Features

>>> Archive
April 2007

300
This is... Spartaaaaaaaaa!

What hope could you ever have in a world such as ours if you are shaken to your core by something as simple as this film?
Arash Sayedi

Well I finally bit the bullet and saw 300. I must say that I was thoroughly entertained and impressed. I really should stop being swayed by the opinions of the herd that populates the labyrinth of today's communication networks and has been handed a rather large megaphone to which I find myself subjected more often than I would like; but that is merely a weakness on my own part. What I saw at the crux of the story was not a battle between people of different nations but that of ideas. Here, the Greeks and Persians are merely the vehicles of those ideas, carrying the message through the story as the plot unfolds >>>

TOONS
How dare you?

Cartoons
Ali, 2500BC

FRIEND
Mack's da man

Photo essay: Meeting iranian.com's favorite writer Siamack Baniameri
Jahanshah Javid

THUGS
Are they nuts?

One has to wonder, why at this critical juncture has the IRI embarked on a campaign to harass Iranian women?
Tinoush Moulaei

The world antiwar movement is doing its best to avert a flood of missiles and bombs heading toward Iran.  Many Iranian nationalists have joined in with the same aim.  But, this is not because there is any love between these groups and the IRI.  The antiwar movement is doing it to avoid another Iraq, and Iranian nationalist are in it because they love their country and want to minimize further damage to Iran and her future.  No one, absolutely not one of these groups is defending Iran, because of its regime.  One has to wonder, why at this critical juncture they have embarked on a campaign to harass Iranian women.  Are they nuts? Don’t these gentlemen (stretching the word here) realize that if the tide of public opinion turns, they are in deep trouble? >>>

IRAN
At the brink

Observing the Islamic Republic from the vantage point of outside, I can't help but be reminded of the mid-Seventies
Asghar Massombagi

Observing the Islamic Republic from the vantage point of outside, I can't help but be reminded of the mid-Seventies. The same explosive brew of economic and social factors seems to be fomenting once again only on a much larger scale. The combination of overpopulation, high unemployment, recession, housing crisis, devalued currency and the high cost of military posturing has brought the country to the brink. Add to this the suffocating social and sexual repression and it's a wonder the populace hasn't exploded yet. Having failed miserably in management of the country's immense natural resources (like an incompetent son running the family fortune into the ground) the regime seems content to assert itself primarily through harassment of women >>>

FEMINISM
.... haalaa mikhandim

In response to Mahasti Shahrokhi's "Esteaareh dar she'r jorm neest"
Nazli Kamvari

FEMINISM
Mahv shodane digaraan

In response to Nazli Kamvari's "... haalaa mikhandim"
Mahasti Shahrokhi

SINGER
Holy Haale

Photo essay: Haale concert in Toronto
Nader Davoodi

ABADAN
Harshness of it all
Mark Morshedi

In response to Paul Schroeder's photos of Abadan "Memories of an American boy", I also was born and raised in Abadan and although people who were raised in oil company subsidized housing have wonderful memories, I don't remember Abadan to be that great. It was hot and sticky in the long summers for us the other people in Abadan; the unseen people, the dark people, the people without the swimming pool, air conditioned housing, movie theater, the people whose summers were never ending and all they remember is heat -- extreme heat -- and the only relief they had was to swim in the filthy water the city discharged >>>

LIFE
Seeing is believing

Photo essay: Recovering from one of my “temporary amnesia” episodes I found myself in one of my favourite locations
Shahireh Sharif

CONFERENCE
Dar konfraanse Berlin cheh gozasht

Aspen conference in Berlin
Hossein Derakhshan

IDEAS
Meekh o na'l

On Hossein Derakhshan's critique of Akbari Gani's videws
Homayoun Abghari

NUCLEAR
Referendum or capitulation?

Shirin Ebadi ahould stick to defending the brave men and women who fight to institute change within Iran
Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich

It has been suggested by some distinguished Iranian figures such as the 2003 Nobel Peace Prize laureate, Shirin Ebadi and a few media pundits such as Abbas Milani, that the government of Iran should hold a national referendum on the country’s nuclear program.  President Bush can learn a lesson or two in democracy.  In the Islamic Republic of Iran, next on his ‘hit’ list, an attorney calls for a referendum to determine the energy needs of the people.   And to think that the United States of America is spending billions of dollars developing a new generation of Reliable Replacement Warheads, or as Joseph Cirincione calls them, Ridiculously Redundant Warheads (RRW) to take America to another war to dictate democracy! >>>

ABADAN
Memories of an American boy

>>> Photo essay: Abadan in 1958
Paul Schroeder

MUSIC
That extra substance

Mohsen Namjoo is a mix Dylan, Farhad, Esfehani with the traditional "moghami" lyricism and still there is also another substance to it somewhat hard to explain!
Shahbaz Parsipour

Seldom if ever we have had talents exactly like Mohsen Namjoo in Iran, albeit we do have had great talents with similar authenticity and ingenuity in other shapes of traditional or mixed-style musical and lyrical performance all integrated into a single performer / singer. If we're talking the Sixties and Seventies, Farmarz Aslani has been one such phenomenal artist of course playing Guitar-Flamingo in a masterfully while singing from both Hafez as well as his own lyrics. our beloved late Farhad was another typical example playing (piano and guitar accompaniment) and singing live on stage all by himself while being quite good with orchestral performances in the studio too. Foroughi was also good in his own right >>>

IDEAS
Reconstructing the East, Western style

A modern Orientalist view of Iran
Shirin Saeidi

An article titled "A Nation of Nose Jobs, Not Nuclear War" by Peter Hitchens in Mail on Sunday is only one of many recent audacious pieces that amalgamates two favorite issues used to support the American propaganda machine against Iranian sovereignty: women and the nuclear energy program.  In a disingenuously compassionate tone, and using literary chicanery for his aim, the author draws unsuspecting readers in by impersonating a wide-eyed, open soul in search of understanding an enigma. The piece starts out like so many others of its genre, which, as the late Edward Said has comprehensively explained in his thesis on Orientalism, dates back to the 19th century >>>

MILLIONS OF LETTERS
McCain was trying to put us at ease

On Roozbeh Shirazi's "John McCain bombs it": I simply must protest Roozbeh Shirazi's attack on the character of our Vice President. Dick Cheney does not shoot friends in the chest. Dick shoots friends in the face. And then gets them to express regret for having put Dick through the ordeal. If we cannnot distinguish good from bad when it comes to Dick, then how can have we have a meaningful conversation about John McCain singing about bombing Iran? Clearly, McCain was simply giving us some straight talk about what should be funny >>> More letters Part 2, Part 1

FEMINISM
Esteaareh dar she'r jorm neest

Nobody speaks for all Iranian women
Mahasti Shahrokhi

300
Baaz ham darbaareh filme 300

Greeks, Romans, Persians and the West
Shahriar Zahedi

300
Delam raa mabadi misaazam

Iranians and the "300" movie
Homayoun Abghari

FEMINISM
Not what Forough would do

How could a decent human being make fun of the complicated life an educated, working mother and wife who is also involved in and attentive to social issues, leads?
Nazy Kaviani

