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December 2006

 

TRAVELERS

Living history

Photo essay: Abyaneh
Babak Nassirian

SATIRE
Saddam's last hours

He never gave up
Jeesh Daram

There was only 24 hours left in Saddam's life. His American captors told him that they are going to let him meet with two of his half brothers so that he can discuss his wishes with them. At this point Saddam had no doubt that his life is over. Upon arrival of his half brothers into his cell Saddam ordered two Canada Dry drinks for his guests which were immediately delivered by the prison guards. Saddam always thought that if he ordered Coke or Pepsi he would be boosting the US economy and ordering Canadian products he thought shows his defiance to the Americans and his allegiance to the British! Among Saddam's personal belonging that he kept in a shoebox under his prison bed were these items that he gave to his half brothers on his last day of life >>>

SADDAM
Poshte chehreye diktaator

Unmasking the dictator
Shokooh Mirzadegi

ASSASSINATION
Terror va terrore shakhsiyat

Internal assassinations among leftist opposition groups
Massoud Noghrekar

THEOLOGIANS
So good at bullshitting
Behrouz Joon

I mean look at Reza Aslan as a great example of a theologian turned political pundit (truly a great guy, aside from our differences on religion, his being nice I mean seriously). One day he is sitting next to me in a class called "The Theology of Marriage" and he can barely speak five words of Persian/Farsi to me (let's not get our collective panties in a bunch on the Persian vs. Farsi argument)... and the next thing I know a few years later (who is counting but around ten) he's in Turkey (the country, not the bird that was on my Thanksgiving table) as an expert on the Middle East! He's standing next to Anderson Cooper, commenting on Iran's nuclear policy... and exchanging notes with General Marks on American military strategy in Iraq on satellite! >>>

WOMEN
Show business
Sima

As you probably know, Muslim women activists in Iran have initiated the Campaign for One Million Signatures demanding an end to discriminatory laws against women without questioning the Islamic legal foundation. We secular feminist activists in Iran are not signing this useless petition. We want to let you know that those who are part of this campaign are different Islamic or pseudo-Islamic groups that politically flirt with each other. They are a blend of fundamentalist and reformist Muslim women activists who are misleading the secular youth. We believe that they are confused and confusing and don’t know what they are doing. Sometimes, these people appear to be more into show business than into women's movement, which is a political movement and not a charity or a cultural pass-time. Iranian women across the country are more intelligent and more aware than these Muslim activists who seem to be rather seeking fame >>>

SADDAM
Justice or necessity?
Farshid Moussavi

Even though I am an Iranian who grew up with this guy's Qadessiyeh madness and witnessed the destruction of my generation at his and mullah's hands, I cannot say I am happy about this. Exactly for this reason : the way it was handled. If this changes anything, it is certainly not for the better. His victims will never get their "day in court". All indications are that it was not even close to a fair trial by international standards. First I thought he will go down in history as simply another mad tyrant bloodthirsty thug like Stalin, Hitler, and Pol Pot. But today, it is clear to me he will go down in history as something more: all of the above, *as well as* supported and enabled by other powers, and brought down by those same powers when he outlived his usefulness, IN A WAY WHICH HAD JUST AS MUCH DISREGARD FOR HIS PEOPLE/VICTIMS AS HE HIMSELF DID. Not unlike Noriega or even Bin Laden himself >>>

SADDAM
He deserved it

A world without Saddam
Pullniro

This morning when I checked upon the latest news, Aneesh Raman, the CNN correspondent in Baghdad broke the long-awaited news "Saddam Hussein was executed a few minutes ago ..." Although I knew the death of the old dictator was imminent, I could hardly digest it and had to sit down and take a deep breath. I was experiencing the first few minutes of my life without Saddam. A predator who attacked my country and killed and maimed hundreds of thousands of my compatriots and affected the lives of millions in one or another way. He inflicted pain on the residents of four completely destroyed provinces and displaced millions who had to move to other cities. My heart jumped when I thought about millions of parents, siblings, wives, husbands and children who have to carry the burden of the loss of their dear ones to their graves >>>

SADDAM
A great lesson
Kianosh Saadati

Regardless of whether the trial and execution of Saddam Hussein were justified or not, it should be a great lesson for other dictators and tyrannical regimes. Especially Iraq's neighbours should observe what might be waiting for them. For people like Saddam and other dictators the only thing which matters is their own survival and being in power. But as history has testified, this is not going to work. Rulers in Tehran had better open up their eyes and see the consequences of tyranny and crackdown on freedom and freedom seekers. They had better sit aside and think about the future of themselves. Is there any guarantee that the same fate which happened to Saddam will not apply to them? >>>

TRAVELERS

Inja Behesht ast

Photo essay: Chahar Mahal and Bakhtiari
Lily Raissi - Dehkordy

VIEW
Better to "Jaw Jaw" than "War War"

Is a nuclear-armed Iran more of an intolerable threat than was a nuclear-armed Stalin or Mao, both of whom America outlasted without war?
Cyric Streicher

So Winston Churchill is widely quoted. Those words, however, were spoken in 1954, decades after Churchill's voice had been the most bellicose for war in 1914 and 1939, the wars that bled and broke his beloved empire. Yet, Churchill's quote frames well the main question on the mind of Washington, D.C.: Will President Bush effect the nuclear castration of Iran before he leaves office, or has he already excluded the war option? One school contends that the White House has stared down the gun barrel at the prospect of war with Iran and backed away. Another school argues thus: If Tehran survives the Bush era without dismantling its nuclear program, Bush will be a failed president >>>

POETRY
Your art

A taste nothing will compare to
Baharam Sedigh

POETRY
The Protector

Just one more time call the eastern wind to bring his breeze to us
J. Solhi

POETRY
Taazeh daashtam khaanoom mishodam

Sooratam lak shodeh
Nilofar Shidmehr

DEFAIYAT
The right to peaceful nuclear technology

Islamic Republic of Iran firmly believes that the days of weapons of mass murder have long passed
Statement before the Security Council by Mohammad Javad Zarif

We are here, because we did not accept that unlawful demand – which as many of you already know, would not have been their last. At the same time, we were prepared to go to any length to alley their so-called proliferation concerns, in spite of the fact that we all know they are no more than unfounded and self-serving sheer excuses. Indeed, old-hand proliferators and suppliers of chemical weapons and nuclear-weapon technology can hardly have proliferation concerns. The sponsors tell you that they do not trust our “intentions.” But the problem is that their “intention-o-meter” has a rather abysmal record of chronic malfunction >>>

NUCLEAR
Shadow of sanctions

The IRI’s nuclear programme is not an issue of national pride
Jahanshah Rashidian

We can share the argument from any side that no nation can be arbitrarily prevented from nuclear technology. However, we should know that what makes difference here is no doubt that the Islamic regime needs this technology to build weapons to pursue its aggressive policy both inside and outside the country. IRI’s repeated allegation of a civil nuclear-programme is nothing but a flagrant lie, a tactical lie (Doroogh-e-maslehati) permitted and often used by Mullahs for survival of their illegitimate regime. All countries can achieve this technology within the terms of the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons. If that is, indeed, what the international community desires, as I believe seems likely, then those countries possessing nuclear arms should be forced to immediately eliminate their arsenals >>>

ART

The new status symbol?

Contemporary Iranian American art
Lalé Welsh Shahparaki

One of the complaints I’d always heard about Iranians is that while they’d gladly spend $5,000 on the latest Italian handbag, they’d balk at spending anywhere near that amount on art. And while it makes me squirm, it’s true in part: we Iranians love our name brand fashions at any cost, we’d rather drive an Old BMW rather than a new Toyota, we bootleg CD’s we love almost as homage to the artists we’re stealing from, and I’ve seen my share of fake “Louis” at parties ladies! Yet we come by it honestly >>>

OPINION
Friends of the Jews

True Iranians have remained friends of the Jews by both belief as well as deeds
Amil Imani

Is there anyone left in the world that does not know the president of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, hates the Jews? Just as he welcomed representatives of an extremist branch of Orthodox Judaism to his conference denying the Holocaust, we are reminded that the Nazis, whenever possible, used leaders in the Jewish community to facilitate the deportation of Jews to the death camps. This devout man of Allah, Ahmadinejad, known affectionately by Iranians as "The Monkey" for his non-stop silly and embarrassing antics should be given a fair hearing, never mind the fact that he would not even think of doing the same for others. What makes The Monkey more than a laughing stock is what he represents and the power he wields at arousing millions of his co-Islamofascists against the "undesirables" of the world >>>

PETITION
Kurdish choices
Kamal Artin

To many Kurds, who value their true identity, Kurdistan resembles a mother that has been suppressed and taken advantage of by four influential men in the Middle East. In this age such a mother should be free to make a choice. In neither part of their ancestral homeland Kurds have been asked about their choices of status quo, federalism, or independence. By default the status quo has been imposed on them in the name of unity. Unity is a noble idea and should serve all equally. In order to remind the United Nations about its obligation to defend the rights of all nations, including unrepresented ones such as the Kurds, a petition has been launched to vote on Kurdish choices. Moral support and signature of all individuals and organizations that believe in self determination rights is of great value >>>

ART

You in color

Paintings
Amad Eslami

NUCLEAR
Diminishing glory

If Iranians wish to claim their past glory, they owe it to future generations to defend their country today
Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich

Veiling our ineptitude in the legacy of Cyrus the Great, cowardice abound, we abandon Iran in her moment of need and justify our action on the basis of the Islamic regime’s despotism. How cynical that under the watchful contribution of Cyrus to the world, the replica on which he inscribed free worship for his subjects, considered to be the world’s first universal declaration of human rights kept at the United Nations, Iran’s enemies had the audacity to degrade her children under the name of universal law; A law upheld by Iran and violated by UN members. And how sad it is that while claiming to be proud of our history, those who humiliated us were applauded by inspiring leaders >>>

CRIMES
Uneven justice

Only those people with enough financial and political backing get their justice and the rest are forgotten
Bruce Roshanravan

There were several crimes of genocide carried by other countries both during World War II, and during the years before and after it. There are also many war crimes and crimes against humanity that are happening right now as we correspond and most of them are going unnoticed or even get covered up by the West just because it does not serve their interest to bring these events into light. However there was one major difference between the victims of holocaust and the victims of other war crimes (Including U.S nuclear attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki) The victims and survivors of holocaust and their descendants had money and had tones of it. That was how and why they could have their voice heard and get justice. But the rest of victims did not and that is why they were forgotten. I know I must come across as a horrible person. But I am afraid this is the fact of life >>>

