Features

December 2004
1995-2004 Archive

TRAVELERS
Goa

Letter from the tropics
Peyvand Khorsandi

We were next to an open-air pub above a shop called Babutes On Top where a middle-aged English couple had their gaze fixed on the television. It was showing a Hollywood action film. Their heads, on sunburned shoulders, didn't move except to sup beer occasionally: all the way to South Asia to watch the telly. Z. and I have avoided the damn thing and, as a consequence, coverage of the big wave that appears to have killed thousands of people this week. But yesterday I did manage to catch some of CNN's 9/11-style "here's the tragedy in pictures with violin music" which was lovely.

ART
Art for children

Artwork in charity calendar
Children of Persia

LAS VEGAS
Here we are

"Googoosh concert" in Las Vegas
Farrokh A. Ashtiani

I took a trip to Las Vegas during the Christmas weekend. I had bought a couple of tickets on-line for the Googoosh concert. The website of the University of Las Vegas clearly advertised "Googoosh along with Mehrdad" and had pictures of both.

U.S.-IRAN
Viable option

Breaking the logjam of the nuclear issue can open the door to progress on other U.S.-Iran grievances
Hooshang Amirahmadi

Iran will pose the most daunting foreign policy challenge for the second Bush administration. The nuclear issue is only the most immediate problem; others include Iran's support for terrorism and its lack of democracy. Unless a new course is set, Iran could become another Cuba or Iraq for the United States.

POLITICS
Safarnaamehaa-ye Reza Shah

Two attributed travelogues
Ramin Kamran

POETRY
Jang cheh khoshmazeh ast

Man & war
Leila Farjami

OBSERVER
Here we are

"Googoosh concert" in Las Vegas
Farrokh A. Ashtiani

I took a trip to Las Vegas during the Christmas weekend. I had bought a couple of tickets on-line for the Googoosh concert. The website of the University of Las Vegas clearly advertised "Googoosh along with Mehrdad" and had pictures of both. On Saturday my Chinese friend and I got there at 7:15 with the anticipation of the concert to start at 8:00. In the waiting area they announced that Googoosh would sign autographs and people started to queue up.

CORRUPTION
$how me the money

Freedom fighters are not supposed to be billionaires
Iqbal Latif

When Arafat's funeral took place amid chaotic scenes of mourning, Marwan Ahlan, a graphic designer from Jericho, was waving a banner angrily. It said simply: "Bring the thieves to trial." The thieves he was referring too embodied the political corrupt structure that the chairman of the Palestinian authority created, the day he was being interned this banner was a heartbreaking reminder of the corruption that Arafat presided.

TSUNAMI
The storm

My soul meanders among a broken people who will not see the calm even when the storm is gone
Zohreh Khazai Ghahremani

A harsh wind howls outside and something hits my window. It is hours past midnight. There's a heavy downpour and the wind makes the raindrops sound like gravel on the windowpane. I have seen worse weather in other parts of the world, but this seems out of character for the peaceful climate where I now live. Throughout the day one could hear people complain, "Isn't this horrible?"

FICTION
Seh daastaan

Three connected short stories
Parvin Bavafa

REQUIEM
Amou Manouchehr

No other name could have captured as neatly the expression of this man's essence
Guive Mirfendereski

Fewer words in the Persian language convey so much than amou and khaleh. The first is a title that when is earned it embodies the familial with the familiar in one accessible sentiment. The latter is equally meaningful but with the additional significance -- as the refrain magar khaneh khaleh ast suggests -- nowhere on earth is as welcoming a place than khaleh's. The late Manouchehr Marzban was the amou who kept khaleh's all the more inviting and enchanting.

LANGUAGE
The literals

Back to the colorful Persian language
Bahram Saghari

How many languages can you name that are as progressive and modern as our own ancient Farsi? First of all, it is a unisex language! We don't have masculine and feminine and do not distinguish between He, She, and it, or his, hers, and its, or him, her, and it. This explains why so many Iranians, even after years of having lived in the US or England, still mix up their He's and She's.

ART
Pleasurs of the flesh

Representations of erotic themes in ancient Iran

The following 41 images are from Sarv-e Naz: An Essay on Love and the Representations of Erotic Themes in Ancient Iran, by Robert Surieu (Nagel Publishers, Geneva, 1967)

POETRY
Pomegranates

Mother and Baba planted native trees
Persis M. Karim

POETRY
Thirteen

13 poems
Abol Hassan Danesh

POETRY
I love Eros Ramazzotti

There's a place for every dream
Mehran

POETRY
Zendaanbaan-e man

... qalb-e manast
Azam Nemati

GIVE & TAKE
All together now

Musical fusion, cultural exchange and modernization
Fouad Kazem

Let us put our Musical Fusion in the context of history. In recent Persian (Iranian) memory, music has been reduced to second-class citizenship among cultural activities. Music is not widely respected by the religious fundamentalists who see it as a moral subversion, or by many others, who consider it a cheap and degenerate diversion, as opposed to serious cultural practices such as poetry. This current state of things is a far cry from the views that were held by many of our great philosophers (back when we did have great philosophers).

