Features

January 2005
Latest

AMERICA
You're FIRED

Pink slip for the Red States
David Donnell

NOTE: I wrote this right after the November election, but I can't think of a better time than now to distribute it... Inauguration Day, 2005 marks the start of a 4-year referendum on "red voters" -- 1,460 "judgment days" in a row. (Apologies in advance to the Red State folks to whom this doesn't apply -- you know who you are -- thanks for ALL your patriotism.)

ART
Creating to provoke

Drawings
Faye (Fereshteh) Farhang

OPINION
What can Woody Allen teach the Iranian opposition?

Shouting "SEX" doesn't really give anyone an orgasm
Fred Andon Petrossians

The Iranian opposition, who has spent years in the democratic West, fill Persian sites, radio programmes, TV shows, and journals, with this word: Democracy. But during all these years of being in Europe or the U.S., they have failed to organise a democratic front or union, a democratic get-together, or even a democratic barbecue against the Islamic regime. The question is how they intend to persuade Iranian people that they are able to establish democracy in a country without any sign of democratic action in exile?

DIASPORA
Pomegranates and apple pies

Personal Identity
Lance Raheem

So, what am I? It's no one's damn business except mine. I am what I want to be. I am me!!! I am not an Iranian, I am not an American, I am not a Northern Aryan or a Southern Aryan, I am not an apple pie and I am not a pomegranate. I am just plain ole Lance Raheem, a kid in high school, trying to grow up without hurting other people's feelings. I am a very proud half breed and that is what I will always be. Isn't that all any of us should be?

OPINION
Appeasing Islamic Fascism

The mullahs must go ... and go now! Rapprochement comes later
B. Bamdad

An open debate in Iran, advertised to the whole world, would show how bad this regime has been. The promises of the Islamic militants everywhere would ring hollow and their support would fizzle out - if Iran's situation is openly, publicly reviewed. Videos of Iran prisons shown on Al Jazeera would make Abu Ghraib look like a summer camp! Much like the defeat of communism, the failure of Islamic fascism to deliver real benefits to the nation and its inherent brutality would become self-evident.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY
Asghar Agha at 26

Six excerpts from the latest issue of Hadi Khorsandi's "Asghar Agha" magazine which has entered its 26th year of publication

* Farmaayeshaat-e Daash Ali
* Kaash Man Ham Uranium Boodam
* Yaad-daasht-haaye Assli-ye Alam
* Seminaar-e Jomhuri-Khaahaan-e Del
* Telefon-e AsgarA
* Maa Key Beh Eenhaa Meereseem?

POLITICS
Hypocrisy or democracy?

Talk about bombing Iran's nuclear facilities should not be taken lightly
Fariba Amini

Freedom seekers should think twice. Iran is no Iraq. Iranians are even more nationalistic than Iraqis. Iranians will bring hell to earth if their land - even if their unwanted and unnecessary nuclear facilities - are touched. If their historic sites or their cities are destroyed by an "accident," the consequences will be frightening.  When we had an elected government, the freedom seekers brought it down. Why? Same reasons: Oil and profit, self-interest. When the Shah became too greedy, they got rid of him, not even letting his majesty rest in peace in time of sickness.  

REPORTER
Fear and voting in Baghdad

Substantive election issues have become subsumed in the chaos. Voters top concerns are security, security and security
Borzou Daragahi

The guy finally man agrees to meet me, but only during daylight hours in a parking lot out in the open. He eyes the surroundings suspiciously as he jumps into our car. "Let's go," I say to my driver. The walkie-talkies crackle, and we race out into late-morning traffic. He's nervous and jittery. He quickly spells out ground rules: no name, no pictures and no address. These are understandable conditions for anyone being hunted. But this man is no criminal. He's an organizer of Iraq's elections.

TRANSLATION
Jang-haaye dar shorof-e voghoo

Seymour Hersh's "The Coming Wars"
Alireza Ebadati

M.J. writes: I got this today from Tehran. Good translation of Seymour M. Hersh's article "The Coming Wars" in The New Yorker (January 24, 2005), originaly done for Sharq newspaper but not allowed to be published there [in Iran].

OPINION
Next stop on drive-by Armageddon

How many millions of Iranians is Uncle Sam willing to dispose?
Rosa Faiz

The Iranian mullahs ... see the American soldiers already fatigued. Some look upon the American soldiers breaking down at the mere thought of going back to Iraq for another tour of duty, or even for another day, and think, "Bring it on then! We'll make things into such a hell that they will wish they had never left their mama's home!" And the scary thing is the US administration of George Bush and his gang of high-stake rapists count on this kind of thinking. Hence the open talk of attacks on Iran.

FILM
Quarrels and lamentations of Iranian lovers

Sex, sexuality, and relationships in Mania Akbari's "Twenty Fingers"
Sasan Seifikar

Twenty Fingers is made in seven segments, each of which revolves around a couple who are engaged in an intimate conversation or a disagreement about some aspect of their relationship. It is a sharp-edged portrait of the battle of the sexes. The film is shot with digital video camera which makes it in some way very intimate and gives the audience a fly on the wall experience of observing the couple who are the center of the film.

FYI
Dar tamaas baasheem

Staying in touch amid threats of war
Koorosh Aliani

MEDIA
Normal TV

Seriously, what if there was a channel that had a proper news program, which had programs that catered to the large and growing population of Iranian-Americans who have spent the majority of their lives outside of Iran?
Roozbeh Shirazi

Is this the best we can do? We have emerging young artists, educators, actors, writers, scholars, poets and politicians in our ranks, but watching Iranian ex-pat TV, you would think that most Iranians are blonds with silicon-augmented breasts and surgically enhanced noses. Are the current narcissistic, shallow programs on these channels representative of what we are as a community?

