Features

>>> Archive
October 2006

 

TEHRAN
Moola holiday

Cash poor because of sudden long holiday
Pullniro

What a lovely country we have? Don't you see? This is the only country in the world which announces four days of unexpected holidays overnight. You just wake up to understand that Mr. Ahmadinejad had probably decided to pay a visit to his hometown, Semnan, and all of a sudden decided to close the country for four consecutive days in the emergency meeting of the cabinet the night before. It happens a lot to us, poor Iranians who live inside this GOL-O-BOLBOL country. As if we do not have all this economic problems and our country is not on the verge of international sanctions. Why should our lovely president and his idiot ministers be worried about that at all? I looked into my wallet and there was about 15,000 Tomans which by today's standards of Iranian financial system means almost zero. Of course I had my cards and could use them to get money from ATMs in case of emergency >>>

HOLLAND

That's what I love about Europe

Photo essay: Prince's Day royal parade in the Netherlands
Fariba Mobargheie

FUTURE
Hanooz delam faraar mikhaahad

The Middle East has all the ingredients to be just as progressive as Europe. So what's the problem?
Nahid Husseini

VIEW
A step forward

The opposition must establish its legitimacy by showing courage and wisdom
Sohrab Ferdows

Unfortunately, many of Iranians inside and outside the country have simplistically fallen for this nonsense which has disabled a good portion of opposition forces to consider more active approach to the question of regime change in Iran. It is a patriotic duty of any Iranian who loves his/her country to speak up and participate in any action that could contribute to the liberty of our nation and no one is exempted! In the absence of democratic options to bring possible changes in politics of our nation, every Iranian, specially political groups and activists have the right to ìprescribeî what they believe is beneficial in direction of removing Islamic tyranny from our nation and creating a democratic establishment that serves the national interests rather than an ideology. It is better to speak up now and avoid future regrets >>>

MEDIA
The little station that could -- and did

Remembering Radio Darya: Interview with Mahmood Moallemian
Pedram Moallemian

For most Tehrani children of my generation, the trip "up north" to the shores of Caspian sea was always magical. Leaving the smoggy and crowded streets of the capital, up one of the three enchanting and winding two-lane roads up through the Alborz mountains just to emerge from the other side into a sea of lush green forests, roadside waterfalls and eventually the scent of salty water in the fresh air of the coastline is forever etched into many of our memories. It is no wonder that even in our today's conversations, we speak of "shomal" trips with such affection, even if our last trip there established that the "sea" may have never been as beautiful as we had imagined it or at least years of pouring raw untreated sewage into it from all shores, has killed much of its magic >>>  

FATWA
Rewarding disobedient wives
Siamack Baniameri

Iranian Grand Ayatollah Makarem Shirazi has issued a fatwa that it is legitimate for men to beat their disobedient wives. Shirazi wrote on his website: "The Koran first recommends a man to try and convince his wife to obey him in a polite way and through advice, and then by refusing to have sexual relations with her. Finally, if all these fail to make her come to her senses, proceed with physical punishment." Did I hear the Grand Ayatollah suggesting that as a form of punishment a man should refuse to have sexual relations with his wife? Are you kidding me? That's not a punishment, that's a reward. How many wives do you know that actually enjoy having sexual relations with their husbands? When was the last time you saw a wife crying her heart out because her 250-lbs hairy husband refused to have sex with her? >>>

POETRY
The traitor

They declared me unfit. I agreed wholeheartedly
Ali Alizadeh

SEASONS

That time of the year

Photo essay: Autumn in Canada's west coast
Sophie Saviour

ART

In good hands

Paintings
Maryam Hashemi

NUCLEAR
Manufacturing a phony crisis

Daniel M Pourkesali

The writer of "Islam, Terror and the Second Nuclear Age" in The New York Times makes several presumptions which have been promoted by the Israeli government and its hard-line supporters both in the UN and the Bush administration. First that Iran's nuclear energy program is merely a cover for perfecting their nuclear weapon production capability and the anti-Israel statements of the Iranian president is proof that they're intent on destroying Israel. Second, Israel may possess several hundred nuclear warheads, but since they have not used them offensively against their neighbors then they can be trusted with such weapons. And finally, even if Iran does not use its future atomic bombs against Israel, the sheer possession of such weapons by a Shiite non-Arab state will usher a new arms race among the Arab states in the region as they fear Iran might use those nukes against them. All of the above assumptions are problematic >>>

POPULATION
Siaasathaaye jameeati

Encouraging people to have more kids without the ability feed, educate, employ and house them? That's suicide.
Mahmoud Sadri

THEATER
Finding our way

Imagining a different world, is the first step in creating change
Torange Yeghiazarian

First name, Persian. Last name, Armenian. Born in Iran, raised in Boston, found love in San Francisco. In Iran, people always asked: Are you Iranian or Armenian? In the US they ask: Are you Moslem or Christian. I always give the same answer: Both. For years I worked in hospitals and laboratories. Then decided to change careers and focus on Theatre. Adding one more dichotomy to my identity, that of the scientist versus the artist. When people ask which are you? I answer: Both. Healing may be more possible through the Arts. To complete my Masters degree from San Francisco State University, I had to write a thesis or direct a production. And so it happened that my Masters’ project became Golden Thread’s first production >>>

KHATAMI
Best, of the worst

Peyvand Khorsandi

In the spring of 1997 Tony Blair was elected president of the Islamic Republic of Iran. In Britain Mohammed Khatami became prime minister. Both men were voted in on the promise of reforms. Yet Khatami was clearly a disciple of Margaret Thatcher, and Blair of Ayatollah Khomeini. Until recently, Khatami had refused to step down, despite having led Britain into a war that has killed more than 600,000 people. Blair, whose 'reforms' resulted in Mahmoud Ahmadinejad stepping on to the world stage, is in Scotland this week to receive an honorary degree from the St Andrews university. Here's that that degree citation in full: >>>

COMMENT
Nothing could be more offensive

On a British university’s invitation to ex-president Khatami
Maryam Namazie

Mr Khatami, a former president of the Islamic Republic of Iran (1997-2005) has been invited to St Andrews University on October 31 to receive an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Laws in recognition of his ‘efforts to encourage interfaith dialogue’. Giving a theocrat a degree in secular law and doing so ‘considering global tensions relating to ... faiths’ that incidentally he and his regime have been instrumental in creating is like giving PW Botha or FW De Klerk honorary degrees in race relations in recognition of their efforts to encourage inter-race dialogue! Nothing could be more offensive, not only to those of us who have fled or lost loved ones to this vile regime but also to the innumerable who have lost lives and limbs to Islamists everywhere >>>

CHILDREN

For their sake

Photo essay: Children of Afghanistan
Pouria Lotfi

STORY
Outside of the box

Based on a true story
Azadeh Azad

It was another hot August morning in Tehran, choked with thick smog. Gordia was sitting on a long cement bench beside a bunch of Kurdish and Afghani men under a noisy highway bridge. She was forty-two years old with short, straight salt and pepper hair, and in men’s clothing. She looked like a nineteen year-old boy and everyone on the street knew her as Gol-Agha. She placed one leg over the other and lit a second cigarette. Most of the men were carrying small bags of heroine or lighter drugs for sale. She sometimes went there to buy heroine for her addicted friend, Sudi. This time, she had not yet seen Ardalan, the Kurdish man who knew her as an occasional customer. She took a drag of her cigarette and blew the smoke out into the sunrays, watching it curl away in the deafening street noise >>>

SUPERSTITION
Sarzamine hezaar khoraafeh va yek kherad

Ahmadinjead era marked by growing claims and counter-claims over religious superstition
Esmail Nooriala

IDEAS
Mane maa va mane aanhaa

Personal growth in free vs. repressed societies
Shokooh Mirzadegi

FAAL-e-HAFEZ
Where is the tavern?

Jahanshah Javid

A few days ago I got my signed copy of Reza Ordoubadian's "The Poems of Hafez". It is a collection of 202 ghazals translated into English. And I did what every Iranian does with Hafez: tap into his infinite wisdom with a faal:

THREE
You hear a discerning voice: Do not confound it.
... You are not discerning: there lies the rub.
My concern is not for this world -- or the other;
... Blessed God! What temptations crowd our heads!
>>>

PEOPLE

Blowing smoke

Photo essay: Women hanging out somewhere in Iran
Sent by A.M.