I was saddened and disappointed to read Mahasti Shahrokhi's poem, "Feminizme maa bee norooz ast". What a talented poet Ms. Shahrokhi is, with beautiful imagery and thoughtful choices of words, and so capable in tying ideas together, especially when she borrows words with double meaning (esteareh). I am also proud of her for the tribute she pays Forough Farrokhzad, who continues to deserve to be cherished and celebrated by all Iranian men and women. Beautiful form and fancy expression aside, this was a really rude and unfair depiction of what has been transpiring with our women's movement over the past few years. Calling these brave and dedicated women names such as hairy, stupid, whining, screaming, and thoughtless is probably the most anti-women thing I have ever seen sent their way, and all this from another woman? >>>

TRAVELERS
ABADAN 27 years later

Photo essay: In 1980 war came knocking and my family left
Amir Parstabar

IRAN-U.S.
Bumper sticker diplomacy
Neekandish

Great news! Iran and US have started talking, thanks to bumper stickers:
Iran : If everything is coming your way, you're in the wrong lane!
US: I told you don't follow me, I'm lost too...
Iran : Cover me. I'm changing lanes.
US: Dear Lord, please save me from your followers.
Iran: Don't you like my driving? Then quit watching me.
US: Drive carefully! Remember, it's not only a car that can be recalled by it's maker >>>

CHO
Behind the mask of evil

Try to understand, try to put themselves into the shoes of the killer
Doug Soderstrom

It is so very easy for us to condemn acts of evil, to pretend that all is well “with us,” that the evil that has been committed has emerged from the belly of a beast, that the other fellow, the one who committed the act, is someone very different than we are, someone beyond our capacity to understand, never realizing that we do such a thing in order to justify our angered need to condemn our foe. The much more difficult task is to take the time to understand our enemy, to try to understand why such a person may have chosen to do what he did, for in doing such a thing we begin to understand ourselves, and in better understanding ourselves we are led to the realization that we are in no way different from that of our enemy, that rather than choosing to hate him, we have little choice but to forgive the one we have been taught to hate >>>

STORY
Clive

A smack around the face with a baseball bat would have been less numbing
Peyvand Khorsandi

I was lucky to get my old job back. He was hesitant at first, Arthur, who owns the shop, afraid that the media pack would be tailing me, disturbing the peace of his bookshop, which for thirty years he’s managed to keep. I got a job with Arthur after university. It was only meant to last for a month or two, fifteen years ago. What happened? I’ll be blown if I know. Time moves on even if you don’t.  TV was never going to bring back those years. I wear a beard now but still get the odd “You’re Clive Goodson aren’t you?” That’s right -- from Remote Control, the show where viewers vote to decide whether you can eat with your housemates, whether dinner would be roast lamb or cashew nuts and whether you are allowed to use the swimming pool. Every nook and cranny of our personalities, every orifice of our anatomy was there for every crook and granny in the nation to gawp at >>>

IDEAS
Tanaaghoze kelidi dar afkaare Ganji

Ganji's moral dilemma
Hossein Derakhshan

300
Try to be humble and nice
Sadaf Saeidi Haghayegh

The movie 300 will make Iranians stop calling themselves Persians for heaven’s sake and instead of clinging to something vague in the past, we Iranians can find something meaningful in our present and future. Who cares if we had tyrants in the past? But we should care not to appoint a tyrant as our ruler for the present and future generations. Instead of taking pride in our PhDs and Doctorates and calling ourselves with titles such as Doctor and Engineer all the time and thinking that Persians are the best, we should try to be humble and nice to people in our daily lives. Maybe this way, people would have more respect for where we have originally come from. Unfortunately, I have seen this stupid attitude in the Iranian community in the past. Iranians don’t respect others who have no degrees, properties, or >>>

WOMEN
Taste of hatred

I start rotting in a world without soul, surrounded by women in black chador with eyes that never sees, with a heart that never feels, with a brain that never wonders
Azarin A. Sadegh

Raising my hand, still keeping the grape in between my fingers, looking at the people around me at the table. I raise my hand, pushing a little bit harder, hearing the sound of smashing of something, maybe a grape. The woman sitting in front of me, wearing a black chador with soulless eyes, looking at me, reflecting back my disgust by watching her creepy face. She is absorbed by her food, devouring the meat, chewing with force the rough rotten piece of dead animal, blood pouring by the side of her mouth. While breathing, the "IB-Islamic Bitch" looks at my guilty hair, with despise. I return her the favor by staring at her filthy black chador. Her hands, bloody, cutting the meat, her mouth full of potential vomit, swallows the decaying  pieces, with pleasure >>>

HERITAGE
Budha and Cyrus, Taliban and Ahmadinejad
Maziar Novin

Finally, "President" Ahmadinejad, the wannabe Mosaddeq successor and tireless proponent of Iran's right to develop nuclear technology and destroy Israel, crowned his disastrous track record of anti-Iranian policies by deciding to make the Sivand dam fully operational. Undisputed as it is that the water accumulating behind the dam will damage, if not totally destroy, many archaeological sites in the Bolaghi pass and the ancient city of Pasargadae, it is amazing how relatively calm Iranians are over this issue. Judging from the outcry created over "300", one would wish that people at least make a comparable attempt and express their outrage on this issue -- but so far nothing of the sort can be seen >>>

WOMEN
Round-up

Photo essay: New crackdown on "bad hejab" women & men
Bahram9821

FASHION
Whatever makes me happy

Interview with fashion designer Sanaz Shirazi
Sanaz Khalaj

As Iranians abroad continue to immerse themselves in all realms of business wolrdwide, a few have gone in the way of fashion. Like celebrity favorite Behnaz Sarafpour (BehnazSarafpour.com) or Manny and Neda Mashouf (founders of Bebe clothing, bebe.com), Iranian-born Sanaz Shirazi (SanazShirazi.com) is a budding apparel designer with a modern take on traditional asthetics. Below is an interview with the innovative artist, enjoy >>>

TRAVELERS
Just the way you want spring to be

Photo essay: Laguna Mountain, California
Kourosh Taghavi

PERSIANS
Not exactly democrats

Taking pride in the likes of Xerxes is quite worrisome
Ben Madadi

How do we define a tyrant in Iran? If Xerxes was not a tyrant then who was a tyrant? My knowledge of history does not go into much detail so I cannot pretend to be an expert. But so far as I know Xerxes was himself the same Persian king who attacked Sparta and Athens after his father Darius had attempted the same thing and had failed. Why did they want to take over Greece? Was it because the Greeks wrote petitions asking them to liberate Greece from their unjust rulers? Obviously, many Persians of today (those who think they are the descendants of the ancient Persians) who get so angry about criticising the Achaemenid rulers think that Darius or Xerxes were just rulers who intended no harm >>>

