Ann Arbor (Informed Comment) – Sen. Lindsay Graham joked on Fox Cable News that he might do a genetic test to see if he has Native American ancestry, as Sen. Elizabeth Warren does. Then he added that it might show he has Iranian ancestry. “That,” he observed, “would be terrible.”
Florida house candidate, Iranian-American Anna Eskamani, denounced the senator’s bigotry.
There are no races in the 19th century sense of pure bloodlines. Rather, peoples have mixed extensively with one another through history. About 5 percent of Southern whites in the US have recent African ancestry.
During the last Ice Age, most of Europe was uninhabitable, with 3 miles of ice on top of it. After the ice melted around 12,000 years ago, people made their way into the continent. From about 9,000 years ago they came in part from what are now Syria and Turkey, including peoples who had been involved in invention of agriculture. Those who came in from the east often brought Indo-European languages with them.
Olander’s (2018) tree of Indo-European languages. Presented at Languages and migrations in pre-historic Europe (7-12 Aug 2018), h/t indo-european.eu.
The evidence for the relationship of Europeans and Iranians is thus first of all linguistic. English and Persian, for instance, clearly derive from a common ancestor. Yes, that’s right. Iranian President Hasan Rouhani and Lindsey Graham speak variants of the same ancient Indo-European language, and since language and genes tend to be passed on by families, it is likely that they are related.
After someone published Graham’s phone number and address, he complained during the Kavanaugh hearings that people were “banging on my door” all night.
The English word “door” has an exact cognate in the Persian that is Iran’s official language. It is “dar.”
Or the late Sen. John McCain said that Graham was “like a little brother” to him. In Persian, the word for brother is “baradar,” which is obviously just a variant of the same word, keeping the b, d/th, and r.
When Lindsey Graham threatened Democrats over their questioning of Kavanaugh over his alleged history of sexual abuse, Graham said, “if this is the new norm” then Democrats should worry about their nominees.
New in Persian is nau.
Name in Persian is nam.
Star is setareh (take out the vowels in each language and you can see it is the same word).
When Lindsey Graham pondered the phenomenon of Trump, he was using a verb cognate to the Persian pendar (to think).
The linguistic heritage is strong evidence for common ancestry. But then there is evidence that people from northwestern Iran and the Caucasus and eastern Anatolia, areas where Iranian languages were spoken thousands of years ago, helped populate Europe.
The Minoans and Mycenaeans, the ancestors of the Greeks, had genetic heritage from eastern Anatolia and the Caucasus, where ancestors of the Iranians lived. Iranians, especially those based in the Zagros mountains, also migrated to India. Ancient Persian and old Sanskrit are very close.
The HV haplotype or chromosome sequence is found both in Britain and Iran.
Moreover, having Iranian heritage should be a matter of pride for all who share it. The Iranians in Iran itself created the Achaemenid, Parthian and Sasanid Empires, among the great states of the ancient and late-antique worlds, the Zoroastrian religion of which contributed to the rise of monotheism, prophethood and ideas about resurrection and millenarianism. (I tell the story of the great war between the Sasanians and the Eastern Roman Empire, 603-629, which formed the backdrop for the rise of Islam, in my new book Muhammad: Prophet of Peace amid the Clash of Empires .)
The Abbasid Empire, which was in most of its features Iranian despite being ruled by Muslims, was a civilizational beacon. Harun al-Rashid was debating points in Plato and Aristotle at a time when Charlemagne was trying to learn to write out his signature.
This site surveys inventions made in Iran. The Cyrus cylinder is a charter of human rights (and Cyrus bestowed freedom of religion on the Jews). Cyrus also established a sort of pony express for mail delivery across his vast empire. The American Founding Fathers openly admitted to being influenced by the legacy of Cyrus via Xenophon’s Cyropaedia.
Thomas Jefferson wrote:
- ““Then that ancient religion of the Magi fell, that the conqueror Darius had respected, as he never disturbed the religion of conquered peoples. The Magi regarded their religion as the most ancient and the most pure. The knowledge that they had of mathematics, astronomy and of history augmented their enmity toward the conquerors the Arabs, who were so ignorant. They [the Magi] could not abandon their religion, consecrated for so many centuries. Then most of them retreated to the extremities of Persia and India. It is there that they live today, under the name Gaurs or Guebres“ — Thomas Jefferson, The Commonplace Book of Thomas Jefferson, ed. Gilbert Chinard,1926, p.334‐35; passage translated by R.N. Frye
Iranians of Muslim faith made breakthroughs like algebra and the algorithm (you’re welcome, Google).
How far we have fallen as a civilization since the 18th century, from Enlightenment thinkers who knew the world to our current crew of buffoons, racists and ignoramuses.