RELIGION
You say God, I say Allah

Similarities between Islam and Christianity
Payman A.

Islam is very similar to Christianity both historically and ideologically. People may find it strange that these two religions share many characteristics, but they do.  Both religions are monotheistic and preach about the same God. Christians call Him "God", and Muslims call Him "Allah". Some Christians believe in the Trinity and others believe that Jesus was the Son of God. Muslims reject both notions but believe that Jesus was an important prophet, performed miracles and was a great man.

IRAN
Choices and changes

Discrepancy between the ideologies of the Islamic Republic and the people
Kathy Koupai

The Iranian nation and the Islamic Republic of Iran promote very different values and ideologies. These values and ideologies are rarely distinguished or elucidated in popular Western media culture. From the dominant media sources in the West, one would gather that the views of the Iranian people are the same as the views of the Islamic Republic of Iran. This would be equivalent to saying that all people in the U.S. support the policies of the U.S. government.

DAUGHTERS
Fathers and daughters

Our marginalizing view towards our young, unmarried daughters is at once a universal issue and also a very Iranian one
Maziar Shirazi

I have a great female friend who is in part the inspiration for this article. We talk about everything: religion, sex, family, and recently we've spent a lot of time talking about her future. She sees medical school, marriage, and children on the horizon, and I smile and nod my head, because she knows that I already know that about her.

FREEDOM
Dar khosoos-e Azadi

Qajar intellectual on freedom
Mirza Abdolrahim Talbof

POINT
Child soldiers

Treatment of children in any society offers an insight into the morality of that society
Buddahead

Those who are familiar with my band know that we support three charity organizations: Musicians on Call, MuST (Music in Schools Today), and Warchild. All three of these organizations work extremely hard to benefit the lives of children in one way or another. Warchild, the Canadian organization, is the closest to my heart because as a child of war, I am very sensitive to the use and therefore abuse of children during war.

VISIONARY
Publish and flourish

Photo essay: A day with Hoder
Jahanshah Javid

POLITICS
Amini va Khatami

Political twins
Ramin Kamran

POETRY
Meedani

On the 1st anniversary of the earthquake
Alireza Tabibzadeh

EUROPEAN UNION
Turkish myopia

Turks have much more in common with their Asian neighbors
B. Bamdad

This past week, a historic application for Turkey's membership into the European Union was accepted at a Summit of European Leaders. In essence Turkey was placed on track for membership by 2014, with significant preconditions. These conditions included Turkey's recognition of Cyprus as a sovereign state, and restrictions on Turkish labor mobility within Europe.

SELF
Proactive

My resolution for 2005
Anahid Hojjati

It is Christmas day, 2004. A quiet Saturday that I will spend waking up my daughter, getting her ready to go to her dad and then I will do whatever I want. This aspect of single life is appealing. There are times that you actually manage to do what you want. After the work week is done and if don't have family obligations, you can take long walks, read poetry, watch TV, or whatever it is that on that day you want. That is if you don't have to clean the house, take the car for repairs, pay the bills, or study for an exam so you can make a few hundred dollars more at work, etc.

RELIGION
The Tri-functional Ideology

The emergence of the concept of "King-Priest"
Afshin Afshari

The Aryan tribes, who, during the second millennia before J.C., established in a region stretching from Syria to the Indus, brought with them an explanation of the world and of society which was, at the same time, simple and powerful. This explanation was based on the existence of three fundamental functions, clearly separated and more or less equivalent in their importance and contribution. These were the religious function, the martial function, and the abundance/wealth creation function.

DIASPORA
We wish you a merry Christmas

Video
Siamack Salari

We made a second Christmas short movie which I hope you will enjoy. It shows me baking very traditional British Christmas mince pies. They are filled with dried fruit with brandy butter melting on top.

