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December 2005

STARS
Unashamed fun

Magazine clips of movie stars in the 1970s
Pullniro

POETRY
I find myself standing by this road again

this road is hard..... is hard..... oh.... so hard to pass
Hedieh Sajadi

POETRY
Baraaye Ganji

Motefaavet zibaast
Homayoun Abghari

POETRY
Fairytales

A mound of flesh and thoughts. Separates me. From. The. Country I watch on TV.
Sara Bozorg

POETRY
Life in diaspora

Realigning the past with the present
Sasan Seifikar

POETRY
Souless but sexy

I'm realisin' that all this smokin', chillin', cotchin', is just the beginnin'
Heresh Rezavandi

POETRY
Khaaneye man

Dar baadhaa
Shahrokh Setoudeh Foumani

FICTOIN
Firoozeh

165 kisses tall
Sheida Mohamadi

POETRY
Struggle

Dedicated to those who loose their loved ones to imposed and unwanted battles
Mojgan Mazkoori

POETRY
Infected love

(Lover in despair)
Raz

POETRY
Taa sher nashkanad

Divaar az koocheh bolandtar shod
Habib Shokati

ART
Deep down

Paintings & drawings
Behman Tajik

LIFE
Ho ho ho

Photo essay: Chrismas Eve at Poopak & Alireza's: Northern California
Farah Ravon

MUSIC
Soroush

Tracks from "Yeh Donya" CD
Compiled by Azam Nemati

I have dinner with an Abadani girl friend once a month so I can watch Iranian TV and see if any new artist worthy of listening performs. At the last gathering the camera showed a sea of young people mesmerized and then a handsome face was shown. He had my attention and took my breath away when he began to sing "You were not in love, I was in love with you. In the shrine of love you were my idol" in the most beautiful and heart stopping voice I had heard in a long time (Havasbaaz track).  My tears fellow and when I saw all those young people crying I felt great!  The music and lyrics in every track s beautiful. Soroush's  soul soothing voice and his grasp of music is such a refreshing joy for my old heart. 

ADVICE
Quit for good

Shokooh's couch
Shokooh Miry

Smoking since 15, writes: Every year on New Year’s Eve, I promise myself that this will be the year I stop smoking. Despite my good intentions, by the first week in January, I am back to my two-pack a day habit. My wife is very supportive and doesn’t nag me, but I have two children who are very afraid for my health and get more vocal about it every year. What can I do to quit for good? I have been smoking for over thirty years and I am addicted. I would describe my addiction as very, very strong. Is there any chance I can succeed?

WEB
Blog, blog and away

It's incredible, there are more blogs than there are Iranians
Peyvand Khorsandi

Mostafa Moghadass started his weblog before he even had a computer in 1999. "I wrote it on bits of paper," he says. "They never made it online. But I handed them out to my friends." One entry, which he keeps in pocket, reads: "This morning I woke up and made tea." The 27-year-old student says that at the time he had no idea he was at the forefront of a communication revolution. "I was just brushing my teeth and writing about it," he says.

REGIONAL
Commonwealth

... of Iranian peoples in the Middle East, Central Asia, and the Caucuses
Shahriar Zahedi

What strikes the first time visitor to Central Asia is the backwardness of the region as a whole. It is as if time has come to a halt. Their language, their music, their dress, and their culture resemble those of ours, but from centuries ago. It seems that at some point in history after the contact with the motherland was severed, everything stood still. The Iranian influence, however, has always been felt strongly in these regions. Iran has a great deal to gain by lending support to her kinfolk in the area. Countries like Afghanistan and Tajikistan; land-locked and devoid of much resource or infrastructure, can use Iran's economic assistance to improve their living standards. Iran can help modernize their agriculture and diversify the types of crops that are produced.

FICTION
For the life of a butterfly

Short story
Afsan Azadi

Have you ever been in a "no-win-situation?" I mean a moment, a phase in your life, a moment of a lifespan, a situation when you know you are not going to come out of it a winner, caught in a predicament. I am in that situation right now. I am standing on the wooden platform, with the crowd surrounding it and chanting and cheering for the action that is about to ensue. I see the rage in their eyes. I feel the outrage on their angry faces. I witness their lust for my death. Then I see my family standing around, my mother weeping and begging, my father quietly crying and wiping the tears off his face, my sister in a hysterical state, but many strangers cheering for my ultimate destiny.

TRAVELERS
Luster of the earth

Journey to Samarkand and Bukhara
Keyvan Tabari
>>> 48 Photos

IDEAS
Wanted: Military man

Iran will remain theocratic and Pakistan quasi-secular! Unless...
Iqbal Latif

I cannot remember the number of times people make the tired prediction that Iran will have a counter-revolution within this decade whilst Pakistan will become the world's latest Sunni theocracy. It is vital to note that nowhere within the Islamic world has there been a successful revolution without crucial support of the army, it is the military that determines which and what type of government will rule the nation (since in most cases it is the only truly national institution which transcends ethnic & religious irredentism). Image of a strong man is integral to any Muslim society. From Morocco to Brunei we see quasi democracies or theocratic royalties with the exception of Turkey.

POLITICS
Promises they did not honor

Personal reflections on Iran's reform movement failures
Ali Dadpay

Why did the reform movement fail? The answer to this question varies dramatically. But there is some common consensus among my esteemed compatriots Iranians. A wide range of elites, reform activists and politicians blame Iranian people in different words. Mr. Tajzadeh, the former energetic deputy of ministry of interior, told a reported in last July that Iranian people are not citizens of Switzerland so one should not expect much. I asked the same question from a 36-year-old female physician in Tehran and she exploded: "These people do not deserve even Ahmadinejad. He is too much for them and their level of culture." Iranian people voted for Ahmadinejad -- at least 17 million of them. The others voted for him with their silence.

CHARACTER
21st century values

The Persian empire was not really anything to be proud of
Ben Madadi

As long as Iranians link their presence to a very distant huge and powerful empire, this connection bears some responsibilities as well. Mohammad Reza Shah, or the Shah as he is known in the West, was like his father, very keen in exploiting Iran's imperial past, trying to build a nation based on that lost glory. That can easily be the case for many other nations, such a Egypt, Greece, Iraq and so on. What the Shah, his father, and their then entourage actually missed (beyond the dodginess of the link between such a distant past and the modern realities of the Iranian society) was that the Persian empire was not really anything to be proud of.

MUTILATION
Kaalaaye masdoom

Damaged goods: Circumcision
Jahanshah Rashidian, translated by Ario Dadmehr

ART
The Patriot

Painting Dr. Mossadegh
Reza Karimi

I was a little child in Isfahan , so young that I was not allowed into kindergarten yet. I was playing in the street with the inner metal wheel of a bicycle, rolling it with the help of a small stick. All of a sudden, the chanting din of the crowd distracted me. They were chanting LONG LIVE MOSSADDEGH! They hung posters over the buses and the taxis. I looked at the posters, seeing an unattractive skinny old man’s portrait, almost bald with a large nose. It was an exciting day for me, since all of my older friends were at school, I had no idea what was going on. I did, however, recognize some of the chanting people, especially those guys that were hanging on the side of the buses.

FICTION
Eshghe siaah

Old married Iranian man + affair with Black woman = Heaven
Cyrous Moradi

SPACE
So far, so close

Astrophotography: Nebulas
Behyar Bakhshandeh

TORTURE
Masaleye shekanjeh

The issue of torture
Ramin Kamran

FICTION
A twist of fate

Story of love, betrayal and destiny, Part 1
Daniel Zangeneh

Arash started his sporty car and played one of his favorite songs, U2’s "A Beautiful Day" to cheer himself up.  For him, driving along the beach line in the mornings was an awesome experience. And, the beach was his sanctuary, a place that he couldn’t live without.  But today felt different.  He wasn’t his usual cheerful, free spirited guy. He could not enjoy the serenity of a view that had given him such pleasure in the past.  His expression was so sad that if you did not know, you would think he had experienced a great personal loss. For a moment he thought he needed some reassurance from Mitra to calm his mind.   He picked up his cell phone and called Mitra.  But her cell phone was turned off.