LYRICS
Dadash/Garde Sefid

Music inspired by drug abuse
Amir Amini

GOOD JOB
Short visit, long impact

Majid Saeedi

The Knowledge Diffusion Network is a non-for-profit organization which aims to promote collaboration of Iranian academics living abroad with the scientific community in Iran. Currently, we organize scientific seminars for those Iranian academics who go to Iran for a short visit. So far we have organized more than 65 talks in Iran. You can find more about us in our website, KnowDiff.net. Most of our quality speakers are going to Iran during Christmas vacation and we would like to spread the word >>>

POETRY
The arc at Alborz

We need a bigger boat
Jam Hamidi

POETRY
Solitude

I have turned within
Sasan Seifikar

POETRY
(no title)

I have two windows in my room
both with thick and dark curtains

Reza Eslami

POETRY
Rastakhiz

Hamin emrooz raa naghd mikhaaham
Ava Koohbor

POETRY
The lonely traveler

I have two windows in my room
both with thick and dark curtains

Homayoun Abghari

URBAN

Just rubbish

Photo essay: In the streets of London
Parima Shahin Moghaddam

SCIENCE
The religious brain

Muslims are overwhelmingly born to Muslim parents, Hindus to Hindu parents, Catholics to Catholic parents, and so on. Why?
Amil Imani

Our beliefs and ideas make us human, and their quality determines the kind of human we are. We shield and fiercely defend our beliefs and ideas for good reasons: without their integrity and internal harmony, the mind becomes disorganized and even dysfunctional. While our inborn immune system fights off viruses and bacteria that aim to kill us, another immune system, mental immune system -- MIS -- gradually formed after birth, protects the mind and takes every measure to keep the mind's ideas and beliefs on the same page. Humans are living information machines, receive input from both external sources as well as the body, process it in some fashion, and produce output. From the moment of birth, parents, siblings, and others play pivotal parts in supplying the input and influencing how it is processed >>>

VIEW
Let it go

Nobody can save Islam without further victimising the whole Iranian society
Jahanshah Rashidian

Apart from criminal Islamists who are or were involved in the IRI, there is another spectrum of Iranian Muslim activists who still hypocritically or naively believe in an Islamic alternative to the current IRI’s dictatorship. Although, they are politically against the IRI, they intentionally prefer to ignore that the time is ripe for a secular and democratic alternative. They try of course to separate themselves from the infamous ruling Mullahs, but their blind belief, a legacy of pure tradition, obviously makes them deaf and blind to perceive how bankrupt their political Islam under any interpretation is. What concerns the future of Islam in Iran? There is no doubt that Iranian society will be built only based on democracy and secularism. Nobody has the right to let religion, after all its destructive backgrounds, play a further role in the free society >>>

TRAVELERS

Finding Iran in Russia

Photo essay: Traveling in Russia and visitng the Hermitage museum
Shahriar Nayeri

POETRY
Room for pain

When you can't hum your favorite song
Farid Parsa

SECURITY COUNCIL
Wrong resolution
Nema Milaninia

The National Iranian American Council has a great review of the current draft Security Council resolution on Iran which states, in part: "... all States shall prohibit specialised teaching or training of Iranian nationals, within their territories or by their nationals, of disciplines which would contribute to Iran's nuclear and ballistic missile programs..." Obviously students studying nuclear science would be affected. But what about those studying material science, aerospace engineering, chemical engineering, electrical engineering, or even biology? Clearly all of these studies are essential to a nuclear or ballistic weapons program? What about Iranian students who have dual citizenship and study in these area? How would they be affected? Let me summarize the wide effect of this resolution: >>>

DIPLOMACY
Regime change policy change

It is time to change policy and talk, yes, talk with whoever is prepared to engage in conflict resolution
Mehrdad Emadi

In recent months, Ms. Condoleeza Rice has emphasized the importance of using multilateral diplomatic channels in dealing with Iran. This change in policy stance toward Iran should be viewed with some caution given the preference of this administration for the use of force in the region. The change in the U.S. approach to Iran, however, may be seen more as a preparatory step in softening opposition to another limited military adventure. One unfortunate ramification of the regime-change policy in Iraq and Afghanistan has been the relative paralysis in delivering the next stages of the transition to a more inclusive and participative model of governance and reconstruction. To avoid a further deepening and spread of the present crises, it is necessary to move away from the present state of militarized management of the conflict to developing democratic governance in both Iraq and Afghanistan >>>

FOOTBALL
Olaagh pass bedeh!

Preserving Iranian civil society on the football field in the age of headbutts
Cameron Milani

Although name calling is part of every great soccer game, there are times that players cross the line and induce a violent reaction in other players. If you play with fellow Iranians, do not violate these rules. Rule 100, Cursing: Insults, targeting one's sister, mother, or wife, is an absolute violation of thise rule. One, however, could go after the brother, brother-in-law, or wife's uncle, unless you know, or have reason to believe, they are present on the field. Fathers are the only male relative who are protected. All other male relatives, if alive, or otherwise present anywhere- but not on the field- are fair game, provided the insult does not involve their wive(s), daughter(s), or sister(s) >>>

OUTDOORS

To live & let fly

Photo essay: From the Caspian Sea to fly fishing
Farzad Fadai

POETRY
Green spring

We remained with our deep desire for the red apple
Farah Afshari

NOSTALGIA
The 70's are back

From bell bottoms to war and a crook in the White House
Hamid Bakhsheshi

I wasn’t in a good mood tonight.  Besides the fact that the wife and I had some “words”, if you would, I just wasn’t chipper.  I felt that the news for these past few days have been rather disturbing.  So, when Reza got the wind of it and asked to go to the hookah place, I didn’t hesitate much and agreed. We were both deeply disappointed in what is going on in the Middle East.  We both agreed that once the oil dries up in the region, everything will settle down and there will be peace. I realized then that the 1970’s have really made a come back.  I mean it isn’t just in the bell bottom pants and long hair and beards any more, the whole decade is back.  I did thank “W” for the war he created in Iraq to make this decade feel a bit more like the 70’s.  You know, Vietnam War?  >>>

PATRIARCHY
Feminizm va estemraare mardsalaari

What is true gender equality?
Homayoun Abghari

BOOKS

World pleasures

Snapshots from Marjane Satrapi's new illustrated book
Mehrdad Aref-Adib

ZAN
Going Dutch

My ideal Iranian man is not
Charlotte Najafi

Iranian men were not able to appreciate me or even accept the fact that I did know more and better and had more experience on travelling and being a so called "donya dideh". Or, they forced me to accept their point of view's of how life is or they just ignored me or the worse, they wanted me just because I am 1.80cm, slender and pretty and in many ways not like an average Iranian woman! (I mean just the flesh and blood was important to them but not the whole package!), I am sure you understand what I mean. Anyways, I gave up and began to live my own life, without a man and rejecting their helping hands or even the family and friends well-meant suggestions or what ever! Till I met a Dutch! A younger Dutch man, good looking, educated and self-disciplined with a good back-ground. (Not able to speak more than 2 languages but with a good job and still in process of becoming a successful and professional man) >>>

ART

American portrait

Iranian-American artist Sara Rahbar
Neda Sarmast

SINGER
Sultan of my heart

Monika Jalili and Noorsaaz's remembrance of things past...
Darius Kadivar

There is something extremely moving to listen to the Classically trained Soprano born in New York who seems to naturally bring to our ears familiar rhythms and sounds that through her lips seem to take a new rejuvenated resonance. This is particularly true for the English version of the song based on the music score Sultan of My Heart which could be used as a music score to any classic Romantic Hollywood Film of the Golden Ages and yet is actually that of one of the greatest romantic films of Pre-Revolution Iranian Cinema starring the charismatic Film Star Fardin, certainly the Burt Lancaster of Iranian Cinema and the beautiful Azar Shiva >>>

MORALITY
Save sex for marriage
Mahnaz Zardoust-Ahari

I have read several articles and responses from different people on the issue of morality. And the question that comes to my mind is what is wrong with waiting till you find the person you want to be married to? Then giving it all to him or her. Why do young men and women have to have sex before they are married? What, do they have to taste it first before they buy it or something? I don't understand this. When I married my husband I was a virgin. I am proud of the fact that I was and that I could give this to my husband. Is it so wrong to want your significant other to be that way? In today's world I would think we would try harder to be conservative in what we do with our bodies considering all of the diseases that are rampant. But what I see it seems that we are on a self-destructive course. Not so much immoral, even though I do not agree I do not judge, but self-damaging. As a woman, I know I can do anything my male counter-parts do -- but do I really want to? >>>

ACADEMIC
Hamehkishim

Academic excellence and supervision, Iran
Ahmad Sadri

KURDISTAN
Union of independent states

Iraq's partition would expedite the creation of a democratic union based on free will in the future
Kamal H. Artin

Every evidence hints toward spread of freedom in the Middle East, despite the efforts of dark forces to turn the clock back! Although dividing Iraq would be advantageous for all, the US administration remains resistant to accept this inevitable starting point of reform in the Middle East and calls partition a "nonstarter". Maybe the current Republican administration is exhausted with making any further drastic changes and is waiting for a Democrat to deal with their angry friends from the past! I believe partition is a reasonable and progressive solution at this stage; it is just a matter of time, and the sooner the better. As opposed to current unstable union based on force, partition would expedite the creation of a democratic union based on free will in the future >>>