FACTS
Events of Persian origin

Sorry, at the time of print no verifiable source was available
Jeesh Daram

From time to time we hear about how a festival that the western world celebrates today actually originated in Persia. Problem is nobody gives us any information as where do they get such information from. Not giving the source document where the information was extracted can put a shadow of doubt over the validity of information. Here is one: Christmas celebration was actually a Persian thing! OK, I am a believer but could you tell me who the historian was that recorded this fact? Or did this dawn on you after eating a lot of "addas polo ba noon sangak?" Here is my list of other Persian festivities copied or stolen by the western countries >>>

POETRY
Heat

I see but a sliver between the dark clouds
Jam Hamidi

POETRY
Random act of kindness

On the path to the climax
Rana Rabei

POETRY
Today, tomorrow and for all eternity

I hate that bad news under your skin
Farah Afshari

HOME

Family picnic

Photo essay: Adelaide, Australia
Azadeh

INTERVIEW
Comic gladiator

In the arena with Omid Djalili
Darius Kadivar

If you believe in post-mortem reincarnations, then you would agree that there is certainly something of a Peter Ustinov in Omid Djalili. Or is it the contrary? They both seem to share this rare combination of wit and quick tongue humor disguised within a cosmopolitan envelope. Interestingly Ustinov, very much like Djalili today, was first noticed for his supporting roles be it as a blind beggar in the Egyptian, or the mad, yet funny villainous Emperor Nero in another memorable Epic “Quo Vadis?” before achieving international Stardom and critical success with his Oscar winning performance as the colorful Roman Slave dealer Batiatus in Spartacus followed by his other popular on screen personifications such as in the title role of Belgian Detective Hercule Poirot in Agatha Christie’s crime film adaptations >>>

INTERVIEW
Nostalgic musical journey

Ostad Zolfonoun’s judicious stewardship of classical Iranian music is worthy of our recognition and appreciation
Hamid Karimi and Mehdi Safipour

What is so spectacular about a man and his music, a musician and his instrument? And what does that say about our cultural heritage and sense of identity as a music loving people? Despite the alluring power of pop culture, classical Iranian music is enjoying a renaissance among Iranian natives and Diasporas alike and that provided the right impetus for a discussion with the adroit Mahmoud Zolfonoun. Confident, authentic and resolute, he is a man of small stature, yet towering presence & large vision – a living legend and master musician hailing from Iran and presently living in Northern California. >>>

POINT
Khar hamaan khar ast

You cannot rely on the results of illegitimate election
Homayoun Abghari

PEACE
New Year's resolution

Stop another war
Daniel M Pourkesali

What is or should be frightening to every world citizen, is the sheer disregard by this cabal of neo-conservatives for the catastrophic consequences of implementing such dangerous policies. Oblivious to the mess created in Iraq and Afghanistan, they continue to use the very same tactics pushing for a far more serious confrontation with Iran. This latest bogus resolution pushed and coerced by the United States and passed by the UNSC is eerily reminiscent of what got us into the Iraq fiasco. Unfortunately the time is not on our side and the world can not afford to idly stand by and allow this to happen. Those outraged by the Iraqi deception must now stand up and repeatedly make it known, over the deafening megaphones of the war-mongers, that: 1) Iran is not in breach of any international conventions or agreements >>>

ENTREPRENEUR
It's about time

Email interview with Saied Ghaffari, software company founder
Jahanshah Javid

"We launched our first application called, "It's About Time" Products to learn iPhoto - quite possibly the best way for new users to learn the basics of iPhoto interactively. iPhoto is a Macintosh application that allows you to do a lot of great things with your photos. Before our product, you had to buy a 395 page book to learn how to use iPhoto. Our research shows that most people just want to learn the basics - how to import their photos, organize them, edit using crop, and share via email. We also found that people prefer learning by watching someone and then trying it themselves. So, that's exactly what we created and designed for beginners..." >>>

POLL
Worst Iranians of the year

CHRISTMAS

Holiday palate

Photo essay: Wining & dining
Farah Ravon

COMPENSATION
What is the point?
Nahal Rose Lalefar

Almost 5 years ago I wrote a piece regarding the imbalance of justice regarding victim compensation when it came to the US vs Iran. Unfortunately, based on the recent case ruling that Iran owes $254 million for the Khobar tower bombings, it seems as though little has changed over the years. Iran keeps getting sued by terror victims, but does anything meaningful ever come out of these lawsuits? Because Iran does not even fully acknowledge these lawsuits, it is not expected that the Iranian government would pay these victim compensations. Therefore, for years, these victims’ families have been seeking payment from Iran’s seized assets, particularly in foreign countries where the assets are more easily accessible than in the US >>>

VIEW
Falling apart
One fallen and weakened state will not do much harm to the Middle East, but the same thing happening to many states at the same time... that would be one big mess
Ben Madadi

In the past few years there have been so many lessons to be learnt from the Middle East, obvious to any clear mind, and all these lessons have been the outcome of wrong American interference. What Israel does to the neighbourhood is Israel's burden, and although it may cause global outrage or other conflicts, the more important issue is that Americans with their more authoritative and masculine approach that go beyond Israel's immediate borders cause much greater problems. The wrong policies have been toward Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, and Palestine, ie everywhere Americans have done anything or have decided anything about, regarding the Middle East. None of the affairs have been fruitful. I don't necessarily blame America. I always thought America was and is a far better bully than any other possibilities out there, such as Russia, China, or powerful European countries. Nevertheless... >>>

COMMUNITY
We have our work cut out
Productive Iranian-American civic organizations
Arya

Couple of weeks ago I attended a gathering put together by a local Iranian American civic organization.  The gathering had many purposes with one of them being to create more awareness about our ancient Shabe Yalda celebration. Well, in the spirit of my last article where I suggested that Iranians need to be  Better Keepers of our culture is why in the weeks following the event I was curious to see in fact in my circle of friends and family there are many good keepers or not. So very casually I observed how they celebrated Shabe Yalda vs. how those same non-Christian IA's devoted their time, energy, and money in celebrating Christmas. As you probably can guess, Christmas or I should say Xmas won hands down in all categories -- at least in my small sample >>>

LIFE
Kaarhaayeh aghab oftaadeh
Layla Khamoushian

She said you need to take care of them, every single one of them, because if you don't, they sit there in the corner of your mind forever, watching, nagging, shaking their legs in boredom sometimes, crying like babies at other times... take care of the unfinished business --it's actually a mental health issue. She said it has taken her two years after her mom passed away but she is alomst done... with her kaarhaayeh aghab oftaadeh. It helps her heal, it helps her move on >>>

GENOCIDE
Danger of extinction
For literate and cultured Iranians, the issue of the internationally recognized concept of genocide is unyieldingly well perceived
Omid Farda Manesh

On issue of genocide awareness that fittingly have been conveyed here on Iranain.com, this is what I need to address. If I do not, instead I continue vomit various unsightly bits and pieces of green and yellow liquidity every time I deeply ponder about it. So, here we go. The “conference” of Holocaust in Tehran was another blow to broken spirit of Iranians. There were countless Iranians disgusted with this assault and took it as another blow to their values in honoring life of mankind. Regardless of location of genocide, Iranians boldly denounce any atrocious forces desiring to validate such inhumane act whether in the past, present, or in the future >>>

POLL
Best Iranians of the year

POETRY
Freedom

And three other poems
Tara Shirani

POETRY
Drink from the cup

Allow yourself to spin with the rhythm of life
Niloofar Nafici

POETRY
Bargh

Khasteh keh misham dare komodamo baaz mikonam
Nilofar Shidmehr

POETRY
Connection

The green blood of faith flows in my veins
Azadeh Azad

POETRY
Lovers' secrets

Under that willow tree of Imagination
Farid Para

POETRY
Overindulgence

It's Christmas and overindulgence is the going pose
Shahireh Sharif

CHRISTMAS

Santa's here

Christmas in London
Parima Shahin Moghaddam

EXPERIMENTAL
Jealous uprising

Napoleon mon amour, Part 13: “It was great. Jaat khaali,” I answered with a smile that deliberately revealed too much
Sarvenaz

I like telling Napoleon about my escapades away from him.  Largely because they work erotically.  And this last one was with a woman which meant that he would not only not mind but actually reward me for it. In a big way! When he picked me up he had not a clue what I had done at the party.  He thought I had spent another weekend thinking about him, waiting for his call.  But noooooooooooo. Pas moi. The ever pro-active, post-feminist, single mom with a mighty pen! We went to our usual restaurant in the hill behind our residence and had a great lunch of Truchia which is a blette (a locally grown spinach-like herb) omelet and rose wine.  When we came back to his place and settled on the couch he asked me,  “So how was the party aroosak?”  Now, anyone who knows me knows that I am the furthest thing from an aroosak (which means doll, like Jack Nicholson used in that movie about the old playboy!).  Not only do I not remotely resemble one now, but I did not even when I was a little girl >>>

SANCTIONS
A terrible day for international diplomacy

Statement on UN sanctions against Iran
Campaign Against Sanctions and Military Intervention in Iran

The Campaign Against Sanctions and Military Intervention in Iran (CASMII) is gravely concerned about the latest development in the United Nations Security Council. The imposition of sanctions by the Council is ill-advised and destructive to peaceful dialogue. This action not only robs Iranians of their inalienable rights enjoyed by every other nation, it also exposes the irresponsible way in which the international body is being used as a tool to satisfy militant warmongers in US and the West... This is an insult to the institution of the UN and the idea of international diplomacy in general. Peace-seeking people everywhere should recognize this for what it is: a manufactured crisis leading to a military strike and a first step toward a new and even more devastating war in the Middle East >>>

SANCTIONS
No no

No to Imperialist war and sanctions. No to the theocratic regime in Iran.
Yassamine Mather

After months of discussion and prevarications, the United Nations Security Council finally imposed sanctions against Iran on Saturday the 23rd of Dec 2006. Inside Iran no one is any doubt that Iranian workers and the poor will pay the price of these sanctions as the Islamic regime uses the excuse of ‘new economic conditions’ to sack tens of thousands of workers, to stop paying the wages of thousands of public sector workers, to increase repression , while continuing its nuclear program. Events in the last weeks of 2006 have shown once more the perilous nature of both positions. The recommendations of the Iraq Study Group have not altered the threat of military aggression and now sanctions against Iran are a reality, the US/UK governments have not given up plans for ‘Regime Change’ from above >>>

