Features

>>> Archive
August 2006

LEBANON

Around Beirut

Photo essay: The impact of Israeli bombardments
Hossein Shahidi

MESSIANIC
Mahdaviat

Ahmadinejad's ideology of 'global chaos' is corner stone of Iranian state policy
Iqbal Latif

It is argued that "Presidential obsession" with 'mahdaviat' leads Mr. Ahmadinejad to "a conviction that leaves little room for compromise. He thinks that the Mahdi will come in near future as his knight in shining armour? The only missing link that in Presidents opinion delays Mahdi's arrival is that world is still far too peaceful, the degree of clash and disasters that will set the chain of celestial events of 'mahdaviat' have to gather speed. The recent mess in Lebanon by his proxies was a component of that uncompromising ideological fixation... Iranian President is duty bound to help create environ which is conducive to Mahdi return, unfortunately 'universal peace' does not help the prophecies that are integral part of his understanding of the scriptures >>>

LAUGH ALL YOU WANT
What will happen to Iran
Jacob Cohen

As U.S. officials draft sanctions against Iran, there are a lot of unanswered questions. For instance, What will happen? What is the objective? Is it to prevent Iran from becoming nuclear? Is it for making Iran democratic? The US can follow the steps it has taken for Iraq and Afghanistan. It should state that it is trying to "liberate" the Iranian masses. It should also repeat that Iran is an "Evil" nation. The "Axis of Evil" terminology should be changed to just "Evil". The American government should equate Iran with Nazi Germany. The leaders of Iran, the people of Iran should all be demonized >>>

ART

Fuzzy logic

Paintings
Mohammad Azari

TRAVELERS
Subtle warmth and admiration
Farid Parsa

Jason Elliot's journeys in Iran in his recent book, Mirrors of the Unseen (London : Picador, 2006), is both entertaining and revealing. As he travels in various parts of the country he unobtrusively weaves the past into the present, informing the reader of the culture with a long history that has contributed copiously to the narrative of human civilization at various junctions of time. Elliot's observation and interaction with people draws a realistic picture of the Iranians today, with their proclivity for pleasure, protest and piety. Elliot has a great ear for humor as he diligently notes them down whenever he sees them, whether in the eccentric behavior of his individual guides, or the paranoia of his bourgeois hosts who believe Iranians leaders including ayatollah Khomeini are the puppets of the Western governments >>>

PSYCH
Post Iran depression
Shahireh Sharif

As part of an annual ritual this is exactly what I go through after coming back from Iran, having been there for my vacation. A severe punishment to endure particularly for such a petty crime! Talking to others it amazes me how frequently other people can relate to this. For a "silent killer", it is happening to too many of us too often. Ironically, for most of us the quality of the time spent in Iran does not have such a huge impact on experiencing post Iran depression. It seems that coming back is particularly difficult for those of us who have most of our relatives back home even if we have experienced a relatively hard time in Iran (of course, there are exceptional circumstances where this is not the case) >>>

MEDICINE
Doctor You

Training U.S. citizens and permanent resident International Medical Graduates for U.S. residency
Jahanshah Javid

Since the year 2000, a Georgia based company co-founded by Dr. Pedram Mizani (Family Medicine) has been making a significant difference: Graduate Medical Consultants Group (GMC) has been an avid supporter of educating International Medical Graduates before they enter U.S. residency programs under controlled teaching environments in the U.S. hospitals. As a result, GMCGroup has supervised more than 19,000 medical student clinical rotation weeks in affiliation with U.S. teaching institutions and participating U.S. physicians. Here's an email interview with Dr. Mizani >>>

MEN
Players & losers

There's still so much more that needs to be said but I'm done thinking & talking and BEING with Iranian guys, til I find one that can truly be called a MAN
Leily

I'm not going to hurt your head with complicated words & long paragraphs (not TOO long anyway).The only reason I decided to write this artice was to get this off my chest... & offend some Iranian guys. I know there's a lot of articles on Iranian guys and how much they suck. But that's only because they always piss us Persian girls (and everyone else I think) off and do the most stupid things. After spending 10 years outside of Iran, I have dated guys from other countries and even though you can find some real dumbasses & idiots & lowlives in them, I've never seen any that are worse than our own pretty (hairy) Persian guys. I hate to diss people from my own land but it's really getting to me and I need my voice to be HEARD... or at least my article to be read >>>

PLAY

Excess baggage

Photo essay: Rehearsals for "Suitcase" going on stage in San Francisco
Jahanshah Javid

MYTHOLOGY
Bahram khodaaye jang bood!

The God of War
Khodadad Rezakhani

VIEW
Sanctions, please

Yes to sanctions on the Islamic Republic for refusing nuclear demands
Jahanshah Rashidian

The sanctions must efficiently and directly target IRI’s means of suppression, in a higher proportion, their military plans, its repressive organs and its administration. Once again, the UN should punish the suppressive IRI, but cannot furthermore punish the suppressed Iranian people. We all Iranians should express concerns at the possible adverse impact of sanctions on our people, especially on the most vulnerable segments of the population, such as less protected poor people and children. Attacks on Iranian military installations are not only illegal under international laws, but they would also tighten the dictatorship in Iran and harbour incalculable consequences for the entire region. It costs many lives and seriously damages the national infrastructures. The UN along with the international community must initially try all non-military means to contribute their helps to free Iran from the plague of the IRI >>>

BUSH vs. AHMADINEJAD
Amuse us for once
Siamack Baniameri

Forget debate, I want to see Bush and Ahmadinejad take it to the ring. Twelve rounds of full contact. Put your money were your mouth is. Let's see the two of you kick the shit out of each other. Resolve the problems while you're in there. Bite each other's ears off, kick each other in the nuts, poke eyes, pull hair, crack skulls, do serious damage and amuse us for once. While you're in there, resolve the nuclear crisis, solve the Palestinian homeland, reduce oil prices, secure the region, chat about the holocaust, work out the Iraq issues and disarm Hezbollah. A round kick in the head, a punch in the chin, a bite in the ass, a knee in the balls, a smack or two in between. Oh the entertainment ... Oh the entertainment.

TRAVELERS

At the edge of the strip

Photo essay: Driving through Las Vegas
Babak Andishmand

ACTION
Sanctions as a form of war

Stop sanctions and war against Iran
Ardeshir Ommani

The main purpose of sanctions, as an instrument of particularly U.S. foreign policy, is to damage the backbone of the Iranian economy and drown the masses of people into poverty by the way of unemployment and lack of sanitation, transportation, education facilities and health services. By doing so, the United States expects that these shortages of goods and services imposed through sanctions will lead the population to rise up against their own government, and carry out the Bush order of 'regime change'. But as the case of Cuba has proven to the world, this is clearly wishful thinking on the part of the instigators in Washington >>>

PSYCH
Stockholm Syndrome

Are Iranians sympathetic to their captors in Iran?
Tina Ehrami

The whole story about this Austrian woman makes me wonder about Iranians in Iran who had lived through and with the regime of the Islamic Republic. In a sense, the Islamic Republic captivated the country with all the people in it. Only this time the captivators were not strangers who came jumping from behind a bush, but were neighbors, friends or even relatives. With their unnaturally imposed religion, law and values they captivated their own people and turned their country into a dark and damp cellar! After a while the Iranian people being captivated by their captors gave up their fight, their resistance, their revolt against what was happening to them >>>

FRIENDS
What I know now!

Saeideh Mohajer

The significance of our friendships with others only grows. Why, then, do we have fewer and fewer friends? When is it too late to make new friends? By friends I don't mean your boyfriend's best friends girlfriend who you hang out with every Saturday night because your boyfriend wants to hang with his buddy and you by default have to make nice with his girlfriend, just so you could spend time with your guy. By friend, I mean real friends. The kind of friend who sat with you through third period study hall, so that you can cry on her shoulder about the guy who didn't call you when he said he would. By friends I mean the friend you made your first day on residence when you didn't know anyone and were terrified of life at your new school, or the ones you made in University when you were pulling all-nighters >>>

KATRINA
The Anniversary

In the land of plenty
Sara Rahai

WORDS
Pure Persian myth

The widespread presence of borrowed words in the Persian language is irrevocable
G. Rahmanian

A spokesman for the Academy of Persian Language and Literature has been reported as syaing that Iranian president Ahmadinezhad has issued a decree banning the use of foreign words and urging to find substitutes for those words. I am not sure what Ahmadinezhad considers foreign words, but I assume he means any non-Persian vocabulary items or expressions that might somehow vitiate the authenticity of the language. This is a far-fetched and implausible proposition which, if taken seriously, will definitely lead the Academy into a linguistic quicksand. Let's take a look at some of the cicumstances surrounding the Persian language for the past thousands of years and see whether such ideas about its cleansing of the foreign words are viable >>>

HEZBOLLAH
The march of 'God's Army'

The threat of the rise of radical Iran and the terrorist organization Hezbollah should be taken seriously by moderate Muslims and Western powers
Slater Bakhtavar

Hezbollah was founded in 1982 with a manifesto of driving Israel out of Lebanon and creating an Iranian-Style Islamic Republic in the multi-religious nation. The organization receives one hundred million dollars annually from the Iranian government to pursue their religious and social objectives. Besides financial assistance they also receive monumental moral, technical and logistical support from the Islamic Republic's Revolutionary Guards. During the recent conflict with Israel hundreds of Revolutionary Guard forces crossed the border of Iran to enter the battle. As confirmation of their presence Israeli forces discovered tens of Islamic Revolutionary Guards among the dead fighters in Southern Lebanon >>>

PLOT
Fabricating terror
Ardeshir Ommani

Details that have emerged from the previously hyped and front-page, wide coverage of the alleged terrorist plot to blow up airplanes between Britain and the U.S., and the patchwork of 'facts' have created more questions than answers, and forced even mainstream publications to throw a different light on the 'thwarting' of another 'terrorist plot'... This episode in London, like many others before it, is a fabrication aimed at restricting civil liberties at home, provoking national chauvinism against Muslim and Arab communities in the West and diverting attention of the public from the failures of U.S.-U.K. foreign policies in the Middle East >>>

BOOKS

Seven thousand years of wine

Excerpt & images from Najmieh Batmanglij's
"From Persia to Napa: Wine at the Persian Table"

Wine is seen as the natural partner of many great cuisines, but few people associate it with Persian food, one of the world's most sophisticated culinary traditions. The ties, in fact, are age-old. Iran was one of the nurseries of the wine grape, and, as empires rose and fell there, princes, priests, poets and people in ordinary walks of life all embraced wine in various ways. After Islam came to Iran, wine drinking sometimes slipped from public view, but it never disappeared >>>

NUCLEAR
Siaasate khaavarmiaanehee va hasteheeye Ahmadinejad

Ahmadinejad's nuclear and regional policy
Ali Salari

NUCLEAR
Germany betrays Iran -- again

Israel’s possession of a huge arsenal of nuclear weapons and the means to deliver them (such as submarines) renders the military power imbalance in the region completely lopsided and proves that it does not need to add to its arsenal in order to defend itself
Reza Mazaheri

During the bloody Iran-Iraq war, tens of thousands of Iranians became victims of Hussein’s chemical and biological weapons. Seventeen years after the end of the war, thousands continue to suffer unimaginable pain and grief. Throughout Iran, many men lie in bed and wait for death, the only way to escape the misery. Today we all know who supplied the Iraqi dictator with the deadly weapons and the means to deliver them into the lungs and the bloodstreams of Iranians. Putting greed before humanity, European and American companies provided the Iraqi army with weapons that have no defensive value, but are designed to terrorize and destroy human life in the most savage way. Germany was of course one of the largest suppliers of such weapons. The same Germany that talked of “diplomacy” then and talks of “diplomacy” now >>>