POETRY
The test

Persian poetry about Jews
Jahangir Sedaghatfar

DIASPORA
Brentwood Rock

September 11 memorial for an Iranian-American
Keyvan Fotoohi

POETRY
Everything sweet

Farah Afshar

Will it ever again taste of me
standing in the warm breeze
in my green sleeveless dress
thinking of all the stories in my head
travelling far in the big ship
dancing away by the melody of blue waves, green palms and the cuffing engine

POETRY
Maah

The moon
Massoud Vatankhahi

ART
Book of Bidjan

Life & art of Bidjan Assadipour
Fazllolah Rowhani

STUDENTS
A+

Iranian Student Alliance in America -- UC Berkeley
Pouya Alimagham

Tired of the apathy and the low level of consciousness regarding the Iranian identity, culture, community, and history amongst the UC Berkeley populace and especially Iranian students, a group of inspired Iranian students moved to create an environment where these important issues could be addressed. They built the Iranian Student Alliance in America in the fall of 2002.

IN MEMORIAM
The humble gardner

Grandfather was sure that God was keeping score, and everything would work out in the end
Parissa Sohie

Long before chick flicks showed women drowning their sorrows in a pint of Ben & Jerry's ice cream, I was the original Ice Cream Girl. Ice cream has been there to cool my nerves ever since I can remember, and I remember pretty far back into my childhood. I inherited my father's sweet tooth, but I think it was Baba, my grandfather, who really connected me to ice cream.

DIASPORA
Footsteps

I left Tehran, a city of ten million plus, and came to Hays, a city of 25,000 at most
Hamid Bakhsheshi

I don't know why I'm thinking about my coming to America so much lately, but it seems to occupy my mind a lot. I left the warm surrounds of a wonderful, kind, and loving family with all its attachments, uncles, aunts, grandma, cousins, friends, and so much more. That all vanished over night. The trip to the US seemed like a long, painful dream and when I woke up, I was in a Catholic boarding school in the middle of nowhere. 

PHOTOGRAPHY
I and Not I

Photographs
Ehsan Behmanesh

LIBERATION
In & out of Iran

We all now recognize that we need all of our intellectual resources to overcome this tyranny
Ramin Ahmadi

One of the important consequences of the failure of the reformists has been a reassessment by the Iranian intellectuals and even ordinary people at large of the question of exile or emigration. Many Iranians left Iran on the eve of the Iranian revolution, or shortly after, escaping the radical justice of summary trials, unfair prison sentences, torture or execution. In the 80's, the authorities always referred to these immigrants as "counterrevolutionaries."

REFERENDUM
Abi beh sooratemaan bezaneem!

Yes or no or...?
Arshin Irani

HALLELUJAH
Don't blame Islam

Blame yourselves
Payman A.

All the time people are sending garbage to Iranian.com stating that Islam and the mullahs have caused the problems Iranians face today. Wake up and smell the roses. We Iranians have brought these problems onto ourselves. Who supported the Islamic revolution and the end of 2,500 years of nonstop monarchy? Which people voted 98% for Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeinei in 1979? Now that Iran is a theocratical dictatorship, we say "I remember the good old times when the Shah was in power."

HMM...
A brief history of names

Superficial isolated discussions about the name of the Persian Gulf are misplaced
Fouad Kazem

Many Iranians from all stripes, fascists, monarchists, nationalists, reformists, liberals, even some leftists, and some religious hardliners, whether in Iran or abroad, have been swept up by a nationalistic fervor. And, what, you may ask, is the root cause of this rare moment of unity among Iranians? It is the fact that the latest atlas published by the National Geographic included in parentheses the words "Arabian Gulf" next to "Persian Gulf". Thus a campaign to convince the world that the true name is the Persian Gulf.

CENSORSHIP
One-way propaganda

Banning Hizbollah TV
Dariush Abadi

Is it not ironic that the world protests against Iran's continual banning of satellite feeds from abroad, going as far as sending static waves to block the satellite feeds, while the United States bans satellite feeds from the Middle East that are against its interests? Recently the United States and France banned the satellite feeds of Al-Manar, the channel of the Hizbollah organization. They rejected claims of "banning free speech and expression." They made the claim that Hizbollah is inciting hatred and violence in the Middle East.

KURDISTAN
Islamic Arab Iraq? What about others?

Warning in a season of peace
Kamal H. Artin

The Iraqi Prime Minister has reportedly stated, "Iraq will remain an Islamic Arab state." I was initially disappointed by Mr. Allawi's statement, and then I thought he deserves an appreciation for his warning! I doubt that a well-educated leader such as Mr. Allawi, would prefer the rule of religion for all Iraqis. I assume he is just attentive to the wishes of some of his constituents.