ART

Looking ahead

Paintings, drawings and monoprints
Parvaneh Ghasemy

SHIRAZ
My first Christmas
Shirin Vazin

My first Christmas ever was celebrated in the morning of a summer in Shiraz in the 70’s. Watching too much American movies on TV showing them how they celebrate Christmas with nicely decorated, huge pine trees and all of the beautifully wrapped boxes under the tree made me think that Christmas is something special we did not or even could not have. When my mother bought Christmas presents for her Armenian friends she always took me with her. I always hoped that the sales person would wrap the gifts as nicely as the ones I had seen in the movies. But he never wrapped them like that >>>

IRANIANS OF THE YEAR :o)
Ugly people
Siamack Baniameri

In 2006, the world media saturated the airwaves with images of ugly Iranians, which included the president, the supreme leader, members of Majlis, heads of the revolutionary guards, malnutritioned Iranian opposition groups and everybody else who had moles growing on their foreheads. This prompted expats to shower the internet with their own "beautiful Iranian people" images. It's a cry for help. My idea for this year's Iranian of the year goes something like this: fuck all the beautiful people. That's right folks, fuck Tehran's snowy mountains, jungles of Mazandaran, high-rise towers, shopping malls, Esfahan's historic monuments, beautiful conceded Iranian broadcasters, actors, directors, athletes, models and billionaires. Fuck them all >>>

SOLDIERS
Draft test?
Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich

President Bush cannot find soldiers who are willing to die for his crusade. American soldiers with a few exceptions are about principles. While they are willing to defend their soil, they are not willing to go to the four corners of the world to fight the neo-conservative agenda and die in order to fulfill the agenda of the Project for the New American Century. They have woken up to the ugly truth. As such, there is a shortage of enlisted men to fight the next war – Iran. Battleships heading towards Iran, resolution sent to the United Nations Security Council, this White House is short of soldiers willing to die a futile death. But even instituting the draft will have its complications. The United States Armed Forces prohibits homosexuals or bisexuals from serving in the armed forces >>>

NEXT
Genie out of the bottle

Multilateral policies are being adopted that will effect the Nation of Iran in particular and the entire Mideast and possibly far beyond in general for many years to come
Shahriar Zangeneh

The intractable problem of what to do with the Islamic Republic of Iran's dogged attempts in pursuing its destabilizing nuclear ambitions tops the agenda of many, mostly democratic, governments. While negotiations for an acceptable wording of a sanction instrument progressed at a snail's pace, hampered by attempts to water it down to next to nothing, the outline of a robust multifaceted US response is emerging. The first front in the US response is being commanded by the Treasury Department in the form of friendly advice to international financial institutions who know better than to forgo such advice. The treasury is asking of them to curtail and eventually cut off any and all relationship and services that they have been providing the IRI' myriad of foundations, institutions, front companies, officials, agents, intermediaries and international gofers >>>

DENIERS
Laughed out of town
Mazloom

When was the last time you got up in the morning and the first thing that you asked yourself was whether the Earth is flat or not, or wondered if you were a chimpanzee millions of years ago? Like it or not, we have put our faith in science and accept what they tell us without questioning it in our daily lives. But, should we wonder about scientific findings? Absolutely. For example if you want to say, I don’t believe black holes suck in matter like a sink hole, but I think they shoot it out like a nozzle, go ahead, who cares? There is uncertainty there. But don’t go out there and say that man has not landed on the moon or the Earth is flat, because you will be ridiculed and laughed out of town >>>

RIGHTS
Beacons of hope

Iran’s women’s rights movement and the One Million Signatures campaign
Nayereh Tohidi

Today, there is an unyielding atmosphere prevailing in Iran, the Middle East and the international arena -- an atmosphere of militarism, violence and repression. An atmosphere that strengthens the spirit of militarism, perpetuates the cycle of violence, and produces violent and militant images of men and women, strengthening in turn the brutal culture of patriarchy and victimization of women and children. In spite of it, Middle Eastern women and activists have not surrendered to this atmosphere of fear. They have not wavered in their determination to seek novel, more effective and efficient methods to improve their legal and social status through a process of trial and error. These efforts surely will impact their societies and status of men as well as women positively >>>

TRAVELERS

House of sand and sun

Photo essay: Narin Fort in Maybod, Yazd Province
Babak Nassirian

STUDENTS
Khorooj az taariki

Student movement sees the light at end of tunnel
Esmail Nooriala

REFLECTION
Yesterday
Sheema Kalbasi

I make it easy on you. It was me by the window.
I will not write about you. I will write about ashes, nights, lights, days, the final inch before my feet give way to a wave.
I am not spiritual. Table is a table. Rose is a rose. Pain is pain. Life is life. Wheat makes bread. The rich may have more dread >>>

JINGLE
One more thing in common
Leila Farjami

They have Jesus, we have Emam Zaman (though, the chances of seeing a Martian riding a mule is much greater than either one of them returning); they have Bush, we have Ahmadinejad; they have "Jingle Bells", and we have "Anjaza Anjaza", our revolutionary song. What is the inter-relationship? Well, It was brought to my attention today (by my mother of all people) that the early revolutionary song, which later evolved into the "jingles" for the IRI nightly newscast, shares the same tune as "jingle bells". Just try humming the tune: jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way... and now try: anja-za, anja-za, anja-za vahdah... >>>

POETRY
Roya

Like winter longing for a moment of spring
Mandana Zandian

WORD
Folan fellow shodeh

A few thoughts about adaptations
Guive Mirfendereski

It is the first day of winter and of course the talk among the Iranian community is the commemoration of the Shab-e Yalda, as if it is the birth of spring! According to Wikipedia and other internet entries, the word yalda apparently is of Syriac/Babylonian origin and means birth, of light and longer daylight. I think that is probably a meaning based in the metaphoric significance of the occasion. The word probably means “long” as the night is the longest night of the calendar. Query: Is Yalda the basis for the toponym Yalta?  The word yalda is not Persian, but the name of the month of Day that begins with Yalda is. There is some indication that Light, it being the embodiment of divinity, makes this a godly season, if not in Persian lexicon then in other languages where the word dei and deus refers to god. There are a many concept that we grow up considering as quintessentially Iranian and then find out much to our surprise that it is really of some other origin >>>

CELEBRATE
A season to be jolly

To go with the flow is my way of contributing to the world peace
Zohreh Khazai Ghahremani

Running from store to store, with just a few shopping days left, the music blasting throughout the stores adds to my anxiety and I am convinced that some jingles were composed by someone who didn’t enjoy this holiday. They sound sad, fail to enhance the spiritual aspect of the season, and promote commercialism, thus taking away some of the sanctity one may associate with this time of the year. While shops in general only care about sales, nowadays they make no secret of their religious divisions. In the old days, the colorful decorations of this entire season signified Christmas, but now the Jewish shops display their own strands of lights amid blue and silver glitter. Churches put lights on a cross, synagogues light up their menorah and despite the stores blasting Peace On Earth, the division is hard to miss. Belonging to neither group, I simply enjoy the sights and sing along with whatever is playing >>>

ARTIST

Designing words

Photo essay: Reza Abedini introduces his graphic style at Amsterdam Art University
Babak Andishmand & Sina

SNOW

White adobe

Photo essay: Albuquerque, New Mexico
Bahman

VICTORY
Shekaste nezaamiye Amrikaa

U.S. military attack on Iran thwarted, thanks to Iranian opposition
Intellectualism Movement of Iran

OBJECTIVITY
I am NOT ashamed

The Holocaust is a fact. Discussing it will not diminish its gravity. So why are Western governments trying to put a muzzle on people wanting to discuss it?
Mazdak Maleki

Iranians abroad are ashamed these days. This is a new shame involving the Holocaust conference held by the Iranian foreign ministry. It replaces the past year's shame over the way Ahmadinejad dresses and how he looks. The shame before that was the Iranian support for the Hezbollah Shiite movement in Lebanon. There have always been reasons for shame among the Iranians abroad ever since the revolution of 1979. The reaction to this felt shame has been two sorts of denial. One is the outright denial. Here I'm talking about those who are chelokabab eating, doogh drinking by day and Italian by night >>>

PAINED
Holocaustitis

The Holocaust was neither the beginning nor the end of humans killing other humans because they didn't like them
Amy Jooni

People, people, people... Take it easy, please! Everyone is so upset at this stupid gathering of non-intellects that we are forgetting ethnic cleansing, genocides, and war crimes that are fresh out of the oven... I will take away nothing from the atrocities that took place in those concentration camps. I make no light of the matter that people died in matters that no human being should have. But do we really need to shed this much light on this crazy gathering and give it the weight it doesn't deserve? We have books, museums, annual memorials, and Lord knows many Hollywood movies dedicated to the Holocaust, but do we really need to have jail term for anyone who denies it? >>>

WINE

Godfather's grapes

Photo essay: Francis Ford Coppola's winery, Napa Valley, California
Jahanshah Javid

ART

Blue Mehdi

Paintings
Mehdi Hosseini

BEWILDERMENT
Ku Klux Fux

It really bothers me when I see them humiliated before the world with such a scandalous event taking place in their midst
Lance Raheem

A number of people have recently expressed their disgust and revulsion toward the Holocaust Revisionist Conference held in Tehran. With perhaps the exception of a few nutcases living in the mountains of rural Idaho, I think one would be hard pressed to find many people who would challenge the veracity of the mountains of evidence that verify the historical fact of what we have come to know as the Holocaust.  Our illustrious president, Ahgaye Mamoon ImaWeinerJob, has taken great pride in the fact that many of the participant-scholars attending conference are foreigners.  The truth is that these so-called intellectuals, who've been feted to V.I.P. treatment as guests of the Islamic Republic, constitute a veritable Who's Who of Losers, Weirdos, Outcasts, Freaks, and Psychos >>>

HOLOCAUST
Republic of Shame
Fariba Amini

The recent Holocaust conference in Tehran was yet another attempt by the Islamic Republic to distract the Iranian public and world attention from the many issues facing them.  It was also a provocation coupled with militant ignorance, and as such an all too familiar aspect of this regime. With this conference, designed to cast doubt on the veracity of a well documented monstrous crime and attended by revisionist “scholars” and a former head of the racist Klu Klux Klan, the Iranian regime under Ahmadi Nejad has once again managed to insult our nation as well as the nations of the world >>>