NUCLEAR
The picture is bleak

If the international community fails to end Iran’s nuclear weapon program, it will be left to Israel to deal with the menace, with all its catastrophic potential
Alon Ben-Meir

The failure of the Bush administration to persuade or coerce Iran to give up its nuclear ambitions for the past six years has increased the menace while decreasing the prospects for a peaceful solution. The United States must now develop a new strategy to end Iran’s nuclear program. Anything less will bring the Middle East ever closer to nuclear conflagration. From the start, Mr. Bush’s wishy-washy approach to dealing with Iran’s nuclear program has permitted Tehran to outwit Washington in the game of brinkmanship and gain the time it needed to make tremendous progress in its quest to acquire nuclear weapons. The administration’s refusal to conduct direct negotiations, obsession with regime change, and preoccupation with Iraq has given Iran the time and the leverage it needed to refuse to negotiate on America’s terms while emboldening it to defy Washington without fear of reprisal >>>

SECURITY :o)
Ghormeh sabzi on the plane

An airplane security incident
Mazloom

An incident happened to a friend of mine about three weeks ago that might have forever changed the way the world travels. He was returning to USA from a trip to Iran, and he had brought back two sealed plastic containers with him in his carry-on baggage, one with polo, and one with ghormeh sabzi. The containers remained intact in the first leg of his trip from Iran to Europe, but after all the pushing and shoving he had to do to qualify his carry-on baggage as a carry-on bag, and the force he had to exert on it to fit it into the overhead consoles the container of the ghormeh sabzi had begun to leak >>>

NTP
A semantic exercise
Guive Mirfendereski

The development of nuclear weapons ensures deterrence of the highest order in what is know as the doctrine of "mutual assured destruction." This maintains the peace, if not outright promoting it. Therefore, the development of nuclear weapons by Iran is also a peaceful use of nuclear technology! After all, did not President Reagan call some nuclear ballistic missile or some such thingy "The Peacekeeper?" What is good for the goose, should be good for the gander -- even doublespeak!

EQUALITY
Million signatures for women

International support for Iranian women’s
campaign for equal rights

Iranian women’s rights activists are initiating a wide campaign demanding an end to legal discrimination against women in Iranian law. The Campaign, “One Million Signatures Demanding Changes to Discriminatory Laws,” which aims to collect one million signatures to demand changes to discriminatory laws against women, is a follow-up effort to the peaceful protest of the same aim, which took place on June 12, 2006 in Haft-e Tir Square in Tehran. Preparation activities in support of this campaign commenced in June of 2006 and the campaign will be officially launched on August 27, during a seminar entitled: “The Impact of Laws on Women’s Lives.” >>>

TRAVELERS

Valley of the gods

Photo essay: A journey through the Utah wilderness
Nima Mina

NUCLEAR
How I learned to love the NPT

Under the legal terms of the NPT, Iran is well within its rights
Javod Khalaj

With the main stream media maligning Iran and its nuclear program, a discussion of facts is desperately needed. Listening to any talking head on any major American news outlet, and you'll undoubtedly hear someone bemoaning, "Iran’s nuclear weapons ambitions." Noticeably absent from all these statements is "alleged." and alleged is exactly what it is, but from the way the MSM presents it, we are left to conclude that Iran is but a few days from creating a Persian Gulf Godzilla. Let’s start off with Iran’s obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation treaty (NPT) >>>

ARTIST
Antje Beyen

Portrait of an artist
Kaveh L. Afrasiabi

It is always difficult to stay objective about someone dear to one's heart, and in Antje Beyen's case, even more so because while her art is so transparent and folksy, her persona is relatively murky and difficult to grasp. Antje is a living example of how art closes its creater to an inner circle rarely allowing more than a peek by lucky intruders. A superb photographer, deft and delicate filmmaker, and creative graphic designer, Antje is by now a well-known name to many Iranians who have heard or seen her documentary about women and arts in Iran called Feminine Breeze. Her website, beyen.net, has a good collection of her works free of charge, including her incredible photo calendars -- in Africa, Tibet, and Sahara, displaying without ambiguity the text of Antje's unspoken existentialism >>>

GRUDGE
Apology not accepted
Kobra Maleki

In response to Hiedeh Farmani's "Belated apology": Hiedeh, I knew it was you. All these years I had to through the humiliation of evrybody thinking I had peed in class. Every time I saw one of our classmates I had to be reminded that they think I was the one who peed in the classroom. How do you dare writing this story with my name now and publishing it for so many readers? Your apology is not accepted. As far as I am concerned, it's a false apology just to attract more attention to yourself. Who do you think you are accepting me for a higher level English course and thinking that this will erase your sin? I don't need your pity thank you very much. Because of your 'ebtekar', now I can't even speak English and I had to leave the course. You always were 'toodar' and 'moozi' and now I know that you will always remain 'badjens' too. That is why I never liked you. You proved it again with what you have done. You are a very arrogant person. The day will come that other people will look down on you and you will see how it feels. I hope our paths will never cross again.

SHIISM
Part 4: Ertebaate taarikhi baa jonoobe Lobnaan

Iranian clergy's historic ties to shi'ites of southern Lebanon
Esmail Nooriala

NUCLEAR
Another "slam dunk"?

Sloppy attempt to lay the ground for a potential rush to war against Iran
Gary Sick

The Subcommittee on Intelligence Policy has prepared a report to the House Select Committee on Intelligence that is sharply critical of US intelligence, implying that intelligence agencies are unwilling to draw the appropriate lessons about Iran... If you are going to take on the entire US intelligence community, it is a very good idea to at least get your basic facts straight. On a very quick reading, I found a statement on p. 9 claiming that the 164 centifuges at the Iranian Natanz site are "currently enriching uranium to weapons grade." There is no evidence whatsoever that this is true -- and a lot of evidence that the tiny bit of enriched uranium produced at this site was reactor grade (c. 2.5%? vs weapons grade c. 95%?) >>>

FASHION

Zanerooz

Photo essay: Fashion, Spring-Summer 2006
Nina Ghaffari

LETTERS
Orders from above due to recent political tensions

In response to Bozorgui-Nesbat's "How to make enemies": With regard to Mr. Bozorgui-Nesbat's article and other issues surrounding the Sharif University reunion, when I first read about the incident, my original thought was, "So what?" We've all had parents, uncles, aunts, and cousins who tried to come to the US and got rejected--and these were people who had American residents and citizens as sponsors! Indeed, Iran and the US haven't had diplomatic ties since the Hostage Crisis of 1979 and all Iranian citizens--including yours truly and thousands of others--have had to endure hardship in US embassies and consulates. From reading some of the articles, I get the feeling that some Sharif University alumni are rather conceited and erroneously thought that their alma mater would somehow make them immune to INS treatments >>>

 

COUPLES
Make her breakfast

More advice to Iranian men
Azam Nemati

I have been observing our men and women behavior since I was very young. Although I agree that most Iranians did not know how to be a couple, I disagree that nowadays they do not. I do not mean to be biased but I am so impressed that some of the Iranian housewives who can not read English do watch Iranian relationship experts and read articles in Farsi about improving their relationship skills. Let's remember that our society for the most part wanted women to be mothers, wives and obedient (which meant follow husband's instruction no matter how stupid). The last one was considered great quality. I believe one can be a great mother, lover and partner if the man has enough confidence to see that an equal partner makes life a lot easier and more enjoyable >>>

PROSTITUTION
Shame on shame (Part 2)

Khoramshahr 1979
Pullniro

Ensy's dad was one of the wealthiest people in Khorramshahr, the Southern Iranian port on the border with Iraq. Working in the customs, dealing with all those goods coming by ships and carried by trailers into the country, Mr. Amir Kabiri had his own import-export business and a travel agency in the city too. Although his annual income from the customs was just a chicken feed compared to his private business, he never even dreamed of give up his prestigious job at the customs. He had just completed a beautiful five-bedroom impressive residence by the Shat which perfectly accommodated his family of four, including his wife Laaya, son Salar and his little ugly duckling of a daughter, Ensy, and of course the frequent visitors who came to stay with them all year round >>>

CINEMA
A bridge too far

It had everything! Good guys versus bad guys, tons of explosions, and even tanks
Shahrokh Nikfar

Going to the movies seems like such a simple thing to do nowadays. All I have to do is to call up a couple of friends, decide on a movie and off we go. But back when I was a 12-year-old kid in Iran, going to the movies was a rare luxury for me. You see my dad was 62 years old and my mom was 39 when I was born. So by the time I was approaching my teenage years, they were both too old and tired to even want to leave the house, let alone go to a movie. In fact, I wasn't aware of my dad ever having gone to a movie. He seemed very happy and content with staying home drinking tea and reading his books, and my mom loved to visit the neighbors and cook for the family. And no matter how much I begged or whined at my parents to take me to a movie, they never gave in >>>

SHHHH
The great library

– a dialogue
Peyvand Khorsandi

-- I’m sorry which way is your ancient Persian?
-- Shhhh. There are people studying.
-- Yes, but all I want to know is which way.
-- Please be quiet.
-- Well instead of telling me to be quiet why don’t you point me?
-- Very well. But you must promise that once you are there you will not talk >>>

IDEAS
Ghatlgaahe degar-andeeshaan

Iran: Graveyard of those who think differently
Massoud Noghrekar

SHOMAL

Into the Caspian fog

Photo essay: Above clouds on Caspian Sea drive
Nader Honarkhah

This file contains photos taken on a road that goes from the town of Baladeh in the Central Alborz Mountains of northern Iran to the coastal town of Royan/Alamdeh on the Caspian Sea coast (on a straight line, the distance between Baladeh and the Caspian Sea is 42 Km). The town of Baladeh sits at an elevation of 2050 m at the bottom of the Noor River Valley which runs east-west and is a major tributary of the Haraz Rive >>>

POINT
Bernard Lewis Watch

Bernard Lewis, where are ye when we need ye?
Scott Harrop

At a time when nattering bloggers, columnists, traditional conservatives, and even neoconservatives are openly questioning our rightly guided President's mental and psychic faculties, we need you, oh wise and venerable Princeton high priest of neoconservative orthodoxy, to really show us the true straight path to enlightenment, to rally our troops around the "doctrine" that bears your name and directed us so brilliantly in liberating and controlling Iraq. We cannot think of anyone who has been so astonishingly consistent in his prediction accuracy about what would happen after the US invaded Iraq >>>

ADVICE
How did Jews do it?

