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April 2006

THEATER
A long ago passion

To know more and more about the life and other works of the extraordinary Jean Genet
Nazanin Malekan

I have had the chance to get to know about the French writer, poet and politically active figure in my country about 6 years ago, when I actually tried to play the role of "Madam" from "The Maids-Les Bonnes" at one of Tehran's City Hall , one of the capital's major cultural centers, to no avail... The story began when a director friend of mine and I , tried figuring out and converting the one and only available Persian text of the play into a rather more theatrical version, with all due respect to the translator at the time. We, along with two other actresses then began to rehears the play for about 6 months. At that time, it would have been the first group to have ever thought about putting up this amazing, yet complex absurd on the stage in Iran.

SHORTS
Catch phrase of the day

Guive Mirfendereski

Whether it is the influence of climate or political restraint that a power structure imposes on societal communication, a civilization as old as Iran's tends to reduce its operational imperatives into short, concise and meaningful sayings. The wisdom of an entire ocean is produced in an ice cube of proverbs and sayings. This economy of expression, allows parents and grandparents to raise their children in reference to anecdotes and proverbs, with very little need for prolonged disquisition or persuasive talk about values and morals. In the aftermath of the Khamenei's recent warning to harm Amercian interests if attacked, the Resolute Nation might as well adopt the catchy school yard bravado "har keh baa maa dar oftaad, var oftaad." It is the Irani equivalent of "Don't mess with Texas," which underwrites so much of George Bush's equally comical and hollow swagger.

ART

Soft touch

Paintings
Bahram Dabiri

SHORTS
To debate or not to debate

Tina Ehrami, The Netherlands

I believe that this planet contains two types of people: people who talk and people who listen. I myself belong to that last group of people who rather lay back, let the eloquent and sometimes not so eloquent people say their say and in the end reply with only two sentences, usually leaving a short silence. Iranians can also be categorized into talkers and listeners.  Unfortunately there is no balance between the people who talk and the people who listen. There are far more people who talk, than there are people who listen, to begin with. Not only do the talkers exceed in amount, they also have the problem that within their own category of talkers there are none who even try the listening part... When these Iranian talkers start on this subject ("what to do with Iran?"), they tend to forget the minority called listeners and so only face other talkers and start their debate.  In a very short span of time the talkers turn heated, red, loud, intimidating and sweaty. The next thing that happens is that they forget that they are humans facing other humans and start assaulting each other, forgetting the importance of the discussed subject.

SHORTS
The reason why you're Persian

Slater Bakhtavar

'People only say they're Persian because they're afraid of saying they're Iranian' is a common place quote used by many non-Iranians unaware of Iranian history and culture, but unfortunately it's also used by Iranians themselves. I hope the following educates people on the historical justifications behind using both Persian in conjunction with Iranian as ones ethnic/national background. Iranian is a nationality, but Persian is an mostly used as an ethnicity. In fact, Persian is one of many ethnicities in Iran. Here's a breakdown of Iran's ethnic groups: Persian 51%, Azeri 24%, Gilaki and Mazandarani 8%, Kurd 7%, Arab 3%, Lur 2%, Baloch 2%, Turkmen 2%, other 1%. Hence, ethnically 51% of Iranians are Persian. Much like how 75-80% of Iraqis are ethnic Arabs and 15-20% are ethnic Kurds. It's interesting how we hear Arab this and Kurd that, but when Persian is used people some including many Iranians have an issue.

MUSIC
Pouyan Abdoli

"Haft Nava" & "Soloye Ajaba"
Latest MP3s

SECURITY COUNCIL
Don't aim at people

The international community is set to punish whom – the Iranian regime or Iranian people?
Hossein Bagher Zadeh

The stage is set for a showdown between the western powers and the Islamic Republic of Iran (IRI). The leaders of the IRI have made sure by their rhetoric in the last few days that the report by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to the UN Security Council will be negative and give enough ammunition to western governments to call for action by the Council. At the same time, the talk of American military action against Iran has been intensified, apparently as a means by Americans to pressure reluctant China and Russia into toeing the line. The question is: what action the Security Council will possibly take and how may that affect the behaviour of the Iranian regime?

POETRY
In his memory

Forlorn backgammon in the heat...
Laleh Khalili

LETTERS
I apologize

On Mina Hakim-Bastanian's "Sad & shameful": I am writing to you , as an Iranian woman who is born to a Muslim family, to tell you that i agree with you and sincerely apologize to you or any other Iranian minority who has been subjected to discrimination by their ignorant fellow Iranians. I for one, had Jewish classmates back in Iran who are still my friends to this day and never looked at them or treated them any different than my other friends. In fact, our religions has never been an issue between us, we were little girls from the same neighborhoods and same town. It is true that not every one was like me, but i am sure and hopeful that many were. I apologize again and strongly believe that the majority in Iran owes the minorities a long delayed apology for these cruel behaviors and lack of understanding. I wish you and other minorities could forgive those who had done wrong by you for there are many more Iranians who would love you just for being Iranian, no matter what your ethnicity or religious background may be >>> More

 

OIL
Dubya looking like a big ‘L’

Without dealing with the Mullahs, history will judge George Bush’s work as unfinished
Jalil Bahar

We all know he is a government stooge for big oil... and has been ‘cornering Iran’ mainly as a ploy to drive up oil prices. It’s all too reminiscent of the nonsense we all went through in the ‘70s when they were blaming Arabs or the Shah of Iran for pushing up oil prices. Western politicians shrewdly deflected the heat from themselves while their economies were tanking. They then quietly set the stage for exploiting ‘expensive to mine’ oil fields in Britain’s North Sea and Alaska. And then, they cut the Shah off at his knees when their oil fields came on line... and shut off Iran’s production. It was a convenient solution for a number of years to maintain prices at the correct levels for pumping oil out of those expensive fields.

SHORTS
The circle

Hooman Golshan

you sometimes know that you are doomed... you know it all too well.. at that time, death becomes your best friend... he ends your pain... he takes your hand, and guides you through the darkness... he becomes your light... you become companions... you make your way through the uncharted territory... at that point, fianlly all your questions are answered.... all those years of worrying, shivering, shaking.... it was all for nothing.... alas... you keep walking... you finally break through the barrier... there you are at last... the finish line... and now you get to do it all over again... for that finish line is only a new starting point... the circle of life continues...

PHOTOGRAPHY

Sweet dreams

Photo essay: Life in the Alamut region
Jafar Nasiri Shahraki

TRAVELERS
Biaow

Outsight and inside out, Part 3: A travelogue on an outer and the inner landscape
Vida Kashizadeh

Those were important days within the two years of my life when aged 9 and 10. For one I believed I could speak to cats and so I could. There were about seven young and ugly cats around the house in the garden that would react to everything I said while meaning it (in Iran most cats don’t belong to anyone; they hover around on the walls and gardens and get fed by various neighbours who happen to be in their territories). I can’t remember holding the cats and as for touching, I remember only one or two scenes of having stroked a couple of them who had made it clear that they wanted me to touch them. They were not used to being stroked as house pets do and were usually in the back of the garden.

MUSIC
Prynce P

"Workem Back", "Unforgettble Ni8" and more
Latest tracks & sample MP3s

Founded in 2001 by featured artist and CEO Prynce P, Pohectic Life Records is a Dallas TX independent hip hop label. Consisting of 6 artists ranging from vocal hip hop to production, Prynce P, CO2, Charmz, Crunkie, Sha Meezy & Antimeini combine dynamic sounds and skillz of old-school hip hop with the new school twist. Their upcoming album entitled [Pohectic-The 2nd Chapter] is due to be released August of 2006. They have been working three solid years on this compilation and have recently collaborated with two of the biggest Dallas rappers to ever come out of their town to drop two 16 bar verses [Mr. Pookie and Lucci of Crawl 2 Ball Records] who just signed a deal with Universal.

HERITAGE
Goddess of the sea

Persians and pearls
Ramona Shashaani

Since time immemorial, people have been enchanted by pearls and shells of the mollusks which produce them. As the oldest known organic gem in human history, the story of the pearl is replete with rich symbolism, mythical and alchemical significance as well as love. For thousands of years, pearls have been a cherished symbol of love, purity, beauty, nobility, wisdom, and wealth. Pearls and Persians have enjoyed a timeless tied history together. Indeed, archeological discoveries of ancient sculptures and coins suggest that the Persian Gulf contained the world's oldest, largest and rarest pearl beds ever known. No place else did pearl oysters grow more pearls with such high quality and radiance. Nowhere else was it possible for pearl divers to dive more places than in the relatively warm shallow waters of the Persian Gulf, sprinkled with its many fresh water springs. In fact, this unique mixture of sweet and saltwater surrounding what is now Bahrain, is one of the secrets behind the special luster and brilliance of the Gulf pearls. With the coming together of the opposites literally, the most beautiful natural glowing pearl is born.

SHORTS
Nuke those t-shirts

Golbarg Bashi

An American online company named “CafePress” has now on sale items as varied as t-shirts, teddy bears, baby clothes, underwear, stamps, caps etc with a "NUKE ‘EM" logo with an atomic mushroom cloud on a map of Iran. Their new “logo” not only trivialises human death and destruction, but helps shift public opinion towards an ipso facto dehumanisation of non-American life, especially that of the people in the Middle East and of Muslims among young Americans. It is also a dishonour to all victims of nuclear arms, the millions perished in Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Vietnam, Halabcha and Falluja. I feel utterly sad and almost sick to my stomach that I had to write to a American company in 21st century, a company in a country, which wishes to export its “democratic” ideals with cluster bombs around the globe, to tell them that ‘Nuking’ Iran, or any other nation is not a joking matter, but a murderous and inhumane act. I believe that it should be illegal to trivialise human life (whether it is the Twin Tower victims in NYC or innocent Iranian and Iraqi lives) and glorify mass destruction.