STUDENTS
Setting a higher standard

UCLA’s Iranian student group
Pouya Alimagham

For many of us Iranian-Americans who grew up in an environment where learning about Iran and its history, languages, and culture was not available to us in schools, Iranian student organizations at the university level fill the void.  Unfortunately, many of these student groups pay more attention to social activities than to educational and cultural events.  UCLA’s Iranian Student Group (ISG), however, is different. ISG was first established at UCLA in 1983.  Although Iranian student groups existed years before, most of them were political and revolutionary and after 1979, virtually ceased to exist.  ISG is for a new generation, one not radical, but yearning for culture and knowledge about a homeland that seems so distant at times.

FICTION
Khaakestari

When a wolf falls in love with a dog
Parviz Forghani

e-COMMERCE
Buyers beware!

I have many tales to tell about being ripped off but I am not paranoid and do not assume all Iranians are out to get me
Azam Nemati

Invention of Internet was God sent for someone like me. Let’ me explain why. In the old days I would use the Iranian adds from newspapers to call the stores for books, music tapes, etc. I can write a book about some of the comments I would get from the men who had no idea about what type of person I was and would want to tell me their life stories. The most memorable one was a call I placed to a storeowner in northern California. I had heard a song but did not know its name or the singer. I simply said the first few lines of the song. From the tone of the man’s voice I could tell he was an opium addict and probably had just had his fix.

FICTION
Flame

It is 1953, following the nationalisation of the Anglo Iranian Oil Company
Ghazi Rabihavi

He tossed up the coin, the spinning of the worn yellow line in the air, even if it came up tails he would go to Flame’s tent tonight, he snatched the coin and slapped it on the back of his other hand, it was heads, he turned towards the date plantation, he had to jump over the brook and take a stone to ward off the dog but that evening the dog had turned to stone and was just staring at him from under the lotus tree, the wind was sliding through the  dog’s fur he seemed dead except for the glaring eyes that followed Hatou around, the dog didn’t bark.

RECOVERY
Back in Bam

Photo essay: Bam two years after the devastating quake
Hamed Noori & Babak Borzouyeh

POETRY
Lovers

They say we live life the way we make love
Baharak Sedigh

POETRY
Anjomane dahan goshaadi

Zarreh-ee neest dar ou neshaan ze ensaan
Meedahad dars beh eblees o sheytaan
Hamid Izadi

POETRY
Raazhaaye kavir

They say we live life the way we make love
Cyrous Moradi

POETRY
Honor

Shove my head down when it dares look up
Taraneh Tavous

POETRY
Heyvoonaki

To be and not to be in love
Shoja Adel

POETRY
I cross cultures

What you get from "cultural diversity" and too much formal education
Golli Farrel

POETRY
Identities

Against this tower, towering doubt
Kaveh L. Afrasiabi

POETRY
Asheghi

Dar golestaani faraasooye nassim
Pashang Salehi

POETRY
* Paziresh
* Saalkhordegi
* Naghshafarin

For my good Janet, for myself, for my friend Behrouz Vossoughi
Jahangir Sedaghat

POETRY
Yalda

Hope of light
Orkideh Behrouzan

POETRY
I the finite

I am, I am
A.S. Mostafanejad

PHOTOGRAPHY
Let there be light

Photo essay: London windows
Parima Shahin Moghaddam

WEDDING
Picking flowers

"The Persian Wedding": Rituals throughout history
Bijan Moridani

Nâmzad-bâzi (engagement flirtation): There is no married person who does not remember the exciting, wonderful memories of the period of time in which they were engaged. In a culture where any contact between a man and a woman is strictly limited, even after nâmzadi (engagement), this episode, which lasts from the night of the engagement to the actual wedding, is treasured. It usually starts with brief visits, most often in the presence of family members, an exchange of loving looks and occasionally, if they are brave and an opportunity presents itself, stealing a kiss, which is always associated with a feeling of anxiety and excitement...

REVIEW
Sparty soldier

Getting to know Iraqis up close
Fatima Farideh Nejat

Morris’ passionate analysis -- Iraqis are a lot like us, people with family ties and needs for jobs -- reflects a humane understanding of human nature. According to the German philosopher Hegel, the progress of the human spirit as the self-actualization of freedom is universal.  This includes human aspirations for freedom of expression, and the rights of security (civil liberties), socioeconomic rights (access to basic human needs), and political rights (democratic self-governance). These rights are achievable only if human needs are met. Morris rightfully addressees the Iraqis innate emergent needs in the devastating state of civil war chaos.

SATIRE
Bekhaatere yek joft sibil

Shaving off Shah-era moustache
Mohammad Hossainzadeh

WORDS
Gerdu

An Iranian love affair
Guive Mirfendereski

The other day I went past the baking section of the supermarket in quest of dried walnut (Persian: gerdu) for the winter salad that I planned to build for our cherished Iranian guests. Unlike them, we hardly entertain, largely because I have such an exaggerated sense of hospitality that usually the thought of entertaining renders me paralytic for an entire day in advance. What adds to my anxiety is also that I will not accept a new invitation from the same people without first reciprocating for their last invite. It is a dance.

ART
Gray halo

Illustrations
Farzad Adibi

HERITAGE
Rich lore of astronomy

Yalda's historical roots
Keyvan Tabari

Marking Yalda -- the rebirth of the sun on the longest night of the year (Shab-e Chelleh) -- has been important for Iranian-Americans since Christmas is the season of special identity crisis for many non-Christians in the United States. We will gain from an affirming celebration of our own. And how felicitous that the mainstream holiday of Christmas is in fact rooted in our Yalda. As we, in turn, inherited much of this tradition from the Babylonians and others, to honor Yalda now is to rejoice in the syncretic heritage of all humanity. Thus, in proclaiming our ethnic contribution we gain acceptance; and that is the best way for us to enter and stay on the public stage of our adopted land.

LETTERS
Rumi is more Persian than Shakespeare is British

On William Dalrymple "That idiot at the Guardian":
Mr. Dalrymple, your argument is not valid. I would challenge you to name ONE more artist who like Jalaledin e Rumi wrote in Persian while being from another country. His poems are experiences of the Iranian society, government, and religion. How can one be so absolutely clear about Iran and not be an Iranian? In a terminology that you might understand: If the British soccer team played with USSR soccer team, today that team would still be Britain Vs USSR and not Georgian/Armenian/Ukrainian, and so on >>> Full text

 

TRAVELERS
The logic of cab fares

Part 12: Smoldering in Tehran
Sima Nahan

One day I rode with a taxi driver of especially dignified bearing. He was about sixty years old, well spoken, with intelligent eyes. I never did find out what he did before or concurrently with driving a taxi. On our long drive from Toupkhaneh to Farmaniyyeh in stop-and-go traffic, it was I who did all the talking. I leaned my elbows on the seats in front and vented in his ear. He listened patiently. I ranted about how bad things are -- about the Islamic Republic, the U.S., war, poverty, the chaos of Tehran. I expressed my disgust at the last election, the whole lot of the presidential candidates, and the fact that election itself has become such fraud.

EXPERIMENTAL
Napoleon mon amour

Part 6: Facial
Sarvenaz

I have tried really hard not to let Napoleon know, as you do, to what extent I love him. For me, being eternally expressive and verbally exhibitionist, secrecy is about the most difficult thing to demand of me. I am also impatient, the way Iranians whose parents gave them too much love, are. This affair sometimes seems like some grueling spiritual exercise or penance prescribed and inflicted from above. Me, who hated waiting for boys to call since I was ten, have to sit between the hour of eleven and twelve and just wait for that cell phone to ring. I have put the ringer on “classic phone ring” because what I am doing, waiting for the call, all decked out and made up to the hilt, is so fifties. It belongs to an age when we still turned numbers on black phones with round dialers. But love makes us do things we would not otherwise. My women studies professor would cringe and disown me but the truth is when you love like this you are a pre-feminist dame no matter how hard you try: you are more Betty Crocker than Betty Friedan.

SHORTS
Monkeys and civilization
Mehran writes: You must have seen it in one of those documentaries on monkies when one gets agitated and screams, others follow and get agitated and scream violently. It never fails. Not in us humans too.

