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March 2006

 

ART
Spring in spirit

Norooz art
Maghbooleh Ganjei

TRAVELERS
Saturday on the strip

An evening in Miami Beach
Maziar Shirazi

The plane fills up and takes off at 3:30 pm. The back of this Miami-bound airplane has all kinds of people in it, but the only ones drawing real attention from the other passengers are the drinkers. Everyone knows about the magical things that the number 21 makes possible. Two rows ahead, formerly pink faces are beet red, first from the tanning salon, then from the airplane liquor. Boston Red Sox baseball caps have been set to backwards; abdominal muscles are strategically accentuated by tight polo shirts. Check, check, check. Badabing, badaboom. With these crucial tools in place, they let loose their 2006 spring break motto: "Gametime, baby, gametime!"

MUSIC
Koocheh baaghi

Entertaining ghazals performed by Iraj more than 30 years ago
Manoucher Asgharian

SHORTS
False advertising

Siamack Baniameri

I asked a cute Iranian girl out to dinner. She said she needs to see two copies of my credit report, income history, stock portfolio and three references before she considers. I told her that I have no credit, no job, no stock and no references; however, I wear size 13 shoes. She said that her boyfriend wears size 14. I said, it's not the size but it's how you wear your shoes.  Later that night, she discovered that I lied and I actually wear size 7 shoes. She is suing for false advertising and emotional suffering. The moral of the story: the smaller your foot, the easier it is to put it in your mouth.

DOWN
What they do

Tell them about their mistakes after my smile has long faded away
Anonymous Irooni

Amazing what they have the heart to do to us. A shame that we sit and watch them make choices that will one day turn us into disturbed versions of themselves. Memories flood into my head as I watch the past through my mind’s eye. It’s a strange, peculiar feeling that crashes into me. Knowing that tomorrow can never again bring the same smile of innocence to my face that yesterday brought me. As I write my thoughts, the sorrow slowly drains out of me, or is it the blood that is flowing away from me onto the white tile? It doesn’t really matter. Both are a welcome release. A silent release of pain is what it is. And they will never know. I will never make them feel guilt no matter how much they may deserve it. And they can never know.

NUCLEAR
The game will go on

Iran 1 - International Community 0
Guive Mirfendereski

The jurisdiction of the Security Council is to address threats to international peace and security. Because the Iranian pursuit of nuclear energy is not a threat to international peace and security, the Council wisely sent the Iranian file back to the IAEA. The Presidential Statement has no basis in international law of the Charter. The Presidential Statement is not binding on Iran. It is a face-saving device concocted by the Council to get the likes of the United States and her lackeys (the other self-anointed members of the “international community”) off the back of the Council with their unreasonable and offside (hors jeu) requests to the Council. All along Iran had wanted the file to go back to the IAEA and have its situation treated in that agency. So for the next thirty days Iran has its wish. Exactly how long is 30 days? That depends on one’s definition of “days.” Are these 30 calendar days or business days – even then, are these Iranian business days or American business days. The game will go on.

SHORTS
Become your wish
Mozhgan Dadgostar

In response to Mehran Ahmadi's "Religion and Marriage", the majority of us living in the U.S. chose to leave our beloved homeland, so that we could live somewhere where we make our own choices, and not be manipulated by religious boundaries set by others. I agree with you that "religion has been part of our lives", and for most of us these beliefs were developed not through a logical process, but simply through our family and social settings, and we never dared or cared to question those views. We all also know of some truly noble people that choose to put everything, including their lives, on the line to fight against the tyranny of a few trying to rule and manipulate others. Yet, you are living in a free country and are not willing to make a choice, because it "caused a spark", and then you blame that on religion????!!!

STICKERS
Moving messages

Photo essay: Bumper stickers in Berkeley, Northern California
Jahanshah Javid

SHORTS
Religion and marriage
Mehran Ahmadi

Religion has been part of our lives if we want to believe it or not. I remember when I was growing up I would wake up to the sound of Azan every morning or the sound of Azan and prayer in middle of the night during the month of Ramadan. Then the summer would come and the Quran study schools just like Bible study clubs. Every morning I had to drag myself to the class yet to hear some of the verses that sounded very interesting. And of course the Revolution increased my exposure more to the religion. Until I moved to the United States about 17 years ago.

MONEY
CTRL+ALT+DEL

There one day, gone the next
Saman Ahmadi

In the year 2000, near the bursting point of what would later be refered to as the stock market bubble, I was ready for a change. I had been working as an environmental engineer for four years. It was fine but it was not something for which I had a passion. Several of my good friends had recently moved to a startup. They had left their jobs at Fujitsu, DSET and EDS to work at Xybridge, a telecom company in Richardson, Texas – better known as Telecom Corridor. They told me to come along. We all knew the number two person in the company – he had left a directorship position at Nortel the previous year to join Xybridge in at its start.

TRAVELERS
Tulips and poppies

Part 5: Returning to Iran: 1986-87
Sima Nahan

Behesht-e Zahra (Paradise of Zahra) is the name of a huge cemetery outside of Tehran, on the highway to Qom. Conceived and partially constructed before the revolution, it is being rapidly filled, while not yet quite finished, as if testifying to the fulfillment of a grotesque prophecy. Entering the grounds very early on a summer morning, having left home at dawn in order to avoid the mad traffic of downtown Tehran and the scorching sun of midday in the desert, we are relieved by a gentle breeze drifting our way from a generous stream of fresh water running through the main boulevard.

SHORTS
T.K.C.s
Sanaz Fotouhi

‘My childhood was like ahsh, like soup with beans and noodles and spices and yoghurt and lemon juice -- contradicting tastes and smells and hopes and ideas.’ -- The Fortune Catcher
Diaspora does that to one. Makes one feel like a mess of conflicting and contradictory ideologies and notions. Yes, we try to let the psychologists, counsellors, and sociologists explain these feelings by attaching isms and theorizing them into a phenomenon that is shared across the world by the T.C.Ks (Third Culture Kids). The fact of the matter is that by allowing them to do so we are trying to make ourselves feel better, it’s consolation in which being a Diaspora and not belonging becomes a thing into which we belong. Much has been done on people as such as subjects of behavioural experiments to understand them, and I could sit here until eternity citing and reviews such works.

FOROUGH
Two letters

From Forough Farrokhzad, published for the first time
Majid Roshangar

SHORTS
Iranian characters
Yassaman Jalali

Iranain authors and even Iranian characters in books are showing up more and more on the literary scene. For example I just came across these 4 new books, 2 with Iranian authors, 2 with Iranian characters:

* Digging to America
by Anne Tyler (she is the late Taghi Moddaressi's wife)
* The Rug Merchant
by Meg Mullins
* My Father's Notebook
by Kader Abdolah
* Jumping Over Fire
by Nahid Rachlin

2nd GENERATION
Baa maa hamraah shavid!

Iranian youth once climbed the walls of the U.S. embassy in Tehran. Now they climb the steps of Congress
Mehdi Jalali

BORDERS
Mosaafer

In the back trunk, on the Mexican side of the border
Shahriar Zahedi

IRI
God wears boots

The Power Structure of the Islamic Republic of Iran: transition from populism to clientelism, and militarization of the government
Kazem Alamdari

Since the1979 revolution, Iran has experienced two non-class power structures -- populism and clientelism. Populism, a product of the revolution, helped Ayatollah Khomeini to rule Iran for a decade with absolute power. Clientelism in Iran is linked to Shiism, as well as to a rentier state, and to the revolution, which resulted in many autonomous groups formed in patron – client bonds... The reformist government elected in 1997 failed to deliver on its democratic promises and to end the destructive role of autonomous groups. Therefore, disenchanted with state-sponsored reforms, Iranian society seems to be moving towards pragmatism and utilitarianism, while the political power structure leans towards militarism.