CELEBRATE
Light is born

Happy Yalda or Yuletide
Ali Mostofi

Iranian Cosmologists, Astronomers, Astrologers, were responsible for creating observatories, and following the change in the amount of light every day. They created a calendar that connected the change in daylight to the seasons. Astrologically they created what is called the Horoscope. In present day Iran the calendar is an Astrological calendar. It has withstood the test of time, and the people of Iran have four celebrations to commemorate the interplay of Light and Darkness. The Yin Yang of time, to make it clear to the Chinese folk who buy all that oil from Iran, is called the Ohrmazd-Ahriman dialectic. These are the Twin Forces that show up in all realms of Life >>>

DESIRE
Drought

I spend all day thinking about sex
Laleh Banoo

It's high time I met a girl, I think. One that looks like me, with big eyes, nice tits, long legs. I'm not a model but I'm not hard to look at. But how is bi-curiosity done? Girls are naturally more affectionate, friendlier, so it's hard to tell what a touch or a glance means. With men, it's easy, with women, not so much. I suppose there's always the Internet but that makes me feel very uncomfortable. (I realize the how ridiculous that statement sounds, considering the circumstances. To each his own.) >>>

POETRY
Khomeini baazmigardad

A letter from a child of the revolution
Leila Farjami

POETRY
Stoning

Don't blame Mother Earth, she damns humanity tonight
Tina Ehrami

ART

Color blind

Paintings
Reza Kassai

NUCLEAR
Deal and no deal

U.S. threatens sanctions against Iran while signing nuclear deals with India and China
Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich

It should come as no surprise that President Bush has put one of the worst disasters in American history on the back burner. Having disregarded the Iraq Study Group findings, and mindless of the dead-count both at home and in Iraq, he is busy outdoing himself by making deals that would affect not only America, but effectively deprive world citizens of their trust and dependence in international institutions... Can the world sit by passively and accept the irrationality of the United States imposing sanctions on Iran citing the NPT while at the same time it calls the NPT ineffective in order to reward those states that do not abide by it? Can sanctions be imposed on firms or nations for the transfer of dual usage technology while the United States violates the NSG agreement? >>>

YOU
Always!
Sheema Kalbasi

You sit by the window. You are not tall, not short, and not unfriendly. You have half a smile. You have ordered orange juice, a pack of cigarettes you won't smoke, a cup of coffee for the girl who will not come to you. I am a wife, a mother, and I can't be yours. You can't be mine. I see pearls in the dew. I smell roses, honesty. I can't betray those who love me and I love them. I love you. The river streams up my eyes. I watch you drink your drink. I watch you not smoke that cigarette. I watch you walk out of the room. You are gone >>>

TEHRAN
Women-only taxis

No longer will Iranian women need to sit in cramped taxis adjacent to unshaven muscular sweaty perverts
Mazloom

Congratulations to Iranian women for achieving another milestone, the official woman-only taxis, driven by woman drivers in Tehran. Yes for those ignorant westerners women in Iran do drive vehicles. They passed that milestone decades ago, and for years for extra income they have been acting as taxi drivers by picking up passengers on their way to their regular jobs as doctors, bankers, teachers, etc. What’s new now is that it’s official, and it’s for the services of pious rich female passengers like Rafsanjani’s daughters and brides, when for some reason they cannot use their Mercedes Benz. Isn’t that great. In a few other provinces they were doing it already, but Tehran in that respect was a backward metropolis >>>

CHRISTMAS
To tree or not to tree...
Shahriar Zahedi

Every year around this time a debate flares up among the Iranian Diaspora as to whether we should display Christmas trees in our houses. The issue is discussed ad-nauseam on talk-radio shows and at parties and gatherings. Everyone has their own opinion about this potentially touchy subject. Some favor doing "as Romans do" and advocate displaying the biggest tree befitting the confines of their domiciles. Others consider this an outright act of sacrilege and remind their Moslem brethren (and sistren) that we, as Moslems, should not honor these ridiculous rites of the infidels. I think the displaying of a Christmas tree should not have any bearing on whether one considers Jesus as one's lord and savior or even believes in the Holly Ghost and the Trinity. (What is the Trinity, anyway? Is monotheism in peril?) >>>

FREE SPEECH
I will talk

Censored ex-CIA analyst on
options towards Tehran

The following is a transcript of Flynt Leverett's remarks at the New America Foundation in Washington, DC, on U.S. diplomatic options toward Tehran. Leverett, who is a former CIA analyst and National Security Council official, as well as another former U.S. government Mideast expert, have accused the White House of "abusing secrecy rules to block the publication of an article they had written for the Op-Ed page of The New York Times that criticized Bush administration policy toward Iran." >>>

FILMMAKER
Ghaffary: Intersection of Western and Iranian culture
Dorna Khazeni

It's with a heavy heart that I write to tell you that my friend Farrokh Ghaffary died in Paris yesterday. For the last couple of years he had not been in the greatest health. Still, in July, when I visited him, he was witty and charming and as usual regaled me with a wealth of stories, the likes of which we shall now never hear from anyone else. Farrokh's career, which took him from Iran to the Cinematheque, working with Langlois, back to Iran, where he founded the first film archive, and then went on to head the Iranian television was rich. His two films Jonoubeh Shahr and Night of the Hunchback are both considered masterpieces. His knowledge of film, literature and theater and his understanding of the intersection of the West's culture with Iran's was also sans pareil, as the French would say >>>

ELECTIONS
Vibrant political life
Asghar Massombagi

The recent municipal elections in Iran and the apparent defeat of most ultra-conservative and pro Ahmadinejad candidates prove two things: Firstly, in spite of severe restrictions on political freedom and suppression of true dissent, the political life in Iran remains vibrant. The repeated attempts by the ruling clergy to frustrate the democratic process have failed to produce an indifferent electorate, at least until now. Iran is no monolithic, hermetically sealed society and bundling it with North Korea is wrong and dishonest. Secondly, the silly rhetoric of President Ahjmadinejad regarding the Holocaust has more buyers outside of Iran than inside. Anyone with an ounce of awareness of Iran's political scene knows that Ahamdinejad's narrow victory in the presidential election was due to his image as an anti-corruption reformer and the champion of the poor. He is not the only demagogue who ever got elected on a populist agenda and outstayed his welcome >>>

PHOTOGRAPHY

Under my feet

Photo essay: Self-portrait
Mehraneh Atashi

NATURE

Remember why you're alive

Photo essay: Yosemite and Joshua Tree, California
Salim Madjd

MEMOIR
Among rogue scholars

Inside the Institute for Humanities and Cultural Studies (IHCS), a Tehran research institute: 1993-1995
Azadeh Azad

In 1992, the publication of a new women's magazine, Zanan, was a first clear sign that there was a rift within the ranks of the Islamic phalanx in Iran, creating a narrow crevice for uttering slightly different opinions without being immediately executed. So, having worked for many years as a social scientist with La Federation des Femmes du Quebec in Montreal, I decided to return to Tehran at the end of that year, to live and work in my birthplace for a few years. I had left Iran in 1969 with the feeling that women's situation under the Shah was unbearable. I thus clearly knew that the wearing of the compulsory hijab and abiding by other rules of the Islamic regime would be detrimental to my psyche; so I returned with the internal attitude of an observing sociologist and not of a woman, in order to cope with the offensive and alienating social environment in new Iran >>>

VIEW
U.S. vs. Iran

War is not correct solution
Ali Ghaemi

The current hostile relationship between Iran and the United States is governed by a grave lack of trust rather than a logical and mutually beneficial set of policies between the two countries... Even if Iran did have a secret nuclear weapons program and were to develop nuclear weapons, history has shown that they serve only as deterrents and that many countries voluntarily give them up as their security concerns are eased. What good would an Iranian nuclear bomb be in the face of the estimated 200 Israeli nuclear warheads or the immense American nuclear arsenal? An interesting and encouraging development is Ahmadinejad's demands for direct talks with the United States. Under Ayatollah Khomeini's Iran, this would have been unthinkable. This shows that the conservative elements in Iran are heeding the sensible cries of the pragmatic and reform-minded populace that does not want the country to be dragged into yet another conflict, let alone against the world superpower >>>

ELECTIONS
The world isn’t Florida and the U.S. isn’t its Supreme Leader

On municipal elections in Iran
Behrooz Ghamari

On December 15, more than 60% of Iranians cast ballots in municipals elections. With the mounting pressure of reformist coalitions, a remarkable number of their candidates survived the draconian vetting processes of the clerical establishment and turned this election into a popular vote of confidence in Ahmadinejad’s administration. Whether they succeed in wining the majority seats in city and town councils in Tehran and other parts of the country is not known yet. But the mere act of the electorates’ massive participation once more exhibited the resilience of democratic institutions under the Islamic Republic in spite of abundant social, legal, and political impediments. Had this election occurred in an allied country of the United States, it would have been celebrated as the highest achievement of American foreign policy. But the Bush administration and the mainstream media disregard elections held under an alleged “totalitarian” state as a nonevent >>>

STONING
The world is watching us
Marjan Abdi

Having inherited the foundation of Human Rights from a just emperor, Cyrus the Great 2500 years ago, we must be able to rather teach the world how to develop human souls to eradicate crime; whereas, shamefully enough, we are witnessing the fact that today all the basic human rights are simply being violated in the very land of the founder of them! Stoning is a destructive encouragement to potential inclination to crime, which is hidden in every human being by nature. We must provide a healthy education to all to avoid crimes from happening in the first place. Stoning is indeed a failure in our spiritual education >>>

MUSIC

Erfan

"Simple, pure and original Hip Hop"
Videos & MP3s

IRANIANS
Maybe we desrve it
Faramarz Fateh

Anyway, as usual after discussing the LA real estate market and how much money folani had made or lost, the inevitable political discussion got started. Someone said that we should ALL buy the new book by President Jimmy Carter because for the first time in history, someone famous in U.S. politics has dared to write the truth about the Jews and Israel. And maybe now the Israeli apartheid can be stopped and the Jews can be put in their place and may be now the Palestinians can have their rightful country. What?!! Stop the presses!!!! What is this guy talking about and why a few of these men I know and respect are all of a sudden praising Jimmy Carter?! Let me remind ya'll of a few facts: 1) Jimmy Carter was the cause for the demise of the Pahlavi regime and return of the pile of scum called Khomeini back to Iran. As much as I disliked the Shah, I won't trade a gram of crap from that era for the entire Islamic Republic of Iran >>>

