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Old 01-30-2005, 07:38 PM
clairobscur clairobscur is online now
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Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: Paris
Posts: 17,249
Originally Posted by CC
Now I'm some what clearer and more confused, too. As to Aryan - wasn't that the term Hitler used to describe the Nordic, or northern European light skinned, blue-eyed, blonde people he wanted to protect, at the expense of the Semites? How could that term also apply to people of darker skin, more....Arab or even Semitic looking? I came here to learn and now I'm more lost than I started.

Hitler was convinced that the nordic/german blond blue-eyed people were the real, the purest descendants of the Aryans. By this name, he was refering to the original "indo-europeans" a people that spread its language and culture over large tracks of land, in Europe, Asia and India.

Farsi, the language of the persians is an indo-european language, like English, Russian or Hindi. Arabic is a semitic language.

Persia had been for a very long time (think about the wars between the Greeks and the Persians) a powerful empire with a flourishing civilization, until its conquest by the arabs. Despite having, for the most part, adopted Islam as their religion, they always viewed themselves as Persians, kept cultural peculiarities, and their language. IME, they're rather proud of their heritage and longstanding history.

On the other hand, in many areas also conquered by the arabs, most of the people view themselves as arabs, have adopted an arabic dialect, etc...(which doesn't mean that they're actually of arab descent, though some will argue to the contrary). These are what we call "arab countries" like Irak, or Egyptia or Morroco, etc..

In most of these "arabs" countries, there are however minorities that held on their language and part of their cultural peculiarities, like the aforementionned Berbers or Kurds. They're generally much less well known that the Persians, because their role in history has been rather minor, and they never had a civilization as bright as the Persian one. It doesn't mean that they will like being mistaken for arabs, either.