SHORTS
Hey, how about energy-e bi hasteh?

Sima Nahan

Did you see this funny ditty in the Letters section? "Energy-e haste-i poonsad toman baste-i // Energy-e bi hasteh hezar toman yek basteh". After a good laugh and a round of forwards to friends (thanks to N. Shafiei) I decided to finally write what's been particularly bothering me about this Iran nukes debate. While there is lots of talk about nuclear energy/weapons being or not being our haqq-e mosallam, we are losing sight of a fundamental point: Nuclear energy is dangerous and unnecessary. What in the world happened to all the consciousness that was raised about this decades ago? Has everybody forgotten Three-Mile Island? Chernobyl? Right after the catastrophic event at Chernobyl I was in Iran. I remember how people complained that the butter and cheese that Iran imported from Scandinavian countries were the rejects produced by irradiated Scandinavian cows-fall-out from Chernobyl. That is, people in Iran were actually aware that a nuclear disaster has far-reaching tragic consequences. Now these same people are so duped that their national pride is invested in such a potentially devastating enterprise as developing nuclear power plants?

ART

Animal Farm

Paintings
Shohre Sheibani

SHORTS
What’s it like to be an Iranian-American teen?

Haleh

I remember punching Jerry Anderson in the eye after he called me a hostage-taker.  I was ten.  That was back then.  I was an eye-rain-ian to him and I learned early that it was safest to blend in.  As a teenager, I did what comes naturally to most teens, whatever their heritage – I tried to fit in. That’s when I began to write ... Today, the media bombards us with same tired images of Iran.  Our best and freshest comeback must come from the mouths of our youth.  Hip, witty, fresh, and real. Here’s our call to all Iranian-American youth to throw their own images back at the world, through text, sound, and photographs.  One Day, a multi-media project for Iranian and Iranian-American youth, through the Center for Art and Public Life at California College of the Arts offers: >>>

WOMEN
Zanaan dar varzeshgaah

Allowing women into football stadiums? Big deal!
Shadi Amin

MINORITIES
I don’t know, therefore it does not exist!

Maybe I am too optimistic in hoping that almost thirty years of residence in a free, democratic country should teach anyone some tolerance and respect for personal freedoms?
Mohammad R. Jahan-Parvar

Reading Ms. Nemati's article ("Unworthy Iranians") was a surreal experience. Ms. Nemati wants us to believe that she is supposedly open-minded and progressive (what ever that word means) by calling herself "I am the most liberal Iranian I know (I am pro choice, pro gay marriage and adoption and having the right to make fun of religion and God)" and yet, turns around and lodges charges ranging from treason to paranoia without a shred of hard evidence on several hundred thousand people. The article gets more interesting as we read further. Ms. Nemati is "the supreme arbiter" of wrong and right. Hence if she does not see or know about an injustice, it does not exist. This seems a strange criterion to establish the “truth” about justice.

MINORITIES
Your little psychological misfortunes

I could write a book several hundred pages long about Iranians who have used us so called "non-minorities" and our compassion yet once they were done they turned out to be not even Iranians
Azam Nemati

I had prepared myself for getting nasty e-mails which I would have not answered but I am overwhelmed at how many supportive e-mails I have received and am truly amazed and in disbelief that so many Iranians share my sentiments. Many have had a great exposure to the minorities who thought they are better than Muslims or they did not consider themselves Iranians. It is for them that I decided to write a follow up... To clear any misconception for these cowards who think I wrote "Unworthy Iranians" based on my interaction with a few, let's finalize the subject of minorities which like a sour show up periodically at the site, once and for all. I will give you a bit more details so you can see that I am the most qualified Iranian to "judge" and express opinion.

MUSIC
Jamshid

Tracks from latest album "Faribaaneh"
Azam Nemati

I had liked this young artist's voice so much I had bought both his albums. However, recently, he attended one of our parties as a guest and I was very impressed at how professional, extremely polite and sweet this artist was. He graciously offered to send me his latest album -- "Faribaaneh" -- to listen to but I declined and asked for his website which I visited and loved the sample track I heard.

U.S.-IRAN
Don't go there

Iranian-American community's majority opinion is opposed to any military action against Iran
David Rahni

Recent developing speculation about US military intervention in, or sanction against Iran has created a heated debate worldwide. One community that finds itself caught in a unique dilemma is the estimated one million Americans of Iranian descent. While this community feels strong allegiance to the US, and whereas they have contributed substantially to the advancement of the economic and social infrastructures of the US, they, nonetheless, feel strongly connected to their ancestor's land where many still have extended family and cultural ties.  

TRAVELERS

The old man and the sea

Photo essay: Bandar Lengeh
Fatemeh Farajmandi

LETTERS
Little dictators

On Kamal Artin's "Natural right": I see that you are really interested in a free Kurdistan. I personally believe that freedom is probably the most valuable human right and must be respected, no matter what. Freedom of course consists of freedom to choose your faith, your land, your leaders, and of course practice all your personal options without constraints... However within that Kurdish territory it is almost certain to have other minorities, such as Arabs, Farsi speakers, Turks etc. Would the Kurdish majority respect the same rights of those minority groups, or they would say "this is our land and we do as we please!" or "we are all Kurds and everybody living here must abide by Kurdish rules and customs." You see, we are alike. The only difference has been the historical tragedy of the Kurdish to be quite few in numbers living in mountainous lands >>> More

 

MIDDLE EAST
No to nuclear weapons! No to nuclear hypocrisy!

Not only Iraq, but also Iran, Syria, and even to some extent the Saudi regime are on the U.S. hit list
Mahmood Ketabchi

In its conflict with Iran, the Bush administration is increasing its war-mongering rhetoric and war preparations in a way that is disturbingly reminiscent of the US pre-invasion policies and practices towards Iraq. As the US government pushes to end Iran's nuclear activity, the Bush administration is shamelessly threatening Iran with a nuclear attack. It is no surprise, yet it only demonstrates the kind of world that America has in store for us. Although an invasion of Iran, similar to Iraq, seems implausible, the US government is working frantically to impose economic sanctions and/or launch a military assault on Iran. The US threats toward Iran have little to do with Iran's nuclear program Iran's nuclear activity is only an excuse to increase hostility with Iran and prepare the ground for possible military attacks on Iran.

REMINDER
Iran is not Iraq

Quick lessons in geography, language and culture
Parviz Forghani

The other day I was watching "Family Feud" on TV. One of the questions was: which country would hate America most? The third or forth option was Iran. To me as an Iranian it sounds an absurd perception. If there is one country in the Middle East whose people still honor and salute America, it's Iran. We should be careful not to mistake Iran with Iraq. The difference between the two countries is much more than the only obvious difference between the last letters "N" and "Q" in pronunciation of the names. Here are only some of them: Iraqis are mostly Arabs, Iranians are not. They are a rainbow nation of Persians, Kurds, Azeries, Turkmens, Lurs, Baluchis, and some Arabs who have coexisted peacefully for thousands of years.

NUCLEAR
Why the world is skeptical

Four cruel remarks to the leaders of the country which recently enriched uranium
Kamran Behnia

Research shows that between 1997 and 2001, the scientists affiliated to the Iranian scientific institutions produced 0.13 percent of the articles and 0.06 percent of the citations of the world scientific literature. Recall that Iran hosts one percent of the world population. In other words, while one out of hundred inhabitants of Earth are Iranian, only one article out of seven hundred and one citation out of thousand six hundred belong to Iranians. These figures leave little room for self-satisfaction. For Iran to become an average scientific country, the number and the quality of its scientific publications need to improve in such a way that multiplies the number of citations by sixteen. Only then, the country's contribution to the international production of Human knowledge will become proportional to the size of its population.

RAP
Mani Turkzadeh

"Strike from the sun" and more
Music videos

DEMOCRACY
Step forward

One does not wish to "democratize" Iran
Hugh Fitzgerald

"The US and UK are working on a strategy to promote democratic change in Iran," according to officials who see the joint effort as the start of a new phase in the diplomatic campaign to counter the Islamic republic's nuclear programme without resorting to military intervention. "Democratic change"? Look, take care of the nuclear bomb project, and after a month or two or three of rally-round-the-flag support for the Islamic Republic by many who detest it, that support will end, and the full humiliation of what has occurred will embolden all enemies of the Islamic Republic of Iran, the more corrupt mullahs will begin to be liquidated, and the end will be, if not close, closer than it was before. Do not believe those transparent remarks -- by the likes of Gary Sick, say -- that an attack on Iran would "set back" forever the cause of democracy and reform. It wouldn't.