DIASPORA
Being a foreigner

Living as a foreigner is like playing a guessing game
Azarin A. Sadegh

The day I left Iran for good in 1983, I had no idea what living as a foreigner really meant, but now I do. Being a foreigner no matter where I am, I always comprehend at most half of what people say. It means not getting jokes, not making connections between an old TV show character and something that is happening at the present time. I feel as if I've been thrown onstage to play a role I haven't learned yet. I feel as if I'm trapped at night in a labyrinth, trying to find the exit. Being a foreigner means I've lost this deep sense of belonging to a place. It feels like an endless struggle just to try to look like everybody else >>>

WOMEN
Plan B

For Fariba 
Nazy Kaviani

If you can’t fix the economy,
If you can’t figure out the way to shine in a good light around the globe,
If your friends are the least loved people in the world,
If you don’t know what to do with the minds that think,
If you don’t like what those thoughts bring,
If you have problems with drugs, prostitution, and crime,
If you can’t create jobs to keep everybody decently alive,
It’s time for you to go to the perpetual Plan B >>>

SURGEON
Smiles for our hearts

Photo essay: Making a change in somene’s life by operating on low-income kids with cleft lips
By Sandra Nunez
Photos by Sina Farzaneh

CINEMA
Best of Behrooz

Photo essay: Actor Behrooz Vosooghi honored in Toronto
Nader Davoodi

AMERICA
My gun is bigger than yours

Americans have a strange love affair with guns
Asghar Massombagi

The old saying "violence is as American as the apple pie" should really be understood as gun violence. Theirs is not the "respect for your gun as a sacred object" folklore of some warrior cultures, say the Kurds who have fought insurgency battles for decades; nor is it the rural tradition of having to shoot an occasional deer or scare off the odd fox of the Germans and the French. The gun, solitary, cool, independent, is an abstraction that stands for a certain concept of Americansim itself. It's also democratic. God may have created people unequal but Samuel Colt made them equal. Put a gun in every citizen's hand and they'll have a level playing field in their pursuit of happiness >>>

POETRY
Shaakhehee shekasteh

Keh emroozash az dirooz gosasteh
Reza Baygan

POETRY
Zabaane saatoor

Language of the ax
Habib Shokati

LITERATI
Kanoone nevisandegaan (1) (2)

On the 40th anniversary of the Irannian writers association
Massoud Noghrekar

IDEAS
Nazariyeh-pardaazi va Akbar Ganji

Akbar Ganji, religion and political theory
Esmail Nooriala

McCAIN
Lighten up? Are you kidding?

Incompetent remarks about how to address the situation in the Middle East are dangerous
Nahal Zamani

Between two crazy presidents (Bush and Ahmadinejad) pumping nationalist fists in order to mask their insane and ideological causes, it is not the time to make brash, insensitive, and careless comments. Lightening up is a luxury that we cannot afford. Because war is serious. Dropping bombs on people is serious. Sending thousands of soldiers to to kill poorer soldiers in other nations is serious. I'm sure that anyone returning from Iraq would argue that their experience was serious as well. I'm sure that your war experiences were serious as well >>>

ART
Summer time

Paintings
Bardia Haddadi

POETRY
Quince jam

I prepare the quinces by washing them good
Sasan Seifikar

POETRY
Gnostic turpitude

I am invited to a beheading at dawn
Tina Ehrami

FRENCH
Sarkozy, soldier of Khomeini

Sympathy for far-right themes are definitely the weakest point of Sarkozy's campaign and will repulse many of those from the second and third generation immigrants
Neekandish

Today France is voting in the first round of presidential election to select the two candidtaes for the presidency among whom the president will be chosen on may 6th 2007. In a campaign which was full of surprise, the last straw has yet to be drawn. Among the 12 candidates president-to-be, only four according to the polls have the possibility of being in the last two selected. The three leading candidates have tried to seduce their respective camps by using slogans such as "renewal=hope" for the Socialists' Ségolène Royal; "ambition=assertiveness" for Nicolas Sarkozy of the right-wing UMP, and "filling the gap=crossing the divide" for François Bayrou of the centrist UDF >>>

OPINION
The missing moderate Muslims

US. Politicians need to be sent a unequivocal message that there is no place for pathological comments like that in our public discourse. Period.
Amil Imani

"I am already against the next war," read the bumper sticker on a car ahead of me. I long to tell the driver: the next war is already here; Islamists are waging it in every corner of the globe and the "moderate Muslims" are either actively supporting them, placing the blame on the West, or simply looking the other way. This war aims to wipe out everything that free people cherish, including the right of expressing their sentiments. Banishing war has been the perennial dream of mankind's best, while its worst have been frustrating its realization. To renounce war unilaterally and unconditionally is surrender and death >>>

SANCTIONS
Chemical reaction

Deep regrets and strong dissatisfaction with the recent decision of the American Chemical Society to cancel the membership of several of its members living in Iran
Fredun Hojabri

Dear University Friends: You have heard that the American Chemical Society (ACS) has adopted a new policy to expel its members from the Embargoed Countries including Iran, and to restrict their access to its publications.  ACS is giving for this new policy exactly the same reasons that we have heard from IEEE (Institute of Electric and Electronic Engineers) 6 years ago, namely the possibility of heavy fines if they continue to have members in Iran. It is very disturbing, because the Congress has not passed any new Sanction Law, and OFAC has not issued any new rulings since September 2003, when it revised its ruling and declared a general license to all organizations regarding activities such as information exchange >>>

POLITICS
John McCain bombs it

US. Politicians need to be sent a unequivocal message that there is no place for pathological comments like that in our public discourse. Period.
Roozbeh Shirazi

If John McCain is not held accountable for his indescribably callous remarks about bombing Iran, it will represent the most high profile failure of the Iranian-American community to date. Apparently after 6 years of George W. Bush, there is still room to be a war-hungry, red-blooded moron in American politics. Actually, some Americans can’t get enough of them. John McCain visited South Carolina on Thursday on the campaign trail. When one of South Carolina’s finest asked a question about “sendin an airmail (that means bomb in local speak) to Tay-ron”, McCain all but took out the pointy white hat and his matchbook to set the cross on fire >>>

McCAIN
Running on Inferno’s Platform
Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich

Senator John McCain while on a campaign in N. Carolina, was videoed singing “bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb Iran” to the tune of the Beach Boys “Barbara Ann”. To this ‘hero’ of the Vietnam War, the White House means not only prolonging the Iraq war and the death of more Americans and slaughter of Iraqis, which he has strongly endorsed , but also the genocide of innocent Iranians.   Given that he is lagging behind in fundraising, it comes as no surprise that he should target Iran, lie about Iran’s aspirations to destroy Israel, and hope to receive AIPAC’s blessings and be bank-rolled by them.  No doubt, in spite of inciting mass murder, the mainstream media will boost his popularity with the backing of AIPAC, and he will be the frontrunner for the 2008 Republican elections.  The war hero who learned nothing from Vietnam and  the killing massacre that went on there >>>

