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January 2006

 

ART
Members of the tribe

Paintings
Reza Hedayat

MINORITIES
We should be sorry

Iranians and anti-semitism
Ghassem Namazi

As a child growing up in Tehran; I was lucky enough to attend school with Iranians from various religious backgrounds. Mostly Jewish, Christian and Bahai kids. It never occurred to us that religion should play any part on how we felt about each other as friends. It was not until my family moved to the United States when it became apparent to me that many Moslem Iranians are anti-Semitic and anti-Bahai. At the beginning it was a shock to me. It still kills me to say it, but I have come to accept the ugly truth about us as a community.

RIGHTS
Ghatl dar Abarghou

Bahais, Kayhan newspaper & and a death in Abarghou
Tooraj Amini

FICTION
A supermarket story

Everyone else’s blood was 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit
Maziar Shirazi

Sunday meant sales at the supermarket on Stone Street.  The street itself was a wide, sunburned strip of asphalt that ran along the shore of an ordinary town that happened to be by the beach and was passably busy, and on Sundays the store would swell with the ranks of Everyone, who was looking for a bargain.  But it was today that Someone, his swagger unduplicable and his name Iraj, sauntered through the rows of fruits and vegetables in the “fresh” section (or so the sign said).  Iraj, four days unemployed, unshaven, unkempt, and holding his dinner in a shopping basket, had been stopping here and there to inspect the various fruits on display before he came to a standstill directly in front of the mound of peaches, which he had been craving for months and had unfailingly neglected to buy.  That would not come to pass today, however.

MUSIC
Listen to the reed how it tells a tale

Exploring tradition and modernity through Iranian musical literature
Aaron P. Baca

Over a century ago Nasir ed din Shah traveled to Europe and brought back a military band to encourage the Western arts (Caron, p. 15). This past November 12th, modern Iranian sensation Googoosh played a sold-out concert at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in San Francisco, California. Steeped in centuries of tradition but readily susceptible to the inclinations of modernity, Iranian music has become a crossroad for the past and present. The form instilled in the music so long ago is still greatly revered, but is approached with the tenacity of the individual. Persian music does not abandon its roots but places increased emphasis on the freedom of the performer.

ART
Pixels of reality

Digital paintings
Ali R. Rabi

LETTERS
Pass the word around

On Hossein Derakhshan's trip to Israel and the filtering of his blog in Iran: I am sending this mass email around requesting you to forward the link below to whoever in Iran that has access to the Internet. Hossein Derakhshan, the Iranian weblogger, is now travelling in Israel, and has presented at a few Israeli universities about his views on weblogs, freedom of speech, and filtering. Unfortunately, Hossein's weblog has been filtered and people in Iran would not be able to read his travelogs. Therefore, I have posted, in a rather amateurish way, his recent travelogs on my weblog, as my weblog has not been filtered as of yet >>> Letters

 

AMERICA
Imperialism is real

Let us not paint the West as perfect or so advanced in the ways of democracy
Brian Appleton

The mullahs and their basijis operate outside the rule of law and the number of people who have been assassinated, tortured, imprisoned and executed far exceeds that of the Pahlavi era. The restrictions and cencorship also exceed anything imposed by the Pahlavis. However by the same token, the amount of Iran bashing going on in the West particularly by the USA which is pressuring world opinion into endorsing another invasion is not being done for any enlightened desire to help the Iranian people gain democracy. Notice every nation that the USA turns into a bogeyman happens to be one that is sitting on or in the path of large oil or gas reserves. The US administration is hanging onto this nuclear threat thing like a dog shaking a bone and using that spectre just like they used the WMD scare to justify invading Iraq.

POLITICS
Axis of democracy

The West should back Iranian Democrats and bring serious pressure to bear upon the Islamic Republic
Kia Atri

Let me contend this premise that the world would not have given two hoots about Islamic Republic's alleged proliferation had it been a democratic regime open to the language of reason and responsibility. In fact a Democratic or even quasi-democratic regime could- for all I know- have exploded a test bomb and the Mushroom clouds covering the screens of Western TV will have prompted no more than a passing commentary. With the passage of time the Iranian people will come to realise this more and more as the continued and unjust pariah state that the regime has earned them and the perspective behavioural change that the world expects of Iran is palpably felt inside the country.

GAMBLE
Shanbeh shab

Saturday night gambling
Shahriar Zaahedi

PARTY
Rosie's birthday party

Photo essay: Friends get together half an hour north of San Francisco
Jahanshah Javid

RIGHTS
Mahrami raa mishenaakhteed?

On the death in custody of Zabihullah Mahrami, a Bahai prisoner of conscience who had been detained for 10 years
Behzad Nikvand

IDEAS
From thought to absolute truth

The nature of ego
Mali Naghavi

The greatest achievement of humanity is not the works of art, science, or technology, but the recognition of its own dysfunction and madness. In the distant past recognition came to s few individuals who saw it with absolute clarity. They looked at how we lived and what we are did that created suffering. They then pointed out to the possibility of awakening from the collective nightmare of "normal" human experience. They showed the way. However teachings that pointed the way beyond dysfunction of human mind, the way out of collective insanity, were distorted and became themselves part of insanity. And so religions, to a large extent became divisive rather than unifying forces.

COMMENT
Alarming times

Ahmadinejad’s policies will exacerbate an already explosive relationship between East and West
Slater Bakhtavar

The volatile political situation in Iran should alarm historical intellectuals. Less than seventy years after Hitler committed mass genocide against millions of innocent people in Nazi Germany, a new anti-Christ has emerged from the land of Ancient Persia. Following in Hitler’s footsteps, the current Iranian President is a fanatical dictator who’s agenda is fuelled by a form of anti-Semitism which is expressed through his occult following of hard-line Islamic terrorists.

ART
On fire

Illustrations
Dariush Radpour

TRAVELERS
Tulips from the blood of martyrs

I'm an anthropologist and specialist on Iran, and lived there in 2002 with my two sons
Diane Tober

I took a long hike up to the top of Isfahan's mountain, Koo-ye Soffeh, to visit a monument of unmarked graves. At the top there were about twelve coffins arranged in a circle, like a clock without hands. In the middle of the circle stood a tall pole. Whipping in the wind at the top was the flag of Iran, with the name of Allah written in the center in the stylized form of a red tulip. Below it were several green flags that had been tattered by the wind and faded by the sun. The sun was setting behind the mountain and the last few rays left a faint shadow across one of the graves, resembling a sundial. "What does time mean to the dead, or to those who are left behind?" I wondered.

LETTERS
Separatism should be respected

On Amir Nasiri's "Iran is not Yugoslavia": Until Iran respects all points of views, as well as separatists, it will not be an Iran that we would want to live in. Separatism should be respected as well as any other form of political views or opinion. Time for bullying or intimidating others are over with. Azeris, Khuzestanis, or Kurds should only be a part of Iran if they (not others) choose to. If any members of those ethnic group feels that his or her ethnicity is better off being independent or a part of another country, who are you to make him or her a bad person, or an agent of Israel or CIA or whatever >>> Letters

COUNTRY
Iran is not Yugoslavia

Separation of provinces from Iran will never ever happen
Amir Nasiri

Once again a bomb has exploded in the beautiful city of Ahvaz and has taken the lives of many hardworking innocent Iranians. The group which calls it self the Khuzestan liberation army has claimed responsibility and is so proud to kill unarmed Iranians. They want a separate Khuzestan. But there are many other groups and ethnicities who want their separate state. If you go to the eastern region of Iran which is ruled by drug lords who are involved in various criminal activities such as kidnapping, rape, prostitution, drug trafficking and money laundering. They also are demanding for a separate state called Baluchistan.

COMMENT
The fake war

The best realistic hope for the future of the Palestinians is a partnership with Israel
Jerry Quill

Hamas and Hezbullah do not represent the interests of the Palestinian people but are mercenary wings of the Syrian and Iranian governments. Self-governance through free elections is a basic human right. But the Middle Eastern dictators have never offered that basic right to the Palestinians. Whenever a peace agreement is proposed that would allow Palestinians to gain their basic human rights Syria and Iran order their mercenary forces to attack and thwart the effort. The Hamas victory in Palestine will cut off Western money and will open the window to Hamas' true masters. Do they continue Iran's and Syria's fake war while Palestinians starve or do they forge the natural peace with Israel that the Palestinian people need to prosper?