AMERICA
Kaffash
Layla Khamoushian

There is something about them, all of them... the entire act of polishing and shining people's old shoes... all day long, day after day just amazes me. Then there is the whole key making situation. Who in the world came up with the idea that a shoe repair guy should also make keys? I mean, maybe they (not sure who) thought it was so demeaning to just make keys that you also had to shine shoes to feel better about yourself? Just want to know if anyone else has ever questioned the relationship between keys and shoes? The Kaffash on M Ave: the little old man who was missing a couple of front teeth and his shop was as small as my closet. His Persian radio so loud, you could hear it on the sidewalk. He was a character. All you could think of was "how in the world this guy got to America?" >>>

GENOCIDE
Our sense of right and wrong

The trouble with denying the Holocaust
Ari Siletz

As a leader of a predominantly Shiite country, President Ahamadinejad understands the utility of politicizing grief. For over thirteen centuries Shiism has found sustenance in mournful rituals commemorating the death of its Imams. In the mind of a Shiite politician, the Holocaust story is a familiar emotional device for amplifying and channeling political power. However, this interpretation of the Holocaust as an instrument of manipulation is behind the times. In the modern world, the Holocaust lesson serves civilization by helping prevent atrocities that would occur otherwise >>>

SNIP

Doing the world a favor

Photo essay: Decided on getting a vasectomy
Jahanshah Javid

CELEBRATE
Gift of Magi

How to celebrate Christmas with our Christian neighbors
Mahmoud Sadri

There is a portion of the Iranian Diaspora community that is not sure what to make of Christmas. So it haphazardly, half-heartedly, ignores or celebrates it. The nagging concern is how this holiday relates to all that is Iranian, Middle Eastern, or Islamic. Do Iranians lose a part of their identity and heritage by partaking of the festivities alien to their traditional or sacred calendar? In the meanwhile, neighbors, co workers, and – the toughest part – children continue to ask questions. Whether they take Christmas as a holy-day (a religious occasion) or a holiday (a social ritual), Iranians have reason enough to celebrate it and to add their own story, making it more festive for grownups and more fun for children. Here is the scoop: Iranians enter the Christmas picture four times: three times as Iranians and a fourth time as Muslims. I’ll explain but, first, a few words on the origin and nature of Christmas >>>

ELECTIONS
Challenges and challengers

Iran’s Assembly of Experts elections
Meir Javedanfar

On December 15th 2006, more than fifteen million Iranians went to the polls, to elect the members of the Assembly of Experts. The main job of this assembly is to review the performance of Iran’s supreme leader, and to replace him, if he dies or becomes incapacitated. In the Western world, the task of this assembly can best be compared to that of the Vatican’s College of Cardinals, who is in charge of choosing the pope. Its 86 members are all clergymen, who stand for elections every eight years. In terms of importance, the assembly elections eclipse Iran’s Presidential elections of 2005. Iran’s resident Ahmadinejad, despite all his fiery talk and bravado, only holds 10% of power, given to him by the constitution. The supreme leader however, is the most powerful person in all of Iran. He is the person with the last say over Iran’s internal and external policies, and its nuclear program >>>

UCLA
In Nokia, we trust

Before some Iranians decide the motto of our union ought to be changed to "liberty, but tasing for all," remember that there is a legal system that demands accountability for the bad guys
Nazanin

There are bad cops all over the world who mistreat the little guys. But I don't view Mostafa like I do the victims in Tiananmen Square, the Soviet Union or student activists in Iran. And I most certainly don't take the actions of these officers as a threat to freedom in the United States. They don't deserve that much credit. So before some Iranians decide the motto of our union ought to be changed to "liberty, but tasing for all," remember that there is a legal system that demands accountability for the bad guys. They can also be comforted by the masses who are ready to help the legal system, armed with youtube and videophones. Bad guys, you'd better watch yourselves >>>

TEN MILLION LETTERS
I have no word to describe how angry I am

In response to Holocaust conference in Iran: Ahamdinejad is a disgrace to humanity. How insensitive can one be to hold a conference with KKK leaders to deny or prove something that already happened and the whole world knows about? For once I am embarrassed to be an Iranian. For God's sake more than 6 million people got killed in a tragic way and you (Ahmaghinejad)  will hold a conference to see if it was true or not? I have no word to describe how angry I am with this issue. Is like some one would hold a conference to prove if Saddam killed and wounded millions of Iranians or not? >>> Letters PART 1 & PART 2

ART

Through the cracks

Paintings
Maryam Amouie

 

TRAVELERS

Earthy grandeur

Photo essay: Kashan architecture
Babak Nassirian

GIVING
It's Christmas
Hila Sharif

I worked last Christmas Eve. I was a server a pretty family oriented restaurant (with the best food and staff ever.) I had about five tables at once that night. When you are a lazy sh*t like me that is more than enough. One of those tables was made up of two married couples who looked like they were in their mid to late fourties. They weren't necessarily rude, but very unreceptive and quiet. The next table I got was a single dude by himself who looked like he was in his mid twenties. This guy ordered himself a salad, a nice big steak with potatoes and cheesecake to follow. I remember thinking that it was adorable watching him go all out for his Christmas Eve dinner all by himself. I also totally dug his leather jacket and dirty construction boots - he was a man's man >>>

HOLOCAUST
Their lives were sacred
Kaveh Nouraee

I don't know whether to laugh, or throw up. Only in Iran could there be a "conference" where the Holocaust is denied, with Orthodox Jewish rabbis as invited guests. Meimoun Antarinejad is greeting and hobnobbing with everyone like he's the maitre'd at Morton's of Chicago. (Overheard: Antarinejad: "Shalom and thank you for coming, Rabbis, we are glad you have made it. (turns to aide) Hassan! Get the kikes some chai!") David Duke, the former grand drag queen of the KKK is another "honored speaker" (translated: goh-e-sag). He was quoted as saying, "Well, goddamn! you camel jockeys sure smell funny. The stink in this room reminds me of my taxicab ride to the airport." This uber-redneck cracker gets a visa to travel fom the U.S. to Iran faster than an oil change at Jiffy Lube, but if I even use the word "airport" in a sentence, both Homeland Security and the TSA will immediately conference-call me to arrange a joint task force cavity search that takes longer than my actual flight >>>

IRI
State of denial
Farid Parsa

No other government in the world is more suited to host an international conference questioning the historical veracity of Holocaust than the Islamic Republic of Iran. The reason for it being that no other government in the world is more in the state of denial than Islamic Republic of Iran. They are in denial about the high rate of jobless people, the wide spread of drug addiction and prostitution, torture and murders of their citizens, persecution of religious minorities, oppression of homosexuals and lack of transparency and corruption within the government, and most importantly they are in denial about their relevance to the people of Iran and their place in the modern world. Even the most uneducated person can see the disfunctionality of Islamic Republic of Iran. No government is able to deny the Holocaust unless he is in the state of denial about their own crime against humanity.

OPINION
Circus of hate

The Holocaust conference shames Iran
Amil Imani

We have been telling the world that the present clique of Islamofascists ruling Iran is not Iranian in the world-view. And with each passing day fresh evidence supports our claim. The recent gathering of some of the world's fascists in Tehran, at the invitation of the Islamic Republic of Iran's Islamofascist President Ahmadinejad, provides further support to our claim. Iranians have never had any animosity toward the Jewish people. In fact, our friendship with the Jews goes back thousands of years. You have to be a fascist to pick, with no justification at all, on any people to persecute and aim to annihilate. True Iranians are among the world's staunchest supporters of universal human rights. The circus in Tehran, billed as "a conference", was nothing more than a disgusting attempt by the savage inheritors of Muhammad's dogma of hate to continue in his tradition of wanton attacks on all unbelievers, particularly the Jews >>>

IDEAS
Ayaa democracy badtarin noe hokoomat ast?

Is democracy the worst form of government?
Houshang Pirnazar

CHRISTMAS

Glowing forest

Photo essay: Broken Arrow, Oklahoma
Ray Rafizadeh

TRAVELERS

The eyes have it

Photo essay: Greece and its Myths
Keyvan Tabari

met my first Greek when I was seventeen. I had been speaking English only for two weeks. I had a hard time pronouncing his name, Chris, right. He was more annoyed, however, at my not being able to roll the word Greece correctly. I had known the country by its Persian name, yoonan. I knew next to nothing about its “Persian Wars.” For Chris, on the other hand, they were important enough to become the subject of our very first conversation. Nonetheless, we became friends in that freshman year of college. Chris got good grades but his inclinations were other than academic. Every school break, he went to Chicago to work for his uncle who had a restaurant there. He made good money as a waiter. I lost track of him after I transferred at the end of that year, but Chris left a strong desire in me to learn more about his country and its ancient relationship with my country of birth. What you will read here is the report on my recent trip there which lasted ten days >>>

RIGHTS
Hoghooghe madaniye Bahaiane Iran

Iran elections, constitutional reform & Bahai rights
Kavian S. Milani

PLAY
The screen door

“Oh, Condi! Vow, hi! Big sooprise!”
The Badder Brigade

(It is the beginning to look like the evening through the windows, and Ali and his lovely wife are seated in an unremarkable kitchen in front of a kitchen table for four that just functioned both as the prep and dining area for their dinner. A good meal has just been eaten, and a bottle or two of bootleg wine has been drunk. The kitchen windows and back door are open to a purple sky. Ali sits languidly on his chair, possibly listening to the music from the stereo and/or his wife’s conversation, or neither. Every now and again, he nods his head downward slowly, his eyelids touching each time he does so. The phone on the kitchen counter rings once, twice, three times, and by the fourth ring Ali has gotten up and -- grudgingly -- answered) >>>

CRITIQUE
Coleman Barks and Rumi's Donkey

The essential problem lies in the fact that Barks intentionally changes Rumi, perhaps for the better, but at the expense of distortion and misrepresentation
Majid Naficy

Barks who does not know Persian, first rewrites some of the old translations in English. Then, by using an unpublished John Moyne's translation on one hand, and with the blessing of a Sri Lankan sufi saint living in the US, Bowa Muhaiyaddeen on the other hand, Barks publishes a new English version of rumi in free verse. No doubt that Coleman Barks's version of Rumi has released these poems from the confines of Departments of Near Eastern Studies but unfortunately, as we will see, he has tied them in the cage of his personal taste. He approaches Rumi's poetry as sacred texts, which need to be dusted from the passage of times by a touched devotee and prepared for the Post Modern, New Age market in the West. The New Age movement finds a remedy for modern alienation in old recipes, such as horoscope, Extra-Sensory Perception and divination >>>

