Features

October 2005

IDEAS
United against dictatorships

The U.N. should be dedicated to providing all financial helps, broadcasting emission, and advices to the suppressed people in their struggle against their suppressive states
Jahanshah Rashidian

If modern techniques can be used to greatly lessen the destruction caused by catastrophes, then why do we not use modern methods to try to prevent another kind of destructive catastrophe, namely dictatorial systems in the world, which have been responsible for innumerable crimes against humanity? History is full of examples of tyrannical dictators whose brutality was more detrimental to humanity than many natural catastrophes. I hope that in a world of solidarity, an international instrument’s main responsibility is to prevent access of political leadership in any country to a dictatorial system.

LETTERS
Don't be ashamed of facts

In response to criticisms of Jonathan Jones' "Evil Empire":
Why aren't the Azeris', Rashtis' and Loris' sense of humour in dealing with jokes that are made about them, not equally shared by the rest of the Iranians especially those in USA? Having lived for over two decades in UK I have come across no English person who would proudly speak of the British Empire least of all journalists (contrary to the past the majority of the British are not monarchists). So what of it if one of them is not so impressed by the Persian Empire neither? >>> Full text

 

TRAVELERS
We can, we will

I want to move to Italy; need to convince the wife
Siamack Salari

Norway was beautiful (this was our second trip) and we spent four wonderful days in excellent company. The boys and I ate Reign deer, Elk and Whale meat. The best was the Reign Deer by far.cReturning home was an anti-climax.cTwo days later V and I had a row. It was one of those, are you with me or without me kind of rows. I needed her unequivocal agreement that we could and we would move to Italy by Christmas. She was all for it right up to the moment when she realised it was really going to happen (I put the house up for rent). Then doubts began to set in.

LIFE
Getting married

Part 2: Getting ready for the wedding
Houman Jazaeri

I thought -- rather naively -- that my part in the wedding had been done. I did the major task of asking the girl and she had said yes. I would go around bragging about my accomplishment and did not listen to my coworkers who mentioned that my real troubles were about to begin. I knew that I no longer fell into the category of being "SINGLE". No longer was I going to be the third wheel when I went out with friends. I was no longer a "me", I was now officially a "we" or an "us" better yet I was part of a "unit" and the ring sealed the deal FOREVER.

OPINION
False opposition

The Mojahedin reinforce the IRI
Jalil Bahar

This past week we saw Saddam Hussein paraded in front of an Iraqi Court of Justice. He was, for sure, a brutal and evil dictator. But did he act alone? Every time I see him, I am reminded of the connection between the United States and his brutality. After all the US maintained over 20 years of diplomatic relations with Saddam and supplied him with money (loan guarantees) to purchase a vast arsenal of arms including precursors for chemical agents . which he in turn used on Iranian as well as his own population! But I will not go there.

HALLOWEEN
Do not read this book

"Scary story" competition winner in Vancouver school
Nyusha Samiei

As she headed home, Claire glanced at the leafless branches swaying in the wind. She loved October. She loved the way the leaves turned brown and flew in the cool breeze and she loved the mysterious ambience of the month. That was probably why she adored walking past the Robinson Memorial Park Cemetery every day. On that day, she clutched her books to her chest and admired the cemetery.

PICTORY
Comic grandeur

Last 30 pages:
Ramin Tork

STORY
Rostam & Sohrab

Short story
Jamal Mirsadeghi

REVIEW
Faryaad-e dard-e moshtarak

Azar Nafisi's "Reading Lolita in Tehran" is like water in the desert
Mandana Zandian

IRAN
Green, brown, grey and so glorious

Photo essay: Iran's mountains
Fariba Amini

I guess I have fallen in love again, this time with my homeland. I can’t stop thinking or writing about it. Its nature is overwhelming, especially its glorious mountains. Every turn you make, you see a different scene, a unique color, and each mountain looks distinct from the next. Brown, green, grey and glorious they are.

LETTERS
Following Bush's example

On President Ahmadinejad's "Wiping Israel off the map" comment:
When George Bush labelled the nation of Iran as part of the "Axis of Evil", we should have adhered to our lesson in reversing the ill nature of making such ill-mannered statements. Surely an "evil" country, and note, "country" - not government, or leader, but "country" - is as strong an admonition as Ahamdinejad's call to erase Israel off the "map." I mean, who would want "evil" on a "map", right? In other words, Iran has been called to be "erased", repeatedly, for the better part of 3 years now >>> Full text

 

IDEAS
Noble lies

America and the neoconservative agenda
Arash Sayedi

To make any sense of what the small group of Neoconservatives currently holding power in America has in mind one must go back to the 50s and examine the ideas of a Jewish German political philosopher named Leo Strauss. He believed that in order to inspire and unite people, America needed very simple and yet powerful myths that although not true, were necessary illusions for the people. Apart from religion this also included the myth of the nation; the idea that America has a unique destiny to battle the forces of evil throughout the world. Today, by listening to the speeches of President Bush or reading the writings of many neoconservatives, one can very easily identify strong Straussian veins in their vocabulary.

IRAN
No bombs please

Pluralim under contruction
Ali R. Rabi

Ironically, the very same people who have been struggling throughout their lives in pursuit of freedom all oppose “forced democratization” and military intervention. True, that segments of populations prefer to see a regime change no matter what the consequences might be, but serious defenders of Human Rights and life-long freedom seekers believe differently. What is the underlying reason for this near unanimous consent among freedom seekers against the American military presence?   The reason seems relatively simple. It stems from the basic concept that: socio-economic diversity is pre-requisite to the emergence of any meaningful and sustainable political pluralism.

ISRAEL
The mouse that roared

Ahmadinjead's voodoo politics
Iqbaql Latif

Who in their right mind would challenge an established nuclear power like Israel for annihilation and instead of retracting it repeat it as a wholesome voice of the Iranian nation? To accuse the Iranian nation of such an error of judgment is a colossal immoral lunacy. Why someone in his right mind would expose his nation to 'legitimate' attacks by another nation so as to protect their right to exist? This is the most astonishing and idiocy of highest order. A nuclear Pakistan is going all out under a military ruler to pacify Israel, while on the other hand a non nuclear Iran is challenging a nuclear Israel and threatening its very existence. If there was a Nobel Prize constituted for the most 'dim-witted remark of the century‚ President Ahmadinejad is the true recipient and should receive one hands down.

MUSIC
Baba Karam

Hamedanian sings "Baba Karam", "Golpari Joon" & more
Azam Nemati

PHOTOGRAPHY
Réal beauty

Photo essay: L'Oréal Fashion Week in Toronto
Nader Davoodi

LIFE
Every morning Sarah

The other week, late at night, two boys standing on a porch threw a stone that hit the back of my skull. I wonder if that stone ended up any the wiser.
Peyvand Khorsandi

Every morning Sarah, the Nigerian woman who lives downstairs with her little boy shouts at him and wakes me up. When my washing machine leaked the other week (the man who installed it was busy asking about my contacts in the Iranian copper industry), she was perfectly polite. For three days she tolerated drips through her ceiling and all I got was a note through my door. In the next few days her shouting seemed to intensify. The previous occupant of my apartment had invited Sarah around for tea. She said the boy – whose name one rarely hears – was barely allowed to speak. Sarah is bringing her son up the ‘strong’ way. But her method is flawed. At the very least he may go deaf.

SATIRE
It's good to be gay

Part 1: "I finally made it to fuckin' Canada."
Siamack Baniameri

My second cousin Sohrab had a way with women. The only child of an affluent Iranian family and blessed with good looks and a body like Greek Gods, Sohrab sacked just about any woman he laid eyes on. He was so popular with women that the kids in the neighborhood named him, "Pahlevan-eh Otaagh-khaab." Sohrab, a twenty-year-old high school dropout, didn't have a real job and lived with his folks in a big house in the northern part of Tehran. He made his money as a personal trainer at a trendy exercise facility called Dorrabi's Fitness Center and Spa. He made additional money by selling steroids to the children of the revolution who dreamed of looking like Arnold, fighting like Mike Tyson and getting laid like Sohrab.

