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February 2006

 

ART
The kindness of strangers

Photography
Reza Khatir

SHORTS
Daei's stamina
Parham

You know Ali Daie is not only going to play in the game against Costa Rica today (don't forget to bring your flash lights, by the way), but he also declared yesterday that he'll be playing until he's 40, this despite calls from quite a few people for him to step down. Basically, he has a lot of fans pissed-off at his perseverance in still wanting to play football at a professional level at his age. The point is he's been showing a lot of stamina at 37 and this is perhaps one reason for some football fans to get even more pissed-off.

ADVICE
Finding a therapist

Shokooh's couch
Shokooh Miry

Depressed and Unemployed in San Diego writes: I am 27 years old and my doctor recently diagnosed me with depression. After many visits with him and my own research, I have decided to start taking an anti-depressant. He recommended that I consider working with a psychologist to help me since the major causes of my depression are related to my job and relationship. I was laid off 7 months ago and have been having a really hard time finding a new job. I also recently broke up with my fiancé and can’t seem to get over it. Where can I find a new therapist? How can I make sure I’m working with someone legitimate?

SHORTS
A trip to psyche’s depth
Farinaz Aryanfar

Internet is a unique world of it’s own. People can do a lot of stuff there, which they couldn’t do in the real world. A lot of us can have a place of our own called a “web log”. We can write in websites such as Iranian.com or get into a debate without seeing or hearing each other. But it goes beyond that: we can even introduce a whole new “me” to the world. People who have never seen a university, illustrate themselves as students! Others change their jobs and families, life status and also go into a fairy road trip with their imaginary friends and get introduced to a dissident, a writer or even a legend!!!

LIFE
An unfinished affair

Conversation
Amir Nooriala

-- “I can not afford a confrontation. My reputation has already been ruined by the last time we went public. Can you not just leave him?”
-- “No I can not leave him.”
-- “He doesn’t even love you. Look at you now, he’s stifled you, you are covered up. It’s like he’s ashamed of you. I remember when you were proud and not ashamed to show your beauty”
-- “Did you say this to the other women too? Did you try and flatter them into doing what you want?”

SHORTS
String of questions

Neda Farzin

A few days ago, a friend mentioned that she was in the middle of an 'existential crisis'; she elaborated: she just wants to be free and happy. Immediately then, a string of questions ran down my scattered thoughts... Can one find herself in an existential crisis where she can unreservedly act upon her free will in a country with strict traditional and cultural customs and rules?

HOME
Autobiography

Photo essay
Parima Shahin Moghaddam

AMERICA
Home is a blur

When I first put the Iranian flag in my car my family told me I was being idiotic
Tahereh Aghdassifar

On Tuesday of last week I took our university shuttle to the parking deck where I leave my car while I am in classes. I approached my car from the back, so only when I sat inside did I see something stuffed under my windshield wiper. I figured it was a flyer for something until I paid attention and saw it was a sheet of notebook paper, I thought perhaps a friend had left a note for me on my car: "Go back home terorist". 1. It is spelled "terrorist." You'd think after seeing it day in and day out on television, in newspapers, in magazines, in textbooks that people would learn how to properly spell the word. 2. Who the hell carries an orange marker at a university?

FREE SPEECH
Downward spiral

The case for tragic blindness
Leila Farjami

Obviously, the freedom of speech has been an excuse to be belligerent and intolerant towards others’ dearly held spiritual and religious beliefs. The Danish cartoonist mocks Moslems who believe Mohammad to be their saint by depicting him as a sodomizing pig lover, draped in a “terrorist” attire while portraying Allah (the Moslem God) as the Devil in flesh; and in response, the Iranian fundamentalists have decided to mock, stain, and invalidate the tragedy and sanctity of Holocaust for Jews. One must wonder which is worse. One is by no means superior to the other.

LIFE
Worth living for

Birthday party at the height of war
Alireza Tarighian

Last Saturday, I was talking to my son about my birthday party on February 28, 1988, back in Tehran, Iran. The war between Iran and Iraq had been going on for almost 8 years and there was no sign of peace. My brother, the only sibling I have, had been stationed at the frontline for his obligatory military service for one and a half years by that time. I had been excused because of my student status.  The whole country was depressed from war and brutal acts, which had been running us for a decade. Under their relatively new religious rules, every type of fun had been banned, from music to love!

HATEFUL
Bigotry, plain and simple

I strongly oppose any Iranian sacrifice, be it physical or financial, at the Palestinian or any other Arab alter
J Irandoust

The simple truth as Pullniro points out in his article, is the fact that most Arabs, Palestinians included, do hate Iranians. Why that is, I am not sure, but there are obviously some historical reasons behind it. Is it because Iranians were the only nation who kept their language and cultural identity after the Arab/Islamic conquest of the region and did not turn Arab like others? Is it because Iranians accepted Islam on their own terms by belonging to the Shiai sect of Islam and most Arabs are Sunnis? Is it historical envy?

FREE SPEECH
Should I start sweating?

The violence displayed over outrageous cartoons cannot be justified
Rustam

I have been hearing a lot recently about Muslim sentiments and reactions to the Danish cartoons so much in the news these days. I want to add a little balance to the on-going anti-Western-cartoon tirade. Firstly, a few of notes about the cartoons themselves. Most of the cartoons were fairly harmless and not particularly offensive. A couple were very good commentaries on current Islamic topics, things that should be open for discussion - like nikab (which the West just doesn't get). It must also be agreed that a couple of them were certainly in poor taste - but enough to kill anyone over?

WOMEN
It's a bird ! It's a plane! It's Iranian women!

Iran is run by women in mnore ways than the world realizes
Jalil Mortazavi

Recently I had the chance to visit Iran for a couple of months. I spent much of my time with females from all walks of life, who work inside as well as outside of their homes. It has dawned on me that if these women decided to quit what they were doing, Iranian society would collapse. Here is what I found out about Iranian women: they come in all shapes and sizes. They drive, they fly, they walk and they run. Iranian women will email to say how much they care. The hearts of these women are what keeps Iran running, bringing joy and hope, compassion and ideals to their society. In the meantime, they also give moral support and love to their families and friends.

SHORTS
Heavenly trade

Siamack Baniameri

If I somehow end up in heaven with 72 virgins, I would like to trade in 71 virgins for cigarettes, alcohol, Xbox and an experienced hooker. I might keep one virgin around just in case things don't work out between me and the hooker. I'm also willing to trade in some of my virgins for an occasional pass to hell to visit friends and family.

IRAN-U.S.
Komake Amrika?

Will U.S. millions help Iran democracy movement?
Hassan Behgar

RIGHTS
A caricature of free speech

The reality of freedom of expression in Europe for Muslims: Nasser Amin's case
Richard Seymour

SOAS, a prestigious higher learning institution in the centre of London, would appear to have a defender of free and open discussion in head Colin Bundy. In the last month, the Director & Principal has openly defended the right of an apologist for the Uzbekistan regime, Shirin Akiner, to speak at SOAS, rejecting calls for reconsideration by former British ambassador the dictatorship, Craig Murray. Yet, one glaring exception renders the rule absurd: the treatment of a student named Nasser Amin, who wrote an article for a student magazine arguing that Palestinians had the right to use force against Israel's occupation. Instantly, this issue was used alongside a clutch of others by some right-wingers and pro-Zionist students who insisted that SOAS was guilty of anti-Semitism.

LIFE
Two men in London pub

Where are you from?
Peyvand Khorsandi

BOB: My brother used to work there in the seventies.
MAK: What Cheshire?
BOB: No, Persia.
MAK: What was he doing in Iran, your brother?
BOB: He was training the Savak.
MAK: The Shah's secret police? You are having a laugh!
BOB: He was. SAS. Training the Iranians.
MAK: To do what?
BOB: Bake biscuits.
MAK: Eh?

POINT
Fighting lies with lies

On denying the holocaust
Sima Nahan

What do decent folks do to counter historical falsehoods? They try to fight lies with truth. They do research. They write books. They try to spread the word. They teach. For decades now historians, journalists, artists, activists, and certainly academics have been doing exactly this. They have upheld the "If Only" school of displaying faith in humanity: If only Americans and the rest of the world knew the truth of what happened to Palestine and the Palestinian people... If only they knew the devastating impact of the politics of Israel on the people of the region... If only they knew the cost to democratic movements in the Middle East of denying historical and political facts ... But where has this good-faith approach gotten us? A concerted effort to intimidate and suppress anyone challenging uncritical support for the state of Israel on college campuses, for one.

IRAN-U.S.
Curb your enthusiasm

Examining reasons for intervention in Iran
Alexander Patico

From a military standpoint, a preemptive strike is perhaps the least readily-approved action (within the international community) that a nation can take toward another nation (to oppose it is only logical, since any state could conceivably be on the receiving end at some later point.  We certainly opposed it when the target was Pearl Harbor.)  The U.S. invasion of Iraq met with criticism from most of the governments of the world (even in the neighborhood most directly threatened by Saddam), and large majorities of the populations of even our closest allies, such as the United Kingdom. All of this policy posturing and operational planning is, of course, ultimately based on fear.  But fear of what exactly?

POLITICS
Why should the World Bank stop assisting Iran?

