DAMASCUS, July 24, 2011 - I was one of 2000 protestor who participated in the third demonstration of Damascus which marched on March 25 from the Umayyad mosque in the old city. The pro regime thugs (armed with clubs, wooden sticks and iron bars) confronted us savagely to prevent us from coming out of the main gate of the old Mosque.
As we were pushing our way out , while chanting “ Liberty, Liberty, Liberty ”, I saw a group of young Iranian pilgrims who were so happy that we were making head way.
After we passed the thugs, I looked back and I saw the young Iranian ladies jumping with joy.
It seems to me they remembered their own uprising in 2009 which was temporarily suppressed by the revolutionary guards with unprecedented new techniques. Some young men were raped in front of their loved ones, while some young women were savagely beaten; one of them (Neda who has become the icon of the uprising) was shot dead. She died with her eyes open to see her beloved colleagues carry on with the holy task.
The world also kept silence during that period. The US administration believed then, like it believes now, that the Iranian and Syrian regimes can be reformed, and are pillars in the stability of the area. This notion never fails to amaze me, how can regimes which are built on fear and violence become democratic and gentle?!
From cultural aspect, the two regimes are not in harmony with the cultures and history of such great nations. Iran for example had its first empire (the Elamite) established in the year 2800 BCE. Iranians are gentle peaceful people who love life, poetry, beauty, arts and most importantly carpets. The Iranian regime disrespects life and progress, and its only strategy is to promote and spread its ideology and influence in the entire Middle East.
The First Gift from Iran
Throughout history, the Shahs of Iran sent Iranian carpets as gifts to other rulers of the world. An Iranian carpet of any style and type expresses the skills and personality of the Iranian people.
The most famous Iranian carpet exits in the Victoria and Albert museum in London. It is called the “Ardbeel carpet” since it was found in a mosque in the city of Ardbeel NW of Iran.
It was made in the year 1540 by Maqsoud Kashani during the rule of shah Tahmasp I .
Some say that Nasser alDin Shah Qajar sent that carpet as gift to England in 1893, while others maintain that it was bought in Iran by a German merchant who sold it to the museum in London.
The carpet is 11.52M X 5.43 M. It is made of 30 million knots (5200 knots per 1 dm², i.e. An area of 10cm x 10 cm) .
As we see in the photo, the Wrap (the strings which run along the carpet from one end to the other) and the Weft (the strings which wrap, in the lateral direction, every two lines of knots) are made of yellow silk. The piles (the cut finished surface of the carpet) are made of bright wool.
The carpet has a main lintel in the middle with a chandelier above and another below the Lintel .The field of the carpet is full of roses and tree’s branches like embroidery.
The carpet has one wide main frame surrounded by an external secondary frame and two secondary internal frames. Floral embroidery dominates the frames’ area as well.
The colors used in the carpet are dark blue, red, gold color and white.
A Second Gift from Iran
Although many of the protestors in the Syrian streets are convinced that Iran and Hizbullah have sent fighters and snipers to help in the oppression of the Syrian people, I personally did not see any signs of that in Damascus.
The two sides, however, have provided substantial propaganda support to the regime, openly claiming that the great Syrian revolutionaries are agents of the USA and Israel! It also seems that Iran has provided the regime with anti riots tools and arms:
When I was in the Midan - Abu Habel, Damascus demonstration on July 1, tear gas shells were shot at the protestors to force them back into the main Abu Habel road after they succeeded in reaching the Cornish of Midan near Al Hassan mosque to join their lads. I smelled tear gas and I felt mild pain in the chest, difficulty in breathing, in addition to tears in my eyes.
I looked from a distance at the small cylindrical black color shell as a young man carried it after it became almost empty. “Made in Iran”, he shouted. It seems it was a gift from the Iranian regime to the Syrian people. It represented the second type of Iranian gifts.
The photo of the carpet and certain information were taken from the book “Carpets of the Orient”, written by S. Sharif.
Written by Basel Adnan, Damascus
Diplomatic Aspects Associate, Damascus
NOTE: Article presents the point of view of his writer