Saturday, March 09, 2013

Back to the future

Can traveling back in time improve the future?  An article by staff writer, Scott Peterson, in the March 3, 2013 Christian Science Monitor appears to imply that it can.  Covering the upcoming exhibition of the Cyrus Cylinder across five cities in the United States, Peterson asks,"can an ancient hunk of clay bearing a message of tolerance from the Persian Empire help Americans and Iranians chip away at a generation of mutual hostility?"

     Ask most Americans about historical documents that guarantee individual freedoms, and they can proudly recall the Emancipation Proclamation (1863), or the United States Constitution Bill of Rights (1787), or even Magna Carta (1215).  Quite a long history!  But how many know of the Cyrus Cylinder, drafted by Cyrus, King of Persia, in 539 B.C.  (That's right, "B.C." - over 2500 years ago!)  Peterson describes the artifact as "One of the most iconic objects of the ancient world and sometimes called the world's first human rights charter, the baked-clay cylinder with cuneiform script is the declaration by the Persian King Cyrus the Great about his peaceful capture of Babylon, and his order that all peoples should be free to return to their lands and worship as they pleased."

    The five city tour begins today, March 9, 2013.   For tour dates, venues, and a lesson in the history of human rights and what it could mean for the future, visit the Iran Heritage Foundation website, Cyrus Cylinder US Tour 2013.