the fine gentlemen in fine white robes took up the mightiest weapon against the Persian Empire: the pen. In their attempts to vent frustration at what they considered an imposition by a foreign power, they began to portray Persia’s world empire as despotic, barbaric, uncivilized, emotional and childlike. In fact, all that was looked down upon in the Athenian social etiquette was relentlessly related to the Persians.
Eventually even the Persian Empire’s Imperial guard, The Immortals, did not prove so immortal in the invasion of Alexander of Macedon. Iran’s first empire was destroyed to the extent that precious few pieces of evidence survive to tell of the Persian take on the affairs of their world.
The greatest blow to the Persians to this day remains the near-total theft of their culture and destruction of their account of history. Precious little to answer the Greek history’s account: other than the Cyrus Cylinder, a universal declaration of human rights which according to the so-called Greek account of things was put together by a “despotic, barbaric empire”!?
The other discrepancy in the Greek journals of history is the role of women in society. The learned gentlemen of Greece almost uniformly represent women as breeding capsules bereft of social standing that seem to exude all kinds of poisonous liquids and grow snakes or some other kind of nastiness from their bodies. This, at a time when the “despotic Persian Empire” exercised equal rights for men and women and indeed bred governesses, priests, warriors and intellectuals from the ranks of its female citizenry.
Ancient Greece had also no qualms about slavery and slave trade, a practice outlawed throughout the Persian Empire that carried severe penalties. The price for a female slave in ancient Greece ranged between 140 to 220 drachmas.
But the point here is not to rekindle ancient rivalries, rather to highlight the arguments that deal with contradictory accounts of history.
The common men and women worldwide were seldom educated enough to leave behind their own views of the world, nor were they financially empowered to the point of hiring their own scribes to chronicle social history. So, whatever we know about history comes from the writings of scribes sponsored by biased third parties in positions of power, their cronies or indeed beneficiaries.
What we know of social history is through architectural studies into urban design and make up of past centers of social interaction. But this has proven a very speculative affair with countless arguments raging over various explanations.
The accounts of history being fed to our children at schools worldwide are primarily the accounts of military, religious or political feats of the elite. Such accounts encourage doctrines of racial, political and military supremacy and serve to steadily provide the rulers with more brainwashed foot soldiers for future adventures in brutal and biased intolerance toward human family’s true aspirations.
Enter journalism in its original form and with its original intent to provide humanity with a reliable source of information about world events. Journalism proved so effective in the mid-19th to early 20th centuries that massive popular revolutions were born from its ability to awaken the masses to their plight at the hands of generations of despotic rulers. Issues that the poorly educated so-called working class had not been aware of were pushed to the forefront of collective social consciousness via efforts of determined journalists and chroniclers eager to shake off the one-sided accounts of history shoved in their faces by undemocratic religious, political or military rulers.
The multi-pronged assault on mumbo jumbo took on the perceived beliefs to defeat superstition, ignorance and bias forced on the human family for thousands of years by the rulers, their lackeys and shamans. Darwinism blew apart the brutally enforced beliefs of Abrahmic religions on the origins of humanity and life on earth. In fact, scientific journals did more to peel away the outer layers of deceit and superstition that had held humanity in bondage than any political chronicles floated to challenge the status quo.
However, the journals of fresh arguments against the despotic political and religious rule also did much to shake the foundations of a decaying world of kings and queens, theocratic overlords and masters to open the way for new systems of governance based on popular consent in the latter parts of the 19th and early 20th century.
This runaway awakening in social consciousness touched almost every community in each and every part of the world. With local populations rising to claim their rights and colonial possessions shrinking, an argument developed over the colonial loot that we have come to know as World War I: Essentially a fight over power among two branches of one European royal household that saw to the back of all advances in social awakening. Free journalism was pigeonholed into war sloganism in the fear of being tagged unpatriotic.
The unchecked rise of the military industrial complex, huge banking corporates and war profiteers out of the ashes of the Great War set the course for where we stand to this very day. The latter culprits’ by now traditions of relentless assaults on free journalism, mass campaigns of misinformation and finally the takeover of media altogether have ensured the artificially induced differences among the human societies that guarantee the rulers’ profits will continue.
The rise of corporate controlled media has meant that the very journalists who would otherwise lend their pens to the causes of environment, society and people, must behave as mercenary scribes of the rulers if only to be able to feed themselves and their families. Some might argue that the internet and social media sites can in time remedy this dire situation but this conclusion is flawed because humanity seeks accuracy, lack of bias and comprehensive accounts in social records of contemporary world affairs that can be accessed within an information bank very much in the popular domain.
To bring about such eventuality free journalism and media must be encouraged to return to the popular domain as experience has clearly demonstrated that information controlled by the ruling elite will exclusively be used to advance their agendas and interests.
In the 21st Century, humanity is yet to wise up to these facts and move to finance its own bank of information to protect the future of its children, the environment and indeed our planet. The implementation of such proposition is long overdue. Humanity’s world view, free of induced prejudices, will be very different to what we are witnessing today. A world constructed with foresight and clarity of vision will be a far cry from the blood-drenched, chemical and biological nightmare that we are about to hand over to the next generation as “our legacy.”
Kian Nader Mokhtari, managing director of Blazing Kat Productions. Director, producer and writer of OWS Week, and currently producing a documentary in the U.S., Mr. Mokhtari is an independent journalist with 15 years of experience in the field. He is a foreign policy specialist, columnist and political commentator. He has worked as a lecturer in journalism at a number of universities.
McPherson wrote an essay on request for Blazing Kat last week. It’s here.
McPherson was interviewed by KMO for the C-REALM podcast. The result, which is accessible only to subscribers (even I’ve not heard this one), is here.