After living in the same house for 20 years and being the good neighbor to my neighbors for that long, my very pascifist looking, humble and shy neigbor wrote me a letter, showing his anger at making noise too much over his head, complaining my wife walking with her high heals he stated: "Enough is enough. From now on for every bang and hit on my ceiling by heavy footing, shoes or any other imaginable object, there shall be an equal or greater hit on your floor. If war is what you want, you'll have it. Chris."

My soon controlled reaction was to go down to his apartment and bang really hard on his door. I even imagined kicking him around. He is physically smaller, but then I thought what if he's working out and, you know, I'm totally out of shape... I consistantly had to stop the rush of violent thoughts in my head and just calm myself down. More than anything I was angry for  his using the word "war", a holy word in an unholy context.

I have been thinking maybe because we are in a war in Iraq, that the thought of using the three-letter word has become more of a norm than I had estimated. What else could be the reason until the other day I found myself screaming really hard at my wife to let me alone and to let me get my valuable sleep. We are not ourselves while these wars are going on. Unless every one of us are those war monkeys and civilization has to consider the bad effect of our genetic domino's effect  all the way to our hoods and bedrooms.

Just at the begining of the 21st century and the illusion of civility, modernity and efficiency in an internetized world, our humanity collapsed monkey style.

LIFE
Getting married

Part 3: Booking the ceremony room
Houman Jazaeri

We got out of the car and walked across the asphalt to the front door of the hall. Through the corner of my eye I could see Naz sizing the place up. We entered the hall and were amazed at the ceremony room. It was a large room and was decorated rather well but it had a slight smell that to this day I wonder about. The room was filled with tiny white lights and plastic flowers. As a man I thought it looked nice but the shocked look on Naz's face led me to think that she didn't like it. The coordinator kept on telling us to close our eyes and imagine that night but when I closed my eyes all I could see what Naz standing me up at the alter.

LIFE
The country I am living in

They all want Iran to be like this country. Why?
Reza T. Saberi

There are about 500 Iranian families in my city and most of them are professionals like doctors, lawyers, surgeons, dentist, computer scientist, engineers. Although they look like Iranians, most of them sound and think like the rest of people in this country. They all want Iran to be like this country. Why? Perhaps this is because this country is role model for the rest of the world. Perhaps because it is powerful, perhaps because it is beautiful, and perhaps quality of life is better than the rest of the world. Or perhaps because of other reasons I still do not know.

LIFE
Train station

This sucks.  Everything sucks.  I wish that this next train would take me from New Brunswick to New Delhi
Maziar Shirazi

Right now, as in 1:47 AM, I am waiting at the New Brunswick train station by myself for the 2:35 local from here to the Princeton Junction train station, a $20 cab ride, and then home, and I am wondering where all those random winter accessories that I perennially buy and lose are right now.  The cold numbing my right hand is making me twist the cloth of my ripped jacket pockets a little tighter around it.  Can’t feel either of them anymore.  I should really get these useless fucking pockets sown up.  The train is not going to arrive anytime soon, and there is no one, not even a bum or a junkie, hanging around this platform.  I am alone, all alone, and I’m cold, and I feel a little ill now.   November 7, 2005, marks this city’s first official ‘I’m in a World of Pain’ Night.

LIFE
The clouds

I'll always wonder how it looks when it's a man who was not born in America
Siamak Vossoughi

Sometimes out here where I live in San Francisco, a man can get so filled up with the clouds and the sky and the sun and the rows of houses going up and down over the hills to the ocean he knows is there, that he will see someone walking towards him, and he will think, I am going to say hello to this person. If nothing else, it is the person I am sharing this time and place with, and that counts for a lot. It counts for as much as the time and place itself. And I'll do it. I'll say hello with the fullness of the clouds and the sky and everything else inside me, and when they smile and say hello, their smile is a smile and their greeting is a greeting, and it'll even have some of the clouds in it too...

OPINION
Human security

Violence seems to be the language of the new era
Majid Tehranian

Nine-eleven may be thus considered as the onset of a global civil war.   The new war has no physical or moral boundaries.  It uses the latest technologies such as electronic fund transfers, wireless telephony, internet, and manned and unmanned aircraft.  In future, it may use nuclear or biological weapons.  Some have called it the struggle between an “axis of evil” against a presumed “axis of virtue.”   Others, less inclined toward Manichean dichotomies, have recognized a qualitative change in the modalities of international struggle. Wealth and income gaps within and among nations are growing. That is a recipe for increasing social and political conflict.  State and opposition terrorism is one manifestations of the current state of affairs.

OPINION
An honest look in the Persian mirror

It is simply logical that when people are taught to hate another people, the outcome is sure to be that of a Holocaust or some other kind of genocide
Steven

If the IRI, to the exclusion of all other conflicts, obsesses totally with Israel's annhilation, then one must ask the simple question: "Why?" Why such hatred by a country that is insulted if it is mistakenly referred to as an Arab country? and calls Arabs "tazis?" Why no shouting "Marg Bar Serbia" or "Marg Bar India" for example? And "Zionist landgrabbing" and "Zionist oppression" doesn't cut it as an answer. What about the Arab "landgrabbing" of the 7th century, including Iran? Where does time begin for a people to claim a right to their homeland? Is it only from the advent of Muhammad's fatah? Is it 2,000 years? 5,000? History has shown that most - if not all - nations have overrun native peoples. And certainly Arabs are not native to any country outside of the Arabian peninsula.

FICTION
The poet's visit

Short story
Nahid Rachlin

Mina and Simin saw each other almost every day after school even though they lived on opposite sides of the city. They had been friends since elementary school and now they were in the tenth grade. They remained close friends in spite of the difference in their temperaments. Simin was quiet and poetic, Mina outspoken. Although Simin was less intense than Mina in expressing her dissatisfaction with their surroundings, their large visions of things coincided. They agreed they had to fight hard not to become typical wives and mothers, not to marry men selected for them by their families. One way to get out of it was to refuse to marry at all and another way was to convince their parents to send them out of the country to study.

LIFE
Ties unbound

It’s pretty safe to say, I am not in any danger of being the Sohie family Matriarch
Parissa Sohie

By now, you’ve probably figured that I was a fairly imaginative child.  Frankly, comparing my childhood (as well as my adolescence, young adulthood and where I am now) with that of my friends, I think I was a bit “unique”.  I’m not saying that to brag, it’s just how I see it.  Notice, as tempted as I am, I don’t claim to have been gifted, insightful or funny -- just unique.  So, sometime between childhood and adolescence as I realized the responsibilities that come with being the oldest grandchild on both sides of the family, I suddenly had aspirations of greatness (another theme that comes up in my thinking).  I was not going to be any old cousin, I was going to be a grand matriarch of the family. 

LIFE
Jesus... where are your priorities?

I wish you the best holiday season for your holiday
Mahnaz Zardoust-Ahari

Is there really any difference? "Merry Christmas"' or "Happy Holidays"? It really doesn't make that much of a difference to me. It is the sentiment behind the comment. For people to make such a big deal out of a simple comment really makes you wonder where their priorities are. I mean really, it is amazing to think that almost the whole US of A has given such a response to this.

ART
Artists with a cause

Paintings
Children of Persia calendar

MUSIC
Wild world

No matter what his name is, Yusuf Islam, or Cat Stevens, his music still sounds good after 25 years
Sepehr Haddad

My wife decided to clean out the attic last week. I dread when this happens. This means all my unused or broken musical equipment (keyboards, guitars, samplers) and other music-related paraphernalia that I have stored in boxes up there for years, has to come down and a decision has to be made as to what will be donated and what can stay up there, for another cycle of several years before we go through the whole process again. This time, I decided to actually look through a few of the boxes of CDs, promo materials, etc., (instead of just pointing to which boxes we cannot get rid of--- my excuse always being that there is “important’ stuff that some accountant or lawyer may need God knows when), and to my surprise found a letter I had received in 1984 from none other than Yusuf Islam also know as Cat Stevens.