MUSIC
Milad

Gol Khanoom
Amir Ataimehdian

PHOTOGRAPHY
Scent of a country

Nature, people and family in Fars
Ehsan Shahinsefat

SATIRE
Mohaakeme-ye sag-e galleh

Iranian tales
Mahshid Amirshahy

ACTING
Performer's choice

The Aghdashloo controversy
Guive Mirfendereski

If there was nobody to play the role of Zahak, can Kaveh have a story to tell? If the bird could sing but did not, would there still not be song? Four issues bear understanding when reacting to the Aghdashloo controversy -- her portrayal of the wife of a terrorist from Iran.

POINT
United Malodorous Nations

What do these human rights people do all day?
Alidad Vassigh

The United Nations was formed after the Second World War, supposedly an improvement on its previous, ineffectual incarnation, the League of Nations, and has been working day in day out for sixty odd years. Billions and billions of dollars of taxpayers' money have been spent on conferences, resolutions, speeches, events, debates, dinners, lunch, coffee, red carpet cleaning, plane tickets (Oh boy), "inspections," you name it.

Pink slip for the Red States
David Donnell

Dear Red States of America, We, the Blue States of America, have just completed a periodic review of our working relationship with you, the Red States of America. As a result, we have concluded that your services will no longer be needed. We must, at this time, let you go.

FORGERY
Faking Yazdgerd

Anti-Arab forgery
Khodadad Rezakhani

"The Letter of Yazdgerd III to Caliph Omar" is one of the many urban legends circulating the internet. I have personally seen four different versions of this letter, their tone and content differing from quite absurd and offensive to more believable and somehow historical. This text fits somewhere in the middle of these two extremes.

POETRY
Monika

Bar. Whisky. Silence. Stare...
Hossein "Naanaam" Fazeli

BOOK
Rooz-e azeez

Excerpt from "Sharik-e Gham"
Zohreh Khazai Ghahremani

MUSIC
Sousan

"Zavaar" album
Azam Nemati

RELATIONSHIP
Cheating partners

The fight against yourself
Yasaman Rohani

Look at me, I have accepted him back into my life temporarily, against the advice of others, and even though I am truly trying my best I cannot do it. I cannot forget. I might be able to forgive if I haven't already, but I will never forget. I know that I deserve better in life than this and that I should not be wasting my time with someone who gave in to temptation and let his own weakness hurt someone else so much that they will be scarred because of it for life. Can I really count on him for anything after this?

MUSIC
Frozen yogurt

Arian's concert in Toronto
Doubledee

I bought the ticket to Arian's concert in Toronto based on the recommendation of my ex who used to brag that they are the best thing that had happened to Iranians since the invention of packaged Barbari in North American supermarkets. I should have known better than listening to an ex!! After all she is an ex! I was expecting an avant garde artistic expression from the deprived Iranian artists instead what I got was ... well, read on!

TRAVELERS
Port of entry

Finding the upright position and emerging from the truck, the first sight that struck me was that we were in another country
Rick Misterly

The experience of traveling in an open truck is not what the average tourist gets out of a trip to anywhere. There is not a planned route, no itinerary of sites to see along the way and no hotel reservations with hot showers and meals waiting at the end of the day. Not much money is required either. But what is necessary is a sense of adventure, an open mind and a lack of urgency in getting anywhere but down the road.

IRAQ
Stunned

Why did that little boy, with his mummy and daddy's heads blown open in their front seats affect me so much?
Siamack Salari

I am in turmoil and it serves me right. Any person who is as none judgemental as me deserves to suffer the consequences of his actions. My action was to open The Times newspaper last week and view pictures of an incident which had taken place in Iraq a few days before.

LANGUAGE
The Taarof Project

The concept of Persian taarof can be described in three important components relating to speech act theory: Its social meaning, the intention of the speaker, and the effect of the act
Fatima Farideh Nejat

This study will investigate the effect of two different types of explicit/implicit instruction on speech production of taarof. It is important to understand the concept of taarof in the Persian language, a concept related to speech act theory. The participants are the American learners of Persian/Farsi language. In this study I will measure the data collected from two sections of the advanced level, one is the experimental, whose members will receive explicit instruction of taarof, and the other section is the control group, whose members will learn about the concept implicitly.

POLITICS
Leadership crisis

What our community needs is a new breed of great leaders to apply scientific and rational approaches
Behshad Hastibakhsh

The Persian community in exile bears visible scars of division shaped by cultural experiences of a generation that has witnessed the breakdown of social order and structure in the old country. These cultural experiences have contributed to an emerging leadership crisis in a polarized environment. Every social gathering is a potential venue for emotionally driven debates on past and current world affairs, while heated discussions are often based on subjective opinions, distorted facts, and inaccurate assertions.

FICTION
Parpin flowers

Excerpt from a novel
Akbar Golrang

One year after Saleh disappeared, Ali and Jasem were on their way home from school, when they saw a foreign boy about their own age. He stood watching a boy chasing a pickup truck, trying to catch hold of the bed while a group of other boys applauded. Then Ali and Jasem watched as he approached the bare-chested children who waded in the shallows of the Shatt, among the old boat hulls.