PEOPLE

Made in India

Photo essay: Indian community in Toronoto, Canada
Sasan Afsoosi

PROSTITUTION
Shame on shame

Part 4: Sweltering summer afternoons in Shiraz, 1982
Pullniro

Ensy always felt a kind of warmth emanating from Mr. S when she saw him. He always gave her a big smile, pinching her cheeks and saying nice things to her. Once or twice when the little girl happened to be climbing the stairs he materialized out of nowhere, offering her a candy and softly caressed her hair. He always called her by names like rabbit or mouse and other pet names. Sometimes when Ensy and Jomee were walking in the alley, they saw the boisterous Mr. S playing balls with some young guys. Ensy could not take her eyes off this vivacious middle-aged man who unlike her dad, was always in command, ordering and shouting everyone what to do next. When he saw them he would run forward pinching and kissing on Ensy's cheek before rushing back to his post in the court. While Dad was always too busy with his business and numerous love-affairs to pay his daughter any attention, Mr. S would always brighten up whenever he saw Ensy >>>

REVIEW
The Big Apple and the worm

Googoosh & Mehrdad show in New York
Alireza Tarighian

OK! It is good to go to any Googoosh event. But I had a hard time convincing myself to go to this one in New York's Madison Square Garden last weekend for one obvious reason: I can not tolerate Mehrdad. After this show, he proved how right I am to feel this way. Please note that I purposely call the event a "show" and not a concert. It did not have the quality of a concert. It was way different than the one we drove to all the way from New Jersey to Toronto six and a half years ago. I was so impressed in Toronto that I wrote "Mahe-Nou-Aeen". But the New York show was more like a cabaret performance. Googoosh was more into changing dresses and acting. She is still an excellent performer and pleases her audiance but what she says does not go to your heart. Money rules and acts there. Show business, folks! >>>

ZEALOTS
Let them have fun
Siamack Baniameri

Nature has a way of dealing with idiots. Every year millions of them die in accidents, falling from trees and buildings, driving a vehicle while speaking on a cell phone, attempting to cross raging rivers, electrocution, gun accidents, shooting nails in the head with nail guns, etc. This is nature's way of riding itself from mentally deficient. So why shouldn't we allow sectarian violence purge the bottom of the barrel of the human gene pool in our region? If Al-Qaida wants to stick dynamites up Mehdi Army's ass... let it be. Encourage it. Facilitate it and let them have fun. Wouldn't it be great to have a national holiday in the Middle East where the rest of us sane humans stay home for a weekend and let Soldiers of Divinity blow each other up to smithereens? Wouldn't that be cool? >>>

CONTROL
Look who's watching

How surveillance technology is used to monitor and control activities by Australian and Iranian authorities
Bita Riazati

Surveillance is the act of watching or monitoring, when this is implemented through out a society, it ensures that the country is under watch from terrorists and in many instances it is to monitor social changes. In some countries surveillance technology is used for the safety of citizens while in other power hungry and conservative societies, security cameras, surveillance software in chat rooms, mobile phone bugging and electronic tagging is used for harassment and limiting one's freedom of expression under the banner of fighting "decadence". The two countries I have chosen to compare consist of Iran and Australia. The reason to this selection is the major difference between these two country's surveillance policies and the way these states choose to monitor their citizens. While one country uses the technology to improve the human life style, the other one uses the same technology to create limitations for journalists, political activists, average citizens and any one who may have different opinions about the Government and its authorities >>>

POETRY
Asheghaaneh

Love
Mandana Zandian

CONCERT

Putting themselves on the map

Photo essay: Iranian music festival in Holland
Babak Andishmand

CHOICE
Osama yaa Gandhi?

Osama bin Laden or Mahatma Gandhi?
Esmail Nooriala

SHRINK
Haale Aghaye Raiesejmhour vakhimtar shodeh ast

President Ahmadinejad's increasingly disturbing mental issues
Massoud Noghrekar

WOMEN
The other side of oppression

The reality of women's liberation movement in Iran
Azar Majedi

I am sure that you all have heard about the non-existence of women's rights in Islam. However, some think it is not Islam's fault, they blame the patriarchy. They maintain that it is not Islam, but patriarchal interpretations of Islam that is responsible for the conditions of women in countries under the rule of Islam. In other words it is the ruling men's fault not the ruling Islam. We will not get into the debate that Islam as all other religions is the direct product of patriarchal era. It could not have escaped being permeated by patriarchic values and outlook. However, we must state one undeniable fact, that is, millions of women are violated daily by Islamic laws, customs, values and states. We must deal in an effective manner with this violation >>>

SUGGESTION
Let's get out now

Withdrawing from Iraq
Sasan Seifikar

There is increasing agreement among various pundits and analysts that the American and British military presence in Iraq is not making the lives of Iraqis any better, but that in fact it is making it much worse. Violence and misery is now part of the lives of many if not most ordinary Iraqis. There is also much agreement, particularly among the regulars in the mainstream media with the administration that nevertheless leaving Iraq soon is out of the question. But there are good reasons to withdraw from Iraq as soon as possible. A quick US withdraw from Iraq will be a good first step in restoring credibility to US in the world community, something which the US needs badly >>>

SEDUCTION
Fat love

Napoleon mon amour, Part 10: Picking on some mid-aged woman, twice divorced, single mom, with no social life and a weight problem!
Sarvenaz

Where do I begin? It has been so long since I wrote for you, dear faithful readers... What should I do? Beg your indulgence make you co-dependents in this game of humiliation I am playing? How can I take a post-feminist erotic view of my situation when it is really all about female weakness--or not even that lofty, it is about my particular weakness? The truth is that everything about this relationship is lopsided.  Everything is the way he wants it.  My whole sorry life revolves around a man whose own life revolves around someone else.  And do regular orgasms make-up for a life of humiliation and angst? Of course not. No woman or even man with a modicum of integrity would stay in a relationship like this. Not unless they were not in love >>>

POET

Confessions

Video clips & photo essay: Leila Farjami poetry reading in Berekeley
Jahanshah Javid

POETRY
Autumn letter

For Mother
Susan Atefat-Peckham

POETRY
Temptation

Tearing me apart
Reza Eslami

POETRY
One heartbeat to the next

After all life in only a string on moments
Baharak Sedigh

POETRY
Four things to know

Inspired by a poem from Attar
Sasan Seifikar

POETRY
Grading grief

From the one-night stand to the life-long variety
Setareh Sabety

POETRY
Blood and oil

My mother’s people rousted about for oil
Tarssa Yazdani

POETRY
Sadistic hunt

... to search, with such heart
Tahereh Tavous

ASTROPHOTOGRAPHY

Twinkle, twinkle

Photo essay: Galaxies, nebulas and...
Behyar Bakhshandeh

STORY
Nah nah, man ham siyaasiam

I'm political, too
Masih Mazloum

MUSIC
Bandar Abbas

Latest album from Hassan Shojaie
Azam Nemati

I have always loved Shojaie's voice. In 1977, I was so touched to find out that he taught at a special school for troubled boys. His warm and sweet voice brings back many good memories and I vividly remember that warm summer afternoon in 1977 driving on Takhte Jamshid Avenue (now Taleghani Ave) listening to his album at full blast when I saw his brown BMW dive by me. He just smiled hearing his songs from another car >>>

ART
Hand of Fatima

Farideh Zariv's collection of hands
Sanaz Fotouhi

Farideh Zariv, a Canberra-based Iranian-Australian artist, was the first ever Muslim woman to exhibit in Iziko Bo-kaap Museum in Cape Town, South Africa. Farideh arrived in Australia with her husband and children in 2001 on a distinguished talent visa, which is a rare subclass of visa issued to highly achieved artists and sportsmen. Farideh has had formal training in the Arts with a degree in Fine Arts and one in Graphics. Currently she is continuing her education at the Australian National University doing a Master of Arts in Fine Arts focusing on Persian traditional patterns. She has been a practicing artist for nearly twenty years and has exhibited globally in America, Asia, Europe, Australia and recently Africa >>>

LETTERS
Crawl back into the Dark Ages

In response to Sima Shirazi's "I'm the boss": I can't help wondering which woman must have hurt you so much, flipped your pride inside out and emasculated you to the point that you dare publish this kind of trash--this reeks of relationship-induced insecurity. Were you cheated on? It also sounds a lot like Tom Cruise's character in the movie Magnolia, who spent his whole life hating women because he couldn't stand up to his father. Who made you such damaged goods? Was it your father? An ex-girlfriend that rejected you? Is it the fact that you were given a female first name? Or the fact that you probably resort to abusing women because can't hold a woman's attention even by spending lots of money on her? >>> Full text
60 more letters (Part 2 | Part 3)

