Wednesday, December 01, 2004

The Persian Gulf should remain... well, the Persian Gulf

Iran fights to keep Gulf Persian

Users who type the words "Arabian Gulf" are in for a surprise
Iran has stepped up its campaign to ensure the body of water between Iran and the Arabian peninsula is known as the Persian, not the Arabian, Gulf.

It is said to have withdrawn an invitation to National Geographic magazine to attend a festival because they refer to the Gulf as both. Iranian bloggers also launched a web action on the Google search engine.

The words "Arabian Gulf" elicit a spoof message: "The Gulf you are looking for does not exist. Try Persian Gulf." The practice, known as "Google bombing", has been used in the past against George W Bush, who comes up under "miserable failure". The message parodies the text which usually appears when a web page does not exist, and goes on to recommend that users should read "some history books".

It is the second time Iranian bloggers have united to make a political point. Earlier this year, they used their weblogs to direct users to pro-reformist websites and online newspapers that had been closed down by the Iranian authorities.

Sign the petition here.


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