RIGHTS
Burning candle

Honoring Abbas Amir-Entezam on the 25th anniversary of his arrest
Masoud Kazemzadeh

Twenty five years ago, Abbas Amir-Entezam, was arrested on charges of spying for the U.S. Clean shaven, handsome, impeccably attired in suite and tie, fluent in English and French, and sophisticated, Amir-Entezam stuck out like a sore thumb among the fundamentalists who came to power in February 1979. Today he is the longest-held political prisoner in the Islamic Republic of Iran. Many regard him as "Iran's Mandela," and some call him "Iran's Second Mossadegh," a higher honor for Iranians.

PHOTOGRAPHY
Carriers of culture

Portraits: Painters
Masoud Soheili

REFERNDUM
One thing and one thing only

A movement to end the Islamic Republic
Foad Pashaie & Pooya Dayanim

Tomorrow we will lend our collective credibility and political weight to an appeal that calls for a national referendum in Iran under international supervision to draft a new constitution and adopt a new system of government that is in compliance with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and all its associated covenants by adding our signatures to this appeal.

CHRISTMAS
Ins and outs

Christmas shopping
Niki Tehranchi

There is nothing that reminds you more of your age than Christmas shopping for your nephews and nieces. Having no children of my own, I am not in their constant presence and as a result, I am not privy to their secret world, codes, barometer of coolness, what toys are the most coveted as opposed to what toys would be the equivalent of stuffing their Christmas stockings with socks. All I have is distant, alternative week-ends, a few brief outings usually to the movies, and no time for a real heart to heart on what makes their little world rock.

CHRISTMAS
A Christmas feeling

Those little ornaments will come back to celebrate a holiday that has adopted me
Zohreh Khazai Ghahremani

The tree isn't mine. But how could we spend one Christmas after another in sub-zero Chicago without a tree? Every time I passed Michigan Avenue, it felt as if I was in the North Pole and my children for years thought F.A.Schwartz was Santa's shop. Non-Christians, we learned about Christmas traditions from friends. Back in Chicago, a friend used to take us around the neighborhood to sing carols. She made copies of the words for us and, since we were a large group, no one noticed how off-key my Silent Night came out.

WOMEN
Some of us like our women hairy

My moment of real consolation came when I met Qajar women
Afsaneh Najmabadi

Under updates and subsection cartoon, Mahmoud's "Unshaved Persian woman" caught my attention. A reasonable request: "Thanks for shaving before kissing, darling." It was evidently meant to be funny, to look not very credible, perhaps coming from an unshaved Persian woman? Or was it the cartoonist requesting his Persian woman to shave before kissing him? Or... several other interpretations ran through my mind; ... visiting Iranian.com was surely not a good move if I wanted to get bored and sleepy.

POETRY
Thirty birds

Robin Jayne Goldsmith

...and I heard
birds birds hundreds of birds
flapping their wings
bathed in light ...

TRAVELERS
Love it, hate it, love it

Visiting Iran
Mohsen unedited

It was last summer that I had to rush to Iran to visit my mom for her recent bypass heart surgery. She was doing great after the operation, thanks to Iranian physicians' geniuses. I remember that I had to obtain a plane ticket for twice of its original price because every thing happened so fast. But heck knows, I was willing to pay ten times more just to smell my mom's scent for one more time.

PHOTOGRAPHY
Unreal

Photo essay: Qajar girl in London

My younger sister is currently studying for her IB final examinations. She is very talented, and hopes to become a fashion designer one day. Here are some pictures that she took of her friend for her art project, while shopping in London (influenced by Qajar art). -- Lily Raissi-Dehkordy

SPORTS
Berkeley Pahlavans win intramural soccer championship

The game was played in front of an enthusiastic crowd of some tens of fans wailing on the traditional Iranian tonbak chanting "do do do do do ... Iran!"
B. B. See

The all-Iranian Pahlavan Futbol team became the Fall 2004 Indoor Soccer Intramural Champions at UC Berkeley, beating off defending champions Cloyne, for the prestigious title. The 12-man all Iranian team took the title from their rivals following a 4-0 victory.  The intense match, played in the Blue Gym of the Recreational Sports Facility, pitted the number 1 ranked Pahlavan against number 2 Cloyne.

PHONE CAMERA
Alo? Loulou?

Photo essay
Reza Ebrahimi

On a ski trip to the snowless Alps. All photos taken with phone camera and sent to my baby, Loulou.

TRAVELERS
Lingering perfume

Inside the "fat" Iranian, a "thin" dervish often struggles for self-expression and freedom
Peter Lamborn Wilson

After two years on the Hippy Trail in India and Pakistan, a winter of poverty in Afghanistan, months of opium smoking in Quetta (the capital of Pakistani Baluchistan) followed by a severe and hallucinatory bout of intestinal malaria, I must not have looked very respectable to the Iranian Consul.

