[PROVISIONAL TRANSLATION FROM PERSIAN]

 

[Translator’s notes appear in square brackets.]

[Personal information has been redacted.]

[The excerpt below is from the section of the article that pertains to the Baha’i Faith]

 

[Newspaper:] Hamshahri

[Date:] Wednesday, 5 Bahman 1373 – 25 January 1995 – 23 Sha’ban 1415

[Issue No.:] 607

[Page:] 5

 

Visit to the Largest Cultural Centre in the Country

South of the City; Sunset of Inequalities

President Hashemi Rafsanjani was the first prominent official to visit the semi-finished operation of the Khavaran Cultural Centre and to look forward to its successful future.

Tehran is a city of inequalities. The most illiterate and most educated people of this country live in Tehran.

 

Report

The first prominent official to visit the semi-finished operation of the Khavaran Cultural Centre and look forward to a successful future was President Hashemi Rafsanjani. [When he went] to the Cultural Centre in December of last year after the opening of the Afsariyeh Grand Bridge, he visited the model of the Cultural Centre’s grand plan, saw the construction operations of this complex, and became familiar with how it was taking shape and [how it would be implemented].

Expressing satisfaction with the activities of the Municipality of Tehran regarding the construction of the Khavaran Cultural Centre, the president said, “Certainly, the creation of such cultural and artistic recreational places will change the structure of the south of the city, especially this area, and the people of the south of the city will benefit from the positive effects of these developments.”

In the Cultural Centre memorial book, the president wrote:

“In the Name of God, we should be grateful for the efforts that are changing the abandoned cemeteries of this region to a constructive, vibrant cultural centre, a centre for filling the leisure time of the good people of the south of Tehran. May God increase your success.”

Dr. Ardakan, a sociologist, said, “Looking at anywhere in the city, especially in the southern regions of Tehran, it is full of problems. Cultural poverty is raging due to the unavailability of cultural facilities. Tehran, like many other megacities in the world, like Jakarta, Santiago, and Beijing, is a city of immigrants. The process of migration causes groups of people with different and sometimes contrasting cultures to gather in these cities. This is especially true in a country like Iran, where there are many ethnic groups with different cultural characteristics.

Different and sometimes contending behaviours increase the amount of social turmoil and conflict, and in such times, it is necessary to create a kind of cultural atmosphere in order to generate more unity. Ignoring such a necessity fuels cultural turmoil and disorder.…

Eyes and Hopes

Many people believe that the Khavaran Cultural Centre should unify the diverse culture that exists in the region. District 15 got its identity after the victory of the Islamic Revolution. In other words, it can be said that the south-eastern region of Tehran has a variety of cultures due to its immigrants and its new identity, and if we consider the of lack of activities and cultural centres as another feature of this region, then the need for a cultural centre and hopes for social behaviour will be stronger.

Some believe that the Khavaran Cultural Centre will change the structure of the south of the city and the good people of that area will benefit from the positive effects of these changes. These people refer to cultural centres as places to recognize the identity of their own culture and also to train cultural elements to counter foreign aggression and cultural ambush. Based on this, one of the officials of the Khavaran Cultural Centre said, “We are targeting those who, by their poisonous wave of degenerate Western culture, are affecting the hearts of the junior youth, young people, these futurists of the revolution, and the Islamic society. We want to create good opportunities to attract and nurture the God-given talents of these people, who have been out of sight for years. The youth of this region, despite being deprived of access to cultural facilities, have an unusual talent; we should provide the ground for them and bring their talents to the surface.”

Malaki, the principal of one of the schools, said, “Our contemporary world is in a state of historic and unprecedented turmoil. The collapse of an ideological political rival with all its claims to human well-being on the one hand, and the sense of victory and greed of the flag bearers and leaders of the Western capitalist system on the other, has created narrow and aggressive conditions for nations and states with authentic identities and civilizations that seek survival, independence and progress. Within such a period of time and under such circumstances, we need extraordinary action and activity that is beyond the power of one or more groups or individuals, or official and governmental institutions alone, and requires a general mobilization and cultural uprising. The establishment of cultural centres is a very valuable and noble step in this direction, so that our artists and thinkers can use their artistic creations to fight against the facelessness, metamorphosis, anxiety and confusion that are the great pain of today’s human beings, and to fight against such aggression.”