NUCLEAR
The art of self-destruction

Ahmadinejad call for the destruction of Israel comes at a time when the Islamic Republic is trying to convince the world that it's nuclear programme is peaceful
Meir Javedanfar

Ahmadinejad’s open call for Israel’s destruction on October 26th 2005 put Iran’s image building exercise back by years. Meanwhile plans by Iranian government strategists in Tehran and Iranian ambassadors abroad to build international consensus and alliances for Iran’s nuclear case have also been dealt a major set back. The question which Iranian strategists and ambassadors will want to ask Ahmadinejad is this: As of today Mr President, who will accept Iran’s stated peaceful nuclear intentions when you have just reiterated calls for the mass genocide against an entire country?  

ART
Love hair

Photo essay: Iranian hair collection
Amirali Ghasemi

IRI
Playing into their hands

Iranians do not wish destruction for any person or country
Mohammad Ala

The recent quotation from the president of Iran has again put Iranians all over the world under pressure and will cause hardship to them.  I have not read Mr. Ahmadinejad’s speech; I just hope his words were not taken out of context which is routinely done by sensational journalists and the news media.  Not so long ago, the previous president, Mr. Khatami, advocated dialogue among civilizations, arguing for peaceful solutions so that nations can work on their differences, rather than use arms or inflammatory rhetoric to attack each other. Many countries have an interest in Iran’s oil and natural resources. These countries will benefit by turmoil in Iran and in the neighboring region.  It is essential that the Iranian leadership and the Iranian people not play into the hands of these countries.

IRI
Wiping democracy off the map

The United States and its allies have to help the democratization of the Middle East, and Islamic Republic is the centre
Mehran Makki

What is the real reason behind the Islamic republic's conflict with United States and its allies, including Israel? Ayatollah Khomeini the first leader of Islamic republic in 1979 was the first one who said Israel must be wiped off the map. No matter what they say, the State of Israel is the only democratic country in the entire Middle East. Israel does not violate the human rights of its citizens, holds free election, respects freedom of speech, and all other real democratic values. That is the reason that Islamic Republic and all the other dictatorships in the Middle East can not tolerate it: They do not want the only democracy in the region to be in existence.

AMERICA
Bob my brother

He and his wonderful family are the perfect picture of kindness from the American mid-West
Hamid Bakhsheshi

The first Easter vacation, when Bob asked me to go with him to his family farm and spend the holidays with his family. It was absolutely amazing. Everyone was genuinely nice, giving, and kind. They were so interested in who I was and where I was from. I was surrounded by questions about Iran and our customs, holidays, language, food, and just about everything. I wouldn't shut up. I loved talking about all I knew of Iran. Truly, it was the first time I felt I belonged and didn't miss my family so much.

ARCHITECTURE
Forgotten wateropolis

Photo essay: Founded by Shapur II in 250CE, Qazvin is a city rich in unnoticed architectural gems
Nima Kasraie

To begin with, archeological findings in the Qazvin plain reveal the existence of urban agricultural settlements as far back as 7000BCE. The name "Qazvin" or "Kasbin" is derived from Cas, an ancient tribe that lived south of the Caspian Sea millennia ago. The Caspian Sea itself in fact derives its name from the same origin. With the gradual growth of the city, wells and qanats could no longer respond to the needs of the locals. That is when some wealthy residents started building private reservoirs called ab anbars. These sub-level spaces were connected to the city's qanat network and were filled by someone called a meerab. It was he who was responsible for distributing the qanat network.

INVESTMENT
Home remedy

Why do Iranians have to leave the country to get treatment for cancer?
Maria Afsharian

Why do Iranians have to travel around the world for cancer treatment? Because the medicine isn't available and there are no up to date facilities or machines to treat them. Leaving their families. Don't we have an abundance of medical professionals or entrepreneurs around the world who were born in Shiraz who might want to give back. These people don't have a choice on whether or not they get cancer. And most aren't able to travel much less afford to go to other countries to get treatment. Isn't there valuable data that medical professionals can collect from the Pars region if only there were a structured system of collecting data were in place. Don't these people deserve better treatment? Dr. Abbas Ghaderi of the Shiraz Institute for Cancer Research, a two room facility, has put together a plan.

IDENTITY
Blonde Iranians

Inferiority complex
Pouya Alimagham

Here’s some food for thought: Imagine an America and a Europe where most of the continents’ inhabitants had black or dark brown hair and had large hooked noses and this standard was glorified in its influential media and displayed to the rest of the world to consume as the Western standard.  If this hypothetical scenario were true, do you think many Iranian men and women would be getting nose jobs and coloring their hair blonde?  If the world’s only super power championed such an image, who would reject it? There’s no real way of knowing, but one can speculate.  I believe that instead of admiring the American work ethic, we, as in us men and women, admire their stereotypical looks.

FASHION
Tehrani street fashion

Photo essay: Iranian youth fashion
Hushidar Mortezaie

STORY
Gypsy

A short story
Saeed Tavakkol

I was born in Ahvaz, a city in southern Iran. My family lived there until I reached 9 years old. Those days we mocked anyone unlike us, non-Moslems, people who didn’t speak Farsi or spoke it with a different accent. We took the most delight in scoffing those who dressed differently. We teased a very sweet Jewish family a few doors away. And the Arabs! We referred to them as Arab Pa patee or barefoot Arabs, and they called non-Arabs Ajam, which meant ignorant.  We mocked our own aunts and uncles; although they were our next-door neighbors and their kids, our best friends. When we exhausted all outlets, we shamelessly laughed at our father’s way of telling his well-worn anecdotes or Uncle Ismael’s loud and frequent burps.

LIFE
Paykan 46

How would you feel if you sold your 30-year-old work hourse?
Cyrous Moradi

DRAMA
Maryam's pregnancy

A play
Ezzat Goushegir

The prince has many mistresses all over the world, or he could be inside a shark’s belly. Anyway, who cares? What matters is that Rapunzel’s belly is swollen. There’s a pest squirming inside of her. Rapunzel is now puking her guts out every day, the smell of meat nauseates her, spots have appeared on the tip of her nose. Mom knows that Rapunzel’s belly is swollen. Now Rapunzel receives seven or eight kicks and blows every day and a thousand curses and insults. Each day she has to down pints of chamomile tea, saffron, parsley juice and many other concoctions. But the kid is holding out inside her belly.

NAMES
Esm gozaaraan

What not to name your children
Shahriar Zahedi

FASHION
Pegah's dream

Photo essay
Pegah Anvarian's Fall 2005 fashion designs

HERITAGE
Civil empire

At it’s Zenith the Persian empire ruled over 30 countries which paid tribute to it
Cyrus Raft

Mr. Jonathan Jones author of article “The Evil Empire” is a man of ignorance and obviously biased of historical facts and documentations.  It is evident he does not know anything about history.  His subject as far as I know is art and for some reason he fancies Greeks and praises them. Mr. J. Jones does not have any knowledge of ancient Persia and does not know how much Persians have contributed towards world civilisation.  Here I have dealt with facts and reality avoiding historical exaggeration and fiction which one can easily discern in the books written by the military victors. Even a renowned historian such as Herodotus who contributed a considerable amount of information with regards to ancient Persian and Greek history has injected his personal imagination into his accounts.

EDUCATION
Reaching out of the box

We need to open our minds and our hearts to have a better understanding of the world so we can better connect with people
Roya Ansari

One of the most exciting aspects of life in the U.S. is the cultural mosaic that has brought people from all around the world to this country, and having grown up in Iran, Europe and the U.S., I believe we are very lucky to have diversity in our classrooms and our communities.  We live in a global society; there are many different faces from around the world in our neighborhoods, classrooms and place of work.   Therefore, we need to open our minds and our hearts to have a better understanding of the world so we can better connect with people.