CONCERT

East-West Symphony

Photo essay & video clip: Tara Kamangar's piano concert in San Francisco
Jahanshah Javid

NUCLEAR
What might happen next

Will Iran give up its civilian nuclear program? Will U.S. attack Iran? Can U.S. attack Iran?
Hussein Sharifi

The stand off between the U.S. and Iran over nuclear technology was developed from two misconceptions on part of both the Iranians and the Americans. The Iranians thought from the beginning that if they just insist on their right as a member of IAEA to civilian nuclear energy and open all their nuclear energy installation for inspection by IAEA, finally U.S. will accept their right and then the rest of the West will follow. They knew from the beginning that the Americans are after them and try to prevent them to complete the projects the shah had started, as they did with other industrial projects in Iran. They new the Americans will pressure them for political concessions.

SHORTS
No vacancy

Sahari Dastmalchi

Today I read a story on CNN  that baffled me:  “TEHRAN, Iran (CNN) -- Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Monday again criticized Israel and called on Jews to leave the Mideast and 'return to their fatherlands' in Europe.” Now as a Dutch citizen (or better said a shotormorgh right this minute), I have serious problems with this. Not that we don’t want the Jews, specially the diamond tradesmen and their pocket books back on Dutch soil where they belong. But here is my problem with Dr. AN’s plan: There's no space in Holland... Taken into consideration that every inch of Holland is currently built on, hell we have even stolen a complete province from the sea, we simply don’t have the space to take these people back. No no no no no... it simply won’t work...

TRAVELERS
On the run

Part 8: Returning to Iran: 1986-87
Sima Nahan

Boys over the age of fourteen are prohibited to leave the country. By the age of eighteen those who have not already volunteered for Basij or joined the Sepah-e Pasdaran are drafted into the army. The Basij -- dubbed yek bar masraf, the "disposables" -- is a volunteer militia corps ranging in age from the very young to the very old. It recruits among the poorest segments of urban and rural populations and provides minimal military training before dispatching volunteers to the fronts. Sepah-e Pasdaran (Revolutionary Guards Corps) is in command of the Basij. The Sepah, also a volunteer corps, is privileged with material comforts and a good deal of much feared authority.

SATIRE
Rice: Tape says Iran has nukes, deathstar!

Satirical response to Kenny James, the author of "We won't nuke you"
Maziar Shirazi

New York, April 26th - The Bush Administration presented its case on Wednesday in favor of military action against Iran before a plenary session of the United Nations Security Council, which began as a subdued gathering but steadily crescendoed to near-pandemonium following U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's presentation. Secretary Rice argued persuasively for a "strategic nuclear strike" and full-scale invasion of Iran in an hour-long speech that was nearly on par with the eloquence and forcefulness of the February 5, 2003 UNSC address by Former Secretary of State Colin Powell, in which he presented U.S. intelligence on Saddam Hussein's WMD program and advocated military action against Iraq.

SHORTS
Honey joon, it's true

Katy

Dear Sir or Madam, I was looking over your site trying to find some answers. I've met an Iranian man that I care for a lot, but wonder if some of the things he is telling me is the truth. For example: He says he can't get a VISA or any other international credit card in Iran, he can't get a PAYPAL account to pay for things online. He says there's no way he can order anything online and send it here [in the U.S.], and he says he can't send anything through the mail, because things get stolen. He even says talking on the phone would flag him as a dissident. Can you answer these questions for me, or direct me to where I can find out? Your help would certainly be appreciated. Sincerely, Katy

WOMEN
Kicking women

Photo essay: Women continue to press their right to watch football at Azadi stadium
Noushin Najafi

These pictures show the latest failed attempt by women to overcome a ban on entering Tehran's Azadi stadium to watch football matches. They were treated more viciously by the police than before. These days Iranian officials are so busy with the nuclear issue that they have forgotten about people's righs. While World Cup competitions will soon start in Germany, the mood in Iran is as depressing as a cemetery. The Iranian team will have no more training matches at home (they will play against Bosnia in Mashad, but no woman would dare try to get into the stadium in that religious city). So our efforts to gain the simple right to watch football will have to wait until after the World Cup -- if by then Iran has not been obliterated in a nuclear attack.

RALLY

Democracy without bombs

Photo essay: Iranian-American anti-war rally in San Jose, northern California
Photos by F.

POINT
Iranian cheh mikhaahand?

Islam, democracy, oil, nuclear power... What do Iranians want?
Homayoun Abghari

TOTALITARIANISM
Darshaaee az "nassle sookhteh"

Former Mojahed on the "burnt generation" and ideological dogma
Ali Salari

REPLY
Rooznaameye Shargh va Bahaiaan

Reformist newspaper columnist shows common ignorance on Bahai histtory
Tooraj Amini

FASHION

NIMANY

Spring, Summer, Fall 2006
Nima Behnoud

CRISIS
The spectre of a divided Iran

It is upon the Americans to refute allegations and dispel any suspicions that they intend to cut up Iran
Hossein Bagher Zadeh

As the war of words between the Islamic Republic of Iran and the west intensifies, the Iranian community feels unease over the likelihood of military action against Iran and its consequences. Apart from the main worries about the unimaginable human, economic, social and political costs of such an operation, it is also a main concern of the Iranian people of what is going to happen to the integrity of Iran as a nation. Iran has a large population of non-Persian ethnic groups who are concentrated along most of its land borders and who have major grievances against the central government. Reports that the Americans are trying to exploit these grievances have led to fears that they may encourage separatism in those areas.

NAME
Suri, the Persian rose

Or Surrey, Scientology's headquarters?
Manouchehr Saadat Noury, PhD

On April 19 actress Katie Holmes, who is engaged to movie actor Tom Cruise, gave birth to the couple's first girl who was named Suri. Suri as a flower in Persian Culture is actually one of the members of Rose family and most Iranians call it as Gol-e-Mohammadi. Its scientific botanical name is Rosa damascena Mill (RDM). On the basis of various documents, the flower was firstly originated in Iran and it was possibly called simply as Rose. It is speculated that after Iran became a part of Muslim world, the Arab invaders became familiar with the rose and they introduced it to the gardens located in Damascus in Syria (in Persian: Suri-eh). Later, the Westerners called it as Rosa damascene (a part of scientific name) and Suri (as a local name).

IRAQ
Abracadabra democracy

Many expect a country formed in the 1920's and ruled by uncivilized dictators to form a modern democratic government without flaw or struggle
Slater Bakhtavar

We as Americans possess an ingrained cultural impatience that is a source of both our greatness and many of our ills. The latter example is how this impatience is unfortunately commanding our view of democracy's prospects in Iraq. Our antsy outlook is unfortunate, as history has proven that the evolution of modern democracies require patience and perseverance. After the devastation of World War II it took Germany and Japan many years to evolve into modern democracies with powerhouse economies. As late as ten years after the establishment of a democratic government in Germany Sigmund Neumann wrote "National socialism may be dead ... yet democracy has failed to fill the spiritual vacuum." Still, historical realists knew that the evolution of a modern democratic nation required endurance and long term sacrifice. They also knew that every nation will have an independent form of democratic government different from the Republic of the United States.

TRAVELERS

Spring in Beijing

Photo essay
Kourosh Salehi

SHORTS
We shall not despair

Ali Dadpay

Everyday there are some pieces of news. It seems more than ever this administration is ready to use nuclear weapons against a people whose cause has been ignored for such a long time. Pentagon officials talk of planning. Secretary of State Rice mentioned the right to self-defense. In a crazy world, all actors of tragedy are coming together. Some present arrogance, some stupidity, some vanity and some greed. We shall not despair. We people of Iran, this most ancient nation of the world, shall not despair. We have survived the hordes of Huns and Arab invasion. We have survived two World Wars, to which we were drawn by the same powers, seeking to harm us today. We have survived revolutions, civil wars and invasions. We carried on, We still carry on.

LAUGHTER
Armed with humor

No comedian in the world could possibly make fun of Iranians with as much flare as we do
Zohreh Khazai Ghahremani

One only needs to socialize a few hours with us Iranians to realize that a good laughter is at the core of our lives. We don’t just laugh, we breathe humor, our bodies are unable to absorb food unless a meal is enhanced with anecdotes, and sometimes our lives depend on a good joke. Thanks to our strong sense of humor, we have survived many ups and downs and it has helped us to withstand one foreign invasion after another. For example, look at the gravity of what goes on in our homeland, yet it has generated more Ahmadinejad cartoons and jokes than any of us ever cared to see or hear. With the seriousness of a bomb threat lurking over Iran and the entire nuclear hullabaloo, how else could we handle the horror except with a good chuckle? In fact, there are Iranian-Americans among us who have already started to plan ahead by designing activities in case we are all put into an internment camp; now that’s what I consider good humor!

LIFE
The last book

I must have been a year away from starting school when my mom started reading Sa'di's "Golestan" to me at bed times
Najmeh Fakhraie

I think the greater part of my childhood was spent reading - or being read to. The former was a result of being read a particular book so many times that I was memorized it letter by letter. I actually believed that I could read - after all, I could take the book and read it from start to finish all on my own. I even knew exactly where to turn the page. Everyone in the family pitched in to read to me - my dad, my grandparents, aunts and uncles, but I think my mom was the one who spent literally most of her 20s reading to a kid. My earliest memories of her somehow or other contain a book; whether she was in the kitchen, the living room, or covered in the darkness of my bedroom as she came in to read to me before I fell asleep.