ABORTION
Family first

Once we are responsible for bringing another life into this world, it is essential to understand that it is no longer about us
Sarah

Many pro-choice believers mistakingly assume that conservatives point a condemning and intolerant judgmental finger to those who either have had abortions or believe in the right to have them. Tolerance has only acceptable if it is directed to the liberal left. It is famously known that there is no such thing as tolerance for conservative-minded people in our society.  Speaking the truth about a procedure that is physically and mentally harmful and life threatening to women is not condemnation. We are women and life givers in every sense of the word. To deny that ability or to disregard the pain that is caused when we defraud ourselves as women of that right, is not natural.

SUGGESTION
Boycott the big guys

A consumer boycott of the companies that do business with the Islamic Republic and their agents will have as effective a repercussion as in the case of the South Africa's apartheid regime
Shahriar Zangeneh

For instance, to the chagrin of Rafsanjani's pistachio empire, one can make certain that snacking on the delicacy does not enrich the "millionaire Mullah" as Forbes magazine calls him. Or, the Daimler/Chrysler Corporation is set to open a chain of dealerships and set up automobile assembly operation in the Islamic Republic. The announced price tag for the luxury automobiles range between equivalents of $94,000 to $140,000. To put those figures in perspective, it should be noted that an average teacher's salary, should they get paid at all and on time, hovers around $140.

ART
The orange mermaid

Paintings
Taraneh Khosroshahi

POETRY
Zanaane koochak, mardaane bozorg

Small women, big men
Leila Farjami

CHOICE
My body, my choice

Pro-choice rally in Orange, California
Shahla Bebe

On January 22nd the National Organization for Women (NOW) commemorated the 33rd anniversary of the landmark Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade, which legalized a woman's right to abortion in the United States. At dusk, women's rights supporters gathered for NOW Orange County's annual rally and candlelight vigil in City of Orange.

THESIS
Witch doctor or chief?

There is a good reason why the witch doctor should never become the chief of the tribe
Behrouz Bahmani

In healthy thriving tribes, a witch doctor is never, ever, ever, ever, ever, allowed to become chief. If the witch doctor falters, or leaves his post for even just one moment, he leaves open the door for evil to enter. Since he is the chosen gatekeeper, evil knows this, and always tries to attack the witch doctor first, seducing him if necessary, and it is almost always necessary, to ensure the door never closes. If a witch doctor is busy ruling, he becomes weak and wide open to the seductive attack of evil, and he inevitably succumbs to the seduction of it. And oh what a seduction! This has been proven time and time again throughout history.

ART
Touched

Jewelry & ceramics
Raana Ferdows

CAMPAIGN
Iran, war & sanctions

Interview with anti-war campaigner Abbas Edalat
ZNet

The probability of a military intervention against Iran has been steadily rising since the invasion of Iraq. Whether a military attack will eventually take place or not will of course depend on the outcome of the diplomatic battles ahead at the UN Security Council and the strength of the rising opposition to a new war in the public opinion both internationally and in the Middle East and Iran. Given the present fiasco in Iraq, it is unlikely that massive US ground troops will be employed for a full invasion of Iran, a country four times larger with a population three time bigger than Iraq.  What is more likely at least in the short and medium term is a military assault on Iranian nuclear plants as well as military and strategic sites. Israel is likely to be involved in such an operation.

TRAVELERS
From Shanghai to Kashgar

China is Seventy-Thirty >>> Photo essay
Keyvan Tabari

IRAN-U.S.
Amrika hich ghalati nemitavaanad bekonad?

America can do a lot -- and the IRI is laying the grounds
Saeed Soltanpour

ADVENTURE
Devil's maiden

Short story
Azam Nemati

It was one of those winter afternoons I could not t decide whether to hate or love. I had to stop at the bookstore to pick up a book I had ordered and then go to the Whole Foods store to pick up some groceries. I was in a state of sweet melancholy as I was listening to one of my favorite Iranian singers. As I pulled in the shopping center I decided to sit there for a while and listen to my favorite song in peace and savor the moment. I selected a faraway spot to make sure I would not draw any attention and parked. Opened the door to my side and turned off the engine halfway so I could continue to listen. I rested my head on my small pillow, which supports my neck and closed my eyes.

SKETCH
Coffin

ALI catches sight of plaque on coffin and starts to cry
Peyvand Khorsandi

JEZ, a young hearse driver, is parked on Chiswick High Road in London. His colleagues are in a pub having lunch. Half asleep, he hears a noise. Two men – MEHRDAD and ALI – are trying to get the coffin out of the back of the vehicle. He rushes out and shouts “What’s going on?” ALI shouts “The deal is off”. JEZ asks which deal. ALI says speak to your boss. JEZ attempts a citizen's arrest, but is gently overpowered (“It’s my father, I’m taking him” says Ali). JEZ looks on in disbelief.

NUCLEAR
Facing a predator

Let us not kid ourselves: we are faced with a predator who believes it is going to a 'generational war '
Bang Man

We all do agree, the regime is theocratic and certainly holds elements of ultra conservative Islamic views but no where close to mindless self destruction. For lasting social and political progress, we must work with forces from within Iran and with Iranians who are already engaged in the struggle for democracy. Democracy takes a great deal of efforts and progress will come in incremental changes. There are no short cuts to democracy. We have to put Iran's desire to acquire nuclear technology in context. Worst case scenario and probably the most likely scenario is that the war is inevitable. The only way it can be avoided is only if we reach a stalemate by having Iran ready to go nuclear at a heart beat but not necessarily armed with nuclear weapons.

WAR
The calm before the storm

Our fate might have to be dictated with deadly force from outside
Omid Parsi

To be perfectly honest, the Islamic Repulic of Iran has an "inalienable right" to acquire nuclear weapons like an unrepentant, convicted and paroled lifetime pedophile has an inalienable right to Viagra. Today, it appears that the delusional IRI fanatics are brazenly testing the limits of tolerance and inaction of the seemingly feeble Western liberal democracies with their lust to acquire nuclear weapons. With fond recollection of the wartime glories of their massive human-wave martyrdom, they appear quite capable of dragging the entire meek and incapacitated nation to an apocalyptic come-what-may showdown.

RELIGION
Good for you

Just remember that your right to believe is my right not to believe in your god
Sahari Dastmalchi

I have met men who don’t believe in god or religion, get up and work hard everyday to give their families a decent living. And I have seen many so called “devout” Muslims eat eftari and join a gambling table, drinking vodka till morning,  losing their rent and their kids school books, and get up to rinse their mouth and pray and start their Ramadan fast at daybreak. Where is the morality in that? Religion has nothing to do with it, I my self haven’t believed in god for a day in my life. I have adopted one rule out of Christianity and I believe that should be the rule for all humanity, loosely translated it is “don’t do to others, what you don’t want done to you”. I didn’t need a bible to figure that one out...

TRAVELERS
Parseh

Photo essay: Tehran bazaar & mostly Masouleh
Nima Sheikhy

CRISIS
No war against Iran

I suggest that the only way to eliminate the Iran's Islamic government is by getting very close to them
Amir Nasiri

One thing is clear that Iran is one the verge of war but this time with the whole world. The recent stand off by the Islamic regime as well as remarks made by the arrogant and ignorant president towards the Israel and the Jewish people confirms Islamic republic intentions and political strategy which is clearly aimed at a war with the west. However; I would like to argues that a military strike, posing sanctions or banning the Iranian national team from the world cup not only acts as a strengthening tool for the regime but it also undermines all the reform and democratic movements in that country.

EXPERIMENTAL
Napoleon mon amour

Part 7: They all fall in love with you when they realize they can be easily replaced
Sarvenaz

I am much more assertive, as you have perhaps witnessed already, in written than in spoken language and have found that emailing/writing people is the best way to hash out problems and tell people exactly what I feel and want.  Although I know Napoleon does not love me like I love him it is still important to me, as an ex-woman studies student, to at least have him know a little bit of how I feel, what I want and how I want this relationship to continue.  All this is scary talk for sex.  You start talking about defining a relationship and the man goes half limp.  So it was very crucial to neither intimidate nor appear needy.  How was I going to do it?  A situation presented itself that provided a perfect space for an opportunity to present Napoleon with my “declaration of need for definition.”