REACTION
George Bush is no Santa Claus

An American military operation in Iran will do more to hinder democracy in the region than anything the mullahs are capable of
Shokooh Miry

To invite occupation of your homeland is not honor. To turn to a foreign military is not strength. To give the West all power is to deprive the self of any influence. These are the actions of a few short-sighted men with unknown aims, hidden financial agendas, and simple minds. These people have such little faith in their culture and history that they are willing to hand over the most precious right -- the right of self determination -- and become what is essentially a colony of the United States.

WORRIED
What if?

What if Americans decide to invade Iran?
Nima Kasraie

STORY
Imagine...

President Shirazi
Mansour Djadali

It all began in Orange County, California. On the night of May 6, 1981, Cyrus Darius Shirazi personally announced his arrival to the world. It was said no baby had ever cried so loud in the maternity ward of Hoag Hospital in Newport Beach. That should have been the first clue to the country that this baby was going places. His parents, Hassan and Parvin Shirazi, part of the huge immigrant wave of Iranians of the late seventies, named him after the two famous Persian kings, not out of any imperious designs for their son, but purely as a way to preserve, within their own souls, the memories of their now distant homeland.

BAD BOYS
Boycott cafe

I will NEVER go to Cafe ..... in Houston EVER, EVER again
Soheila Sharzard

A few weeks back I had the misfortune of setting foot in Cafe ..... in Houston. I'm seated promptly and a male waiter comes to take my order. The restaraunt was quite empty and I was the only person inside. I place my order, then proceed to get up to go freshen up in the ladies room, after I wash my hands and freshen up I walk out going directly back to my seat, I notice two guys behind the counter hudldling over staring intently at something. Wierd, I thought trying not to pay any mind to them.

IDEAS
Ensan: naa-ye khod navaaz

Rumi & man
Manuchehr Jamali

LIFE
Raahi dar meh

Short story
Mohammad Hossainzadeh

POETRY
Qasideh

13th century poem
Translated by Ali Zarrin

SPEECH
Freedom now

President George W. Bush's Inaugural Address, January 20, 2005

Today, America speaks anew to the peoples of the world: All who live in tyranny and hopelessness can know: The United States will not ignore your oppression, or excuse your oppressors. When you stand for your liberty, we will stand with you. Democratic reformers facing repression, prison, or exile can know: America sees you for who you are: The future leaders of your free country.

ANALYSIS
If he's serious, it's serious

If Bush was to be taken literally, it would mean an American crusade throughout the entire world
PBS Q & A

ZBIGNIEW BRZEZINSKI:The fact is that the speech was high-sounding. If it was to be taken literally, it would mean an American crusade throughout the entire world, and I don't know how that would be implemented practically. More Iraqs, perhaps, or is it just a general statement which doesn't give us much guide to policy, suited for the occasion but not to be taken as the point of departure for serious policy?

INAUGURATION
Bush, Part II

An arrogant pitch for legacy and petro dollars!
Farhad Radmehrian

Listening to George W. Bush's second inaugural speech yesterday, a few minutes into his speech I had some initial impressions. Then after I heard most of the speech, I was stricken by an overwhelming sense of sadness and fear! Sadness and fear for the lives of Americans, as well as other peoples around the world who face the prospects of not just another 4 years of George W. Bush as the U.S. president, but also the consequences of a stubborn desire to realize a God-given vision and establish some kind of legacy!

REPLY
Us vs Us

Iranians are not locked into a constant struggle between the Tazi's and Turani's; this is no way to live
Samira Mohyeddin

Listening to George W. Bush's second inaugural speech yesterday, a few minutes into his speech I had some initial impressions. Then after I heard most of the speech, I was stricken by an overwhelming sense of sadness and fear! Sadness and fear for the lives of Americans, as well as other peoples around the world who face the prospects of not just another 4 years of George W. Bush as the U.S. president, but also the consequences of a stubborn desire to realize a God-given vision and establish some kind of legacy!

REFERENDUM
Zed-e democreatic

Calls for referendum are undemocratic
Omid Habibinia

DIPLOMACY
Playa why you Hatin'?

Whatever effect Europe's approach will have on Iran, it won't kill anyone
Maziar Shirazi

I'm sure a few people read Vassigh's article, "Spineless EU", and wondered if the US was doing any better than the European camp. Well, lately, the Committee on the Present Danger (co-chaired by George Shultz, close associate of the Bush administration) published a policy proposal advocating "peaceful but forceful strategy to engage with the Iranian people to remove the threat and establish the strong relationship which is in both nations' and the region's interests." A propaganda campaign spread amongst a nation of satellite TV viewers is apparently going to topple Iran's government.

LETTERS
I'll be damned if I keep silent

In response to Samira Mohyeddin "The Gulf wars":
I just sent the following email to Samira. I forgot to complement her on her beautiful Arabic name. Perhaps others would be interested in reading my reply to her. JC Dear Samira, Thank you for having taken note of my work with the PGTF. I didn't know anyone outside of that group had even heard of me. I read your recent letter to the Iranian. You are of course entitled to your opinion on the matter. However, off the mark it may be >>> Full text

 

REVOLUTION
Life in a letter

Such has been the life of the pre-Revolutionary Iranian youth
Zohreh Khazai Ghahremani

This letter could have been written by any one of them. Its path could be reversed -- for many a young people left their mother at home in pursuit of a life in the free world. Even the baby is one among many who was deprived from the joy of having her permissive grandmother around. Regardless of the variations, the story remains as one and the pain is the same.