STORY
The whale in the watermelon

Children's book
Farrokh Alemi

ART
Ironic

Photo essay: Collage
Parima Shahin Moghaddam

IRAN-U.S.
The end of modernity

The geo-political relations between the US and Iran will produce a world wholly removed from the one we know now
Michael Odegard

The aim of this paper is to outline the possible and probable relationships which might soon come to exist, between the United States and Iran. These ideas, although far removed from more popular opinions regarding near-future relations between said countries (these being that the USA will destroy Iran and/or Iran will crumble from within) are, by my estimation, more likely to actualize than not. Although my contentions and logic might at first seem fantastic or utopian, I ask the reader to suspend their disbelief until the conclusion of the work. My arguments are cumulative and arranged so as to compound their soundness. In short, my thesis is a hypothesis: the geo-political relations between the US and Iran will produce a world so wholly removed from the one we know now, that historians will come to understand it as the end of modernity >>>

RIGHTS
Legalizing murder

Anyone with a lifestyle deemed immoral by the rigid standards of Islam is fair game for murder
Shahla Azizi

There is good news for those believers with vigilante tendencies: it is now legally acceptable to kill people who act “immorally” in Iran.  If before it was merely tolerated now it is totally, legally acceptable, to murder in Iran as long as you murder the “right” people: those who drink alcohol, fornicate, play cards, or do any drugs are all fair game. Especially if they are not mullahs who do it on the sly.  In fact you don’t even have to prove that they were acting immorally you can simply intuit. That is enough as long as they are simple lay people not connected to a big wig mullah like Rafsanjani whose offspring are known to have a penchant for partying >>>

LIFE
The spring snow

I want to feel your tongue and not the razor against my skin
Sheema Kalbasi

There were many Somalis in Pakistan waiting for resettlement to the West. She was one. She was a refugee, a Qax in her own language. According to the Pakistani laws it was unacceptable of the refugees to pursue higher education. The two of us worked voluntary or involuntary from seven in the morning to three in the afternoon. One day when the driver was taking us to our homes I realized she is in pain. I asked her if she needs help and she told me there is nothing anyone can do to undo the trauma she had suffered as a four year old, and the pain she experienced each month. She was one of many victims of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) an act wrongly understood as an Islamic law. In her case it was the infibulation, the worst case of FGM >>>

ART
Dancers

Photography
Shahla Bebe

JUSTICE
Pious license to kill
Shahriar Zangeneh

The New York Times has a news item on its Thursday's front page that is old news to most, if not all, Iranians. The Islamic vigilantes in the pay of the state who had admitted to gruesomely stoning, drowning and burying alive five people to death were exonerated by the Islamic Republic's Supreme Court. What sets this latest publicly acknowledged episode apart from the others is the Islamic Supreme Court's ruling. Up till now the other cases were either not reported, were swept under the rug by the authorities, the victims were demonized posthumously and if all failed, a show trial was staged, a sentence announced and the culprit(s) never saw a day of incarceration, let alone capital punishment so favored by the Islamic courts >>>

SHORT
The sulking sunflower
Ezzat Goushegir

No sunflower has ever turned her face away from the sun, except this one in the corner of the prison yard.  Her face leans on the wall, her frail stem curves towards us. The seed fell in the prison yard from a pigeon’s beak when the bird heard the torturing sound of whipping lashes from the interrogation room. The pigeon sighed and the sunflower seed, released from its mouth, fell in the empty prison yard.  The seed felt deserted, and desired not to flourish.  The seed preferred to remain barren.  The seed was depressed.  But drops of rain penetrated her body and whispered their soulful melodies >>>

DESIRE
The quiet ones

Last night I was out with friends and I began to gravitate toward the strong, silent one in the bunch
Laleh Banoo

By now you must know I'm this way: sex is furtive and desire more so. I am quiet when I'm most myself and I seek quiet men because I know there's something interesting under all that silence, and I suspect it comes out best in sex. Men who are loudmouths can rarely deliver, and it's so incredibly sexy when a guy hangs back and watches. It makes me nervous, unsettles me, and suddenly I'm hot. A strange reaction to discomfort and perhaps a recipe for ending up with a serial killer one day. Or a voyeur, which isn't so bad for an exhibitionist. Ironically these quiet men turn me into a loudmouth and a flirt, the only way I can publicly channel this strange tension >>>

 

WOMEN
Where is the dignity?

Until that day comes, we ought to heed our brave sisters' calls for justice and freedom
Lance Raheem

Years ago, my mother, father and I went to Esfahan one summer. One evening, after having been out sightseeing and strolling around Maidan-e Iman on a beautiful starlit evening, my dad asked my mother if we could take a bus back to our hotel instead of risking our lives in a taxi. My maman, having grown up in Iran and being accustomed to Iran's unique driving etiquette, was never rattled by the fact that the only rule of the road in Iran is that there are no rules. Although she didn't particularly like riding buses, on this evening she agreed, but only for my dad's peace of peace mind. After waiting at the bus stop for what seemed like an eternity amongst people who stared unapologetically at this Iranian woman standing with a man who was clearly a foreigner and boy they couldn't quite figure out, our bus finally appeared >>>

PARADISE
Konaar in California

Videos and photo essay: Hossein Khodadad's Iranian paradise in northern Califnornia
Jahanshah Javid

NOTE
Checking out
Peyvand Khorsandi

Sorry to say goodbye like this. I had to rush for the train I threw myself under. In two to three days you’ll receive another packet with the DVD I made -- CCTV footage of my first suicide attempt, which failed (the 5.30 to Brighton was late). It also contains my final speech to the family. It is my wish for it to be played after the funeral. My last request is that Michael be barred from shovelling any earth on to my coffin. I know he would take a secret pleasure in this, nice though he is. If I hear those thuds I will never rest in peace. I’ve put cash for Tim’s trumpet lessons in the microwave. It’s important that these continue. He has a future as a trumpet player. Perhaps, when he is sixteen, he can learn the harmonica. I wanted to learn an instrument, but I’m dead now >>>

EVENT
Generation skip
Videos and photo essay: Peyvand Khorsandi and Kiosk lift and rock Berkeley
audience

Jahanshah Javid

FAMILY
Typical day in the life...
Photo essay: Once home V practices her yoga with the kids while I try to
cook up some corn on the cob and sausages

Siamack Salari

MURDERER
Parental control

Virginia Tech mass killer's parents are really the ones who are responsible
Kaveh Nouraee

Here is the bottom line. This piece of trash killed 32 people. Gun laws have nothing to do with that fact. He could have obtained the weapons anywhere. He could have just as easily driven to Richmond and bought one on the street. To respond to Setareh Sabety ["Breeding murderers"], if your children spent time in a Maryland public school, I am sure you are aware that in neighboring Washington D.C., handguns are illegal. The city has one of the highest murder by firearm rates in the U.S. This idiot went through the legal channels to obtain a firearm because he wanted recongnition. He knew that his name would be on the front page of every newspaper or news website. This little shit just wanted to be noticed. And you call him a poor Korean? That's insulting to decent Koreans >>>