FILM
Who needs kissing?

Bollywood eveloves from tradition to trash
Niki Tehranchi

I, like many other Iranians, have had a life-long love affair with Bollywood movies and music videos. It all started when I was about 7 or 8 and I was in London visiting my aunt's sister-in-law, who is of Indian descent. For the whole summer, she would play all these incredible epics, which mixed comedy, melodrama, choreographed song-and-dance, romance, murder and betrayal, all to the tune of Indian music and following the wild movements of colorful saris flowing from behind a tree.


WRITING CONTEST
New California Media (NCM), in collaboration with the California Council for the Humanities, is launching a contest to "Write a Letter Home" to a real or imagined relative about their life in California. The twelve best letters received statewide will win a $1000 cash prize each. Please send your "letters" to iranian.com and we will forward to NCM. The winner will receive the full amount of the award. NCM will have them judged by a distinguished panel. The deadline is January 15.

ART
AG

Posters & a photo essay
Amirali Ghassemi

IDEAS
Global transition

The Middle East is a gem in the developing world, the liberation of which remains the prime concern of the United States, acting on behalf of the most powerful corporations on earth
Arash Sayedi

We stand at the brink of a global transition. At the dawn of the 21st century the men and women of the developed world stand witness to a phenomenon repeated many times throughout the course of human history. Mainly that of the movement of wealth and power across borders. In this case from 'West' to 'East'.

CROWN
Immortal trinity

God, shah, and country
Reza Bayegan

Today we Iranians are sitting amongst the ruins of twenty-five years of national turmoil. To prevail as a civilization we have to pick up the pieces and recreate our national trinity of God, the Shah and country for the democratic age of the twenty-first century. A secular republic with no imaginative roots in our national consciousness for Iranians will be like a loveless marital contract full of clauses and sub-clauses but ultimately bereft of any binding emotional attachment or heartfelt yearning.

GREEN
Deforestation in the name of the Lord

Can you imagine the Christian world planting millions of trees each year instead of chopping them down?
Farrokh A. Ashtiani

Millions of pine trees are cut each Christmas to celebrate the birth of Christ and festivities of the New Year. There are two things that wear out the serenity that an outside observer would expect from such holidays, the infusion of green and red plastic junks in every aspect of our daily affairs for at least 30 days, and the second is the scene of the cut pine trees only to watch them die and be tossed out to the dumpsters and the sidewalks in so many cities all over the world.

MUSIC
Shandiz

Operatic Persian folk songs
Azam Nemati

This album was sent to me by Hamid Tabatabaie from Holland. I was very impressed with the folk songs performed with the beautiful operatic voice of Mehrnaz Salehi.

MEDIA
Communication breakdown

Media and government power facilitating popular decisions at odds with public interest
Yahya Kamalipour

Bring 'Em On: Media and Politics in the Iraq War highlights the complex links between media and politics by providing appraisals of communication activities as the result of institutional power and cultural norms. Individual chapters consider major communication events that politically and culturally prepared the world for the U.S. and U.K. military actions.

OIL
Pump power

Blame OPEC for rising oil prices and forget the real problem in the Middle East. Wrong!
Hashem Farhang

I have been a Petroleum Engineer for more than forty five years. The misconceptions about the organization and the routine attack on OPEC and its members; have prompted me to write this little note for all and especially Iranian and Iranian-Americans. What I write may ruffle some feathers but I hope criticism will be based on facts not general declarations or personal opinions.

LETTERS
Every right to compare Bush to Ayatollahs

In response to B. Pezhman's, "You compare Bush to Khomeini?": Hossein also has every right to compare Bush to the Ayatollahs ... and yes, I am a US citizen in America. Both the Islamic Republic and Christian Republic have narrowed their hawkish views to their own retarded, self serving, religious attitude. Religious views are fine, but not for Politicians and world leaders... if you feel a need for an explanation, then you ought to contact God to understand why. The only difference between the IRI/US conservatives is ... at who's expense are they willing to screw human lives? >>> Full text

POETRY
Man farzand-e enqelaabam

Child of the revolution
Mandana Zandian

PHOTOGRAPHY
Cafe Shooka

Photo essay: Tehran
Peyman Hooshmandzadeh

CRIMINAL
Wanted

Arrest warrent for Iran's former security chief

"[The Mykonos] case could not yet be considered closed since a German arrest warrant issued in March 1996 for the Iranian Minister of Information and Security (in charge of Iran's secret service), Hojjatoleslam Ali Fallahian -- also allegedly implicated in the killing -- remained outstanding." This is a translation of the arrest warrant.