DIASPORA
The journey of a lifetime

Traveling to Iran, which is in a way, my pilgrimage
Pouya Alimagham

For the past 4 years, I’ve been yearning to make a trip to my homeland that I’ve only dreamed and read about and this spring I am making my dream a reality and visiting Iran.  I’m sure for many it may seem silly to group a journey in the same playing field as such monumental occasions like childbirth, but if you give me a moment to explain, I will show you why it’s such grand occurrence for me. I left Iran with my family as a baby.  The only memory I have of Iran is of being in a room with the lights off while the town siren was sounding.  It was a piercing noise that brought to bear the urgency of the occasion - Tehran and other civilian cities were being bomb during the notorious Iran-Iraq War.  The room I was in included many people; I’m sure most were family, but I don’t remember exactly who was there. 

SHORTS
How the Middle East was won

M. Ali Reza

Most of us have been reading about the latest saber-rattling regarding the conflict between Iran and America and wondering what really is going on. Is it all about oil? Is it about Iran gaining too much power thanks to Bush bungling Iraq? Is it about "America's vital national interests"? Or is it about creating the right environment for the Second Coming? ... To understand what is taking place in the Middle East all that is required is to read American history, and study "how the West was won". The way the West was won was through genocide and wiping away a culture and people that happened to be occupying a massive combination of natural resources. And the same is true for the Middle East.

TOM CRUISE
Eat your placenta and have it too

There is nothing more irritating for a pregnant woman than a male partner who is more pregnant than herself
Vida Kashizadeh

Since early seventies I have been somehow quietly prejudiced - or judiced - towards scientologists. The question for me has remained does scientology attract weirdoes or are weirdoes attracted to scientology? In Munich - Georgen Strasse - I had a very kind but slightly weird older neighbour who had a room in the next door house. The house she lived in was semidetached or semi-attached to the house I lived in. Both houses were quite old and occupied otherwise by students or professional revolutionaries only. The houses were huge with big shared flats on each level   She invited me once to her room. I was struck by the darkness and the pulled curtains in daytime. The room was full of history and there was a table especially dedicated to Jesus in his German version. I wasn't exactly shocked but knew that this woman was not an ordinary German woman. Well she was at most only a bit khol but perhaps on the verge of becoming a bit divaneh?

ISLAM
Big clean up

Muslims and Iranians need healing the scars from having lived in lies for hundreds and thousands of years
Ben Madadi

I have a few times written about the Iranian common prejudice regarding nationality, historical background and so forth. This may well be a real issue that shall be dealt with among the Iranians. However there is a much deeper common prejudice that may be very much unnoticed among the Iranian diaspora though it is definitely a more powerful one within the Iranian culture. And this prejudice has its roots in our religion. Iranians who live abroad pride themselves to be more secular and open-minded in this regard. And it is quite true, anecdotally if not scientifically proved, that Iranians are not as religious as most other Muslims, though Iran is a country where Sharia is supposed to be the law. Maybe on paper but Sharia is so harsh the Iranian regime doesn't really dare apply it for real. Iranians seem to be less religious than the Turks, all the Arab nations, Pakistanis, and even Muslims in East Asia.

KURDISTAN
Natural right

Overcoming obstacles for Kurdish independence
Kamal H. Artin

Since I left Eastern Kurdistan 22 years ago, I have been waiting to visit home without going through the territory of neighboring biased countries. It is my utmost pleasure to be able to travel directly from the free world to this part of my homeland and speak freely. Thank you Southern Kurdistan, coalition forces, and KNC for making this happen. The title of the conference is Kurdish Independence. Independence, the freedom from being controlled by others, is not only one of the highest values of mankind, but also a very difficult aim to achieve. Kurdistan, the foster child of the Middle East, has been dreaming of obtaining her natural right of independence for decades. While its inhabitants share a common origin, history, language, and customs that define Kurdistan as a nation, obstacles such as culture, geography, politics, and traumas have prevented Kurdish independence.

SHORTS
Well-oiled joke machine

Ali

I am off to Japan tomorrow, but I just read the joke about "hagh-e mosallam" ["2 taa zan hagh-e mossalam-e maast - vali behemoon nemidan!"] and remembered the brand new I heard a few days ago: After the Mohammad cartoons, a group of Qazvinis started marching and chanting: "Karikatoorist-e Danmaarki, hagh-e mosallam-e maast!!" Our country is a well-oiled joke machine.

ART

Heart of the matter

Sculpture
Saeid Ahmady

NUCLEAR
Roshanfekraane maahigeer

Nuclear crisis and misguided Iranian intellectuals
Sudabeh Siavashan

NUCLEAR
Energy atomi dar Iran

Commentary from 1966 by the head of the Iranian Atomic Center
Ali Asghar Azad

TRAVELERS
The forbidden flower

Outsight and inside out, Part 2: A travelogue on an outer and the inner landscape
Vida Kashizadeh

Whereas most people had to come to terms with the existence of a forbidden fruit, I as a child had to accept that there was a forbidden flower called khar-zahreh (oleander). Well what I mean is that there was probably no species of flowers growing in Abadan that I had not tasted except for oleander. I only remember a few occasions of being conscious of the fact that I was eating flowers while standing alone facing plants in the garden. But this was only when I was already 9 or perhaps 10 years old. I can say this, because this was my age during which we lived in a different house with a large garden full of flowers and also a vegetable garden in the back of the house before we moved subsequently to Tehran, where most our relatives lived and the climate was not as unbearable for my parents as it was in Abadan during the Summers.

LIFE
Arghavaani

Baraaye maadar bozorgam
Mandana Zandian

ART

Shadows

Illustrations
Ghobad Shiva

POETRY
When thunder rolls

I see fire under the ashes ready to ignite
Hedieh Sajadi and Benjamin Graber

POETRY
Pesaram kangaroost!

Dar atashdaane espand dore donyaa micharkhaanad
Sheida Mohamadi

POETRY
Avenue Vali Asr

-- for Kholeh Lili
Susan Atefat-Peckham

POETRY
12 sahargaahaaneh dar ghorbat

For the memory of my mother, Fatemeh Arham Sadr
Massoud Vatankhahi

POETRY
The epic of the Persian woman

Don't call me just a woman
Parvin Bavafa

POETRY
Iran, sarzamine zibaaye man

My beautiful homeland
Taj Mah

POETRY
Tales

You are the purpose that rain tastes this sweet
Arash Daneshzadeh

POETRY
By any other name at Abu Ghraib

Iconic symbol of our fall
Leora Douraghy

POETRY
Dark (70 percent cocoa)

Tough to bury the past
Michelle

POETRY
Bare skin

The outline of your shoulders is like art
Sara Ansari

POETRY
Gohare shab cheraagh

Shirin dar baazaare bardeh forooshaan
Shoja Adel

POETRY
Empty space

Black comedy that only we can laugh at
Tahereh Tavous

POETRY
Despair

I am having the same nightmare / The one I had after 9/11
Sasan Seifikar

POETRY
The shaking of the wind

... no longer scares me
Baharak Sedigh

POETRY
Naamehaaie az jahannam

Letters from hell
Leila Farjami

POETRY
Hezaar bahaar

... dar zendaan-e zemestaan
Homayoun Abghari

POETRY
My little girl

The sunshine of our spring
Akbar Showkatian

MARTYRS

Who's next?

Photo essay: Visiting war victims
Nader Davoodi

TRAVELERS
Evin, Qezel Hesar, and milk for the baby

Part 7: Returning to Iran: 1986-87
Sima Nahan

One woman who had spent four years in Evin said that she had begun to get a feeling for the architecture of the place: the bands (communal units) each consisting of one room, one hallway, one communal washroom, and the guards' quarters; the infirmary; the yard; the solitary cells; and the approximate distance and relationship of these spaces to one another. Another woman who was released after only one year had a much vaguer notion of the design of the build ings. To assess her direction she studied the light coming through a barred window high up on the wall in the hallway. At one point, she discovered shadows of leaves playing on the wall or on the floor, by which she concluded that the building must have multi ple levels. But before she could map it out more clearly, and as other prisoners also discovered the little display of the outside world and spent time hovering over the play of light and shadow, one day they found the window draped with a piece of cloth.

COMMENTARY
I speak Irani

The case for a supra-national lingual identity
Guive Mirfendereski

In the Indo-European Family of Languages, the Indian branch evolved into Sanskrit, then into Middle Indian and from it derived the sub-branch that included Bengali and other tongues, while another sub-branch became Hindustani. The Iranian branch produced Avestan and then Old Persian and from Old Persian derived Middle Persian, the written form of which was called Pahlavi in Sasanid times. The Persian of today called by some as New Persian (and Modern Persian) is what most Iranians recognize among themselves as Farsi. Farsi (also referred to by a minority as Parsi) is the language of the Samanids, of Rudaki, of Ferdowsi and of Iran for over a thousand years. When an Iranian speaks of his language to another Iranian they refer to it as Farsi. The term Parsi is hardly used by the majority of the people unless they try to get across to the listener or reader a cultural, ethnic or political point of view, often laced with nostalgia, nationalism or ethnic purity. There is very little linguistic logic to its persistence.

CONCERT
The sound of music

As Shajarian started the Persian "chah chah", the American guy gave an estranged look to his Asian woman
Nilufar Hakhamanesh

As the lights dimmed, the voices faded and the sound of music became to display. Little by little an odd aura hovered around me. I don't know what it was but I think I started feeling nostalgic and a bit irritated. Maybe I thought we were a wrong crowd for this, that this was too pure and sanctified for this society of people to get... The Persian woman sitting behind me kept moving in her seat, kicking me in the back and falling on her husband. I'd turn my face sideway and see them at the corner of my eyes. She would be rubbing her head against his chest "ohhh, honeeeyy, mmmm". The guy in his mid 20's next to me suddenly turned to his father and said impatiently "so when will Michael Jackson come?"  "Bisho'oor" was his father's reply.