Open letter to Shirin Ebadi
Kaveh L. Afrasiabi

In a recent article published in both US and Europe, Shirin Ebadi and a fellow academi named Mohammad Sahimi have urged the linking of Iran's nuclear program to human rights, urging the World Bank to "stop providing Iran with loans" until the rule of democracy has been respected by the government. Their advise must be music to the White House's ear, which is now committing vast sums of money to promote democracy in Iran as a deterrent against Iran's "nuclear menace." As a human rights advocate unhappy with the post-Khatami negative developments with respect to human rights, Ebadi is, of course, on the right track when calling on the Iranian government to show more respect for civil and human rights. Yet, the respected Nobel Peace recipient and her colleague are on the wrong track when advising the World Bank to stop its loans to Iran, for the following reasons:

TRAVELERS
Tense days

Photo essay: Ahwaz, capital of Khuzestan
Daniel Zang

STARS
Delicious escape

Magazine clips of movie stars in the 1970s
Pullniro

PERFORMANCE ART
I am a believer

Trafalgar Square's improbable conclusion
Reza Aramesh

I am a believer explores themes of migration, desire and power, particularly their relation to issues of cultural constructs in our society. It is based on the Changing the Guard ceremony and will involve thirty two men - mostly second generation immigrants - choreographed by Tom Dale and the artist using the symbolism and movements of the actual ceremony brought in the middle of London's Trafalgar Square.

FREE SPEECH
Eteraaz... baa tabar?

Protesting against cartoons ... with axes and knives?
Shadi Amin

FREE SPEECH
Torch of intolerance

Have Europeans become fundamentalist?
Ali Kiarash

Reading news and reports, interviews and editorial one is surprised to discover how many have defended the caricatures in the name of free speech stubbornly and almost passionately. It seems that no one is concerned that the very same editor refused to publish caricatures of Jesus Christ without his conscience being burdened by limiting "free speech". It also seems that no one can possibly understand what Prophet Mohammad means to millions of Muslims, who are impoverished, forgotten and abused by their governments, struggling daily to survive, have only their faith, their religion, their prophet to provide them with some sense of security, comfort and dignity and most significantly with some hope for a better future.

SATIRE
Fresh baked Rose of Mohammad

Politically-motivated euphemism
Green Tea

2006: Danish pastries were renamed to "Rose of Muhammad" in Iran as a result of the Muhammad cartoons controversy, and in Ardebil, "Panir Tabrizi" was replaced by "Panir Danmarki" to protest against Tabriz. Tabriz retaliated by launching a campaign with the slogan "Panir Tabriz bokhor nakareyeh gaav".
2007: At the start of World War III , Persian Pistachios, Persian Rugs, Persian Cats, and Persian Caviar, were renamed to Peace-tachios, Independance rugs, Autonomy Cats, and Free Fish Eggs in protest to Irans misuse of nuclear technology to shine a beam of light everywhere its president went.

BACKGAMMON
Double six

More than a game
Pouya Alimagham

Backgammon, or Takhteh Nard (Battle on Wood) in Persian, is not just a game; it’s a culture, a history, and part of the Iranian identity. People all across Asia claim the game as their own and Iranians are no exception. The game has evolved throughout time and many believe that it is the oldest recorded game in history - even more ancient than chess - and despite all the churches and mosques banning it at various points throughout history, the game has survived and is more widespread now than ever before. The game is a growing phenomenon played by Iranians, Greeks, Arabs, Turks, Chinese, Russians and many more in cafes, hooka bars, and homes all across the world.

JEWS
Revealing errors

Iran, Jews and the Holocaust: An answer to Mr. Black
Abbas Milani

In early January of this year, a prominent American journalist published a strangely inaccurate attack on Iran, making the country complicit in the crimes of the Holocaust. I prepared the response below and sent it to the San Francisco Chronicle, where the original article had appeared. But the editors of the paper told me that they do not publish polemical responses. I prepared another essay, dealing directly with each of the accusations, and the essay was published in the Insight section of the Chronicle on Sunday, February 9, 2006. (p. E 5). But as the accusations in Mr. Black’s article are serious, I think publishing the direct response to his attacks is also necessary.  

POETRY
Remember

Reza Eslami

I have slept in the maze of freedom
I have run all the paths of defeat
I have seen all the trembling tingles of affection in fright
I have walked all the beams of a flickering light
of a candle flame
Dancing like an orphan moth,
no one to blame

Day comes and day goes by
And each evening brings all my memories back
Once I knew the destination and departure lane
But when it comes to it
I forget, what I should pack

OPINION
The Western precedent

Freedom of expression denied
Rostam Pourzal

The Muslim uproar against the publication of offensive cartoons has elicited calls from respectable Western opinion to defend freedom of the press. Empathetic voices here have gone further and suggested that Muslims should concentrate on educating Christians and others about their culture, rather than retaliate. This kind of well-intentioned reaction ignores the history of non-Western nations' frustrated campaign for freedom of information and the right to communicate on a global scale. During the 1970s, newly independent nations known as the non-aligned movement, supported by the Soviet Union, demanded some control over Western media's access to their populace. Failing that, they sought a right, to be recognized at the United Nations, for equal access to Western audiences, not unlike the parity the developing nations now seek in trade arrangements.

OPINION
1 + 1 = Trouble

Psychopaths create their own demons and they have to live with them
The Bang Man

After Shah's down fall, I remember, there was a short period of political and ideological renascence in Iran. There was a short lived freedom bobble so to speak. People were interested and engaged in all matters related to political, philosophical and theological. There were endless discussions on various forms of government. I would see heated discussions on philosophical and theological bases for any given form of government. One that I particularly remember was a discussion on TV between a group of Mullahs and a group of Marxists. I can not recall the main issue of the discussion. However, I do remember it came down to the question of Materialism doctrine and the proof of cause and effect between men and material world.

SERIOUSLY
Naabegheye daroon

Are you an animal? Release your inner genius!
Author unknown

SHORTS
Danish brokeback

Siamack Baniameri

A prominent Iranian director said, "Forget movies about gay cowboys. I'm making a movie about gay Arab suicide bombers who find it difficult to blow themselves up in a bus full of naked Danish male dancers."

SHORTS
Nefrine jadid

Farzaneh

* elaahi beri Ghazvin, bande kafshet baaz beshe
* elaahi nokhod bokhori, natooni ...
* elaahi jishet begire, kamarbandet baaz nashe
* elaahi beri hamoom shampoo bezani, ab ghat besheh
* elaahi har kanaali ke mizani, Ahmadinejad ro neshoon bede

SAN FRANCISCO
Nice day for a walk

Photo essay
Jahanshah Javid

CIVIL RIGHTS
Prime suspect

Looking Middle Eastern in America
Pirouz Azadi

The nearly three million Iranians in Diaspora, particularly those in the US have had to face the unpleasant day-to-day feeling of being watched, interrogated, and discriminated. Deja vue all over again. Many Iranian, albeit Middle Eastern Americans now feel they have a much deeper, more sympathetic empathy with the Japanese American interments, and the persecutions of the German Jews leading to the Holocaust in the forty's. The dilemma is practically the same, if not worse, among Americans with Arab, North African, and Indo-Pakistani heritage. This has in turn led to a self-imposed conscious decision of lowering one's aspirations, and retreating from a social environment in the society at large in despair. Ironically, the fear and apprehension from both the old and the new countries of origin lingers on.

EXPERIMENTAL
Napoleon mon amour

Women do go limp
Sarvenaz

Napoleon's mother cornered me and told me that her son really thinks highly of me and respects my opinion. I told her that I, too, thought him a good and kind friend. Then she went on to complain about his girlfriend. She thinks that the girlfriend has too much of a hold on her son and that she is too old for him. She told me that the girlfriend was in it for the son’s money etc ... I told her that I did not like her either but that I did not, as a rule, get involved in my friend’s personal lives. She told me that I should tell Napoleon that his girlfriend is not a suitable wife. Then she dropped the bomb: they are trying to have a baby!! Aggghhhhh! My heart dropped to the floor. My mouth went dry.

SHORTS
Now imagine the feedback
Damon Taghavi

Although left unaware of the restrictions imposed on writers, editors, chief executive officers and porn producers living in what we call Europe. Residing in the US of A for the past 20 years helps me understand what is acceptable over here. To make a long editorial short lets use a different senario.

-The NYTimes places an add defamating homosexuals.
-The Atlanta Journal prints an article mocking African-Americans.
-The Wall Street Journal prints a notice that Jewish Buisnessmen/Buisnesswomen are stingy.

Now imagine the feedback. Furthermore, now imagine that everything you have believed in your entire life, everything that has been told to you was pure, justice, and right was now being desecrated by someone whom you believe to be impure and possibly an enemy of your faith.

Point of the matter is that now envision ourselves in both perspectives, so who is to blame people who've reacted to intolerance or idiots who have as much right to freedom of speech as do Nazi enthusiasts. I ask you not as nationalists but as humanists to respect the beliefs of the people of the world no matter your political views,creed,race or any other divider of men and women on earth. Not so much about freedom of speech but about the respect of peoples. If you dare to disregard other belief systems based on your education please do re-evaluate that education.

POLITICS
Perseverance and honor

Interview with Abbas Amir-Entezam
Fariba Amini

In my twenty-six years of confinement, no one ever saw me in a bad mood. I always smiled and kept up my optimistic outlook. I knew I had done nothing wrong except to defend my own rights and the rights of my compatriots. I knew I had struggled for my homeland. Everyday I saw the distressed faces of my poor cell mates and although at times it was difficult, I had to smile in order to give them moral support. Despite the fact that I had no idea how long I would be kept in prison, whether I would ever be released, or whether I would eventually face death, I still maintained a cheerful disposition. In this respect I was doing what that aforementioned philosopher had said: I had found the reason for living and did my best under the conditions I was faced with.