NOTE
Uneven playing field

Being from Iran is not easy, and the government is no help
Buddahead

As a touring musician, promoting a brand new album, the one constant in my life is travel. Last week alone I journeyed through several cities in southern United States, flew across the Atlantic to Paris, and by tomorrow night I will be back in America, just in time to fall asleep in my home in New York City.

SKIN DEEP
Savage darkies

Windfall from dominating the Middle East: trillions of dollars. The prejudice that makes it easy: priceless
Manesh

Sometimes I wonder if I'll ever be able to feel like I belong living in the United States. I go back and forth trying to forget my beloved Persia and adapting to my new home. It's not easy. It's been 30 years already and my identity still hangs in the balance. Last week was no help. I took four jolts in succession that awoke in me my old insecurities.

RELIGION
Buddhism in Iran

The first instance of Buddhism entering Iran seems to have been during the life of the historical Buddha, Sakyamuni, roughly 5/6th century BCE
Mehrak Golestan

During the course of this paper, I will seek to examine the spread of Buddhism amongst Iranian people, a subject the significance of which is often overlooked by modern day scholars. The paper begins with a brief background of the region and then examines the circumstances under which Buddhism entered the Persian Empire and how it spread amongst the people of the region.

LIFE
Love & imagination

Letters of Khalil Gibran and Mary Haskell
Majid Roshangar

Translations from "Delvaapas-e Shaadmaani-ye to Hastam", quotes from the love letters of Khalil Gibran and Mary Haskell.

POETRY
Spoiled poetry

I am uselessly waiting without surprise
For my sick man's heart to bloom into my great man's rise
Arash Daneshzadeh

IDENTITY
Strawberry fields

A strawberry grown in another land is still a strawberry
Arash Emamzadeh

Do the strawberries make the field into a strawberry field, or does the field make these fruits into strawberries? Does Iran create Iranians or do Iranians create Iran? After asking an open question in the last article, I am going to establish where I stand in regards to the above chicken/egg problem, and hope that this would facilitate more fruitful discussions than the type I had last time. Here is my view: Strawberries make strawberry fields, Iranians make Iran; in addition, I am simply going to ignore place of birth and genetic linkage as ways of defining our identity.

PRISON
Nah zeestan, nah marg

Prison memoirs
Iraj Mesdaghi

TALK SHOW
English Breakfast

Reflections on Sir David Frost's interview with Farah Pahlavi
Cyrus Kadivar

"Good Morning, thank you for inviting me." The voice is sweet and somewhat raspy. Her dark eyes are glistening with tears. The Shahbanou as the empress is known among her compatriots, is sitting on a yellow sofa. She is wearing a grey-blue suit with a purple shirt opening at the collar. Her auburn hair is tied elegantly back, held together by a black ribbon. She is wearing almost no jewellery: a pair of gold earrings and a delicate necklace with the scales of Libra. On her lapel is a tiny flag of Iran, a reminder of the land she left behind.

RELIGION
The earth is an angel

Mazdean angelology
Afshin Afshari

Angelology is one of the main characteristics of the Zoroastrian Mazdaism, for which reason the latter can not be reduced to a monolithic type of monotheism; on the other hand it is also clearly distinct from pre-Zoroastrian polytheism. The spiritual disposition of Mazdean angelology, as preserved by the Avesta.

HAALET KHOOBEH?
The divine encounter

I said to myself, "This must have something to do with Jesus."
Noah

The year was 1985, and I found my refuge in silence. I did not even know how to complain. There was just this once when I raised to my feet, standing tall, and rushed to say, "Oh God, where are You when I need You? Why are You so far away? Why is this world so unfair? Why is there no hope in me? What is it about You that You do not care? Why should I believe that You are even there? Why should I believe that You are even true?"

SATIRE
The curse of Aftabeh

The challenges of Tu Allet Farangy ...
Bahram Saghari

If I were to give it a name to describe both its shape and its function, I would call it an Anal Carafe with a pipe extension - It also looks like one of those designer creamers, larger in size and shaped like a taller Ketri (kettle). If I were to describe just its function it would be something like:

ART
Pasarya's gift

Paintings

From the land of the Magi and great poets an Artist was born. He was named PASARYA. Later, across the continents and oceans did he travel to the outskirts of a sleepy southern town in America. Surrounded by the mountains, Pasarya worked and remained in total seclusion for 22 years. In the tradition of sages comes a Gift to the people.