DESIRE
The big nothing is everything

I spend all day thinking about sex
Laleh Banoo

Andy Warhol once called sex "the big nothing." In a very fundamental way, I think he is right. Sex is something natural, it ensures the survival of the species, without it none of us would be here, and etc. Sex is the first thing I think about when I wake up, the last thing I think about before I go to sleep, and I think about it at least 20 times between those two events each day. So if Andy Warhol is right, I spend all day thinking about absolutely nothing. Sex really shouldn't be a big deal. So why, then, is sex such a big, complicated mess? Especially if you happen to be a single Iranian girl in your early 20s, even one who has had six lovers by now and done it hundreds of times. Perhaps it's a mess because you happen to love it even while knowing full well that your culture (and most cultures, really) views it as dirty and shameful. Maybe you love it because of that. Well, that's me, and I suppose this is not a new story, but I want to write about my most intimate thoughts in a thoughtful way >>>

DISGUSTED
We are indestructible
Jewish Irani

Ahmaghinejad and his hateful clan have opened a 2-day so-called conference on Holocaust denial, in Tehran. Of course, they are selling it as an academic conference to some 67 foreign researchers (read anti-Semites) from 30 countries. In the name of the six million who were perished Al Kidush Ha-shem; sanctifying the Almighty's name, I tell you Mr. Ahmaghinejad that there have been many others before you who tried to hurt the Jewish people, but they themselves were wiped off the map. Take your ancient countryman for example Mr. Haman who like you had such sinister dreams. What happened to him? He was hanged on the very same gallows that he built to kill Mordechai the Jew >>>

ART

In the middle of the garden

Paintings
Ava Serjoie

TRAVELERS

Golden Colorado

Photo essay
Parviz Forghani

HOLOCAUST
Death to stupidity

Why would you want to reduce the biggest, most horrendous crime committed by a Western/Christian power in history if you are out to show the world that Islam and its anti-Westernism can lead the world to a better place?
Shahla Azizi

When I first heard about the student protests I thought they were protesting the Holocaust Denial Conference. But no Muslim or Zoroastrian will defend a Jew in Iran -- not at the cost of imprisonment or torture.  I, myself, am using a pseudonym and am as timid as the next collaborating Iranian.  At least, though, I spent a good few hours pondering my own cowardice and trying to build enough courage to put my real name to this. That is more that most people do. You can hate Israel. You can hate the Zionists. You can resent the Jews being given Palestine instead of East Germany but to deny the Holocaust is idiotic.  Not only is it historically inaccurate but it is tasteless and self-defeating as well.  It would be easier to deny the martyrdom of Imam Reza, for example, whom even the more devout seem to think, died of over-eating rather than poisoned grapes >>>

VIEW
Khak bar sare opposition

A generation of post-modern youth who has no interest in politics and society
Tina Ehrami

A friend's friend returned from Iran a couple of weeks ago and of course I had to have the full report on social, political and developmental issues in Iran from her. I wanted to hear about the Iranian Student Movement, about the vastly growing Woman's Movement, about the Shirin Ebadi's, about censored journalists and writers who fought back through publishing online, or brave men and women who organised underground meetings or demonstrations and strikes. All these stories remained untold. Nothing was said about the three-star students who were sent to jail for the third time during their study or the numerous under-aged women who were hung or stoned to death. I was disappointed. Not because I was so eager to hear about atrocities in my "vatan", but because I knew that all these things existed but nobody in Iran seemed to care >>>

DANCE
Niosha's dual crusade

Bringing Persian dance to the masses
Behrouz Bahmani

With all the negativity surrounding Iranians and Iran these days, there is little that is obviously optimistic. Who we really are is often masked by those desperate to drag us into their bitter feuds and hostile intentions. So it is wonderful when a truly inspiring story comes along. Niosha Nafei is a Bay Area Iranian Community icon. But before I get to that let me tell you what she does. Niosha Dance Academy (NDA) has been teaching young and older students, various traditional classical, and modern Persian Dance since 1991 >>>

IDEAS
Jaaygaahe "kherad" dar noandishiye dini

Rationalism in contemporary religious thinking
Esmail Nooriala

REPLY
Siaasat va veghaahat

On Ahmadinejad's letter to Americans
Massoud Noghrekar

FATWA
Death sentence without borders

Journalists, bloggers, and writers protect yourselves!
Jahanshah Rashidian

It started in Tabriz and Tehran with the organised demonstrations of IRI’s followers against an Azeri writer, Rafiq Tagi, who wrote an article, "humiliating" Prophet Muhammad. The Azeri writer is accused of portraying Christianity and Europe as superior to Islam as and the Middle East. The fatwa calls for the death of the writer and also the person responsible for publishing his article. Another Iranian Mullah offers his house as a reward to anyone who executes the writer. The article published last month in the newspaper Senet prompted an unsanctioned protest in a village north of Baku by angry observant Muslims and rapidly became a fervent topic of Islamic media in Iran >>>

SATIRE
In yesterday's news
Rana Rabei

Two suicide bombers walked into a bar with a crocodile and a sting ray where John Kerry was giving his classic "if you don't stay in school, you'll end up in Iraq" lecture to a crowd of underage rednecks inhaling paint spray. Around the corner, Mel Gibson was finishing his 2nd bottle of scotch and preparing for his presentation at Ahmmadinejad's "The Myth that is Holocaust" conference; while Britney Spears got the bar and exposed her pussy to a repulsed Lindsey Lohan who started screaming "I'm a whore, but I'm not gay". At that very moment Senator Foley logs in under the screen name bickcock69 and invites lilpenis to his private yahoo chat room named "12-14 year-old boys who like grown men" >>>

TEHRAN

Highs and lows

Photo essay: Tehran from the ugly to the beautiful
Saba Parsa

ART

Chai & Urushi

Paintings: New exhibition at Urasoe Art Museum, Japan
Farrokh Shayesteh

VELAYAT
Moderate possibility

Upcoming elections for the Iranian Assembly of Experts
Razi Ahmad

If reformists have a strong presence in the Assembly of Experts, the next Leader who succeeds Ayatollah Khamenei, the incumbent Supreme Leader, can be expected to be more moderate or liberal. In such a situation, the Guardian Council and the judiciary are also very likely to be more liberal. Currently, both are dominated by hardliners that proved to be frustrating for reform initiatives taken by the Khatami government. The reformative laws passed by the Majles were repeatedly vetoed and blocked by the Council. A number of newspapers that sprang up following Khatami’s election were banned by the judiciary. In spite the fact that it is very unlikely that it would have an opportunity to select next Supreme Leader, this situation could change even during the next term of the Assembly provided reformists were elected on it >>>

LIFE
Clearing my closets
Fereshteh Saheli

I was diagnosed with breast cancer about a month ago.  I was aware of my tumors a good year before that and did absolutely nothing about them.  I never went to a doctor, never sought help of any sort much to the dismay of childhood friends who found me out during one incredibly glorious vacation recently.  I tried to explain my thoughts ... I have packed so very much in my first thirty years of life than most people do in their whole.  Not even touching on the next 15, I tried my best to tell them I’ve had enough.  I could happily pass on now.  I really can!  Enough pain, enough joy, enough fun, enough bitter, enough sweet, enough laughter, enough sadness, enough any and all.  None would hear of it >>>

LIFE
Anar dreams

It’s very possible that I have held the biggest pomegranate arils known to man in the palm of my right hand, in my head
Maziar Shirazi

Did you ever have a powerfully real dream that was a 50/50 combination of the fantastic and the mundane? The following dream actually did happen, although I added a sentence at the end to tie it all together. I was sleeping around three or four in the afternoon today, and in my head, I went to the refrigerator to get something to eat. I had just opened the fridge door when, to my surprise, something in a plastic bag fell from a shelf to the floor with a heavy thud. I picked it up and saw the Wholesome Choice logo on the bag, recognizing it as the one pomegranate left from my last minute food pickup in Irvine, California, some two weeks ago. To my dismay, upon removing the pomegranate from the bag, I saw that it had flattened on one spot, I’m guessing from the fall. What's more, its skin was white or pink in many areas, and had large folds running obliquely around it, like the torso of an obese person... how strange >>>

POLITICS
Time to unite

One issue all Iranians came to agree on over the past couple of years was being firmly against regime change through American military force
Cyrus Mossaddegh

First of all I do not think it is fair to brand Mr. Pahlavi guilty because of his father's actions. As for Mr. Reza Pahlavi making the mistake of being associated with the CIA and the neocon warmongers that can be written off as political immaturity and being a victim of a life long conditioning program so that one day he would be ready to rule as a benevolent dictator. Breaking free of this programming and finding a way to alter his conditioning will require tremendous will and sincere dedication to finding his real self. And I think this will be a hard struggle for him. Maybe he will succeed in waking up and discovering that in order to be honest with himself and honest with the Iranian people he needs to throw off all the strings that have been attached to him and also break free of the shackles that are around his ankles >>>

CHRISTMAS
Deck the halls with Hengameh

With Las Vegas, it seems Iranians have really gone above and beyond the now commercial holiday spirit
Nazanin

Growing up in America, I held a deep affection for Christmas. Here was a holiday that meant vacation, presents and candy. People were cheerful and decorated their houses with tiny lights to welcome a jolly man bearing presents in the night. It was like Halloween on LSD! As I grew up, and attended catholic school, I understood what all the celebration was really about. Like most things, as time got on, it wasn't as cool anymore. When my grandmother came to visit us when I was in 7th grade, I made sure to show her the White House Christmas tree and buy her candy canes. And like most visitors from Iran, she was eager to see the usual hot spots like Tyson's Corner and Georgetown. The sales were wild and so were the Christmas shoppers >>>

REVIEW
Zani beh range ghoroobhaaye jomeh

On the publication of Leila Farjami's poetry collection, "Eteraafnaameye Dokhtaraane Bad"
Mandana Zandian

POETRY
Mamaan-bozorg

A halo in the candlelight
Farnoosh Seiffodini

POETRY
Esmail...

For Esmail Khoie, Iranian poet in exile
Mahnaz Badihian

POETRY
Kesi naporsid

Chegooneh az zendegi safar mikoni?
Shahrokh Setoudeh Foumani

POETRY
Tanhaatar az khoda

Tabeedgaah daaneshgaahe man ast
Rezz

POETRY
Shaamgaahi deegar

Bar baale andisheh baa to parvaaz mikonam
Homayoun Abghari

POETRY
What should I do?