LOVE
Sooner or later

I have learned in my life the tragic, but immutable truth that love is more than passion and conquest and beauty
M. T. Maan

I want to tell you a story. It is a story of great hope and sad hindsight. It is a story of supreme ignorance and  glorious enlightenment. It is a story deep sorrow and overwhelming joy. It is a story of regret and rebirth.  It is a story that has been told thousands of times in thousands of places throughout the history of man. It is a story  of love. It is a story of love both too late and just in time. 

STREAM
Words of a mad man

... or a man who has seen madness
Mehrouz Naimi

I am the stray mutt Persian born with an American spirit who is in desperate need of your aid and wisdom. My anger: Persia was raped, draped and imprisoned; only to find a soldier who was fit to be a king but not a father---who stripped the last remaining dignity of 2500 years; it's name. "A funeral dirge for eyes gone blind": despite all the time, money and efforts spent; "Iranians" watched with blind hope as a stupid prince innocently did the only thing that came natural to him---yield a stupid king.

MEMORIES
Silver Ghost Rolls Royce matchbox

Matchboxes, if you recall, were the small miniature cars that were 5 tomans each
Bahram Saghari

Matchboxes, if you recall, were the small miniature cars that were 5 tomans each. These were colorfully painted die cast 2-3 inch replicas of popular cars, which boys absolutely loved and could play with for hours and hours. The Silver Ghost, was a rare, black and silver two tone color, with spoke rim wheels and working doors, detachable trunk, a double working hood, removable top, with a little plastic engine inside, and above all, a working steering - Before Batman and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang Matchboxes arrived in the market, the Silver Ghost was the most loaded Matchbox, ever.

IDENTITY
I'll show you Persian!

Most people who say "I am Persian" are afraid of being identified as Iranian
Azam Nemati

I had an email form a very eloquent Iranian (pardon me "Persian") who must have a great deal of time on his hands because he had written a one page email telling me I should have not use the word Farsi to describe Persian language. I politely informed him that I am pretty well read about the history of my culture and many others. I also happen to have met Mr. Yarshater and am very familiar with his work. Nevermind that I have been studying Persian Literature since 9th grade and have a bachelor's degree in this field.

LETTER
Besmellah-e Rahman-e Rahim... Dear Mom

A letter from Tehran, 1982
Jahanshah Javid

I picked up my daughter Mahdiyeh from the airport today. She's visiting for a few days -- we're going to Disneyland this weekend. When we got home I showed her an album my late mother had made, full of old pictures, mostly of me and Mahdiyeh. These were pictures and letters I had sent while I was in Iran in the early 1980s.

SATIRE
I can play terrorist, easy

Seeking acting jobs in Hollywood
Siamack Baniameri

Dear Hollywood Agents, Movie Executives, Casting agents and Directors, As an Iranian-American actor who has studied his trade in in the most prestigious Royal Shakespear Society in London, I would like to inform you of my availability to take on any terrorist or terrorist-related roles currently available to Middle Eastern actors in Hollywood.

AMERICA
Wake up people!

Who is this Bush administration really serving? What have they done for you lately?
Brian Appleton

The American response to diminishing fossil fuel, declining air quality and traffic congestion? Build and buy bigger SUV's and Humvee's and invade Afghanistan and Iraq. Now they plan and scheme to invade Iran even before poor Iraq is put back together again by American firms generously handed hundreds of contracts by this administration in a winner takes all in your face gesture to deride any nation which dissented over the invasion.

REVOLUTION
Bazargan va existentialism?!

Nice man, bad prime minister
Hassan Behgar

AFTERMATH
Desert angels

Dealing with the traumatic aftermath of the devastating quake
Behdad

The disaster in Bam continues to claim victims. A year after the eqrthquake, mental damage, depression, post traumatic stress disorder, anxieties and feelings of insecurity can be found everywhere. Many children and orphans still show psychological problems. Many girls and boys are afflicted by dissociative disorder; they see no choice but distance themselves from the terrible and unbearable realities (much much heavier than the unbearable lightness of existence).

POLITICS
Jomhuri yaa saltanat?

Republic or monarchy?
Ramin Kamran

WEB
The person is a blog

Documenting lives and seeking fifteen minutes
Leyla Momeny

We are raised in an image-obsessed culture which teaches us that something didn't really happen if there is no recording of it. We are saturated by countless photos and images of famous people in print, on television, and on the big screen. We don't know if they are famous because they are in the magazines or if they are in the magazines because they are famous. But somewhere in the confusion, we begin to crave the sight of our own image. We want to insert ourselves into the narrative.

BOOK
Poetry and revolution

Hakakian's book is a seemingly simple yet complex composition of at once tender and bitter memories
Homa Nasab

December 1977 marks the beginning of Roya Hakakian's Journey from the Land of No: A Girlhood Caught in Revolutionary Iran. That Hakakian commences her autobiographical tale just prior to the country's most turbulent period, in its recent history, tempts us to anticipate an Anne Frankian tale of brutal hardship. At best, the reader foresees a callous ride through the 1979 Iranian Revolution, and at worst, a solemnly grave ending. On the contrary, we witness our story's charming and spirited ten-year old heroine pen her way out of an imaginably grim youth.

RELIGION
Jesus W. Bush

It's as if the Southern Bible bangers are finally taking revenge on Lincoln
Sankara Saranam

According to Christian doctrine, the only Son of God was born approximately 2,000 years ago. By rights, he should have been the last man on earth. He should have sent the last human being to heaven or hell, found himself on an empty world, and ended space and time right there and then.

RELIGION
Religion of peace? Pahleeeez...