ART

Wholly human

Paintings
Abbas Mokhtar

NUCLEAR
Nuking Innocence

Iran is being set up for “an unprovoked nuclear attack”
Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich

Professing to be the greater civilization, the intellect is deliberately disassociated, sanity is interned so that greed may proceed and allow the savagery of the greater to prey upon the less.  While mankind strives for nobility, there are some among us who contemplate such base decisions that would threaten the existence of another nation.    Those same powers who would refute that man is born under one law, and so they bound him by another, targeting him with nuclear weapons. Alarmed at such baseness, Philip Giarldi, A former CIA officer, in an August 1, 2005 issue of The American Conservative warns that Dick Cheney has issued a request for using tactical nuclear weapons against Iran.  More troubling is that the use of nuclear weapons is not conditional on Iran being involved in the act of terrorism against the United States.  Otherwise stated, Iran is being set up for “an unprovoked nuclear attack”.

LIFE
Mr Eshraghi

Sohrab Eshraghi taxed our tips
Peyvand Khorsandi

Sohrab Eshraghi always wore a suit. A slim cigar between his fingers, he sat in the same corner each night, gazing well past the walls of his restaurant. We worked through the night. At 6.30am I would cycle home to Ealing in West London and sleep. The restaurant, as well as some money, gave me an identity. Arabs and Iranians pit-stopped at the restaurant between nightclubs and casinos. Some tipped, some tipped less. There was a smartly dressed guy who always had a coffee at around one a.m. One night he left without paying. In the glance we exchanged was the tacit acceptance that we wouldn’t give chase. He had always been a friend to the waiters. I wanted to tell him that, coffee aside, I could slip him some cake if he had no money. But he’ll never know.

WORD
Writer’s life

“I’ve put my practice up for sale,” I said and poured him more coffee before adding, “As of next week, I shall follow my dream and do nothing else but write.”
Zohreh Khazai Ghahremani

What would you call it if one chose to work hard, absorb much abuse, grow old at a young age, be disconnected from the society and not gain a penny? No, not insanity, it is called a writer’s life, and I for one, chose that over a lucrative job that had gained me moderate respect in the community. I figured the best time to break the news to my husband would be at breakfast, long before the day’s events had robbed us of our patience and while we enjoyed the first cup of coffee together.

NUCLEAR
New Year begins with fear

Talk of a possible military attack by the U.S. merely maintains an atmosphere of fear and panic
Omid Habibinia

As Iran says it will resume its uranium enrichment program, nuclear talks in London between the Islamic Republic and three European countries -- Britain, Germany and France -- have ended unsuccessfully. Some weeks ago the same talks in Geneva were deemed "not discouraging." More talks are due to be held in the coming weeks in Geneva, but Iran's representative in nuclear negotiations informed participants that if the London talks do not produce results uranium enrichment will go on.

ART
Milky way

Paintings
Bita Vakili

NUCLEAR
Hamdeli baa jang-talabaan yaa hamsooee baa mortaje'aan?

To side with U.S. warmongers or the reactionary regime in Iran?
Sudabeh Siavashan

NOROOZ
Living dead

Photo essay: Remembering the dead in the new year
Nader Davoodi

LETTERS
Have any idea how insulting that is?

On Behzad Ahandoost's photo essay, "Noruz in New York":
It really makes me happy and proud to see such events taking place in America. I was very disappointed and disturbed however, after seeing that so-called HAJI FEEROUZ character in the parade. Folks do you have any idea how insulting that is to the African American community? Let's just say a lot more insulting than a cartoon >>> More

 

SHORTS
Solidarity concert

Mahdad Salimi

I'll make this short and sweet. Let's get off our collective behinds and face those who are running this country that we call our Motherland head on. Enough already with the selfishness, self-promotion and disjointed token opposition to benefit a certain group or organization and let's focus on taking aim at making wholesale changes in the Iranian society, and ensure the world knows that any military intervention under the guise of excluding Iran from the Nuclear Club is unacceptable. Let' form a union NOW, hold our hands together and for once, be one and attain what has long alluded us. Nobody can be excluded, as long as you have no blood on your hands. Can we come together for once? I know our people did during the Revolution (although it got hijacked later), and we can do it again.

POETRY
Cheshmehaaye doosti

Beshooeed ghamaan
Massoud Vatankhahi

POETRY
Raahe Norooz

For the New Year
Alireza Tarighian

ENVIRONMENT
Green challenges

Tehran’s environmental crises
Grant Munyon

While Iran’s environmental problems are quite diverse, ranging from deforestation and desertification to over fishing to water contamination to oil and chemical spills in the Persian Gulf and Caspian Sea, two issues, air pollution and seismic activity, are most significant and deeply concern Tehran, Iran’s heavily populated capital city.  These two issues are certainly quite different in that air pollution can be solved to a large extent while the effects of seismic activity can only be mitigated, but both problems require immediate government attention.  Thus far, they have received little domestic or international attention despite causing or threatening to cause widespread suffering and even death. 

TRAVELERS
Don't cry for me, Oriana

Part 4: Returning to Iran: 1986-87
Sima Nahan

Iranian women -- those who "even here have demonstrated that they are equal to men" -- are not allowed a categorical denial of the veil. They have been forced to learn to swallow their modern rage against the "medieval rag" by perceiving it as the social/political phenomenon that it is, and trivializing the thing in itself. In fact, one could say that the most pervasive and systematic act of everyday rebellion against the Islamic Republic has been the untiring experimentation of Iranian women with maintaining feminine dignity and, indeed, beauty in the face of the humiliations of the hejab.

ART
Minimum particles

Paintings, 2000 - 2005
Khosro Khosravi

AMERICA
Love of war

Some thoughts about Jesus, the church, my country, and the war
Doug Soderstrom

One might wish that church doctrine was, in fact, a spiritual matter, but alas such may be nothing more than canonical attempts to appease the appetite of those who happen to pay the bills of the church. Add to this the rather mean spirited history of the church (the Spanish Inquisition, the rape of the Indian culture during the westward expansion, the brutalization of black slaves, the New England torture of witches, and the church’s longstanding support of America’s military-industrial complex) and you have a misguided church that apparently has very little to offer the world. As James Hillman wrote in his book, A Terrible Love of War: “Western Christianity’s god comes front and center when war is in the air. War brings its god to life.”

MUSIC
Ramesh

"Sharme Booseh" and more from the 70's
Manoucher Asgharian

TIME
Emsaal saa'at-haa raa jelo nemikeshand...

On the scrapping of day-light savings time by the Iranian government.
Gharib Ghorbati

ART
Bouye kaaghaz rangi

On an interesting art show held at Seyhoun Gallery in Los Angeles last week, called "Under Age"
Mandana Zandian

KURDISTAN
One or four Kurdish states

Achievable Kurdish ideal
Kamal H. Artin

The Kurdish dream of being free from the four colonial powers in the Middle East and peacefully create one or four Kurdish states in which religion and state are separated and people are allowed to make choices might rightfully be called wishful thinking at this stage. However, this dream is achievable, if the Kurds unite and the free world supports their plight of self determination to the point of federation, separation, or independence.