REVIEW
Feminist discourse

Books by Parvin Paidar & Margot Badran
Masoud Kazemzadeh

The two books under review are among an emerging body of scholarship in Middle East studies that utilize Western social scientific concepts of gender, class and ideology to challenge the aforementioned paradigms. They criticize Orientalist, modernization, and neo-Orientalist scholars for their essentialist notions of Islam. Instead, they argue that there are numerous and conflicting Islamic groups and states, and therefore, that the view of Islam as coherent and homogeneous is false. They criticize the dependency and neo-Marxist scholarship for ignoring the saliency, if not the centrality, of gender and patriarchy in the analysis of Middle Eastern polities.

LIFE
Passion over approval

When do you go your own way and decide to do what you want regardless of your parent’s wishes? At the point where your passion exceeds the need for their approval, that’s when.
Zohreh Khazai Ghahremani

For as long as there have been parents, a generation gap has also existed in one form or another. Granted, there are exceptions, but those of us who have lived longer, will forever have a tendency to see matters in a different light. However, I for one have been in both positions and seen both sides. As a teenager, who achieved the highest marks in school, I had no vote when it came to choices of school and it took me decades to dare pursue my passion. A poet, not only was I deprived from support, my family forbade me to study literature. I became a successful dentist, but unfortunately my heart was never in it and I secretly continued to write. Sometimes people ask me if I still resent that. The answer is no, not really, because as I got older, I realized the loving reason behind what had seemed so cruel at the time.

POINT
The view from Farang

Iran news has become more amusing - perversely - in recent months
Alidad Vassigh

Mullahs - we may say this of them - have been consistent in their claims and pretensions. Efficient, technocratic government was never their primary concern, but it is disputable to say that Iran's main problem is too much religion. Its problems are those that affect all badly-run, dictatorial states: lack of accountability, corruption, injustice, press censorship, torture and abuse in state custody. I believe they have that all over Africa. Deceit being one of the deplorable vices of politics, some of the worst offenders in that regard have been that assortment of trash in Iran called the Left. They lie and cheat like the venomous snakes that they are, only to win power and proceed with their murderous intentions.

LIFE
Good bye, Amoo

He bought me my first bike
Hamid Bakhsheshi

The quite, sad voice of Azita, my sister, on the phone was quite the sad messenger. She didn't have to say much. I had known for nearly a week that my only Amoo (father's brother), had been in an accident and multiple fracture and internal injuries, has left him holding on to life. It was 11:30 pm and my wife and I were having dinner with some friends. She said a sad hello and told me that Amoo just passed away. I responded by simply saying "ok" a few times. I couldn't believe it nor could I accept the fact that a man of his stature and health could have perish so easily.  I guess six days is just not enough to get you prepared for a loved one's departure.

ART
Graduation

Paintings & drawings
Ali Banisadr

LIFE
Living artists

I guess my question here is: when do we stop stressing over our parents expectations of us and pursue the path that we see fit for ourselves?
Saeideh Mohajer

In the Iranian culture, doctors, lawyers, scientists, engineers are admired and viewed with respect and admiration, which they so greatly deserve, based on the dedication that they have shown to their craft.  However, should our artists, not be shown the same amount of respect and admiration since they show the same dedication to their craft.  Let's take me for example: I was a very promising kid, with great marks and a curiosity required to pursue any of the much-admired careers mentioned above and in fact was accepted by all the top Universities based on my grades in math and science.  However, it so happened that my subject of desire was dramatic arts and theatre, which I knew I had the passion, talent and the drive to do matter.

TRAVELERS
Modified terror

Part 11: Smoldering in Tehran
Sima Nahan

Let’s say, over the years, the reign of terror in Iran has been modified. The main target of harassment in daily life is now young people. This made my trip much more pleasant than in previous years. Gone were the days when my friends and I would be stopped and dragged to komiteh for riding in a car with members of the opposite sex. Now I sailed through checkpoints no matter whom I rode with. The gray in the hair and the offspring in the backseat are now license for relative freedom. (“Time to party... !” as a friend said.)

LIFE
Desperate husbands

Lively conversations during afternoon tea
Farrokh A. Ashtiani

While we were chatting about a clever trick by the Brits, my friend’s wife brought up the issue of human rights violations in Iran and the lack of any respect for gays and lesbians rights in Iran as has been discussed by the BBC -the voice box of the British government. A bit puzzled I asked her why is it that BBC wants to promote the gay rights in Iran, and how come nobody is advocating the heterosexual rights in Iran? Are Iranians guaranteed civil rights so much so that we can now shift our focus to gays and lesbians? This did not go well with my friend’s wife and she said that heterosexuals are the majority so they don’t need protection.

CULTURE
Yalda

The longest night of the year
Fereidoun Farahandouz

CHARACTER
The Ahmadinejad in us

A Look at Iranian anti-Jewry
Guive Mirfendereski

I am not sure what exactly is it about Mr. Ahmadinejad’s recent anti-Jewish pronouncements that grate on me. Is it his courage that speaks truth to power and all those who have turned the cause of Zionism and Jewish imperialism into a sacred cow? Or is it that he has managed to tear the curtains of hypocrisy and show to the world an elemental aspect of the psyche of majority of Iranians that is decidedly anti-Jew, if not vocal and in public, then in the quiet and private? Or is that his statements make a mockery of each of the three reasons that most Iranians of my generation always offered as evidence that Iranians are not Jew-haters.

INSIDER
Tanaabi ham beh een yeki bebandeed

Ahmadinejad thrives on crises and chaos -- to the detriment of an entire nation
Yavar Ostovar

ARTS
Godiva's luxurious looks

Godiva’s North American President’s Award goes to an Iranian-American designer Massoud Mansouri
Compiled by Hengameh Fouladvand

October 27, 2005 was the Campbell Soup Company’s Extraordinary Performance Award ceremony, and a day for bringing together employees from each supporting company. Godiva Chocolatier took advantage of the opportunity to gather over 100 employees from locations around the North East for a luncheon in Cherry Hill, New Jersey. Gene Dunkin, President Godiva North America seized the opportunity to present the North American President’s Award at the luncheon. This year, the award went to just one person for his unbelievable contributions to Godiva’s contemporization on almost every product and packaging front.

EXPERIMENTAL
My story

I have always wanted to write about my sex life
Shana Yazdi

I have always wanted to write about my sex life but  I have always had a big hesitation talking about my sexual and personal matters. However my adventures in sex and relationships are so great that I would like to talk about it, especially with women who fall in love with more than one guy. This is a completely true story but I had to make slight changes to the Persian names for the sake of anonymity. It may sound a little bit too explicit or offensive to you but I am sure this text will be quite enlightening for those of you who want to get wind of the recent sexual revolution which is happening in Iran.

FILM
President Kong

King Kong focuses on the mind of one man and his fraught relations with the West: Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
Peyvand Khorsdandi

While Steven Spielberg’s Jurassic Park glossed over the atrocities committed by Iran’s rulers, eventually turning them into marketable cuddly toys, Peter Jackson’s remake of King Kong focuses on the mind of one man and his fraught relations with the West: the Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, known to his followers as Kong. Unlike the 1933 original, this Kong is a rabid anti-semite kidnapped by Mossad and transported to New York to thrill Broadway audiences. In one of the script’s finer moments, Kong, exhorts:

PHOTOGRAPHY
Lifograph

Photography & graphic desgin
Salar Niknafs

POLITICS
Don't get us mixed up

Ahmadinejad is not, REPEAT not, the epitome of Iranian people's aspiration and their logic
Kia Atri

I read Mr Mordechai Kedar's article "Nucleotheism" last night I was amazed at the sheer lack of insight in his assertions. I reiterate Iran cannot be generalised away in the stereotypes we are accustomed to about Mid Eastern countries. This was particularly disappointing to me as generally the Israeli politicians and opinion makers are people of sober judgement. There has always been a general pragmatic intelligence which has underpinned the modus operandi of Israeli Statecraft. Let us hope that despite Mr Kedar's very professional credentials and academic standing he will not wield any where near the kind of influence when he is under this level of misconception.