Think about it, have you ever seen an Islamic country invent anything besides destruction?
Arian Hast

As a 30-year-old who has actually lived in both countries and keeps up with world issues daily for quite some time and seen the effects of the "religion of peace" first hand, I can say without hesitation that we should in fact blame Islam for most of the problems not only in the Middle East but in the world right now.  

ART
Self-imagination

Photo editing
Hossein Setareh

ART
Explaining maleness

Paintings & drawings
Anahita Vossoughi

WOMEN
Ups and (mostly) downs

Women and freedom in Iran
Masoud Kazemzadeh

The anti-Shah movement from early 1977 to February 1979 included diverse groups. After coming to power, however, Khomeini and his fundamentalist allies instituted gender policies that were resisted by large numbers of women. These struggles revolved around the compulsory hijab, dismissal of female judges, dismissal of employed women, limiting women's access to higher education, and reinstitution of Sharia laws.

HISTORY
Start reading

Resources on Ancient Iranian history
Ali Yadegar

If there is anything positive that can come of the Hakha fiasco, it is that Iranians need to revisit their ancient Iranian history so that they are not manipulated by pseudo-historical ideas. Iranians are inheritors of one of the richest civilizations in the World. Yet most Iranians, including myself, up to a few years ago possess an outstandingly infinitesimal knowledge of our ancient Iranian history.

OUTCAST
Khaaneh hanooz siaah ast

My life as a leper
Shahram Farhangi

STORY
In the realm of reality

Based on a real dream
Saeed Tavakkol

I knew I shouldn't have gone out that day. I was not so naïve not to know what could happen. It was a presidential visit to Dallas just a few weeks before the election. I knew security would be at the highest level. I knew that; yet I felt an urge to be there and see what would happen.

STORY
The Parrot's Garden

Short story
Farrokh A. Ashtiani

The balmy mid-spring air in the outskirts of the city of Yazd was gently caressing the young girl's face. Filled with joy she began running faster. On the horizon the rising full moon was visible and provided enough light for her to see the two tall minarets of the shrine not too far away. Between the two minarets was the huge golden dome reflecting the moonlight. Tears of joy gathered and started running down her face. For a moment the entire scenery was blurred as if she was looking through a thick crystal glass. Filled with serenity of love she was getting closer to her savior's shrine.

CULTURE
My journey with the Shahnameh

Turning Rostam into an American comic hero
Behrouz Bahmani

Five years ago as part of client project I saw a comic book character and something in me stirred. The idea of adapting the Shahnameh and Rostam as an American comic book jumped out of the air.

OPINION
The gulf wars

What's in a name?
Samira Mohyeddin

There is nothing fantastically new about the subject of contested bodies of land and water; it came with the rise of nationalism and the construction of nation -- states. Don't get me wrong, I am aware of the real politics involved. However, that does not mean that I should engage in its xenophobic language. It is important to note that this campaign was not initiated by cartography organizations, but by ordinary Iranians who are continuing a tired, and too often debated discursive.

OPINION
Next four years

President Bush to support the establishment of democracy in Iran
Peter Kohanloo

On January 20, President George W. Bush will take the oath of office on the steps of the US Capitol for the last time. That day will mark the beginning of his second presidential term, a four-year period full of new opportunities for the advancement of liberty both at home and abroad. One of these opportunities is a golden one involving Iranians and their campaign for a secular, democratic government at peace with its neighbors and accountable to nobody but the Iranian people themselves.

KURDISTAN
Kurds, Iraqi elections and stability

Let's hope that all Kurds in Iraq make a hand-written mark on their ballot for either autonomy or independence
Kamal H. Artin

As usual, disrupting regional unity and stability remains the excuse to prevent the Kurds from having the option of determining their destiny in the upcoming Iraqi election. Unity might suggest a higher level of development in a democratic society where the law guarantees equal rights; however, in autocratic societies of the Middle East it is only an excuse for fear of loss of domination.

REFERENDUM
Arzyaabi-ye faaz-e avval

Assessing the first phase of proposed referendum
Abdol Sattar Doshoki

NATIONALISM
More than green, white, and red

History of the Iranian flag
Davood N. Rahni

The decision for the adoption of the above Flag is based upon exhaustive deliberations and feedback from representatives of the Iranian American Community of nearly a million strong, and through full participations by organizational board members and civic leaders of our community as present at numerous inaugural meetings of the Persian Parade.

SATIRE
Divine fashion

Photo essay: Religious store items

The following images were searched on google to match comments posted on Fanus weblog.

DIASPORA
Javad the Great

He has a tendency to form archaic opinions on issues that are too relevant to rely on the ways of old
Kamran Zargahi

What to do when people continuously rail you with impressions of righteousness? How tolerant can we be when dealing with those reacting purely by whim? Should we feel immoral when we don't invest in the same collective opinion, particularly on sensitive issues? To put this into perspective, I will share several of my recent experiences in dealing with an acquaintance of mine named Javad.

ENVIRONMENT
Dispose, wherever

Does Iran have a toxic material disposal program?
Alireza Abouhossein

In the company I work there is a health and safety officer. In a memo to his direct boss and a carbon copy to the owner of the company the danger of coating and disposing it into the environment. The direct boss, however, in return gets angry and summons her to his office. He reprimanded her for writing such a warning letter and tells her to never ever write such a letter(s) again.

MEDIA
Royal Broadcasting Corporation

Monarchist TV channels are not against dictatorship, but merely the dictatorship of the Islamic republic
Jahanshah Rashidian

The Iranian monarchist channels are not in the position to convey a message of dictatorial change in Iran, but deliberately only a political change. The analogy between the Islamic regime and the monarchists is that they both seek to charge people by those values far from democracy. They both operate from the same dictatorial ambitions and propagate dubious notions to justify their parasite. The monarchist channels are a comedy example for democracy and they try to stupefy their public.

