By David Stenerud
NorWatch were in Iran on December 11th of last year, as Norsk Hydro lost its traditional viking ship logo to sourced out Hydro Agri, now Yara. Norsk Hydros new logo was officially presented the same day.
There were said to be many teared eyes among Norsk Hydro employees accross the World that day. However, at the Hydro Zagros office in Tehran the spirit was good; head of logistics, Trond Erik Lie, had discovered that the sails of the boat in the new Hydro logo creates the word Allah read according to the Arabic alphabet, which is also used in the Iranian written language, farsi.
Iran is, together with Angola, Canada and the Gulf of Mexico, included in the main investment quartet of Norsk Hydro’s International exploration business. It is a difficult country to work in, with bureaucracy, cultural differences and corruption. Therefor: Is it a coincident that the new sail boat logo also is Allah, or is it an attempt to make happy the Iranian theocracy?
Norsk Hydro’s «press contact for development and production Internationally», Ms. Kama Holte Strand said to NorWatch that she may remember hearing something about the new logo’s religious meaning, but she was determined the whole thing is a coincident:
– No, this has not been in our thoughts at all, and it is not what made us shape the logo as we did, she told NorWatch.
– Conscious act
NorWatch wanted to know what an Iranian would see in the new Hydro logo, so we e-mailed it over to Saki Rahman, a spokesperson for the left-wing democracy organisation The Union Of People's Fedaian Of Iran in Scandinavia. Mr. Rahman was not told what to look for:
– I was shocked when I saw this logo, Saki Rahman told NorWatch, as we called him up the next day. – I saw what it was at once:
– This is in reality a mere addition to Statoil’s bribing of Iranian authorities. (Norwegian State oli company investigated for corruption in Iran 2003/2004, ed. rem.)
– So, what does the logo say?
– It says Allah!
– Norsk Hydro claims it its a coincident. What do you think?
– No, this is not a coincident. The logo is a gift to all muslim countries. And, as we know, there is a lot of oil in many of these countries. Both Hydro and Statoil are trying to please Iranian authorities in order to land contracts.
– So, you don’t belive Norsk Hydro?
– No, I do not belive them. I think this is a conscious act to show the theocratic government in Iran respect.
Allah the tool
The spokesperson thinks Norsk Hydro uses Allah’s name in order to get oil, just like the islamic leaders of Iran misuses Allah’s name in order to defend the use of «torture, stoning of women, death penalty and execution against those who fight for freedom and democratic rights».
– We expect from the West, especially from the peace nation Norway, that they try to do something to better the Iranian society. This kind of signal works contradictory to that expectation, concluded Saki Rahman.
POST SCRIPTUM: – Impossible to tell
There is a vast gap between Norsk Hydro’s coincident explaination, and exile-Iranian and political activist Saki Rahman’s no-doubt, opposite conclusion. Mayby a University language expert can make clear the confusion.
Finn Thiesen is Professor of Iranian philology at the Institute for Eastern European and Oriental studies at the University in Oslo. We sent him the Hydro logo, as we had him on the telehone.
He spotted it immediately:
– The question is whether it is a viking ship or if it says Allah, right!?
– Yes, that is in fact the question. Have you seen the logo before?
– No, but it is resembling it so much, I reckoned that was what you were going to ask me.
– Is it deliberate, do you think?
– That is impossible to say, just buy seeing the logo, professor Thiesen answered. – Vertical stripes easily become Allah.
However, as the Iranian-language expert pointed out: – If it is a coincident, it is very cunningly done.