LIFE
Wish me luck

I am going to do what I always wanted to do (give me ideas)
Parissa Sohie

For some time now -- since my 32nd birthday -- I’ve been thinking of this theory I’ve had for as long as I can remember.  So, I’ve always thought I wouldn’t live past 32.  You can understand why I didn’t exactly jump for joy when my birthday rolled around this year.  Actually, I initially forgot it was my 32 birthday.  I was commiserating with a friend, whose birthday is close to mine and was turning 30 this year.  She was saying how she couldn’t believe that she’s putting her 20s behind her and she wanted to do something really big.  I responded that I couldn’t believe I was turning 30 either, how it seems like just yesterday that I was 25, how scary it seemed to me, how I was running out of time and I had to do something.

ARTS
Clash of colors

Paintings
Golnaz Fathi

CHRISTMAS
That was so nice

Video: Family getting ready for Christmas in London
Siamack Salari

POLITICS
Benaame etehaad baraaye tafragheh

Iranian opposition's meeting for unity in Berlin brings more discord
Hassan Behgar

LIFE
Zia

A “White Christmas” life
A.S. Mostafanejad

Zia loved and encouraged me to explore the possibilities of the piano and the radio.  He would allow me to range back and forth across the keys or the dial.  He would exclaim “that’s a doh” or “la” or “that’s Berlin Radio” or “that is Tchaikovsky” or “Scheherazade”or “Golpayegani.”  Where as my own music lessons on the dulcimer were regimented and stressful, Zia encouraged exploration and cultivated a love and joy of music as an entertainment art. During winter visits we would sit around a Korsee (quilt covered low table with hot coals underneath) and eat pomegranate sprinkled with marjoram, drink hot sweet tea and listen to the radio announce “Inja Tehran, Radio Iran” (Here is Tehran, Radio Iran).  During the summer visits we would listen to music in the room upstairs and look down on the quiet shady street. 

POLITICS
Specific threats

What should worry Israel is that political events in Tehran are now being managed by one of the biggest and most belligerent enemies of Israel in Iran's political history, whose influence has started to expand in Gaza and the West Bank
Meir Javedanfar

Ahmadinejad's ability to shock the international community with his controversial statements has left many, including those in Iran flabbergasted. Dr Ahmadinejad is an ideologue. He in not however, as many like to believe, an uncontrollable extremist who says what feels good, without thinking about the consequences. Since his first “Israel must be eliminated” speech, Ahmadinejad has had a target audience in mind. The recent assault against Israel in which he called the Holocaust a “myth” also had a specific target, albeit a different one from his first verbal assault. This time Ahmadinejad was applying his tried and tested electioneering for the other important countries of the region, who are about to start voting, namely Iraq and the Palestinian Authority (PA).

LIFE
Iranian with an American accent

Not "authentic" enough?
Arezou Raeisghasem

The semester plan didn't quite pan out the way I had hoped. Toward the middle of the fall term I went to my first little Iranian gathering and experienced what I have experienced many times before: the feeling of not really fitting in anywhere. So, I walked into this gathering and started chatting with some people. Of course as soon as I open up my mouth someone makes a comment about my accent. I don't know why that makes me feel like I have to defend my "Iranian-ness" but I begin to explain that I have an accent because I grew up in the U.S. but I was born in Iran, and I have been back to Iran many times.

FICTION
Girl behind the window

Short story
Saeed Tavakkol

She peered out the window. Everything was so different than where she grew up. The street below was overrun with the crowd -- mostly young people. They gathered in small circles, passionately discussing issues among themselves.  Some held signs, waving them furiously in the air. Heads moved back and forth and hands cut the air like knives. She had never seen people that angry -- what could have made so many people so angry? She could not read Farsi but recognized the curved letters with dots in their bellies like pregnant women with triplets. Letters with mouths half open, hungry enough to swallow the character sitting silently next to them. The sharp blades of other characters like the sickles peasants used to harvest, the letters she had seen in books her father read.

IDEAS
Recognition vs. acceptance

Islamic discourses on ‘homosexuality’
Maziar Shirazi

A look at some of these factors, coupled with an understanding of how sexuality is conceptualized in Islamic discourses, show that same-sex relations have until relatively recent times had accepted niches in cultures of the Islamic world.  Trying to encompass all manifestations of gay and grey-area sexuality in Islam would certainly not do justice the topic at hand; for this reason, I shall limit my discussion to the scope of relevant background information surrounding the pre-Islamic world, pederasty (as opposed to alternative male sexualities as well as female and transgendered practices), the Qur’an, and certain Sunni juridical and non-juridical discourses encompassing the issue of same-sex desire and relations.

PHOTOGRAPHY
One moment at a time

Sam Javanrouh's "Daily Dose of Imagery"
Canada's best photoblog of the year

These are recent images posted on Sam Javanrouh's captivating photoblog, Daily Dose of Imagery, winner of the Best Photo Blog in the Canadian 2005 Blog Awards. He writes: "Daily Dose of Imagery is a simple view of my day to day visual experience, or my personal photoblog. I post one photo a day on this web site. It could be untouched or altered. I started this experimental project as a visual practice."

SHORTS
They know

Iran travel diary
Shadi Bahar

Every step I take, I feel a new set of eyes on me. These glances that land on me wherever I go, glances that invariably carry the same loaded meaning and the same burning questions, scold me like escaped fireballs from the end of a cigarette. Since my last trip, I have abandoned my long, gray, aging tent for a tailored, shorter coat and jeans. And to bring a bit of color into my pale palette, and look less like an unpainted visitor, I now wear make-up. I am trying to look like the other women but it doesn't work. Everyone looks at me; men, women, young and old. They know better. All of them. They know instinctively that I come from a far away land. They feel it in their core, sense it in the tiniest movements, they can read it in my pupils, my averted eyes.

ARMS
Artistic warriors

The development of arts and armour in Iran
Manouchehr Moshtagh Khorasani

This book is the result of years of research in the field of Iranian arms and armor, illustrating for the first time a selected array of Iranian arms and armor from ten Iranian museums: the Military Museum Tehran, the Military Museum Shiraz, the Military Museum Bandar Anzali, the National Museum of Iran in Tehran, the Museum Reza Abbasi in Tehran, the Niavaran Palace in Tehran, the Melat Museum in Tehran, the Sabz Museum in Tehran, the Pars Museum in Shiraz, and the Naderi Museum in Mashad. One of the important features of these artifacts is that many bronze items come from controlled excavations, yet some are items confiscated from smugglers on illegal excavations.

MARRIAGE
Darse ebrat

Marrying off young Iranian girls to men living abroad
Mina Azadparast

FICTION
Wish upon you

Short story
Afsan Azadi

The sound of the heart-monitoring machine, all of a sudden, began to resemble the sound of a wandering happy bee in a garden of flowers. The line that displayed the heart rate became a straight line and it began to make a constant buzz. The doctors panicked and began to scramble to do anything that they possibly could do to save the life of their patient. They were badly caught off guard. The surgeon in charge was giving instructions to his staff, ordering a staff of highly experienced plastic surgeons to do the proper thing in order to save the life of the young woman who was rapidly fading away and quickly resembling a lifeless soul. "This has never happened before. This has never happened before," the head surgeon shouted.

IMMIGRATION
First the bad news

New U.S. law targets Iranians and other Immigrants -- if passed
Raha Jorjani

There is a new law before Congress that will have a devastating impact on Iranian immigrants.  In 1996, there was a wave of new legislation that expanded the kinds of crimes that would make non-citizens deportable and made detention mandatory for many.  The effects of the anti-immigrant 1996 laws are still being deeply felt by immigrant communities. But just when we thought things couldn’t get any worse... they did.  Today, there is a new bill, HR 4437, that immigrant rights advocates are calling the most dangerous piece of legislation that they have seen since 1996.  

TRAVELERS
Memoirs of a passenger

Photo essay: London underground
Parima Shahin Moghaddam

STORY
An Iranian in New York

Part 1
Sara Bozorg

Sometimes in the morning, you get up to make the coffee. And out of the corner of your eye, you catch the latest news. On TV. When the coffee is ready, you boil the milk. Whole milk, always, because skim reminds you of college and that night you drank a gallon and threw it all back up. It's almost 6:30am, and you still have to shave and get dressed. Should have showered before making the coffee, you think, should have gotten up just a little earlier today.