POINT
Spineless EU

They may say that the interests of the European Union demands moderation, dialogue and diplomacy with Iran -- whatever.
Alidad Vassigh

They may say that the interests of the European Union demanded moderation, dialogue and diplomacy. They will say perhaps that Europe had to present an alternative to the gung-ho methods of the Bush administration, if it were not to fall behind and become an irrelevance in international relations. They may say many things. But that is all for the historians, who will one day investigate the evidence, as they have with the appeasement of Hitler in the 1930s, and, yes, conclude that Europe failed to do this, or should have done that -- whatever.

DIASPORA
Identity politics

Being Iranian vs. Persian
Roozbeh Shirazi

I don't call myself 'Persian.' I refer to myself as Iranian, but recognize that the circumstances of being Iranian in the United States are nuanced. There is a range of attitudes towards both Iran and the United States that uneasily coexist within our ranks. Notions of how to look homeward and how best to be American, what we choose to identify with and against vary from person to person -- we all think according to our socialization and diversity is to be expected here. 

MUSIC
Fire of passion

Tanbur, Daf, Tonbak
Azam Nemati

This beautiful album features truly wonderful and soul-soothing music. The magnificent sounds of Tanbur, Daf and Tonbak performed by two very talented musicians accompanied by beautiful vocals create a sense of well being and contentment.

SATIRE
Where are they now?

The characters in "Shahr-e Qesseh" 38 years later
Sharif N Mafi

Remember Bijan Mofid's 'Shahr-e-Qesseh', the city between the lush green jungle, and wild exquisite flowers, right next to the crystal clear stream. A place of harmony where all its inhabitants loved one another. A place where all the animals treasured one another and assisted the needy. A place where strangers and the poor were helped and welcomed. A place devoid of corruption and theft. A place filled with love and happiness. Where might they all be now?

SEXUALITY
Truth of sex

While trans-sexuality in Iran is made legitimate, homosexuality is insistently reiterated as abnormal
Afsaneh Najmabadi

This is a discourse that only recently has become dominant in Iran. Its contemporary production makes same-sex desire unreadable except for people stuck in the "wrong bodies"; it makes homosexuality as such illegible and illegitimate not only as a publicly recognized possibility, but also for one's own self-perception and self-constitution of sexual subjectivity.

FICTION
Mosaafer

Short story
Mohammad Hossainzadeh

OBITUARY
Amin-ol-Molk

Manoucher Marzban was able to voyage the world in search of other cultures and sacrosanct beliefs
Mahmoud Ghaffari

It has been a poignant year for the devotees of Iran, as we have lost another personality whom through his dedication to Iran and his lineage "blue blood" contributed much to the greatness of Iran prior to the revolution. Manoucher Marzban, lost his apparition in slumber on December, 24 of 2004. Marzban was the son of Rasht, a community in Northern Iran, which contributed to Nationalism by breeding sons, and daughters who were ardent supporters of freedom and democracy. He was the first son of Dr. Ismael Marzban, "Amin-ol-Molk".

ART
Talkh o Shirin

Paintings
Shirin Ghandchi

POETRY
Paradise

Does love only value fear and doubt?
Baharak Sedigh

POETRY
Halazoon

A snail with two big eyes
Aram Gharib

POETRY
Smelly stream

See if you can find a regret worth holding
Setareh Sabety

POETRY
Zemestaan

Az khaateremaan raft salaam
Farah Afshar

POETRY
Dawn on the Fall Equinox

How will I explain this to him?
Persis Karim

POETRY
The red candy

I'm eager to bite it all in a blink of every eye
B.A. Sazegar

POETRY
Drawings

The little girl's and the mother's
Sheema Kalbasi

POETRY
One

Five poems
Ali Khaghani

POETRY
Marg

We'll meet in heaven
Shahrokh Setoudeh Foumani

POETRY
Bargasht

Rooze sahar beh maa reseed
Ghorbat-e Gharb beh sar resid

Orang Gholikhani

POETRY
Salam-e abreeshamin

Silken hello
Ali Tabibzadeh

POETRY
Subtracting Allah from Persia

Between Arabi and Farsi, between Allah and Forgiveness, between A and F
Rom Hashemi

POETRY
Fallujah

I lie shattered, And you did nothing
Sasan Seifikar

POETRY
The purest form of love

The love of a blind man
Ali Zandi

POLITICS
The Shia Strategy

In Iraq and Pakistan
Zafar Hashmi

In the post September 11th scenario the world has been turned on its head. Once, close friends have become open foes. Taleban who were a creation and brain child of Pakistani Intelligence services (ISI) were betrayed and classed as terrorists by their founding fathers. Mullah Zaeef the Foreign Minister of the Taleban regime was captured, shaved and handed over to the Americans by the brotherly Pakistani government. Taleban who had massacred and butchered thousands of Shias in Afghanistan during their reign of terror have retreated to the safety of caves and mountains following in the foot steps of their forefathers.

DEBATE
Blowing off steam

Relax. Islam is not taking over Canada
Maziar Shirazi

We members of the Iranian Diaspora have come a long way in our ability to make relevant and insightful observations about issues affecting our community. I have seen tirades and polemics (once the majority of online dialogue) diminish, and I've watched intellectual arguments and discussions begin to take precedence, at least among some; this goes for opinions that I am both for and against.