STORY
Good luck in Ghana

I just watched him. I watched the twitch of every muscle in his face. I watched his hands.
Sima Nahan

I was struck by it the minute I walked in. The resemblance! There was no comparison of course. Jamma was much taller and darker. He had a long and narrow-shouldered shape with the slight hunch that tall people are prone to. He moved with a touch of trepidation. He was much too reserved -- all of this the opposite of Francisco. But it happened the minute I caught his eye. I can't say there was recognition -- you can't recognize someone in someone else. I froze for a second glaring at him, hungrily searching for that which was not there. But there also was something there. And that's what made me lose my presence of mind and forget my business.

ART
First impressions

Drawings
Siavash Roshandel

2006
Year of hope

This is the year we lived in, and what a year it was, testing but so rewarding as humans
Iqbal Latif

Last year began under the shadow of Tsunami and ended with heart wrenching earthquakes in South Asia. As our mother earth twist and turns in her sleep on the bed of eternity, even slightest movements cause major tectonic movements; our human ventures to challenge and defy nature sometimes is ridiculed by Mother Nature with rage. It is not that providence has stopped loving us or we are being punished for some kind of excess, it is tradition of fate to level efforts that defy nature. This is the consequence of defiance. We are not meant to be flying our natural selection creation did not take that into consideration nor are we suppose to live below the sea levels.

IDEAS
Mad leader

Mad leaders surround themselves with mad people, devoted followers and blind killers who are equally clueless about what it means to be a feeling human being
Jahanshah Rashidian

A mad leader is not a funny caricature for political satire, but a sad picture of a possible catastrophe. He is a dangerous psychopath. While many, if not all, psychopaths seem to be misfits, spending much of their lives incarcerated in psychiatric hospitals and penal institutions, it has been recognised that a few of them were enough clever to enter the history of mankind, creating catastrophes. A mad leader with uniform or more recently with turban is enough characteristic. Generally, there is no difference in certain characteristics, he would never abandon the idea that he is above all and would refuse to allow negative ideas cramping his style.

MUSIC
Rashid Behbudov

Azeri love songs
Compiled by Fakhteh Luna Zamani

POETRY
Take me away

Around the world
Mahnaz Zardoust-Ahari

POETRY
To live and believe

What will I do if my dreams all shatter and fall through?
Saeideh Mohajer

POETRY
The world

We've become heartless in the name of freedom
Baharak Sedigh

POETRY
Diyaare roshanam dar shabe tireh

New poem
Simin Behbahani

POETRY
But... NO violence please

You are oppressed, depressed, stressed, distressed... But... NO violence please
M. Ashaq Raza

POETRY
* Taajere bardeh
* Ekteshaafaate Columbus

Two poems
Cyrous Moradi

POETRY
Baaraan

Yeh aseman abr dar cheshmhaayam neshasteh
Qasem Nosrati

POETRY
Beyond borders

.... we climb through the sadness of time to stop the killing of the blushing birds
Sheema Kalbasi and Roger Humes

POETRY
Hozoor

Geryeh dar pastooye taareek, aaghaaze aadamist
Orkideh Behrouzan

LIFE
The reading group

Catching up
Peyvand Khorsandi

A couple invited me to a threesome. The woman was attractive. I thought why not. Not with us, they said.
Then who?
Three Russian girls.
But that would be a foursome, I said.
It is initially, they said, but one gets killed. The other three make love after the killing.
How do I know that person won’t be me? I said.
You don’t, they replied. That’s part of the fun.

FASHION
Swimming in freedom

Photo essay
Model, Sanaz

LIFE
Little alley of memories

Halfway around the globe, I am once more linked to my little snowy alley
Zohreh Khazai Ghahremani

Just one photograph and I feel as if thirty years have just been taken off me. The white alley reminds me of a fresh canvas where I can imagine my wildest colors. Branches of a honeysuckle drape over a wall and the snow clusters on it resemble new blossoms as if having appeared overnight. There’s a garden behind that wall and I know it well. For years, I’ve washed my hands at its little pond, played endless summer afternoons in its shades, and picked gladiolas from its flower beds. So many winter mornings I have opened my curtains to marvel at the glistening snow that had fallen the night before and imagined how it would taste.

WORDS
Nonsequiturs

Of Quince, Kid and Lout
Guive Mirfendereski

When I think of Sadeq Hedayat, I also think of Sadeq Choubak, another Iranian writer. He wrote, “The Baboon whose Buffoon had died.” This title in Farsi is “Anatari keh loutiash mordeh boud” and the baboon (antar) and his handler too were a part of the Iranian street scene as I remember from my childhood. And thus I come to weave into the discussion of quince (beh) and kid (koudak) some thoughts about the word louti and its connection with the English word “lout.” “I wonder,” asked me Omidfarda, “what [is] your take on ‘Lout,’ an awkward and stupid person or an oaf? We use it daily in Farsi!” 

SHORTS
Am I already dead, or a broken heart just does not beat?
Farshid Ketabchi writes: I get on a cross-country threadmill machine at my gym. I select the cardio mode which means that I need to keep my hands on the handles with sensors so it records the heart rate. I start, all intent to get to the target rate. After a few minutes the machine violently beeps and announces:

"NO HEART RATE -- SWITCHING TO MANUAL PROGRAM!"

So I assume that the sensors on the machine don't work. I try another one. This time I hold the sensors as tight as I can and hardly move my hands. A few minutes later the same thing! Hmm...now I am getting worried. I stop and place my hand over my heart. I can vaguely feel weak and sparse heart beats. Hey, maybe I am already dead and I don't even know it! Is this a dream I am living in? Is this just my tired soul wondering around? Or perhaps a broken heart just does not beat like a normal one.

RESPONSE
Ignorance in Information Age

Disregard for history, heritage and contribution of first civilizations to the modern world
Ali Parsa

Mr. Madadi's comparison of the old empires to the present ones is as irrelevant as comparing apples and oranges particularly with respect to human rights. I would ask him what logic is there in condemning all of the ancient empires for trampling on human rights when the so called "civilized" empires make a mockery of human rights or define it in their own terms even during the twenty first century. If Mr. Madadi gets his facts straight he would know that at least Persian Empire was a clear exception to his generalization. After all, didn't Cyrus the Great take the first step some 2000 years ago by recognizing the fundamental human rights for many minority groups who had become his subjects, and thus laying the foundation of what became Magna Charta in England some seventeen centuries later?

PHOTOGRAPHY
The curve

Photo essay
Parima Shahin Moghaddam

WOMEN
Good is not good enough

It is not possible to be truly morally good without acknowledging a higher deity to help us attain that goodness
Sarah

It is unfortunate that many people do abandon their religion because of forced dogmatism mixed with politics. True religion and spirituality was never intended to be used as a political tool to control people. From my experience as an American with a Persian (non religious) father and an American (devout Christian) mother, I have to say that 90% of my interactions with other Persians have concluded contempt and indifference for religious and spiritual matters. I do not know if this is a direct result of living in an Iranian culture where religion and politics are not so openly discussed, or if it is a reflection of a generation with a dwindling sense of spiritual and religious desire.

WOMEN
Common good

Instilling universal principles of behaivor
Faye Farhang

Your essay makes the point that since religion, more specifically, Islam is rejected in one form or another by the majority of secular Iranians in the West, there's no other means to instill moral values into the children of Iranians living abroad. The latter is not only false but completely negates the very plausible idea that as Iranians or any other nationality, one can instill positive, and dignified morals into ones children without abiding by any religious persuasion. The possibility of living an absolutely moral life exists without practicing any religion.

LANDMARK
Forgotten wall

Photo essay: Berkeley's Peace Wall
Jahanshah Javid

WOMEN
You're joking, right?

To judge all Iranian women because you haven't met one that is religious enough for you is juvenile
Tahereh Aghdassifar

Why is it that if you cannot find an Iranian woman you are "compatible" with after dating five of them, that it is their fault for not being what you wanted? What gives you the right to generalize all, or even a majority of Iranian women, as those who don't care about their own culture and all purposely seek to marry outside of their ethnicity? Have you ever considered the fact that at least one of the five Iranian women you have dated have sat on a date and listened to you ramble and decided you were a judgmental fool who wasn't really seeking a true Iranian woman, who instead was really just searching for a religious Muslim?