FEMINISM
Across the secular-religious divide

Reading Parvin Paidar's book, I found my purpose in life
Golbarg Bashi

Personally, having grown up outside Iran, and having had "inferior and inconsistent" images of the Iranian resistance to tyranny during my childhood and early adulthood, Parvin Paidar's work made me feel otherwise. In her book Women and the Political Process in Twentieth Century Iran, I found someone who was objective, sharp, sincere and inspirational... How refreshing and liberating it was to discover this as a young second-generation Iranian student!

MUSIC
Abbas Ghaderi

New album: "Saghaa Khooneh"
Azam Nemati

LIFE
Born again virgin

I wanted to tell her that not unlike the chicken pox, the good thing about virginity is that you only get it once -- at least I think so.
Baharak Sedigh

But as I looked up from my frapuccino, the look in her eyes surprised me, as if pleading with me to just go along with it. As if the thought of facing another of life's delusions was simply too much to bear. Suddenly she smiled, shook her head from side to side slowly as she shrugged her shoulders and I realized that she was happier than before, at least more peaceful, which counts for something I guess. I shook my head and laughed. I let my eyes tell her all the loving-but-teasing comments that were pushing against my lips, and I let my heart--not my head lead the rest of the way. On this day, she just needed a friend.

LETTERS
What if I was your 8-year-old son?

In reply to Mohammad Ali's "Go make funds for Israel":
Kids fight, I understand that, but I was brutally beaten up and humiliated in that age by grown-ups. Do you think, it was easy for me or for my family to get over this? Regardless of us being Jewish! Please, you don't have to be rude to me or tell me what is going on it Iran now. We all know. Just put yourself or your innocent 8-years old son or your little bother in my shoes. Then I would like to know what your reaction would have been >>> Full text

PHOTOGRAPHY
Just amazing

Photo essay: Chile & Peru
Salim Madjd

FOOD
The power of kabob

I needed the Kabob, right then, and right there. I slapped myself. Don’t let it control you, I thought.
Jennia Rajaei

Perhaps I have found the first error in the Webster’s dictionary. Kabob, defined by this dictionary, is a skewer of meat marinated and cooked on a grill usually with vegetables. But, Kabob, at least the Kabob I know, is not just a skewer of meat. Kabob has actually the capacity to alter the mood of any environment or of any individual, if of course, this kabob is given the proper attention.

FICTION
Stork

Short story
Afsan Azadi

They had prepared themselves for such a day. But no matter how much you psych yourself for such news, once it is delivered, it is hard to accept and digest. How could that be possible? She was healthy, never drank or smoked. She kept in a good physical shape. She worked out regularly and ate healthy. There was no record of infertility in her family. For generations, her mother, grandmothers, sisters, and aunts had successfully reproduced. Then why wouldn't she? They picked up the papers, left the doctor's office and began driving back home. On the way home, Parvaneh could not stop crying. Afshin tried unsuccessfully to mend her pain, but the heart of the woman was badly broken.

WAR
To kill or not to kill

Do soldiers need to follow orders even if they go against their conscience?
Siavash Davoodi

By definition, a soldier is a person who has enlisted with, or has been conscripted into the armed forces of a sovereign country and has undergone training and received equipment to defend that country or its interests. The duty of a soldier has a very brief and simple description; it is to follow the orders of his superiors. It is a soldier’s job to act based on other people's decisions. However, does this mean that he can and should completely ignore his own sense of what is right and wrong? Can soldiers be justified for their actions because they were given orders? I believe that although it is up to the individual person, soldiers must know where to draw the line. I don’t think that every order given should be followed blindly without question.

PICTORY
Comic grandeur

20 more pages:
Ramin Tork

POETRY
Chamedaanhaa

Dar chamedaani migonjim, amma nah zire saghfe yek khaaneh
Leila Farjami

FRIEND
Keeping going

Losing Parvin Paidar all too soon
Afsaneh Najmabadi

When in fall 2002 Parvin told me that her melanoma had returned, after a twenty-year lapse, I could not but think it must be a mistake. Our friendship had its beginnings about the same time as her first bout of struggle with melanoma. How could it have returned to end our friendship? How could a mere dysfunction of a gene ruin a most precious life?

FEMINISM
Nimeye Paidar

Parvin Paidar enriched our feminist scholarship and struggles for equal rights, democracy, freedom and justice
Nayereh Tohidi

Parvin was a coalition builder rather than a divisive ideologue. As a person she came from love, understanding and empathy rather than hatred and vengeance toward those who differed with her ideologically or even had wronged her and other seculars. She was free from rigid dogmas and blinding prejudices and sectarianism, the attributes that were rare during the early years of post-revolutionary Iran when the theocratic dogmas and repressive policies of the Islamist government had left very little room for dialogue, tolerance, and pluralism.

MUSIC
Tomgirl

"I want to be you" & more
MP3s

TRIAL
Judging Saddam

Whose justice does Saddam’s trial pursue?
Behrooz Ghamari

As it happens, the world will not hear their stories during Saddam Hussein’s trial.  The invasion of Iran is missing from the 12 counts of indictment against the former dictator, and evidence and testimony about the atrocities carried out under his command will not be presented to the court.  The conspicuous absent of his war crimes against Iranian civilians, and his widespread use of chemical weapons from 1982 to the final days of the war in 1988, raise serious questions about the objectives of this trial.  Sweeping Saddam’s atrocities against Iranian citizens under the courtroom rug could only mean that this trial is more about a political theatre for the legitimacy of the new regime and its American backers, than a genuine thirst for justice.  

POETRY
I created a love

One stroke, a splinted talisman of luck
Arash Daneshzadeh

POETRY
Waiting for you

Thinking the earth will disappear from under my feet
Farid Parsa

POETRY
Find the key

You have to find the key to my heart again
Yasaman Rohani

SATIRE
Naameh beh Emam Zaman

Qom elementary school writing competition winner
Parsi

IDEAS
Reason on the attack

Today more than ever Iranian secular intellectuals have a duty to push back religion into confined individual privacy
Jahanshah Rashidian

The Islamic Republic of Iran has been around for 27 years although it is one of the most hated regimes, not only by the Iranian people living in or outside the country but also by the majority of the international community.  The regime is a form of religious fascism.  This is different from European fascism in that its extreme reactionary nature is not in the position to advance in technology to compensate for its incompetence in economic and international relations and to validate its inability to introduce a democratic and human political system in Iran. Its existence can be partly attributed to the fact that its Islamic doctrine, mainly because of the factor of fear, has never been radically challenged by the secularism of the Iranian intellectuals.

INSULTS
Gholonbeh

Iranian gift–wrapped insults
Zohreh Khazai Ghahremani

Serious thoughts must have gone into the selection of a Persian word that has enough power to unload a ton of weight on one’s heart. Gholonbeh in itself means an indescribable lump or a bulge of something, for example, if you stuff your pockets it will form a gholonbeh. However, in dialogue, the same word signifies a load of insult which is delivered in a roundabout way via metaphors and hints. You won’t find a definition for this word anywhere and, should there be a dictionary bold enough to include it, you’ll be sure to find the translation inadequate if not incorrect.

LANGUAGE
For the love of P

Farsi is not Arabic
Guive Mirfendereski

To be able to stand in the public square for any extended period of time and express oneself requires that one be poust-koloft (thick-skinned) and porru (cheeky). Notice how both these Persian words begin with the letter “p.” Today, I would like to examine the place of this sound in the Persian language and why the Iranian hyper-nationalists are wrong to build their entire identity on the power of “p” at the exclusion of its naturally occurring substitute “f” in the Persian language itself. I take the view that the word “Farsi” is Persian and that the occurrence of the sound “f” in the word “Farsi” came about as the result of the Persian language’s own survival mechanism – its own rules of sound substitution -- and, therefore, Farsi is not Arabic.