TRAVELERS
The American's visit

Part 10: Smoldering in Iran
Sima Nahan

While the American husband waited in Istanbul, Roya applied for his visa in person in Tehran. I accompanied her on a couple of her many visits to the Foreign Ministry. In all fairness, getting a visa for an American to visit Iran was much more transparent and less humiliating -- and costly -- than getting a visa for an Iranian to visit the U.S. (This is noteworthy, since it is the president of United States who makes threats against Iran and not vice versa.) Roya’s frequent visits to the Foreign Ministry warmed the officials to her and expedited things. Calls from family members to the Iranian Consulate in Istanbul helped with last minute logistics. It is still sometimes possible to humanize bureaucratic processes in the Iranian system.

OPINION
Nucleotheism

Divinely authorized nuclear proliferation
Mordechai Kedar

There is a current universal concern to understand Iran’s activities in the nuclear sphere and, at the same time, the declarations of the country’s president on the destruction of Israel. For the Western observer, these pose several difficult questions: How is it that the Iranians fail to hear the powerful voices demanding the termination of their nuclear program? How can they fail to see the progression of steps being taken against them? How can they fail to fear a fate similar to that of Saddam Hussein? And if they do hear and see and understand all these developments, what is it that motivates them to persist in following this path in spite of their position which day by day becomes more problematic? And what motivates president Ahmadinajad of Iran, in such a complex situation, to voice declarations on “a world without Israel” and “the transfer of Israel to Europe”?

CHRISTMAS
In light of lights

The child of Muslim parents, I plan to do my share of spreading joy and hope to add one more drop to the vast ocean of peace
Zohreh Khazai Ghahremani

Living in California, where a white Christmas only exists in Hollywood, I now understand my own fascination with Christmas lights. It has nothing to do with the birth of Jesus Christ, or the festivities. To me this is a journey back to my childhood and all the “cheraghoonis” of decades ago. I recall vividly how Akbar, our driver, would pile up all of us into the Land Rover and drive extra slowly through the commercial district. We marveled at the beaming lights and the decorations. Although I don’t remember the exact reason for the festivity, I’m sure that, too, was a religious celebration. I loved how our town changed overnight as thousands of colorful lights suddenly turned those ordinary streets into a magical fairyland.

LIFE
Sedaaye Amrikaa

Going for an interview at Voice of America studios in Los Angeles
Shahriar Zahedi

ARTS
Delicate chaos

Paintings
Ali Zakeri

MUSIC
Oriental silence

The best jewels are found underground...
Plus: Afshin's Euro Pop
Behrouz Bahmani

The lack of it means the slightest glimpse of personal freedom is captured and worshipped beyond obsession, the adaptive speed of the Iranian youth is so fast that there isn't enough time for fads and trends to develop and die out,. The process is merely fluid. So goes Payam and the group he helped found, Oriental Silence.

MUSIC
Aziza

Azari jazz pianist-vocalist
Fakhteh Luna Zamani

Aziza Mustafa Zadeh -- Vagif Mustafazadeh's daughter -- is a jazz pianist-vocalist and tours widely through Europe and the Middle East. She has produced five CDs on the Sony label. The last one, released in 1997, is called "Jazziza," a pet name given to her by her father.

TRAVELERS
Hard landing

Excerpt from "A Persian Odyssey: Iran revisited"
Rami Yelda

"A Persian Odyssey" is a story of young man leaving the country of his youth and starting a new life in another land. Forty years later, he builds up the courage to go back for a visit to a country that by now is alien to him. He cannot even convince his American wife to go with him. Yelda's tale of his trip is more poignant because he has no family and personal ties with Iran. His desire to go back for a visit without a planned itinerary is more a personal journey than a travelogue. His observations, contact with people he meets on his journey across Iran gives the reader a refreshing look at the lives of ordinary people and their hope and aspirations. The strong pull of an ancient culture still effects Iranians even the people who left without any plans to return. This book introduces you to this unique land and its amiable citizens.

SATIRE
The second coming of Elvis

I don't think "Allah o Akbar" is a good substitute for an engine
Siamack Baniameri

My uncle Mohsen who is a born again Hindu and spends all of his free time in Las Vegas, has enlightened the world with the prophecy of Elvis Presley's second coming. Uncle Mohsen has predicted that Elvis shall return to earth to bring justice and free healthcare to all who are willing to ride by his side. Mohsen claims that only those who have mastered the art of Elvis impersonation are worthy to dine with him during the Armageddon. When it comes to second comings, it's comforting to know that we have choices. It's good to know that at the end of time -- when the earth is burning down to smithereens and those who have sinned are getting large objects inserted in their eye sockets -- you'll get to choose who you will ride with.

LIFE
Religious -- or not

I know He does exist. I just cannot believe in religion.
Mahnaz Zardoust-Ahari

Every day it seems, though not literally, I am inundated with the idea that if you do not have a religion then you are not normal. Well, I guess I'm not normal. Growing up the way I did, I had a viewpoint from both sides. My mother is an American woman and my father is Iranian. I learned about both Christianity from my mother and Islam from my father, but to be honest I never saw the difference between the two. I have asked people of both faiths to explain to me the differences and I have yet to find one person to give me a clear-cut difference. Now maybe I asked the wrong people or maybe I didn't ask the right questions. The one thing I did find on my endless quest, was that every religious person is the same. I'm not saying this as a bad thing; I'm saying it as a fact. They all are strong in their convictions and they are always determined to explain to you how you are wrong in what you believe.

ETYMOLOGY
Narangi and Porteghal

Bowlful of fruity meaning, Part 2
Guive Mirfendereski

The narangi (variation: narengi) that adorns my fruit bowl this time of year is also a perennial favorite. As a child, I often raided the hospitality room and polished bowlful of the fruit in short order. In Istanbul, I recall, I’d eat an entire bagful of the stuff on the way back from the market! There is no single meaning for narangi in English. Take your pick from among mandarin, tangerine, clementine and others and, as the line from a Billy Joel song paraphrases, “it is all narangi to me!” There reason for this is simple. The Occidental names for this fruit rely on the distinguishing marks of geography (places of origin like China or Tangiers) or the people who developed or introduced a particular variety (such as the French missionary in Africa, Father Clement). But in Persian the fruit narangi gets its name from one thing that all narangis, regardless of origin, share -- the color orange.

DISCOVERY
Fish & things

Video clips and photos: A visit to Steinhart Aquarium, San Francisco
Jahanshah Javid

Recent visit to San Francisco's Steinhart Aquarium with friends Kayvan and Maryam, and their delightful little daughter Saman.

HOMOSEXUALITY
Beyond bounds

A brief history of male homosexuality in Islamic culture
Keyan Keihani

The lack of consistent information pertaining to Islam and homosexuality is generating a global indifference in a world where gender norms are deeply internalized. The modern attitude in Islamic countries has not been constructively explored, let alone recognized through a homosexual perspective. In this paper, I will confer the historical significance regarding homosexuality and analyze the contemporary dynamics of gays in Saudi Arabia and Iran while exploring the belief that it is not the existence of same-sex sexual relations that is new, but rather their association with essentialist sexual identities. Furthermore, I will derive parallels from within the Saudi Arabian and Iranian penal codes and note their prevalence with regards to Islamic law.

IDEAS
Divine mass psychology

Ali Shariati haunts the reform movement even today
Kia Atri

The accepted wisdom on Ali Shariati is that he was a Muslim Reformist intellectual; he is even known as the Martin Luther of Shia Islam or the precursor of Islamic Protestantism. The motion presented to this forum by this essay is that Shariati was a despicable cultist and charlatan. The political grouping ideologically closest to Shariati namely the Mojahedin Khalgh has displayed disturbing signs of this cult like behaviour. This is no accident there is a clear cut reason for this. We will explore those reasons here.