NOROOZ
Saale no dar Toronto

Photo essay: Norooz in Toronto
Nader Davoodi

NOROOZ
New year, new bonds

Photo essay: New Year's day with family & friends in Berkeley, northern California
Jahanshah Javid

DIASPORA
Noruz, my Mother’s Day

My mother was doing exactly what Noruz was about – being Iranian
Pouya Alimagham

Noruz, or the Iranian New Year, was an integral part of my childhood growing up in the United States.  Living outside of Iran made it somewhat difficult to celebrate Noruz as a national occurrence.  Had we been in Iran during Noruz then it would have been a national holiday for us because we would have experienced it with all of Iran. In other words, Noruz was a private affair for my family since we weren’t in Iran. Our nationally celebrated New Year’s Day was on January 1st with the rest of America.  Because we experienced Noruz abroad as a family affair, it wasn't New Year's Day to me but rather it was Mother's Day.

LIFE
Everyday journey

Watching, waiting and wondering in Tehran traffic
Najmeh Fakhraie

197 seconds; 197 fucking seconds. And that's if they got to the intersection during the next green light. Sitting behind the wheel of that archaic red Paykan, looking up at the misty, smoke driven sky, he was tiredly watching the counter beside the red light. 197, 196, 195 ... Sometimes the timers they'd placed beside the traffic lights would jump down to 0 seconds ... But he doubted it would happen this time. That last ride of the day was always the longest. Every bit of it was hard to swallow. Heading home, pulling up along the way to count the bills stashed away in the dashboard and in his jeans pocket. At the end of the day, it was even harder to be polite to the passengers as they heavily slammed the door or gave him another bill he had no change for.

AGGRESSION
Two-pronged attack

Target both US aggressors and the Iranian regime
Mehdi Kia

The wolves are howling once again. An escalating crisis, ostensibly over Iran's nuclear programme, is reaching explosive potentials. For the left, and for all those who oppose the looming war, the issue superficially appears straight forward. An aggressive US and its lesser allies is bent on an imperial project of restructuring the Middle East. The aim is to totally subjugate this strategic region, with its rich oil and gas deposits, to US will. Any government not directly a US vassal, so called "rogue states", has to be swept away. And the pretext for this grand design is "terrorism", weapons of mass destruction, and now nuclear weapons. Act three is Iran. Clearly any sane person must oppose such a project.

ANALYSIS
A third option

US policy and the Iranian democracy movement
Mohammad Parvin

The blunt statements against Israel recently made by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, as well as his government's blatant resistance to international monitoring of its atomic program, have put the Western states in an awkward situation. They have been forced to take a position in order to save face in front of their own people and the world community. However, it remains to be seen whether the US will redefine its old policy that was tough in words and soft in action. The recent historical background of this policy may be summarized as follows:

PARADE
Noruz in New York

Photo essay: Iranian New Year in New York
Behzad Ahandoost

WAR
Shock and... oops!

Iraq War: Three years on
Abtin Assadi

Three years on, thousands of Americans and hundreds of thousands of Iraqi's are dead or injured; the country is at low-level civil war. The elected representatives in parliament are unwilling to meet and the government is unable to form. Nobody is safe except perhaps for the people in the fortified green zone. Sectarian killings have already started, every sect has it's own militia despite the central government, and the new Iraqi army and police are still ineffective. The administration not only miscalculated in Iraq, it also misjudged the American people's appetite for imperial power.

GREETINGS
Eydet mobaarak

Norooz e-cards
From friends

NEW YEAR
Booyeh Bahar

Photo essay: Colourful Norooz in Tehran
Mahsa J

LIFE
Cellophane goldfish

A story of Norowz
Azin Arefi

My son and I went to a pet store to buy the goldfish. We were the only customers in the market for them. As soon as we walked into the sterile, florescent-lit super pet store, Kayhan, my son, unscrewed his hand from my grip and ran to see the puppies. It took a bit of convincing to move on, and before we reached the fish, he spotted the frogs.
-- “Maman, can we buy a frog, Maman? Pleeeaaase?”
-- “We are here to buy fish, for our haftseen. Don’t you want us to have fish for our haftseen?”
-- “But can we get the frog too, please! For the haftseen.” He pronounces it “haf-sea.”

SATIRE
Perfect Persian parade

For Iranians in San Francisco Bay Area
Faranak

We should have an eid parade too here in San Francisco. There would be Benzes and BMWs as part of the Persian parade, with unibrow women in the cars waving at the crowd. Andy music and Persian dance inspired by (what was his name, the gay dance teacher), unibrow women wearing headscarves, but showing their cleavage, dancing while they say "khejaalat mikesham". The crowd will line up all alongside post street near union square, dressed in traditional Iranian-American costumes designed by Versace, Valentino, Chanel -- fake Chanel. They carry the symbols of haft sin in the convertibles and SUV cars, while the decoration of the sofreh haftsin is done by Afsar Khanom from Beverly Hills/The Valley.

COMPLEX
Abraham, Rostam & Oedipus

The Rostams have failed and are no longer desired. It is time for Iranian men to hand over the ruling of the country to women experts and follow their leadership by cooperating in fulfilling common aspirations
Vida Kashizadeh

The Iranian woman has been suppressed for 2 millenniums, that is since the Aryans invaded the land, but with times changing, her genetic disposition and heritage connecting her to the amazons has been forcing itself to the surface. Parallel to this awakening of the ancient instincts and the genetically re-emerging strength of women in their endurance and their perseverance, in addition to the skills they have gained in order to survive as an entity, the Iranian man's ancient anxiety has also been stimulated. In today's Iran men are anxious and women are fed up. The women have nothing to loose except their veils. There is no lack of human resources to bring change; the only thing needed is a decentralised coordination.

NEW YEAR
My Norooz is your Norooz

I love going to the local Persian stores at this time of the year
Zohreh Khazai Ghahremani

Every year, I promise to be more organized with my Norooz preparations for the following year; and every year as the vernal equinox approaches, left with a long list to do, I’m convinced they must have the date wrong. When we lived in the Midwest, a scarcity of local Persian stores and the cold weather provided sufficient reasons for such procrastination. “It doesn’t feel like spring yet!” Now living in sunny California, where Iranian stores even make the samanoo and grow the sabzeh for you, I’m fresh out of excuses. No matter how early I begin to prepare, the day before Norooz I’m running around with a mile-long list of last minute errands.

NOSTALGIA
Donya 2 roozeh

Cartoons
Mahmoud

LIFE
Persian letters

Marjan & Atta
Peyvand Khorsandi

Date sent: Fri, Mar 17, 2006 12:44
From attajoon@...
To marjan.farmani@...

Dear Marjan

Thank you for your invitation. Unfortunately I am busy Friday because I am washing my hair. I know I’m bald. It’s the hair on my back (nature has a wicked sense of humour). Still, I hope you will enjoy the opera without me >>>

NOWRUZ POEM
Bombs away baby

Let the big boys think of war / We folks will live / To go to yet another bar
Setareh Sabety

SHIRAZ
Dream come true

Going back to see the beautiful historic city of Shiraz was a dream come  true, one which brought back many memories >>> Photos
Fariba Amini

When I returned this last time to Iran and had a chance to travel the country a bit after a decade, I wanted to go back to the city of my childhood and teenage years, where I always wished to ive there permanently. Yes, Shiraz was a dream to me. I remember going with my parents and four brothers, and our driver, Mammad Agha as we called him; my father used to say you must know your own land before you conquer another so in the spring time we would embark on this journey throughout Iran, in our old black Mercedes, from north to south, from east to west, stopping in every city and many villages. My father knew many people, almost one or more persons in one the major cities of Iran.