PHOTOGRAPHY

Tehroon Times

Photo essay
Amirali Ghasemi

RAMAZAN
Shab-haaye ehyaa

Spending the holy days in Tehran, reluctantly
Shahriar Zahedi

STORY
The shoes

The teacher dashed towards the little boy, took out his stake and raised his hand
Afsan Azadi

The school bell had rung, announcing that the school was formally in session. Students were pouring into their classrooms. In the third-grade class, boys were entering the room, horsing around, making loud and cheerful noises and goofing around before gradually settling into their seats. Upon entering the room, the kids noticed a new student sitting alone on a bench at the end of the class. He seemed different. He was sitting there quietly. From his appearance, it was obvious that he was not from that neighborhood, possibly from a different city and most probably from a different province and a different segment of society >>>

WAR
Bush’s greatest victory

Iraq: Mission accomplished, indeed
Pedram Moallemian

I lived in San Diego when on that faithful morning the President of the United States flew into town, donned a flight suit and helmet and landed in a Lockheed S-3 Viking on the deck of USS Abraham Lincoln to announce to the world that "in the battle of Iraq, the United States and our allies have prevailed.” He did not fly out to the naval carrier in a helicopter, as is the norm, even though the ship was actually within helicopter range when he arrived. He also took the control stick for part of the flight just to add to the day’s drama. This was now officially a “show” >>>

SOLIDARITY
Don't wait for help

Chained down by our rooted cultural and social incongruous habits
Payam Shahfari

The absence of responsibility and accountability among our citizens is one major source from where our problems arise. Today, every problem is blamed on the Mullahs or the government. It is often ignored that the responsibilities of building the edifice of order and solidarity in our society lies mostly in the hands of the people. We have chosen to play the game that the government has put forth in order to eliminate consonance and harmony among the people. The government realizes that with the existence of a solidified movement among the people, cooperation of the people with the unjust laws of the government will cease to exist, since they are all suffering in the same hell manufactured by the government itself >>>

TRAVELERS

Away from war

Photo essay: Afghanistan
Pouria Lotfi

LIFE
Shame on happiness

Misery was whispered to us on a regular basis back when we were babies
Zohreh Khazai Ghahremani

We grew up worshipping Hedayat because he brought us that close to our death wish, and we enjoyed Bozorg Alavi because of the deep sorrow passed to us through his novel, Her Eyes. Okay, we did have a good laugh with My Uncle Napoleon, but that was Pezeshkzad and you have to admit, not too many of our writers are that funny. True as it may be that Iranians have seen too many ups and downs to be happy-go-lucky people, it is equally true that we wouldn’t know happiness if it slapped us in the face. The bottom line is that it is culturally unacceptable for an Iranian to be utterly happy>>>

NIQAB
Careful cover

Distortion and Islamophobia
Nema Milaninia

Its interesting and at the same time disturbing to see political attacks against the wearing of the niqab (as to be contrasted with the hijab) by senior members of the British government. Particularly in light of the undeniable growth of Islamophobia around the world. While this question doesn’t effect most Iranians, since the overwhelming majority of Iranian Muslims don’t wear the niqab (in fact I’ve never seen an Iranian Muslim wearing a niqab has so I’d welcome commentary on the matter), the fact that it is evidence of growing demonization of Muslims bears witness. A quick search on wikipedia alone reveals the following facts >>>

SATIRE
Persian romance

Part 7: Maryam wondered whether she might possibly upgrade her fiancé while fixing her nose and get back at Golnaz in one fell swoop
Payam Ghamsari

Maryam felt breathless as she cut the Doctors' sentence short and stared deeply into his green tinted contact lenses. He had once been engaged to her friend Golnaz but the engagement had been broken off at the last minute because Golnaz had been upset that he could only afford to buy her a house in Hammersmith and not in Kensington. He had explained that he would be able to afford to move to Kensington in a year or so but that wasn't good enough for Golnaz and her family. Though Maryam had a feeling that the location of the house was only a side issue, at first Golnaz's family had been very happy that she had found herself a successful doctor, but ever since he qualified as a surgeon they had grown cold towards him >>>

ART

Mitraism

Paintings & drawings
Mitra Samadi

POETRY
Truth be told

Is your truth the only truth that we must obey?
Sara Rahai

POETRY
Traces

Wrinkles that show all the years of woe
Setareh Sabety

VIEW
From Cyrus to Ahmadinejad

Iran: A biblical perspective
Steven M. Goldstein

Similarities between ancient Persia and its reincarnation as modern Iran have perplexed me throughout my days as a student, Foreign Service specialist, and now, professor. The Book of Esther presents a long series of twists, turns, contradictions, and ironies centered on personalities and the hidden divine hand. A benevolent King Cyrus allows the Jews to return to the Land of Israel and rebuild the Temple, but the wicked King Ahashverosh scuttles his plan. Haman, an evil minister bent on Jewish destruction, holds the reigns of power but is replaced by Mordechai the Jew, who saves his co-religionists. What’s next? A look at Iranian beginnings might give us a hint >>>

IRAN
Reading shades of meaning

Unravelling the semantic complexities of Iranian politics
Excerpt from Daniel Lafond's "Conversations in Tehran"

Iran is an Islamic republic, conceived in the image of the community founded by the Prophet Muhammed when he emigrated from Mecca to Medina in 622 to begin the Islamic era. As if that were not enough, Iranians must also contend with the startling innovation in Shi’ite tradition, devised by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.... It is a hybrid, one-of-a-kind regime, designed to perpetuate the power of the religious establishment over society. But it is also a regime that must tolerate within it other voices, other forces. These may not be completely secularist, but they are bitingly critical of the mullahs’ attempts to obtain a stranglehold on power >>>

FELINE
What's new pussycat?
Gorgahoo

What makes the world go 'round? Class struggle, battle between light and darkness, God and Satan, power of love, or according to my redneck neighbor, the desire to get and consume another six-pack of beer? One can believe that any one of these forces or motives is what makes humans tick. I, on the other hand, after in-depth examining of human condition, have come to the conclusion that the thing that moves, shakes, and makes human destiny and history is the cat. Yes, cat, that is scientifically known as "Pussituos Felinuos." >>>

TRAVELERS

Heading south

Photo essay: Qeshm, Hormoz, Minab and Bandar Abbas
Saba Parsa

WHIP
Treat ‘em mean, keep ‘em keen!

Some men AND women quite simply ENJOY the bittersweet cat and mouse game
Dokhtar Shirazi

Despite being a female, and without attempting to be a traitor to my own kind, I have to confess that I too, have made similar observations. As a soon to be admitted lawyer working in a male dominated industry and being one of only three females working in a commercial litigation law firm, inevitably, I have spent a lot of time closely observing the male species and on many occasions I have come this close to beg those pussy whipped males, to order their bitches to shove it where the sun don’t shine! Ok, as an example, picture this. My boss, being a highly respected, self-assured, egoistic, know-it-all middle age litigant, is bossed around by this foxy, blond lass -- AKA the wife -- who thinks she has the right to run the show for him. Let me rephrase that >>>

VIEW
Fight on two fronts

On one hand there is imperialism and on the other are the Islamists
Mehdi Kia

Twenty-five years ago we had a battle with the left in terms of how to deal with regimes like Iran. We won that battle ideologically, but at a price which was really disastrous, with tens of thousands of people killed, including over 400 from my own organisation, and 8 from our central committee. Having to fight the same battle yet again is almost like a sick joke, but it is one we are going to have to fight. There are those who today find themselves standing in defence of the Islamic republic - equating, for instance, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in Iran with Chávez or Castro. In order to counter this, it is important to show where this regime came from, how it developed and what it means in terms of economic and social policy >>>

OPPOSITION
Cleaning up politics

Iran's political opposition: a birth of a new era or another political miscarriage?
Tina Ehrami

The new generation of Iranian political activists, that mainly consists of students in Iran and a very small amount of young individuals living abroad. These are mostly children of the political refugees who left Iran during the past thirty years. This new generation can be characterized by a strong sense of urgency, lack of a network and a lack of knowledge of political history. Some are organized in student organizations and some express their involvement under a less political colored umbrella such as human rights activism and urge for democracy and more individual freedom. They are passionate, motivated and in need of guidance >>>

CHILDREN

The lighthouse

Photo essay: Khaneh Nasser Khosrow, home for chidlren
Samineh Baghcheban Pirnazar