PICTORY
Comic grandeur

1977 comic book on Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi's reign
Ramin Tork

HYBRID
Less gas, less blood

Video clips & photos of gas-electric hybrid cars
Jahanshah Javid

In recent months the number of Toyota Prius hybrid cars in my Albany/Berkeley neighborhood in the San Francisco East Bay has skyrocketed. They're everywhere, suddenly.

IRAQ
Na Koja-abad

High above the world of everyday reality, immune from its laws and conventions
Ryszard Antolak

Over the next few months, (whether we want to or not), each one of us will be entering our own personal “Iraq of the Mind”. We will be entering via the virtual reality of electronic pictures on our TV screens; via the disembodied voices whispering to us from radios; via carefully chosen photographs in the newspapers; via anonymous reporters on the Internet. Once we enter that dangerous psychic territory, we are likely to find all our personal prejudices already waiting for us there: all our old demons and obsessions, our own "evil empires" and private “Al Qaidas” will be staring us squarely in the face. And we need to be aware of the real dangers from this Virtual Iraq of the Mind.

LIFE
For his big heart

Names, locations and events are true. The story is not.
Sara Z.

There are a few regrets you carry your entire life. Letting a loved one go, one of them. On our last date, 18 years ago, I broke up with Amir. Not a nasty breakup but a quick and on-the-surface easy one. He was devastated and clueless but did not argue much. He took it as he took everything, with grace and patience.  Prior to our breakup, everything was going more or less fine. We were young and hopeful romantics. . I was 21 he was 22 both studying electronic engineering.  He was a proud fellow and never insisted on convincing me to stay after the breakup. He asked why and I explained that I was tired and needed time off. We talked for a couple of hours trying to figure out alternatives. We did not. With sorrow in his eyes he left. He did not finish his coffee and faded away.

ART
No veil is required

Photo essay: A multi-media presentation in Chicago
Amir Normandi

LIFE
Barg rizaan

Autumn in a Swedish suburb
Mohammad Hossainzadeh

NOVEL
Yad e Saghpichook

Chapter 11
Homayoun Abghari

ART
Where is friend's house?

Photo essay: Post-modernism, immigration and Iranian identity
Hadi Gharabaghi

Chaador is the traditional veil that Iranian women cover themselves to appear in society. Chaador covers all parts of body except for the face and hands. After Islamic revolution in Iran, black chador became the standard form of dress code. Some less strict dress forms gradually substituted black chaador. Today, especially young women in urban areas find various alternatives to show part of their hair and use more attractive colors while maintaining the dress code. Islamic authorities in Iran have loosened their grip on such issues in recent years.

FICTION
Fairy lights

Short story
Ghazi Rabihavi

The sound of a car turning into the street, Listen! Well I’ve got to put on my veil and be on my way now. The rest will have to keep maybe tomorrow night, if Madam hasn’t set me up with someone again. You don’t like her and she you, so you’re even, but if it wasn’t for Madam I’d still be walking the street. She wants me to put on colourful veils but I say all that covers me should be black so that its grace or disgrace will stand out. If it wasn’t her I’d still be running around looking for a car to brake in front of my feet, like the night after Mum kicked me out.

PHOTOGRAPHY
Snow in San Francisco

Photo essay: 2005 Icer Air Ski Jumping Event
Salim Madjd

POETRY
Jeraahaate naashiyaaneh

Poem
Leila Farjami

MUSIC
Rana Mansour

"Somebody with you" and more
MP3s

SATIRE
Perisan romance - Part 6

As Asgar picked up a ripe plum to eat and wrapped his hand around it, the plum slipped straight out of his hand and flew at Asal's face
Payam Ghamsari

For a moment the room was filled with silence as they all stared at the broken photograph of Maryam. It seemed a bad omen of things to come; Asgar felt a heavy sense of foreboding as he looked apologetically towards Asal while combing back a few stray strands of hair from his forehead and back into their rightful place. He hated it when his hair was out of place, it was important that his hair remained in place as he had an image to maintain. As his green contact lenses met Asal's hazel eyes he saw that blood and collagen was seeping slowly out of her now deflated lips.

POLITICS
Democrats still around?

Democrats are not able to formulate anything, much less a viable opposition, because they really are redundant
Reza Fiyouzat

Do not worry if you are a Republican and you still hear utterances that annoy you coming from your left; it certainly is not from the official 'left' in the form of Democratic Party USA. Most likely, the rage and the screams for murder are coming from the hard left of the spectrum, from which you are comfortably far, far away. Either that, or from within your own Republican Party. There are very concrete and analyzable reasons for the lack of true oppositional sentiment on the part of the Democrats, if not for the stupidity required of the punditry industry that is paid to uphold them as something other than what they are, which tends to blind indiscriminately. It has obviously blinded many besides the party bureaucracy or their hangers-on, which in certain elections get to include even some far left luminaries. But, (as Blues Traveler says) anyway ...

USA
The mindless American

A tragedy in the making
Doug Soderstrom

Given the election of George Walker Bush as our president, our country made it quite clear that it is pleased to have as its president a scoundrel, a true terrorist, one more than willing to bully the rest of the world, as opposed to having chosen a real man, one that humanity might embrace as a man of true character (someone like Jimmy Carter), an individual committed to doing what is best for the world (rather than what is most profitable for those running the petrol, armament, pharmaceutical, and construction industries), one with a desire to do what must be done in order to create a more humane world, one of peace, justice, and love. Although we claim to be a Christian nation, having chosen George Walker Bush to be the leader of our nation is a scandal beyond belief, one that mocks the very name of one whose life embodies that which we have been said to believe.

DEMOCRACY
Badly briefed

The trouble is that political Islam seeks to impose personal restraint as part of a social contract that turns the action of restraint into a means of political coercion with disastrous results for the citizenry
Kia Atri

the very same religious dogma that has bedevilled the Islamic and medieval Christian civilisations is also the same dogma that when caste aside (as at the dawn of Renaissance and Reformation) has enabled man to pursue such high ideals as Modern Art and Science. In other words the questioning of religious values has proved to be liberating and enlightening. Individualism has fostered the spiritually satisfying notion of man being the author of his own destiny. This is an enfranchising and empowering nay life enhancing cultural attitude. What may appear as vice (Carnal Desires) are just one inevitable aspect of this liberation. No action is without consequences. At any rate the pleasures of the flesh have inspired great works of art and must not be shun.

COMEDIAN
Hadi brings down the house

Video clips & photos
Jahanshah Javid

OBITUARY
Hidden force

Saadi Diba never lost his zeal for Iran, but had lost hope for any chances for his countrymen to ever be directed to the righteous path of democracy
Mahmoud Ghaffari

Mohandes Saadi Diba passed away in Geneva Switzerland on September 24th, 2005.  Although the Tabatabi Dibas have a long and distinguished lineage within the Iranian history, their prominence into Iran’s 20th century politics and their sudden visibility was due to the marriage of Her Majesty Empress Farah Diba to the Late Shahanshah of Iran. Diba was the uncle of her Majesty Shahbanou Farah.  Diba once said “the Diba’s had for centuries been involved with politics only from behind the scenes.  They masterfully organized and shaped events whilst being the hidden force to the ruling Shahs. 

DREAM
Multicultural dream

I am standing on the escalator going down under the Pyramide de Louvre
Goli Farrell

This is the extent of madness in a multi cultural, multidiciplinary (or lack thereof) dream. I have only transcribed it partially. Of last night's dream, here are some excerpts. There are large gaps and consider this as a draft (cherk nevees), some passages will be added later. But I promise not to send you any further "paak nevis".You guys are constantly in my dreams and Tehran University houses the most beautifully written chapters of my soul. In fact most nights I see myself sitting next to Ferdowsi's bronze, seated statue (with 2 bolsters/motakkas)in front of Daneshkadeye Adabiyyaat and looking at life from there. I conduct many "class reunions" plus many musicals and operas from that vantage point.

