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Hollywood is no help

March 04, 2009

Re "Iranian official demands apology from visiting Hollywood group," March 2

Iran's protest of a visit from Hollywood producers and actors and its distress over the film "300," which depicts the battle of Thermopylae in 480 BC, should call our attention to Herodotus, the Greek chronicler of the Persian Wars.

Herodotus wrote that he studied history "so that human achievements may not be forgotten in time, and great and marvelous deeds -- some displayed by Greeks, some by barbarians -- may not be without their glory; and especially to show why two peoples fought each other."

The Persians ultimately lost the wars, yielding the possibility of Western civilization. We are engaged again in a similar conflict, and it does not serve us well when posturing celebrities such as Annette Bening and Alfre Woodard engage the talons of the beast in Tehran under the delusion of fostering artistic exchange.

David Johannesen

Topanga

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