IRANIAN.COM
Make or break

Are we unable to contribute to a good thing?
Zohreh Khazai Ghahremani

Lately, readers have started to object to this. They sound unhappy over the lack of restriction and do not approve of the fact that some articles are printed without an editorial intervention. Am I wrong to think that they are indeed asking for censorship? Did we not move across the globe to be free of just that? Iranian.com has turned into a metaphor of our old society. It reminds me of an old saying, "You can take the farmer out of the farm, but can't take the farm out of the farmer." At times, I'm reminded of the "koocheh" where people come to watch a good fight. And, naturally, when someone is unable to put up a fair fight, profanity comes to their rescue.

MUSIC
Yaadhaa va Khaaterehaa

Rare, beautiful songs
Azam Nemati

This collection of rare and hard to find original songs (all my personal favorites which I had been looking for) were digitized from old records and tapes by Dr. Meshginpoosh. I am eternally grateful to him for making my dreams of sharing my favorite songs with so many people, a reality.

CHARACTER
What makes us

We are prepared to say, do, or act however is necessary to shift 'real' reality to our reality
Maziar Shirazi

In the US, being Iranian really hasn't been the thing to be for a solid 25 years. A lot of it is due to reasons beyond our control: a little Islamic Revolution action here, a little American hostage reality TV show there, and a great film called Not Without My Daughter have, in a way, offset our awesome hairdos and outfits when we rocked in the 70's. And, to be completely honest, most Iranians have kind of gone downhill.

FILM
Sometimes happiness, sometimes sorrow

Indian films are like dreams
Mahmoud

Generally I have no patience to see a whole film, few minutes are more than enough. I rarely go to the cinema and from time to time if a film can catch my attention I watch it at home. Recently I saw a Bollywood movie on a German station. It was a 4-hour giant production called "Kabhi Khushi, Kabhi Gham" (Sometimes Happiness, Sometimes Sorrow) with Indian superstars.

HOME
Ortakand

Photo essay
Ghader R. Ortakand

Ortakand in Azari means the village in the middle: It is in the middle of a narrow valley with a river running right through the middle of it.

NAME
The Illiterate Gulf

The Middle East, where the first books were written, is a region with very little interest in books and newspapers
Mahin Bahrami

Surly, the Persian Gulf is another example of a border/name dispute between neighbors, in this case, Persians and Arabs. That's fine and dandy. What concerns me, however, is the fervor and heat with which this issue is being raised and handled. It makes me wonder why neither side is similarly appalled at a more compelling issue, i.e. their national illiteracy and extremely low publication rates.

ART
Sumbat Der Kiureghian

Watercolors
Armen Der Kiureghian

I have created this site as a depository of my father, Sumbat Der Kiureghian's art work. He was perhaps the most important watercolor artist of Iran in the 20th century.

HOMOSEXUALITY
The human angle

Rethinking your position on gays and lesbians
Faye (Fereshteh) Farhang

When it comes to homosexuality there are many opinions ranging from the thoughtful and sophisticated to too-narrow-to-mention. One thing is certain, this issue and certainly the current sujet de jour, "gay marriage," turns up the heat on both sides of the spectrum. Yet what the conservatives and liberals effectively have failed to do is to point out the truth.

HOME
Growing up

I have never been afraid of growing old or dying, but I have always been frightened of growing wise and logical
Azam Nemati

Even when I married an American I knew I wanted to go home and to me home was Khorramshahr. I had seen plenty of beautiful homes with gardens and streams and fruit tress in places like Tehran and Shiraz but, I had no desire to live in any other home but in ours which had no garden or flowing streams.

PERSIAN GULF
Hot water

The consensus among the international community of scholars is to employ only the single legitimate historical name, Persian Gulf in all communications
David N. Rahni

National Geographic Society (NGS) has positioned itself as the premier American learned organization dedicated to the "better" understanding of world anthropology, geography, history and natural resources. In the 2005-eighth edition-of its Almanac of World History and Atlas of the World, this organization has made a unilateral and potentially "illegal" attempt to amend the legally and historically recognized nomenclatures of certain geographical locations.

ART
Knock on wood

Sculptures
Houman Salimi

POETRY
Hezbollah

Chipped beliefs and spreading tears
Sheema Kalbasi

LIFE
Kaard-e mooket boree

Going on a different flight
Cyrous Moradi

MUSIC
Rama Morovati

Two worlds
With Reza Manzoori

WOMEN
Permission to be

Gender discrimination as a major obstacle to promote civil society and democracy in Iran
Leila Piran

The Islamic regime's interpretations of the Quran and the Shari'a as reflected in the legal codes has managed to socially construct them to view men as "protectors," especially since women's decision-making power in regards to their personal lives is quite limited. Basically, Iranian women cannot make decisions single-handedly without the influence of their father, husbands, or male guardians regardless of their access to economic resources.