IRAN-U.S.
There's a limit

Let's prevent another catastrophic war and the killing of more innocent American soldiers and civilians in the Middle East
Yahya R. Kamalipour

The US and the Iranian administrations and political alliances are more similar than different.  President George W. Bush was elected by an electoral base of conservative, largely rural, religious voters and perceives himself as an enforcer of the Christian moral values.  Similarly, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was elected by conservative, largely rural, religious voters and perceives himself as an enforcer of Islamic moral values. One of the ironies of our times is that the religious fundamentalists in Christianity, Judaism, and Islam, believe they are "commanded by God" to do what they do.  The question is:  Can God be on "our" side and "their" side at the same time?  If one really and truly believes in God, then there is only one superpower -- a merciful, kind, fair, loving, and peaceful God.  A God devoid of hate, bigotry, and violence.

TRAVELERS
Crossing Kyrgyzistan

Seeing as much as possible in 24 hours >>> Photos
Keyvan Tabari

We had to cross the Kyrgyz Republic on a rutted segment of the Silk Road to get from China to Uzbekistan. Short of material comfort, Kyrgyz, with its stark beauty, is best suited for the more adventurous visitors. Along with majestic mountains and roaring river streams, it shows the scars of neglect that followed the failure of the Communist experiment in the medieval setting of a poor Central Asian country. Traditional nomadic tents dot the landscape outside of towns, while urban life here evokes images of centuries past...

TRAVELERS
An American in Kandovan

I joined the boys throwing rocks into the muddy stream, cringing at each mud-laden splash
Sara Nobari

They were like a stone rendition of Edward Munsch’s The Scream, the caves lined up along the hillside with empty sockets for windows and a long gaping hole of a mouth opening to the close rooms inside. Ali, my husband’s cousin, told me that it was tradition for a bridegroom to spend two years carving out a home in the rock for his bride to be; it seemed an impossible task, one designed by a father from a fairy tale, overcome only by the will of the suitor -- metaphor for surpassing all to achieve one’s desire. Kandovan, known for its embankment of inhabited caves carved into the hillside, could have been idyllic; a river turned to stream under the protection of hills and trees, chickens scratched and donkeys ambled steep rocky paths; a bridge arched gracefully, connecting the village to a stand of rocks and small park. But...

POINT
It's not the flu

It's poverty
Iqbal Latif

Let's not become a huge living mass of hypocandriacs. We live in a scaremongering sensationalist culture. It is not the Avian flu or Sars but rather poverty that is killing mankind, A child still dies of hunger every five seconds, eight years on from a pledge to halve the world's hungry by 2015. Today's headlines regularly highlight new outbreaks of disease around the world; the death of a duck in India gets more coverage than the death of a hungry child. Mankind has lost its bearing; the drunkenness of advancement and growth has made us insensitive to the real challenges. We make wrong comparisons developing self serving disaster patterns and expect pandemic as real threats in total disregard to the huge monumental growth of preventive and curative medicine since the turn of the century.

RELIGION
Islamcolonisation

The colonialists' policy and their infamous political games consisted in using regressive sense of religion to restrict the natural awareness
Jahanshah Rashidian

When Islamists consider huge differences between Islamic societies and Euro-American peoples, they see the values, institutions, and material way of life, which are only different from their own, therefore rejected. This Islamists’ evaluation is nothing but a product of their reactionary thought. The bottom-line is that there is no escape from the fact that there exist differences between Islamic and the Western culture and way of life, but the solutions proposed by Islamists do not escape from a future disaster of apocalyptic proportion. Islam incorporates rules for every aspect of life. There is instruction for every detail of a Muslim's daily life. The Sharia (Islamic law) applies to all aspects of life and religious practices. It describes the Islamic way of life, a way which has historically reached to the state of being colonised or economically dependent.

DARVISH
Master of the jinn

Excerpt from a Sufi novel
Irving Karchmar

“Not so long ago, as time is counted, there came to a certain oasis far in the western desert a faqir.  He was a Qalandar, a wandering darvish, who had walked the deserts of Africa and Arabia for many years, seeking only solitude wherein he could remember his Creator and contemplate the Divine mysteries.  His virtue and faith, his submission to the will of God, had been rewarded with tranquility of spirit, and his sincerity and devotion on the path of Love was such that the Hidden had been revealed to his heart, and he had become a Wali, a Friend of God.

FREE SPEECH
Mohammad & the Holocaust

Cartoons as political weapons of mass destruction
Reza T. Saberi

Yes, depicting Prophet Mohammad with dynamite in his turban is also horrific for millions of Moslem whose only inspiration in life is their faith. Ridiculing anybody's faith is “horrific” including faith in the Holocaust. The Holocaust is one of the West's sacred taboos. Let’s not turn it into a faith. We know it happened, but we also should not be afraid of those who question if it is happened or question its extent. It is a legitimate academic question and we should address it without fear. We should show them the documents and historical facts which are available. Those who get crazy about these kinds of questions and then support the publication of cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad on the basis of freedom of speech are in the same boat as those who are angry about the Prophet Mohammad cartoon and ridicule the Holocaust.

RIGHTS
Behtarin mojaazaat

In response to Javid Kahen's "Man faghat yek koodak boodam: I was only a child. A Jewish child."
Vida Kashizadeh

SATIRE
Persian pride

Cartoons
Mahmoud

FREE SPEECH
Playing into radical hands

On the Mohammad cartoons fiasco
Ahmad Sadri

In pre-enlightenment sixteenth century, good Danes violently destroyed good works of art because they lovingly depicted Jesus Christ. Just imagine what they would have done to mocking images of their Lord and Savior. Islam is in its sixteenth century. Islamic reformers are trying to usher in an enlightenment of their own. Inflaming the deepest religious sentiments of the population plays in the hands of the radicals and shovels sand in the gears of religious reformers in Islam.

SHORTS
Destroying “Persian” ethnocentrism

Nema Milaninia

I'm not sure how this is with all other cultures, but I have a feeling it more or less exists everywhere. Needless to say, it has become my experience that we as Iranians have one of the more ethnocentric cultures in the world. Such that it devalues the actual characters of persons we associate ourselves with, trust, and and want to be with down to only those superficial aspects which may be entrusted for furthering our status in society. There are many who don't think in those defined terms, but have only Iranian friends, significant others, etc. on the basis that they love their culture, or because its easier for them to speak in Persian. Those reasons provide no logical basis for not forcing oneself from seeing all peoples equally and recognizing the inherent value of individuals in all cultures. More importantly, it prevents oneself from having cultural appreciation. For, if the point of view of one is to value a culture above all else, then all other cultures must be naturally devalued.

I also made that dire, dire mistake. Despite being with the most wonderful person in the world, her lack of "Iranianess" is what led me to destroy the relationship. A stupid mistake from a stupid boy. And while I may have learned, there is something that’s clearly pervasive amongst our people. Something which our parents, and ourselves when we become parents, must begin to teach. Tolerance, diversity, and appreciation for other cultures. It is clear that right now, we have all those aspects lacking as a people generally.

POLITICS
Vaght een ast

We should welcome and support reform
Sheida Kalbasi

POETRY
Asre yekshanbeye ghorbat

Biyaa o bebin che atvaareest...
Hamid Izadi

1970s
Akhmaato vaa kon

Five songs from Ramesh
Manoucher Asgharian

FILMS
The forgotten generation

"The Fish Fall in Love" and "The Gaze" International Rotterdam Film Festival
Sasan Seifikar

There are two themes that these films have in common, the first is the theme of return and the second is what I want to call the forgotten generation. The main protagonist in each film is coming back home to Iran after a long stay overseas. They have been away because they were involved in dissident political activities against the regime in the early years of the revolution. Within a couple of years after the revolution, after the religious bosses moved to solidify their power by excluding the younger generation, there was a revolt and in turn a purge that led to the death, torture, and imprisonment of thousands and thousands of the most bright and the most conscientious young people of Iran.

PHOTOGRAPHY
Lost doll

Photo essay
Parima Shahin Moghaddam

SHORTS
Ready to go

Siamack Baniameri

When America attacks Iran, as an Iranian-American, I would like to fight for the Iranian side, Monday through Wednesday and for the American side, Wednesday through Saturday. And I would like Sundays off to run errands, do laundry and catch up with some sleep -- if it's okay with both sides. In a case I'm taken as a prisoner of war by either side, I refuse to perform human pyramid tricks or commit suicide by downing hair removal creams. I also like to request from the Iranian side not to ask me to blow myself up, and the American side not to ask me to attach electrical wires to nipples of hooded prisoners. Other than that, I'm ready to go. Where do I sign up?

LIFE
* Rooz-e avval-e eyd
* Monsieur Hitler

Two short stories from "Aroosi-e Khaaleh, va..."
Vida Ghahremani

PROSE
Another quiet new year

From a collection of new writings by women of the Iranian diaspora
Nika Khanjani

He drove like a Canadian -- signaling before switching lanes, stopping completely at red lights and to let pedestrians cross. He didn't cut anyone off, didn't come to any grinding halts and he didn’t scream insults. I don’t think he even honked his horn. I was relieved that he wasn’t peering at me through the rearview mirror but had his eyes steady on the road ahead, occasionally turning his gray head to the left or right to check for oncoming cars. It was a few minutes into the ride before it occurred to me that I wasn't digging my nails into the palm of my hand, my typical reflex when I'm in a cab in Tehran. This, I said to myself, was a first.