If the rain of your love, doesn't pour on me
Hedieh Sajadi

POETRY
Shekast

Coloneli az tabaare ashpazaan
Serge Arakli

POETRY
Eghrar

Donya beh raahe naan o riya miravad hanooz
Orkideh Behrouzan

POETRY
Invisible

I feel as if all the neighbours have migrated to the moon
Farah Afshari

POETRY
Where looms death

You are the plight
Sara Rahai

POETRY
The blossom of Diaspora

And I am the tree of Diaspora, linking you to stars
Manoucher Parvin

POETRY
Never apart

You can't enter my world, darling
Farid Parsa

POETRY
Pish az obooreh parvaaneh az barg

Zibaae doraane mahkoomiyatash raa migozaraanad
Habib Shokati

POETRY
Fall

With majestic colors of red and orange leaves
Akbar Showkatian

POETRY
Valley of life

I wonder where am I?
Tamar Mikaelian Katz

BEACH

Bodega Bay

Photo essay: Day out on the beach in Northern California
Jahanshah Javid

HAIKU

Zamin, Niloufar, Khaatereh va Maah

For my daughter Parmis
Massoud Vatankhahi

POETRY
On your last day

(or Mom’s Birthday)
Arash Daneshzadeh

POETRY
Astan az maast!

Az heech hast shodam
Sheema Kalbasi

POETRY
Khaatereh

Khooneye khaali cheh roozaa ro beh yaadam miaareh
Orang Gholikhani

POETRY
Saayeie dar satrhaa gom

Donyaaye koochaki daashtam
Sheida Mohammadi

POETRY
Diaspora

Vatan aanjaast keh behtar ast
Ali R. Rabi

POETRY
Royae Parvaneh

Take a bath in the sun's rays
Shoja Adel

POETRY
The return of the violins

The triangle finally succeeded!
Tina Ehrami

POETRY
A Thanksgiving message

After Mostafa Tabatabainejad was ejected from UCLA library using a Taser-gun
Peyvand Khorsandi

POETRY
Timid

Gliding over your sudden looks, which always melts my heart
Reza Eslami

POETRY
Shiraz poems

"Shiraz my beloved" and "Remembering summers in Shiraz"
Sasan Seifikar

POETRY
Tangled

Don't get tangled in lies or unanswered prayers
Baharak Sedigh

TRAVELERS

Water meets Earth

Photo essay: Kashan's Fin Garden
Babak Nassirian

VIEW
Disastrous policies

President Carter and Hamas
Sohrab Ferdows

Recently, former U.S. President Jimmy Carter once again has managed to put himself in the spotlight of media attention after making some interesting comments about Palestine and other issues. View points of Mr. Jimmy Carter on Palestinian election in particular, drew my attention in which Mr. Carter complained about Palestinian people being penalized for democratically electing Hamas to represent them in Palestinian government. Mr. Carter complained that Palestinians should not be punished because of this democratic election which he insisted, was in fact in direction of spread of democracy in the region. Believing that Hamas was elected by Palestinian people in a truly democratic process is one thing but spreading of democracy in the region is something else >>>

GIFT
Azam's secrets

What to give a middle-aged woman for Christmas
Azam Nemati

I want to help out the brothers and make the task less stressful since many of you are so clueless and have no imagination when it comes to buying gifts for us for any occasion. I am the kindhearted big sister who wants you to shine and let’s remember this is not about me but having heard all the complaints, I want to make it simple despite the myth that women are complicated. First of all, there are two groups of women.  The first are those who truly value anything that shows thoughtfulness as corny as it sounds.  The second group belongs to the “rich housewife” club. That is someone with 9th grade education (or high school if she is younger) who is married to someone with money and her status among the rest of the housewives is determined by the handbag she carries, the make up she wears and the car she drives and of course all is paid from the pocket of bothers like you who like being the “agha” >>>

LIFE
Friends spread around the world

Maybe it is the distance that is making me feel this way
Hamid Bakhsheshi

The little clock on the corner of the computer says 12:16 AM. I'm fighting tears after saying good bye to two dear friends. But then again, having tears in my eyes is nothing new for me these days. I was on line, reading the news, watching the news on TV, at the same time, when Koroush comes on line saying, "Hamid, what are you doing?" Surprised that he's still awake, he told me he couldn't sleep. Moments later he tells me that Mori is on line too, can we conference? I set it up, since he said he is not up to speed with "these things". Mori comes on and the three of us start chatting >>>

FOOD

On heaven's menu

Photo essay: Food in Iran
Farah Ravon

I decided to go on a major diet before our trip to Iran this fall. I knew I’d be exposed to a lot of colorful foods that I would not be able to resist, so I lost 15lbs. I managed to gain back about 4lbs - but it was well worth it! WARNING! Viewing NOT recommended on an empty stomach! >>>

PROSTITUTION
Shame on shame

Part 5: The Streetwalker with a heart of gold
Pullniro

Unlike her loud laughters and gaudy appearance, a characteristic of prostitutes, Shirin proved to be a nice and caring woman. There were signs of extreme exhaustion in her manner. She was tired of something. She wanted the security of a family and the warmth of a real friendship. Ensy could see a kind of hidden pain in her eyes whenever their eyes contacted. Shirin was always the first who broke the eye contact. This loose woman was very shy deep inside. And there was a mystery in her voice too. As soon as she stopped her giggles and opened her lips to talk, Ensy could hear the sound of a tortured woman . She could not hide the tinge of loneliness and solitude in her voice. She was aching to belong to a place where she could call home. Soon after the first few weeks of tension and when the distrust of the primary encounter had worn off, Ensy found a new ally at home. Behind the thick layers of powder and mascara lay a woman with a golden heart >>>

PERSIANS
Our place in history

The world is discovering the contributions of the Iranians to humanity, and high time you did too
Shahriar Mostarshed

First a misconception, that has confused many, and judging from your article, you too. Iranians have always referred to their land as Iran, the land of Aryans, but Westerners have always referred to it as Persia, since their Greek and Roman sources referred to Iran as persis or the land of the parsian. Reza Shah, did not like the fact that the British referred to Iran as Persia and wanted to change the international name for Persia to Iran. This would be equivalent to the English insisting that we call their country England and not Engelestan. Needless to say, his attempt failed and has caused confusion, the world over. In Western literature the Persians are the Achamanid and the Sassanid and are distinct from the Parthians. The country of Iran after Islam is called Persia with no attachment to the pre-Islamic meaning. To complicate matters more, we call our language Farsi (Arabized for Parsi) but in English it is Persian and there is no substitute for it, although the seemingly enlightened want to call it Farsi (Bill Gates being one) >>>

STUDENTS
Forum for improvment

Defining an agenda on paper is far easier than implementing it in real life. To implement it in real life, friendships have to be formed and cliques must disappear
Nezam Rabonik

Promoting the mission statement listed above, is an extremely difficult task. Before progress can be made where members (and officers) of ISF stubbornly work towards promoting the Iranian culture, an over-haul of the organization must be made. I made the suggestion to Rana Rabei -- to create a new Iranian organization at UMD -- because I don't believe it's within ISF's power to promote the agenda as defined. HOWEVER, Nazanin's words have given me new hope and perhaps in the future, we as old officers and members of ISF can work with ISF's current officers and members to formulate a plan to create an organization that can promote the above agenda. Before we embark on this, however, we have to realize the social dynamics at ISF and the difficulties in bringing students of different walks to follow the same agenda >>>

HOLOCAUST
Banalization of history

Let's not play with words for it is a DENIAL of the Holocaust under the coverage of so called search for historical truth
Darius Kadivar

I am amazed by some so-called self-promoted intellectuals like you who fail to see a bigger danger, not to say picture, than Pahlavi or the American neo-cons who have inevitably failed in the military campaign in Iraq. Americans have recently proved through elections that they will not give George Bush or his foolish administration a second chance to invade Iran or anywhere else on this crazed up fundamentalist-infested region. Why don't people like you draw attention on what Ahmaninejad is doing to our country Iran and to the young generation of Iranians with no connection with the past, be it Monarchical or even Mossadeghi? Why aren't you shocked by the fact that someone like Ahmaninejad can initiate an international conference of denial of the Holocaust? >>>

COMIC

Intelligent punch

Video clips and photo essay: Peyvand Khorsandi stand up comedy in Sacramento
Jahanshah Javid

POLITICS
The donkey and the date

Upcoming municipal council elections in Iran
Behrooz Ghamari

On December 15 Iranians will cast their ballots for municipal elections. Reformist candidates across the country, particularly in Tehran, have a credible opportunity to win, if their constituents emerge from their hibernation and actively participate in these elections. The government has hindered the domestic media’s attempt to generate a celebratory environment for the electorates to exercise their constitutional right. Iranian media around the world need to realize that a dampened down election will only perpetuate the status quo and will reinforce a growing messianic belief that Iranians need to be rescued. The famous American sociologist Harold Garfinkel observed that people become conscious of the order of things around them only when that order is disrupted. The taken-for-granted thus exists invisibly until its existence is breached >>>

IRAN-U.S.
Blind ambition

Reza Pahlavi is so eager to have a place in history and in Persia that he pleads with warmongers to make the innocent Iranian people suffer
Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich

Perhaps the only merit I see in your letter is the fact that you have found yourself a better  writer; your letter reflects improved articulation and clarity of style, something lacking in your previous addresses.  However, the message you convey remains the same: ambition and betrayal. You write “I have repeatedly opposed any form of military action against  my country as unjust and counterproductive”.  I assume you mean Iran?  In which case, you either have a short memory, or you delibertately lie hoping that the rest of us have a short memory.   After the 9/11 terrorist attacks when the Unites States was bombing Afghanistan in retaliation for the tragedy that had befallen it, you had this to say: “[T]errorism is like an octopus whose weakness is the eyes –in Tehran.  [I]f the U.S. wants to kill this octopus, it should start in Tehran.” >>>

FOOTBALL
FIFA offside

Dadekan had his chance and harmed Iranian football
Mohammad Ala

The majority of Iranians in Iran and outside of Iran are passionate about sports, especially Football (which in the US is called soccer where they do not want the US football, which is more like a handball, to be confused with International Football). In August 2006, FIFA and the AFC gave a deadline of November 15, 2006 to IFF to reinstate its elected president (Mohammad Dadekan), and to comply with the relevant provisions of the FIFA statutes. An informal polling of over 300 Iranian football fans confirmed that officials were responsible for this ban.  The president of IFF can be dismissed if his performance is not satisfactory, but the rules do not allow any political power (in our case, Sazmane Tarbyat Badani) to get involved >>>