LANGUAGE
Too much information

On gooz
Simin Habibian

I read Mr. Bahram Saghari's "Farting in Farsi". It was very funny, so funny that if I was taking Prozac I could skip it for a few days! This is not the most interesting or easy subject to talk or write about but I could not help myself adding a few more lines to the article and possibly complete it.

OPINION
Tolerance towards that?

Asking to show tolerance vis-à-vis Islamic laws and customs is hypocritical
Azar Majedi

Political Islam has recently resorted to a new tactic: it speaks of tolerance. It asks Western society to show tolerance vis-à-vis Islamic laws, customs and discriminations. Their recent demonstration in Germany was an attempt to silence the rightly angry voice of decent and freedom-loving human beings who cannot tolerate the abuses, violence and intimidation carried out by this movement.

ART
Code red

Paintings
Shabnam Javadi Mottaghi

OBSERVER
Bitter goodbye party

Watching Khatami reacting to angry former supporters
Najmeh Fakhraie

Today is 16th of Azar, "Rooz-e Danjeshoo" (Student Day) born because of the three engineering students killed in demonstrations during President Nixon's visit to Iran decades ago. President Khatami is coming for a talk right where it all took place: The faculty of engineering at the University of Tehran's main campus. This will be Khatami's last talk to the very students who brought him to power 8 years ago; the last time he will face them during his tumultuous political career as president of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

PSYCHOTHERAPY
Sandplay therapy

Creating symbolic images from the unconscious
Payam Ghassemlou

As a kid I played freely on the beaches of the Caspian Sea, which offered me sand, water, and lots of opportunities for imaginative play. There was something magical about digging into the sand and creating all sorts of things. Sometimes, I would make a mountain with wet sand and cover it with dry white sand. This way I made myself believe that I made a snow mountain.

IDENTITY
What's the rush?

There's too much pressure to figure out our "identity"
Laleh Larijani

As a kid I played freely on the beaches of the Caspian Sea, which offered me sand, water, and lots of opportunities for imaginative play. There was something magical about digging into the sand and creating all sorts of things. Sometimes, I would make a mountain with wet sand and cover it with dry white sand. This way I made myself believe that I made a snow mountain.

LANGUAGE
Amoo Sam beh madreseh miravad

Defense Language Institute program as an indicator of U.S. foreign policy
J.A. Morrow

While there are many ways of gauging the direction of a nation's foreign policy, language study is an area that is often overlooked but which can be particularly revealing. Take, for example, the recent ads that appeared in the Chronicle of Higher Education advertising positions for instructors of Modern Standard Arabic, Chinese, Farsi, French, Dari, Korean, and Serbian / Croatian.

FIRING BACK
"Khatami, what happed to your promised freedoms?"

Students vs. Khatami
Photo essay

POETRY
Vaaseh-ye eshqam

For my love
Leila Farjami

FILM
The grand connection

A rare glimpse into the ceremonies of the Ghaderi Derwishes of Kurdistan
Robin Jayne Goldsmith

Last year the Tehran-born and Los Angeles-based independent filmmaker Jahanshah Ardalan finally released "Beyond Words," documenting the ceremonies of the Ghaderi Derwishes of Saghez over a period of eight years from 1991 to 1999. The secrecy of such ceremonies is well known. But, as grandson of the last "Khan-i-Gowra" ("Great Khan" in Kurdish) of much of Iranian Kurdistan, and because of the relationship he developed with the Khalifa, or leader of the Sufi group, the filmmaker was permitted a length and intimacy of access that are probably unprecedented.

MUSIC
Dariush Saghafi

Santur solo
Azam Nemati

Santur is one of the most loved instruments around the world. Its beautiful and magical sound fills one's heart which a sense of completeness. Although the santur is usually heard along with other instruments, listening to it as a solo instrument is quite a treat.

U.S.-IRAN
Beyond nuclear power

America needs a fresh start with Iran
Hamid Bahadori

And as much as the Bush Administration, for both ideological and pragmatic reasons, needs to hate the mullah regime, we need a fresh start in our relations with Iran, not for the fear of Iran's future nuclear weapons, but for reasons far more important. The possibility of Iran having nuclear weapons is much less of a strategic threat to America's long term interests in the Middle East compared to the manner in which Iran will get there.

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