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's letter to Lebanon's Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah
Reza Vessal-Shirazi

Dear Hassan, The Jewish people will be celebrating the 5,767th year on this earth! Who would have believed this possible? If anyone had told Abraham that his people would be around this long he probably would have been astounded. Imagine, the Jews did this without beheading anyone, without a single suicide bomber, without kidnapping and murdering school children, without slaughtering Olympic athletes, without flying airplanes into skyscrapers, and without bombing the train or bus station in Spain and London >>>

RIGHTS
Ganji's strikes alone

There is no trust whatsoever in those who pose as saviors
G. Rahmanian

As was expected not many people responded to Ganji's call for a hunger strike in defense of three political prisoners. This idea did not have the desired outcome for various reasons. Not many people know Ganji and knowing about him alone does not necessarily mean many would agree or even sympathize with his views; whatever they may be. Many Iranians living outside Iran are too busy with their lives and are not concerned with such issues that Ganji raises. For them it is inconceivable to spend three days fasting for those with whom they cannot identify or haven't heard of at all. Ganji does not seem to realize that there are people who do not care which group of politicians runs their country as long as they can lead a peaceful life. Not the peace that Ganji idealizes, but the peace of mind that has nothing to do with the issues raised in Ganji's writings or speeches. They hate provocation of any kind >>>

LEBANON

From Damascus to Beirut

Photo essay: Clear picture of the destruction & Lebanese people's resilience
Hossein Shahidi

Because of the closure of Beirut airport and the destruction of Lebanon’s highway system by Israeli bombardment, I returned to Beirut from Damascus to by bus on Friday, 18 August, 2006, traveling along Lebanon’s byways. The slow journey took us through beautiful villages and small towns that most passengers would not have visited otherwise. Perhaps we need a calamity to remind us of what is often sacrificed in high-speed development >>>

NUCLEAR
Iran 6 - International Community (still) 0

Iran’s non-response -- all of its 23 pages -- was delivered in Farsi. You’ve got to love it...
Guive Mirfendereski

The Iranian atomic czar, the light-complexioned Mr. Larijani (let’s hear it for the shomali everywhere!) summoned the ambassadors of the 5+1 (the pouting US was represented by Switzerland) to the palace and in a regal gesture sent them back to their offices with a document containing Iran’s non-responses to the aspects of the proposal. It is a delicious irony that the Iranians, who are notorious for being late and unpunctual, to demonstrate such sense of time. That cultural shift itself might be in the long run more important than any accomplishment that atomic enrichment could possibly garner for the Iranian psyche. Also noteworthy is that the formalities took place in Tehran -- not Geneva, or Vienna or New York, the institutional venues of Western hegemony and neo-colonial imperial structures peddled as necessaries of “peace and security.” Iran handed its response on its turf, on its terms and at the time of its own choosing and, no less, in Farsi -- and so, Iran 6 -- International Community (still) 0 >>>

STORY
Haraamzaadeh

The bastard child of the maid and the master's older son
Shahriar Zahedi

WAR
A war story for children

History of the Iran-Iraq War for children
Mazloom

This is a story of a war that happened long, long time ago. When grandpa was very young he lived in a country called Iran. Back then people in Iran, or anywhere else, did not have computers yet. Many of them didn’t even have a television, that’s how long ago it was. So, for entertainment they went to mosques, jeleseh, or rozeh khoni. Mosque is a place where people go to pray and exercise. jeleseh is like a meeting, and rozeh khoni is like singing a sad story song. In those places people did not talk about their king, because they were scared of him. The king had a secret organization called SAVAK, which is a short name for Security Agency of Very Awful Killers. If SAVAK found out that anyone had talked bad about the king, they would arrest him, and make him sit on eggs. That’s how bad they were >>>

RELIGION
Painful thorn

Islam's brutalization of Bahais in Iran
Amil Imani

Islam, the "religion of peace," is anything but peaceful, particularly when it comes to other religions. To the oppressive Islam, there is no God but Allah and Muhammad is his Prophet: the seal of the prophets at that. Grudgingly, Islam barely tolerates people of the book: namely Jews and Christians: but no other faith is entitled to any fair treatment. In Iran, the force-imposed Islam finds it expedient to extend its limited tolerance to the original religion of the indigenous people: the Zoroastrians. The terrible plight of the Bahais in Iran is particularly heartwrenching >>>

CHILDREN

Last thing they need is bombs

Photo essay: Children at Khaneyeh Koudak Shoush in south Tehran
Mazyar Kahali

SATIRE
Dabashi on picnics

Talking to Columbia University professor of Iranian studies and comparative literature Hamid Dabashi about picnics
Peyvand Khorsandi

Peyvand Khorsandi: Hello professor. Do you like picnics?
Hamid Dabashi: Fanon was right. Any attack on Iran by the United States must be blamed squarely on Azar Nafisi, author of that infamous pedophile’s handbook, Bonking Lolita In Tehran.
PK: I’m not sure you heard my question.
HD: The author of BLT is a shameless mouthpiece for Washington’s imperial designs on the Middle East.
PK: Did Fanon like picnics?
HD: The scholar Chubbington Stanley correctly identifies Nafisi as the key cause of US intervention in Vietnam in the 1960s and Latin America in the 1970s. This literary harlot, who styles herself as a modern-day Scheherezade, spends her days cleaning the boots of her paymaster, Paul Wolfowitz and nourishing the pedophilic urges of the aging Orientalist Bernard Lewis, with her words >>>

VIEW
Power of paranoia

Iran and Israel: Understanding the Middle East
Elias Daas

The Middle East events including those shaping the future of Iran are not as complicated as they may seem on the surface. We can obtain a clearer more cohesive picture by identifying the prime motivation that drives each player, beyond its facades and pretences. WHAT ISRAEL WANTS: Israel's policy has been quite explicit and clear for a long time. Israel wants neighboring nations that are either backward and chaotic OR are ruled by regimes that are obedient to it. A backward obedient regime would be the most desirable. WHAT THE US WANTS: Number one US foreign mode of operation is to help fulfill whatever Israel wishes. The US has other wishes, chief among them is geopolitical control of oil, but that is secondary to its primary motive. WHAT OTHERS WANT: It is not as important >>>

MUSIC
DeeJayMori

With so much pain & suffering in the world, I try, even if is only for a few minutes, to bring joy and happiness to my audience
Samples from "Memento"

I’m a NYC based deejay who as of late has started concentrating mostly on producing music for movies, commercials and remixing for artists. I have been very much interested in music since my childhood and have been mixing and remixing music for last 12 years. It all started as a hobby and with time it became so enjoyable that I decided to take it to the next level >>>

EXTREMES
Westollahis and Hezbollahis

We see and condemn the crimes committed by both sides
Bruce Roshanravan

This is my response to all mullah lovers and all the blind lovers of the west whose hate of one evil (mullahs) have pushed them to the arms of another one (west and Israel) or vice-versa. These people are the two sides of the same counterfeit coin. The unwise friend wannabes who never heisted to sell their conscience, nationality, identity or religion to the highest bidder. Like the Hezbollahis who are consumed by the obsession of going to heaven by becoming a martyr, where they would drink from rivers of honey and milk or shag virgins at will, the Westollahies dream of living in Hollywood movies, having many blond bimbos as their sex partners and loosing their identity by becoming an "equally accepted" western citizen. Well guys and girls dream on >>>

POINT
No friend of the masses

Unless they stay on their side of Mandela river
Alidad Vassigh

Some dear friends invited me once to go on a pro-Palestine or anti-Bush or anti-Israel - some yapping-dogs-versus-civilization event with plenty of red flags - march in London. It was a breezy, lovely day for walking through Hyde Park and along Piccadilly (I miss London's grey skies). I chatted about religion with the mother of a marching friend, a Pakistani lady. She seemed a quintessential believer: with a smiling countenance, all courtesy and kind words. Her personality and conduct were an effortless Amr-e be-Ma'ruf >>>

IDEAS
Democratic Federation of Iran

If Iran, ever transformed into a federation, can solve not only the problem of identity, that could give the Iranians a stronger sense of belonging and patriotism
Ben Madadi

One thing is for sure. Iran will stay a weak country as long as the problem of identity is not solved one way or the other. And one suggestion, which has worked quite well in India and many other countries rich or poor, would be to have a federal system. Iranian authorities would fear such an idea because of one real reason and another declarative reason. The real reason would be that central politicians would lose power. The declarative reason would be that federation would be the most serious threat toward Iran's territorial integrity. This declarative reason is absolutely wrong as history has shown that federations such as India and the US, let alone many other democratic countries, have been united and very strong >>>

ART

Things & people

Paintings
Farshid Shiva

TRAVELERS
Turtle on the airplane

A brief perspective of a Young Iranian-American's journey from Tehran to Amsterdam
Farhaneh Sharghi-Dolatabai

Tehran - Wearing my light teal manteau and pink with gold and black scarf draped upon my head I stood in Mehrabad's Airport parking lot at 3:30 am wondering where my uncle had gone to get a cart for our luggage. I was still a bit dazed by the fervent pace at which we were leaving Tehran. Just a few hours earlier we were dining with most of my mothers' family members, as we had done the night before. Now we were heading back, back to the US, back home to Dallas. Many of the questions my family had asked of my brother and I were if there was any chance of us coming back to live in Iran, permanently. "No" I responded "it would just be impossible." "Why?" they lamented "We've missed watching you grow up. Don't you miss us? Don't you want to be closer to your family?" I replied "Yes, of course I do." My roots will always be there with them. I had, have, and will always love them. Regardless, tonight I was about to rediscover why I just cannot live in Iran >>>

STUDENT
First week of medical school

This doctor shit is still hard
Maziar Shirazi

I should be studying right now. But it’s been a long week and I’m tired, so I’m sprawled out in a room with a blasting AC unit and no furniture -- my room -- and decompressing. Steely Dan is playing over the sound of the AC, and I am typing with hands that smell of formaldehyde and will continue to do so until the end of the semester. The first week of medical school is almost over. I finished off the MCAT and thought I would be getting on with my life, but that wasn’t even half the battle. The summer that followed, I applied to some 12 schools, a tedious and drawn-out process that alternated between being totally enraging and -- in retrospect -- humbling >>>

HOMELAND SECURITY
What friends?

Right or wrong, Iranians who were refused entry into the U.S. must have been deemed undesirable or a threat to the security of Americans
G. Rahmanian

This is in response to Saeid Bozorgui-Nesbat who shared his friend's story and the way he was treated at the airport by the U.S. Homeland Security officers. After the usual grumbling about the U.S. policies and chastising the U.S. government, he, as is common among many Iranians, mixed this incident with issues such as Hamas in Palestine and the infamous prison in Iraq and a few others that somehow he believes are all related to his friend's misfortune. While at it, Nesbat could have at least said something about the rights and the misfortune of the common criminals as well. But that does not seem to bother him at all. Who cares about such mundane issues when the highly respectable alumni of Sharif University are in trouble >>>

POETRY
Olive tree

God lives inside this olive tree
Mersedeh Mehrtash

POETRY
Azadi

Barmigardi
Mandana Zandian

POETRY
They are from Persia

But they are not cats
Sasan Seifikar

POETRY
The capture

I have completed the musical race I began as a boy and have untied myself for you
Arash Daneshzadeh

POETRY
One hundred people

As we read the New York Times in air conditioned American cafes
Bahar Mirhosseini

POETRY
Nothing

The bombs, lights that blind and Damascus, burning after Tehran
Sheema Kalbasi

POETRY
Pomegranate-blossom love

(Her name was Gol-Anar)
Manoucher Parvin

POETRY
Shere shomaa kojaast?