ART
Alice between cultures

Paintings & sculptures
Iranshid Ghadimi

PESAR KHAALEH
Saal tahvil

For my cousin, the latre Vahid Rahnamaie
Sheida Kalbasi

SHORTS
Enemy du jour

Manouchehr Mehrparvar

I came to the U.S. in April 1973 at age 12. By age 17 or so, when I was a senior in high school, I already knew that Americans needed a common enemy in order to be united. Starting in the 1950s, the enemy was communism and its symbol was the old Soviet Union. A handful of neocons, in their search for the new enemy, re-discovered Islam. Slowly but surely, these neocons have accomplished their goals of vilifying Islam to a point that its now seen as the biggest threat by majority of Christians and Jews in U.S., Europe and Australia.

SHORTS
Up and away

Hooman Golshan

he was looking in the mirror, trying to recognize the shell of the man that was looking back at him.... the reflection was a stranger... his eyes had the look of apathy..... but, behind that apathy was plenty of meaning.... he could read them all too clearly.... they were the eyes of someone who had been in solitary confinement all too long.... "do you have a key to open this door and set me free?" that was the question the eyes were asking...."i used to be free... but one day, i volutarily walked into this cage.... can you please let me out? before this door finally closes?" the man looked more closely at his own reflection.... he started to think back to the beginning... to when he was free.... to when he was a man and master of his own time.... but those days were long gone....

SHORTS
First, let me put on my seatbelt

Siamack Baniameri

An Arab acquaintance once said that invading Persia and forcing Persians to convert to Islam was the biggest mistake Arabs made. He said we Persians took a respectable religion and made a mockery of it. Well, I guess that's what defeated nations do. Reza Taheri-Azar's attempted SUV assassination of students at UNC is another testimonial on Iranians‚ ostentatious devotion to Islam. While Arab suicide bombers demolish themselves for the glory of Allah, Taheri-Azar (an Iranian Moslem) attempted to follow suit from the comfort of his SUV with airbag and seatbelt in place to minimize possible injuries to himself. "I am ready to send infidels to hell, but first, let me put on my seatbelt."

POETRY
Power

As I build a boat and contemplate the capture of beauty of other worlds...
Arash Daneshzadeh

POETRY
Patience

Makes sure all the troubles will exit
Akbar Showkatian

POETRY
The gods are gone with the people

Behind the vitrines in museums
Jack Oakley

POETRY
Havaa sard ast

Norooz poshte ghadamhaayam jaareest
Mandana Zandian

POETRY
From the end of the roots

At last, we sit alongside the sun
Habib Shokati

MUSIC
Shusha

Eight tracks from a 70s album
Milad Esfandiary

FICTION
Waiting

Short story
Saeed Tavakkol

He is here to visit his son, as he is every month. Sitting alone in the empty room gazing through his thick glasses at the tarnished flowers woven into the old soul of the Persian rug. Once again I am standing by the door watching him. Each time he exhales -- wheezing -- he launches a desperate storm to drive the ship of death from his shore of life. When he speaks, he mocks death just by the movement of his lips. To stand, he pushes the palms of his hands forcefully on the ground as he is getting himself off the chest of his defeated enemy. As audaciously as he defies his destiny, the opponent is inflicting lethal wounds on him with his every move he makes. Time is on his enemy’s side; waiting is not the old man’s weapon of choice.

COLOR
Seeing red

Photo essay
Parima Shahin Moghaddam

WOMEN
Women show the way

March of Iranian women in exile
Yassamine Mather

On a cold and rainy afternoon on March 8, nearly 1,000 people demonstrated through The Hague in a protest that was the culmination of a five-day march called by the Campaign for Abolition of all Misogynist Gender-Based Legislation and Islamic Punitive Laws in Iran. The call for the march, issued in November 2005, said: “If you are against death by stoning, if you are against forced veiling, if you are against the prosecution and imprisonment of women, if you are against lashing a woman’s body, if you are against any form of patriarchy, if you are against the medieval laws of the Islamic Republic of Iran imposing inequality on women - join the great march against anti-women laws in Iran’s Islamic Republic on March 8 2006!”

DUBAI
al-Iranian

Photo essay: Iranian community in Dubai
Parviz Forghani

POETRY
Eteraaf-naamehaaye dokhtaraane bad (2)

The elephant in the room
Leila Farjami

TRAVELERS
Khomeini, Fallaci, and the medieval rag

Part 3: Returning to Iran: 1986-87
Sima Nahan

In September of 1979, Oriana Fallaci was granted an interview with Khomeini, excerpts from which were published in the New York Times Magazine. It is a rare and symbolic audience: the emerging leader of Islamic Patriarchy vs. Modern Man qua Emancipated Woman (donning an obligatory veil in professional accommodation). It is a revealing instance of the intellectual and emotional impasse that has come to overpower so many attempts towards establishing an "East/West" dialogue. Khomeini's definition of freedom emerges in response to Fallaci's assertion that “many in the country say that the revolution did not bring freedom." Khomeini: “You saw very well how after the death of Ayatollah Taleghani millions of persons went into the streets without the threat of violence. This shows that there is freedom. It also shows that the people only follow men of God. And this is freedom.”

MILITARY
At your peril

U.S. or Israeli military response to the current crisis in relations with Iran is a particularly dangerous option
Paul Rogers

This briefing paper provides a comprehensive analysis of the likely nature of US or Israeli military action that would be intended to disable Iran’s nuclear capabilities. It outlines both the immediate consequences in terms of loss of human life, facilities and infrastructure, and also the likely Iranian responses, which would be extensive. An attack on Iranian nuclear infrastructure would signal the start of a protracted military confrontation that would probably grow to involve Iraq, Israel and Lebanon, as well as the USA and Iran. The report concludes that a military response to the current crisis in relations with Iran is a particularly dangerous option and should not be considered further. Alternative approaches must be sought, however difficult these may be.

SHORTS
Field of mud

Nema Milaninia

In front of the Persian Center in Berkeley, was a beautiful garden symbolizing the central importance of nature to Iranian culture and heritage. Following this year’s Chahar Shanbeh Soori in Berkeley the garden is utterly destroyed, its grasses dead, many of its beautiful flowers uprooted, thus transforming the area from a garden into a field of mud. Maybe the hundreds of Iranians that gathered at the Persian Center, or even its board of directors, forgot that the importance of Nowruz is not only about dancing, swapping dollar bills, and family, but includes the appreciation for life and environment. If the Persian Center garden was intended to symbolize our cultural appreciation for nature, its destruction has certainly illustrated the opposite.  

FIRE
Fire worshippers

Photo essay: Charshanbesoori in southern California
Sourena Mohammadi

JOY
Yellow to red

Photo essay: Charshanbeh Soori at friends' house in Albany, northern California
Jahanshah Javid

IDEAS
Democratizing global governance

A letter from Athens
Majid Tehranian

The world needs a global governance regime that is more democratic. How can we solve this puzzle? Some reformers have proposed a global parliament. If internet could be made globally available, a case for a one person-one vote regime would be plausible. But that is not currently the case. Only about 6 percent of the world population have access to the internet. An alterative would to focus on the major global players. States, transnational corporations, and civil society organizations are the obvious candidates. Other players may include transnational media corporations, regional organizations, municipalities, and indigenous peoples. Each player can have an assembly of its own to coordinate its global interests and policies. But a Global Parliament is needed that is composed of the representative of each group in order to negotiate global policies for the consideration of national states and legislatures.