TRAVELERS
The joke is on us

Part 1 of 17: Returning to Iran: 1986-87
Sima Nahan

The unspeakable reality of Iran still looms above any celebration of harmony. I spent the summers of 1986 and 1987, mostly in Tehran, taking notes almost reflexively, if only to be sustained through the horror of what I saw by some cathartic satisfaction of scratching the blank pages of my note pad with the thin tip of my pen. To search for identity and reasons in what is left behind by revolution, terror, and war became almost secondary to momentary escapes into note-taking. Taking notes is a familiar escape for me. Boarding the plane in New York I automatically resort to my little techniques of avoiding eye contact with the passengers next to me. I adopted this attitude after the hostage crisis, in avoidance of the dreaded question: Where are you from?

COMEDY
Evil humor

Video clips and photos: Axis of Evil Comedy Tour, San Francisco
Jahanshah Javid

ROOTS
Sarcheshmeye daagh haa

The source of our ills
Davoud Bahrami

SHORTS
Persian Yoda

Mehrdad Aref-Adib

I 've watched all the six episodes of Star Wars with
my six year old son recenty. I told him that his
favourite character Master Yoda, like all the other
Jedis, is Persian. To prove my point I showed him this
picture of a Persian cat
.

MAN
Hope

A road trip with student leader Amir Abbas (Siavash) Fakhravar
Sahari Dastmalchi

Next to me on the backseat a long haired young man is sitting, a few hours ago he was introduced to me as Siavash. Siavash is a very likable young man very sociable and down to earth, at the same time polite and gentlemanly like with remarkable green eyes. The color of the eyes is not what makes them remarkable, his eyes are unusually communicative. One look in this mans face and I couldn’t help feel like I was naked, with one handshake this man knew all my deepest darkest secrets. To be quite honest it felt like he knew things the rest of us had missed. The face was some how familiar but I couldn’t put my finger on it.

SHORTS
Esspelling mistakes

Parham

I propose that from now on my hardline compatriots, instead of setting fire to Western embassies, try pissing on them. This will not only be more culture-specific as compared to the actions of other nations, but given all the spelling mistakes the brothers and sisters usually make while exposing their emotions to the world media, the least is they could claim they're making this world a more pissful place.

FICTION
Jumping over fire

New novel
Nahid Rachlin

Soon after Maman and Baba took Jahan from the orphanage in Shiraz and brought him to our home in Masjid-e-Suleiman, she got pregnant with me. Jahan was only a year older than me and as we were growing up he was always at my side. He was ahead of me in his development and always took the lead. He taught me new words, held my hand and helped me walk. We spent hours playing together in our spacious house in the Iranian American Oil Company compound. We had a courtyard, a swimming pool and a finished basement. Our parents’ bedroom was on the first floor. Jahan’s and mine was on the second floor and we were able to break rules, indulge in mischief without always being noticed.

FREE SPEECH
Which Prophet Mohammad?

Ultimately when Moslems sit down and deliberate upon whether the outrage caused by these cartoons is justified or not, they should ask themselves: which Prophet Mohammad is in question here?
Reza Bayegan

Growing up as a Moslem in Iran in the religiously tolerant atmosphere of the 1970s as young students we were taught that the best way to spread the truth of our faith was to impress others with our own exemplary conduct. In the poisonous political atmosphere leading to the Iranian revolution this tolerant, forgiving side of Islam was all but forgotten. Islam became a violent weapon for removing the Iranian monarchy and from then on an effective tool for the perpetuation of political power by the theocratic regime. All those in the West who point to the enraged reaction in Moslem countries towards a few cartoons as symptomatic of an inherently violent and intolerant religion should remember that Islam is being used here as a tool for the manipulation of the masses in Iran and other dictatorships in the Islamic world.

DEMOCRACY
Ahmadinejadization

US policies feed Middle East radicals
Morib

By pushing the doctrine of democratization of the Middle East, it seems, US and Great Britain, have embarked on an international experiment that clearly they lack the expertise or foresight to see to a successful conclusion. Ultimately this policy lends itself to promoting the very undemocratic forces that the United States and its allies have been trying so hard to isolate in the Middle East for past few years. One can not help but to notice the over arching themes and commonalities amongst the election results of past few months in Iran, Lebanon, Palestinian occupied territories and Egypt. The victorious parties in these elections have following themes in common:

TORTURE
Would the shady liberator please stand up?

The twisted irony and hypocrisy behind the photos that America does not want us to see
Dokhtar Shirazi

Three years have passed since the Iraq invasion. Three long years and during this period, not only the human-cost of this unjustifiable occupation is making even the once optimistic-minded wary, the shocking and degrading images of Iraqi prisoners being brutally tortured and humiliated in the hands of American troops, in contrary to International Treaties and Conventions in particular the Convention Against Torture and the Geneva Convention Relative to the Treatment of Prisoners of War [to which the US is -of course - a party of, surprise, surprise!] continue to emerge almost on continual basis.

REVIEW
Strange and dangerous life

Jewish Muslim, Lev Nussimbaum
Farid Parsa

Lev was born a Jew but embraced Islam and the Orient affectionately. He tried to promote Islam among Europeans. He wrote books on Islam and the life of Mohammed, under the name Essad Bey. He even wrote a book on Reza Shah, originally published in German, during the Nazis era in Vienna. Lev was specially intrigued by Eastern leaders who used the West to their advantage, eiss tells us, and people like Ataturk and Reza Shah Pahlavi became a subject of his fascination for a while.

FICTION
A time for silence and a time for utterance

A writer’s dilemma  
Mahsa Meshki

Kimia could not understand Shakespeare but she enjoyed the exaggerated language and she particularly liked how inanimate, abstract nouns were given life and acted as the subject of poetic sentences: the dying appetite, the falling strain. What Kimia loved about poetry was how the string of words put together sounded to her ear. A good poem, she believed, was like good music. If she liked the melody, the words didn’t really matter. As a child, Kimia often appeared in front of the mirror and entertained herself with the recital of inane lines she spontaneously created. She would cry and pretend her image was the saddest audience she had ever seen. The idea of soliloquies was, therefore, all the more beguiling to her poetic sensibility. 17 years passed by ...

SHORTS
You cheap bastards
Siamack Baniameri

President George W. Bush has asked Congress to authorize an extra $75 million to help the United States spur democracy in Iran [News]. I'm thinking a $75 million translates to a dollar for every Iranian, which means each Iranian is worth a lousy $1 to America. Considering 30% annual inflation in Iran, and the annual 17% increase in cost of living, that $1 per person will be worth 50 cents by the time Congress authorizes the $75 million. Well, thank you very much, you cheap bastards. As an Iranian, I will not give you a discount -- not today. So, contact me when you increase the freedom money to at least $5 a person. And in addition, I would like a company car and a signing bonus.

SHORTS
At least sweeten the pot
Guive Mirfendereski

Further to Siamack Baniameri's lamentation about the paltry sum offered by the Bush Administration to spread democracy in Iran ($1 per Iranian) [News], I should first note that Operation Ajax that returned the Shah to the throne spent upward of $3 per Iranian and, secondly, I should request that the Administration at least sweeten the pot by throwing in a good†number of virgins as well. Thank you.

ADVICE
Abandoning dad

Shokooh's Couch
Shokooh Miry

Responsible Persian Daughter writers: My 78-year old father was diagnosed with Alzheimerís last year. He moved in with me shortly after the diagnosis and I am now his sole caregiver and happy to take care of him. My problem is my own family -- my mother has passed away and my two brothers refuse to spent time with dad. They havenít visited our father in two months and call very infrequently. I am growing angry with my selfish brothers. Our fatherís health is declining rapidly and he misses his sons a great deal. They used to be so close to him but have absolutely abandoned him since he became sick! I have nagged and nagged and had dozens of go nowhere arguments, but nothing changes. What can I do to get through to my brothers? Why are they acting this way?

WOMEN
The violence that may never end

The ways that men dominate women
Maryam Nayeb-Yazdi

I started a project on violence against women for my Women Studies class at York University. Of course the topic was eye opening and very disturbing for me. As a woman, I can say that I have experienced some type of violence, even in the form of harassment once or twice in my lifetime. Of course the violence and uneasiness I have experienced in my life are not nearly as severe as some of the violence women experience everyday all around the world. As I got deeper into my research, something happened that I wasnít anticipating: I actually started to get mad, and I mean raging mad! I didnít know the women in the stories I was researching, but at the same time I felt a connection with them. Every night thereafter I had trouble sleeping, and a feeling of guilt swept over me. How could I sleep in peace when there are women out there who donít have the same luxury?

FREE SPEECH
When a cartoon is an opinion

Lampooning of Mohammad is an attack -- at worst -- on sensibilities and faith, not color or race
Kia Atri

I remember all those years ago when I was at my Alma Mater and one day one of my very silly tutors inquired if I could sell him a carpet. This strange request was predicated on the view that being an Iranian I have a natural calling to sell carpets!!! Earlier that day when he had found out that I was Iranian he had ranted that I should behave myself while staying in the UK 'or else'. When one is confronted by this sheer act of ignorant and hurtful rudeness one may follow one's instincts and either retort in kind or land a killer blow on the interlocutors chin. Tempting as it was in the heat of the moment I did neither; I knew that this was his problem and not mine, I rose above it all. Neither did I allow this and other pathetic statements embitter me so much as to land me with a chip on my shoulder.