HERITAGE
Bozorg-daasht e Kurosh

Untimely skepticism about Cyrus Day
Esmail Nooriala

ART

Fall angels

Paintings
Ardeshir Tabrizi

WOMEN
Disappearing dignity

There is a generation of wonderful, beautiful, intelligent young Iranian women that sleep around and engage in activities that would shame their families if they knew
Intrepid Resolve

This issue of respect and self-respect is very evident in Iranian women. What makes an Iranian woman different than lets say an American, Canadian, or British one, what makes her special? When it comes to beauty, it can be found in all these races, and when it comes to cultural nuances they can be learned and emulated, so what is left for the Iranian woman? It is her character and her core beliefs and values with regard to family and fidelity ingrained in her from childhood that make her different than any other woman. It is her self-respect, her dignity, and her strong belief in right and wrong that makes her an ideal mate, friend, partner, and wife. And for that reason alone, an Iranian woman is hands down worth ten of each of the women mentioned above. Sadly though it seems that is not a trend that has passed to the the current generation. >>>

POINT
If only George Bush had been Amish

The world may have been spared from an uncontrollable urge to kill in the name of an all-loving (yet, no doubt, rather ill-tempered) God
Doug Soderstrom

The Amish response to the brutal slaying of five of their own offspring in an old fashioned, one-roomed school house was a blueprint for how President George Walker Bush should have responded to the slaughter of nearly 3,000 of our own citizens in the tragedy of September 11, 2001. The merciful decision to forgive a deranged man who, for whatever reason, chose to project a self-inflicted sense of hate upon a classroom of nothing but innocent children was exactly as God would have had it, exactly how he would have responded if it had been one of his own children who had been slain >>>

NUCLEAR
The Nafisi letter

Is Rasool Nafisi advising the NeoCons?
Pedram Moallemian

I am still attempting to understand what the central point of Rasool Nafisi's "The Khomeini Letter" exactly is. His references to “this most critical issue” goes back and forth from the focus of “western media attention” on the nuclear reference in Khomeini’s letter recently published by Rafsanjani, on to trying to establish the differences of opinions within the ruling class in Iran and ending with an almost regretful mention of the “delay” this may all cause in “Washington’s ability to influence Iran’s internal debates”. That last part made me look again to make sure it wasn’t Azar Nafisi who wrote it instead of Rasool >>>

TRAVELERS

Escape from madness

Photo essay: Hilkers in Darband, north Tehran
Sasan Afsoosi

RESPONSIBILITY
Anousheh's dream comes true

Posing a general question on philanthropy
Behrouz Bahmani

I read a lot of emails opining on Anousheh Ansaris self-funded $20-million expedition to outer space, as the first female Space Tourist, realizing her long held childhood dream. At first, I like everyone watched incredulously, and I will admit, rather annoyingly with a good dose of jealousy to boot, at what appeared to be nothing more than a spoilt rich person's exercise in excess, an awful waste of an awful lot of money. As Anousheh blogged her way across my day from the outer sky, sliding past the horizons of my web browser and the earth, telling me how this was so inspiring or that was so incredible, describing every daily detail of every meal inside her clean white habitat, I could at first only think of the many other things one could do with the money being spent on this glorified roller coaster ride >>>

AWARENESS
Fifteen minutes a day

Get informed and do your part in putting a stop to this madness
Cyrus Mossaddegh

It is vital all Iranians become informed about what is going on. I know many of you live very busy lives and spending more than fifteen minutes a day on news gathering is more than a luxury. The site is set up in such a way that you can gather a great deal of information quickly. I started Iran Information Agency because I kept coming across articles that were scattered all over the Internet but where related to one central issue; war and Iran, and nobody was organizing it onto one site. First I gathered the articles on my hard disk and after five years of doing this I decided to place it on a blog and the trigger for this was the Israel-Hezbollah war. I am certain that if the war had turned out differently Iran would have ended up being under a great deal of pressure; certainly far more pressure then it is under now >>>

QUEER
Reading Shahnameh in Paris

Over the years, the two women developed a special bond
Afdhere Jama

The Marais district of Paris is full of people some would not really expect in the heart of Paris, like Iranian lesbians. A traditional neighborhood of Jews, Le Marais is now famous as the “gay” neighborhood of Paris. Many of the gay restaurants, clubs and other happenings are found here. But it is because of the atmosphere of this district that attracts them, say the locals. A 37-year-old Iranian lesbian named Parvaneh is visiting a young (man and woman) couple who live in a tiny studio on rue Sainte Croix de Bretonnerie. They also happen to be Iranians. But “they are not gay,” Parvaneh assures me, “they are young, educated and open minded. And last summer I met them at a rally outside of Paris for Maryam Rajavi. We have become very close since, and I’m here today because I’m in search of moral support.” >>>

DESIGN
Persian phoenix
Legofish, aka Pendar Yousefi

I've submitted a design for Threadless. It's an important design site that takes people's designs and puts them up for voting, after 7 days the highest voted design wins and the design is printed on shirts and sold. The winner also gets some prizes (which I'm gonna use to pay for art classes ... if I win) I think I'm the first Iranian to submit a design, and it's the first Persian design featured on the site. I need people's vote for this if I'm to have a chance, and I'm especially counting on support from other Iranians. It's my rendition of the legendary Persian phoenix. According to legends, this magnificent bird answers the call of he/she who sets her feather ablaze. I've used a lot of Persian design elements in this, including some subtle Persian floral motifs mixed with some tribal shapes >>>

TANZ
Dar rasaaye Emran Salahi
Alef Refugee

CONCERT

Sisters of Rock

Photo essay: Abjeez in concert in London
Parima Shahin Moghaddam

JUSTICE
Our destiny in their bloody hands

What is a just reaction to an unjust action?
Mehdi

As a result of the attacks on 9/11/01 by those men who were influenced by Al Qaeda ideologies approximately 2,973 people which by the way not all were Americans lost their lives. This event led citizens of the countries that were effected by this attack mainly U.S. and NATO countries to allow their governments to first invade Afghanistan, and then Iraq in a war that was meant to fight terrorism, but one that I presume meant to avenge the loss of those who lost their life on 9/11. However the irony is that as this seemingly never ending war against terrorism is continuing more people (both innocent civilians & military service men & women) are dying in an effort to avenge the lives of those killed by those 19 men who already had died >>>

VIEW
The narrow war

How "Islamo-fascism" is the pretext for Islamic discrimination
Nema Milaninia

What I find disturbing about Bush's latest classification of this "war" following 9/11 are the implicit statements underlying its evolution. As we all know following 9/11 the Bush administration announced a “Global War on Terror.” Very recently, the war on terror changed to the “global struggle against violent extremism.” In Bush’s latest speech justifying the war on Iraq and the war post-9/11 he used a different brand name. One more poignant to nomenclature used by his supporters. He said we are now in a war against “Islamo-fascism.” While Bush did note that “Islamo-fascism” is different then Islam itself, I think the very act of narrowing down terrorism to one religion or faith serves as a basis of declaring that religion or faith as a cause for terrorism >>>

VIEW
Is Islamic fascism a slur?

Islam fully meets each of the nine distinctive features of fascism
Amil Imani

Last August, President George W. Bush used the term "Islamic Fascism" in a speech. In no time at all, the Bush-bashers, Islamic propaganda organizations and the rabid left unleashed a campaign of assault on the President for insulting the Muslims and sullying the sanctified religion of Islam by linking its name with fascism. Did the President indeed slander Islam, or people like Feingold are Bush-bashers who for their own reasons would never miss an opportunity to berate President Bush as well as those who support him? Let the facts decides. Let us examine each characteristic of fascism, one at a time, and see if the President was justified or did he indeed misspeak >>>

VIEW
Capitalist jihadist

In your love for the western capitalism and lack of reluctance to hate an ideology, you have fallen into the same extremist trap that you are accusing Muslims to be
Areyo Barzan

As a direct victim of extremism I am opposed to any type and form of it, be it Islamic, communist or capitalist. It is also worth to mention that I am neither a Muslim nor a communist, although I think they both have valuable point to contribute into a secular and modern society. But the trick is not to let them run into extremes. It is very important that they should not be taken out of proportion and no extremist view should be accepted from or accommodated by their followers. We should also consider that Islam is still going through its evolutionary stages and it is still in its fourteenth century compared to 21st century of the Christianity. Also compared with Christianity in its medieval stages, Islam has a far cleaner track record >>>

TRAVELERS

Learning from grown-ups

Photo essay: Kabul children
Hila Sharif

NEGOTIATION
My beautiful gold digger
Siamack Baniameri

I asked a gorgeous Iranian girl to consider going out with me. She said that our 20 years age difference concerned her. I told her that my mother is 30 years younger than my dad and they're doing just fine. She said that she does not find my receding hairline very attractive. I assured her that the size of my endowment will make up for that. She said that my bad teeth and awful breath are further reasons for apprehension. I told her that the size of my savings, checking, 401K, IRA accounts, and real estate investments will make up for that. She said that she finds my short height and huge nose unsightly. I told her... >>>