NUCLEAR
Sanctions on perpetrators, not people

The sanctions regime must be set up by such appropriate resolutions that it weakens the IRI and strengthens the position of its democratic opposition
Jahanshah Rashidian

The current nuclear status of the Islamic Republic of Iran cannot escape from the inevitable sanctions of the Untied Nations Security Council. One knew that the IRI would not comply with resolutions taken by the 35member board of the International Atomic Energy Agency. The five permanent members of the Security Council will consequently find a compromise to impose sanctions on the IRI. The sanctions measures will probably enter into force only after a while. In terms of longevity and nature of sanctions, the democratic opposition must try to influence any UN Security Council’s decision against the IRI. The sanctions can only bring fruits when the measures are merely aimed at the IRI’s leadership, but not those economic branches providing necessary needs for people.

PARANOIA
From the Shah to Dubai

There is no doubt that Dubai is a friend of America, as the Shah was thirty years before, but the question is the forces that are beyond their control
Mahmoud Ghaffari

In 1976, the Shah of Iran out of good faith and support for United States, decreed the Pahlavi Foundation to probe into purchasing the controlling rights of Pan American World Airways.  PanAm had been struggling for a few years as once-lucrative routes, mostly to Europe and South America, had not been generating the kind of cash they had projected.  Coupled with some high level purchases from Boeing, namely 747 airliners, the airline had placed itself in a precarious cash poor position.  Not surprisingly, Congress got involved and stopped the attempt by legislating the ownership of an airliner by a foreign entity as illegal.  Does this sound familiar?

ZOROASTRIAN
Birth of fire

Photo essay: Festival at Tehran's Zoroastrian cultural center
Hessam Mirsaeedi

PHILANTHROPY
Reinvesting in our communities

Interview with Azadeh Hariri, an Iranian American philanthropist
Hamid Karimi

Azadeh Hariri was born in Iran, went to boarding school in England and pursued her higher education in Lausanne, Switzerland and Indiana, USA. She spent her early years in Iran and belonged to a rather traditional family. Since 1979 Hariri has lived in California, creating and managing the state’s second largest food distributor, which was later sold. Her humble attitude and appearance is in contrast with her business acumen and sharp sense of presence. More importantly, Hariri is busy making a positive difference in the lives of academically gifted yet financially constrained Iranians who wish to further themselves in America. She has been an active philanthropist for years and now Hariri is taking on a new challenge by establishing the Iranian Scholarship Foundation to give away scholarships to young Iranian students. I recently spent an hour with her at a café in Menlo Park, California to talk about her vision and perspective on Iranian American philanthropy.

NOROOZ
Friendly fire

Photo essay: Charshanbeh Soori at University of Maryland
Sasan Afsoosi

VIEW
Honey and Vinegar

Attitudes toward Iran's Assyrian Christians
Eden Naby

Even as the number of Assyrians in Iran diminishes toward the point of extinction, the attitudes about them appear to harden into chauvinistic prejudice. The recent remarks of a high cleric in Urumiyah NOT to buy Assyrian property because they are all leaving and then the property will be free, symbolizes the latent prejudice against non-Muslims. To see similar sentiments expressed by Muslim Iranian émigrés is nothing short of disgusting. The review of Dr. Rami Yelda's book, A Persian Odyssey: Iran Revisited (New York, A. Pankovitch Publishers, 2005) is particularly replete with assertions based on a clear inability to read a well-written and sophisticated book. Indicative of this tendency is the misspelling of the author's name, "Yalda" for Yelda, and then a play on the Persian borrowing of an Aramaic/Syriac word referring to "birth."

LETTERS
Iran nuclear threat is neither imminent nor real

On Goudarz Eghtedari's "Honest conflict resolution": There is no honest desire for conflict resolution on the part of the Bush administration. In fact it has been 3 years of US administration bullying which led to the Feb 4th resolution of the IAEA to bring Iran before the UN Security Council for sanctioning when in fact there were no legal or technical violations of the terms of the NPT on the part of Iran. The Additional Protocal as several commentators have already pointed out which has allowed IAEA inspectors to perform instant anytime anywhere visits of nuclear sites in Iran has been strictly voluntary on the part of Iran and is not required of any other member >>> More

IDOLATRY
Father knows best

It starts even in families where children are not educated to believe in one simple fact, the truth, but one simple convenience, that dad is right
Ben M

When we say idolatry (botparasti) what usually comes to our minds, the Iranians and most Islamic nations, is something like what the pre-Islam Arabs in Arabia used to worship in Kaaba and at their homes or many other places. They were objects made of various materials. People used to believe in some magical powers that could protect or heal them and in order to have some kind of representation of that power, tangible and admirable, the pre-Islam Arabs had found a simple way, build something and hope that the respective god will hear you through that object. This was pretty much close to the symbolism in pre-Christian Europe as well where various gods used to be represented by various man-made objects, statues etc...

LIFE
A double-decker life

It was the last bus home, alone with my thoughts under the dim ceiling light, savoring the day, the dance, the last kiss goodnight, and musing about the future across the ocean
A.S. Mostafanejad

As we turned into the flower bedecked Lalehzar Boulevard, I immediately noticed a change. There approaching us on the other side was the red behemoth - a double-decker bus. This was as amazing to me as Tehran’s first escalator in the Firdowsi department store, or the first viewing of the Lone Ranger on Tehran’s first TV station or even my first taste of Pepsi Cola at the public baths after a hot shower and a rub down by the Dalak. I strained to keep it in view as it passed us by and slowly disappeared above the afternoon traffic into the distance.

SHORTS
Latest news
from the Middle East
Siamack Baniameri

* A paraplegic suicide bomber sued the restaurant he was sent to blow up, for no handicap access.
* A group of Iraqi insurgents with Alzheimer's disease have kidnapped 15 Westerners in north Baghdad. In a videotape aired by Al-Jazira, the kidnappers announced that they have certain demands but they don't remember what they are.
* Iranian news agency reported today that after the completion of genocide conference in Tehran, the Iranian government will sponsor a new conference to examine the validity of earth's gravity. President Ahmadinejad said earth's gravity is a "conspiracy orchestrated by the Zionists and the US to keep us grounded."

NUTS
Legal fund

Put me down for $50 to prosecute Iranian-American who tried to run over innocent students
Manesh

I was talking to a friend of mine about Mohammed Reza Taheri-azar -- that Iranian guy who drove his car into a crowd of innocent students somewhere in the Carolinas [See: Crazy call]. My friend said, why don’t we set up a legal fund for him? I said, "A legal fund? Are you crazy? This guy is a disgrace. Why would you want to set up a legal defense fund for him?" My friend replied, "I’m not talking about a legal defense fund for this idiot. I’m talking about a legal prosecution fund! Just the opposite."