LIFE
Lying down

They had come together and found something that had worked
Siamak Vossoughi

"I like it when we're lying down," he said, "because that's where you stop being sarcastic." He had arrived at her apartment twenty minutes ago. "Not that there's anything wrong with being sarcastic. It's as reasonable as anything else. You're good at it too. I just like the way you don't need it when we're lying down. What actually happens when we're lying down can come later. Or it can come not at all. It's okay either way." The young woman looked at him and thought that she had never known anyone like him, that the feeling around him was so bright and so dark at the same time.

SHORTS
Ahrimanic impulses
Farid Parsa writes: Islamic Republic of Iran is a disgrace not only to the people of Iran but to the whole world. More than fifty years have passed from the Holocaust and hundreds upon hundreds of personal testimonies, movies, books, documentaries and other evidence have showed the world about some of the horrors of Holocaust that took place in German concentration camps during World War II... and yet Iran holds a conference examining the evidence of those racially based atrocities unparallel in history of the civilized world?

Islamic Republic of Iran with their crimes against Bahais, Christians and other religious minorities, imprisonment, torture and execution of hundreds of thousands of their own citizens is light years ahead of their archenemy Israel, despite their crimes against the Palestinian people.

Islamic Republic of Iran is devoid of two fundamental things that sharply distinguish humans from animals: reasoning and imagination. Therefore it is impossible to have a dialogue with such a government. It would be a terrible mistake also to trust this government with any weapons capable of mass destruction.

To hold a conference in order to score a cheap point on Holocaust is not tragic but pathetic. There is usually an element of heroism in any tragedy but only pathos in this one. You cannot expect much more from the government that has a fascination with evil. As Kassravi pointed out, before the mullahs even came to power, that Shiism is not a religion but a sect. Their basis is not only rooted in lies but it thrives on vengeance and hatred.

It is a tragedy indeed to see that in the land of Zoroaster ahrimanic impulses are at the helm.

POLITICS
Khelaafat yaa jomhuriate sovari?

State & religion debate in a time of crisis
Hassan Behgar

MAGIC
Rana Farhan

The Blues Are Brewin
New CD

Persian born artist Rana Farhan sings in a cool, bluesy style that erases all borders and transcends time. Performing selections from The Great American Songbook and other song gems, Rana sings with great expression and a style reminiscent of the great masters Billie Holiday and Sarah Vaughan among others. She is a delightful performer, full of passion and surprise. Guitarist Steven Toub provides the perfect accompaniment and complimentary lead lines to these classic jazz standards. The two artists share a passion for music and a love of life, and they create music which reflects this.

ENERGY
Dire strait

Iran the future of Persian Gulf region
Morteza Aminmansour

In the 21st century, energy security could take on new geopolitical meaning if the predicted changes materialized in the balance of resources around the world. Iran's challenge to the political balance of power in Persian Gulf manifests itself in two fashions: through its ideological challenge to the legitimacy of neighboring Arab regime ad through its abilities to pose military challenge to the free passage of oil through the vital Strait of Hormuz. Iran so far remained relatively unsuccessful in actively propagating and disseminating its ideas to the Persian Gulf states.

STATE
Persia & democracy

Ancient Iran developed the concepts of "state", "government", "political territory", and "boundary", and the Persians contributed substantially to the evolution of the concept of "democracy" in the West
Pirouz Mojtahed-Zadeh

It is universally accepted that the need for defining precise lines of separation and points of contacts between states is the byproduct of the emergence of nation-states and 'world economy' in the nineteenth century Europe. Nevertheless, it is hard to overlook the fact that these modern notions are rooted in periods prior to the emergence in Europe of nation-states. There are indications that ancient civilizations were familiar with the notion of 'state' in connection with the concepts of territory and boundary. Ancient texts reveal that this basic principle existed in ancient Persian literature in respect of matters of state, territory, and boundary. Similarly, the likelihood exists that these Persian notions could have influenced Roman civilization.

TRAVELERS
Educated relief

Photo essay: Schools in Parwan and Kapisa provinces of Afghanistan
Roozbeh Shirazi

FICTION
It could have been like this

Short story
Sara Bozorg

Over the tall mountains of a dry country, and down into one of its many valleys, is a city full of commotion. The roads are windy and people cross the streets in dozens. A bazaar, encompassing the length of five city blocks, is at the center. Fruit stands. Shoe shiners. Rug weavers. And a man selling oil for cars, all within ten steps of each other... The bazaar is full. Woman in black shawls, in manteaus and pink scarves, in teetering heels, all squish and bump and wrestle for spots. A thick haze of mosquitoes invites shoppers into various shaded entrances. Fish for sale. Armless, hoovless goats. The sounds of morning and the scent of flesh on display.

WOMEN
Don't blame them

Really, is it any wonder that many Iranian women want to shun religion?
Lance Raheem

On one hand, you stated that Iranian girls are free to marry whomever they wish, on the other hand,however, you suggested repeatedly that "good religious Iranian girls" marry their "own kind." I take from this that you meant to say that Iranian men, whether good or bad, are free to marry "whatever kind they like." This sure looks like a double standard to me, but whose counting. There have been so many cruel and unfair double standards heaped upon our nation's women by the government of the Islamic Republic, whose going to notice that you've added one more to the pile.  Really, is it any wonder that many of them want to shun religion?

WORLD CUP
How could any country do this to another?

Ban Iran from the World Cup?! Politics should never be allowed into a sporting event. NEVER!
Mahnaz Zardoust-Ahari

When I heard that various countries were trying to block Iran from playing in the World Cup, I first got mad, then disappointed, then just totally disgusted. My thought was Didn't they allow the Germans to play in the Olympics in World War II when they had done a lot worse then the president of Iran has? So how could they do this? Then I realized what it was all about: power and money. Politics should never be allowed into a sporting event. NEVER! We all know the players may have their nationalistic feelings but they put these aside (to a point) so they can play a game they love. They want to be on that field playing the game.

e-LIFE
Invisible woman

That is the little mixed blessing I have of my past, a blank slate that I can write anything on
Parissa Sohie

My lack of memorableness was really bothering me.  Was I (and am I still) that forgettable.  WHY?  HOW?  I was speechless--almost. The good news was, that it was really entertaining M.  He’d walk around the house saying, “You look familiar.  I know your friends, but I don’t think I know you ... Who are you again?”  Clearly, the man was asking for it. When I stopped reacting to his obvious lack of humor, he encouraged me to find more friends from my past on Orkut.  He needed new material, and I couldn’t help but laugh at him -- because even in my mind there was a tragic-comedic twist to all this.

NUCLEAR
Prelude to war

Referral of Iran to the UN Security Council
Campaign Against Sanctions and Military Intervention in Iran

Last week’s decision by the UK, France and Germany to abandon their negotiations with Iran, followed by their joint call with the US for Iran’s referral to the UN Security Council by an emergency meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Board, is a step toward a new war in the Middle East. Iran has responded by reiterating its readiness for further talks but has warned that referral will result in a ban by Iran on further voluntary snap checks by IAEA inspectors. Republican and Democratic members of the U.S. Senate have already announced that military intervention against Iran must be an option.

SATIRE
Seriously funny

Cartoons
Nikahang Kowsar

STORY
DNA test

Short story
Cyrous Moradi

LIFE
The rose gardner

Shy, soft spoken, unassuming teacher had instilled in us a great awareness and appreciation of the art of the Persian language
Arman Farahmand-Razavi

The football match between Iran and the USA in Pasadena in January 2000 became an excuse for the Adventist High School class of 1981 to have a reunion in California. The reunion was impromptu and got organised in less than two weeks, but it attracted classmates, now living in different continents, to converge on Beverly Hills at the house of a fellow classmate's parents. Most of us were seeing each other for the first time in more than 20 years. It became apparent to us that evening that Mr Massoudi had been no ordinary teacher. Some of us, now living the expatriate life in one or the other corner of the world, remembered fondly that evening how that shy, soft spoken, unassuming teacher had instilled in us a great awareness and appreciation of the art of the Persian language.

SATIRE
Chocolate god

Surely chocolate moose has a higher water content, and therefore would be a better representative of Jesus' body than some dry crackers
Behrouz Joon

Alireza’s claim that Iranian girls have a “lack of religious and moral values” due to their non-traditional upbringing outside of Iran by their parents (Islam-bashing or not), as well as noting the inability of Iranian girls to balance “freedom with modesty” shows just how ignorant he is of the first-generation experience.  Of course Iranians who are raised in America and elsewhere are different from Iranians raised in Iran.  We have a completely different reality to deal with outside of the household, and many of us had to do this with parents who knew just as little about how to navigate through American culture as we did. 