AMNESTY
Basic human dignity

Interview with Drewery Dyke: Amnesty International’s view on human rights violations in Iran
Soheila Vahdati

All those involved in the defense of human rights welcome the growth of such activism in Iran. Iranian human rights defenders (HRDs) are a courageous group of people; not least the women human rights defenders (WHRDs). Iran continues to experience grave human rights violations. Since the election of President Ahmadinejad, human rights violations have continued at an unabated pace and call into question the government's commitments to the international human rights standards to which Iran is a state party, such as the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). The current situation is serious and the international community needs to take a closer look at the human rights situation in Iran and not be blinded by other issues, however pressing they may appear >>>

CAVEMAN
Profound blindness

Male domination and the gazing Narcissist
Leila Farjami

A couple of recent Iranian male writers of Iranian.com have graciously voiced their concerns about the rising number of Iranian women claiming their rights as equal partners. Of course, no narcissist wants to lose his position in a power/control game; however, a narcissist always acts to his own detriment. Take the myth of Narcissus for instance: a beautiful man gazing at his own celestial image in the reflecting waters, frozen, immobile, eternally unaware of all other possibilities within himself. This is the death of the human soul: the rigidity and inflexibility of the mind >>>

NUCELAR
The Khomeini letter

Is Rafsanjani warning the hardliners?
Rasool Nafisi

A written correspondence between the late Ayatollah Khomeini and the then commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards (IRGC), Mohsen Rezai, has given some insight into why Iran accepted a ceasefire with Iraq in 1988. The correspondence has caused much debate and speculation inside and outside Iran. Published by the office of former Iranian president Rafsanjani last week, it reveals that Khomeini had been advised by Rezai that the war was not winnable. While Western observers have focused on a single sentence in the letter referring to nuclear weapons, the letter has sparked fierce debate inside Iran for a very different reason >>>

ART

Flower shower

Paintings
Farnoosh Ahmadi Shirazi

HOSSEIN
Birthday party

Haj-khanum takes handfuls of bon-bons from the bowl in front of her and throws them at the crowd
Hiedeh Farmani

The vocalist opens her gig with a tribute to the arched eyebrows of the beloved accompanied by four 'daf' players all dressed in green beating hard on sheep skin, urging the audience to clap along. It is the birth anniversary of Abol-Fazl, a Shiite saint and brother of the revered Imam Hussein -- my mother-in-law's 'moloodi' that I have to attend every year. The place is packed with women sitting on the floor -- the lucky ones got there earlier and occupied the chairs around the room. The fashionably late haj-khanum singer sure has a way with the crowd, eliciting 'kel' and 'salavat' and taking them door to door to ask favors and blessing of all good Shiite saints >>>

IDEAS
Erfan as I see it
Arash Sayedi

I sit here today and pen my thoughts because of the disappointment of seeing such an all encompassing notion as Erfan be reduced to its parts in many circles by academics, theologians and the common souls alike. This reductionism is perhaps the ultimate irony placed on an Erfan that strives to paint a picture of the whole. It is rather like the story of the three blind men at the circus, explaining what an elephant looks like, having each felt one part of it. So what is Erfan? The explanation I have come to love is this: Imagine a piece of paper with a large circle drawn on it with a title that says 'The World' >>>

CAVEMAN
Go back to your cave

If you abuse your wife and think you can get away with it, think again
Mazloom

Any idiot can go out there and make a child, but it takes a man to raise a child. It takes a man to get up in the morning, whether he likes it or not, and go to work and bring food to his family. With the kind of language Sima Shirazi uses, it won’t be very long that he would loose any kind of job he may have. Let’s see how long he would last in a work place when he calls one of his co-workers a derogatory name. There are laws in place to protect the people against someone like Sima Shirazi. You guys out there who are saying Sima Shirazi is right, think intelligently, this country is not Islamic Republic of Iran (IRI). You cannot be disrespectful to your wife, and think you can slap her around and then divorce her, and take other wives. The laws in most of the States, especially in California, are geared up to protect the children and the women >>>

AFGHANISTAN
The lion prowls

In Afghanistan, the Bush Doctrine has been a monumental success
Slater Bakhtavar

In 1996, funded financially and backed morally by their allies in Pakistan, the Taliban ("Students of Islamic Knowledge Movement") emerged as the prominent force in Afghanistan after the war against the Soviet Union and the fall of the corrupt communist dictatorship. In a campaign of failed promises, the Taliban unified various ethnic and religious groups in their attempt at stifling power. Originally the Afghani people, who were exhausted and weary due to decades of civil war, supported what they saw as a unified force that would be able to bring stability to the nation. On the global platform, Pakistan was able to convince the Clinton Administration, Saudi Arabia, and the United Kingdom that the Taliban was the ideal choice of governance for Afghanistan. Having the desire to consolidate their own power while dismissing US-calls for the return of King Mohammad Zahir Shah they solidified the most fundamentalist elements of the regime >>>

TRAVELERS

The safari stories

Photo essay: Africa, the realm of visual sensation
Keyvan Tabari

I was sitting in the plane on the tarmac of the Dar es-Salaam airport that was to take me out of Africa. The security check here was based on redundancy, and the numerous inspections of our luggage had been exhausting. I felt drained. The first announcement from the crew came on the speakers in the clipped accent of the British Airways crew: “Ladies and Gentlemen, we are going to spray the cabin.” Strapped in the seat belt, my mind wandered >>>

CAVEMAN
I'm the boss

Khoda made women to please us and NOT the other way around
Sima Shirazi

Sometimes a man has got to take a stand for one of his buddies. It's one thing to be pussy whipped at home, but to be disrespected when you're out in front of your friends is a completely different story. You've got to keep your bitch in line because if you don't one of your friends might just do it for you and tell her to shut her big fucking mouth. Goddamn, you know how Iranian women bitch. It's enough to make a man climb a clock tower somewhere and start shooting innocent fucking strangers. One thing is for sure; the men who treat their women like Persian princesses, the men who adore and pamper their wives, the men who make jackasses-out-of-themselves being romantic fools are the ones who become pussy whipped the fastest. Men who treat their wives like shit with the occasional pimp slap on the ass, now and again, and men who treat their girlfriend like a fifty dollar whoe, are the ones who get the most respect, the most sex and the most of whatever they want from their bitches, Persian or not! >>>

BURNING
Raped
Khandan Golmast

I spent two long years working at a shelter for battered women. While the women who walked through the doors came from all walks of life, all races, socioeconomic classes, ages, appearances - they shared one unmistakable quality that perhaps only those seasoned in work with abuse and rape victims can recognize: they enter the shelter doors with heads down but as they race their necks, their faces reveal eyes that burn - this is not poeticism but the only way I can describe this very particular look. There is a contradictory nature to their pain which makes it all the more real and haunting. It is one of immense sadness and at the same time rooted anger. A settled submissiveness cavorts with an equally entrenched rage. Years of abuse and in many cases rape- the absolute violation of a woman in every cruel sense - manifest into a silent scream residing in the eyes of these women >>>

MOMENTS
"Tanznevisse khoshteep"

In memory of satirist and poet Emran Salahi
Massoud Noghrekar

TRAVELERS

Eat. Sleep. Hike.

Photo essay: Weekend trip to Lake Tahoe
Farah Ravon

SAVIOUR
Do we really need another Bab?
Kianosh Saadati

In the beginning of the 21st century, while human beings are expected to discover the new boundaries of art, science and technology, when the world still suffers from the threat of international terrorism, people like Ayatollah Kazemeini Boroujerdi step forward and claim to be the promised Imam Zaman, or at least his personal assistant! Like the Bab in 1844, and Ayatollah Khomeini during the 1979 revolution, now Boroujerdi comes from nowhere to capture hearts and minds of frustrated people. People who are bored with political Islam. But who is he really? A quick look into his background does not reveal any major difference between him and others. He invites people to a peaceful version of Islam but it is the exact promise we have heard before from others >>>

IDEAS
God-dependency

We can kill our own dependency on gods inside us and let ourselves free of them, at least of the earthly ones
Ben Madadi

There is a huge social problem that causes other social problems. The root cause is often neglected but the results are out there to see. And here I am especially talking about the Middle East. This huge social problem is god-dependency. Take some time and reflect on this and it may not seem that distant an issue even for Iranian-Americans, who are more independent-minded and secular. Many peoples are socially and culturally (due to centuries or millennia of non-practical education, or lack of any appropriate education at all) inept to be the masters of their own fates and lives, so they always try to resort to one God or the other, or a combination of them. This social problem is present in almost any people, though much stronger in some and weaker in others >>>