Khabar chenaan daagh bood keh sardam shod
Habib Shokati

POETRY
2 tarh

Hejrat va ghorbat
Massoud Vatankhahi

POETRY
Adenocarcinoma

For Hamideh
Orkideh Behrouzan

POETRY
Miveye shishehee

Selected poems
Hossein Shoaie Nia

POETRY
Par-e Simorgh

Beh aatash kesham aayaa parat raa?
Adel Shoja

POETRY
If you touch it

This time: there is a me
Tahereh Tavous

HAIKU
Mahboob

Az miyaane daryaaye aatash
Reza Khalesi

POETRY
For Lebanon

We walk to our homes knowing of those displaced by powers beyond God
Sara Rahai

POETRY
Booye baaroot

Qaasedak booye baaroot midaad
Qasem Nosrati

POETRY
Executioners

You do not hear me. Silence is not for me.
Farhad "Amir" Nabipour

IRONY
Knowledge droppings

By Omar Khayyam, Knowledge Dropper
The Badder Brigade

Now we’re gonna do some analysis.  What is this big deal about Hossein anyway?  Yazid schooled his ass.  Hossein was like, “I’m thirsty, please give me some water.”  And Yazid went Sir Chop-a-Lot on his ass.  I would argue that the big Hoser (much like his followers) was not all that.  So he got his head chopped off -- but truth be told, anyone can go to Karbala these days and get decapitated, know what I’m sayin’?  Ain’t no thang.  They’re choppin’ heads over there like it’s going out of style.  Dude ... maybe if he had actually done something besides getting killed like a biiiatch, he’d get more respect from the rest of the Muslims.  But if you guys want to worship him, it’s cool -- but it’s not special, ok?  Wanna talk about some Real struggle?  You ever try to find a 900 square foot, two bedroom apartment with no broker’s fee in the tri-state area at the end of the summer?  Apartment jihad -- now THAT is some gangster shit >>>

NOMADS

Nurtured by nature

Photo essay: Nomadic life in Iran
Hasan Ghaffari

LEBANON
Hezbollah out on top

A view from Beirut
Michael Davie

For the first time, the Israeli Army was confronted by a well-trained armed group, perfectly familiar with the local terrain, with a very clear ideology to which all of its members totally adhered. Its military intelligence is superior to that of most Arab armies, its theoretical and strategic thinking sophisticated. Its organization and planning is superior and not at all comparable to, say, the PLO’s, or even to Hamas’ or the Al-Aqsa Brigades’. In the field, it does not need sophisticated communications equipment (and thus is less vulnerable to electronic countermeasures). Hezbollah has digested the experience of many wars: the Vietnamese, the South American insurrections as well as the Iran-Iraq conflicts, for example. But also the Yougoslav conflict, and the current Iraqi insurrection. It learnt from the successes and mistakes of the PLO in Lebanon, but also of the Intifadas and the on-going actions in Palestine. Its fighters have no fear of death, quite the contrary, and their commitment to defending their allotted military positions is total >>>

SHIISM
Part 3: Ertebaate taarikhi baa jonoobe Lobnaan

Iranian clergy's historic ties to shi'ites of southern Lebanon
Esmail Nooriala

DEMOCRACY
Jonbeshe roshanfekri Part 2 & Part 3

Iranian intellectuals: Challenges & opportunities
Ali Salari

SHORT STORY
The deep, deep blue

I am in my grandma, and my grandma is in me
Ladan Lajevardi

This was the fourth time that she agreed I can go to her Koran lessons. I feel more relaxed, and I am almost half way through the book now. The Mullah woman, Khanoum [Mrs] Emami, is wearing a white chador [long head cover]. A flimsy cotton with small red flowers. It is right in the middle of her head. Her hair is grey more above the ears, tangled up, and it seems it hasn’t seen the brush for days. She keeps the chador open in front of her bosoms -- huge drooping tits, like two onion sacks. She is not wearing a bra. If she were, she have to fold her breasts three times in order to get them into the bra. Her breasts are resting comfortably upon her bulging tummy. She is holding the two sides of the chador under her elbows, leaving the arms free to move around while talking. She is standing facing the women. She is short, round and cuddly like grandma -- two little Russian dolls >>>

VIEW
3 events, 3 implications

Same shit, different day...
Bruce Bahmani

This week 3 events occurred that separately could have each had implications, yet as usual, they ultimately only amplified that nothing will ever change until free thinkers stop being arrogant cowards, and intellectually wary of one another. Oh for the day when they choose instead to flex their combined grey muscle in unison. The first event was the Sharif University reunion in California, and what was supposed to be just another chance to bang that hot engineering chick you missed years ago, turned sour as those attending from Iran were turned away at the Lufthansa gate at San Francisco International. Being instead led away in handcuffs, held in confinement for a day, and ultimately returned to the airport and shipped off back to Iran. That must have sucked. But Hey! Didn't anyone read the papers? >>>

WORLD CUP
Football and flags

Football has maintained a role in symbolizing the struggle to achieve the respect and recognition of others in the global community
Nasser Amin

A fascinating feature of the captivating spectacle of the recent World Cup is the way in which it illustrates that modern sport has assumed an existential and political function. The performances of national teams in such competitions occupy an imperative role in lives of millions of spectators, providing a special dignity and meaning. Great social significance is attributed to the individual spectator of the sporting event, whether he or she views directly from the stadium or from a further vantage point via mass media coverage. Football has lent a hand to the foundation of a burgeoning spectator culture. In the Western hemisphere, where community and family relationships are in turmoil, the person-to-person closeness engendered by being part of the crowd has provided a valuable surrogate companionship >>>

PEOPLE

Her & him

Photo essay: People in Iran
Ali Khaligh

UNCONFIRMED
Sivand dam destroyed
Koorosh

Sivand dam in Iran has been destroyed by the children of kourosh and Dariush. On Wednesday August 13, 2006, supporters of Anjomane Padeshahi Iran in a daring attempt successfully completed their mission by destroying the sivand dam in Iran. This project was the most threat and damaging project to the ancient Iranian heritage by Tazi Mullah occupiers. More than 100 of Iran's potentially most important but least examined archaeological sites, including fringes of Pasargaad, the city built by Kouroshe Kabir was to be flooded after completion of this dam. Iran will soon be free of 14 centuries of occupation and destruction by Tazi Mullahs. Dorood be those Iranians who took part in this nationalistic mission and dorood be those Iranian who support freedom of our motherland. Payandeh Iran Bargharar baad "Derafshe Kaviani"

VIEW
Jihad-fi-sabil-Allah

Sacred crimes
Jahanshah Rashidian

For totalitarian systems, a more intricate discussion is not about whether the crime is ever justified or not, but under which circumstances it should be committed. Inside arguments are just made that the system must be saved in any price; this is the only logic and even moral. In the concept of ideology, there is no logic banning authorities from engaging in or conspiring to engage in any political crime. It is a mistake to believe that the greed for power is the only factor taking over the reasoning faculties of political crimes. As far as we know, the worst dictators, like Stalin, Hitler, Pol Pot and especially the IRI not only kill to monopolise the political power, but also to impose their ideological purposes upon the society.  They consider the crimes are their justified struggles. Furthermore, they are convinced that they are doing nothing wrong when they kill or order to kill, hurt and oppress people >>>

ART

Breakthrough

Paintings
Neda Chaychi

POETRY
Petition nation

every other day i receive a new petition
Samira Mohyeddin

60 MINUTES
Why now?
Arash Mahmoudi

I just saw the 60 minutes episode with Mike Wallace and Ahmadinejad. The whole interview was nothing but a meaningless argument, Ahmadinejad said the same things since he became the president and Wallace asked the same questions that Condi Rice did in her UN speech. However despite all that, there was one moment that could have potentially impacted the modern history, as we know it. Wallace asked Ahmadinejad, if he is willing to start a direct talk with the U.S and heal the bridge that was broken after the 1979 revolution. This question was huge, although Ahmadinejad ignored it and one might say, “what did you think he was going to answer?”,  I have to say: Mr. Wallace why now? >>>

IDEAS
Ideas whose time has come

A conversation with Iranian philosopher Ramin Jahanbegloo
Danny Postel

Ramin Jahanbegloo, one of Iran’s preeminent intellectual figures, is currently behind bars in Tehran’s notorious Evin prison, where he has been held in solitary confinement for over three months with no formal charges brought against him. He is effectively acting as a kind of philosophical ambassador between Iran and the outside world. The following interview was conducted via e-mail in January and February of 2006: You’ve talked about a “renaissance of liberalism” taking place in Iran. Can you talk about this “renaissance”? Where does liberalism stand in Iranian intellectual and political life today? >>>

CAMPING

Into the woods

Photo essay: Camping at Portola Redwoods, California
Farah Ravon

MUSIC
Iraj Mehdian

Tracks from "Dokhtaram"
Azam Nemati

Iraj Mehdian became an overnight sensation with his songs "Ghafele del" and "Bejamalet Minazi" about 35 years ago (I remember because I had just turned fifteen and that year we went to Ramsar camp grounds which was every teen-ager's dream place to go to. I have written about that experience "A Trip to Ramsar"). Mehdian did not produce any albums in the late 70s and his connection to the music was limited performing at a small club in Tehran (that is where I last saw him in 1978). I loved his voice and to this day have not heard any artist's voice remotely resemble Mehdian's uniquely beautiful voice >>>

AMERICA
How to make enemies

To be sure, there are lessons to be learned from humiliating Iranian engineers at U.S. airports
Saied Bozorgui-Nesbat

Here is a perfect recipe for creating new enemies for the United States: Issue visas to the moderates, intellectuals and pro-Western people from the Middle East, enticing them to visit US. But when they arrive handcuff them and send them to jail for a night. Put them in a crowded cell with common criminals to humiliate them. Then, after their dignity has been completely eroded and they are truly antagonized against our land of law, order, and freedom, send them back. If you think that only our adversaries will concoct a recipe like this, think again, since this is exactly what our government did with over one hundred Iranian technocrats who came here to attend a university reunion. One of these people is my friend Mohammad. He is a successful engineer and entrepreneur, who has founded several thriving software companies in Tehran >>>

TRAVELERS

Don't let it be

Photo essay: Summer in Turkey
Tahereh Aghdassifar

LIFE
Belated apology

To Kobra Maleki
Hiedeh Farmani

On a scorching summer afternoon, I am running placement tests for a language school. Seated across from me there's a matronly thirtyish-looking woman nervously clutching her purse, waiting to have her command of English assessed. There is nothing familiar about her until I check her ID -- in order to prevent interviewees from taking the test for another person! Believe me they would do anything to be accepted to a higher level! And bang, on her ID there is a picture of a teenage girl with a name that has haunted me ever since second grade: Kobra Maleki >>>

SECURITY
The cost of paranoia

Ever tighter and stronger and more intrusive controlling of public life and domain is not the answer to terrorism threat
Ben Madadi

The plot that was foiled in the UK scared some people. It was quite stressful for the passengers and their families. The government is banning more and more stuff to be taken on board airplanes, and also checking people more and more to make sure that there won't be terrorist attacks on airplanes. It seems to be reasonable for the British government, and other governments such as the US, to take such measures to protect their citizens. But are they any more than public relations maneuvers! These actions such as ever more controlling passengers and luggage and many many other types of check-and-control measures are quite open to debate, and as I will explain, actually counter-productive >>>

REPLY
From generals to terrorists

A response to Ali Sina’s article “Viva Oriana!”
Arashe Sorkh

Mr. Ali says that he doesn’t call himself an atheist and that: “I see nothing wrong in religions. There is nothing wrong with Christianity, Hinduism or Buddhism. If an ideology is tolerant of other beliefs, that ideology needs to be respected.” So he is actually trying to tell us that if there is something wrong with Islam is actually its “intolerance”. Should I inform him about witch burnings of Christianity? Should I remind him of what happens to children raised in Christian religious families? Should I tell him that our history has been formed by renaissance and enlightenment against the holy Bible? Should I tell him of what happens to women in Hinduist Caste system in Asia?  Never mind. This is not classified as “intolerance” since they are only bothering their “own” people. The fact that a little girl born into a Hindu family has to obey all her life to her family with her only crime being “being born into a religious” family has nothing to bother Mr. Sina. After all it is their “own” affair and they are not bothering “others!” >>>