POINT
Right, wrong & religion

Being religious has nothing to do with being a good person
Maziar Shirazi

Alireza’s claim that Iranian girls have a “lack of religious and moral values” due to their non-traditional upbringing outside of Iran by their parents (Islam-bashing or not), as well as noting the inability of Iranian girls to balance “freedom with modesty” shows just how ignorant he is of the first-generation experience.  Of course Iranians who are raised in America and elsewhere are different from Iranians raised in Iran.  We have a completely different reality to deal with outside of the household, and many of us had to do this with parents who knew just as little about how to navigate through American culture as we did. 

NO WORLD CUP?
Think about it

Afshin Afshar writes: Maybe I am missing something here, but I honestly don't get the politicians who are calling for a World Cup ban on Iran. Don't get me wrong, I understand the argument over Iran's nuclear projects, but can't see how banning Iranian footballers and football fans from Germany will fix any of that.

A ban is not likely to make Iran's president have a change of heart and say, "I am so sorry for saying all the things I said about Israel and others. I'll take it all back if you let us play football with the rest of the boys this summer. Oh, and to show that I really mean it, I am going to stop playing with nukes too!"

Think about it, when was the last time that bans like this made politicians change their minds? I can't remember any examples, can you?

The truth of the matter is that, just like with other countries, there are millions of Iranian football fans who just want to see their team participate in the biggest single sport event in the world. Banning "Team Melli" from the World Cup will only affect them and not the politicians.

Furthermore, banning Iran will set precedence for the future. Next time there is another international political disagreement, there will be calls for another ban on another country, and then another. Before you know it, the World Cup competition will become a toy for politicians who have agendas of their own.

I applaud FIFA for sticking to its principals. Football and politics should not be mixed. Let's keep the politicians out of the green rectangle and let them find other ways of solving their problems >>> Lastkick.com

CHARACTER
Religiosity of revolutionary guards

Part 2 of reply to Guive Mirfendereski's "The Ahmadinejad in us"
Fatema Soudavar Farmanfarmaian

Resentment of the Jews or, earlier, of the Christian Crusaders, for the occupation of Palestine did not feature prominently in the history of Iran. Gaza had not figured among our concerns since its occupation by the Achaemenids. Nor were Iranians much involved with the Crusades; not even the Saljuq sultans of Iran offer much support to their cousins of Rum when the latter were fighting the Christian Crusaders in the Levant. In  the Shiite tradition of my own memory there was less reference (if at all) to Palestine or to Jerusalem than to Karbela, Najaf, Mashad and Qom. Most Iranians only became aware of Palestine after the Second World War, when they went there, not to pray at al-Aqsa, but to benefit from the medical proficiency of Jewish doctors who had immigrated from European lands.

POETRY
Three poems

I knew you, Like an old song
Nilou Kian

POETRY
Jange sevom

Mojdegaani beh 70 million mellate zire setam
Hamid Izadi

POETRY
Chatr

Taareekhe masrafe eshgh
Shahrokh Setoudeh Foumani

POETRY
The ride to Mashad

Hearing the clump-clump of the tracks
Mahnaz Zardoust-Ahari

POETRY
The second death

The story of one woman who survived stoning
Massoume Price

POETRY
Falling

(for Maya and Mother)
Arash Daneshzadeh

POETRY
Ode to love

I put my soul in front of the mirror and wait for the flowing river
Massoud Vatankhahi

POETRY
If I don't look your way

I am just afraid
Mahnaz Zardoust-Ahari

POETRY
Infringements

(On the tenth anniversary of an American injustice)
Kaveh L. Afrasiabi

POETRY
Oh rain

Bleeding heart
Foad Besharat

POETRY
Forgive me

Forgive me lord cuz I failed to live as you planned
Saeideh Mohajer

POETRY
Illusive relationship

Till the day comes when it will be lost - Or discovered.
Raz

POETRY
Jaaye paaye tavaghof

Beh pesaram, Sahand
Habib Shokati

SPORTS
Clash of civilizations

Photo essay: Germany's Bayern Munich meets Iran's Persepolis
Nader Davoodi

ART
The florist

Paintings
Roshan Houshmand

AMERICAN
To future soldiers

The courage to say yes to humanity and no to the draft, by having the guts to make a determined stand against the God awful madness of war
Doug Soderstrom

If President Bush (occasionally referred to as ìthe village idiotî) chooses to go to war, my advice to the young people of this country is the same I have given my son. The lesson of Nuremberg was quite clear. Man is sacred. He is more than a mere citizen, more than the holder of a simple deed on ìa petty piece of property.î He is a human being, a shareholder in a much greater assemblage of men. He is a member of the human race. As such we must not allow ourselves to be bound up by the laws of our own land. The only law large enough to contain the heart of man is that which serves the best interests of mankind. Each of us will be held accountable for upholding the laws of justice, peace, and love.

SHORTS
Best gormeh sabzi
Jasmin Darznik
writes: This fairy tale appeared in my e-mail box last night, but before I could reply, a virus struck, my computer crashed, and all my e-mails were erased. In a desperate attempt to find its sender, I am publishing the tale here according to my best recollection:

Once upon a time that has yet to exist, in a land far away indeed, a lovely Persian princess sat reciting verses of Rumi on a sofreh bedecked with dates, pomegranates, and her very own dainty qeyloon. Suddenly, a frog hopped onto the scene.

"O princess," croaked he. "I was once an elegant, handsome shahzdeh until a wretched djinn cast a spell on me. One kiss from you will restore me to my splendor. Kiss me and we will marry and my mother and I will come live with you in your castle, where you can cook all our meals and bear my children and we will live happily ever after."

That night, dining on a stew of sauted frog legs and succulent greens, the princess said to herself, "This is my best gormeh sabzi yet."

TEHRAN
Morning after

Reaction in Tehran to Condoleeza Rice's press conference
Pullniro

Goli my fourteen-year-old niece called. Poor girl was jubilant about possible sanctions and the prospect of a US attack on her own country. "Hush girl, the phone is not a good place for that kind of talk," I said. Then my brother took the phone and talked about it too. He could hardly hide his excitement. Then one by one my friends called and turned my bedroom into the foreign ministry secretariat. Nobody was worried about my absence from the party. They just wanted to inform me about the big event and the interesting news of our poor country being attacked by unknown superpowers.

NUCLEAR
Atom-Allah

IRI's nuclear programme is not to develop Iran's national economy, but has
roots in its jihadist strategy

Jahanshah Rashidian

The IRI's nuclear programme is not an issue of national pride. While trying to manipulate and alienate Iranian opinions from their national interests, the IRI fakes the claims that the nuclear technology is a national pride. In deed, the IRI has not only been baffling and belittling the Iranian national pride and identity, but has always been considering Iranians as cannon fodders for its anti-Iranian and pro-Islamic ambitions. When the cause of Islam comes to the fore, the IRI does not bother if Iranian cities or even civil people are likely to be targeted in eventual foreign air strikes.

MUSIC
Gloria Rohani

"Lalehayeh Ashegh"
Compiled by Azam Nemati

POLITICS
No more hide & seek

IRI's decision to resume nuclear research virtually puts an end to the EU's negotiation strategy
Mehran Makki

This game of hide and seek must end one day and then there would be no excuse from those simple minded people who still believe in the Islamic Republic, "reformist" or otherwise, a theocratic regime made up of fundamentalists who interfere in all aspects of people's personal lives (even the most privete parts), instead of finding solutions for†their common needs (job, social welfare, education, etc). Specially now, when the Islamic regime's decision to resume what it calls ìresearchî into nuclear enrichment, virtually puts an end to the negotiation strategy Europeans have so persistently pursued for two and a half years. However, three top EU powers are expected to call off the moribund nuclear talks with Iran and advocate sending the dispute to the UN Security Council.

POLITICS
Bakhtiar beh maa goft!