CULTURE
Dar jostejuye ayneye mehraeen

The significance of Mehregan
Esmail Nooriala

MUSIC
Or quite possibly just the beginning

Being made to eat your words can be a bitch
Behrouz Bahmani

Shahram Kashani's new album "Game Over" is a bit of a problem. Not for you, you and everyone else should stop reading this right now and open a new browser window and find a way to buy it. And stop asking me for free MP3 files. Go ahead do it now, I'll wait for you to come back...Got it? OK here's why the album is a problem. As someone who has had it with the LA machine cranking out the usual dull and boring 6/8 fecal matter, I had in fact lumped SK in that cess pool. Now I am forced to face the embarrassing task of eating my words.At least with this album. Game Over is a radical departure for an artist better known for his LA party boy image >>>

MARATHON MAN
Please join me
Taghi Amirani

I'm running the New York Marathon on November 5th. Getting into the NY Marathon is very very hard, but those lovely people at the UK charity Shelter offered me a guaranteed place in return for raising money for them. Shelter is a great charity doing amazing vital work for the homeless and people with bad inadequate housing. What they do is very close to my heart and your donation will mean a lot to them, to the people they help and to me. So please take a moment and visit my fundraising page and help me keep my promise to Shelter. It's really easy - you can donate online by credit or debit card. All donations are secure and sent electronically to Shelter. If you are a UK taxpayer, Justgiving will automatically reclaim 28% Gift Aid on your behalf, so your donation is worth even more. Please join me in supporting Shelter and a fabulous cause.

POETRY
Benevolence

We listen to the whole world and argue for what we need to find
Niloofar Nafici

TRAVELERS

Mashhad on foot

Photo essay: People
Sasan Afsoosi

POETRY
Deep throat

Muffled lamentations
Setareh Sabety

RICE
Technical difficulties!
Guive Mirfendereski

The London gabfest (from the Old Persian gap, meaning talk, chat) about sanctioning Iran is off -- delayed for a week -- because the slithery forked-tongued Condi Rice's aeroplane has developed technical difficulties taking off from Baghdad! You've got to love the irony in this. Here is the Secretary of State of the almighty United States of America who cannot get to a meeting on time because her plane, a US-manufactured Boeing, I suppose, had technical difficulties. Maybe the good secretary should buy some spare parts from Iran and fix the bird and fly off. Or maybe, she should have not engaged in yet another "dropping by" visit to Iraq, which no doubt gives the impression to the locals that the place has turned into a khaaneh-ye khaaleh, to which people come and go with no amount of formality. Maybe the threat of a terrorist attack on the aeroplane around Baghdad airport delayed the trip, so she had to wait for the dark to fall before taking off! >>>

BRIGHT SIDE
Pope, Islam & protection
Bigharar

In a speech, Pope Benedict XVI quoted 14th-century Byzantine emperor Manuel II Paleologus who said: "Show me just what Mohammed brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached". Now, it is not a big secret that the sword was used quite effectively to spread Islam from the desert that is Arabia all the way to Morocco and Indonesia, as that was the only form that the early Arab could communicate, (not that much has changed). I mean the man who was allocated to Persia, Ali the "Amir of Momenin" had a sword which was blessed with two blades!! which was absolutely necessary as the Persians were showing more resistance >>>

LIFE
An American and an Iranian

The America and the Iran inside him were good friends
Siamak Vossoughi

America is the man he wanted to be when he read books - able to joke with an American woman, to dream in an American twilight, to look around at the people of America and tell them something that showed that he knew how hard they were trying, that he was paying attention to it. He was paying attention to even the parts of America that were nowhere to be found at home. Iran is the man he wanted to be when he listened to his father talk with his friends - able to make even sarcasm sound sincere, to talk of pain as though it were nothing more than pain and even to laugh about it sometimes, to value one another's presence in a room as the beginning of a new and good country. Being around one another was enough because of what everybody came into the room with >>>

ART

Venus and Mars

Sculptures
Kasra Paydavousi

STORY
Gooya rooze deegarist

Another day
Masih Mazloum

50 LETTERS
When was the last time any one of us spent a dime on anything worthwhile?

In response to Parkhash's "Nashaayad ke naamat nahand aadami": Ms. Ansari is neither a hero nor a villain. She has turned her dream of a child hood in to a reality by working hard, educating herself with some dose of luck and perhaps a good god given intelligence. I see nothing wrong with her spending 20 million dollars of her hard earned money on this venture. Freedom is not just voting, democracy and so on. An essential ingredient of freedom is the ability to do what one wants their own money and their possessions. If we question her spending, then we should question every ones spending! >>> More letters

 

PROSTITUTION
Choice

She opened the back door to a white Peugeot and sat
Sanaz Fotouhi

For the first time since she had been dropped off in front of Golestan mall, one of the most popular and expensive malls in Tehran’s upper-district, she turned around slightly. ‘Come on boys, follow me... ’ she gestured with her hand, walking along the sidewalk of Golestan avenue, holding her head up, not even once looking back. Her sheer white scarf hung way back on her head, exposing her almost blonde hair. Her slender body was covered by a skin tight mantou, revealing her small curves. Underneath her very short mantou she wore three quarter white baggy, Bermuda pants. Her white sandals revealed perfectly manicured red polished toes. As she walked she twisted something like a necklace around in her hand, swinging it around her finger and then twisting it the other way around. As she would do this, she would blow a big bubble with her gum and blow it, very effortlessly and carelessly >>>

PROSTITUTION
Shame on shame

Shiraz 1982
Pullniro

Mom and Dad were fighting again. It happened almost every night. Dad came home long after midnight while Mom was sitting by the kitchen table, satring at something on the wall, waiting for his return and then the regular quarrel would follow. The economy was tight and also the tolerance of the people who had lost everything they owned in the very first few weeks of an unwanted war was so limited. One single wrong move resulted in lengthy quarrels. Each night the sound from the couple's bedroom would wake the children first and sometimes the whole block. Words followed by shouts and then screaming, things being hurled at one another and objects being thrown to pieces. When these noises woke the children, Jomee would hurry to their room and take them in his arms, wiping their tears with his calloused hands. Rocking them in his lap, kissing and cooing in their hair, saying nice things, making them feel safe and secure >>>

PEOPLE

City of love

Photo essay: San Francisco's annual  "Love Fest"
Talieh Shahrokhi

STORY
Maraakesh door ast

I got a ten-day vacation from the devil to be with him
Sheida Mohamadi

NUCLEAR
Mutual disaster

If Ahmadinejad wants war with Israel or America, Bush and Cheney will accommodate him. He has done neither.
John London

Under Bush II, the US invaded Afghanistan and Iraq, though it appears Saddam neither had weapons of mass destruction nor played a role in 9-11. Yet, in this same quarter century when the U.S. military has been so busy it is said to be overstretched and exhausted, Iran has invaded not one neighbor and fought but one war: an 8-year war with Iraq where she was the victim of aggression. And in that war of aggression against Iran, we supported the aggressor. Hence, when Iran says that even as we have grievances against her, she has grievances against us, does Iran not have at least a small point? Which brings me to the point. There is no reason to believe Iran wants war with us. If she did want war with America, she could have had it any time in the last 27 years >>>

USA
What has happened to Iranian men?
Faramarz Fateh

Los Angeles -- Most of us agree that majority of men in Iran enjoy a so called higher station in the "mard salar" society of Iran. For example, women can't go on a trip without their husband's permission. The men (fathers) get custody of children in case of divorce. Women can't get bank loans without a male cosigner. The list goes on. Believe me, I am the first to disagree with this situation as I fully support equal rights for the sexes. But, I am amazed as to what has happened to Iranian men here in the U.S. We have become a bunch of "zan zaleels" and "zan shaheeds". I look around me, and most men I know are under total control of their wives >>>

NUCLEAR
Let me count the ways

Let’s examine the words in the definition of nuclear adventurism
Mazloom

Because I am not very smart, don’t have a Ph. D, and have never done any research at Harvard University, I looked up the meaning of the word “adventurism” in the dictionary, and here is what it says: “Involvement in risky enterprises without regard to proper procedures and possible consequences” Well, to me, that is a good description of what Akbar Ganji describes in his “Letter to America” article that was published in the Washington Post, and what Kaveh Afrasiabi criticized in his article, “What nuclear adventurism?” Let’s examine the words in the definition of “adventurism”: >>>

LIFE
Elegy

Those days are just memories now
Sepideh Vahidi

I come from the heart of a family who lives in a welcoming house in an old parish, with water streams flowing in its small alleys, watering the trees to keep my childhood memories green -- forever. This is my beloved land, which is surrounded by high mountains. Beyond the mountains towards the sun is the forest and beyond the forest is the Caspian Sea; a never-ending blue. Towards the south sits the desert, spreading out its feverish solidness, so wide, with a burning breeze that turns and twists to repeat my cradle lullabies for eternity >>>

