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Gulf not found
December 2, 2004 2:33 PM   Subscribe

Google "Arabian Gulf" and you'll find that the gulf you are looking for does not exist. It seems that the ongoing ideological war between Iran and Iraq has escalated to the level of parodic error pages.
posted by mikrophon (18 comments total)

 
in 51 years i have never heard it referred to as "arabian gulf". my father was there in the early fifties and has always called it the persian gulf.
posted by quonsar at 2:47 PM on December 2, 2004


additionally, i fail to discern the connection between the last two error links, and, well, anything. wtf, mikrophon?
posted by quonsar at 2:49 PM on December 2, 2004


I was just trying to present more examples of unique error pages. But I guess the second was an innovative actual error page, where the first and third were parodies. So, yes. Sorry.
posted by mikrophon at 2:59 PM on December 2, 2004


ok, the real story here is apparently the national geographic adding in parens, the phrase "Arabian Gulf" to a map. this has greatly upset some iranians, and they registered the domain and host the error page. now i get it.
posted by quonsar at 3:04 PM on December 2, 2004




In the Navy, we were always directed to use the term "Arabian Gulf". But I've been out for almost a decade. Is that still the directive?
posted by greasepig at 3:18 PM on December 2, 2004


A friend's blog entry about the matter.
posted by Sijeka at 3:34 PM on December 2, 2004


!!!!MINE!!!!

BTW, it's not as frivolous as it may seem because there are islands there which are claimed by the UAE but controlled by Iran. It's not a fight over water boundaries.

Iran wants the islands and doesn't support resolving the dispute by arbitration (well, people who militarily occupy a disputed territory rarely do.)
posted by Firas at 3:37 PM on December 2, 2004 [1 favorite]


There's a similar thing going on with the Sea of Japan. Calling it that upsets Koreans, who want everyone to call it the East Sea (it might be east of Korea but it's west of Japan)

And those Frenchies still insist on calling the English Channel "La Manche".
posted by ComfySofa at 4:18 PM on December 2, 2004


In the Navy, we were always directed to use the term "Arabian Gulf". But I've been out for almost a decade. Is that still the directive?

Nope. You enter the Straight of Hormuz(sp) and arrive in the Persian Gulf.
posted by reflection at 4:24 PM on December 2, 2004


This is at heart a pretty old dispute, too. The Farsi have always been pretty proud of their heritage; it wasn't easy to be an early conquest of Islam and still hold on to your cultural unity. As I recall, until Madrid became the major center of Islamic thought, most philosophers in the middle east nodded strongly toward Persia, and some even spent time demanding that mainline Islam not marginalize their importance and contribution to Islamic thought.

In fact, I don't think they could've called it "the Arabian gulf" at any point in the last three thousand years without pissing somebody off. There are probably some people that would say that Persia was a massive civilization while the Arabs were still combing the desert for a drop of water.
posted by koeselitz at 4:33 PM on December 2, 2004


until Madrid became the major center of Islamic thought, most philosophers in the middle east nodded strongly toward Persia

Madrid was never an Islamic city as far as I know. Are you thinking of Cordoba? Even so, it was not "the major center of Islamic thought," just a junior rival to Damascus and Baghdad. Furthermore, there was no barrier between the Arabic and Persian worlds in the Middle Ages; many thinkers wrote in either language depending on subject matter and audience. In any event, I don't think anybody cared what anybody else called the Gulf; that sort of nationalistic geography is an annoying product of modern times.
posted by languagehat at 5:30 PM on December 2, 2004 [1 favorite]


There's a similar thing going on with the Sea of Japan. Calling it that upsets Koreans, who want everyone to call it the East Sea (it might be east of Korea but it's west of Japan)

Funny, I've never heard anyone in the U.S. complain about the fact that the body of water bounded in part by Florida, Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi and Texas is called the Gulf of Mexico, nor demand it be named the South Sea.
posted by George_Spiggott at 6:22 PM on December 2, 2004


Cool find on the 404 page, mikrophon. also, there was a rundown on this a few days ago on NPR, also about the Sea of Japan. Although I can't seem to find it now. hrfm.
posted by puke & cry at 8:41 PM on December 2, 2004


I played that seecond error page for like 20 minutes and totally forgot why I was even there to begin with.
posted by rusty at 11:15 PM on December 2, 2004


I don't think this has anything to do with the rift between Iran and Iraq. I mean how can the Iraqis be behind the drive to call it the Arabian Gulf when they have a 58 kilometer coastline?

Anyway, it's always been the Persian Gulf and always will be, no matter how many palms the Gulf States grease.
posted by Devils Slide at 2:24 AM on December 3, 2004


And the Iranian outrage over this whole thing may seem trivial to some, but it seems the Arabs are always trying to co-opt something that is rightfully ours. For example, Ar Razi was a brilliant 10th century AD Persian scientist and physician with over 250 revolutionary inventions to his name. He was also vehemently anti-religion and called the prophets "billy goats". But Arabs try to claim him as one of their own, even though he was clearly Persian and his name means "from Rey (a Persian city)". Wahaabist Saudi Arabia has called one of their refineries the AR RAZI refinery, not in order to honor a freethinking scientist who opposed everything they stand for, but because they like to think he was a Muslim Arab.

OK, I'm going to go have a beer or a Xanax or something now :)
posted by Devils Slide at 2:52 AM on December 3, 2004


I grew up in Saudi Arabia (1974-1985) and in school it as always referred to as the Arabian Gulf.
posted by Cyrano at 12:25 PM on December 3, 2004


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