LANGUAGE
Persian today

Questions and answers
Fouad Kazem

Persian is an old Indo-Iranian language in the larger family of Indo-European languages which includes Hindi, English, Urdu, French, Russian, Spanish, German, etc. Today it is the official language of Iran (Persia), Afghanistan, and Tajikstan. Throughout Middle East's history Persian has been a very important language. It was an official language of the Ottoman government (1453-1920). This meant that Persian documents were used to carry out official government business throughout Ottoman territory, from Morocco to Palestine, to Greece, Albania, and Budapest.

RELIGION
Sohrawardi

Restoration of Mazdean motifs in Islamic Iran
Afshin Afshari

The goal of this article is to introduce some essential elements of the philosophy of Sohrawardi, the great philosopher of Light, with special emphasis on his restoration, within the Islamic context, of certain Zoroastrian motifs; specifically: the Mazdean Angelology (see my previous article entitled "The Earth is an Angel"), the Farr, and the concept of the King-Priest (see my previous article entitled "The Tri-functional Ideology"). For a more detailed description of Sohrawardi's philosophy, see for instance.

DINNER
Mangia Mangia

Photo essay: New Year's Eve
Jahanshah Javid
Photos by Javaneh, Jahanshah, Targol &...

BOOK
The Iranican Dream

Introduction to a book of Iranian-American satire
Siamack Baniameri

The Iranican Dream is about the love of family, pimps and hookers, colorful friends and relatives, unconditional friendship, lesbians and transvestites, paranoia, strong opinions on sensitive subjects and everything in between that make our Persian-ness blush. I wouldn't be true to my readers if I did it any other way.

ACTING
Killer mom

Photo essay: Shohreh Aghdashloo's U.S. television debut
Jahanshah Javid

Shohreh Aghdashloo will win an Emmy nomination for her chilling performance as Dina Araz, a terrorist mother in the hit Fox series 24. She was that good. I'm glad I remembered to watch the first two episodes of the new season Sunday night.

LIFE
Cien años de soledad

I thought that life offered so many intriguing true stories that one did not need to listen to fantasies woven by the deranged minds of the storytellers
Shahriar Zahedi

I was still a teenager when he first came to our house. My older sisters and my mother were all taken away by him and his charm. They were fascinated by the stories he told about far off places and people with strange sounding names. I sat at a corner a time or two and listened to him for a while, but to me he sounded awfully long-winded. He seemed foreign and the characters of his tales, with names I couldn't pronounce, seemed able to do strange, unbelievable things.

REFERENDUM
Baazbeenee

Another look at the proposed referendum
Dariush Sajjadi

POLITICS
We are the outsiders

Interview with Khosrow Seif, leader of Mellat Iran Party
Fariba Amini

Khosrow Seif is a well known opposition figure in Iran. He entered politics at the age of 16 and was the long time political companion of Dariush Forouhar. He became the head of Mellat Iran (Nation of Iran) Party after the tragic death of Forouhar. He has been incarcerated several times. The last time was shortly after the student uprising at Tehran University in July 1999. He and many others were taken from their homes or while walking in the streets of the capital and jailed without any clear charges against them.

NOTE
Iranian Person of the Year?

Write and introduce her/him
Buddahead

During the closing moments of 2004 as I was frantically trying to read through as many editions of current event publications as I possibly could I began to realize that the only time Iran surfaced in the news was when the said publication was writing about either Iran's nuclear program or its disparate politics.

RIGHTS
Is Canada next?

How many Islamic republics do we have to fight? One in Iran, one in Afghanistan, fighting the creation of another in Iraq, and now one in Canada
Azar Majedi

I am sure, right now, some of you will think: 'please don't exaggerate, this is going too far. This is not about the whole of Canada, it is only about the so-called "Moslem community". And it is only going to concern the civil and the family codes not other legal aspects. You are talking as though there is going to be stoning on the streets of Toronto, and furthermore, this is a voluntary matter, no one is forced to refer to these courts if they do not choose to. It is going to be purely "their own choice."

LETTERS
Missing component

In response to Hooshang Amirahmadi's "Viable option":
During the past few years, you have been making overtures to the officials and members of the US Congress and administrations that they should adopt the policy of rapprochement to and appeasement of the regime of the mullahs in Iran. However, your argument is based on the fallacious assumption that the mullahs and their ideology are flexible and that they are amenable and persuadable to peace, evolution, and refinement!? >>> Full text

AMERICA
Opposites Day

Guess who got a Presidential Medal of Freedom
Abtin Assadi

A couple of weeks ago, I woke up to the news that President Bush was decorating three distinguished Americans. Listening to the news closely, I gathered that the gentlemen being awarded were none other than retired General Tommy Franks, former CIA director George Tenet and former Ambassador Paul Bremer. Racking my brains, I tried to add up the brownie points these gentlemen have stashed away in the past few years.

TRAVELERS
Charmed

Photo essay: Peru
Nooshin and Aram Basseri

WEIGHT
Fun to be fat (for now)

Will I be fit enough to play football with my twins in the local park?
Siamack Salari

Thank goodness I am fat. At 15 months old, my twin sons delight in launching themselves at me, arms waving above their heads and throwing themselves over my stomach. After the initial attack, they try to take bites out of my midriff. Siavash will simply bite hard and hold for a second or two. This has the effect of making me scream in a comical high pitched voice which makes him laugh.

BOOK
Saba in Australia

Individual journey with Hafiz
Farid Parsa

At my first dinner-party in Australia, my permanent abode, the host told me that her eccentric uncle was going to drop in later in the evening. After couple of hours mingling with her family, and other guests, where our conversations seemed to go around aimlessly, I started feeling bored, tired and thought to myself that I might have come to a country where there was not much in common between me and her peaceful, law abiding citizens.