HOMOSEXUALITY
Meet arguments with arguments

Free speech and democracy
Hamid Karimianpour

Sexual autonomy is to me a profoundly moral question. It is about respect for human worth and dignity regardless of a person‚s sexual orientation. It may be a hard philosophical question to account for the notions of human worth, dignity, and autonomy. But it is not hard to see that societies which do not place human worth above and beyond sexual orientation tend to be more repressive and intolerant and totalitarian. However, the point here is that [anyone] is fully entitled to articulate his opinion. Simply because some people may dislike his statements can hardly be a ground for censorship.

IDEAS
God’s Earth and man’s destiny

... in Kubrik's ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’
Alireza Lalehzadeh

What is suggestive in 2001: A Space Odyssey is that scientific progress in and of itself does not curb the human tendency toward destruction and that we impart our innate and untamed violent tendencies to our own technological creations, as sophisticated as they may be. In the film, the ape-man throws the bone into the air and in one associative cut, the bone turns into a space vehicle “Discovery”, suggesting that the human evolutionary progress advances through technological development.

ART
Comfortable couch

Paintings
Hamed Sahihi

IDENTITY
Persian, Iranian or other?

I let down my guard, threw away my defenses and just said it: I am Iranian. Period.
Maryam Khosharay

Having recently returned to the United States, namely the county’s capital, the obsession with ethnicity has unmasked itself yet again. Rather than asking about my origins as a means of opening the door to an enlightened conversation, I am yet again in the witness box, being sized. Despite this, I keep my head up high.  I  look into the eyes of those who wonder what the far away land holds, not understanding how I can be so American, and yet simultaneously so Iranian.   I look at them knowing that the values I have from both cultures make  me who I am. The blend of east and west, berenj and burgers, coca cola and dogh-they intermingle to form  he Iranian-American. Another character in the world play.

POLITICS
Kabineye Emam Zaman

Ahmadinjead's divine cabinet
Massoud Noghrekar

AMERICA
Try to catch the wind

We are seeing the perfect storm that libertarians and anarchists alike have warned us about for generations: the unholy merger of the ueberstate and corporate hegemony
Daniel Patrick Welch

At first, our foreign friends and contacts, stunned by the election debacle of 2000 and wary of warmonger Bush, seemed quite happy to have met and befriended members of the American "left." A sort of camaraderie developed as we commiserated over the decline of critical thought and the alarming state of what passes for debate on the U.S. political spectrum. Horrified by the runup to war, foreigners working far from home felt a certain comfort in knowing that not all Americans shared the President's bloodlust; the comfort, of course, was mutual. Then, as things didn't get better, and in fact worsened with the 2004 election, these friends one by one sailed for safer seas. After all, they were on contract; they didn't have family and cultural ties, and so were free to flee in horror and revulsion from what they saw America becoming.

OPINION
Defending Hassan

We should somehow turn the other cheek when others raise their hands against us
Ramin Shomali

Like many other young Iranians, I was absolutely appalled and angered when alerted a couple of days ago to a video showing a young, slightly built and visibly shaken 17-year-old Hassan Rahgozar being set about by a group of filthy cowards in his school bathroom. I typed his name into a search engine and read about the incident in the San Francisco Bay area, which apparently gained alot of media attention on the West Coast in mid-May of this year. What made me even more angry was the lengths his school, the reporting journalists and the Hercules Police Department went to dismiss any notion that the attack was racially motivated or a hate crime despite assertions from the boy and his family that he had undergone constant intimidation and insults such as 'Saddam Hussein', 'Bin Laden' and 'Taleban' at the school.

OPINION
Iraq's big day

The constitution is a sign of civilization
Iqbal Latif

Constitution is the sign of a matured nation and a rationally affluent civilization. Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari, after casting one of the first ballots in Baghdad, called Iraq's constitutional vote as 'early' sign of civilization. A country that gave the world the meaning of a 'constitutional code' and was definitely a primary source of constitutional precedent in the 21st century is rediscovering its bond to the basic 'code of living.' It was here in Iraq that a seed structure was established which defined the essential relationship between the ruled and the rulers of mankind.

GIVING
Not enough

Is it really sufficient to give what we could spare?
Zohreh Khazai Ghahremani

I try not to think of God’s power and how easy it would be for Him to heal the survivors and provide them with comfort. It isn’t my place to question disasters and why a Muslim nation, in a town called Islamabad and during the month of Ramadan had to endure such a tragedy. Besides, each time I’ve asked such questions in the past, I heard the same old answer, “It’s a test!” Nonreligious as I may be, I have too much respect to say anything that could be misconstrued as “Kofr.” I tell myself there has to be a better place beyond this life, that’s why God takes the good, the poor and needy so fast and in such astronomical numbers. Then again, maybe this is a test. Maybe God wants to see how far we would go to help our own kind.

NUCLEAR
No need for nuclear weapons

Who is the enemy that might be deterred by Iran's nuclear weapons?
Kaveh L. Afrasiabi

Mr. Mirfendereski's error lies in his erroneous calculation of Iran's national security needs, which do not warrant the acquisition of nuclear weapons contrary to his assertions. For one thing, with the threat of Iraq's WMD gone, and given the action-reaction logic of proliferation, what need does Iran have to nuclear weapons? To protect against whom? Who is the enemy that might be deterred by Iran's nuclear weapons? Certainly not any of Iran's immediate neighbors, either in Persian Gulf region or the Caspian basin. In fact, Iran's proliferation of nuclear weapons, if it ever occurs, is precisely what would potentially escalate the regional arms race, prompting the Arab world to emulate Iran, and thus causing serious new national security worries for Iran.

OPINION
Trouble in paradise

Iran-Syria relations
Meir Javedanfar

Despite the positive improvements in economic relations, the political relationship between Iran and Syria is facing problems. According to unconfirmed reports, Iran has expressed its acute displeasure with the Syrians for not doing more to convince the insurgents who enter Iraq through Syrian territory not to attack Iraqi Shiites. This problem has become more acute recently as more and more Iraqi Shiites who are Iran’s allies are getting slaughtered in attacks by insurgents themselves or by insurgent supported Sunni Baathists. Such attacks pose a direct political and military threat to Iran’s interests. So far Iran’s pleas in Damascus have fallen on deaf ears.

DEMOCRACY
Reckless Democracy

You see, we have been conditioned to think that tyranny can come only from government
Ross Pourzal

In a nutshell, the problem is that aggression and freedom are defined too narrowly by folks who benefit from the silent violence in "free market" democracy. With the Pentagon and the CIA having as much brain power per square foot as any top-notch university, it is easy to see that the greatest purveyors of violence worldwide are highly educated. Universities, too, are depended upon by the global enforcers for the nonstop R&D that supplies ever better killing machines (aka "defense technologies").

LIFE
Too late

I brushed my cynicism aside to listen more closely to my father's conversation. He was talking about haftehs, chellehs. Shit, someone has died.
Nazy Madani

It was a Saturday night and I was getting ready for dinner with Sean, a famous plastic surgeon's son whom I had met on the beach a few weeks ago. I was trying to decide what dress to wear when I heard my dad's voice rising from downstairs. He was on the phone with his sister, my Ameh Shoku, who is constantly asking my dad for money, valuable American dollars that inevitably go up in smoke thanks to her tariyaki husband.

INTERNET
Ertebaat beyne liberalhaa

Welcome to IranLiberal.com
Hassan Behgar

CLIPS
Omid's greatest hits

Video clips: Omid Djalili does stand up on HBO
Jahanshah Javid

MUSIC
Far from Baba Karam

"127" band brings it to the U.S. East Coast
Nima Berkeley

Picture watching a band fresh from Tehran, playing a fusion of rock and jazz, with lyrics in English- this is not your usual Tuesday night in Cambridge, Massachusetts.  In fact, this is not usual anywhere in the world and the drive of this band to share their sound was appreciated by all those who attended.  Glancing around the space, one could find a gathering of Iranians, Iranian Americans, American Americans, French, German, Dutch, Spanish Chinese Iranians Americans,  Iranian Argentinean Italian Senegalese Americans and every other concoction of human race and nation that you can slap together for an evening to hear Band 127. 