ART

Epic battle

Paintings
Shams Khalkhali

IRANICA
History tour (de force)

Interview with Ehsan Yarshater
Hamid Karimi

Ehsan Yarshater is an iconic figure by all measures; he is perhaps the foremost expert in Iranian history, language and culture and with a steely resolve has set out to accomplish a grand task: to scholarly document the facts of history, language andcivilization of Iranian peoples through multi-disciplinary reference work and research in Encyclopedia Iranica. This is a stewardship project worthy of pride and generous support of all who are either Iranian by ethnicity, were influenced by its profound culture, or pursue a balanced, accurate account of its history and for that matter, the history of all civilizations... In his recent visit to the San Francisco Bay Area, in advance of the Iranica fund-raising gala on May 13th, I had the honor of interviewing professor Yarshater to learn more about his motivational drive in completing this grand endeavor. Expectedly I walked away content with his tirelessness, intellectual prowess and graceful fairness.

RELIGION
Most evil

Christian fundamentalists seem to exemplify such folks at the apogee of evil
Doug Soderstrom

The minimal test of evil is, of course, one of awareness, an intent, an abject willingness to be malicious, a willingness to go out of one’s way to harm others, a lack of concern for the welfare of another person, an unwillingness to place one’s self into that of another’s shoes, a grudging reluctance to acknowledge the pain one may have caused another. And, of course, worst of all are those who go to the extreme of regarding themselves to be shining examples, paragons of how to live a good and decent life, while having chosen to disregard the fact that they have lived life in such a despicable manner. And as we will see, the Christian fundamentalists seem to exemplify such folks at the apogee of evil, the nadir of civilized life, in that they preach to the world while yet living the life of a barbarian!

NUCLEAR
USA can wait

The US should mind its own business and let other nations respond to threats
David Etebari

This time around, the US should play its cards differently and stop reacting to the atmosphere created by the terrorists. Iran's Islamic regime, by nature, has always needed outside conflicts. Therefore it will not stop its rhetoric and will proceed with uranium enrichment but they still are years away from a nuclear bomb and the US can afford to wait longer.. The only thing that the US should now do is to fully promote, fund, and support Iranian people and opposition inside Iran and abroad. It should also facilitate a variety of TV, radio and internet broadcasts to Iranians and it should support any opposition movement effectively, morally and financially. It should side itself with the Iranian people and totally ignore those who oppose such policy. This will also cost the US taxpayer much less than any military intervention.

MINORITIES
Unworthy Iranians

I never felt sorry for the minorities because I never saw injustices to them
Azam Nemati

I am the most liberal Iranian I know (I am pro choice, pro gay marriage and adoption and having the right to make fun of religion and God) and yet time and again, I am let down by these so called minority members. Yet, I do not feel in my heart that you are as committed to justice for all as you claim. I worked hard to arrange an exhibit for a Bahai artist who was not known in my area and even bought a poster from her but I was outraged when I realized she is dedicating her life to so called documenting the "persecution of Bahais". Give me a fucking break. Generation of young and talented Iranians perished under crown cannibal and continue to perish and you people want us to feel remorse for your imaginary suffering? Until you and your kind steps up to the plate and shows me that they are part of the Iranian community, I think you should all be officially stripped of the name "Iranian" because you are not worth it.

SHORTS
One nation, one idiot

M. Salehi

I overheard something on my morning commute, which I found amusing enough to share.I was sitting behind a couple of american gentleman on their way to work, and as everyone does in these situations all the newspapers were out. The headlines the morning in question were about Iran acquiring nuclear technology and president Ahmadinejad's comments on Isreal (which by the way,  when americans pronounce it, sounds like ah-maghi-nejad, pun intended!). The first guy said:"So waddya think are we going to war again?", the second guy said:"Well as far as I can tell this guy (Ahmaghinejad) is the only one who's creating all the ruckus, can't see as to why a whole nation of people have to punished because of one idiot?, I say we just go in, shoot him and we're done!"... I could not stop laughinge the rest of way.

SHORTS
Hounds of war

Ali Dadpay

I was reading Peter Ralph in the New York Post. "We should destroy" I believe this sentence summarizes his whole argument. It is not about a global peace, it is not about Middle East peace, It is not even about USA security. It is about, and only about, destruction... Now here is Iran. You must be fascinated my dear sir, like a hound smelling the blood. You are not going after nation building, you do not want to wage democracy either. You just want to wage devastation and destruction. No matter what is collateral damage. Then you shall sit and tell the world: It was an acceptable loss.

FOOTBALL
They OWE us

Mahdavikia will have to play extra hard during the World Cup
Assal Badrkhani

It was a shock last week when I came upon sporting headlines accusing him of having two wives. People will look at Iranians no different than they did in 1979 as those hostages were being paraded around for 444 days. A bunch of backward radicals. And that is a slap in the face to me and so many others because we are counting on these players for more than just to put a ball in the back of the net. My generation has no other heroes. We can't look to our honarmands and we can't relate to our politicians. We just have these guys and their sport. We have no flag. We have their jerseys. We have no real representatives to this world. Only their smiling faces, their amazing dribbles, their scores, their sportsmanship.

SHORTS
Which one am I?

Leila Farjami

As talking to a good friend of mine tonight, I was reminded once again that sometimes our "tragic" experiences are not so "tragic" compared to others. We were reminiscing about the good Old Iranian way of punishing school children: hiring psychotically sadistic teachers. I was telling him how when I was in fourth grade, despite being one of the most praised students in the class, my teacher had slapped me really hard on the left cheek because I had merely forgotten to bring my mathematics book. She made a point of making me the sacrificial lamb so that others would learn the embarrassing consequence of a lapse in memory as a nine year old.

NUCLEAR
Six simple propositions

... to solve the Iranian nuclear "crisis"
Behrooz Ghamari

No one can say with confidence what the Iranian leaders have in mind. Do they have ambitions to enrich weapons grade uranium or are they simply looking for a long-term plan for their energy needs? No one should or could accept the Iranian leaders’ assertions that they have no intention of developing a nuclear arsenal. No one should or could believe the Bush administration’s promises that it will pursues a peaceful and diplomatic solution to the current crisis, much of which is manufactured by the neo-conservative war machine. When President Bush calls the idea of using bunker-buster tactical nuclear weapons “wild speculations,” no body should believe him or any other White House denials that it is in the midst of operationalizing its contingency war plans on Iran.

NUCLEAR
When is the next “good news” due?

Mr. Ahmadinejad is keen to follow other devotees of Imam Mahdi, he needs to prepare the best possible weapons for him too
Hossein Bagher Zadeh

The announcement by the Iranian government that they have succeeded in producing the fuel-grade enrichment of uranium has taken the western world by surprise. This at the time that the UN Security Council had demanded a complete halt to enrichment program was particularly provocative. The Islamic Republic has declared, in the words of President Mahmood Ahmadinejad when it gave the “good news” to the nation on Tuesday 11th April 2006, that it had joined the “nuclear club” and that no power can stop it continuing on this path. Now, the question that everybody wants to know is: how long before the Iranian regime acquires the nuclear bomb? The regime has consistently denied any intentions to produce nuclear weapons. However, this has hardly reassured the western governments. Because of the past attempts by the Iranian government to hide its nuclear activities, the international community has been suspicious of its true intentions.

NUCLEAR
Premature celebrations

Obviously nobody told Ahmadinejad that with becoming a nuclear country also comes enormous responsibility
Guive Mirfendereski

This past week I was amused most by the complete absence of haya (shame) in Iran's self-congratulatory attainment of uranium enrichment. Bravo, the sons and daughters of the Resolute Nation allegedly have accomplished in laboratory conditions something that will take years to perfect as useful fuel in a nuclear reactor. The day the Bushehr power station begins operating with Iranian enriched uranium and does not sputter will be the day for celebration. The present bravado is misplaced and certainly premature. The achievement is no greater than the time when in my youth we thought that Iranian future in space was well on it way because the Shah Pasand Vegetable Oil Company had installed mock rockets along some of Tehran's highways!

POETRY
Infringements II

Poems about rights abused in America
Kaveh L. Afrasiabi

RELIEF

New Orleans saints

Photo essay: Joining Katrina relief efforts in New Orleans
Najmeh Modarres

LETTERS
Cold shower for gods of war

On nuclear crisis: Make no mistake: This war will not just incur huge loss of life. It will cost Iran its sovereignty and its very identity. At best, it will turn Iran into a rubbled obsolete Afghanistan. At worst, it will tear up Iran into ethnic pieces, carving out several new republics. The ethnic posse are already hard at work on Wikipedia, actively defaming Iran and her people in every possible way, and selling the idea of Balkanization of Iran to Wikipedia's 2 Billion visitors per month >>> More

 

LIFE
The foot and I

One day, my left foot refused to support my weight any longer
Peyvand Khorsandi

It started with a picture. Diabetic foot, that is. I saw it in a magazine, inflamed, bruised, and blistered. Then, when my foot started to hurt, I thought I had it. The pain grew. My intelligence shrivelled. I hobbled around, waiting for gangrene to set in. Months passed. Walking became tough. I was dying.