MUSIC
Yaadhaa va khaaterehaa

Persian classical music
Azam Nemati

ART
The spill

Paintings
Amad Eslami

RELIGION
Spirit matter

Mani and Manichaeaism
Mehrak Golestani

The "notorious" brand of eastern Gnosticism, known as Manichaeaism, has been the subject of much interest to scholars past and present. The Manichaean religion (named after it's founder, the Persian sage Mani) spread rapidly through Asia after its birth in the third century, and by the end of the fourth century, had followers spanning from North Africa all the way to China.

POLITICS
Hezb-e Liberal

Three things that make a liberal party
Ramin Kamran

POETRY
Porsesh

Science vs. play
Aram Gharib

POETRY
The sun and the snowman

The snowman has no heart
Farah Afshar

28 MORDAD
Finding Mossadegh

Reconstructing the story of a coup that changed history
Masoud Kazemzadeh

To say that Iran has posed challenging foreign-policy problems for the United States since the Carter administration is an understatement. From the intense anti-Americanism and the hostage crisis during the Carter presidency to the Iran-contra scandal of the Reagan years to regime change and the Axis of Evil of President Bush, Iran-U.S. relations seem both bizarre and inexplicable. One book that provides an explanation of the roots of the problem is Stephen Kinzer's All the Shah's Men.

LIFE
In bed

Short story
Siamak Vossoughi

The girls were sitting and joking after dinner, and it was the kind of joking that made the boy feel like he was ready for the world, because it didn't feel like anything he couldn't handle. They happened to be girls, and they happened to be older, and they happened to each be at least a little beautiful when they spoke. But there was the same rise and fall to their conversation that showed they didn't know what was inbetween.

LIFE
Deeper and deeper

Pottery and poetry
Ahmad Piraiee

I am not so handsome nor so ugly, not so tall nor so short, not so fat nor so slim, not so intelligent nor so dull, not so brave nor a coward, like nobody and like everybody, a person left from a forgotten generation. I am a potter.

RELIGION
Blaming all because of a few

The biggest victims of the Islamic revolution were the "akhoonds", because a selected few of them made the name of ALL of them bad
Dariush Abadi

Since when have ALL the "turban-heads", aka Akhoonds/Mullahs been hurtful to Islam and Muslims? Just because we have a few khaens in power with the turban on (whom islamically you can call munafiqhs, because they use Islam for their own worldly desires) doesn't mean every akhoond/mullah is evil or bad.

GUESTS
Mehmoon baazee

Photo essay: Playing host to friends, Leila Farjami & Reza Z. Ebrahimi
Jahanshah Javid

RIGHTS
Another plot

Bahai letter part of Western and Zionist conspiracy to pressure Iran on Nuclear issue
Sayed MohammadReza Hashemi

RELIGION
KhKhKh

Embarrassing those that have been systematically dragging Islam and Muslims down
B. Bamdad

I was flipping channels on my Telstar Satellite TV receiver, and suddenly came across a silhouette of a Mullah playing an electronic saxophone among images of fall tree leaves turning color from Green! I had to stop -- it was intriguing and provocative. The Mullah was playing with a roll of toilet paper on his head, and white toilet paper wrapped around his forehead to look like a turban! And wearing a bathrobe simulating a Mullah's coverall! A bearded "AyaToilet"!

INTERNET
E-seinor citizen

Out of the blue my grandmother has decided to have a weblog
Payvand

My grnadmother is 80 years old with no teeth, no hair and whenever she needs to read something, she has to use her thick glasses. But she insists she has to have her own weblog. For my grandmother at her age who when she wakes up in the middle of the night to go to the washroom, the screeching sounds of her walker wakes up all the neighborhoods, writing a weblog should be a little bit late, but my nonna is a believer and no one can convince her otherwise. Not even world champion heavy wheight lifter Rezazadeh can stop her.

HISTORY
The shah and the people

Part One: The life
Afshin Afshari

The time may have come, for us Iranians, to set a dispassionate eye on Mohammad-Reza Pahlavi as a human being with strengths and shortcomings. Time to try to understand the complex personality of the bright but fragile child who was thrust, by his father and historical circumstances, into the mould of a millennia-old autocracy which did not fit him.

FICTION
Cafe RaahAhan

Short story
Mohammad Hossainzadeh

OPINION
Blessing in disguise

Media pluralization in the digitial age
Majid Tehranian

The new Digital Civilization has made war more deadly. We have witnessed "shock and awe" in the new digital warfare in the Persian Gulf Wars of 1991 and 2003, NATO bombing of Yugoslavia in 2000, and the Afghanistan War of 2001. In all of these wars, direct and indirect civilian casualties have far outnumbered the military ones. As for peace, Digital Civilization has pluralized the media of global communication. Media pluralization is adding yet another layer to the nomadic, agrarian, commercial, and industrial of channels of communication.

SATIRE
Letter of resignation

By a suicide bomber
Siamack Baniameri

Dear Sir, First of all let me express my immense appreciation for the opportunity to join your esteemed suicide bombing company. I can not begin to tell you how flattered I am to be considered for such a notable position.  Your suicide bombing company is considered by many as the best in its field. Your benefits, health and retirement plans are unmatched by other suicide bombing squads and your training facility in the west coast is regarded as the finest in the country.

POETRY
Shab-e Saal-e No

New Year's Eve
Aram Gharib

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