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 Distortion of Iran Civilization History in “The Physician” 

 

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' Tabib ' (English: The Physician) is a historical film, a product of Germany which is based on the novel 'Hakim’ with the same meaning authored by American writer Noah Gordon. This book, despite the failure in the United States, was welcomed in Europe and its readers found it as a historical fantasy book. The movie 'the Physician ' was directed by Philipp Stolzl; and Ben Kingsley plays the main role. The story of the film returns back to the Middle Ages and the 11th century and is about Rob Cole, an English poor and orphaned child who has lost his parents on the effect of the disease and decides to study medical sciences to be able to prevent the deaths.


 Rob Cole later realizes that the best physician is Avicenna and the being his student the only possible way for him to achieve the goal. Filming of the movie was conducted in the city of Cologne, in Germany, and parts of it in the country of Morocco, but the director has not been so successful in reminding us of the historical buildings and spaces in the city of Isfahan in the 11th century.

The movie ' the Physician ', like many of the works that have been made about Iran and the Middle East, is a mythical story, unfortunately trying to make it look a real effect. But the creators of this movie have neglected the point that Avicenna's name and his personality is well-known for the people around the world and even the exact pictures and documentary films of his face are available. This film is about the life of an imaginary Abu Ali Sina and that it's used just a name and reputation, and is inspired by his living location, but many of the tips are totally different from the real life of this genius Iranian physician.
To better get the movie’s lies and mistakes, let’s go on with a brief story of the life of Avicenna based on historical documents: 'Abu Ali Hussein Bin Abdullah ' also known as Avicenna, Ibn Sina or Poorsina, is a familiar name all over the world and of Iran's fame. He was born in Bukhara (present Uzbekistan, the capital of the Samanids, a Persian dynasty in Central Asia and Greater Khorasan) in 370 AH (980 in Christian calendar) and passed away in 428 AH (1037 in Christian calendar) in the city of Hamadan in Iran. Avicenna is among the most renowned philosophers and scientists from Iran, and has left behind many invaluable works and compilations. He is the author of the book ' Shafa ' (The Book of Healing) – a scientific and philosophical encyclopedia –and ‘al-Qanon fi al-Teb ' which is one of the most famous works of the history of medicine. George Sarton, a Belgian-American thinker, referred to Avicenna in his book ' History of Science ' as one of the greatest thinkers and medical scientists. He also considered Avicenna as the most famous Iranian scientist of all times, places and races mentioned.

His father was, at the time of his son's birth, the governor in one of the Samanid Nuh ibn Mansur's estates. He had his son very carefully educated at Bukhara. Ibn Sina's independent thought was served by an extraordinary intelligence and memory, which allowed him to overtake his teachers at the age of fourteen in the science of logic, natural science, theology, pharmacy, metaphysics, music and other popular sciences. As he said in his autobiography, there was nothing that he had not learned when he reached eighteen. However, he owes the improvements to his own personal thinking and the result of his dynamic and creative mind. Once a severe colic seized him so violent that Ibn Sina could scarcely stand on one of his trips around Iran. On a similar occasion the disease returned. His friends advised him to slow down and take life moderately. He refused, however, stating that: "I prefer a short life with width to a narrow one with length". He died in June 1037 AD, in his fifty-eighth year, in the month of Ramadan and was buried in Hamadan, Iran. Ibn Sina was strong physically and therefore he never felt tired of the study and the writing, while he was of great and strong mental force and thought.

The teachings of Avicenna were the basis for scientific and practical medicine in Europe from the 12th century until the 16th century. Avicennism eventually became the leading school of Islamic philosophy by the 12th century, with Avicenna becoming a central authority on philosophy. Avicennism was also influential in medieval Europe, particularly his doctrines on the nature of the soul and his existence-essence distinction, along with the debates that they raised in scholastic Europe. This was particularly the case in Paris, where Avicennism was later proscribed in 1210 AD. Avicenna’s book ‘Qanon’ was mentioned in the oldest education program related to a medical studies’ school in France, (The University of) Montpellier in the year 1309 AD.  In Iran, Avicenna's birthday, 1st of Shahrivar in Iranian calendar, corresponding to 23rd of August, is commemorated as “the national day for physicians”.