ART
V.P.

Drawings
Vajihe Parizangeneh

SATIRE
Funnier than hell

New (and some old) cartoons... just for the hell of it
Saman

SHORTS
Root of all the world's troubles

Peyvand Khorsandi

What is nuclear ambition? In the conventional sense, “what” is a word that one puts in a sentence. Of course, the same can be said of most other words - such as most, other and words - and indeed “and”; and while we're at it “indeed”.
But “what” in conventional usage tends to precipitate inquiry, whereas other words mean what they say. To “What is the meaning of 'what'?” the listener might respond: “I don't know what you mean.” 
It is clearly the word “what” and not religion that is the root of all the world's troubles.

SOBER
Jihad, Jihad, Jihad

Be careful what you wish for
Jerry Quill

So you long for the glorious Jihad, a chance to atone for centuries of Muslim impudence. Yes, its time to hold high the severed heads of the infidel. Its time for Islam to claim its rightful position as the law of the world! Jihad, Jihad, Jihad! OK... let's think about that. Will the infidel sit silently while you systematically behead them? Is there any chance that at some point the non-Muslim world will say, "Enough is enough"? Or simply say "No"? Jihad is a wonderfully mythic concept but in the end it is a call for war. Usually wars consist of two sides. Is it too far of a stretch to imagine that the people whom Jihadists wage war against might just fight back?

FREE SPEECH
Tahghigh yaa tazvir?

Iranian intellectuals and the Mohammad cartoons
Sudabeh Siavashan

UPSET
Palestine, Palestine, Palestine...

Palestinians did not fix my friend's car and told me off. Why should I worry about their cause?
Pullniro

... Whenever I hear this word I quiver with anger and hatred -- and I have good reasons for it. Unfortunately there is no way to get rid of hearing or reading this name during the day. If you live in Iran you have to pass at least 20 city facilities a day with this name. Palestine street, Palestine square, Palestine high school, Palestine hospital, Palestine highway, Palestine this, Palestine that. Not only in Tehran but in all the 350 cities and hundreds of villages  across the country. Then comes the places named after Ghods [Jerusalem]. God knows how many buildings, streets, roads, schools, clinics, ... down to the farthest villages and backwoods in Iran is called by this name.

POETRY
Broken heart

Observe the symptoms of a heart breaking
Setareh Sabety

FREE SPEECH
A serious joke

I’m reminded of an old Persian saying, “The best response for the idiot is silence.”
Zohreh Khazai Ghahremani

No doubt the Danish cartoonist is as overwhelmed as everyone else because when he took his sketchpad to draw something he considered “funny”, he couldn’t have seen this coming. Or maybe, like Salman Rushdie, he too is enjoying the sudden fame and the fact that his otherwise worthless cartoons are now estimated at millions. Does anyone stop to think who is the true loser in these games, name-callings and cheap insults? I’m reminded of an old Persian saying, “The best response for the idiot is silence.” When I was a child, my friends considered that phrase to be the coward’s way out, but the truth is, it did help me out of a few losing battles.

ART
Desire's heart

Paintings
Maryam Naghshineh

WORDS
Loving the "L" words

Could the Persian "loos" (spoiled) and English "luxuriant" (lux) be far behind?
Guive Mirfendereski

By sheer happenstance, I think I have stumbled on a word in Farhang Moin that might well provide some measure of proof that luvu (lubu or lufu) existed in the vocabulary of ancient Persians. The word at issue is the Farsi word labeh, which now means self-admiration (khod-setaee); its verb form is labidan. Its verb form has the usual phonetic variations in which the sound “b” substitutes for the sounds “p” (as in lapidan) and “f” (as in lafidan). The variants of the noun labeh itself on the other hand are laveh,lafeh and lapeh. This may also relate to the Persian noun lavand, which presently means a “lewd” woman, a “prostitute.” I think lavand may have begun as a word to suggest one proffering luvu or lava, love (lav/a/vand).  

POETRY
Why I moved back

A friend of mine who moved back to Iran responds
to the question "why did you moved back?" -- MB

POETRY
Roospi

Inspired by an interview with with two Iranian prostitutes in Dubai
Orkideh Behrouzan

POETRY
Aoo miaayad

For those who their loved ones are far away
Shoja Adel

POETRY
P.S.

At the end
M. Reza Eslami

POETRY
Sokoote Buddha

Buddha's silence
Cyrous Moradi

POETRY
They are pretenders

They swear that Hafez is the one, but...
Sasan Seifikar

POETRY
In the city

Fortuned they whom foreign attitude becomes
Jack Oakley

POETRY
The opposite of sleep

Sacred, the beautiful word.
Jam Hamidi

POETRY
Ghazal-e azad (2) (3) (4)

Three poems
Alireza Zarrin

POETRY
Am I a dream dreaming a dream that...

With one foot in the winds
And one foot in the waves

Manoucher Parvin

POETRY
My double life

I look like the perfect wife
Salomeh Mohajer

CARTOONING
From King Louis to Khomeini

Absolute rulers fear cartoonists more than the hydrogen bomb
Mazloom

Long before there was a row over Prophet Muhammad caricatures published by Jyllands-Posten Publication there was a cartoonist in Iran by the name of Manouchehr Karimzadeh who was handed down a ten-year sentence by the Islamic Revolutionary Court in 1992. His crime was depicting a character resembling the late Ayatollah Khomeini... When cartoonists practice their craft many times they push the envelope too far, that’s their niche in life, they disturb the balance of humorous criticism and distastefulness. In democratic societies through peaceful dialogue and free exchange of ideas the hateful and ill intentioned acts are rejected and sense of decency prevails.

ART
12 post cards for Muharram

Photo essay and a poem "Baleh, maa bigheyrateem"
Amir Normandi

DEMOCRACY
Year of freedom

A letter from Iranian students to freedom-loving people of the world
>>> Persian text

Hear the voice of my father and that of our fathers whose flesh makes up the land of Iran, the land we all love. Hear it and put your differences aside so we can once again love each other, for Iran and for all Iranians. The new Iranian year of 1385 is approaching. We shall call this New Year the Year of Freedom. We shall call upon all Iranians to set up with the help of international organizations, the "Congress for the Freedom of Iran" on March 22, corresponding to the 9,900th day of captivity of the Iranian nation in the hands of a few mullahs.

SHORTS
My lost friend

Peyvand Khorsandi

Up a mountain, I saw a goat. I said: “Goat, will you be my friend?” The goat said no.
Then I saw a donkey. I said: “Donkey, will you be my friend?” No, said the Donkey.
I looked to the sky and said: “Clouds, will you be my friend?” It started pissing down.
Then came a Republican. He said: “Hey. I'll be your friend.”
I said: “Get lost, mate.”

FREE SPEECH
Satantic cartoons

If the international community doesn't stand up to Islamists, a culture of self-censorship of criticism of Islam that pervades now in Islamic countries will spread
Jahanshah Rashidian

Political Islam is able to inflame Muslims’ sentiments through the capitulation of democrats and the tolerance of the West.  Let’s be courageous by loudly saying no to any compromise with all Islamic totalitarian systems. As cartoon-related protests violently claim clash of cultures, many are in Europe wondering what is going wrong. Is this a clash of civilisations or only a conflict between a Danish cartoonist and some radical Islamic groups? It is not for a jihadist culture understandable that freedom of the press is one of the great assets of democracy. The Islamic world is left behind any process of evolving a new image of their religion. Islam has never joined the process of opening up to the progress and democracy and continues blindly following the Middle Ages influences whereas in the world of progress and democracy, critical thinking is the order of the day. And critique of religion was the very starting point.

NUCLEAR
No to war, no to mullahs

The practical solidarity of the anti-war movement should be directed primarily towards the Iranian people
Yassamine Mather

The recent pronouncements by the governments of the USA and UK regarding Iran’s nuclear programme have more to do with Iran’s close relations with all factions of the occupation government in Iraq and the long-term consequences of such influence. That is why, before the anti-war movement falls into the trap of supporting Iran’s reactionary rulers, they should consider if such a move would lead to indirect support for the occupation government in Iraq and be in confrontation with ordinary Iranians and Iraqis who are victims of these regimes. Whether wearing a turban or a suit, the super-rich corrupt shias in power in both countries oversee dictatorship, poverty and destitution for the majority of the population. In other words, the enemy of my enemy is not necessarily my friend.

NUCLEAR
Octopus

Enough is enough for sacrificing our national interest in blaming our government facing imperialistic pressure of world powers
Mohamad Purqurian

I do not rule out the possibility of an atomic armed Islamic Republic of Iran.  But anyone who is concerned about an ayatollah’s finger on the red button of a nuclear bomb should be scared to death to have a new born Christian declare himself the self appointed mind reader of other governments.  One should be frightened to see him forging non existence documents to pave his way in bullying helpless people of a targeted country.  Even more frightening is to see a DEMOCRATIC country have a stockpile of over ten thousand nuclear warheads because you will never know when a power wielder like Bush or Cheney finds it necessary to use them.  Remember, they are not rulers for life who can spare the time.  They are elected officials like Hitler who have neither the time nor the tolerance to exercise prudence.  Isn’t that ironic?!