FILM
Jafar Panahi at Melbourne Film Festival
Farid Parsa

This year's Melbourne Film Festival featured Panahi's retrospective, The White Balloon, The Mirror, Crimson Gold, The Circle and his most recent film Offside. Offside has won the Silver Bear at Berlin this year and is liked by both the critics and audiences alike. Panahi himself was the guest of the festival as part of the program, Filmmaker in Focus. Panahi maintains a good pace of satire and irony throughout the dialogue driven film. Offside is another slice of life in an Islamic society that stubbornly refuses to wake up to the modern world and yet is surrounded by it and as the result it has become contradictory, irrelevant and oppressive. Offside is more reflective, clearer and direct than Panahi's previous films. He addresses the civil rights of his fellow citizens in this case the oppressed women in the Islamic country ruled by the elite clergy >>>

PLACES

Old as new

Photos: Places, yesterday & today
Shahrouz Falahatpisheh

SATIRE

Laughing at war

Cartoons
Saman

PROSTITUTION
Shame on shame

Ensy is just another a call-girl
Pullniro

Ensy is just another a call-girl in the streets of Tehran whose path crossed mine one day. Although her once fascinating looks still attracts people and turns heads, her days at her current job are numbered, regarding the fact that young flesh is saturating the market in the Iranian capital. She confided me with the details of her misery in three different occasions. I did not record her voice and did not take any note. Just listened and listened and got carried away with her story. Then I asked her if it was OK to make a story based on her lugubrious fate. She shrugged and agreed. "No names" she almost begged with her eyes and I promised. There would be no name or any indications that would lead to her recognition. So this is the first part of the story I have made out of her story. I did not intend to make a sob story out of it, nor did I try to fall into the trap of eroticism. This is just another life story of a woman next door in the Iranian capital >>>

OIL
There's (going to be) plenty of oil

Global oil output to surge 25% by 2015
Iqbal Latif

Oil prices have been severely exaggerated through manipulation. We have been pounding the table stating that there is plenty of supply to meet worldwide demand, and soon those hedge funds that are now driving up the price of oil will be dumping their oil contracts like there is no tomorrow. I am not alone in making this clarion call but certainly ahead of the pack. Recently Steve Forbes, editor of Forbes magazine predicts that skyrocketing oil prices are just temporary and that a massive price collapse will dwarf the Dot-Com crash that began in 2000. British Petroleum recently reported that current oil reserves would last for at least half a century. And contrary to dire warnings that oil production has peaked and the earth is running out of oil, Daniel Yergin-chairman of Cambridge Energy Research Associates says there will be a large, unprecedented buildup of oil supply in the next few years >>>

STORY
12 days of Christmas

Diane let me know just how different I was when she told me she was going to teach me all about Christmas or “get me up to speed”
Pirooz M. Kalayeh

Diane can sleep for days. As soon as I bring her back from work, she’s in there snoozing away. I have never seen anyone sleep so much. I figure she’s depressed about something. And it’s got to be more than money. Nobody gets that upset, and if they are, they should just let it out, not clam up and snort when I mention it. It’s gotten to the point where I’m even asking friends what’s wrong.
“What’s wrong, Jerry?”
“Why are you always asking? Stop asking me that! Maybe, you’re the one that’s got something wrong. Don’t project that shit onto me,” he said >>>

WAR
True causes

... of war in the Middle East
Ardeshir Ommani

Today, more than ever before, it is common knowledge throughout the world that the U.S.-satellite state of Israel has violently refused the right of return of some 6.5 million Palestinians to their homeland. It is disturbing to know that the identity card of a Palestinian living in the U.S., Britain or Australia, for example, says nothing about his or her nationality, that is, the individual cannot claim a country as his or her birthplace. She/he is neither an Israeli nor a Palestinian. For those Palestinians confined to the splintered territories of Gaza Strip, with 141 square miles occupied by 1.4 million people, one of the most densely populated areas in the world, life is not better than that in the concentration camps of Nazi Germany in WWII. The settler state of Israel has made sure that no normal and viable economic growth, industrialization, technical and scientific progress and socio-political institutions would take root. The territories and the people of the West Bank and Gaza Strip are under siege by air, land and water every day, all day >>>

HUMOR
Eskandar & his little friend
Siamack Baniameri

If you're sleeping in your bed and you suddenly feel a sharp pain in your behind, chances are good you are locked up in Adel-Abad penitentiary and your cellmate Eskandar is about to introduce you to his little friend: >>>

DIVORCE
The Iranian downfall

Iranian husbands need to understand that times have changed
Kourosh Arianejad

By the time they reached maturity, where a woman learns relationship skills, many Iranian women were left independent and learning how to survive on their own. Although this independence is a great skill, they come to expect it even after marriage. Very few of the world’s societies are matriarchal, and neither the United States nor Iran are one of them.   The major problem, however, seems to lie with Iranian husbands. Many were raised and even instructed to believe that the male has absolute authority in the house and nobody can voice their opinions if they go against his. The roles of men and women have changed, however, and families are no longer like this in America or in Iran >>>

GANJI
Bedeh bestoon: Akbar Ganji at Stanford
Ari Siletz

During this Sunday's talk at Stanford University, Akbar Ganji devoted a lot of time pointing out the differences between his views and those of his ideological rival Saiid Hajjarian. The audience, some of whom hadn't even heard of Hajjarian, perhaps wondered at this premature electioneering. Highlighting this impression of candidacy was Ganji's clean shaven face. It seems he now knows his revolutionary stubble is too Islamic fundamentalist, so he has adopted a less threatening public image. Ganji's gradual transformation from dissident intellectual to politician is a positive development for Iran as a nation. With his proven track record of courage, sacrifice and shrewd politicking Ganji may turn out to be Iran's first charismatic force for democracy since Mossadegh >>>

ART

Future miniatures

Paintings
Mina Ghaziani

LETTERS
The burden is on Israel to make strategically intelligent moves -- not manic ones

In response to Rosa Golish's "Hezbollah is using innocent civilians as shields" and Deev's "I hate Hezbollah too, but...": "Israelis are educated in what to do during..."? No question that Israel is more intelligent than the neighboring countries. With that said, there are many of us who expect more from Israel. Morality does not play a part here since there is very little of it left in the region. But the burden is on Israel to make strategically intelligent moves -- not manic ones: the more bad moves, the worse it gets >>> (Lots) more letters

 

LIFE
Why I draw these cartoons
Hossein Hajiagha

I was working as care taker for $7 an hours painting, cleaning, rent apartements colect rent go to banck for deposite... clean washroom and ripair gardening....because 12 of my tennets on drugs and on walfare I will end of the tennecy of two of them and try to bring educated and nice people to this building, but after all the company ask me to I left my job and I am happy because I did not mack money for this job and also dealing with crazy and canadian on drugs or divirced women  may you ask why all the times I draw cartoons like this the only reasion because I can not meet or live in a place I was had dreams about >>>

BALLOT BOX
See you in November
Ali Mogharabi

As I assumed (or guessed) last week ... "What's amazing is that now the sleezeball politicians, these neocons, these Likud party lovers, these ISRAELIS, only have the agenda to attack Iran and Syria. Amazing when we hear Iran and Syria in every sentence that these neocons are saying. This bombing of Lebanon is the first step towards reaching israel's goal of demolishing my country of Iran." Well, Seymour Hersh of The New Yorker and one of the most well-respected journalists, published his thoughts and findings about the Lebanon/Israel war and why it is taking place. The piece is titled "Watching Lebanon: Washington's Interests in Israel's War". He has provided evidence that yes, this Lebanon crisis is a precursor to an attack on Iran. Amazing, isn't it? >>>

POETRY
Dishab

The grave stone of peace oozing enriched uranium
Mandana Zandian

POETRY
In the temple

They pray aloud so that others can hear them well
Sasan Seifikar

POETRY
Baba

Babaye khoob-e man!
Orkideh Behrouzan

AHMADINEJAD
Help my people
Amir Nasiri

I visited the Iranian presidents blog today and posed my questions to him which I doubt he even will look at any of those questions. In the are where it asked for address information I put down "I don't want to be assassinated". Here are my questions to the president of Iran Mr. Antarinejad >>>

AHMADINEJAD
Despite his looks and stature
Far

Dear All, Just spent the last week in the company of CBS's "60 Minute" crew here in Tehran. I was employed by the local CBS man was as a local Monitor to look after the 9 individuals in the CBS team and we went round Tehran sightseeing and filming for some of the time whilst awaiting the interview. After a very nerve-wracking delay period of 6 days, the interview finally took place on Tuesday afternoon in the main reception room of what used to be Princess Shanaz Pahlavi's palace (the late Shah's daughter) located in the palace complex of downtown Tehran. Despite the fact that I hold no love for this regime and this President, none the less he is a very accomplished speaker and extremely nimble in his responses >>>

DEMONSTRATION

Peace please

Photo essay & video clips: San Francisco rally for Middle East peace
Jahanshah Javid

POETRY
A battle between heart and mind

This tale will perhaps continue forever
Akbar Showkatian

POETRY
Memoir of love

What happened?
Yasaman Rohani

POETRY
The innocent terrorist

And in the beginning, there was the end
Leila Farjami

POETRY
Guns with no names

I am here to dry your tears
Reza Eslami

POETRY
The four quarters of the old city

I denounce this god you've all created
Baharak Sedigh

POETRY
In your beautiful eyes

Never let them hide your innocence under their lies
Hedieh Sajadi

GANJI

Progress at last

Photo essay: Following Akbar Ganji's footsteps in Berkeley
Jahanshah Javid

WAR
Cheraa eshghaal

Reasons behind the Israeli invasion of Lebanon
Homayoun Abghari

WAR
Bombers and teddy bears
Aras Shahzadeh

The mysterious blanket of night sky, sprinkled with shiny stars and a silvery moon; the rocking horse that will soar high into the skies to meet the glowing sun; the teddy bear that will lie in your embrace, rubbing its cheeks against your soft fingers; Home-made cookies and honey on toast; a father's caress and a mother's light kisses; orange leaves of a spirited autumn, blue mountains and pink flowers. Yes, a child's world is fantastic. It is beautiful and magical. It is sensitive and simple. Yet, children also live in fear and insecurity. Theirs is also a world of tall figures and heavy shadows. They look up in confusion at the lanky forms gabbling away in their own realm, a world unyielding and unfeeling >>>

PETTY
What goes around eventually comes around
S.B.