SCHOOLS
Breeding murderers

Ethos of the American public schools
Setareh Sabety

When I read about the poor Korean student who went on a rampage in Virginia Tech I was sure that I had made the right decision two years ago.  I have attended American schools and Universities and taught in them.  The best years of my life were spent at Boston University.  Where I learned to think, argue, teach and write. Where I learned that most important of skills so well taught at American institutions: analytical thinking. But I have also attended and taught at the American Public High Schools, one of the most horrible places for a young individual to grow. I remember attending Palo-Alto high school in 78-79.  Now, anyone familiar with California schools system knows that Palo-Alto is one of the best high schools in the system. But for a foreign student, at the time, it was a vast, cold and unwelcoming place >>>

OUTRAGE
Blacksburg to Kunduz

An American reflection on the Virginia Tech massacre
Maziar Shirazi

I remember the feeling of the world falling and crashing all around me, like the very bodies of concrete, humans and steel falling from the Towers, as I ran, hysterical, into the principal’s office to call my brother, to know that he was okay.  My insides still twist upon themselves when I relive the bona fide terror of hearing that busy signal sounding over and over again, instead of his voice.  I returned my parent’s call yesterday, letting them know that my cousin goes to UVA, not Virginia Tech. It stands at 33 dead, a sunny day on a pretty American campus.  That doesn’t sound right.  That body count sounds like it came out of an afternoon in Baghdad, or some dusty village in Afghanistan, like yesterday’s 9 dead and 25 wounded in the town of Kunduz, located on the other side of the world >>>

STORY
Yeki johood o mosalmaan

A Jew and a Muslim
Fariba Moghadam

ACTION
Time to close shop

Nobody could argue that they did not have the facts to make the right decisions
Cyrus Mossaddegh

Two years ago I created a cyber identity by writing a "presidential speech" which was posted by Iranian.com on February 23, 2005. The purpose was to bring into the open a multiple of issues within the context of an alternative peaceful future and hopefully starting a debate about Iran's future during a time that it is under military threat. At that time nobody had even heard of Ahmadinejad. I know I had not heard of him and I keep a close eye on material on Iran that is written in English. I decided to give this cyber person the name of Cyrus Mossaddegh. I purposefully used two D's because I didn't want anybody to think I was from the Prime Minister Mossadegh family. I chose Cyrus because he was the greatest leader Iran has had in terms of foreign policy >>>

XXX
Porn, internet and children
Faramarz Fateh

For the third time, the attempt to change the domain names of sex/porn sites from .com, .net, .nl etc endings to .xxx has been stopped. You will be shocked when you find out which groups and organizations have been opposing this change. Church groups, search engine providers, first ammendment rights protection groups are amongst some of these organizations. Over the past 3 years, some of the largerst porn site operators have made huge donations to churches to oppose this change. The logic they use is that if .xxx becomes the defacto address, children will find these sites easier. Some groups claim that no one person or group has the right to determine what is pornography and what is not >>>

IMPACT
Dr. Ahmadinejad is blowing up(my identity)

I feel it's difficult to discuss pride when Dr. A and others in that regime choose policies that are hurting Iran's reputation and its people
Nazanin Ghassemian

Unfortunately the convenience of saying "Iranian policies are complicated. I don't know. We have great food and art, though" seldom satisfies the inquiries or me. I want people to think highly of Iran, because it is a great place, the land of our ancestors. I don't tolerate people who think negatively about Iran, unless they are basing that judgment on facts. Media coverage about Iran, especially media in Iran, doesn't make help. Maybe it's too bad for us, but it may have nothing to do with immigrant identity. Part of being patriotic is explaining what's wrong, not just discussing the easy topics. And even though it's not easy to argue for Iran lately, most Iranians are doing their best >>>

GROWTH
Toto, I have a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore!

Hossein Derakhshan appears vicious, unfair, and jealous. Is he all that?
Nazy Kaviani

Hossein Derakhshan is not a spy, a traitor, or a snitch, as he has been labeled.† He is a flamboyant man who loves Iran and writes sensational material, some days with a sharp sense of timing, and some days not.† Many of the people he attacks viciously used to be his colleagues, his friends.† In acting hastily and emotionally, he appears vicious, unfair, and jealous.† Is he all that?† I don't think so.† I sense that like all other Iranians who have been exiled outside of Iran for whatever unfair reasons, he faces challenges, fears, and emotions ranging from sadness to anger at circumstances which have put him where he is.† He has all of that in common with the very folks he so relentlessly attacks >>>

PLAYBOY
Sex in Iran
A.M.

I have to confess that I do get Playboy every month -- love the articles. This month there is an article by Pari Esfandiari and Richard Buskin called "Sex In Iran". The online teaser reads: "A bootleg sex tape allegedly featuring a popular TV star [Zahra Amir-Ebrahimi] has been spreading through Iran like wildfire. The actress denies she's on the tape, but that's almost beside the point. The video has shaken Iranians by exposing their hidden emotions and double standards. In a fascinating peek at a modern Islamic society, we lift the veil on a conflicted culture in which religious fundamentalism wrestles with the allure of sexual freedom." I tried to find a copy on line, but that's all I found. If you buy this month's edition you can see the whole article with a great pic at the begining.

POETRY
Mard o Zan

Let's lie to each other
Leila Farjami

VIDEO
Echoes in exile

Sheema Kalbasi on her book and personal journey
Qumars Hojjaty

TERRORISM
A war to spread terror

We must determine our own destiny today lest someone robs us of our future with their actions
Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich

Not content with the failed covert operations that have been the hallmark of U.S. foreign policy, it has become necessary to use a new justification for a colonial raid, sanctions and warfare, under the pretext of nuclear threat and terrorism.  Intimidated by fear, propaganda, and coercion, the world body condemns the victim and puts its muscle behind the aggressor, only to realize later that it was a mistake.  This tardy realization that comes with the so much blood and carnage,  has shame as its intimidator; forcing one to delude oneself that the decision made had been the right one.  More blood continues to spill to cover the shame of flawed decisions, of a restless conscious >>>

300
Tyrant Xerxes

What is the big deal about mocking a dictator and mass murderer of more than two thousand years ago?
Ben Madadi

Finally I watched the film 300. Such a poor piece and a total waste of time! But it sold and it sold well. The obvious reason is that it took advantage of an opportunistic moment in which there is talk about Iran (modern Persia) confronting the West. America is a free country and businessmen are free to be smart and take advantage of various business opportunities. America is not Iran where conspiracy is practically synonymous with action. Although the film was obviously nothing but a poor and quickly-made science-fiction (it was definitely made quickly in order to benefit from the momentum), it did upset many Iranians (or most probably Persians of Iran who make up about half of the population) >>>

PARIS
Sadegh Khan khaaneh nabood

PART 2: On Sadegh Hedayat's suicide 56 years ago
Mahasti Shahrokhi

POETRY
Anatomy of love

Softness connecting every touch
Baharak Sedigh

POETRY
Where, when, how and which

Where perception and reality confuse each other for lovers
Farhad Zaltash

POETRY
Transcendent beauty

Dedicated to Damon, whose transcendent beauty lights up my existence
Tina Ehrami

POETRY
Marg

Shabi laalaa bekhaan bar man
Iman Tavassoly

POETRY
Parchame Iran

What has befallen the tri colors of the Iranian flag
Sent by F.T.