IDEAS
Helping hand

Giving women inside Iran a fair chance to gain their rights
Golbarg Bashi

Seeing those bruised women that day in Shiraz (my mother’s hometown), who looked at me with a glimmer of hope, shattered my solid none-conformist secular dogma, it broke my heart, thinking of it even 2 years on makes me sob uncontrollably and crushes my soul. It was in the tears of those innocent women, in their heart-rending pleas in my own mother’s Shirazi accent that I re-realised that comforting, bandaging and saving these women, women who cannot immigrate to Canada or Sweden, even if I have to do it by operating in a gender-apartheid is worth it all. Of course we can do more, and we are doing more, in almost every field and outside the realm of religion too. How wonderful would it not be if we could unite in solidarity and strengthen our joint-efforts to help our fellow sisters?

IDEAS
The cry of a shattered crescent

In their zest to overwhelm Muslims the Pan-Islamists continually failed to align their movement with reality ensuing its collapse
Iqbal Latif

Oft voiced is the fear of an austere or revivalist form of Islam sprouting in the dark tropics of Sub-continent and South East Asia, threatening to overwhelm the pluralism which once existed. Iranian revolution triggered huge revival of political Islam, the Sunnis not to be devoured by Ayatollah's created their version of extremism, it turned out to be much more virulent and much more violent. Iran, as I will argue in a following article, is not experiencing "revivalist Islam" or "Pan-Islamism" rather it is merely following its organic evolution dictated by its unique historical and cultural characteristics.

PIONEER
Flying high

Photo essay: Funeral for a pioneer female aviator Sadighe Dowlatshahi
Farah Ravon

WORLD CUP
Team melli tips

World Cup 2006 is around the corner. I have an idea for a better Iranian squad
Reza Badei

Following Team Melli Players have an enormous responsibly by firstly recognizing & believing their position & fame in Germany & transfer this Confidence & Strong belief into the rest of the Team Melli players such as Mr. Ali Karimi (FC Bayern München): Most of us have seen the crowd reaction to his goals in this Club (in one instance, German stadium announcer & the crowd shout Ali Karimi's name 3 times emphatically)? If Ali Karimi doesn't feel at home in Germany, I don't where else he could? ( I know! IRAN & UAE...). Conclusion: He is able to transfer his confidence from Germany (Home) to our young home grown talents of TM.

IRAN
Young, mature and bold

Interview with Majid N.: An image of Iran's youth
Fariba Amini

What do students hope for the future?
I am not sure what most students want or if they are after the same thing but from their slogans and their organizational structure I can say they despise the current mafia currents, and look down on party or factional business. As you are aware, we don't really have any type of functional parties in Iran. In other words, they are in a way tired of political engagement. What I can say for sure is that most students in Iran, like the rest of the world, want a future of hope, stability, peaceful atmosphere, work, employment, good relationships, and marriage. Because none of the above exists, the young people are quite unhappy and want to change the current status quo.

TRAVELERS
A slow night at Mehrabad airport

Part 9: Smoldering in Iran
Sima Nahan

“Asghar,” called a driver to another who had just pulled in, “come give this haj agha a ride back to Jeddah.” The haj agha (technically a man who has gone to Mecca, but liberally applied in Iran) was a tall man with a formidable belly in a long white djalaba. He was followed at demure distance by half a dozen black cones whose heavy veils with barely a slit at the eyes identified them as female. Their ease of movement signified their age. As the great patriarch strutted about, a couple of teenage boys in jeans and T-shirts -- sons and brothers of the black cones, presumably -- handled the family luggage. The Iranian cabbies snickered at the sight. “I wonder why they come here,” one said. “Well, for them Tehran is Paris,” said another.

ART
Flash life

Photography
Hengameh Golestan

CRASH
Flying nowhere

The C-130 transport plane that crashed into an apartment building near Mehrabad was a first rate catastrophe
Mahmoud Ghaffari

The other day I was in one of the Boeing buildings that houses the C-130 Avionics Modernization program for the fleet of C-130 “Hercules” that is in service around the world.  Boeing is under contract with Lockheed Martin to upgrade the analog displays to an all digital format for all the C-103C, J and E in operation with the US air force and ultimately to their other clients around the globe. As I was looking at some of the data and the program’s technological advancement, it prompted me to think about the ageing and dilapidated state the 15 or so Hercules that are in service with the Iranian Air force are. 

CRASH
On the wings of anger

The C-130 transport plane that crashed into an apartment building near Mehrabad was a first rate catastrophe
Guive Mirfendereski

Every culture has its icons. In mine, a special place is reserved for the fellow known to my generation as Asqar Taragheh (Asqar, the Firecracker). The allusion is to a character who blows his lid not unpredictably often at the end of a frustrating sequence of events and particularly when there is a failed or futile argument. The one who is habitually quick or prone to anger is also an Asqar Taragheh. When it comes to vehicular accidents in Iran, eight out of ten male drivers involved in an accident become Asqar Taragheh. The scenes of fisticuff, chokehold and shouting are common.

SHORTS
Hearing hello

Iran travel diary
Shadi Bahar

I have become all too familiar with the sounds of the night and the early morning thanks to my insomnia. Just before dawn, a small bird comes to visit. I have never seen her. I only hear her say hello. But once she has finished singing her song, my eyes gladly give up the pointless struggle and we head outside in search of the morning.

ART
Robo goddess

Paintings
Saeed Siadat

POETRY
Creature

When did I, Arash the Iranian, and Arash the boy, decide that I’ve heard enough of the humming
From the tired old country?
Arash Daneshzadeh

POETRY
Guess who...

They took our country
Kourosh Makki

POETRY
Manzumeh shabe hezaaro yekom

The 1001th night
Orkideh Behrouzan

POETRY
What do you believe?

I do not need
The cozy homelike comfort
Of a fenced dogmatic creed
Sasan Seifikar

POETRY
Half-missing

Yekee Bood Yekee Nabood…
who was the nabood?
the silent one in the shadow of the one that bood
Tahereh Tavous

POETRY
Daayereh ghesmat

Behtareen va badtareen
Aram Gharib

POETRY
Nothing never changes

Oh, my friend
Time is no longer on our side
I have decided to hide the mirror

Farah Afshari

POETRY
Nah movaazi nah

Khiyaanati nashod hataa...
Sheema Kalbasi

POETRY
Akse rangi

Ziba, khoshboo, shirin...
Zahra Dowlatshahi

POETRY
Your baby, tonight

A scream of being buried alive in time
Manoucher Parvin

POETRY
(no title)

Pride, morphine to pack lies
Jam Hamidi

POETRY
This one's for you, George

Oh George, how do I thank you for all the memories?
Nader Jahanfard

POETRY
My poem has the scent of Nadia

In memory of Nadia Anjuman
Majid Naficy [Persian]

POETRY
* Chatr
* Porteghaal
* Baazovaane to

Three poems
Shahrokh Setoudeh Foumani

POETRY
Empty wishes

I wish we could go back
Mahnaz Zardoust-Ahari

ART
Self after self

Self-portraits
Parima Shahin-Moghaddam

HERITAGE
Decolonizing Persian history

Review of British Museum's "Forgotten Empire" exhibit
Touraj Daryaee

"The Forgotten Empire: The World of Ancient Persia" exhibition at the British Museum and the subsequent publication of the volume with the same name is a welcome addition to the study of Achaemenid civilization. With this work J. Curtis and N. Tallis have made an effort to bring balance to the realities of the ancient world, demonstrating the immense importance of one of the greatest empires in antiquity. Ancient Persia and its history are rarely discussed on its own terms and importance and when done, it is usually as only an appendix or a footnote to Greek history. This is true of the textbooks in grade schools to the universities in the United States, and I suspect in most other countries. The reason for their marginal role in history books is that most of the sources that have remained provide a skewed vision of the ancient world.