REPLY
One & the same

Peace will not begin until we realize that
Zohreh Khazai Ghahremani

I read your letter to Iranian.com and even though I have tried to refrain from further discussions regarding my latest book review, this time my heart tells me writing back is the right thing to do. I will not make any further referrals to the book because as far as I am concerned, a book review is one reader’s take on a written text and no amount of debate can change my mind, particularly when I am being misunderstood. But as you said, this is no longer about a book as it involves my poor understanding of what has gone on in my own backyard.

LIFE
Better late than early

Letting in their happiness seemed like the kind of thing that would leave a person headed for a fall
Siamak Vossoughi

Back when happiness was a solitary thing, Seattle was a good place to be, because she could walk around and feel glad about the rain and the gray sky and the way the whole city went with them, and she could know that she was the only one who felt that way. Everyone else seemed to think of the rain as a time to dream, to dream of the sun, and she saw their dreams come out when the sun did, and it was too much to see sometimes, because it seemed to be packing a lot into a little, rather than spreading it out with a little grace and subtlety, over time.

ART

The past today

Paintings
Mehri (Fatemeh) Dadgar

SHORTS
Learn to wait

Vida Kashizadeh

There is a dark dark dark dark, dark room with no door. Don't enter it! When the weak man in the position of power in the third world is turned and turned and turned in Shams' mind he reveals himself to be a propeller. And when the weak man in the position of power in the first world is turned twice he turns to a screw and gets stuck in the back of the propeller. Do we have to watch this to happen? Learn to wait. That man does not recruit suicide bombers, he IS a suicide bomber.

SHORTS
Iranian-American Internment Camp

Siamack Baniameri

Once the bombs start falling on Iran, for security measures, I have a feeling that I and the rest of my 1.5 million Iranian-American compatriots will be assembled and shipped to an internment camp outside Los Angles. I figured if we are going to be sent to an internment camp, we should at least be given the option to pick and choose our own accommodations. Therefore, I'm starting a Request Hotline. Send me emails with your accommodation requests. I'll compile the best and the funniest requests and send them to the Department of Homeland Security (don't worry, I won't mention your name) and publish them on iranian.com. Here are my requests: I would like the Iranian-American Internment Camp to include: A Las Vegas style casino, and a BMW dealership.

NUCLEAR
A solution

... for the current crisis over Iran's nuclear program
Cyrus Mossaddegh

We are at a point in history where the Iranian nuclear crisis could take many different directions. The two options most talked about are crippling sanctions that everybody knows will not work and precision military attacks by America and/or Israel that will most likely escalate into a far wider conflict. Both contain the strong possibility of causing major disruption to the world economy and may even result in the eventual use of nuclear weapons. What if Iran agrees to dismantle its nuclear industry, would that not be the best solution? Of course many juicy carrots would have to be offered to the Iranians if they were to be persuaded to end their nuclear ambitions. Here is a scenario much preferable to the two options above, assuming world leaders have the creativity and courage to make it happen.

MINORITIES
Sad & shameful

Understand what it is to be a non-Muslim Iranian
Mina Hakim-Bastanian

It is very clear that Iranians unless they are a religious minority and have experienced discrimination first hand, they do not understand the degree of pain that people of minority religions have endured. Regardless of education, creativity or background, many of our countrymen and women have no sense of how difficult it is to be a minority in Iran. Writing a critique of a book is one thing [See Zohreh Ghahremani's "Cold & dark"], but when Ms. Ghahremani tries to make a point about discrimination by questioning the use of the word najes applied to minority religions in Iran, she misses the boat. it is clear that she does not understand her own culture or the meaning of najes when it is applied to religious minorities and personal beliefs. We are not talking about dirty bottoms here.

ART

Read my lips

Calligraphy
Bahman Panahi

SHORTS
We don't need to get martyred over this

Jahanshah Javid

The possibility of an attack on Iran's nuclear installations is very real... meanwhile Iran keeps fanning the flames and gives more excuses for Bush to attack... We don't need to get martyred over this. We don't need to see massive loss of life and destruction of the existing nuclear infrastructure which we may not be able to recover for decades. Iran should accept the Russian enrichment proposal, settle this crisis and get the nuclear power industry up and running by completing the Bushehr plant. I think an attack on Iran is almost inevitable... and the consequences for both sides would be disastrous... fasten your seat belts!

SHORTS
The lovely days we have!

Ali Dadpay

Have you ever felt your heart? I do now. It is beating faster and wilder everytime I read a piece of news about attacking Iran. PLEASE STOP! What I would give to have just a normal country to sit down and not to have every passing moment to be a count down toward a war. The reports have made these days of this great spring grey and The air is filled by the smell of ashes. There is no joy in sensing dark forces are gathering to attack the one place that we call home.

SHORTS
Why am I with you?

DJ Jurab

This very last evening, after a long day of toil and tussle and after a boisterous romp in bed, I let my head sink into the pillow and let the space cleared in my mind extend infinitely, conjuring up the whiteness of disappearance. In the bliss of the afterglow my body settled like a zone of pure possibility, without incidence, without voices. I knew this plateau would linger for only a few moments so I focused on taking it all in. No more than a few seconds had passed before Nadia opened her mouth: "So, tell me, why are you with me? Is it just the sex? Why did you call me that first time? Did you think I was a slut? Because we have to talk about this ..."

SHORTS
Grandpa: only dad I ever had

Safeyeh Tarassod

My grandfather died Monday. I heard the news when I was in class and my sister text messaged me. I couldn't believe it. I couldn't feel anything at the time. I couldn't cry and look sad, but shock. Her text said Baba Bozorg died. I tried my hardest to cry but felt emotionless. I haven't seen my grandpa in about eight years since coming to US at age 11. He had a so called fourth wife to take care of him, but she had become more interested in her money than his well being... The fact is he was more than my grandpa, he was my only dad that I ever had. When I was three my father sent us to Iran with nowhere to go. So for the next eight years he took care of us, and I am just disappointed that I wasn't able to take care of him when he needed the most.

COMEDY

Making god laugh

Photo essay & video clip: Ebrahim Nabavi at UC Berkeley
Jahanshah Javid

NUCLEAR
Radioactive costs

Strength enables Iran to name its price, but belligerence and subsequent isolation also increases the costs, substantially
Meir Javedanfar

Iran’s announcement today that it has completed “laboratory-scale nuclear fuel cycle” will reduce El Bradei’s Tehran visit to an embarrassing formality for him. This is because El Baradei, the man who has been trying to avoid an escalation in this crisis, has become sidelined. He asked a number of times for Iran to stop enriching uranium. Obviously Iran doesn’t put too much emphasis on his words. Nor does it care for the UN who gave Iran a 30 day ultimatum to stop enriching uranium. In fact, after the issue of the ultimatum, Ahmadinejad joked that “they have given themselves 30 days, not us”. Looking back two days later, those words make more sense. So why is Iran doing this? The simple answer is, because the conservatives in Iran feel almost invincible.

IRAN-U.S.
Collision course

I do consider myself an American Patriot and for that reason i feel the need to speak out when i see this county is going down the wrong path in it's foreign policy
Cyrus Mohammadi

Once again as i sit here and read more article about how Iran is a menace to world peace i can't help but to think how this is so unfair. when one looks at the treatment that Iran has received over past 60 years from the west we can understand why Iranians do not trust the west. Starting from WWII when the consortium of America, Britain and Soviet Union pretty much ruled Iran behind the scene and stole Iranian national wealth (IRAN'S OIL) through Anglo-American oil company. then overthrown Iran's democratically elected government of Dr Mohammad Mossadegh by the CIA and installing the brutal regime of the shah of Iran and training of the shahs most hated secret police SAVAK to brutalize the Iranian people one can understand the mistrust of Iranian people.

NUKING
Thou shalt not kill

In response to "We won't nuke you" by Kenny James
Adam Chrisitianson

Actually, that is one of the "options" our President has on the table and will use if deemed necessary. We're talking about American national interest and security; our government will do whatever it needs to do in order to deal with real or perceived security risks. We don't care about any other country but our own... If you knew anything about American sentiment to WWII during that era you would know that Americans did not want to get involved. That being the case, our government ignored military intelligence that indicated an attack was imminent on Pearl Harbor in order for a chord to be struck with the American people that would allow for popular support of our involvement in WWII. Our government has done this more than once, that is why September 11, 2001 occurred; we again ignored military intelligence in order to have a reason to get involved with war.

DIARY
The belly dance diaries

Part 1: The belly dancers' guide to Persian culture (or, "All I really need to know I learned at Chatanoga")
Zari

Relocating to the west coast was a big leap for me. A young belly dancer from New England, I wanted to move where the weather was gorgeous, and the stakes were high. I had heard there were a lot of people from Iran in California. This gave me respect for the culture. People who were smart enough to pick a place with nice weather ñ how great. Not like my ancestors, who moved halfway round the world to wind up in Massachusetts. I resented that with each blizzard ñ why couldn't they have gone a few extra miles and landed someplace sunny? Shaking my fist at the sky, I made my plan. California, here I come!

SHORTS
Frucall.com

A.K.