TRAVELERS
Autumn in Shiraz

Photo essay: The city of roses, poets and nightingales
Dokhtar Shirazi

ART
Playing with the past

Maxiatures
Soody Sharifi

LANGUAGE
Tanhaa yek zabaan

Making English the primary language of education in Iran is a necessity for survival and progress in today's world
Hamid Zamani

SHORTS
Lousy shot

Guive Mirfendereski

On Mohammed Reza Taheri-azar's "Crazy call" minutes after hitting several students with a Jeep on University of North Carolina's Chapel Hill campus: I am not curious about Taheri-azar's state of mental health. Like Afshin [See: Like we need more bad publicity], I am worried about what inference others may draw about Iranians based on his actions. I truly am saddened by the sheer incompetence of this Iranian SUV-bomber. Here is a guy who drove a multi-ton SUV into a crowd of sittinnnnnnnnnnnnng duckkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkks, like firing a shot gun into a barrel full of fish, but managed to injure just a few. The inference that others -- like the US military -- may draw from this is that the sons of the Resolute Nation are lousy shots.

SHORTS
Khaak bar sare maa mardhaa!

Ali Hakkak

In any normal society, in case something like this happens the government and the police will not get away with that, easily. Iran is a different story! This is not the first time such obvious civil rights violations happen and it will not be the last one from what we see. What about the backlash? Well there is none! There is no democratic infrastructure to prevent such acts. At this point it is completely up to people. We can either choose to sit at home watch satellite programs and drink our illegal booze and shut up when the police and basiji officers ask us to, or stop digressing from “the political opposition” and stick together to form a collective soul. That soul doesn’t exist right now. We are all still hanging on to our MASH GHASSEM stories.

SHORTS
Rafsanjani knows better

Meir Javedanfar

It is true that the sanctions will most probably not lead to regime change, but they will hurt the regime and the people, and Rafsanjani was there first hand when he had to clear up the economic mess after the Iraqi invasion of Iran. So he knows the costs, and the challenges. He also realizes that Ahmadinejad’s calls for return to simpler lifestyle don’t have as much an audience as they did in early 1980 and even 1990s. Iran of 2006 is much more of a consumer society. Also if sanctions are imposed, the economic weakness will lead to discontent, and with the US sitting on Iran’s borders, such weakness will be taken advantage of.

WOMEN
No means no

Photo essay: International Women's Day, Downtown Berkeley, northern California
Jahanshah Javid

STORY
Love addiction

Part 1
Yasaman Rohani

One must freely choose another person in order to be genuinely loving and committed to them, but one of the characteristics of addiction is that it is a compulsive drive which doesn’t allow this kind of freedom of choice. One of the other characteristics of an addictive relationship is the panic that is felt once your partner is no longer present. The mere thought of breaking up can create feelings of dread and terror and make you cling to that person harder. Withdrawal symptoms are also a defining feature of addiction. When you end a relationship you might suffer great agony and experience physical pain, depression, insomnia but in the end you might feel that there is no place to go and no way to end the discomfort except to go back to the old person (your addictive substance).

FREE SPEECH
Denmark tanhaa

Denmark abandoned by the rest of Europe in cartoon outrage
Hassan Behgar

WOMEN
Still felt good

Forty people chanting across CNN Center in downtown Atlanta were not going to change a thing in Iran, but I still felt good
Tahereh Aghdassifar

Perhaps simply being reminded that other Iranians do care and do make an effort to attend such events made me feel less alone, despite sharp reminders as I looked around that it was only a very small number of Iranians that felt compelled to show up. Over the two hour period we stood yelling slogans and waving signs, a few cars honked in agreement, many people gawked from across the street and inside the CNN center, I caught a group of men snickering and muttering inaudible comments and twice, from what my friend and I witnessed at least, we were flicked off by passing cars.

POETRY
For our own good

On International Women's Day I look at my painting
Azadeh Azad

TEHRAN
Cries for change

Peaceful women's rights gathering in Tehran ends in violence
Anonymous report from Tehran

Approximately 1,000 women had gathered in Park Daneshjoo on the occasion of the International Women's Day to emphasize their stance in support of women's human rights and peace. The ceremony which started at 4:00 pm, and was scheduled to last one hour, was charged by security forces shortly after it began, who relentlessly beat the protesters, in an effort to disperse the group. Ten minutes into the protest, after security forces had managed to fully film and photograph the protesters for follow-up and interrogations at a later time, the women were asked to disperse, on the grounds that their assembly was illegal and did not have a permit. At this point, the protesters started singing the anthem of the women's movement, which again calls for changes in their human rights status.

ART
Behind bars

Prison art: Women prisoners
Soudabeh Ardavan

POETRY
A special blend

Yes I am a woman...
Neda Abghari

NUCLEAR
Leap forward toward dead end

From new book, "Iran's Nuclear Program: Debating Facts Versus Fiction"
Kaveh L. Afrasiabi

Lauded by the EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana as a "landmark," the Paris Agreement followed intense negotiations between the foreign ministers of the EU3 and Iranian officials beginning in October 2003 in Tehran. Iran agreed to adhere to the Additional Protocol as a clear sign of its more flexible approach. One year later, after several intrusive IAEA inspections and the continuing concerns of the Board of Governors of the IAEA over Iran's nuclear program, Iran agreed to a "verified" suspension of its uranium enrichment program. The EU3 in return agreed to "recognize Iran's rights under the NPT exercised in conformity with its obligations under the Treaty, without discrimination."

SHORTS
You go wives!

FF

A few nights ago in a dinner party, I heard that many women in Los Angeles are not putting up with their husband's philanderings anymore. Basically after they happily agree for their spouses to go to Iran to "visit family" or "take care of unfinished business", and see him off at LAX, these house wives call their special young boyfriends... after hearing the story, I couldn't stop thinking and saying (not out loud of course) YOU GO GIRLS.

SHORTS
Tap this

Siamack Baniameri

I heard that the U.S. National Security Administration has wiretapped phone conversations of thousands of Middle Easterners. As a precautionary measure I have limited my phone sex to only 2 hours a night.

WOMEN
Today I feel different

How to keep quiet and not to think about seeking a way to prevent war in the world?
Nahid Husseini

I have been out of my country, Iran, for a long time, because of political reasons. I have lived and travelled in different countries. I am familiar with different languages and cultures and have friends from different backgrounds, Muslim, Christian, Jewish, Indian and Chinese. I am working in a college where, among my students, one is African, another is English, a third is Latin American, a fourth is from Eastern Europe and another is from the Middle East. Furthermore I am living in a quiet street in London where the neighbour on my right is French, the one on my left is English and the one opposite is Polish. The world is not as big as I had previously thought.

WOMEN
Common interests

This time, Iranian men find themselves to have common interests with women against the system which does not hesitate to undermine anything pertaining to human values, in the name of religion
Sohrab Ferdows unedited

March 8th every year is marked by women groups all over the world as universal women's day in order to bring in focus the centuries old struggle of women for equal rights in the society. This struggle has taken different formats at different times according to culture of different societies. In our country where culture has been extremely influenced by Shiite religious values for past few centuries, this issue became a serious matter for clergies who considered it an important element in their domain. In a society where people considered all kinds of atrocities permissible to defend their own sectarian values against others, any attempt in direction of equalizing men and women rights would face serious resistance led by clergy.

CARNIVAL
The whole town was partying

Photo essay: Breda Carnival, Netherlands
Sasan Seifikar

WOMEN
First victims

We should build a united force against political Islam whose number one target is women
Azar Majedi

For the past 30 years there has been a movement in the Middle East, in Afghanistan, Iran, and in the Islamic ridden countries that has gained power, which tries to acquire power in the region, and tries to become a power globally. It has based itself on religion, has based itself on Islam and has cashed on in people's sufferings and grievances to fill up the vacuum created in the political and ideological sphere in the region. Intimidation and terror is its strategic tool. The first victims of this reactionary movement are women. They have been raped, stoned to death, killed, maimed, flogged and their dignity violated. Political Islam promotes and mobilizes a very concentrated, coherent campaign to suppress and silence women in the Middle East and the Islamic ridden countries and also in Europe.