KURDISTAN
Separation not the solution

Our problems are symptomatic of our entire region and they don't necessarily go away with a new Kurdistan
Matt Bina

The Idea of a free Kurdistan is not new and has been kicked around even under the Shah and Saddam's regime, which were not Islamic states. In addition to Iran and Iraq there is the Turkey's Kurds that want their independence as well. The task of convincing the people of these countries to allow a separate country is very unlikely. These nations all believe that, even though their beliefs might collide and become opposite of one another at times, they can't allow such differences play such an important role in the loss and separation of a part of their perspective nations.

LETTERS
Act of desperation

As an American I can tell you that we love peace. Many Iranians live here in America and still want to be Iranian? Move back to Iran, they will consider you traitors for leaving. The revolution in Iran pushed the country back 1,000 years. I read allot of what the Mullahs say in the press I have to ask. " Where do they get this crap from ? Do they pull it out of their ass? They must be closet faggots because of their hatred of women. American's really love our country and it shows and the rest of the world hates us for it. America is by no means perfect but it is the best thing going on this planet. Where Else could an Iranian Immigrant come here with next to nothing and become wealthy? many have done it. I as a native born American say...... More power to them. >>>Full text

 

NOVEL
Yad e Saghpichook

Chapter 10
Homayoun Abghari

ART
Romeos & warriors

Paintings & drawings
Anahita Vossoughi

LETTERS
Folk etymology

On Guive Mirfendereski's "Beyond far and good":
I have a few problems with Mr. Mirfenderski's etymologies and I think they border "folk etymology", which is not a good thing to pursue. I also would like to ask Mr. Mirfendereski to kindly provide some sources for the etymologies. To start, I would like to ask Mr. Mirfendereski to clarify the term "Old Aryan" in the first line of the third paragraph. Is this refering to the pre-Sanskrit stage of the Indo-Iranian language group, or is Mr. Mirfendereski following the 100 years old belief that all Indo-European languages came from Sanskrit and thus are "Aryan" languages? If the second is the case, I would plead with you to update your information >>>Full text

 

SATIRE
Birdman of al-Qaeda

He is called as Father of Aviation because he was the first man who thought of using infected birds to inflict casualties on the enemies
Farrokh A. Ashtiani

Abu Tayyar’s plan is to equip the martyr pigeons with the Avian Flu virus found and collected abundantly in any copycat Kentucky Dried Chicken in Tehran and then to bringing them on-board the oil tankers heading to the ports at major cities of the world where they will let the pigeons lose to fly away. These birds will fly around and circle the cities and when the nature calls, they will drop their deposits on innocent people’s latest automobiles, on roof of the building and on trees causing rapid spread of the virus and the deadly disease. The Department of Homeland Security has called this “the dastardly act of using CMD against civilized nations.” CMD stands for Chickens of Mass Destruction.

SANCTIONS
Tanz-e tahrim-e eqtesaadi

The IRI does not look forward to economic sanctions
Khodayar Afam

MUSIC
Fan pleaser

Googoosh's new album
Pullniro

"Manifest", the much anticipated Googoosh album was released as promised on the auspicious occasion of opening night of her world tour on September 17th, 2005 and it did not disappoint her fans at all. In fact its music and arrangements went far beyond the expectations of Googoosh fans. Mehrdad really did a wonderful job in this album and Shahyar was also at his best in almost all the songs but in my opinion what makes these songs so spectacular is Googoosh's brilliant performance and her presence in each and every moment of the album.

TRAVELERS
Celebration of life

Photo essay: Our adventure to Italy
Nooshin and Aram Basseri

RIGHTS
Man faghat yek koodak boodam

I was only a child. A Jewish child.
Javid Kahen

IDENTITY
Opening a closed society

A forced Islamic identity creates a profound confusion to distinguish the real Iranian identity from the forged one
Jahanshah Rashidian

A great number of young Iranians in Iran, despite all restrictions, thanks to the Internet, satellite and other possibilities, develop their self-identity and evolve intact and non-stereotyped elements of the Iranian culture in accordance with a world of diversity and with a more satisfying understanding of the dynamism of their self. The Iranian immigrant communities and their second generation growing up in two complementary cultures, having the advantage of tow sides and the pride and consciousness of their Iranian descent, can interact by giving their young compatriots input  to redefine a new Iranian identity.

LANGUAGE
Latin Persian

Writing Persian using Latin alphabet
Bijan Bakhshi

For the majority it is still easier and more practical to use Latin as the medium to write Persian computer messages. For the purpose of consistency and better communication between fellow Persian speakers, I suggest the following convention for writing Persian using the Latin alphabet. This document is probably not the first of its kind; it is also not yet comprehensive. It does not attempt to teach the Persian or English grammar and simply refers to some of the rules. The examples given are biased towards the Persian which is spoken in Iran. It is however applicable to Persian spoken in Afghanistan, Tajikistan and elsewhere.

IRAN
Hope for a miracle

Reflections on a recent visit to Iran
Rostam Azadi

The foundation of Iranian culture and identity is under a mounting threat of complete devastation. Iranian society with its many diverse ethnicities, which has endured pounding by various waves of external adversaries in the past several millennia, has now a real chance of collapsing due to its ever shrinking ethical foundation. This danger does not only apply to the dire economic situation which has always existed in Iran, but also to how Iranians view and regard themselves. The predicament must first be fully acknowledged before any remedy can be pursued, otherwise the danger of remaining aloof for much longer may undeniably prove to be very costly.

ANALYSIS
The gathering storm

Here comes Hurricane Ahmadinejad
Masoud Kazemzadeh

Ahmadinejad has named a cabinet packed with members of the most extreme wing of the hard-line faction known as "Young Conservatives." Like himself, they are in their 40s and 50s and are true-believers who risked life and limb in the 1980s in the war against Iraq as well as in the violent struggle against domestic opposition. They rose to positions of power not because of connection to clerics but because of their services in the intelligence and military agencies, a service marked by extreme violence and brutality.

LIFE
Azam's Fatwa

Viagra is not the solution
Azam Nemati

It does not take Einstein to figure that these younger women (while waiting to get their green cards, have breast implants, nose jobs and perhaps learn English) would be really happy just to be married to Mr. Engineer who has a nice car and a house and go to grocery stores to buy ton of food and not worry about the cost and get to wear the nice clothes (which he chooses and buys for her) to show off to other mail order brides. I can always tell when I meet them for the first time because they look with such curiosity when they are introduced to me and I catch their eyes scanning me from   head to toe because they find independent women fascinating and unreal at the same time. They usually ask about my clothes, jewelry and make up and when I mention my son their eyes roll because I guess I do not look like a mom.

FICTION
Winning your high, failing your exam

Short story
Maziar Shirazi

When the review lecture ended, Nicholas knew that he would be playing catch-up for the rest of the semester; he was going to bomb the first exam. There was nothing he could do about it. Experience had taught him that there was simply no way that he could master the information he had blown off for a month in the fourteen hours before testing began; on top of it being impossible to retain all those facts and concepts, he still had to get some sleep and go to his morning calculus recitation. Outside it was a warm and breezy evening. Girls were still walking around with spaghetti strap tops and shoes that showed off their pedicures, and their laughter was still audible and uncontained, like it was during the beginning of the summer.

CAN DO
Pink strike

Building a peaceful non-violent national strike
Ali Mostofi

The silent majority of Iran derives its Spirit from peaceful ways. We are sons and daughters of Zoroaster and Cyrus the Great. We do not need to create uncivilized change. We can create a change in which all Iranians can live with each other. The next time you speak to an armed Islamist tell him or her, why are you carrying that gun? Tell them we do not want to harm you. We want peaceful change. Tell him that your guns cannot get us out our houses, to make bread for you. "What are you going to do? You cannot fight 60 million loved ones! So listen to us." It is really quite simple. All human societies have used this method, and it does not take a genius to accept it. But we are still finding people who will go out and create little resistances and die in opposition.