MUSIC

Jabre Joghraafiyaayi

... and six more MP3s
Mohsen Namjoo

ART

Expression

Paintings
Zaman Zamani

BLISS
So we had an ‘aqd!

The bond was there from the very beginning
Fariba Amini

It was a nice and romantic occasion, one with little advance planning yet filled with joy and exhilaration. I always wanted my father to marry me, act as an ‘aqed. I guess, being secular, this may astonish a lot of people, but some traditions are for keeps.  We were surrounded by friends and family, my parents and three of my brothers, uncle and aunt and cousins, and some of our wonderful American and Iranian friends. I met Rudi Matthee at the Middle East Studies Association conference, and ever since, it has been a wonderful experience >>>

STORY
The initial conditions

This ball was hurtling towards where it shouldn't be hurtling towards
A. Hamshahri

The most popular way to describe the Chaos Theory is that a butterfly's wings fluttering might create tiny changes in the atmosphere that ultimately cause a tornado to appear (or, for that matter, prevent a tornado from appearing). The flapping wing represents a small change in the initial condition of the system, which causes a chain of events leading to large-scale phenomena. Had the butterfly not flapped its wings, the final outcome and its consequences would have been vastly different >>>

DESIRE
The Champagne Room
Laleh Banoo

Irony of ironies is that life is pretty sexless lately. I've got all the trappings of an excellent sex life (female, young, pretty, own apartment, first-name-basis relationship with local Agent Provocateur salesgirls) but like a Champagne room, there's no sex up in here. Of course that makes me think about it nonstop, even more than before. I met a guy a couple of months ago that I got along with pretty well and we fucked through Lent with some regularity and it was pretty awesome. Big dick, lots of stamina, sexiness devoid of lecherousness (so rare). But Easter brought me back to Earth, where I realized it's time to get serious and stop just fucking around and time to start looking for something deeper, so I decided to part ways >>>

ROCK n ROLL

Extraordinary night

Sensational Kisok performing in Berkeley Saturday night
Jahanshah Javid

TRAVELERS

My home my soul

Photo essay: Going to Iran after 23 years
Azam Nemati

IRAN
More than a lover

Countries don’t betray people.  Betrayal is the handy work of men
Tinoush Moulaei

It’s as pointless to try to beat nationalism and patriotism into someone’s head as it is to try to beat it out.  Hence, the meaningful act is to state an opinion and hope for the best.  Plus, more often than not, people confuse nationalism and patriotism with a mix of fascism and “sheepism” (the thoughtless pursuit of which ever direction the herd is lead towards).  A true patriot or nationalist must criticize her/his government, think and be informed about the issues, and be vigilant against corruption.  Healthy criticism is the bread and butter of governance by the people and for the people.  Beware of those who try to shut criticism of any government by patriotic jingoism, appeals to nationalism, or out right intimidation in the name of national security >>>

RIGHTS
Not just those in prison

... all Iranian women are victims
Mahboubeh Hossein Zadeh

This is Evin prison -- the women's ward.  Nahid and I do not fully comprehend which national security we have undermined, nonetheless with this charge we spend our days in limbo in the midst of these women.  Ten of the 16 women with whom we have shared a cell for over a week, are here on charges of murdering their husbands.  These women, having lost faith in a legal system that offers no hope and no protection, weave their days to the darkness of night that lingers behind the tall walls of Evin.  If our laws had the capacity to defend women charged with murder, they would not be here now, spending their time idly in waiting for the day that would swallow them -- a term used by female inmates to describe execution day >>>

 

RIGHTS
What will they do?

... about the growing awareness among female prisoners and their guards?
Nahid Keshavarz

It is Tuesday, April 10, 2007, 3:30 in the afternoon.  It has been a good day for both Mahboubeh and I. It's visitation day.  Visitation day is the sweetest of days for prisoners.  From the moment they announce your name till the moment you finally see your loved ones, your entire being is filled with anticipation. You stretch the moments in their presence, and in your mind, you dress yourself in your most beautiful clothes -- one becoming of the occasion, albeit that you are forced to wear a veil and prison issued slippers.  Perhaps for those who have never experienced prison, there is no difference between the navy colored veil lent to you by your fellow inmates with love, and the prison issued veil, marked with the logo of the Revolutionary Courts, the logo that is supposed to represent justice.  But for us, there is a difference between these two, even if their colors are the same >>>

DIASPORA

"Unacceptable Behaviour"

New Zealand: There is hardly a place left on the globe that Iranian diaspora have not set foot on
Farid Parsa

ELECTRIC

My daily fix

Once more I want to have you in my thought
Shahireh Sharif

300
Death to Sparta...

The film does portray the Persians as barbarians but the Spartans are hardly portrayed as civilised
Payam Ghamsari

Death to Sparta, Death to Sparta, Death to Sparta... It is time we mighty Persians unite and avenge our honour and pride. We shall smite the Spartans, they shall feel our wrath. I am ready to fight and will make each and every last Spartan feel the sharp edge of my sword. Actually that is a tad extreme, perhaps I will make them feel the sharp edge of my tongue instead as I do not own a sword and have an aversion to physical activity. We should protest outside the Spartan embassy and burn effigies of King Leonidas. Death to Sparta, Death to Sparta, Death to Sparta... >>>

RIGHTS
Azadi -- nah jashne hastehee

Iranians want freedom and social justice, not nuclear achievements
Ali Salari

IDEAS
Lezzat, jensiyyat va ghodrat

100 years of desire, sexuality and power
Shadi Amin

IMPACT
Dr. Ahmadinejad is blowing up (my identity)

I feel it's difficult to discuss pride when Dr. A and others in that regime choose policies that are hurting Iran's reputation and its people
Nazanin Ghassemian

Unfortunately the convenience of saying "Iranian policies are complicated. I don't know. We have great food and art, though" seldom satisfies the inquiries or me. I want people to think highly of Iran, because it is a great place, the land of our ancestors. I don't tolerate people who think negatively about Iran, unless they are basing that judgment on facts. Media coverage about Iran, especially media in Iran, doesn't make help. Maybe it's too bad for us, but it may have nothing to do with immigrant identity. Part of being patriotic is explaining what's wrong, not just discussing the easy topics. And even though it's not easy to argue for Iran lately, most Iranians are doing their best >>>

GROWTH
Toto, I have a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore!