Two good friends of mine, Nasser K. Manesh and Saied Kazemi, have lunched a very exciting service that I think you may like (no, I’m not trying to sell you anything, but I do have a request!). Their service is called “Frucall” (frucall.com). It’s a very simple idea, when you go shopping (books, TV, CD, toys, or anything that has a barcode ...) you can dial their service number, enter the barcode, get the Amazon (and other web site) price for that item, and order it from internet if you like. It’s a great service for people like us that try to save few bucks to few hundreds. The interesting thing about their service is it’s free.

LIFE
Hedayat’s last night out in Paris

From M. F. Farzaneh's “Ashenayee ba Sadegh Hedayat”
Translated by M. Maleki

Sunday, April 1, 1951: Around five o’clock we reached the hotel. The person standing next to the bank of keys was a temporary weekend help because he had a hard time finding the room key. The hotel was empty and the housekeeping lady could no longer be seen. The room had been cleaned and tidied. The newspapers that I had brought that morning had been placed at the bottom of the wastebasket to keep the trash from falling out. Hedayat said: “Look through the window at the hotel garden while I change.” I turned my back to him and looked out the window: a small empty yard with a tall chimney stack could be seen.

LETTER
Save your ‘gift of democracy’

An open letter to President Bush
H. Saftar

We are the Iranian nation! A nation of history and culture; a nation of honour and courage and a nation that smells ancient and looks old. When Abraham Lincoln was laying the corner stones of the Unites Sates of America, we had thousands of years of history behind us. In these thousands of years we have contributed to humanity in ways not measurable; the world’s first and largest empire, mathematics, medicine, music and mysticism, astronomy, the tax system, the postal system. The greatest and oldest poets, the most marvellous architecture and a passion for life which is hard to supersede. From the wine you drink to the bathtub you bathe in, they were all invented in Iran. You can therefore understand why we walk with our heads held high and hearts which pump not just blood, but a supreme passion for our nation.

 

DIASPORA
Leadership camp

Dealing with Iranian-American adolescence
Nooshin Hosseini

"Why do I have to be here?" a young friend whispered to me through gritted teeth as we gathered with several other Iranian families for a Norouz celebration on a Friday night. She would have preferred to spend this weekend night out with her friends - or anywhere else, really. The conflict between the demands of her cultural heritage and those of her life outside the home is, no doubt, one familiar to many Iranian-American youths. As a member of Iranian the Alliances Across Borders (IAAB) helping to organize the first Iranian-American Leadership Camp for high school students, recently I've been trying to take a step back from my everyday reality and think more deeply about the Iranian-American youth experience.

TRAVELERS

Soul of the earth

Photo essay: Peeking into Guatemala
Keyvan Tabari

WAR
Hamleye Amrika

Iranian leaders would be very foolish to think the U.S. would not carry out limited air strikes
Homayoun Abghari

NUCLEAR
Pre-emptive genocide?

Nuking Iran will morally bankrupt humanity
Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich

The foxy neo-cons, with fangs out for a kill, have outwitted the world.  After 27 years of violating the bi-lateral Algiers Agreement, finding itself in a quagmire in Iraq, the United States decided to bring on board other countries to attack Iran, or at the very least, have their blessings.  Falsely accusing Iran of pursuing a nuclear weapons program and using the NPT, it succeeded. Clearly, the aim of this administration is regime change.  However, its propaganda, the continuous revelations about the audacious lies that led it to illegally invade Iraq and cause the death of over 100,000 human beings, including thousands of Americans, has left us inert and emotionally inept to extract the neo-cons’ fangs and put a stop to their incessant demise of nations.   This is exactly what they count on – this allows them to persist. 

TRAVELERS
Outsight and inside out

A travelogue on an outer and the inner landscape
Vida Kashizadeh

Landing in Crete was smooth with my long term flight protector the ragged clothed Goddess (Elaheh zhendeh poosh) manoeuvring, while standing on the plane. She gets into all kind of positions; a surfer on the air. This is my third time in Crete within the last 14 years... My first two journeys in the 90’s were with my daughter who was a teenager at the time. The second time we went to south western area but we ended up in Loutro again, which was the place we had spent 4 weeks during 1991. We travelled eastwards because the wind further west was too strong, and Loutro was calling us back as my daughter had good memories of playing with Cretan friends she had made. But when we had arrived there all the local kids her age had already left for the city. They usually spent the holidays with their grand parents, who live and work in Loutro. But this time I am alone and will not end up somewhere I already know. Well, hopefully not.

TRAVELERS
What you see...

Part 6: Returning to Iran: 1986-87
Sima Nahan
Photos by Fariba Amini

The vantage points from which Evin Prison compound has such a panoramic display used to be guarded and kept off-limits by the university guards before the revolution - a situation that provoked the students even more and drove them to despise and abuse the perfectly groomed soccer field and the shining sports equipment that used to fill the various halls of the building. But the Islamic Republic does not insist on keeping secrets. The Imam, addressing his Cabinet during the Week of Government in the summer of 1986, declares: "It does not matter if our economy is bankrupt. The important thing is that Islam is not bankrupt." It is in the same no-secrets spirit that the Republic exposes people to the graveyard of its executed victims and students to the sight of its prisons and even to the sounds of its firing squads.

POETRY
The farce

I guess somewhere in time I will get over you
Mehrdad Sanandaji

POETRY
I will

I guess somewhere in time I will get over you
Reza Eslami

13 BEDAR
Perfect weather

Photo essay: Sizdeh Bedar, Irvine's Mason Park, Orange county, Southern California
Houshang Ahmadi

ART
Daily existence

Paintings
Soudabeh Memarzadeh

SHORTS
Generous dollars
Sadaf Kiani

Dearest Friends, I am very touched and moved by your generosity. Thank you for trusting and give me an opportunity to share your love with our children in Iran. Yesterday was the deadline for donating and I would like to share with you how much was collected... We have raised $285 CAN and $781 US (one contributor sent $201, he said the one dollar is a lucky dollar)! I also received boxes of crayons, pencils and erasers. I am leaving on Tuesday and will be in touch with you from Tehran. The target organizations for children In Tehran are: "Anjoman e Hoghoogh e Kodak" (The Iranian Children's Rights Society) and "Kanoon e Kodakan e Kar". I will buy supplies for these children and will also give them art lesson...

POETRY
I am one

Knowing freedom is the only true destination
Niloofar Nafici

HISTORY
Mani's spirit and matter

An introduction to Manichaeism
Mary Boyce

Manichaeism is a gnostic religion that originated in Persian-Babylonia in the 3d century AD. Its founder was a Persian of noble descent called Mani (or Manes), c.216-c.276. Manichaeism was long treated as a Christian heresy, but it is more clearly understood as an independent religion, drawing on the diverse resources of Christianity, Zoroastrianism, and Buddhism. Mani was born on 14 April, A.C. 216, in northern Babylonia, which then formed part of the province of Asoristan, in the Parthian empire. His father, Patteg or Pattig, is said to have come from Hamadan. His mother, Maryam, was of the family of the Kamsaragan, who claimed kingship with the Parthian royal house, the Arsacids. Mani's own name, a fairly common one, is Aramaic and not Iranian.

GIANT
Baanuye Iran shenaas

On the death of Mary Boyce, one of the greatest scholars on Iran
Touradj Parsi

13 BEDAR
Beshkan beshkaneh!

Photo essay: 13-bedar celebration at Vasona Park in Los Gatos, Northern California
Talieh Shahrokhi

13 BEDAR
Texas colony

Photo essay: 13-bedar picnic in Colony, a suburb of Dallas, Texas
Ben Bagheri

POETRY
Masters of the universe

I see you all hiding through my X-ray eyes
Jam Hamidi

IRAN-U.S.
Who to talk to

How should the US reach out to the Iranian people?
Hossein Bagher Zadeh

The American government may be sincere in its desire to help genuine Iranian democratic forces in their struggle agaisnt the religious dictatorhsip in Iran, but may find it difficult to reach them. Those queing at the newly expanded Iran desk at the State Department could make all the right noises to impress the officials with their credentials, but they would hardly srtrike a cord with the Iranian people within Iran or without. Assuming the administration’s good intentions, it will face the dilemama of the Sa’di’s benefacor: independent democrats will shy away from applying for the fund, while those willing to receive it will have a hard time explaining themselves to the Iranian people. Indeed, if the whole purpose of the fund is to encourage the deeply divided Iranian democratic forces to come together and form a united front against the Iranian regime, it may have a reverse effect. 

FILM
Rumi, opium and the beauty of genuine forgiveness

A review of Bijan Daneshmand’s “A Snake’s Tail”
Setareh Sabety

“A Snake’s Tail,” is a gem of a film written, acted and directed by Bijan Daneshmand. The film is set in London and is about the relationship between Kami, a forty year old businessman whose father has just passed away, and Agha, the Mullah or Muslim priest, who conducts the burial ceremony. The story shows how Agha, an opium addict with a penchant for Persian Sufi poetry, takes Kami, who is distraught by the death of his father, under his wings. During their weekly meetings Agha not only exposes Kami to the beautiful poetry of Rumi and Hafiz but to the euphoric pleasures of opium, the preferred drug of Iranians since time immemorial.