ART
Love on paper

Greeting cards
Sadaf Kiani

PHOTOGRAPHY
Fun fair

Photo essay: Canadian National Exhibition
Nader Davoodi

LANUGUAGE
Beyond far and good

Faraatar & behtar
Guive Mirfendereski

The English word “far” derives from the Original Teutonic (German) root fer, which in Old Aryan was per and in Sanskrit appeared as paras, meaning distant or beyond. In Darius the Great’s time the word para also meant (away from or beyond). Hence we read in his inscriptions [DPh, DNa] about his empire stretching from para Sugda (beyond Sogdia) and about his subjects the Saka para draya (Scythians beyond sea). The sounds vara and bara both represent variants of para in the pre-Islamic Persian languages.

LIFE
Scent of a name

Who could imagine a granddaughter whose name would mean nothing? Then again, the name now means light, joy and hope all at once
Zohreh Khazai Ghahremani

It took some time to adjust to the name, Bill. Beell? What kind of parents would name their son 'Shovel?'  But she no longer makes that association. To her, Bill is now a pair of blue eyes that greets her in the morning, the tall figure that carries her only grandchild on his shoulders and a soft voice with a funny accent, calling her “Madar-joon.” She likes this more than Haj-Khanoom, a title she had earned after her holy pilgrimage. No one here seems to care about a pilgrimage to Mecca. Sometimes she feels guilty as she doubts if even she cares herself! It feels as if she is living a borrowed life and none of her old values matter.

RIGHTS
Writing out terror

I write to record those lives and these tears
Hammed Shahidian

This nightmare produces a collage in my mind—memories lose their chronological order.  Was Jame‘eh banned before Iranian News?  So many names, so many.  How can they be redeemed in our historical memory as other than yet-other-examples in the bleak record of the ruling Islamists?  The more I try to maintain an order of events, the more I flounder.  Names get mixed up, dates mingle.  So many detentions, then releases, then detentions again.  So many suspensions, then temporarily permissions to reappear, then suspensions again.  An author in Tehran, many others in provincial cities.  A magazine in a metropolitan city, many more in Tehran.  So widespread this suppression that its volume becomes a factor in assessing its form and content.  Names re- and recur, becoming “just another name” beside their own names.  Yet memory must honor those silenced by terror, I tell myself.  They must be remembered.

THINKER
Man of the enlightenment

Hammed Shahidian, 1959-2005
Yassamine Mather

I first met Hammed in February of 1985 in Boston, when he was studying for  Ph.D at Brandeis University. The title of his thesis was: The Woman Question in the Iranian Revolution of 1978-1979. I was on a visit to all branches of the supporter groups of the leftist Fedayin Minority, trying to explain a series of dreadful events in the Kurdistan Branch of this organisation.This was the start of a friendship that lasted until his premature death. Throughout these 20 years, it appeared as if whatever political turn I took, whatever mistake I made, Hammed was with me. I am not sure if this was a form of political allegiance or because he didn't want to end a lifelong friendship.

MEMOIR
Nuclear dreams

The late shah of Iran's attempt to obtain access to the nuclear technology and knowhow
Abolfath Mahvi

RIGHTS
Deeg beh deeg...

Torture under the Shah and the Islamic Republic
Massoud Noghrekar

PEOPLE
Liberal -- to a degree

As a child of the revolution, who remembers little of the years preceding and following 1979, I am stunned by how deep the teeth of theocracy has sunk into the Iranian psyche
Ramtin

While visiting family during a trip to Qom I decided to strike up a serious conversation with two cousins of mine; both of whom are in their mid 30's. My male cousin, Hassan, is an ex-communist who returned from studying in the United States to join the revolutionary fight in 1979. My other cousin, Shiva, is a painter who studies yoga and takes her two teenage children to daily English lessons with the hopes of one day securing them a "Western" education. Needless to say, neither of them would be considered "conservative" or "religious" in any sense. But in a matter of moments I would find out that religiosity and personal philosophy are complicated matters in contemporary Iran.

HISTORY
Persian passion

If motion and emotion were the only yardsticks to measure art by, then a painting of “Dogs playing poker“ would be superior to the Mona Lisa
Manesh

Jonathan Jones’ review of the Ancient Persian exhibit at the British Museum is a bit  bizarre, to say the least.   How is it that an art critic goes to look at some  (very) ancient Persian relics at a museum, and comes out lecturing about modern “Western political theory”?  I think what he is saying is quite interesting to Persians.  If you understand his central point, which has little to do with art, archeology, or history, you’ll start to see why Persia has been treated like the Rodney Dangerfield of world civilizations: no respect. His main point is to reassert Persia’s role in Western civilization as the original “evil empire”. 

ARTS
The Angels are worried

Mixed media
Parima Shahin Moghadam

NOVEL
Yad e Saghpichook

Chapter 9
Homayoun Abghari

IDEAS
Democracy is overrated

The authoritarian development state
Arash Seyedi

There are few who would refute the claim that the Japanese model of modernisation has been one of the greatest miracles of the 20 th century. Any system that could achieve in two generations what Europe did in three hundred years is a powerful one and one that cannot be ignored. Many see Japan and the Asian Tigers as democratic nations but a brief look at their near history reveals that during their periods of high economic growth they were anything but.

SHORTS
Confessions of a depressed mind
shadow_of_grace@yahoo.com writes: I am living a tough life. I work hard to make ends meet. I have an unappreciative wife. I have debts to pay. I am taking refuge in reading books. Yesterday a friend was complaining about living a single life. I thought wait till you get into the married one.

The weather is getting cold which is depressing. Days are getting shorter and I like many miss the sun. In the old days, whenever I felt bad I used to call a buddy and chat for a few minutes. Today I noticed that I have no buddy. Maybe it's the North American isolating culture, may be it's the isolating wife who always finds something negative in anyone and everyone. May be it's me.

I am tired but bored. I am successful but failing. I am shining but rotten. I strive for change but am stock in mud. I am losing my religion. I am optimistic but hopeless, healthy but sick, smart but clueless.

They say whatever does not kill you makes you stronger. Ironically the longer we live the weaker we become. Leaving the home land, we sign losing the emotional support we are used to. There is no substitute, so we go on an emotional hunger strike. Sometimes we survive sometimes we lose.

First you lose love, then desire. Later it's the appetite, then sleep. Somewhere in the middle you lose touch. You wonder and wander but speak no evil. If you are smart enough, you'll learn to dumb yourself. At some point you have to stomach it, life is a bunch of long miserable sentences, separated by short periods of joy. Don't let them fool you. Don't fool yourself. The bottom line is negative. You give everything, achieve none.

OBSERVER
Entrenched stereotypes

The Middle Eastern artist: social responsibility in the Western context
Nikoo

Last week, I attended an event at the New School, New York, on Aperture's new exhibition, Nazar: Contemporary Photography in the Arab World. It was a panel discussion with Wouter Deruytter and Lalla A. Essaydi, both present to talk about their photography. The exhibition included many artists, but Deruytter and Essaydi were the only two speaking on this particular occasion. Their works and talks are not necessarily representative of the entire show or project, but they were extremely disappointing. Nazar was structured to include Western views on the Arab world and Arab views on the Arab world, two extremes, which, presented side by side, brought audiences no closer to an understanding of realities in the Arab world.

LIFE
Then his little body went limp

A week has now passed since our little boy's hernia operation and I am happy to say that it is as if none of us had experienced this ordeal
Siamack Salari

“Kouroshee what are you doing Baba jan?” I asked Kourosh (one of my two year old twins) was running, not walking, around the children’s ward trying to collect as many discarded toys as possible. He was wearing a nappy and an open backed operating theatre gown. His bare, downy haired, back looked so kissable every time he bent to pick something up. What had surprised everyone about Kourosh was that only 40 minutes before he had been under a surgeon’s knife. A 25 minute hernia operation which resulted in 2.5cm incision.