Hossein Derakhshan appears vicious, unfair, and jealous.  Is he all that?
Nazy Kaviani

Hossein Derakhshan is not a spy, a traitor, or a snitch, as he has been labeled.  He is a flamboyant man who loves Iran and writes sensational material, some days with a sharp sense of timing, and some days not.  Many of the people he attacks viciously used to be his colleagues, his friends.  In acting hastily and emotionally, he appears vicious, unfair, and jealous.  Is he all that?  I don’t think so.  I sense that like all other Iranians who have been exiled outside of Iran for whatever unfair reasons, he faces challenges, fears, and emotions ranging from sadness to anger at circumstances which have put him where he is.  He has all of that in common with the very folks he so relentlessly attacks >>>

TRAVELERS

Casa Blanca & beyond

Photo essay: Part 2 of trip to Morocco
Lida Ghaemi

VIDEO BLOG

Peyvand-e garm

Video clips: A taste of Peyvand Khorsandi before his weekend show
Jahanshah Javid

ART

Inner paradise

Paintings
Farah Ossouli

VISIT
Ziaarate emaaamzaadeh

Searching for Ahmad Shamloo's resting place
Ramin Takloo-Bighash

IRI
It never would have worked out between us

Forgiving my two-faced ex-lover
Tina Ehrami

What would you do if you came face to face with your ex-boyfriend whom you once loved and adored for many years and who let you down in so many ways and betrayed you with another woman? Would you fall to his feet and ask him "why"? Would you "accidentally" spill your hot coffee on his lap? Or would you just stop and listen and try to understand his (of course) unreasonable point of view? My ex-boyfriend is called The Islamic Republic of Iran. For many years I loved Iran, cherishing its beautiful memories and stories it provided me. But knowing all the terrible things it did to us and many others, makes my ulcers boil up in my tummy >>>

TRAVELERS

Ssalamu `lekum

Photo essay: Amazing Morocco
Lida Ghaemi

LIFE
Allmanie haircut
Amir Rostam Begli Beigie

One of the many problems of men's aging process is the loss of hair. No matter how modest a man, its onset is never pleasant. With this in mind and with a hint of nostalgia for my young days I went for a change of style. I use a traditional men's barber shop, none of your trendy salons. Knowing they would not understand 'Allmanie' and the translation would render me quite mad in their eyes - I am Eyeranian requiring the haircut of a WW-II German soldier because as every Iranian boy knows they were the bravest - so asked for a short back and sides plus a partition for the receding top. Amazing how the fascist lore had survived (possibly even to this day) in Iran 30 years after the war >>>

STORY
Tehran nights

Part 2: "I'm so glad to be here with you and be able to see and feel your past."
Sanaz Khalaj

As we approached the security-guard filled nook nestled in the middle of the mile-long driveway to my dad's parents' home, the driver stopped. I took advantage of the guard's order to the driver to stop the car for a security check, and jumped out. The guard had to do this to all visitors before permitting entrance to the compound. I began to run up the driveway towards the main gate of the house to look for the tree that bared so many memories for me. My cousins and I had made the carvings on the Sequoia tree. It has always been my Mamani's, my paternal grandmother, favorite tree. It sits on the outside front left corner of the main entrance. It can also offer shade for the delivery people during the hot days >>>

MEDIA
Agar "Rooz" dar zamaane Mossadegh darmiaamad

I can easily imagine if Rooz was being published during the
nationalisation of oil crisis in Iran
Hossein Derakhshan

OPINION
Second time it’s a farce

U.S. presidential campaign and Iran
Ardeshir Ommani

Apparently, the U.S. and British authorities have turned so desperate for an alibi that they readily embraced the assertion of an infamous anti-Iranian Mujahedin-e Khalgh (MEK) group, listed as a terrorist organization of bandits by Britain, the U.S., and the European Union. A spokesman of this group, which vegetates in the shadow of the U.S. army in Camp Ashraf in Iraq, said that the British crews’ capture was planned in advance. But David Stringer of the Associated Press immediately realized that he owes it to his readers to mention that the speaker of the MEK offered no evidence to support his claims. This group, along with the old Iranian monarchists, like their financiers in the White House and Downing Street, need no evidence to fabricate stories of any size >>>

ELECTIONS
Between now and November 2008

U.S. presidential campaign and Iran
Faramarz Fateh

Unfortunately the outcome of most national political elections in the U.S. have an effect on the rest of the world. Consider what would have had happened if Ford had won the election of 1976 against Carter. The Islamic revolution of Iran would either have not had happened or it would have been delayed for a very long time. Fast forward to the year 2001. If Al Gore had won the year 2000 election against Bush and was the U.S. president when 9/11 happened, most of the horrendous events that have happened since, and especially the Iraq war, would not have happened. True, the U.S. would have attacked a country (most likely Afghanistan) as revenge and a lesson for the rest; but that would have been it. No Iraq, no patriot act, upcoming attack on Iran etc etc >>>

VIDEOS

Giveh Kabab

Clips from picnic at Tilden Park, Berkeley
Jahanshah Javid

PICNIC

Iranians in the mist

Photo essay: Sizdah Bedar in Tilden Park, Berkeley, northern California
Jahanshah Javid

FOUND
A note from me to my father
Houshang Shirvanpour

I never got the chance to get to know my father. My father died when I was only one-year old (he was only 27). A few pictures and what my mother and my relatives have said about him are the only facts I know about him. People, who like me, have lost their fathers when they were too young know this feeling of loss. I'm 44-years old now, but still can feel the sorrow and loss now and then. My father and my mother were deeply in love. I knew my father had sent my mother lots of love letters when they were engaged and even when they were married. I had seen these letters a few times and she had let me read a couple of them when I lived in Iran. This time I asked her if I could read all of them. She said I could and she let me take the letters with me when I returned from Iran. It took me a long time to read all the letters. There are many and they are full of passionate love >>>

FOOTBALL
One wish down 99 to go!
Shahireh Sharif

Watching Andranik’s transformation as a football player has been amazing. In fact allow me to go even one step further and call it nothing short of a metamorphism.  Seeing his interview on TV straight after the 7th April match was something out of this world; he has beaten Kevin Davies for this spot (well done!).  The experience of the Reebok stadium as a Bolton supporter has been joyful.  It is amazing to witness supporters cheering on Andranik during the game. For me the excitement carries on even after the match, when fans ask Andranik for his autograph, wow! I know this is just football, but can’t help feeling proud of him as a fellow countryman. Maybe success is a contagious commodity after all >>>

OPINION
Iranian Nuclear Day

Timely opportunity for Ahmadinejad to make up for lost political ground
Meir Javedanfar

Today -- the 20th day in the Persian month of Farvardin -- is Nuclear Day in Iran. It is expected that Ahmadinejad will make an announcement regarding progress made in Iran's quest to enrich uranium. This could be a lot of things. One of them is that Iran has managed to successfully install 3000 centrifuges. No one knows for sure. What is certain is that Ahmadinejad needs to reinforce his position inside Iran, which has been weakened by the release of the soldiers. The decision to release the British soldiers was not his. It was made over his head by Ayatollah Khamenei >>>