ART
Digital Hafiz

Calligraphy
Shahram S. Nahavandi

LETTERS
Typical gutless intellectuals

On Behrooz Ghamari's "When a cartoon is not a cartoon": Let's make one thing clear one more time: this is about freedom of speech and those who try to change the subject are not to be trusted. Nobody is talking about the reasons behind the publications of these cartoons. Let's assume that editors and cartoonists of Jyllands-Posten are lackeys (the term these people love to use!) of colonialism and Imperialism (or as Khomeini used to say Estekbar). So what? Freedom of speech means protecting these people and these statements. The author gives a bunch of irrelevant examples about statements which would trigger negative reactions by other religious and ethnic groups. Very conveniently however, he forgets that for example, in the United States, KKK still holds rallies and demonstrations. They are hated by everyone but they are protected under the law >>> Letters

 

SHORTS
Who and what am I?

Sia Abadani

A little about myself, I had a Ph.D. in satellite communications and in 1991 I lived in Boston and as the War was going on in the Gulf! I and 3 more Iranies like me the best in business drove to Washington DC our Embassy in Pakistani place and offered our services to Mullah to let us go to Gulf with our laptop computer and we are capable of hacking Saddam's plane communication system an cause lots of problem and confusions as they? will suspect their equipments and going back to their base for trouble shooting which buy Irani air force some extra time, same time Reza Pahlavi asking to go to fly for Iran they kicked us out of Embassy, saying they do not need spies and driving back in snow mad at the world we were hit by a truck from back and 2 in the back seat died on spot and driver are in the wheelchair unable to move an I was the 4th lucky one as they say I had a brain injury everything wiped out and now disable in Florida waiting for death daily! I will never be seen as an American and Irani calls me spy, who and what am I?

LIFE
A day in my life

The kid, work... This has been officially the longest day EVER
Houman Jazaeri

5:15 AM -- I hear Dara crying. Naz either can't hear him or more realistically is waiting for me to get him. I don't know how long I slept but I think I just blinked. I look over at my alarm clock. ARGH, it is only 5:15, why couldn't he wake up in another 45 minutes. I go feed Dara and try to put him back in his bed. He is no longer interested in his bed and wants to come to ours. I am too tired to argue with a 10 month old child. I drop Dara between Naz and me and fall back to sleep.

UK
Quelle belle libido!

"Let the one without sin cast the first stone."
Iqbal Latif

The latest sex scandal to hit Britain is one of its most peculiar kinds. A family man involved in group male sex. One is curious to find out what makes a successful on the rise intelligent politician recline so low. It seems most likely that the sexual recklessness buried in our subconscious is stronger than careers and fortunes? Unlike in the third world where corruption shortens life of political pundits, the west it is the sex that is the culprit and have destroyed careers of many a budding politicians and celebrities. If lewd and scandalous nature of sex is discussed in its full context without hesitation half of the anticipation and juice related to its clandestine and covert nature is out of the chronicles equation making it less appealing to public's interest. Public interest in scandal is more about two-facedness, it is candidness that people value. That was one reason Jean Paul Sartre was never accused of travesty, he was so unwrapped about his interests.

DIASPORA
I wonder

Perhaps one day I will receive the privilege of practicing in Iran and serving my people
Salomeh Mohajer

I sit here and wonder why so many of the Iranian community have now participated in what appears to be a forced diasporas of sorts, whether it's by physical distance, or a loss of a sense of Iranian identity. I truly enjoy living in Canada and while my adopted homeland is kind enough to grant me citizenship, I have to be honest and say that my heart belongs to another nation, Iran.

MAHDI
Myth or misunderstanding?

In response to Jahanshah Rashidian's "The hidden legend"
Keyvan

While it is true that this messiah/Mahdi prophecy can be perverted and utilized by dangerous political leaders as a tool of justification for their personal agenda, this does not mean that such prophecy must be ruled out as simple "mythology."  Throughout history, world leaders have used something "beyond them" as a justification for egomaniacal acts of reshaping the world in their own image. Hitler used Darwinian discoveries on evolution to justify genocide, toting that he was simply accelerating nature's course of "survival of the fittest." Clearly someone so psychologically unstable, like Ahmadinejad, will find something, be it prophecy, science, or "economic practicality," as a means to justify dangerous acts such as this. Thus, to infer that such prophecy is the reason why we have this problem with Ahmadinejad and company, is a narrow approach.

NUCLEAR
Iran, the ultimate challenge?

A pre-emptive attack becomes a, more possible acceptable, solution as each day passes
Sohrab Ferdows

Revelation of information regarding clandestine operations of Islamic regime in order to gain ability to manufacture nuclear weapons should have had not left any doubt in anyone's mind that, the rulers of this tyrannical system can never be trusted with their written agreements, let alone their words in a civilized negotiation! It took many months to exhaust all options in order to convince rulers of Islamic regime to comply with legitimate concerns of civilized world about their nuclear ambitions. During all this time, Islamic regime continued their tactic of delay and deceit to complete their nuclear project while Iranian people continued to suffer under suppression and poverty.

PLASTIC
Face on

Plastic surgery and transplantations are a great method of treatment for those whom have been facially disfigured by fire, disease or accidents. However...
Sepideh Nahrvar

Face transplantion is a hot news item these days. For the first time in History a face transplant has been successfully performed in real Life. Due to my field of study I have been drawn to the discussion about when to perform and when not to perform such procedure. It has been brought to my attention that everyone has opinions and thoughts on the subject; however none of these is based on facts or scientific studies. The box-office hit "Face Off" has suddenly become the guide and the bible in realizing an existing notion. While scientists are only engaged in the functionality of the matter, in this stage, we need a mouth for speech and to consume nourishment etc.

ART
Ghosts & shadows

Paintings
Maryam Javaheri

JOURNALIST
Parchamdaar

Mohammad Mehrdad: A life dedicated to freedom
Ali Mohammad Lashgari

THEOCRACY
Doshmane asli

The main enemy
Hassan Behgar

TRIP
Snow white

Photo essay: Snowy trip up north from Tehran
Pullniro

GRRRRR
How to suppress a bus strike

Make imprisoned leaders draw cartoons satirising the Holocaust. Invite BBC Persian to report on winner
Peyvand Khorsandi

Imprison leaders: Crucial to keeping worker morale high and ensuring your demands are met. Give them pen and paper to write prison notes, they like that imprisoned leaders. But keep them so hungry that they would rather eat their pens than to write. Naturally, beat the living daylights out of them if they snore after lights-out. Codified messages are often transmitted this way. Those who snore loudest often have the biggest ideas.

WAR GAMES
Surgical operations

The possible United States' military attack on Iran
H. David Ramezani

This is just a preliminary draft on discussing some of the current crisis between the Islamic Republic and the United States. This is a work in progress and it is not a completed essay. The purpose of this write-up is to initiate a healthy discussion among our friends and colleagues trying to learn and educate each other about the unfolding events. As the hostilities are escalating between the Islamic Republic and the United States people are wondering how to react or adjust to the new circumstances. This is mostly visible within the Iranian community. Everybody is trying to find out who is supporting which side and the rationale behind it. People are wondering what would be the right course of action. On a situation like this what one must do and how to react to the current relationship between the two sides?

EQUALITY
Freidan and me

She provided a language with which women the world over could shun traditional roles and break loose from the confines of a suffocating notion of femininity
Setareh Sabety

I was a little girl when I met Betty Freidan in Tehran.  She was attending a women’s conference organized by the Iranian Women’s Organization that was inspired and led by the Shah’s rather notorious sister, Ashraf.  My mother, one of the founding member’s of that organization, invited Freidan and Germaine Greer to our house for tea.  I Later when I came to study in America, I had the opportunity to study Freidan.  More than anything I found her simple explaining away of Freud’s notion of penis envy in women brilliant.  Of course, Freidan, argued in, “The Feminine Mystique” (1963), Victorian middle-class women had every reason to envy men but that was not due to an anatomical inferiority complex.  It was simply because men had more opportunities and choices available to them.  Culture not nature was responsible for their neurosis.

ART
Liquid state

Paintings
Maryam Hashemi

INSIDE
Radioactive

Not a nuclear crisis: Chest x-rays
Mehrdad Aref-Adib

SHORTS
Huntington's hunch

Omid Parsi

To the extent that one can call the general wretchedness of the muslim world a "civilization", my hat goes off to Samuel P. Huntington for having foreseen this conflict in his prophetic 1993 treatise titled "Clash of Civilizations." I cannot help but suspect that the outpouring of Islamic rage and intolerance on the basic freedom of expression in the West is the tip of an ugly iceberg that assorted head-in-the-sand liberal apeaseniks and apologists have tried hard to dismiss and ignore. (See the late Edward Said's attempt at refuting Huntington) Still, let's all hope that somehow Huntington turns out to be wrong ...

RIGHTS
Long arm of justice

Victims of human rights abuses in Iran can sue in U.S. courts
Bahar Mirhosseini

Based on the Alien Torts Claims Act (ATCA), it may be possible for Iranian plaintiffs to file suit and seek monetary damages for human rights violations (such as torture) experienced in Iran.  The Alien Torts Claims Act allows “non Americans to sue for human rights abuses in U.S. Courts.” See: Center for Constitutional Rights, www.ccr-ny.org.  To file a claim, there must be a gross violation of international human rights law (such as torture).  If the suit is filled against an individual perpetrator of the human rights violations, that perpetrator must reside in the United States.  If the suit is filled against a corporation, the corporation must be based in the United States or at least have sufficient minimal contacts with the United States to enable the jurisdiction of U.S. courts over the entity. 