IDENTITY
Who da man

Disadvantages of having an Iranian name in America
Houman Jazaeri

When I was born in Abadan, southwestern Iran. My parents proudly named me Houman. They picked this beautiful name out of thousands and I will always be thankful that my name is not something more complicated. My cousin Farbod after being tormented for years in elementary school changed his name to Peter so he didn't have to deal with spelling and pronunciation of it. But in 1973 Iran, my parents never imagined that in the future they would immigrate to the United States. Or my dad who is named Mohammad would have come up with a cool nick name back then. Calling himself Mo or Mike just to get the traction going; I could just see him pulling into the driveway of NIOC and asking the guard to call him Mo from now on.

RIGHTS
The individual and the system

International finance and human rights
Bahram Ghazi

The place of international standards in this worldwide debate on the economic, financial and trade system is sometimes uncertain. This is especially evident when it comes to human rights norms without strong structures of implementation. “From an examination of the international scene today, it may be surmised that we are entering an era of a veritable 'clash of globalisations'”. This is a situation in which the quest for a more vigorous regime of trade and investment is being countered by calls for more rigorous standards of accountability, transparency and democratic methods of operation, from what has become an increasingly “'globalised' civil society”.

MISSING LINK
Crazy call

"Uh, yes, sir, I just hit several people with a vehicle, and, uh..."
911 call

Chapel Hill Police arrested Mohammed Reza Taheri-azar, 22, minutes after a Jeep hit several students on University of North Carolina's Chapel Hill's campus Friday, March 3. The university released a four-minute recording Monday of the 911 call that followed...

ART
Up close & personal

Paintings & collages
Shiva Pakdel

IDEAS
The question of women

Interview with Ayatollah Montazeri
Golbarg Bashi

Leaving Ayatollah Montazeri’s office, I remained convinced that despite all the hopes invested in the Reformist movement at the time, the persistent realities of women in Iran indicated that they still have fewer rights in family and citizenship laws than their male counterparts. I remained convinced once again that the fundamental problem we face in Iran is in fact in the letter and the spirit of the Shi’i law - medieval in its jurisprudence, feudal in its tenets, patriarchal and undemocratic in the very fabric of its lexicon and written into the skeletal vertebra of Iranian culture (Imperial, Leftist, Nationalist or Islamist).

REVIEW
Cold & dark

Writing journey to Iran with chip on shoulder
Zohreh Khazai Ghahremani

In A Persian Odyssey, Dr. Yalda, an Assyrian-Iranian-American, pays a visit to Iran, his place of birth and where he grew up. Had the author been less partial, A Persian Odyssey could have been the ideal guide for those who know little of Iran. Since the Islamic revolution, not too many writers with Dr. Yalda’s impressive background have attempted such a daring tour. He takes us from the shores of beautiful Caspian to the mountains and down to the arid desert while telling historical tales along the way and describing the ancient architecture in a most eloquent fashion. Unfortunately, he goes through his journey with a chip on his shoulder and a heart as cold and dark as his namesake, Yalda – the longest night.

TRAVELERS
That modernization stuff

Part 2: Returning to Iran: 1986-87
Sima Nahan

To narrow down my particular standpoint even further, I might trace my lineage through the "westernized" intelligentsia of Iran -- that, in turn, part of the "modernized" Iranians who were most severely outcast by the Islamic Republic. But I won't talk here about the political defeat of the Iranian intelligentsia. They have long since made the bitter admission, and the complex history of it is quietly being penned and stored underground until the time comes for its surfacing. The notion which by virtue of being simplistic is more readily taken up is the idea of the "cultural" defeat of the Iranian intellectual community -- a point on which both the Islamic Republic and a good deal of latter-day Orientalist scholarship insist.

TRAVELERS
London on a dish

Photo essay: A weekend trip
Farah Ravon

POLITICS
Yek tir, 2 neshaan

Killing two birds with one stone: The nuclear crsis and the democracy movement
Daniel Azari

ART
String theory

Paintings
Katayoun Sharifi

MUSIC
Amil Hasanoghlu

13-year-old Azeri sensation
Fakhteh Luna Zamani

MUSIC
Masoudi

Avazha va Taranehaye Gilan
Azam Nemati

MYTH
Hoveyda va Bahai seteezi

Attacks on Bahais and Amir Abbas Hoveyda
Kavian Sadeghzadeh Milani

LIFE
Forward and backwards

I started passing the thread through the needle’s hole while drifting into the magical past
Mohsen

It’d been in back of my mind forever to sew the bottom ends of my pants. The same pants my mom sent me couple years ago from Iran. I went upstairs to find our lost and found box in the forgotten corner of the bathroom, the same place that we pile up our sewing instrumentations. I got what I needed, a spool of black thread and a needle. Sewing wasn’t as frightening as what I imagined. I sat a little and started to think for a while to remember things from the past. I remembered years ago in Tehran around this time when my mom and I would go out for the New Year’s shopping.

FASHION
Pierre Garroudi 2006

Fall/Winter collection catwalk
Photos

MONEY
Challenging the mighty dollar

If major nations trade on Iran's oil bourse, it may start a 'dollar flight' effect
Ramin Davoodi

You see, control over global oil trading and pricing standards essentially underwrites the sanctity of the US dollar as a fiat (i.e. government mandated) currency for trade and investments. Were anything to threaten that delicate arrangement between control over oil pricing in particular, and our economic system in general, then there would be tectonic shifts in global finance to the detriment of the banks and energy companies that essentially dictate the means and mores of modern US-dominated geopolitics, trade and wealth creation around the world. What does all of this have to do with Iran? In 2004, Iran decided to do what Iraq did before it -- start the process of eventually selling its oil and natural gas in euros instead of the globally mandated US dollar. Yet, Iran is 'one-upping' Iraq by starting its own energy exchange, labeled the Iran Oil Bourse, which would rival the aforementioned exchanges in London and New York.

CONSPIRACY
Nuclear set-up

U.S.-E.U. conspire against Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty
Ardeshir Ommani

On February 4, 2006, the five powerful gentlemen of the United Nations’ Security Council, among other things, endowed with the legitimacy of the “world community”, decided to hang the Sword of Damocles over the head of the Iranian people and then sat back, playing ‘good cop – bad cop’, and waited to see if before the day of reckoning on March 6, a crack and schism occurs either within the governing body of the Islamic Republic itself or between it and the more affluent strata of the population with greater interests in commerce with the U.S. and the West.  It is worth mentioning that the U.N. monitoring agency has visited the Iranian nuclear facilities innumerable times in the last two and a half years and held meetings with the Iranian authorities in charge of the nuclear energy programs. 

SHORT STORY
Love thy neighbor

Chronicles of Fredrick D. Sauma
Farid Parsa

I was no longer under any obligation to share or compromise my boundaries with any one. My new window looked out onto the busy life in the town's square. I could see the peak of the tall poplar trees on the edge of the road that led out of town. The orb of the Gothic cathedral that seemed to be piercing the sky. The clock tower of the 16th century Rathaus and the massive double domes of the medieval Schloss in the Altstadt. I was out of work and needed the view to remind me that the world outside was alive. Christine, politely bowed out of the relationship. I think it was a mistake to be living together. I kept telling myself that it was better for both of us to go our own ways. That's how I liked to solace myself whenever something bad happened: it's for the better.