On the premiership of Shapour Bakhtiar 37 days before the 1979 revolution
S.H. Jalili

ART
Pure passion

Paintings
Goli Mahallati
Review by Mandana Zandian: "Zani dar sharghe ayeneh"

OPINION
Mopping up

The death of radical Islam
Jerry Quill

In Iran, where the Mullahs and the president still are trying to give moral CPR to a dead ideology, the end is in sight. Iran's support of terrorism is purely and demonstratively criminal. The war it wages with Israel is fake. It's only purpose is to justify Iran's security force whose sole objective is to kill Iranians not Jews. With the death of Radical Islam and the eventual unilateral disengagement by Israel from the Palestinians, Iran's Mullahs and their political puppets will be standing naked in front of an ever-increasing populace that demands freedom.

STORY
An Iranian in New York

Part 2
Sara Bozorg

And so you return home, to your apartment. And sit with a cold beer on your couch. Still in black business suit, tie undone, feet up on the little table. And you listen to the cd you just put in. Your eyes are a bit glazed, from the beers, or from the tiredness of a long day spent behind walls. In the office buildings. The music makes you a bit sad. You are not sure why, because it's just music.

FICTION
A twist of fate

Story of love, betrayal and destiny, Part 3 (final)
Daniel Zangeneh

Arash was released from the hospital. Devastated and miserable by the whole situation, he didn't know what to do. The word "why" was the only thing on his mind. He went over and over, analyzing his relationship with Mitra. But he couldn't find any good or rational answers for what she had done. He felt rejected and heartbroken. The taxi came to pick him up from the hospital.

TRAVELERS
Unforgettable

Photo essay: A journey through Iran
Kodi Khadivar

This is a short story about a few of my experiences during my first trip to Iran (November 21 – December 16, 2005). During my trip, I kept a journal of nearly 70 pages. This article captures only a small portion of the amazing culture and emotional roller-coaster I experienced.

U.S.-IRAN
Ghate ertebaat baa Amrika

The curse of Iran-U.S. relations, or lack thereof
Ramin Kamran

RADIO
Jasmin Darznik writes: I recorded a short portion of my last article "Our cousins, our selves" for KQED radio. It airs this Thursday and Friday (Jan. 12-13) at 7:37 a.m. They podcast them over the website (www.kqed.org) and the normal broadcast comes through 88.5 F.M. in the San Francisco Bay Area. Anyway, give a listen if you have a chance.

LIFE
That'll teach me

Woes of over-eating
Siamack Salari

That'll teach me gorge myself when I wasn't even that hungry. That'll teach me to leave frozen burgers in the back of my freezer for 18 months. That'll teach to stick those same burgers into the oven without defrosting them. That'll teach me to eat so many burgers in one go. The first inkling I had that something wasn't quite tight was when I was on the phone to my cousin Reza. He had discovered a site called pamtv.com. I was listening but becoming increasingly distracted by a queasy sensation in my stomach. This was less that 2 hours after finishing the last burger.

DATING
Where are our good girls?

When you don't believe in a religion you don't care as much about morals
Alireza M.

Reality states that for various reasons Iranian women have changed since the generation of our parents and grandparents; whether it be the 1) current regime, 2) lack of religious and moral values (Iranians raised or born outside of Iran), social problems, Iranian women in western societies not being able to balance freedom with modesty, mardaye Iraani badan, ect, it still doesn't change the fact that they have changed. 

MUSIC
Maktabe Tare Tabriz

Dayereh:  Master Mahmoud Farnam
Tar: Davood Azad
Tombak: Mohammad Akhavan

CINEMA
Return of the king

Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson revisits 1933 horror classic
Darius Kadivar

What will certainly amaze CGI artists  and movie buffs will certainly be the phenomenal progress made in various Special Effects techniques. You will see nothing like this in Jurassic Park. The interaction between Kong and the Dinosaurs is fantastically detailed. The Big Ape's fur and hair can be seen blowing in the wind. Using the known techniques of photo composition, motion capture (initiated by George Lucas' space opera Star Wars) the actors and animated monster's seem to interact as never before.

CHOICE
Stuck in the middle

America vs. Iran: National interests and identity
Mazi Bahadori

It would be impossible to find two Iranians who describe their identity equally. Whether you came here twenty-five years ago or yesterday, at the age of two or thirty, how much "Iranian" you put in the "Iranian-American" is ever changing. I do my best to keep it 50/50. My culture and values come from my family -- which, for me, is synonymous with Iran. Though I was raised in the United States, my parents and their parents came of age in Iran. And the principles they've passed along to their children come from a long, several millennia old tradition of Iranian culture and heritage. It's something most every Iranian is proud of and has served as a unifier in Iranian history and the many Iranian Diasporas around the world.

NEW YORK
Life on ice

Photo essay: New York's Rockefeller Center
Jahanshah Javid

POETRY
Sandooghe posti

Mail box
Leila Farjami

LIFE
Red state

Distracted by the promising color of cherries -- and other fruits
Parissa Sohie

If you walked into my cozy little home tonight -- right now -- you’d see my life splashed with red. My red couch, resting against a beige wall; me on my little chair, wearing a red shirt, leaning against my red cushions; the red kitchen with white tiles; the red tablecloth on our dark wooden dining table. A little bit of red almost everywhere. And among these splashes of color, one particular splash of misplaced caught my attention and made me a little discombobulated. I was relishing a bowl of cherries with my eager accomplice of a husband, and their sweet redness got me thinking.

CHARACTER
They are not alone

In refutation of remarks about Jews in our midst
Fatema Soudavar Farmanfarmaian

While I admire your daring, and at times unorthodox, ways of delving into our memory through etymology, I must take exception to some of the points raised in your recent article ‘The Ahmadinejad in Us’. My main objection is not to your version of the Esther story, but to your allegations of Iranians being as anti-Semitic as Ahmadinejad. While there is evidence of sporadic waves of persecution in both the pre-Islamic and the Islamic eras, the attacks were not targeted at the Jews alone. It is well-known that minority groups anywhere will be used as scapegoats for the ills afflicting any society at any given time.

SHORTS
Imam Mahdi's hit list
Siamack Baniameri writes: Iranian President Ahmadinejad was quoted as saying in a private gathering that he personally dropped a letter down Imam Mahdi's well near the holly city of Qom, asking the 12th Imam to inflict serious brain injury to Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. Ahmadinejad said that Sharon's days are numbered and Imam Zaman will finish the job in a few days.

I'm intrigued! I had no clue that we have an Imam who is a skilled assassin. I too have come up with a list of people I would like to get rid of. The list includes my ex-wife's boyfriend, the neighborhood mechanic that constantly overcharges for fixing my car, my therapist, the next door neighbor's dog and the Indian owner of the gas station by my work.

I'm personally going to drop my shit-list down Imam Mahdi's well and ask his holiness to inflict the worst pain and suffering on those I don't like. Furthermore, I would ask the Imam to give my boss serious hemorrhoids for asking me to stop taking three-hour lunch breaks at work.

PROPOSAL
13-Bedar

An international day of remembrance
Guive Mirfendereski

The day shall celebrate the survivors and honor the memory of the souls perished in episodic cruelty of man upon man, but above all the day shall promote harmony among the races and religions within national boundaries. One need not delude oneself ever again with such hollow refrains as “Never Again” as it is uttered about one particular race or religion when unspeakable horrors have been and continue to be committed throughout the world on a daily basis. Perhaps the mantra should be a more realistic call for “Forever Less Savagery, Please.”

ART
In the spirit of masters

Paintings
Nader Landjani

POLITICS
The conference of crocodiles

Ready for the next elections? This will be a big one...
Meir Javedanfar

The world is still catching its breath after the tumultuous events of Iran’'ss last elections held only six months ago in June 2005. To many it seems too soon to stat talking about the next set of Iranian elections. Nevertheless, 2006 promises to be another year of voting for the Iranian electorate. This time the voters will be going to the ballot box to choose the members of the Assembly of Experts, known in Farsi as Majlese Khobregan. This 86 member body can best be likened to Vatican’'ss College of Cardinals. Its main job is to appoint Iran’'ss Supreme leader, supervise his performance, and if it deems suitable, dismiss him.

IMMIGRATION
Wide of the mark

Sweeping new U.S. immigration laws are coming?
Afshin Pishevar

The U.S. House of Representatives just passed this major immigration reform bill.  The intent is clearly to control illegal immigration and secure the nation’'ss borders.  The bill funds additional border fences.  The bill also stops the "catch and release" policy.  Currently, illegal aliens caught at the border are released, many times inside the United States.  This bill would also require businesses to substantiate that their workers are authorized to work. Astonishingly, the House rejected President Bush’'ss call for the guest worker program.  This would have legalized approximately 15 million illegal aliens presently in the United States.

