Roger Cohen’s column in New York Times about the Cyrus Cylinder and its upcoming tour of the US includes what is probably the most beautiful and concise description of the significance of the Cyrus Cylinder, and the underlying multi-dimensional complexity that provides such rich context for this iconic object:
“What is it? A Babylonian artifact written by a Babylonian scribe about a Persian conqueror; prized by Iranians as an emblem of their civilization; valued by many Jews whose Bible gives credit for Cyrus’s acts not to a Babylonian God but to Jehovah; found in modern Iraq by British-sponsored archaeologists who acquired it from the Ottomans; exploited by the shah to underwrite his megalomania; a pre-Islamic text adopted by the Islamic Republic during the Iran-Iraq War as a symbol of past victories; a declaration compared to the U.S. Constitution because of what it says about peoples worshiping freely in a single state; and now an object that within the space of a few years has traveled to Tehran (where more than one million Iranians saw it) and to Washington.”
Read the article: Finding the Missing Word
And he is indeed right: It is possible to write a column about Iran without using the “N” word.