FREE SPEECH
The new totalitarianism

We plead for the universality of freedom of expression, so that a critical spirit may be exercised on all continents, against all abuses and all dogmas
Manifesto

After having overcome fascism, Nazism, and Stalinism, the world now faces a new totalitarian global threat: Islamism. We, writers, journalists, intellectuals, call for resistance to religious totalitarianism and for the promotion of freedom, equal opportunity and secular values for all. The recent events, which occurred after the publication of drawings of Muhammed in European newspapers, have revealed the necessity of the struggle for these universal values. This struggle will not be won by arms, but in the ideological field. It is not a clash of civilisations nor an antagonism of West and East that we are witnessing, but a global struggle that confronts democrats and theocrats.

NUCLEAR
Honest conflict resolution

It is time for President Bush to become an involved partner in solving the nuclear standoff with Iran
Goudarz Eghtedari

Last week German former foreign minister Joschka Fischer and Zbigniew Brzezinski, National Security Advisor to President Carter, appeared together to discuss foreign policy problems at the Center for Strategic and International Studies and called on the US administration to get directly involved in the nuclear negotiations with Iran.   However, when Adam Ereli, deputy spokesman for U.S. Department of State, was asked about the Fischer-Brzezinski’s comments, he responded that the US is happy with the outcome of the EU-3 negotiations and does not think there is a need for direct talks with Iran. Considering that negotiations between the EU and Iran were halted a month ago without a positive result, one would ask what exactly the US administration is calling successful. And what is in the outcome that our State Department is happy about?

SHORTS
Free hate against Muslims?

Nema Milaninia

A Republican student organization at the University of California Irvine displayed the caricatures of Mohammad at an event concerning “Islamic terrorism.” [See] From the looks of it, the student organization made no efforts to incorporate Muslim students on campus or even gauge their opinion. When a large group of students protested against the depiction and its use in the event, they were branded as “fascists” and “traitors.” While we should all support freedom of speech, is there any doubt that use of such caricatures in this event and promoting it under the notion of “freedom of speech” simply a justified method of attacking, ridiculing, and displaying hate against Muslims? As a friend of mine most eloquently noted:

POETRY
Definition of being feminine

It means being fancy and delicate, Or being a grease monkey
Mahnaz Zardoust-Ahari

POETRY
Hey you

For those who lost their lives for us
Farhad "Amir" Nabipour

POETRY
Seeing you

It means being fancy and delicate, Or being a grease monkey
Sara Ansari

SAN FRANCISCO
Love & Haight

Photo essay: Haight/Ashbury neighborhood, home of the Hippie movement
Jahanshah Javid

LIFE
Mistaken identity

You see, I have an unfortunate habit of walking up to complete strangers I think I know, and doing something embarrassing
Parissa Sohie

My little (ok, not so little) ego is intact.  I grow older, notice little wrinkles on my face and more gray hair in my hair -- but my ego is exactly as I left it. I stayed home yesterday because I wasn’t feeling well.  However, some time around 5, I realized that eating what was in our fridge was not an option (mostly because we only had condiments in the fridge).  So I went to the Vons down the hill from our house, nursing my little headache and trying to figure out what I would buy and subsequently make for dinner.  As I got out of the car, I realized I was wearing brown cords, with a white t-shirt, denim jacket, black shoes and a red purse.  Now individually, each one of those items are kind of cute (I have a particular fondness for my little red purse), but the combination was less than dazzling. 

EXPERIMENTAL
Napoleon mon amour

Part 9: The trip to Avignon: City of the Popes
Sarvenaz

After dinner we walked across the town from the east wall to the west to go to Aphrodite, one of three Libertine clubs in Avignon. Napoleon assured me like he always does that we will stay as long as I please and do whatever I say. Without that I would feel too insecure to go. The club was packed and roaring. Women were dressed in different kinds of sexy lingerie -- almost all of them. I was dressed in a long skirt and sweater but underneath I wore a sexy black slip, the kind I have see Sophia Loren wear in some movie. I feel good in it because it covers the body, accentuates my boobs (perhaps my favorite feature) and makes me feel sexy without feeling entirely nude.

WOMEN
Islamomisogyny

On International women’s Day
Jahanshah Rashidian

As a proposal of the Socialist International in 1910, International Women's Day (March 8) was celebrated for the first time in many industrial countries.  It demanded the right to vote and to hold public office, right to work, to vocational training and to an end to discrimination on the job. Since then, the International Women's Day is commemorated and also is a national holiday in communist countries. It symbolises a long struggle of all women on all continents, with different ethnics, religions, cultures and social classes, who have been deprived from the equal right with men. Today, we know that struggle for equality, justice, peace, democracy, secularism and development is not separated from the struggle against Islamomisogyny.

SHORTS
Hamas outsourced to India

Siamack Baniameri

Hamas opened a call center to assist suicide bombers with bomb-making technical questions. The call center was later outsourced to India. Hamas suicide bombers have been complaining that language barriers and accent problems have created mishaps, resulting in some bombs detonating prematurely. In one instance the Indian call center analyst told the would-be suicide bomber: "Be calm and do not twitch." However the suicide bomber heard: "Hold the bomb and push the switch."

CRIME
King of spade beats the Queen

Female foeticide: Selective elimination of female foetuses
Iqbal Latif

The unholy alliance between tradition (son-complex) and technology (ultrasound) is playing havoc within Eastern hemisphere. From Arab world, Iran, Pakistan, India and China 'Sons are rising, daughters setting.‚ In two major 'super powers of population demographic growth' amongst the newborn boys out born girls by margin beyond permitted by Mother Nature over centuries of known data. 105 boys should be born for every 100 girls (Mother Nature prefers boys by 5%) but the birth mix is totally lopsided in favor of boys. It is around 119 to 100 in India and China and even in Iran the tendency of selectivity of male gender is obvious from the unofficial census results.

HUMOR
1001 laughs

Jokes collected from SMS messages and emails
Pullniro

FICTION
The sentence

Short story
Peyvand Khorsandi

Mr Fallopian, my landlord, was drunk when he came to collect the rent.
“It was a brown envelope – you remember,” I told him on the phone the next day.
I turned up at his house at 10am the next day.
“Welcome,” he said, ushering me into his living room.
I noticed on the mantelpiece a picture his late wife, Mrs Fallopian, wearing a black headscarf. Like the Mona Lisa, her eyes followed you around the room. But, unlike her, she was not smiling. Nor was she at risk of being stolen.

FICTION
Yek rooze mamooli

Short story
Negar Assari

FREE SPEECH
Don't joke with god

Maybe humor and religion don't mix
Manesh

The word laugh/laughter is mentioned only 9 times in the Holy Quran, 8 of them in the context of ridicule or mockery, as in: "Let them laugh a little: much will they weep" (009.082), or "Those in sin used to laugh at those who believed" (083.029). The Holy Bible is not that much different. The Old Testament, which consists of 24 Books, mentions laugh/laughter all of 32 times. In the New Testament, which consists of 27 Books, laugh/laughter is mentioned just 6 times. For example, in James 4:9 it says: Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to heaviness. (By contrast, death/dead/slay/kill is mentioned 231 times in the Holy Quran, 1,017 times in the Old Testament, and 443 times in the New Testament.) Could this be the reason why fundamentalists violently protested cartoons of Prophet Muhammad? Maybe humor and religion don't mix.

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