ICE

After the storm

Photo essay: Ice storm, Springfield, Illinois
Azita Ziaei

PEOPLE

Thanksgiving Polo

Photo essay: Thanksgiving at Berkeley's Persian Center
Talieh Shahrokhi

ANSARI
Naghsh dar aab

Any Iranian woman who becomes famous does not necessarily deserve praise, especially not Anousheh Ansari
Fariba Moghadam

FICTION
A perfect evening

Short story
Saeed Tavakkol

The moment I heard the phone ring I picked it up -- something I don’t usually do. I always examine caller ID to see if I recognize the caller first; but I had a good feeling about this one. After hearing the caller’s voice I knew I was right. I begin the story from this point because of a promise I made to her later... After a brief greeting, and before letting me say anything, she invited me to dinner at her house. Stunned by her invitation, I enthusiastically responded,
“I’d love to.” 
“So you’ll come?”
“Certainly, I’ll bring a bottle of Shiraz to perfect the evening.”
“Papers too. I want you to write our night.” >>>

COLLEGE
Professor Pervert
Rana Rabei

Amongst my many campus jobs, I work in lab. My job description entails a lot of media making, autoclaving, and some downtime in between. One day last summer, I was waiting in the hallway outside the autoclave room, where I saw a blackboard and naturally proceeded to erase its content and do some figure sketching. I had no idea my drawing would become the center of an unsolved mystery case ... Last week, I was walking with a co-worker past the chalk board where my life-size drawing of two curvaceous women still stands, when I casually commented on how I thought it was peculiar that no one has erased the board yet. This put my colleague in a momentary state of shock then she bursted out in laughter. Once we had walked far enough from the crime scene, and she got the laughs out of her system, she told me the story >>>

SNOW

Shades of white

Photo essay
Azadeh Azad

TRAVELERS

Praying for rain

Photo essay: Yazd's Dowlatabad Garden and Jame Mosque
Babak Nassirian

REVIEW
Basic kindness

This film is about more than just the heroism witnessed in Bam
Brian Appleton

In a short time after the film began, I came to realize that it was largely the story of Adelle Freedman and Tobb Del Oro. At first, I wondered how their personal tragedy squared with the loss of 50,000 lives of anonymous Persians, who were only a statistic in the USA, but as I listened to Jahangir Golestan state his mission with emotion and a sense of earnestness and urgency, I came to understand that he too shared the same goal that Tobb and I had shared. The use of this American couple in his film, was that of a pair of goodwill ambassadors not to Iran but to America. This couple could reach into the hearts of the American public bringing behind them in tow, the message that the Persians are a very kind and generous people, with a rich culture and with much too offer the common humanity of the entire world >>>

IDEAS
Capitalism, socialism, yaa....?

Capitalism and socialism have failed
Houshang Pirnazar

IRAN
There will be no revolution

Then what will happen to the Islamic Republic?
Ben Madadi

It would be naive also to under-estimate the popular support that the Islamic regime enjoys. Would the majority of Iranians vote for a non-Islamic, secular, republic if they had the choice? I'm not so sure they would. But maybe even the majority of Americans would vote for a Christian republic if they had the choice, which they don't, for the joy of the liberals, and the Iranians who live in the US. America is far ahead in democracy and it seems absurd to imagine a religious system in the US. But Iran is not like that. Let's not forget that modern Iran, as we now know it, was built on the basis of religion, and that religion was Shia Islam. Modern Iran is not, and was not, the pre-Islamic Iran. Modern Iran was a religious state from the start. Iranians have been bound on Shia religion for about 500 years >>>

RELIGION
Dar-ul-Aman

America is the closest country to a true house of safety in the broadest sense
Amil Imani

People are familiar with Islam's classification of the world into the Dar-ul-Solh -- the hose of peace, meaning the house of Islam -- and the Dar-ul-Harb -- the house of war, meaning the house of non-Islam. Ironically, the self-proclaimed house of peace, from its early years, has waged war against the house of war. Also there is a little-known third "house" according to Islam -- Dar-ul-Aman -- the non-Islam house of safety where Muslims find refuge. We already know which of the three houses America is to Al Qaeda, the Iranian mullahs, the Taliban, the Muslims Brotherhood and their ilk. We are posing this question to the rank and file Muslims, particularly to the arrivals of recent years who are finding refuge in the non-Islamic world, including the United States of America: Which house America is to you? >>>

COMIC

Peyvand Times

Photo essay: 48 hours with Peyvand Khorsandi
Jahanshah Javid

ART

Still decidedly Persian

Photo essay: San Francisco exhibit "Beyond Persia Artists"
Lalé Welsh Shahparaki

A group seven of Bay Area artists, who refer to themselves as “Beyond Persia Artists” and will tell you that they are the pioneer group in Northern California, have made it easy for us to track such social change. Having little in common except their Persian roots and obvious love of art, the comparison/contrast in their work underscores a mix of western influence in a style that is still decidedly Persian. Or by contrast, western looking art, that betrays only hints of their Persian past, like little gems interspersed in a treasure hunt. At its best, the work of these individuals is truly bi-cultural and because of that has arguably created a new genre in contemporary art -- but certainly a turning point in Iranian art: it is “Iranian American art” >>>

STUDENTS
Don't blow off a challenge

Iranian Students Foundation parties are at the expense of the culture it was founded to promote
Nazanin

A few years earlier, I had to type the ISF constitution for the University of Maryland, as an officer. I remember typing a very clear sentence concerning the goal of ISF: to promote the Iranian culture within and without the Iranian community. To me, that means as officers of ISF, you are responsible for promoting Iranian culture - not to be concerned with large-scale parties. It's easy to gather a large group of people and that isn't necessarily commendable. Besides repeatedly offering dinner and dancing and even sometimes a singer at your events, how is all your hard work remembered? By consistently seeing the attendance of 200-300 Iranians at your events, you have so-far proven that there are lots of Iranians in Maryland. Don't be afraid of a challenge or criticism, or worse, a "boring" culturally oriented event >>>

HOVEYDA
Double life

Fereydoun Hoveyda hobnobbed with arts and culture grandees in Europe and America while serving a regime that at best had a contemptuous relationship with the intellegencia
Asghar Massombagi

I first came across Fereydoun Hoveyda's name in the archives of "Setareh-e Cinema", the pioneering film magazine that was published in the early Sixties in Tehran. I read translations of his pieces originally published in Cahiers du cinema and although I didn't know anything about Mr. Hoveyda save for a vague suspicion that he might be related to the then Prime Minister, seeing his name alongside the likes of Jean-Luc Godard and Francois Trauffut, an Iranian presence in the centre of European culture, was, I must admit, exciting and inspiring. And then there was his tepidly received novel, Qurantine, written in the same existential pitch as Camus' and Sartre's works. In hindsight, tepidness seems to have defined Hoveyda's cultural life.  Although his range of interests was impressive, he was less the Renaissance man his admirers have claimed him to be than a jack of all trades and master of none >>>

AHMADINEJAD
A good look at hypocrisy
Reza Rezvani

Why did Ahmadinejad write this letter? Seriously, what gives him the right to write a letter to someone else where there is censorship and closures of papers? He can write letters while Evin Prison is one of the largest prisons for journalists. People who write articles on Iran and the life there but no their mouths are closed and shut by this regime. Notorious under the Shah and now under this current regime. This letter that he wrote is in my opinion a lecture and a good look at the hypocrisy of the Islamic Republic of Iran. He talks about Katrina and at the same time is being a hypocrite. He criticizes American policy towards Israel and all the support and the money pouring into Iraq BUT Iran gives $100 or more million dollars a year to Hizbollah, ships them arms and helps them but at the same time, people still do not have a home yet that was destroyed 3 years ago from the Bam earthquake. This is hypocrisy >>>

STUDIO

Right now

Photo essay: Eel Pie Island, London
Parima Shahin Moghaddam

TRAVELERS

Home away from home

Photo essay: Phase one of the expedition in appreciation of Manchetser
Shahireh S

STUDENTS
Have a problem with our agenda?

Run for office or start your own group
Nezam Rabonik

One cannot overlook the many friendships and cultural exchanges that are created because of the Iranian Students' Foundation (ISF) of the University of Maryland. In addition, as far as I have seen, very few entities have been able to fortify the Iranian community in the DC area as ISF does. For Chahar Shanbeh Souri last year, we were able to bring over 5000 Iranians together!!!! In fact, all events sponsored by ISF are typically sold out, with attendance in the 200-500 range for each event. This is no small feat. And I agree, while the group does not sponsor enough cultural, political, and weighty Iran-related events, it still fulfills a niche that the community needs -- bringing people together. For this reason, this group is successful and a huge plus for our community >>>

AHMADINEJAD
Oppression, injustice and indignity
Faramarz Fateh

This morning I started reading the letter from Ahmadinejad to the People of the U.S. I read the first 7 or 8 paragraphs and after cleaning the vomit, which had come up uncontrollably, from my face and clothing I felt inclined to write a few paragraphs. The useless excuse of a human being, the uglier than the butt end of a dead monkey writes: "Both (U.S. & Iran) value and readily embrace the promotion of human ideals such as compassion, empathy, respect for the rights of human beings, securing justice and equity and defending the innocent and the weak against oppressors and the bullies." I can only comment on status of 2 groups of blue blooded Iranians, living in Iran, who have been subjected to oppression, disrespect, injustice and indignity for the past 26 years. These 2 groups are the Iranian women and Iranian religous minorities, most specifically the Jews and the Bahais >>>

BAGGAGE
The renewed virgin
Rana Rabei

If I were to ask a Persian man to paint me a picture of their ideal girl, I have a feeling it would be something like this: Young, good looking, hard working, smart, and inexperienced. If it seems like I'm drawing stereotypes at this point, you're probably right, I am. But after being the subject of interest of a number of Persian men looking to train me into their running mate in the race that is marriage, it's hard to rule out the repeating pattern of educated and accomplished Iranian men looking for a wife 10 years younger than them. The burning question remains, what has led to this hypocrisy? Other than the fact that most of us are gifted with the vestigial biases of our parents' generation, I would like to point out a particular social phenomenon that has led to the mass development of the stereotypical Persian man. To illustrate my case, I would like to call 'the renewed virgin' to the stand >>>

 

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