Washington, DC – Iranian-Americans from the New York tri-state area exceeded NIAC’s fundraising goals and helped raise over $110,000 to go towards NIAC’s efforts to preserve the Persepolis Artifacts on May 30th at the Asia Society in Manhattan. More than 180 attendees, Iranian Americans and Americans alike – and including Professor Ehsan Yarshater of Encyclopedia Iranica – heard from special guests Amy Goodman from Democracy Now, Roger Cohen from New York Times and Professor Matthew Stolper from the Persepolis Fortification Project.
NIAC honored both Amy Goodman and Roger Cohen for their journalistic integrity and outstanding reporting. Amy Goodman, who has won numerous awards for her reporting on East Timor and Nigeria, stressed the need for an independent media. She pointed out the media’s failure to ask the right questions during the lead-up to the Iraq War. Roger Cohen, who has written a series of thought-provoking columns on US-Iran relations, shared stories of his travels to Iran, reactions to his columns and how he believes US-Iran tensions can be reduced.
NIAC was particularly thankful for Goodman and Cohen’s role in shaping public opinion against a US-Iran war through their reporting.
Special guest, Professor Matthew Stolper who has dedicated his career to studying these tablets, made the gravity of losing just one of these artifacts crystal clear – If there are too many of these tablets being auctioned, their value will drop. So what do people do to ensure that the price remains high? “They destroy a good number of them,” he exclaimed to a shocked audience. He also stressed the importance of keeping these items together, in fact, they are really to be seen as one item. Like a dinosaur fossil – if one bone is missing, we lose a sense of what the animal was. The same goes for these artifacts which tell the story of the Persian empire during the time of Darius the Great.
Thanks to our community in the City that Never Sleeps, NIAC is better positioned to ensure that not a single tablet from Persepolis is confiscated, auctioned or destroyed. NIAC is involved through legal, media and policy avenues to preserve the Persepolis tablets.
Though the event raised money for NIAC’s work to protect the tablets through its legal, political and media efforts, NIAC also encoruages Iranian Americans to donate to the Persepolis Fortification Project’s outstanding work to protect and research our heritage.
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