SHORTS
Programmed to perform poorly

Peyvand Khorsandi

I was playing World Cup soccer on a games console. I picked Iran as my team against the advice of friends. I didn't believe, when told, that my players were programmed to perform poorly. Sure enough, my Mahdavikia and Ali Daei might as well have not turned up. It was as if they had been shot in the head in Grand Theft Auto and stumbled into another game. I was disconsolate.

ACCOUNTABILITY
Salt on wounds

The guilty are those whose actions are believed to be pre meditated to hurt the feelings of Muslims
Alessi Sibi

To some people being accountable, naturally, feels threatening - they would associate it with criticism or disapproval and loss of one’s liberty.In the last century, economic considerations, social ethnic problems and multiculturalism in Western countries paved the way to giving into the idea of secularism in the Western societies. Successive Western governments made sure that the influence of the religious institutions on their citizens gradually diminished to the extent we now see in the European countries, particularly, in UK, the church attendances on Sundays have been dwindling so fast that has caused the alarms ringing for the bishops’ ears rather than the church attendees!

GRIEVANCES
Haya

It is ultimately all about the failure of the rule of law and process to address grievances
Guive Mirfendereski

The Danish Cartoon Affair has eclipsed the Iranian nuclear case, which in itself is another example of the pornographic times in which we live. Here is a country that is signatory to the nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty but who is suspected of making an atomic bomb in contravention of its obligations under the treaty and at a huge cost to its national treasury, when it probably could obtain a device or bomb for a lot cheaper and sooner on the international market. While President Bush has called for a greater reliance on nuclear power to meet America’s insatiable appetite for energy, the Bush Administration wishes to deny Iran nuclear power technology altogether.

TESTOSTERONE
Baab ol-shavat

Mariah Carey looks real good -- I think
Shahriar Zahedi

ART
The compassionate, the merciful

Ceramics
Parvin Heydari Nassab

SHORTS
Holy cow!

Live Life

A glimpse into the future
London, JULY 2006, (APP) -- Religious fervor has spread from Muslims to Hindus. Worldwide Hindus are setting fire to restaurants and fast food chains to show their anger over the consumption of cows by the rest of humanity. India has cut ties with most countries. Riots around the world have caused many deaths and caused millions of dollars in damages. When asked by London police why he had smashed the head of a British man who had just finished eating a Big Mac, Raj Kumar replied: "He was eating my uncle."

SHORTS
Soft on Mojahedin

Nema Milaninia

Yes, Senator Sam Brownback, our loveable Republican from Kansas, has recently indicated his staunch support for a group currently classified as a terrorist organization. Not only does Senator Brownback want us to release the Mojahedin-e Khalq’s terrorist classification, but he also would like us to fund them with taxpayer dollars.

Apparantly Senator Brownback is unconscious about two problems: 1) in a "Global War on Terror," its usually a good thing not to create double standards when our intentions are to recruit more allies, nor push them away and 2) if the President's intentions are to truly appeal to the Iranian public, as opposed to its government, it may not be a good idea to soften our stance and finance an organization which is hated by the vast majority of Iranians. Just a thought from a lowly blogger.

PLAY
Mossadegh on stage

Review of a play, written and directed by Reza Allamehzadeh
Zohreh Khazai Ghahremani

For months, friends and family had sent me messages not to miss this performance. Having grown-up in a society that told me politics were none of a child’s business, my knowledge of the late Prime Minister Dr. Mossadegh and his achievements were limited to his role in nationalizing our oil, his prolonged – and sometimes faked – illness and the fact that he had followers who, according to the late Shah, had no right to do so. Considering the mystery that surrounded the man, it was only natural that I would be intrigued. It was also natural that the play would start at 7:38 rather than 7:00 as scheduled and also natural that in a sold-out event, there would be several empty seats. But this is by no means going to reflect on how I received or what I have to say about the actual event.

FREE SPEECH
Insults don't kill

We may not like the cartoons or the cartoonist, but his right to speak outweighs our desire to be spared injured feelings
Lance Raheem

For the freedom of speech to be meaningful it must be defended and held inviolate from assault, no matter for what reason, or from what quarter an attack against it is launched. In free and democratic societies, including those in which Muslims make up a part or the whole of the citizenry, the principle of free speech and the right to express one's thoughts and ideas must be held sacrosanct.  If we allow ourselves to give into emotion and jump on the bandwagon of violent reactionaries every time we hear or read something that we find repugnant or offensive to our religious or political sensibilities, then we endanger our very own freedom to speak freely. 

SHORTS
Daily reflections

Siamack Baniameri

I married an Iranian activist, who was sentenced to be stoned to death, so she could stay in the US and escape Islamic Republic's wrath. She filed for divorce and moved back to Iran after she met my mom.

FREE SPEECH
Holy intolerance

How difficult is it to understand that Western governments can not tell their media to enforce Islamic Sharia just as they do not enforce the Jewish laws?
David Etebari

It is time that Muslims focus on those who create the atmosphere for creation of such cartoons. It is those who kill innocent people in the streets of Baghdad, New York, Paris, London, Madrid, ... and those who cut the journalists throats in the name of Islam who truly present an intolerant, hateful and angry image of Islam. Where are the outraged Muslim Imams and Mullahs of Europe and middle east when their Muslim brothers and sisters are blown in to pieces in the street of Baghdad by suicide bombers on a daily basis? In the streets of Baghdad and in the jails of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Danish people and their cartoonists do not kill Muslims... those who call themselves Muslims do.

SHORTS
Short fuse

Peyvand Khorsandi

Self-congratulatory “secular' columnists have rushed to attack “Muslim” reaction to a few piss-poor cartoons in the Danish press. One on this site is prepared to die to defend freedom of speech, while writing under a pseudonym! Firstly, those who burn down embassies do not represent all Muslims. It is moronic to present Islam as a unified entity, as the press is doing -- and Iranian bloggers, of whatever political hue should know better.

Secondly, in a world where any critic of Israel risks being branded as “anti-semitic”, aggrieved Muslims have a case for double standards. It is a fact that you will not see generalisations made about Muslims and Arabs, in the media applying to any other people with such frequency. Should the cartoonist have drawn a picture of the prophet's turban as a bomb? Of course, but using wit -- something the cartoonist lacked -- he could have drawn one that didn't actually go off.

As for the braying mobs, someone should say to them, badbakhtaa bereen be kaaretoon bereseen, na be kaarton!

FREE SPEECH
The Age of Liberty

I am willing to go to war to defend one Danish cartoonist
Shahla Azizi

Here we are more than two hundred years after Thomas Paine wrote his treatise and some bearded mob in Tehran or Gaza can make whole countries and big publications tremble and apologize.  This is appeasement of the worst kind and will only strengthen the enemy --- shame on the Danish authorities and editors for apologizing.  Because Islam, in the way it is being practiced right now, is an intolerant anti-secular entity.  They have declared a war on everything that the secular tradition of the West holds dear: most importantly the idea that people should have a right to believe, say, draw, paint, and write anything they please.

OPINION
Nuclear cards

When should we ask that our leaders try risking their political careers instead of human lives?
Camron Michael Amin

For Iranians and Americans with a sense of history, these are worrisome times.  Iran’s leadership, determined to defend Iran’s sovereignty over its energy resources, is confronting global powers who are just as determined to check in Iran’s threat to regional stability and compel Iran to meet its legal international obligations.  Of course, Ahmadinezhad is no Mosaddeq, Bush is no Eisenhower, Blair is no Churchill and controlling nuclear development is not the same as controlling who pumps and sells the oil from under your feet.  But the principles involved are so eerily similar that they can obscure a still more frightening political pattern:  the tendency of national governments to use foreign policy to reinforce their domestic political standing. 

MAHDI
The hidden legend

Ahmadinejad may ultimately play the role of the Hidden Imam himself
Jahanshah Rashidian

The Hidden Imam, it seems, will not be quite as hidden as might be. The new IRI’s president believes that he has been assigned to pave the way for the reappearance of the Imam in two years. The president has even during his recent controversial speech at the UN, where he was allegedly surrounded and protected by a “divine light”, called for the Imam’s reappearance. Trough these allegations, he is not only trying to gain a holy status among those who do not attribute him a charismatic personality, but is also likely trying to prepare some conditions for his divine mission. The next two years will be probably marked by increasing tensions between the devoted followers of the Hidden Imam following controversial views about the Imam’s reappearance.

EXAMINE
Let's rewrite Iranian history

The past 50 years
Persian Majeed

Examine & investigate judicially each & every U.S. personnel, companies, organizations who ousted the legitimate government of Iran under Dr. Mohammad Mosaddegh, that instigated a coup d'etat & overthrew him, in a U.S. court of law by the most lenient panel of U.S. Judges. Then convict those criminalized ones. Examine & investigate judicially each & every U.S. personnel, companies, organizations who caused much anguish, mental stress, physical tensions amongst civilians throughout the past 25+ years in an all-out effort against the Islamic Republic of Iran.

REHEARSALS
1001 beats

Video & photo essay
Pop singer Shahrzad

FREE SPEECH
When a cartoon is not a cartoon

What is funny about a demonized prophet & terrorists?
Behrooz Ghamari

Those in Europe who think that they need to fight a battle for free speech and freedom of religion need to think harder and more reflexively about whose war they are fighting and who their enemies are.  A bomb-turbaned Prophet turns all Muslims into terrorists.  One must be free to satirize suicide bombers or terrorists of any persuasion.  But lampooning Islam as inherently intolerant and Muslims as terrorist is neither wise nor commendable.  In the American context, no one would call the spectacle of whites mocking blacks humorous.  Muslims who turn to violence in order to register their displeasure with the cartoons only turn themselves into the same caricatures against which they protest.  Demanding an apology or boycotting consumer products are legitimate means of expression so long as they do not trade in words for bullets.  Fists are the strongest when they are waved in the air, not when they land on the opponents face. 