LIFE
The gift of friendship

Priceless moment with an old friend
Zohreh Khazai Ghahremani

When I was invited to attend my best friend’s surprise birthday party in another city, I thought why not? I hadn’t seen her for some time and exhausted from all the Norooz activities, a trip might do me good and provide a chance to relax. A friend met my on-time flight and soon we were driving through the San Francisco drizzle to Half Moon Bay, where the party would be. An out-of-towner, it felt strange to be in a room where I did not know most of the guests, but in less than half an hour, the party warmed up and everyone did their best to make me feel at home. When the approach of the birthday girl was announced, anticipation took over and all eyes were on the entrance to see how surprised my friend would be and, oh, was she ever surprised!

GENIUS
Simple math

Lessons from the recent rallies of "illegal immigrants" across America
Xerxes Darius

This very powerful tool of unity, organized assembly, and peaceful demonstration is nothing new. It has been effectively used by various groups in the American society and this recent event proved to all of us that it can be as effective when used by the illegal immigrants even after 911!! Let's see if we can explore some parallels between above and Iran and Iranians... But, where to go and why should Mullahs leave especially when the Iranians of Los Angles, New York, Chicago, London, and other cities around the world are marginalized and have precluded themselves from the equation of fate. To better describe the equation of fate, I have simplified it so that even those single-digits among us can follow:

KURDISTAN
Hoping on America

Since the US remains the leading power that promotes change in the world, cooperation with this power is essential for Kurdish independence
Kamal H. Artin

During the past weeks the media has had a fair amount of coverage on two violent and sad events (and rightfully so), men setting fire on Halabce’s monument and an earthquake shaking people in Lurestan, a modified version of Kurdistan. On top of these, Kurdistan experienced a few other major events with less media attention. Kurds of Syria were able to hold a unity conference in Washington DC; Kurds of Iran were shown a green light that they might be supported by the US if they cooperate with Iranian lobbyists opposing the fundamentalist regime in Tehran.

POETRY
Sizdeh bedar

... in a London sun that gives more light and less warmth
Vida Kashizadeh

AMERICAN
Politics is not sacred

Religious zealots bombard us with "sacred" views on subjects of supreme significance
Jeff O'mail

It seems these Christians forget that Muslims also claim their 12th Imam will come on judgment day and ever lasting peace will prevail!  This common belief clearly verifies that all religions are terrorists in nature regardless since their holy personas will appear with vicious intention and for one single goal and that is to clear all non conformists by massacring them in one single blow. The diminutive religious terrorists on earth (dogmatic religion believers) have always been with this agenda in mind that the path to judgment day should be paved for welcoming their master mind "terrorists". Religions have brought non-stop misery all over the world with mountains of life-destroying rubbish. Every religion preaches the truth of propositions for which it has no evidence.

CULTURE
Ideas for our future

Keeping Persian culture alive
Hossein Hosseini

After almost 30 years of living in America, I have learned there are many things we could do and should do to keep our Persian cultural heritage alive here in this great land of “melting pots.”  After all, the Irish have their St. Patrick’s Day, the Germans have their Oktoberfest, and who can forget the great Mexican celebration of Cinco de Mayo or Chinese New Year?  The key is how to best retain our Persian culture, while still adapting to American way of life.  So, you may ask, what is it in our culture that we need to maintain?  I would say everything that has to do with our identity as Iranians; from our food, art, and language, to the great history and tradition that we grew up with. Having raised two kids in America (Ages 14 and 12), here are few practical suggestions I could offer you as you deal with young ones being raised here:

SHORTS
Priceless

Siamack Baniameri

Iranian satellite TV commercial for MasterCard:

Your first microphone: $200...
Your first satellite studio: $50,000...
Your first five cameras: $100,000...
Your first satellite antenna: $500,000...
Inviting people of Iran to start a revolution from a studio in Los Angles... priceless.

There are some things money can’t buy, for everything else, there is that $75 million in emergency funding to promote democracy in Iran.
* Accepted everywhere except the Islamic Republic of Iran.
Paid for by the US Department of State

13 BEDAR
Iranian spring in Canada

Photo essay: Sizdah Bedar in Toronto
Nader Davoodi

ART
The Zip Tie Project

Plastic cable-ties installation at Jersey City Museum
Farsad Labbauf

13 BEDAR
Green day in London

Photo essay: Sizdah-Bedar 2006 in Trent Park, North London
Mehrdad Aref-Adib

POLITICS
Beesharmi

Characteristics of America’s diplomatic culture
Guive Mirfendereski

A recent article written by two university professors and posted on a Harvard University website questioned the independence of the US foreign policy in light of the pro-Israeli lobby’s influence in Washington. Of course, the naïve are quick to point out that it is not so and that any coincidence in policy is because of the convergence of American and Israeli values. Naturally! What passes for coincidence of values between Washington and Tel Aviv (or Jerusalem) has to do mostly with the convergence of money and votes from American Jews into the political coffers of candidate who say good things about Israel and pledge to support the Zionist agenda no matter what. The recent Zionist battle cry is “Iran is the enemy” and the US leadership has begun to parrot this as its own strategic assessment.

AMERICAN
We won't nuke you

But, if IRAN thinks that it can develop nuclear weapons and then turn around and use them to annihilate Israel and the United States, it better think again
Kenny James

The United States does not now nor has it ever had any intention of using Nuclear Weapons against anyone unless we are attacked first. We used them on Japan in 1945 only because that was the only way to stop an arrogant, overbearing vicious enemy who deliberately attacked us at Pearl Harbor and thereby sealed their own fate and brought about their own demise. The use of the two Bombs on Japan saved millions of lives, including Japanese even though thousands were lost. Had the Japanese not tried to viciously invade and barbarically violate the citizens of the nations upon whom they forced themselves, they would never have been attacked. The same with the Muslim Radical Terroist. If they think they can win a victory over the world with their vicious and satanic led attacks on the innocence of the world, they have another think coming.

MILITARY
Missile with a message

Iran's war games show concern and insecurity about its ability to defend itself
Meir Javedanfar

During the last few days, Iran has declared a breakthrough in its missile capabilities. The analysis below looks Iran's goals in the timing of its new missile revelations, and what this means for the West. The fact that the new missiles are revealed only days after the UN gave Iran 30 days to stop enriching uranium, signal the fact that Iran is now following a tried and tested US and Israeli method. That method is: ‘leaks' or veiled threats about a possible military action against Iran reach the press, either before a new round of negotiations with Iran have started, or right after they have hit turbulent waters. These threats are a ‘warning' to Iran that if talks fail, Tehran will suffer the consequences. This time Iran took the initiative. It revealed its new missiles, days after the UN ultimatum, as a message to the west that two can play the threat game. Also if the talks fail, Iran won't be the only one who will suffer the consequences.

IDENTITY
Wriggling to be free

The Iranian in me
Bahar Mirhosseini

I escape into the Iranian, click into daydreams of sezdeh-bedar in Virginia or New York -- while my research paper rots in a room beside me. So who is the Iranian of the day? What cheap thrills will be posted to help me browse my boredom away? Did that one London-based writer, with a refreshing dose of honesty, who makes a curious landlord, an ex-girlfriend, and British men in a pub come to life, did he write something for me today? I wasn't supposed to be here, looking at Iranians who might look right back at me, from atop a wooden park bench or crouched beside the charcoal grill. It is past midnight on a Monday evening and paragraphs on my Guantanamo research paper still await me. In the morning, my professors will expect me. I don't arrive searching for serious answers to Iran's foreign policy, I just want to window shop the perspectives of a community.

13 BEDAR
Scent of kabab

Photo essay: Sizdeh Bedar, Bear Mountain Park, New York
Ali Afshar

MUSIC
Elahe

"Ba'd az in" and more
Manoucher Asgharian

MUSIC
Golpa

Maste Eshgh
Azam Nemati

NUCLEAR
Unusual activities

Atomic pride and human rights
Sohrab Ferdows

Islamic regime although successful in rallying people behind itself in the beginning by taking advantage of their religious feelings, has lost all credibility among big majority of Iranians since a long time ago. They have been resorting lies and dishonesty to conceal their anti nationalist agendas and to buy support from foreign extremist groups with generous payments while keeping at least 40% of the nation below poverty in a country that is considered one of the major crude oil exporters in the world. These days, leaders of Islamic regime in Iran need to link the Iranian national pride with their nuclear ambitions to rally the people in support of their nuclear cause. These leaders who never paid respect to Iranians and their national pride, and have used any opportunity to insult them and disregard their national interests, are now trying to treat the world community in the same way.

DIALOGUE
Mozaakereh baa Amrika

Iran-U.S. talks happening only because IRI under pressure
Ali Salari

SHORTS
Nationalization of oil and the nuclear stand-off

Nema Milaninia

I mentioned in an earlier post: “Am I the only one who thinks that a battle between Iran and the West over energy and technology smells too much like the nationalization of Iran's oil industry.” Well, apparently I'm not, because that’s precisely the analogy that Iran's UN ambassador, Javad Zarif made following the recent statement by the Security Council. There's no transcription of the speech, which was aired on C-Span. But in short, Zarif stated that current efforts by members of the international community to prevent developing countries access nuclear technology, as is guaranteed by the NPT, is akin to Western reactions attacking Iran's nationalization of oil.

13 BEDAR
Wishing on the waterfront

Photo essay: Throwing the sabzeh in the San Francisco bay
Jahanshah Javid

13 BEDAR
Spring in Virginia

Photo essay
Ali Khaligh

GHAZAL
In the End

Small hope: at least to be on the ground
Jack Oakly

APRIL FOOLS

Fifty years from now

What will be the name of the country
known today as the Islamic Republic of Iran?

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