DIASPORA
Messages on Mehregan

50 more pictures from Mehregan celebration in Orange County
Sourena Mohammadi

HERITAGE
Bloghestaane Sa'di

Sa'di's blog entry about the Sivand Dam and the debate over preserving Iran's heritage
Gahrib Ghorbati

UNreal
Things you don't want to hear

Fantasy speech at the UN on the nuclear crisis
Guive Mirfendereski

Ladies and Gentlemen – The question that preoccupies most of you is if my country has designs to develop nuclear weapons. Whether Iran does or does not is not anyone’s business, philosophically. Call it “strategic ambiguity,” as does Israel when it is asked to verify if it has nuclear weapons. My country lost hundreds of thousands of its people to Saddam Hussein’s war-machine, which was aided and abetted by the Americans, French and other governments. That carnage shall not repeat. It will be a dereliction of duty on the part of any Iranian government – clerical or not – not to promote every means at its disposal to secure Iranian life, political independence and territorial integrity. In an international state of near-lawlessness, Mr. President, self-defense by any means – even the clandestine development of nuclear weapons – is no sin.

TRAVELERS
An American in Tehran

“Why did we have a revolution if we can’t ignore traffic lights?”
Jack Oakley

I was disoriented most of the ten days I spent in Tehran this July.  Although I have been with my Iranian wife and her family and friends for nine years, and seen their snapshots from before the revolution (1978), and studied Persian literature, architecture, carpets, and handicrafts, and we have translated the poetry of Omar Khayyam, I was unprepared for the taut, energetic, and yet warmly personal atmosphere. Tehran feels like a war zone, a chaos where rules are suspended, self-interest governs, and decent people carry on their lives as best they can.  My Russian piano teacher has described her childhood during the siege of Leningrad and life under Stalin.  It’s one thing to hear about and another to visit.  The ruling mafia started a war with Iraq just after the revolution and they have found methods for maintaining the atmosphere.  Anxiety and fear serve the purposes of certain governments, like the Chinese Cultural Revolution and the Bush War on Terror.

ARTS
Razzle dazzle

Jewelry
Parima Shahin Moghadam

IDEAS
Islam & democracy

A critique of Abdolkarim Soroush's recent lecture at the Sorbonne
Mahmoud Sadri

LIFE
The drink

The Iranian in me kicks in at the pub
Peyvand Khorsandi

Will asks for a pint. (I only offered out of politeness -- colleague from another floor; but fine -- he wants one, I’ll buy.) He thanks me and places the cold bottle of Holsten Pils under his jacket on the panel in front of which he stands, and I notice he’s already holding one, and it ain’t empty. We make polite chitchat. Sonia, his editor, arrives. “Like a drink?” he says. “Love one,” she replies. Will reaches behind himself and offers her the drink I have just bought him. Now, Will is a nice guy, like me, of sub-editor stock -- sub-editors tend to like each other. He impressed me some years back by knowing that many of Public Enemy’s lyrics were penned by Hank Shocklee and not Chuck D. But I never knew he’d have the power to shock me.

SHORTS
Far sea
Karim Sharif writes: While driving last night from my mom's to my place with my daughter, she suddenly said, "Dad we speak Farsi." She continued, "you know Far Sea, just like in far away sea." She is only 7 years old and I am 45 and I never thought of it like that. I guess we are all Iranians who speak Farsi and are Far from our Sea.

OPINION
Colonials and Indians

We can only hope that India's decision to openly side with the imperialists will make it even clearer what path the ruling classes are taking
Reza Fiyouzat

The era of wars without frontiers seems to be getting even more bizarre. The fact that the successive administrations of George W. Bush have stirred back to dominance recessive colonialist genes is a given. But, stranger mutations are taking place, too. It must be all the uranium dust that is flying around the globe; thanks to all the hundreds upon hundreds of tonnage of uranium-enriched munitions piercing Iraqi and Afghan life so perniciously that manufacturers are busting inventories and leaving the U.S. is in need of importing munitions from Israel. We are referring to the decision made by India to vote for the US-backed European-written edict to ‘refer’ the Iranian regime to the Security Council for not complying fully enough with the extortionist policies of the Western imperialists.

LIFE
The soccer player

Paying the debt owed to me
Guive Mirfendereski

The summer's warm embrace will be no more. I have picked the last of the blooming baby cucumbers off the yellowing vine, to pickle. The cold damp air soon will turn the foliage into the color of fire. The falling leaves will cover the lawn and the night will fall ever so earlier than the evening before. I have been to this place and time many a time -- and in different worlds, too -- but this autumn in my town it will be like no other.

FICTION
No U-turn

Short story
Zohreh Khazai Ghahremani

I hate looking back. Life is a one-way street and there’s no rear view mirror. We can only see those who travel by our side. If I looked back, there would be disaster. But, that photograph had turned my head around. What I had known all along and never dared to think now hit me in its reality. Patrick had been with me all along. He had followed me everywhere, his love a part of me, the thoughts of him in my every breath. “Can I keep this?” I asked.

LITERATURE
The man who saw double

From Gulistan-e Saadi
Translated Muhammad Nur Abdus Salam

MUSIC
Sacred night

Through the Seven Valleys of the Way with Dariush Dolat-shahi
Goudarz Eghtedari

I was 8 or 9 years old, in the mid '60s, when one night a large party brought the sounds of professional Tar to our house. My father was a bank manager in the remote town of Sirjan. Once in a while in roassa's doreh one could hear the Tar of Soleiman Khan, the mayor, the only tar player in town. In those days my dad had just purchased a Philips reel tape player and was very proud of his recording capabilities. He was famous for making a cover for everything and this humongous machine was no exception: a blue satin cover was made for it and sat in our mehmankhaneh. That night our guest was supposed to be a famous Tar player, who played for Iranian National Radio, the late Ustad Lotfollah Majd.

OPINION
Ham atom ham azadi

Demanding freedom & nuclear technology
Ramin Kamran

IRAN
Inspirational soul

Photo essay: There is tremendous goodness in Iran that has not gone away even with the daily struggles people face
Fariba Amini

NOVEL
Yad e Saghpichook

Chapter 8
Homayoun Abghari

POETRY
My real world imagined,
My imagined world real

I imagine the cold-blue waters of the Caspian
Tinkling into my neurons
Manoucher Parvin

POETRY
Hendeseh & Doustaan

Two poems
Anahid Hojjati

POETRY
The choice

Stand at the edge of reality the edge of truth
Niloofar Nafici

POETRY
"No" Orleans

All that jazz, so quiet tonight
Arash Zarei

POETRY
Metaphors in September

Poems dedicated to the victims of 9/11
Kaveh L. Afrasiabi

POETRY
The only beginning

They suffer but they wouldn't want to heal
Alaleh Alamir

POETRY
Hand painted dreams

Lost at the beginning of no-ways ahead
Farah Afshari

POETRY
Hasrati oghush

From a Tajik poet
Loiq Sherali

POETRY
Say yes and rule

In the name of democracy how they destruct nations
Malik Ashaq Raza

POETRY
Enteshaar

No one knows
Shahrokh Setoudeh Foumani

POETRY
To dear Farzad

Ali will remain on the mind of the sane...
Cyrus Zamani

POETRY
Persian Prince

Those gorgeous azure eyes I would never see again
Persian Princess

POETRY
Malcolm X

Robert Hayden's poem “Al Hajj Malik Al Shabbaz – Malcolm X”
Translated by Omid Ghaemmaghami

POETRY
My meeting with God

I'm silent but I'm nodding
Bahark Sedigh

COMMUNITY
Doing the right thing

Photo essay: Iranians in San Francisco Bay Area raise funds for Katrina victims
Talieh Shahrokhi

ART
Fractured world

Video clips: Iranians in San Jose art show
Jahanshah Javid

RIGHTS
Bahai setizi va tahrifaate taarikhi

My critique of a paper on the Bahai fatith
Seyed Alavi

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