From the initial minutes of the film ‘the Physicians’, the filmmaker and the author of the film-script starts putting forth a series of lies and distorted historical points to the extent that it didn’t seem to be a film about Avicenna.
From scientific point of view, it could speak for itself that Avicenna's book Qanon was taught as a medical encyclopedia for nearly two centuries in universities across the world, especially in the United States and across Europe. This book includes the basics of anatomy, pharmacology, pharmaceutics, and prescription writing and so on. However, in this movie, such biasedly it is claimed that “Avicenna’s European student teaches some points and even the science of anatomy to his across-the world unique teacher!”
Also in the film, Avicenna is a teacher and a physician in city of Isfahan, in Iran, and the ruling king of The Buyid dynasty, Ala Ad-dowlah, had not appropriate behavior towards the great scientist Avicenna, and just supported him. This is while, the historical documents said that Avicenna was the king’s minister, enjoying the utmost respect.
Basically, the most outstanding, special feature of the era of The Buyid dynasty was the coming together of Muslim, Christian and Jewish scholars and thinkers and their discussions about various topics, including theology, prophecy, and the day of Resurrection.

In the movie ' the Physician ', Avicenna and one of his students are sentenced to death since they were accused of being pagan and out of religion due to their autopsy operations! Again, this is in contrast with realities that said some people criticized Avicenna at the time just for his thoughts in philosophy and that he had never been sentenced to death. In addition, Ala Ad-Dowlah was depicted on the screen as an authoritarian, secular king, while the fact says again the contrary.
Meantime, Avicenna was living at the time of The Samanid and Ghaznavid dynasties and not during the era of the Seljuq dynasty, as it was said in the movie.
The more important thing is that Christians and Jews were never massacred or deprived of the right to education across the Islamic territories as the movie tried to inculcate. The reality is that in most Islamic lands and especially in Iran, religious minorities have always been living in calm, without minimum persecutions or embarrassment.
All of this we should say that, unlike what we see in this film, Abu Ali Sina never committed suicide, but he succumbed to natural colic and died, again not in the city of Isfahan, but in Hamedan and was buried there.
With all these wrong documentations, the main questions are: “What is the aim of making these movies with multi-million dollar budgets?” “Who are behind production of these videos?” “Is this distortion of the historical facts out of fear of Iranian thinking?” And, “Who are supporters of these kinds of biased propaganda?”
An Iranian Professor of history and political philosophy, Mousa Najafi, said that: “The history of Hollywood and the West has already proved that their words and claims have never been valid and of any value or credit.”
“For example, religious minorities in Iran have always lived in peace, and even at some periods of time, they have received tax-related and state-sponsored privileges under the auspicious of Islamic ruling.”
The Iranian professor pointed to history of Hollywood in making movies such as “300”, “Never without My Daughter’ and so on and said that: “At a time that attempts to spread Iranophobia and Islamophobia are underway, Western countries tried to portray Iran as a dangerous country. They have always tried to damage the image of Iran in one way or another, both before and after the arrival of Islam in the country.”
However, Professor Mousa Najafi noted, the Westerners have imposed and practiced the most brutal and racist behavior against Muslim minorities, massacring a large number of them in the Middle Ages, as slaughters in
Al-Andalus, hence often called "Andalusia”, southern Spain, where all the basic human rights were violated.

Avicenna says in one of his books: “Bias in science and philosophy, like any other kind of prejudice, is indicative of immaturity and always to the detriment of truth at last.”
Now, as it seems, the Western biased approach toward the dark past in scientific fields also has prompted them to feel envy of other countries and nations’ glory and make non-informative, low-level and of course distorted movies such as ‘the Physician’.
This film not only had no minimum negative impact on the rich Iranian culture and the great values of the country’s civilization heritage, but also once more put on display the westerners’ jealousy, envy and hatred towards Iran's history and culture.


 source: Iran English Radio - Tuesday, 15 July 2014

 

 


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