ART

Dreaming

Paintings
Shirin Pilehvari

RIGHTS
Drop in the ocean of indifference

Why should we be shocked to see a celebrity use her fame and beauty and genuine concern to aid a helpless girl?
Darius Kadivar

I just came across your article "Save Nazanin from Nazanin" slandering Ms. Nazanin Afshin-Jam efforts on baseless arguments of her trying to self promote herself and using the case of Nazanin Fatehi as a pretext to draw attention on her own public persona. I am neither Ms. Afshin Jam's spokesman nor intend to speak on her behalf, but I did interview her a few months ago when she was hardly even approached by anyone in the Iranian Media so to speak. See "Saving Nazanin". Happily the reaction to this interview and other interviews she was to give to the Iranian Press had the credit of drawing the attention of Iranians worldwide, including inside Iran. I personally got a lot of emails from Iranians in Iran who did not even know about the case of Nazani Fatehi and her case brought their attention on many others who are suffering from similar predicaments >>>

MORGHE SAHAR
Hengameh Akhavan

"Dawn Bird" also with voice of legendary Ghamar and Nader Golchin
Azam Nemati

Hengameh Akhavan rose to fame among the true Persian music fans in the late 1970s with her distinctively unique voice. She was very private and other than a few performances on TV, she was not in the public eye. This very interesting album captures her memorable songs. The real treat for music fans is to hear the famous "Morghe Sahar" (Dawn Bird) in the original recordings by some of the legendary singers from Nader Golchin (one of my favorite singers who never went commercial) to the much beloved Ghamar >>>

WAR
Who appeases whom?

The ridiculous premise of the neo-cons is that Iran has acquired the scientific, industrial and human capabilities of Germany right before WWII!
Ardeshir Ommani

It has been said that the animosity between the governments of the United States and the Islamic Republic of Iran is the result of the policies of the extremist factions wielding power in the two governments. This assessment has its roots in disregard for justice that divides the blame equally between the victims and the offenders. Such a judgment in fact favors the assailants and goes against the prey. There is ample evidence in the public arena that the Islamic Republic of Iran, at least in the last five years, has been initiating signals to show its willingness to negotiate and engage in dialogue with the United States in order to resolve the existing differences between the two countries. But every time that Tehran has made such attempts, to the dismay of the leaders of Iran, the U.S. has decided to rebuff the friendly gestures and begin a new round of hostilities >>>

NUCLEAR
What nuclear adventurism?

Letter to Akbar Ganji
Kaveh L. Afrasiabi

In a recent opinion column in Washington Post, Mr. Ganji has lavishly praised American the beautiful, as the abode of constitution and rule of law, as if little of the Abu Ghraib and Gunatanamo Prison atrocities had reached him while he was unjustly tormented in Iran's prisons, and, worse, has accused Iranian government of "nuclear adventurism." Setting aside my own misgivings about injustice and discrimination in the US, which I have personally endured and repeatedly written about (to the deaf ears of Iranian academic community in the US who have proved to me their shallow depth and pseudo-intellectualism by their concert of silence on the viciousness perpetrated on me by some folks at Harvard), my question from Mr. Ganji is this: on what ground does he accuse the Iranian government of nuclear adventurism? And why is he so certain that the Iranian government is on its way to produce nuclear weapons? On what evidence does he base his claim? >>>

MONARCHY
Today our choice is clear

A return to monarchy is dangerous for the narrow interests of those who thrive on anarchy and opportunism
Reza Bayegan

The old rotten attitude of putting one’s selfish short-term interest above the good of the nation became endemic amongst the ruling establishment prior to the revolution. This poisonous attitude was responsible for driving a wedge between the Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi and his nation. Iranians mistakenly identified many shortcomings and aberrations with the Shah himself. They felt betrayed and alienated from their monarch. Today, amongst the exiled Iranian opposition, variants of the same selfish attitude persist. Many of its so called prominent members are shouting at the top of their voices for a regime change in Iran without willing in any way to alter their own loathsome habits and behaviour. They are fighting an acrimonious fight amongst each other over issues they have no mandate to consider let alone settle >>>

ART

Cavalier dancer

Paintings
Sheri Chakamian

MUSIC
Fanoos

Selected tracks from "Abe Ravan"
Babak Khiavchi

In 1993, Ramin and Behzad met each other for the first time and together they formed a band called "The Anonymous". The band was broken in 1997 but Ramin and Behzad hold tight and continued playing together. At that time they formed the band "FANOOS" and began to write their own music. The lyrics couldn't be but by one of the greatest poets of Iran through the history, Sohrab Sepehri >>>

ARTICLE 19
Voices from Iran

Restriction on the freedom of expression is widespread in the Islamic Republic of Iran and covers all forms of communication
Hossein Bagher Zadeh

The suppression of freedom of expression is institutionalised in the Islamic Republic of Iran. The constitution restricts freedom of expression to what it terms “not disturbing the bases of Islam”. The interpretation of this has been left to the ruling clergy who dominate the power structure and who have the last word in all legislations. This has meant draconian laws restricting all forms of expression that do not conform to the narrow official interpretation of Islam or the values associated with it, with severe punishments ranging from fines and long term imprisonment to lashings and even execution. But the policy of denials of the right of free expression is not limited to what the law stipulates. Dissidents, intellectuals, writers, political activists, women, trade union and ethnic rights campaigners, human rights defenders, and followers of some religious minorities and non-official versions of Islam are routinely harassed. Arbitrary banning of newspapers and confiscation of books and music CDs already authorised is very common >>>

RIGHTS
Save Nazanin from Nazanin

Former Miss Canada's efforts are nothing more than attempts at self-promotion
David Maynard

I am writing this to express my astonishment regarding your coverage of the case of 18 year old Nazanin Fatehi. Specifically, I can not help but find myself extremely puzzled about how you could find Ms. Afshin Jam's assertions regarding her role in "saving" Naznin Fatehi credible on any level! To start, Ms. Afshin Jam learned about the "Save Nazanin" campaign after a group of international human rights organizations, lawyers, and activists had already launched the initiative. When she expressed her interest in becoming involved with the effort, the group welcomed her, as they did and do with any other person expressing such an interest. However, it soon became painfully evident that Ms. Afshin Jam's motives for becoming involved in this campaign were not exactly what she had originally claimed >>>

LIFE
From Ali to Cyrus

What's in a name?
Zohreh Khazai Ghahremani

Names were originally invented for one purpose: identification. It started with the use of simple sounds and words, but in time, the subject became so complicated that today, sometimes a manual is needed to explain what – or whom – some names refer to or why they were chosen to begin with. Iranians, thanks to our poetic background, have proven to be quite creative with names.  Long before psychiatry suggested the influence of given names on people’s personality, we gave our babies names that sounded more like wishful thinking. Our daughters were named after flowers, stars or the best possible characteristics and we gifted them with fairy-like faces, the beauty of the moon and other lovely metaphors >>>

ANOUSHEH
First Iranian Flash Gordon

Iranians respond to Anousheh Ansari's weblog
Peyvand Khorsandi

Khanoumeh ansari, az taraf-e hameyeh zan hayeh eerani khastam begam ke ma eftekhar meekonim shoma avaleen zan-e eerani hastid ke be Kazakhstan rafteed. Man chandeen bar khastam beravam Kazakhstan vali har chi hesabesho kardam, deedam khabari neest oonja. Hala ke shoma rafteen omidvaram man ham yek rooz pool dar besham beram. -- Morvarid, Mazandaran >>>

PEOPLE

More Mehr

Photo essay: Capturing all the excitement at the Orange County Mehregan event
Talieh Shahrokhi

LEGITIMACY
Paayaane tavahhom

The Islamic Republic has no legitimate authoriuty
Esmail Nooriala

INTELLECTUALS
Jonbeshe roshanfekri
Part 4 -- Part 5 -- Part 6
Iranian intellectuals: Challenges & opportunities
Ali Salari

FILMMAKER
Close to Everest
Cara Weavy

This September at the Toronto International Film Festival, I met a young and talented Iranian filmmaker/ cinematographer. He was the cinematographer for one of the festival's best documentaries, titled Blindsight. I met him at the film's opening. The sold out audience loved the film. When the director (Lucy Walker) introduced the cinematographers, I noticed one of them may be Iranian. His name is Mahyad Tousi. My son and I said hello. He was very gracious and we were both very impressed by him. My son told all his friends about the Iranian filmmaker that he met and about how high he climbed up Mount Everest to make the documentary. It is about a number of blind Tibetan children that attempt to climb a peak close to Everest >>>

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