EXPERIMENTAL
Napoleon mon amoure

Part 5: The Zoroastrian professor
Sarvenaz

Now things between Napoleon and I, as you know from the previous chapter, are not going too well. Nothing has changed but a premonition of something bad is laying heavy on my heart.  Also, this is Josephine’s week here and I am not being invited over any more.  So I decided to back track a bit and go back to last year when I first started sleeping around. This way you will understand me a bit better perhaps.  And anyway who said an erotic diary has to be linear. Naa baa baa joon we flash back and forth. All yours truly wants is to keep you entertained.  I was still married to my husband and living in Iran.  I was miserable in my marriage and Napoleon was far away.  I met someone who helped me feel better. I wrote the following then:

FICTION
Gole gandom

Rolling in the hay
Mohammad Hossainzadeh

LIFE
Khodkoshi dar Los Angeles

Suicide in L.A.
Cyrous Moradi

POLL
2005 Iranians of the year

Akbar Ganji and...
Survey results

LETTERS
False projections

On Aqzam Nemati's "'I love you' instead of 'ghorboonet beram'":
Azam Nemati seems to be projecting all sorts of false things into what I write [see: "Subtle differneces"]. Either she doesn't understand English well, or doesn't want to comprehend what I write. And what does her not being married have anything to do with my stories or essays? >>> Full text

TRAVELERS
Uncivil society

Part 8: Smoldering in Iran
Sima Nahan

The government notwithstanding, a major problem of building civic culture in Iran is the widespread absence of civility. People litter with complete ease as they call others heyvan for doing the same thing. Restaurant owners and staff ignore the patrons’ unanimous complaint of deafeningly loud music once the food orders are made. Traffic regulations are for the birds.

LETTER
"I love you" instead of "ghorboonet beram"

In response to Nahid Rachlin's "Subtle differences"
Azam Nemati

I became familiar with Mrs. Rachlin's work in 1991 while living in San Francisco. On one of my routine visits to City Light bookstore I came across her books. I have read all of them not because they are great work of literature but in them I felt that the writer tells her sense of nostalgia as well as longing for things "Iranian" through her characters. The stories always involve an Iranian and an American. She tries to show that an Iranian woman having married an American has a car and a bit more freedom and indirectly tries to justify their actions and suggest that somehow having a bit of a material independence makes up for having to wake up next to someone who is totally different.

LIFE
Is Iran my home?

I'm going back home... or am I?
Sahari Dastmalchi

Once upon a time there was a little girl with curly hair that had a home.... now she is going back to that home... only her home is not hers... not anymore... I spent most of my childhood in Bandar Abbas, each summer the heat would drive us out of town. The heat also gave us a month of extra summer vacation.  Each summer we would pack up our suitcases and prepare for our summer migration.  The excitement would start after Sizdah Bedar. It never took us longer than a week after sizdah bedar to start bugging my mom with the ultimate question "Mom, when are we going to Tehran?"

FICTION
Forces of attraction

Short story
Nahid Rachlin

Jill studied herself in the mirror. I could lose a pound or two and maybe the haircut I got is a little too short. Stop being so uptight, such a perfectionist, she admonished herself. She was not sure if she really was up to going out on a blind date, particularly with someone as exotic sounding as Hamid, a doctor from Iran. Anyway for so long the word Iran had been conjuring up images of "hostages," before her eyes, helpless Americans bound in captivity, something that she had to push aside. She went over the facts her friend Francine had told her about him: "He's thirty, just finished his residency, specializing in internal medicine, attractive, a bit short but masculine looking. Fred has known him since they were in medical school together."

MEDIA
God I love this station

Rang-a-rang TV is a true paragon of quality, commitment and conscience in media
Pullniro

It's been almost 6 years since Los Angeles-based radios and TVs are broadcasting for Iran. All these years we have been witnessing things that no other nation in this world has ever experienced. We have seen hosts from one station fighting with their competitors using four-letter-words, TV owners begging for money to FREE us from the current regime, artists being lashed out because they had given the advertisement of their upcoming concerts to rival stations, singers, lyricists and composers attack each others over business-related issues and so on. Sometimes these conflicts take place inside a single TV station and one host attacks the other and accuses him of selling his country down the river. Among all these stations, however, there is a brand-new phenomenal TV...

IRI
Ahmadinejad’s ultimate moment

Ahmadinejad's campaign against corruption is more popular amongst the poor than any of his other policies regarding Israel, the US or even the nuclear program
Meir Javedanfar

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is one of the products and symbols of the longest struggles in Iranian history. The struggle in question is so old that it even outlasts the Iraq vs. Iran hostilities, which started in the early 70s and culminated in the bloody eight year war between the two countries. This struggle is so popular and emotive that it lead to mass demonstrations and coups years before the Islamic revolution of 1979. The struggle in question is that of Iran's class struggle. The rich vs poor. The haves vs. The have nots. The underclass in Iran have been ignored for centuries, yet they have not sat silent. They have taken every opportunity to try and make their mark on Iran's future and political direction.

DRAMA
Rumi in Soho

A play in two acts
Kaveh L. Afrasiabi

Act One: At a crowded Outdoor café in Soho. Rumi is sitting by himself until a couple enter and ask if they can join his table -- he gestures them to sit. A waiter takes their order and then asks Rumi if he would like anything else.
-- Rumi: How about some more tea, and honey too (pointing at the empty honey saucer)?
-- The Waiter: Sure. (turns around and leaves).
-- Rumi (to the woman): You are a beautiful woman.
-- The woman (startled): Oh thank you...

ARTS
Facing the truth

Paintings
Faezeh Mojahedi

LIFE
Park Mellat by night

Death of an addict
Parham

Last year around exactly the same time, I was passing by Park Mellat when I ran into a similar scene. The man was dying in the cold on the sidewalk opposite the park -- in fact at first I thought he was dead -- and people were just passing by. I wished I had my camera so I could tape the scene and send it to you. He was just skin and bones, literally. I stopped to call emergency with my mobile phone, but people advised me not to. They were saying that the police would harass me endlessly if I did. Eventually, some young guys also gathered. They tried to stop police cars that were passing by, one of which didn't stop, the second did but left after a minute saying they'd send for help. They didn't.

FICTION
Dar Jostojooye eshgh

Short story
Namdar Nasser

OPINION
Neither this nor that

Neither regime change nor a deal with US: support the protest movements
Ardeshir Mehrdad

The US policy of giving prominence to Iran’s nuclear programme, notwithstanding all its negative consequences and its potential to create one crisis after another, is mostly an excuse to continue sabre-rattling with the clerics in power in Iran, similar to the kind of excuses that led to the war and occupation of Iraq. The fact that a nuclear Iranian regime will have greater bargaining power to use as a lever to confront direct military threats is not the same as saying the regime will be a threat to the greatest military power in the world, with its huge capacity to counter.  Nor is it plausible to think that Iran poses a real danger to the US’s regional client states. The real motive behind Bush’s insistence in dragging the Iranian regime to the Security Council and threats of economic sanctions should be sought elsewhere.

LIFE
Born again in the USA

Photo essay: Mahdiyeh Javid
Jahanshah Javid

CINEMA
Khabare bad

A personal note on the great film director, Ali Hatami
Fereidoun Farahandouz

PSYCHOLOGY
Ravan va emam zaman

Ahmadinejad's mental state and a spike in messianic claims
Author/source unknown

EXPERIMENTAL
Napoleon mon amoure

Part 4: Breathless
Sarvenaz

I called him in tears and he calmed me down.  He told me, “man yekii keh nokaretam,” That was sweet and made me feel better.  That night he invited me over to his place to watch Real Madrid play Barcelona.  They both were nice and he was all civility.  He asked me over almost every night since -- but Josephine being there we could not do anything.  Until last night.  We had planned to meet last night, which began the week that Josephine has her son with her and Napoleon sleeps at his own place.  I, of course, not having anyone else at the moment was dying to see him.  Also, seeing him so often even if it is with Josephine and his attentiveness toward me when I am feeling down makes me want him more sexually. Women get turned on by kindness if it is not overbearing.

LANGUAGE
Bowlful of fruity meaning

Part I: Etymology of Anar
Guive Mirfendereski

This is the time of the year when the fruit bowl that sits atop the eating counter in my kitchen begins to reflect the autumnal colors outdoors. In this still life the color orange is represented by the seedless narengi (tangerine), the mellowing bananas provide the browning yellow. But dominating it all in color and presence is the anar (pomegranate). I love pomegranate. Unlike any other fruit, perhaps with the exception of coconut or pineapple, it requires labor and precision in bringing its marvelous rewards to the lips. And, boy, is it ever worth it!

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