POINT
Wake up and smell the dictatorship

Sadly, many analysts in Western governments appear blind to the forest and only see a tree or two, and that only when it is pained orange and glowing with uranium!
Ray Parisnezhad

Did you not realize that this was the road on which the regime was headed?  Had you not heard the all-powerful Supreme Leader's numerous speeches about Israel and the “internal enemies” (aka pro-democracy elements)? Do you not realize that when Mr. Ahmadinezhad says that the regime's standing on Israel has not changed, he is telling the truth? Do you not see that Mr. Ahmadinezhad is simply the chosen representative of the same unelected mullah mafia in Tehran and not that of the Iranian nation?  Did you ever stop and think that perhaps the desire of the majority of Iranians is not the destruction of Israel but rather having a peaceful environment in which they can feed their children?

POET
Mordan va maandan

In search of meaning in two of Forough Farrokhzad's poems
Mandana Zandian

IDEAS
Islam's missing artists

Was the Golden age of Islam a reality or a myth?
Iqbal Latif

The Golden Age of Islam shared much of the ideals and values, and this shared inheritance is typified by the great Islamic philosopher, Ibn 'Arabi. He was a Muslim at a time when the southern half of Spain had been deeply 'arabised' and islamicised by over 5 centuries of Muslim rule. Here in 'al-Andalus' the three creeds of Judaism, Christianity and Islam flourished and Arabic was their common tongue; this lavish and elegant world has left us powerful reminders in monuments such as Alhambra in Granada, and the Great Mosque at Cordoba.

TRAVELERS
Emshab che shabist...

Photo essay: Paris at night
Mehrdad Aref

REPLY
Dastfane Googoosh

Defending Mehrdad, Googoosh's singing partner
In reply to Reza Kohansal's "Mordim!..."
Aanseh Amiri

MUSIC
Whats up world...

Six rap tracks
Sha Meezy

i always looked at my self as picasso in the music industry..i like to paint pictures for the imagination and bring your mind to that place where i stand..at the present time im working with my familia from nyc..NGE....and also working with pohectic..from texas..much love to all those who hear it and feel it..im working on my own ent...and label..next era entertainment..if you feel you got the talent, not even just talent. the heart to make it further with your music...leave a comment..let me know whas on ur mind..and much love to those who appreciate it..cause i work hard for this...and everyday to the next....love is love.

MUSIC
Mc BNW

Latest track: "Rich"
Dutch Darius

ART
Faceless

Photo essay: Women in Tehran coffee shops
Amirali Ghasemi

LIFE
Amazing ambassador

She walked in and I could feel the cloud of despair lift from the room
Courtney Susemiehl

I first met Dr. Parviz in my stepdad's hospital room in the days before his surgery. She walked in and I could feel the cloud of despair lift from the room, followed by a breath of hope. Her warmth and gentle manner eased my anxiety immediately. She joked with my stepdad about his lovely yellow skin tone-evoking laughter from everyone, including my stepdad. Then, she calmly spoke about what we could expect with the surgery and beyond. I had researched the surgical options ahead of time, so I understood when she started explaining the intricate procedure she would perform.

CINEMA
The seducer

Omid Djalili in "Casanova"
Behrouz Bahmani

Omid Djalili plays his role perfectly in "Casanova" and adds his usual extra Persian flair to the part, little gems of facial expression, or body twitches, here and there, subtle but as an Iranian watching, you can see them, as if he put them there for us only to enjoy. Hilarious facial expressions, and possibly some of his best physical humor to date, Omid often carried the comedic scene as needed, occasionally outdoing the star Ledger handily.

IDEAS
True health

Is humanity ready to rise above thought?
Mali Naghavi

It never ceases to amaze me how cavalier we have become with regard to our own bodies. We humans have invented electricity, airplane, and satellite, have discovered the secrets of atom, and unraveled the genetic code. Human ingenuity appears to have no limits. We have managed to change everything except ourselves. Despite all of our knowledge, all our civilizations and technology, as species, we do not know how to control ourselves. Equally we seem incapable of living peacefully with one another, nature, and the world around us.

SATIRE
Mordim!

On Mehrdad, Googoosh's singing partner on her concert tour
Reza Kohansal

SHORTS
Based on a True Story!
hamid reza karimianpour writes: Here is an ancient puzzle for those of you, who appreciate a little philosophical brain exercise. The paradox is about a famous Greek philosopher and law teacher Protagoras. He agreed to teach Euathlus rhetoric for a certain fee only payable as soon as Euathlus won his first court-case.

Euathlus completed his course but did not defend any law cases. After some time Protagoras sued him for the sum. The following arguments were presented to the court:

Protagoras: If I win this case, then Euathlus has to pay me by virtue of your verdict (referring to the jury). On the other hand, if he wins the case, then he will have won his first case, hence he has to pay me, this time by virtue of our agreement. In either case, he has to pay me. Therefore, he is obliged to pay me my fee.

Euathlus: If I win this case, then, by your verdict, I don't have to pay. If, however, Protagoras wins the case, then I will not yet have won my first case, so, by our agreement, I don't have to pay. Whether I win the case or Protagoras wins it, I don't have to pay. Hence I am not obliged to pay the fee.

Is there a way out of this paradox?

ART
Triumph of tradition

Paintings & drawings
Nicky Nodjoum

IDEAS
Win the war of ideas

As public trust is built, the United States will have the opportunity to explain its policies in the Middle East
Jason Ben-Meir

The new strategic direction of U.S. public diplomacy ought to require that the act of delivering the message of the basic values of freedom and democracy translates into engaging people in the socio-economic development of their communities. Words alone can no longer turn the tide of anti-Americanism that has swept across Muslim nations and is now deeply embedded in hearts and minds of hundreds of millions of people. As the Dean of Harvard's School of Government, Joseph Nye, suggested, actions should be the communicator, which is louder and more genuine than words. 

IDEAS
What is left for me from Sadegh Hedayat?

Excerpt
By M. F. Farzaneh, translated by Moe Maleki

To say that Hedayat’s absence from our generation was irreparable would not be egregious. Hedayat was the trailblazer among Iran’s intellectuals. It was he who disparaged the lofty machinations of the intellectuals and made light of them. It was he who held merit superior to cavalier arrogance. It was he who, in circles that comprised Iran’s intellectual elites, dissected the politics of his day and had the efficacy and courage to accost the den of thieves, idiots, and treasonous individuals.

NUCLEAR
What's to fear?

A challenge to Israel's strategic primacy
Trita Parsi

The real danger a nuclear-capable Iran brings with it for Israel is twofold. First, an Iran that does not have nuclear weapons--but that can build them--will significantly damage Israel's ability to deter militant Palestinian and Lebanese organizations. It will damage the image of Israel as the sole nuclear-armed state in the region and undercut the myth of its invincibility. Gone would be the days when Israel's military supremacy would enable it to dictate the parameters of peace and pursue unilateral peace plans. "We cannot afford a nuclear bomb in the hands of our enemies, period. They don't have to use it; the fact that they have it is enough," Member of Knesset Ephraim Sneh explained to me.

NUCLEAR
Reality bombs

An attack against Iran does nothing more than draw attention away from its economic problems and burgeoning democratic movement
Nema Milaninia

An attack by the Israelis, or by US forces, will likely result in the death of hundreds of thousands if not millions of Iranians. And while I recognize the significance of Iran's nuclear progress coupled with its president's horrific statements, one cannot view Iranian politics or foreign policy from a superficial perspective. The president, Ahmadinejad, has no military authority nor any real political power.

SATIRE
Screwing with spammers

Responding to spam emails
Siamack Baniameri

Okay folks, I admit that I'm addicted to junk mail. Yes I am. I actually look forward to receiving junk mail so I can screw with the sender. Here are some examples of replies I have sent to the most popular spams of all time. This one is titled "Supper size your member" and markets a medication that claims to add four inches to your penis: "Dear Sir/Madam, I'm not sure how you found out that my manhood is not adequate enough. Was it my ex-wife? Or was it Nina, the heavyset lady at the butcher shop I had a brief fling with?"