Like most people I have also been saddened by the news of civilian casualties on both sides of the Israel-Hezbollah/Lebanon conflict. Watching the innocents' pain and suffering and most importantly, the loss of life caused by bombs and rockets on T.V. screen, refreshed some personal, sad and long-buried memories of mine. When Iran-Iraq war started, I had just started 3rd grade, when war ended 8 years later, I was a junior in high school. I experienced Iraqi war planes bombing Tehran residential areas first hand, as so many other Iranians did in other towns and cities. I still remember the reports on radio and T.V. about Iraqi daily missile (rocket?) attacks on Dezful, as well as bombing and missile attacks on Isfahan, Ahvaz, ... >>>

WAR
Poor man's tank & fighter jet
M. Ghorji

On August 9th, 2006, in a meeting of Hollywood luminaries with Ganji, The Israeli Hollywood mogul Haim Saban, asks, "When was the last time you saw a Christian or a Jew put a belt around their stomach, go on a bus, and kill innocent women and children?" I don't know what Ganji's response to this question has been, but I am appalled by the question. This question is not Saban's alone. One can hear it continuously from every major media owned by Zionists such as Haim Saban... No Mr. Saban, Christian and Jews don't need to put a belt around their stomach and kill themselves together with some innocent women and children. They have tanks and fighter jets and cluster bombs and every imaginable weapon to do the job. Why should they kill themselves? >>>

LIST
Arabs vs. Israelis
Morteza Loghmani

In response to politically correct "rules":
Fact 1
The young people in Israel dream of being inventors, and entrepreneurs and their role models are the Israeli innovators who made it to the NASDAQ.
Fact 2
Hezbollah youth dream of being martyrs, and their role models are Islamic militants who made it to the Next World to have 72 virgins.
Fact 3
The Arab world exports potato chips and suicide bombers, while East Asian countries make microchips and smart phones >>>

RETARDATION
Sense vs. non-sense
Payam Bakhaje

Let's go over your made up rules; I would really like to see where these rules comming from? My comments are in blue.
Rule # 1
In the Middle East, it is always the Arabs that attack first, and it's always Israel who defends itself. This is called "Retaliation".
Sound real true and makes sense.
Rule # 2
The Arabs, whether Palestinians or Lebanese, are not allowed to kill Israelis. This is called "Terrorism".
Is killing OK at all? No mater who you are Israeli or Arab and Ajam >>>

SHIISM
Part 2: Ertebaate taarikhi baa jonoobe Lobnaan

Iran & shi'ites of southern Lebanon
Esmail Nooriala

TRAVELERS

Here today, gone tomorrow

Photo essay: Berlin Wall
Nader Davoodi

PRISONER
Democracy behind bars

Ahmad Batebi, symbol of student movement, re-arrested
Sayeh Hassan

Physicians appointed by the court had suggested that Mr. Batebi needs to be released from jail and seek immediate medical attention, otherwise he might become permanently crippled or even die.  As a result of these doctor reports he had been on a medical leave from prison, when he was re-arrested on July 27th, 2006. Mr. Batebi announced that he would go on a hunger strike immediately following his arrest. There has been very little news of Ahmad Batebi in the past 2 weeks.  The only thing that is known is that he has been on a hunger strike for more then 10 days, and that according to his doctors a pro-longed hunger strike will almost certainly lead to a heart attack which in turn may lead to his death.  Both the international media as well as the Iranian media is once again silent while this innocent students’ life is in danger >>>

AMERICA
It is a pity

Iranians detained at San Francisco airport

Dear Friends, I received this email from a friend of friend. She was detained in San Francisco airport while on her way to the Global Gathering of Sharif University of Technology Association (SUTA) in Santa Clara, California, a few days ago. She wrote this letter to Dr. Hojabri, the president of SUTA. I deleted her name just in case. It is horrible! I am glad that I did not even think of going! Sincerely, Majid
Dear Dr. Hojabri, I am one of the deported ones from SF airport. I am sending you this letter to explain what happened in 24 hours of our stay in US. I wish SUTA and Iranian Community in US do something that the others can hear our voice >>>

POKER
Persian Bro
Manouchehr Mehrparvar

The 2006 World Series of Poker started almost a week ago in Las Vegas. Thousands of professional and amature poker playerspaid $10,000 each to participate in the largest ever tournament in the world for a chance at a minimum $12,000,000 first prize. Of the 8,773 enterants, only 27 were left on Monday night. I was not one of these people! But I atleast lasted 3.5 days and finished in the money. I won my seat by playing another tournament for $1,500 and won $12,500 in this one which is called the main event. So it was not as painful for me as it was for many others who had paid the full $10,000 entry fee but had only lasted a few hours >>>

RULES
Arab-Israeli political correctness
Author unknown

Rule # 1
In the Middle East, it is always the Arabs that attack first, and it's always Israel who defends itself. This is called "Retaliation".
Rule # 2
The Arabs, whether Palestinians or Lebanese, are not allowed to kill Israelis. This is called "Terrorism".
Rule # 3
Israel has the right to kill Arab civilians, this is called "Self-Defense", or these days "Collateral Damage" >>>

WAR & MORALITY
Go ahead, support the bastards
Golnaz Motarassed

I keep reading letters and articles of people who are unilaterally against the current regime in Iran. However they are crying for Lebanon. I would like to pose the question, The actions of which party in Lebanon has caused the current situation? It is Hezbollah, this is not a Lebanese organization. It is funded and rooted in Iran, with the beginning of the Islamic Revolution. People want to be moral relativists when they see war  so they are comfortable with their positions. The reality is MORAL ABSOLUTISM. You are against Hezbollah and what they stand for you need to be intellectually honest and responsible and be against Hezbollah and what it has done to Iranian citizens and Israeli citizens >>>

WAR
No war is sacred

Akbar Ganji answers questions from Iranians at UC Los Angeles
Leila Farjami

The attendants asked Akbar Ganji a series of questions in regards to his position towards the neglect towards human rights in Iran, the feminist movement, the mass killings of political prisoners and dissidents during the first post-revolutionary decade, the establishment of democracy in future Iran, and the failures of the reformist movement. I managed to gather some of the most relevant and critical points that Ganji made and I hope that I can offer all of you some truthful and realistic glimpses into his stance on these issues >>>

GANJI

Having a blast

Photo essay: Akbar Ganji at University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)
Mohamad Navab
>>> Listen to audio

CRISIS
Toofaan bar faraaze Iran

Storm building around Iran
Hassan Behgar

VIEW
Useful idiots

Islam's best soldiers
Amil Imani

Islam enjoys a large and influential ally among the non-Muslims: A new generation of "Useful Idiots," that Lenin identified as those who lived in liberal democracies and furthered the work of communism. This new generation of Useful Idiots also lives in liberal democracies but serves the cause of Islamofascism -- another virulent form of totalitarian ideology. Useful Idiots are naïve, foolish, ignorant of facts, unrealistically idealistic, dreamers, willfully in denial or deceptive. They hail from the ranks of the chronically unhappy, the anarchists, the aspiring revolutionaries, the neurotics who are at war with life, the disaffected alienated from government, corporations, and just about any and all institutions of society. The Useful Idiot can be a billionaire, a movie star, an academe of renown, a politician, or from any other segment of the population >>>

WAR
Collateral damage is murder

The obvious assumption that the murderers make is that our goals and our lives have more importance than that of any foreigner's
Michael Boldin

Collateral damage is nothing more than a euphemism for state-sponsored mass murder. It is the term given to people killed in military actions who were "not intentionally targeted." In reality, this is pure propaganda. It has always been morally just to protect innocent people against aggressors. But, on the other hand, it has never been moral, nor has it ever been necessary, to bomb cities filled with innocent people. We rarely see the faces or know the identities of those reduced to the status of collateral damage. It is a gray area where the victim becomes less than a person. Interestingly enough, during the Vietnam War, both Henry Kissinger and Robert McNamara used the term "integers" to describe those civilian deaths that they preferred not to have publicized as human beings. Such is the amazing power of doublespeak >>>

LETTERS
What about Muslims killing Muslims?

This is a reply to Deev's "I hate Hezbollah too, but...": Here is the problem with your ratios of Jews vs. Arabs/Muslims killed in the current lebanon Israel conflict. Lets take your ratios a little further: Muslims have been killing Muslims in the Middle East this century and you never quite get the response you get on this site or any news media when Jews kill Muslims. Great examples are >>> More letters

 

TRAVELERS
Iran, King Kong and paradise lost

The journey across the Zagros changed Cooper forever
Ryszard Antola

Merian C. Cooper - the creator of the epic film “King Kong” - had first visited Iran in 1924 to film the movie “Grass”, a documentary about the Baba Ahmadi branch of the Bakhtiari tribe. Their epic journey over the mountains between Ahvaz and Isfahan every year in search of grazing has been described as “the greatest migration in modern history”. Images of tribesmen throwing themselves into the rushing Karun River (along with their livestock), and footage of them climbing the glacial face of the massive Zardeh Kuh in their bare feet, thrilled audiences all over the world. Grass became Cooper’s first commercial box office success, and on the strength of it, he was given money to complete other film projects (of which King Kong became the most famous) >>>

MUSIC

Hemispheres

"Lily Afshar's fourth and most ambitious recording to date"
Three sample MP3s

NOVELIST

Mellow man

Photo essay & Maroufi's new novel, "Fereydoun seh pesar daasht"
Jahanshah Javid

NOVEL

Fereydoun Seh Pesar Daasht

New novel
Abbas Maroufi

ART

Traces of childhood honesty

Paintings
Marjan Khosravi

MIDDLE EAST
Missing pieces

Will the soul of Lebanon ever return?
Guive Mirfendereski

History sides with Hezbollah, as it has before when they managed to dislodge the Israelis from southern Lebanon. Likewise, the Soviet militarism lost in Afghanistan; the American imperialism (not learning the lesson of Vietnam) is showing again on a daily basis in Iraq the limits of conventional military power. It is time for the lesser folk to make their mark on history of warfare in the Middle East, even if ever so briefly. The Lebanon Crisis points however to a more frightening reality of today’s international relations. There is an abject poverty of leadership, realism, experience and vocabulary. There is no statesman of any moral authority or world experience to put an end to this mayhem. The Syrians are being led by a newcomer with no experience. The king of Jordan has to walk many more miles before he can claim even a tenth of his father’s acumen >>>

VIEW
The new Middle East and the old

Will smashing Hizbollah and installing international peace keepers plus a façade of Lebanese troops on Israel's border - while continuing the usual Israeli bloody bullying of the Palestinians - calm the region and allow people to think moderate thoughts?
Henry Precht

I have been trying to think through what is different and what is the same in the Middle East since I was first assigned to Nasser's Egypt in the mid-1960s. At times during those 40+ years, prospects were pretty bleak for the US, but they always seemed to recover. Is there still that resilience in American policy that will permit us to bounce back? ... Dealing with Islamists has become progressively more difficult because their appeal has spread without ideological competition. Israel's brutality in Palestine and Lebanon - aided by America - is a powerful nutrient for the movement, as is the residue of American brutality in Iraq >>>

LIFE
The last word

When you are an Iranian, talking becomes your main vital sign
Zohreh Khazai Ghahremani

Listening to the Iranian radio out of LA, I smile at callers’ casual chitchat and their disregard for the cost. “Hello, doctor, how are you? May you not be tired! I want to thank you for letting me speak to you and for being there and listening to our problems. I know that if you had not spoken with such wisdom, the world would not be the same. Allow me to thank you for solving the problems of the universe! But I am calling you because I have a problem.” At which point, even I know that the caller has a problem, but the exchange of pleasantries goes on long before a true discussion begins and I wonder if she has any clue as to the cost of such a chat on the air >>>

ART

Singular perfection

Photo essay: Victoria & Albert Museum's Islamic Gallery in London
Mehrdad Aref-Adib

 

PEOPLE
Time flies
Sholeh Ja

I was taking a 3 days trip to Southern California for pleasure. I usually take a trip any chance I get, even if it is for a day. Getting away in my case releases a lot of stress. I was at the airport few hours prior to my departure looking at people and all of a sudden they all looked similar in groups. Wondering what I mean? Well listen >>>

LETTERS
I hate Hezbollah too, but...

