Chogan is an Iranian intangible heritage

Secretary General of UNESCO Ms. Irina Bokova We the undersigned would like to bring your attention to the following problem. Recently, the Republic of Azerbaijan has made an application to UNESCO to inscribe the game of “Chovgan” (which is a linguistic variation of the word Chogan) as an “intangible cultural heritage in urgent need of safeguarding”. In their application, the Republic of Azerbaijan refers to “Chovgan” as an Azeri game of the Karabakh. However, interestingly enough in their promotional video for their cause they have displayed Persian poetry along with Persian miniature paintings all in support of their application for inscribing the game on behalf of Azerbaijan. Not once in their application have they made any mention of the fact that there is also a long history (if not longer history) of Chogan in other countries such as Iran and that is a cultural heritage shared between many modern nations. As Society of Iranian Archaeology and on behalf of Iranian people we have great deal of respect for the culture of the Republic of Azerbaijan and for much of history we were essentially ruled by the same regime or government. However, we strongly protest their nomination of “Chovgan/Chogan” at UNESCO since it does not incorporate other countries that also share this cultural heritage. It is our humble request that the Secretary General of UNESCO not to take the vote such nomination at the Intergovernmental-Committee at December 2nd in Baku, unless the nomination is at least modified to include other countries that share this heritage. We strongly believe that cultural heritage that is shared between nations should be cherished as a means to bring peoples together and should not be used by one country as a means of supremacy against others. We greatly appreciate your assistance and consideration. Regards, Society of Iranian Archaeology

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