FREE SPEECH
Don't be intimidated!

On the row over “offensive” cartoons
Azar Majedi

The charade by Islamists over the publication ofthe cartoons depicting the Mohammed (prophet) as a suicide bomber is being taken too seriously by many. Apologies after apologies are being delivered to Islamic governments and thugs. Any apology makes them more vicious and more daring. The only weapon they have is hostage taking, bullying, intimidating, killing, maiming, and offending any human values and any libertarian rights. We should not apologize to these reactionary forces who have organized the most sophisticated machinery of oppression and intimidation, who have organized and mobilized an army of terrorists world wide, who have been  terrorizing the citizens of the Islamic ridden countries as well as citizens of the world, who have the worst criminal record.

SHORT STORY
Foreign affairs

Chronicles of Fredrick D. Sauma
Farid Parsa

When Hassan told me that Zia had just passed away, I burst into an uncontrollable laughter. It was only some twelve hours before that we caught the lift together and he offered me a cigarette, as was his custom to offer me a smoke. Hassan's expression was a fusion of anger and disappointment, as if my laughter was voluntary. As vividly as Hassan in front of me, I saw Zia approached the main entrance of our apartment building. His long, black coat and friendly smile unmistakable, even in the dark. 'Time to go to sleep son', was his last sentence- a mixture of alcohol and nicotine reeked repellently from his breath.

SHORTS
Nazi and the cleric

Peyvand Khorsandi

Nick Griffin, fuhrer of the British National[-Socialist] Party, was cleared yesterday of inciting racial hatred. The prosecution had presented footage taken by a BBC journalist where he had slammed Islam in a small pub meeting as a religion that proliferates using rape - nothing wrong with that, it's his job. Yet the Beeb continues to refer to the BNP as “far right” rather than Nazi - do its news producers dispute fact that the BNP is a Nazi organisation? This might explain why the broadcaster was so surprised by Griffin's frankly mild rants about Muslims. Meanwhile, an Islamo-fascist called Abu Hamza awaits the jury's verdict for soliciting others to murder Jews. The press have got it right by portraying Hamza as a nutter - not too difficult with his hook for a hand. But Griffin, with his Newsnight slots is becoming more and more the respectable politician - and he's not even an MP. Observe similarities: Both men defend freedom of speech, are in their mid-forties, hate on a professional basis -and have one eye. Yet one tends to get off the hook more.

STORY
Since there is no help

The sound of a muted but crescendoing chord slowly reaches my ears. It is a harmonica.
Sima Nahan

I can't see who is playing but the sound is coming from the opposite platform. The player is very experienced; he knows the acoustics of the place. If he played any louder the echoing would distort the sound. He holds each chord without vibrato. The tempo is very slow, but the melody singing on top is sustained carefully. Only at the end of a phrase does he introduce a little tremolo. It is the wavering of the breath when it must renew itself. The music rings in the air. The player knows the architecture of the station and calls to it to play. The underground tunnel responds. The harmonica falls silent when the tunnel is ready to play back its echo. Then there is a split second of total silence after both sound and echo have spent themselves, and before the next phrase begins. The sound is soft but it takes on the whole space. People pace the platforms quietly. We all listen.

ART
God's airplane

Paintings
Vahid Sharifian

SOUND OFF
As sacred-less as they come

Iranian.com editor is full of hatred of anything outside what he is being taught in San Francisco
Touraj Touran

So when the curtain is moved, we have our beloved editor of Iranian.com. He can not but irrationally assess GW's policy. It goes to the inertia of pendulum. When going from Islamic Republic to the heartland of liberalist dictatorship, the pendulum has had little time to catch its breath in the center. It is ironic that where nothing is sacred, and everything is tolerated, tolerance of intolerance is fully accepted. So I can not help but see a personal hatred of GW on his part. GW has made lots of mistakes, but his speech the other night was very supportive of the Iranian public. Sure, there may be no action, or some wrong action, but rhetoric was good. Actually much better than his predecessor Clinton who was about to kiss the mullahs' asses ruling Iran.

SHORTS
Daily reflections

Siamack Baniameri

I felt inadequate by the small size of Persian pickles on display at the grocery store. I asked the manager to remove them from the shelf immediately. That was not the image I wanted the world to see. I later changed my mind when I saw that Indian pickles were even smaller.

ASTROLOGER
Human alternative

Idealism and dogma tried to do the same, but Christianity and Islam brought wars. Nationalism based on human rights never did
Ali Mostofi

As I have said for many many years, we all stand on the same carpet, and it is the best carpet in the world. Iranian philosophy, art and tolerant attitude has unified the people of the world for millennia, even in moments when Iran did not really exist. Our contribution to the world philosophy remained as milestones in the human thought. Only recently have many people realised that most of those thoughts were originally common sense Iranian nation building rules. The dialectic that has been created against dogma has forced Iranians to rebuild their soul spirit and culture, and claim that which is righteously theirs.

WRITERS
Catching the blind owl

J.D. Salinger’s "The Catcher in the Rye" and Sadegh Hedayat’s "The Blind Owl"
Mahnoosh Nik-Ahd

The eminent psychiatrist and Holocaust survivor Viktor Frankl once said, “There is also purpose in life which is almost barren of both creation and enjoyment and which admits of but one possibility of high moral behavior: namely, in man's attitude to his existence, an existence restricted by external forces”.  We live in a world where suffering is a part of being human, and although we cannot always choose what happens to us, we can often choose our responses to the circumstances which try to restrict our existence.  Thus, existence is dependent on adaptation.  Both J.D. Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye and Sadegh Hedayat’s The Blind Owl describe human suffering through characters on the verge of mental breakdown.

DISOBEDIENCE
Revolution by bus drivers

Ordinary Iranians are becoming courageous to speak out against oppression and bullying by the Mullahs
Amir Nasiri

For the second time in the past few months the courageous bus drivers have taken on paramilitary fascist militias on the Tehran streets. According to a friend's observation that the areas the bus drivers had gathered have been blocked by Para military groups and any access to any of the bus drivers is under security watch and tightly controlled. Can this be forefront for a new revolution? Does this mean that other groups who have been yearning for such an occasion would join our heroes and demand for more freedom and rights for all Iranians?

SPORTS
Hole in the ice

No matter how cold, stormy or dark, Mina is always there dressed to go
Mehrdad Pishehgar

My wife Mina used to suffer from continuous and horrible pains and aches all over her body. At one time we thought that she is just imagining and these are just in her head and do not really exist. After almost a year of seeing different doctors and specialist she was diagnosed with Fibromyalgy. This is simply put a kind of rheumatism, but of course much more complicated. Nobody knows what causes it and how to cure it.

MINORITIES
Anti-semitic regime -- not people

Making the distinction
Faye Farhang

In his essay on "Iranians and Anti-Semitism," Ghassem Namazi prevails the idea that both the current regime of elitist Mullahs in Iran and the Iranian people harbor anti-Semitism. To say over and over again that the current Iranian government is anti-Semitic is to necessarily expose the ugly hatred of a useless, unelected regime who pretends to be the choice of the people. But to say that all Iranians are anti-Semitic is a gross generalization that insults the face of a nation in a severe blow. In short Mr. Namazi -- how dare you! Anti-Semitism is a disease that has reared its ugly head in every country, in every corner of the world, including Iran but there are important distinctions to be made.

COMEDY
Axis of evil comedy show

Maz Jobrani, Aron Kader, and Ahmed Ahmed
Jasmin Darznik

With about a week to go before the “Axis of Evil Comedy Show” comes to the Bay Area, the Iranian-American actor and comedian Maz Jobrani is getting ready to lay on his thickest Iranian accent—this time for laughs. In movies and on TV, Jobrani has been a terrorist, a spy, and an imam.  He’s worn turbans and he’s owned a donut shop.  More than once he’s ditched his perfect English and put on a heavy Middle Eastern brogue.  And he’s died so many times that his own mother has begged him to kill the other guys in the movie for a change. But that’s not all.  Maz Jobrani is one of a trio of Middle Easterners responsible for the riotously funny “Axis of Evil Comedy Show,” which will have its Northern California premiere on February 9th at the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco and February 12th at Santa Clara’s Avalon Nightclub. 

FUTURE
Who's in charge?

The future struggle will be between the government and the revolution’s third and fourth generations who want to live a normal life like their counterparts in civilized societies
Payman Sadegh

The new regime in Tehran, which is symbolized by Ahmadinejad’s presidency, has its base in a generational (mini) wave whose political experience was shaped by the Iran-Iraq war and insurgency in Kurdistan and other provinces. I call it a mini-wave because the represented time span is rather small in demographic scales. The revolution’s first generation represented by Rafsanjani, Khamenei, and many exile figures are on the way out. As such, I doubt the traditional leaders of IRI (e.g. Rafsanjani) despite their wealth and influence can pose any serious challenge to the new rulers as asserted by Michael McFaul and Abbas Milani in Washington Post. Since it is not clear to me who MacFaul and Milani refer to when they write about challenges from the “embattled democratic movement”, I cannot comment on that one.

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