In response to Rosa Golish's "How about 'Israel tragedy' for a change?": As an Iranian who has denounced Islam as well as all other organized mind poisoning religions lets say i'm not a fan of fanatism amongst any creed, including but not limited to overzelous Moslems, also considering we Iranians historicly have had our share of problems with our neighboring arab nations you can say i'm not too crazy about them either ... Now ask yourself this, is the Jewish life worth more than non-Jewish life? If your answer is yes then you and Hitler share the same ideology >>>

 

WAR

Stop the war

Photo essay: London rally for peace in the Middle East
Hossein Shahidi

PEOPLE
Talyshistan

Life, culture and history of Talysh people
Gholamreza Haghighattalab

Talysh became a member of the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organisation (UNPO) on 26 June 2005. The Talysh number more than 600,000, of which 430,000 live in Talyshistan, a country included by Stalin's regime in the artificial state of Azerbaijan in 1921. Talyshistan forms now the south-east of the Republic of Azerbaijan, near the Iranian border. The capital of Talyshistan is Lenkoran. Other major towns are Lerig and Astara on the Iranian border. The rest of the Talysh live across the border in the Iranian province of Gilan, in a long strip of territory along the Caspian coast, from Astara to the Rasht area. They occupy a land of sharp contrasts, ranging from the high, forested Talysh Mountains, to the subtropical coastal land along the Caspian Sea >>>

MIDEAST
Unholyland

What is so holy about this land that has brought misery for Jews, Christians and Muslims alike?
Ben Madadi

Watching the tragedy unfold in Lebanon while the United States sits and does nothing, and even encourages Israel to be tough, has had a dramatic effect all over the world. It certainly made me think a lot about what is going on, and the reasons behind so much misery. Europe challenged the Muslims during the Crusades for hundreds of years and at the end European leaders learnt their lessons, went back to their home countries and focused on their mistakes. It would have been an enormous achievement for a European king to conquer the holy land and give to the Christian world as it belonged. It would have been a moral boost for Europe, and definitely a popularity boost for the king, or the kings, to have reached this most holy of all earthly achievements, to reside over the holy land >>>

JESUS
Losing faith

Untying the gordian knot of the Christianity
Doug Soderstrom

Having spent the past forty years of my life studying the philosophical infrastructure of the Christian faith, I have come to the conclusion that Christianity (as understood by Christian fundamentalists) is not a rational system of thought, that the primary axioms upon which the faith is based are inherently flawed, internally inconsistent, to the point that such can no longer be considered to be an ontologically valid theory of life. However, for the purpose of this discussion, it is absolutely essential that the reader understand that the pedagogy of Jesus is something quite different from that of the Christian faith, that the moral and ethical teachings of Jesus (the exhortation that we love God, our neighbor, and our enemy) are discernibly different from that of the dogma associated with such a highly politicized and humanly fallible institution known as that of Christianity >>>

KURDISTAN
Peaceful majority

Some advice to fanatics
Kamal H. Artin

It is time that Muslim and Jewish cousins compete for forgiveness and independent peaceful co-existence to show that their faith is worth being proud of! If they freely choose violence instead, they should be aware that a natural outcome of such a choice might be death or self destruction. It might be very difficult for fanatics to truly accept the existence of others and denounce any form of violence; however, they have no other choice but to behave like the Kurds in Southern Kurdistan, if they plan to be part of a democratic process and help Palestinians to become independent. Since creation of various artificial nation-states in the Middle East by major powers, the Kurdish movement has tried to create a real nation state for its people >>>

IRI
Too evil to have anyone's sympathy

In this tragedy, besides peoples of Lebanon and Israel, we Iranians are the real losers
Ghassem Namazi

A number of articles have been written in support of the Hezbollah or Israel in the past few weeks. Rightly so, many of us are concerned about the civilians on both sides. A lot of innocent people have lost their lives. One can not help but ask what should the role of us Iranians be in the midst of this conflict and the possibility that it may lead to an eventual invasion of Iran. Although facts are scarce in any war, there are specifics that we can be fairly certain about: The Iranian regime provides moral, financial and military support to the Hezbollah. The Hezbollah does not have the know how and financial muscle to acquire 13000 rockets, unknown amount of RPGs, anti tank missiles and a huge arsenal of other military hardware. On its own and without any Iranian support, the Hezbollah is never able to provide such a vast social security service to its people. A social service that Iranians inside Iran could only dream about >>>

AMSTERDAM

Ali's treat

Photo essay & video clips: Last evening in Amsterdam as guests of an Amsterdamian-Iranian friend
Jahanshah Javid

SHIISM
Ertebaate taarikhi baa jonoobe Lobnaan

Iran & shi'ites of southern Lebanon
Esmail Nooriala

MULTI-CULTURALISM
Tanavo namake zendegist

Variety if the salt of life
Ahmd Sadri

LEBANON

Is it still there?

Photo essay: Photo essay: Dahieh, south Beirut suburb
Ali Akbar Mahdi

Israeli Defense Forces dropped leaflets over Beirut -- especially the Dahieh area -- for the second time, asking its residents to leave their homes in anticipation of Israeli bombardment. I was in Dahieh in May 2000 (contrary to the date on the pictures: the camera's date was not set correctly) and took many pictures of this community and larger Beirut. I have not had time to share these pictures.  The current Israeli bombardment of the district makes it necessary to pull them out and share them with the public >>>

POETRY
Pain, pain, and more pain!

In memory of Mr. Akbar Mohammadi, in hopes of freedom for all prisoners of conscience
Zina Payman

TRAVELERS

Irish Friday

Photo essay: Dublin walkabout
Sasan Afsoosi

MIDDLE EAST
Seperate aliens
Nema Milaninia

I'm not going to play political niceities on this one. And honestly, the wrongfulness of Hezbollah's kidnapping of two soliders is irrelevant at this point. Morally speaking, if the subsequent action is so grave and atrocious and disproportional, the initial action cannot be used as a justifying mechanism. The fact of the matter remains: over 900 people dead, 90% of which are civilians, half of which are children, the country has been destroyed, half a million people are now homeless, and for what?... You know what I see in Israel, the US, and in the fact the entire Middle East. I see racism, prejudice, and fear. I see people who are incapable of seeing the other as themselves. I see people who continuously want to divide, distinguish, and destroy >>>

HAFEZ
Nine ghazals

New translation of Hafez poems
Reza Ordoubadian

REVIEW
Pileh kardan beh melliyoon

Jalal Matini's unfair judgements on the role of nationalists in the 1979 Revolution
Hassan Behgar

WRITER

Over afternoon tea

Photo essay: Hearing stories from Shahrnush Parsipur
Jahanshah Javid

BOOK
Satisfaction of human appetites

New translation of Hafez poems
Reza Ordoubadian

How does one fall in love with Hafez, or any other artist, for that matter? Hafez is one of the principal foundations of the Persian culture, someone whose word is not just experienced on the surface, but whose word provides an inner light, a sense of otherness, that permeates the way of life of the people who experience it. Hafez is, with Rumi, Sadii, and Ferdowsi, one of the rare souls who has molded the thinking of the Iranian people and Persian speakers all over the world for six centuries. One need only go to the traditional music of Iran to notice how often the poems of this fourteenth century poet (1325?-1389? A.D. ) are used as the lyrics for the most delicate airs of the Iranian people. No one who has lived any period of time in Iran escapes exposure to Hafez because he is everywhere in the culture: in the market places and in the streets, on the radio stations and among lovers, between husbands and wives, children at school and taxi drivers >>>

LETTERS
How about "Israel tragedy" for a change?

In response to Sima Nahan's "Lebanon tragedy": How about a web site for Israel and all the innocent people that have been killed in suicide bombings for years after years? How about those people that were traveling to and from work and never made it home because some piece of shit terrorist decided to blow his worthless body in the bus and taking innocent mothers, children, fathers and grandparents with him? How about all the children that became orphans because they were sitting in café having pizza and another worthless jackass blow himself up in the name of Allah? Let me tell you Sima, you should be ashamed of yourself for promoting and supporting terrorism.  If the Lebanese people are sick of what is going on there, tell them to tell Hezbollah to get the -F- out of their country and return the 2 Israeli Hostages back to their families. But obviously they are not sick of it yet and they want Israel to do it for them. So I hope Israel teaches them a lesson for once and all >>> More letters

 

HUMOR
I'm in a movie with Jamie Foxx

Classic "guy moment" when your dick does the talking
Siamack Baniameri

A coworker walked into my office and eagerly handed me a flyer. "I saw this and I immediately thought of you," my coworker said. The flyer was from a Hollywood production company looking for Middle Eastern guys who're willing to play as extra in movie "The Kingdom" starring Jamie Foxx. The Kingdom centers on Jamie Foxx's character, who is leading an elite team of counter-terrorism investigators who work in a previously off-limits desert kingdom trying to find those responsible for a deadly bombing attack on American workers in the Middle East. "Dude, you'd be perfect," my coworker said >>>

WISH
Pull my eyes out
Mazloom

On Monday night I spent over three hours looking at war pictures and video clips of Israel-Lebanon war. I looked at AP, AFP, Reuters, NBC, CBS, PBS, BBC, Fox News, Fars News, Mehr News, Al Jazeera, bloggers, propaganda websites for Israel and Hezbollah, and on and on. I looked at pictures of babies blown to pieces, half missing torsos, burned bodies, children without eyes, vertebrates without bones, and people without homes. I did it because I wanted to become sick of this world and throw up on it. Instead my brain wiring got short-circuited, and neurons in my head created a looped circuitry. In my head I hear this phrase over and over again all day and night: "I wish Mongolian invaders had pulled my eyes out of their sockets". It's been days and I can't break the loop.

POETRY
Shabaahange tadfin

For Akbar Mohammadi
Esmail Nooriala

REJECTION
Late cancellation
FH

More than 150 participants to the Global Gathering of Sharif University of Technology Association (SUTA) [in Santa Clara, California,] have received visas to travel to the United States to attend the gathering. Suddenly, without advance notice and while people were on their way, the State Department revoked all granted visas, probably in response to the current developments in the region. Those who arrived were told at the airport of their visa cancellation. They were not allowed to enter the country, had to stay in immigration detention centers and were sent back the next day, some with wife and children.

