300 Comes to Tashkent

by Nathan Hamm on 4/1/2007 · 6 comments

225px-300-_Leonidas_and_Xerxes_discuss_surrender.jpgIran’s crusade against the movie 300 hit Uzbekistan just one day after it hit Thailand (read that letter!) with the Tashkent embassy releasing a letter protesting the screening of the film in Uzbekistan.

Pointing out the extremely negative effects of producing and screening of such works on glorious Eastern cultures and
civilizations, the Islamic Republic of Iran’s Embassy has asked for surveying the roots behind screening such a cheap work at a movie hall in Iran’s friendly neighboring country, and to end the shameful screening.

The whole story is a hoot and a holler, but the above is the most comprehensible part to excerpt. Also though, it shows how Iran is trying to convince countries like Uzbekistan that the film insults them as well. In another attack on the movie, a commentator argues that the Persia of 300 represents all peoples who now inhabit lands once inhabited by Iranian peoples as well as all those who are in part descended from Iranian peoples.

Iran is not simply a polity of a single nation; it is truly a small continent of many different ethnic groups that are the backbone of a multicultural country and a community of various people and traditions. After all, 300 does not just vilify the Iranians, it is an obvious assault to the all societies of West Asia, Central Asia, North Africa and Eastern Europe, which were once parts of Iranian wide empires in ancient times. The movie also degrades a large community of Indian, Chinese, European and American people who come from Iranian origins and Persian ancestors.

Try as they might though, I have a sneaking suspicion that their campaign will not sway Uzbeks or other Central Asians. 300 has just about everything I would include in a movie I would want to succeed with young males in the former Soviet Union or anywhere else for that matter. After all, it’s reportedly selling well in Iran in bootleg form, so I would hardly expect Uzbeks or other Central Asians to give it up so easily.


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– author of 2991 posts on 17_PersonNotFound.

Nathan is the founder and Principal Analyst for Registan, which he launched in 2003. He was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Uzbekistan 2000-2001 and received his MA in Central Asian Studies from the University of Washington in 2007. Since 2007, he has worked full-time as an analyst, consulting with private and government clients on Central Asian affairs, specializing in how socio-cultural and political factors shape risks and opportunities and how organizations can adjust their strategic and operational plans to account for these variables. More information on Registan's services can be found here, and Nathan can be contacted via Twitter or email.

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{ 6 comments }

Vincent April 2, 2007 at 12:27 am

Iran sez: “This is blasphemy! This is madness!”

Joshua Foust April 2, 2007 at 6:11 am

I dunno, I think if Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was more like 300‘s Xerxes — an eight foot tall, sexually ambiguous god-king with a penchant for loincloths, piercings, and S&M — Iran would have a far easier time with its foreign relations. At least in Europe.

You’d think they would also react to all the latent homoeroticism in the damned thing. Or the terrible writing.

Nick April 2, 2007 at 7:36 am

‘You’d think they would also react to all the latent homoeroticism in the damned thing.’

Didn’t stop them allowing Queen to be the first Western rock group to be legally distributed in Iran. The name! the bare chest! the campery! Freddie!

Candide April 2, 2007 at 3:35 pm

Iranian government reminds me of Michael Jackson saying that he hasn’t had plastic surgery, both expect people to believe the unbelievable. We all know that they are just using 300 to divert attention away from all of their terrorist activites.

Nathan April 2, 2007 at 3:43 pm

Vincent, the response: “This is Cake Town!

Botir April 2, 2007 at 4:08 pm

Realizing that the older version of 300 Spartans looked less political, rather than the new release, and the time this film is being shown leads to exact ideas, if not actions, have to say that it would be very ironic if the Uzbeks banned the film.
Because when one reads Uzbek history textbooks, it becomes clear that the Persians are portrayed as invaders…It is like when a couple of months ago, Uzbeks criticised Pope’s speech, despite that universities teach that the “Uzbek” land was rich in culture and that is the exact reason why they could later develop Islam to such an extent under Arab occupants…i am very curious what will come out of it…will follow the developments.

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