POET
Forough at 71

On the 71st birthday of Forough Farrokhzad
Fereidoun Farahandouz

SHORTS
Measure of time

Bahar Mirhosseni writes: In the next measure of time, will there be bombs/missiles/airstrikes, playgrounds under polluted skies, or public school programs scrounging for pennies and dimes? Would a war-free reality, then just be, as phrased by Langston Hughes, 'a dream deferred', for another decade, season, or day? Would a climate's natural season's be packaged and sold, to a post-millennium market, privileged enough to afford fresh drops of rain, or snow on a winter day? Will every bullet in Amadou Diallo's body be a reminder of a history that the universe will refuse to repeat? Will there be immigration and deportation hearings adjudicated across the rest of the solar system? Will the former supermodels have plastic surgery to add meat to their thighs? When convictions are reversed, will the prosecution be serving jail time?

Will school bus drivers become obsolete, when children finally learn to fly? If there are any cars left on the street, will they be programmed to function automatically, with each city's red lights? Would cable TV be a microchip implanted into the left brain? Would continents collide, so that borders are blurred even in the daytime? Would the new drugs be 10 dimensional experiences? Will shoelaces automatically untie? Will post-colonial countries get first dibs on hosting world sporting events? In the next measure of time, would it be possible to choose the navigation of life, between cruise control, default, and each person's very own personal destiny? Will criminalized people of color, ever be recognized as a generation of angels in disguise? Would it be possible for people who commit suicide, to change their mind and come back to life? Would explosives detonate in slow motion, so that it is still possible to save people's lives? Would we remember everything that we had once forgotten to write? >>> See Baharmeansspring.blogspot.com

ART
Searching

Photo essay: Hands
Parima Shahin Moghaddam

CHILDHOOD
Sad and happy

Photo essay: Childhood in Tehran & a new song
Shahrzad Sepanlou

COMEDY
Stand-upper!

I dashed to Los Angeles to see Hadi Khorsandi's stand-up comedy and then...
Fariba Moghadam

LIFE
Our cousins, our selves

While I collected imaginary cousins in America, in Iran they had the real thing, a whole country’s worth
Jasmin Darznik

Because just about every story I heard about Iran featured a huge cast of cousins, I concluded that it was a place made up entirely of cousins. Boy cousins tormenting girl cousins. Giggling, whispering cliques of teenage girl cousins. Packs of up-to-no good teenage boy cousins. Cousins were often closer than siblings. Cousins flirted. Sometimes they even got married. There were the regular kind of first cousins, but also two sets -- maternal and paternal -- of second and third and fourth cousins. Cousins by blood and cousins by marriage. Cousins next door, on the next block, all around town.

LIFE
Marriage advice

Why some work and some don't
Mahnaz Zardoust-Ahari

Marriage is a two way street. If you treat your partner with respect and are honest with them (yes it does hurt sometime) you are one step ahead of a lot of people. The ones who have no respect or continuously lie to each other (no it can be about anything not just the big ones the little ones hurt too) have no hope for a future of love and happiness. They will either continue to live this way or end it in divorce after two or three kids and God only knows how many affairs. If they do stay together they begin to resent one another and then the snide remarks start.

SHORTS
Russia cannot be trusted
Guive Mirfendereski writes: In dead of winter, the Russian government elected to shut off the spigot on the country's gas exports to Ukraine. It is hardly rocket science to surmise therefore that the Russian government cannot and should not be trusted with supplying Iran with nuclear fuel. Iran ought to be allowed to master the fuel cycle and, if the international community (i.e., US, Israel and their assorted lackeys) wish, they can have Iran sent the spent fuel to Russia for reprocessing, as Iran has no need for the separated plutonium that can be extracted in the process.

The Russian government has shown repeatedly that it cannot be trusted with any aspect of Iran's welfare. Never mind the repeated invasions of Iran in Russian and Soviet times, never mind their betrayal of the earlier Iran-Russia entente regarding the Caspian -- the only significant joint venture that Iran and Russia ever embarked on was the Shilat (Fisheries) in 1920s and there, despite a very balanced charter on paper, the Soviets took over the Iranian Shilat for their maximal benefit at great peril to Iran's interests.

Exactly how long does it take to build a nuclear reactor, especially by the Russians in Bushehr? I do not know, but this has been a cash cow for the Russians. The various and equally inept Iranian governments in the last 15 years have done nothing to bring about the timely construction of the Bushehr nuclear power plant. Don't hold your breath for an imminent inauguration in 2007 either -- as long as Russia can continue to fleece the Iranian treasury and as long as the Iranian bureaucrats "gain" from the ongoing enterprise, it will remain unfinished on purpose. I wish the enivorimentalists worldwide would demand an environmental impact assessment of the Bushehr reactor on the surrounding water resources, fauna and flora of the upper Persian Gulf region beofre the first rod is put into this installation.

If Iran truly wants to pursue nuclear power for electricity purposes it should buy its reactors and fuel from China, on whom it might have some leverage in terms of petroleum exports and international alignments.

Next, the borderline geniuses who run IRI's sham of a government need to encourage the development of wind power -- and I do not mean the kind of recent windbag utterances and fatulances of the elected leadership about Jews and Israel, either.

The future of energy is in the development of solar power, from which one can obtain electrical power as well as develop the next generation of laser/ray weapons to defend oneself or blow up another! The country that masters the solar energy in advance of any other will be the next super-power.

HOME
Good morning New York

Photo essay: Early morning in a Manhattan apartment
Jahanshah Javid

FICTION
A twist of fate

Story of love, betrayal and destiny, Part 2
Daniel Zangeneh

Her Mom was always on her case about getting married. She thought its time for her daughter to settle down and start a family. Mitra saw herself as a unique woman with extraordinary needs. At times, she thought she would never find anyone that would understand her. Until, that amazing day on the beach, when she saw this man sitting by the shoreline, watching the ocean. He was so transfixed in thought that it seemed like he was all alone in the world. She became fascinated by him. She couldn't see his face but his wavy long hair was flowing with the wind. She felt as if she was watching the ocean with him. "Did he even notice me? Please look back, I want to see you, stand up." She was yelling at herself.

HISTORY
Ahasuerus

Who is he?
Guive Mirfendereski

In his opinion piece “An honest look in the Persian mirror”, Steve noted, “the story of Esther in Persia did not take place under Cyrus, but probably under Artaxerxes (according to the Septuagint), or perhaps under Xerxes.” I stand corrected. Not! Nobody knows for sure which Persian king is Ahasuerus supposed to represent. Britannica identifies him as Xerxes I (ruled: 486-465 BC). In the same breath, however, Britannica tells us that “The book purports to explain how the feast of Purim came to be celebrated by the Jews, but its fanciful explanation belongs to the realm of historical legend rather than fact.” In 1981EBMicroVIII:309, the story of Purim is said to be “probably fictitious.” Dehkhoda too identified Ahasuerus as Khashayarshah (Xerxes).

THEATER
Mad as the blood sound

A play
Ezzat Goushegir

Lu Gang the Chinese student who murdered seven professors at the University of Iowa -- including himself -- tells his story. The play is a discovery through Lu Gang’s internal life. The play has been read at The Women’s Project in New York, directed by Elaine Smith, and at Room 41 in Chicago by Hannah Gale. Here is a scene of “Mad As The Blood Sound”.

SHORTS
I met a very interesting person today

Reza T. Saberi writes: I had a nice experience today that I want to tell you all about.I was waiting in line in a local sandwich shop with my son when I saw a familiar face. For a while I was thinking about who this tall frail old guy could be, and then suddenly I recognized him as the first American who went to space.

I went to this old man sitting and waiting for his sandwich with two other old women. I went straight toward him and when he saw me smiled kindly. I asked him,"Are you John Glenn?" He extended his hand and said "Yes." I shook his hand and said, "Nice to meet you." He asked "What is your name?" I said, "Reza," and then I added, "I was in Iran when I saw you on T.V. in the space and I am very happy to see you." He was so surprised and asked with wide eyes, "Iran?" I shook my head and said "Yes, I was a young man then."

I enjoyed seeing him in person and shaking the hand of such a great man. For a man who went to space twice (the second time in his seventies for research on the effect of space on aging) Iran seemed as outlandish and far away place as the moon and his eyes seemed as though they were looking at a space alien.

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