PEOPLE

Rumba, samba, and calypso

Photo essay: Rotterdam Summer Carnival
Sasan Seifikar

The Rotterdam Summer Carnival is a Caribbean Carnival that takes place every July. It is a huge event which attracts many visitors from all over Europe and beyond who come to dance to rumba, samba, and calypso music and to look at the colorful and spectacular costumes and floats in the big street parade. It is really a three day public celebration and a cultural and music festival. On the first day, there is a pre-carnival beach party. On the second day, the warm up to the carnival, there is a battle of bands with 4 bands setting off from different locations in Rotterdam for a live stage in the city center accompanied by large crowds of dancers and merry-makers >>>

SUGGESTION
Peaceful means

Some might ask; then why hasn't peace been brought to the middle-east?
Payam Shahfari

Among the Jewish communities, there is a significant force of opposition against the Zionist idea. In the Muslim world and even within Israel itself, the majority of the people are extremely desperate for peaceful measures to end this vehement conflict between Israel and the Arab neighbors and to finally bring peace to that region. Some might ask; then why hasn't peace been brought to the middle-east? Well peace has knocked on the doors of middle-east but the leading residents in power, with the blemishing advocacy of external powers chose to remain silent and unresponsive in hopes of it disappearing. The United States government and the Islamic Republic of Iran might equivocate that they are endeavoring to bring peace to the region, but the reality of the matter is that peace in that region will paralyze both of their imperialist activities >>>

LETTER
Thank you USA, Israel

I can't begin to thank you enough for fucking up our lives-again
Hanan

I have finally mustered up the courage and energy to write you all and say thank you for asking about my safety and the situation in Lebanon... Well just so you all know I was lucky (or unlucky) enough to have been outside of Lebanon when all this started ... I'm sitting safely in my parents house in Amman. Like the rest of the world, I sit and watch from my comfortable home. I can't say the same for my friends and boyfriend whom some of you might know already I am supposed to marry this August 12 in Lebanon ... until last week I was in the process of inviting friends from here and abroad and planning a fun party in Lebanon, now this same energy has turned into a full-on drive to find money for food, and shelter for the humanitarian crisis in Lebanon, or whatever remains of the sovereign nation that was fully-functioning until very recently >>>

HUMOR
Dictionary of labels

Sooner or later, people believe their own propaganda
Mansour Djadali

During the infamous invasion of Lebanon by then Defense Minister Ariel Sharon in November 1982 (ostensibly to chase out the PLO, but in reality to annex Lebanon), when he earned the unflattering nickname “BOB” (Butcher Of Beirut) for massacring over 15,000 Lebanese civilians with tanks and helicopter gun ships of the Israel “Defense” Forces, I remember some lighter moments among the many awful ones. This was a time when the many different fighting groups, real and imagined, were competing for space on the battlefield.  The poorly informed and misled American public, who had only just become aware of where Lebanon was on the map, quickly gave up trying to sort out who was who.  So, a local newspaper published a cartoon showing caricatures of all the leading characters (clearly, some fictitious) among the carnage. Here are just a few of the funnies >>>

POLITICS
War of evils

The two Islamist militant movements, Hamas and Hizbollah, along with Israeli government are responsible for a new human catastrophe in their region
Jahanshah Rashidian

The problem of this region is not one or another part, but both parts; neither can Zionist aggressors nor Islamist jihadists garantee peace and co-existence. The two antagonistic poles have different charges and sacred altars. Hamas’s dream is  the destruction of Israel and the creation of an Islamic republic in its place. It regards the territory of Israel, the Gaza Strip and the West Bank as an inalienable” Islamic waghf”,  Islamic assets, which can never be surrendered to non-Muslims. Zionism considers this area as their sacred homeland, where supposedly the early Jewish nation originated over 3,200 years ago. Zionism is another fundamentalist and extremist ideology of the region. It claims all the region to the Land of Israel, ignoring the rights of many vibrant communities who have been living there during the last 3000 years >>>

PILOT
Honare parvaaz

The art of flying
Amir Kasravi

KEEPING SCORE
Iran 5 - International Community (still) 0

Can anyone explain to me the immutable logic behind the Security Council's one-month long ultimatum?
Guive Mirfendereski

In the last few days, two icons of American diplomacy Jimmy Carter and Henry Kissinger have penned articles that prove wisdom comes only with age and not necessarily with experience or duration of office. Jimmy is the real life version of the Biblical character Job and much maligned former US president who one day, in my opinion, will be elevated to sainthood. Henry, on the other hand, is a Jew from Germany with Machiavellian instincts, one who is probably closer to Lucifer himself -- by the way, all his predictions for the World Cup that he spewed on Charlie Rose came out wrong. Any way, they both have concluded that the survival of Israel as a country depends on the US relations with Iran and, as Kissinger put it, regardless of who is in power in Tehran. Well, even the dimmest of lights shines bright in the dark of despair, says Guive Mirfendereski! >>>

WAR
Battle hymn of madmen in Tehran

Ahmadinejad's Hojjatieh's vying for Armageddon
Slater Bakhtavar

In spite of propaganda purported by apologists and the naïve attention to Iran's presidential elections, virtually all authority lies with an absolute dictatorship under the Velayat-e-Faqih government: a concept dearly advocated and embraced by the founders of the Islamic Republic. Due to disagreement over the Velayat-e-Faqih system, the Hojjatiehs were banned in 1983. Ayatollah Khomeini was adamantly opposed to the Hojjatiehs‚ conviction that Shiites should advocate a more progressive arrival of the 12th Imam. The Imam is a core concept in the teachings of Shiite Muslims. Born Muhammad Al-Mahdi, the Imam ventured into a cave in 941 AD hidden by the Gate of Occultation. Shiites believe that the Twelfth Imam will one day return to lead the religious battle between good and evil when the world has become consummately nefarious. They argue that it is only at that stage that a genuine Islamic Republic will emerge. Since the arrival of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad the group has seen a mass resurgence in the government >>>

WORLD CUP

Kaarnaameh

Photo essay: Iranian football players' key stats in World Cup 2006
Nader Davoodi

WAR
Battle hymn of madmen in Tehran

Ahmadinejad's Hojjatieh's vying for Armageddon
Slater Bakhtavar

In spite of propaganda purported by apologists and the naïve attention to Iran's presidential elections, virtually all authority lies with an absolute dictatorship under the Velayat-e-Faqih government: a concept dearly advocated and embraced by the founders of the Islamic Republic. Due to disagreement over the Velayat-e-Faqih system, the Hojjatiehs were banned in 1983. Ayatollah Khomeini was adamantly opposed to the Hojjatiehs‚ conviction that Shiites should advocate a more progressive arrival of the 12th Imam. The Imam is a core concept in the teachings of Shiite Muslims. Born Muhammad Al-Mahdi, the Imam ventured into a cave in 941 AD hidden by the Gate of Occultation. Shiites believe that the Twelfth Imam will one day return to lead the religious battle between good and evil when the world has become consummately nefarious. They argue that it is only at that stage that a genuine Islamic Republic will emerge. Since the arrival of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad the group has seen a mass resurgence in the government >>>

WAR
Anti-Dershowitz: Israel's continuum of barbarianism

Kaveh L. Afrasiabi

Every war has its army of apologists and in Israel's case, leading the march is Harvard's law professor, Alan Dershowitz, enjoying open access to the US papers' opinion pages, spinning the horrific atrocities of Israel in Lebanon as legally and morally justified, including Israel's cold-blooded murder of innocent women and children. Thus, in his recent piece in LA Times, Dershowtiz writes: "The Israeli army has given well-publicized notice to civilians to leave those areas of Sourhtern Lebanon that have been turned into war zones." He also writes of "conditionality of civilianity," the premise being that those civilians who do not heed Israel's call to leave and "voluntarily" stay behind are "complicit." A key issue here, of course, what is meant by "voluntarily" when civilians are huddled in their homes with bombs falling around them and all roads and bridges knocked out of commission? >>>

AKBAR MOHAMMDI
Untimely death

For six long years, Akbar Mohammadi endured harsh interrogation and unbearable torture at the hands of those who have made Iran into a vast prison for all its citizens
Fariba Amini

It is with great sorrow and total grief that I am writing these few lines. Ever since I heard the news of Akbar Mohammadi’s untimely death in prison, on July 30th,  I have only cried at the thought of how a young man’s life has been taken so tragically; how he will be missed by his mother and father and his sisters and brother; how his prison mates will miss him.  He was innocent and only drawn into a life that he had not anticipated. He was a student at Tehran University who became caught up in the Events of 18 Tir; He was arrested and imprisoned, interrogated and tortured. He lost the best years of his life during which he, like many fellow students, still had dreams for a future, his own and that of his country >>>

WAR
Lebanon tragedy

Sima Nahan

Last week a friend of mine called just to hear my reaction to the war on Lebanon, she said: "I knew you would be as angry as I am." I know the feeling. I contacted two Lebanese friends myself, just to exchange fits of rage. As I told them, if this situation is making a peace-loving, conflict-avoiding, middle-aged woman sitting comfortably in California this angry I shudder to think of the rage it inspires in people who bear the brunt of this grotesque campaign of violence and -- as ever -- lies. After my initial paralyzing rage I hit the blogs on and/or from Lebanon. Below are some great sites -- and do not forget to check out their links. Please visit them and lend your support. We are in this together, now more than ever, and we must be visible and vocal about it >>>

TRAVELERS

Short & sweet

Photo essay: Trip to Isfahan
Tamara Nakhjavani

LIVES LOST
Fatvaaye khoon o jonoon

Remembering the 1988 prison massacres
Massoud Noghrekar

PISSED
Pakistani priorities

What do the Pakistanis think of their government spending their money on nuclear bombs, instead of on roads, trains, public toilets or sewerage?
Alidad Vassigh

One of the many distressing news items one reads these days is the Washington Post item posted on this site, on Pakistan's plans to build another plant to make more nuclear bombs. It should prompt philosophers to reflect on the nature of human folly, folly in this case being a misapprehension of the nature of security. My own reflection is: Pakistan, you are a piss-hole state, why do you want more bombs? You are a backward, lawless country. Your people barely respect your laws, especially the "high" class of dirty, crooked politicians who just seem unable to keep their dirty little fingers out of the public purse, your women are beaten or burned or scarred if they fail to do the bidding of their primitive men-folk, you are the cradle of Taliban and all manner of other fanatics that desecrate religion as they bomb and murder in God's name - to satisfy their own insatiable thirst for violence and mayhem >>>

WAR

Strong and clear signal

Photo essay: Rally against Israel's attacks on Lebanon and Gaza in London's Trafalgar Square
Hossein Shahidi

WAR
Multiple choice

a) Israel b) Hezbollah c) Ignoring both d) None of the above / rejecting both
Sudabeh Siavashan

Yet another situation which is reminiscent of the war between Hitler and Stalin. Of course, back then, during World War II, these two sides didn't have a clear record so that people could understand their nature; but no one can suggest today that we don't know enough about these two sides. Therefore our positions are, hopefully, informed by this knowledge and based on a kind of future/goals that we hope to see in the region and by extension the world. In the past few weeks, since the war began, we have seen four possible positions. 1) There are some who emphasize Israel's right to exist and to defend itself. They also keep telling us that Israel is the only democratic state in the region and therefore it should be supported. I do not agree with this position but I respect it >>>

COMIC
Off to the festival

Having finally memorised the rewrites of my set, I am beside myself with excitement as I make my way to the madness that is the Edinburgh Fringe
Shappi Khorsandi

Walking the streets of Edinburgh empty-handed will be tricky this month. Flyers for shows are thrust at you at every corner by the army of students hired for this thankless summer job – or even the performers themselves. Many of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival’s shows are staged at the expense of performers and theatre outfits that may run up thousands in debt, hoping that the right people will see them in action. Casting agents, commissioning editors and producers are all there. Competition is fierce and the schmoozing is intense. People look over your shoulder for someone more influential to talk with. The “outside world” ceases to exist. Comics can be seen wandering, lost in personal concerns, or in clusters offloading anxieties and having a good old whinge >>>

LIFE
Revolutionary fervor

I'm not raising my glass to anyone that anybody wouldn't raise a glass to if they knew their real story
Siamak Vossoughi

Everybody else would go out drinking, and as the alcohol mixed with what was already inside them, their feelings would come out either toward the women in the bar in a loving way or toward the men in the bar in a fighting way, but for Saman Sayrafianpour, those feelings would come out to all revolutionaries everywhere, in a comradely way, so that when they went to a place out in the Avenues, some time a little after midnight, he would raise a glass to Michael Collins, and the Irishmen in there would wonder if this was some kind of mockery, but not for very long because they could see the sincerity on his face, which was a drunken sincerity, but sincerity nonetheless >>>

 

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