POINT
Soft power

Wouldn't it be easier if the Allies concentrated more on working with the non violent forces already winning in Iran?
Ali Mostofi

So that's it, take a breather this week-end folks, as we sit with our barbecues, rejoicing the end of one hostage drama. But little do we know, that the Seyyeds are famous for one thing, if nothing else. They retained power against the US with their hostage crisis, and now are on the verge to more of it. But the world knows better this time. The yellow bellied drug runners, arms for oil traders, and the like, are no longer going to get away with it. Why? Well, Mr Steyn is of the belief, that "soft power" is going to persuade. An immense campaign, to surround and strangle the Seyyeds, is under way. And the first good results of it was shown just recently, with the release of the 15 sailors >>>

CULTURE
We haven’t done too badly

I would like to know just what is wrong with young people having fun?
Zohreh Khazai Ghahremani

In a world that aims more and more satirical comments at Persians, most of us are learning how to turn a deaf ear. However, when negative comments come from our own, with the exception of light-hearted anecdotes, they are much harder to bear. The mere survival of our culture, despite multiple foreign influences, is something we can all be proud of. It is one thing to debate whether or not we should be upset over an offensive fantasy film production, but quite another to be called “cultureless” or people of “Chelo-kabab culture” by one of our own >>>

BLOGGER
Enjoying absolute freedom of expression?
Kianosh Saadati

A quick look at the Hoder's posts within last few months reflects this fact that he might be done with the Persian blog community or even cyberspace. He simply slams and swears at anyone whose ideas do not necessarily correspond to his. From monarchists to reformists and from most prominent journalists and cartoonists to various political and academic figures are being slammed by him, and sometimes serious charges without any evidence are laid on them. Why is this happening? No doubt, he is enjoying absolute freedom of expression on cyberspace. But the problem is that he only wants this freedom for himself and not anyone else!! >>>

MUSIC VIDEO

Life on the Iranian fast lane

From Kiosk's new album "Eshgh-e Sorat"
Kia Sohrabi

SUICIDE
Emshab Sadegh Hedayat khod raa mikoshad

Sadegh Hedayat's took his life 56 years ago, tonight
Mahasti Shahrokhi

POETRY
They live

For books
Sasan Seifikar

POETRY
Baaghe vahshe Irani

Employment opportunities at an Iranian zoo
Leila Farjami

GRIEF
Hengaameh khasteh ast

Fourth anniversary of Kaveh Golestan's death
Parima Shahin Moghaddam

TOURISM
Shenaakht va jonbeshe farhangi

Iran's huge tourism potential is being undermind and ignored
Shokooh Mirzadegi

IDEAS
Hezaartooye baazshenaasiye kheesh

Identity crisis
Esmail Nooriala

VIDEO BLOG

New York, too short

Going to New York and back on the same day
Siamack Salari

ART

Mythical proportions

Paintings
Gizella Varga Sinai

HELP!
Pashm-less spring almonds -- please
Sean Amour

It is spring time -- and time for Chaaghaaleh-baadoom (spring almonds). Why is it that all Persian shops in the US sell the spring almonds covered with wool (pashm) -- a very difficult thing to remove. If you eat all that "pashm", you get a stomach ache. In Iran, the guys sell the Chaaghaaleh-baadoom in a big tray -- and the young almonds are all smooth green with no pashm. How do they do it? >>> [Ali Parsa's suggestions]

TONS OF LETTERS
I would have taken all of you hostage

On Heresh Rezavandi's " Iranian sailors detained in English Channel": It is quite clear that the ENGLISH COWBOYS drifted into Iranian waters, but I think you should let them go. It is quite clear they put there tails between there legs, that is why they did not fire on you. You have made your point ! Besides it is time for the world to learn to live in peace >>> MORE

TRAVELERS

Staying alive

Photo essay: Afghanistan
Pouria Lotfi

IRANICA
We love you, but...
Ramin Tabib

Mr. Ashraf: I read with great interest your response to the AP article on Mr. Yarshater. You scared them sir, and that cc to an attorney at the end probably compelled Associated Press to sit up and take notice. But I have a couple of problems with your response. You acted with great zeal to discredit the letter of the AP article but to myslef and thousands of others - who rather not decive ourselves - the intent of the article remains valid: 1- Mr. Yarshater was born Bahai. All the power to him, without Bahais Iran would be worse than it is now, but he was born a Bahai, is a Bahai and will one day die a Bahai. 100 years from now, when he is gone, I doubt his family will declare that he was a reformed Shiite or a born again Christian >>>

CRITIQUE
Adabiyaat va pornography

In response to "Do Akhoonde Paleed"
Mahasti Shahrokhi

LIFE
At night
Sheema Kalbasi

I want to disappear one day before my birthday arrives and arrive at your place and be handed to you like a gypsy's ball. You know my cousin married a gypsy before I was born. She fell in love with the lover of the lakes and lands. I had never met her and we didn't have her picture. I only know of a woman who left with the wind and perhaps died at a mountain hill. I wonder how your hands would hold the ball. The ball that can fall and break into pieces, like the body of a little girl across the town whose home was ruined by the bombs. I saw that house. My parents took us to see what the bombs did and how deep they could dig into the heart of Tehran, four floors and a half of the apartments next door >>>

VIDEO BLOG

The cool crew

Videos: Tamashagaran magazine staff reunion
Nader Davoodi

PEOPLE

Generation next

Photo essay: Children at Los Gatos 13 Bedar event, Northern California
Farah Ravon

MEDIA
Outlaw mentality

Western media's inexcusable behavior in the case of captive British sailors
Daniel M Pourkesali

Iran's sudden release of 15 Britons arrested 2 weeks ago in the disputed territorial waters inside the Persian Gulf took many in the West by surprise and sucked the wind out of warmongers sail who had used the event to continue their demonization of Iran as a pariah state. Of course following the release of the sailors yesterday, the ever compliant and predictable major U.S. news media dropped the story like a hot sack of potatoes. After all, portrayal of Iran as anything other than an outlaw nation deserving membership in the 'Axis of Evil' club does not bode well with the aims of their 'special interest' controlled masters >>>

FREE SPEECH
A film for a film

What are we to do in response to a piece of ill-willed propaganda like “300”?
Esmail Khoi

As a founding member both of The Iranian Writers Association and The Iranian Pen (in Exile), I cannot but remain an arduous defender of the basic Human Right to Freedom of Expression. It is morally impossible for me, therefore, to ask anyone to refrain from seeing “300”. Just as words are to be answered by words, films are to be encountered by films. Besides, human curiosity can, and often does, over-power human will. All forms of banning or boycotting strongly tend to, and usually do, work against themselves. Salman Rushdie, whose Right to Freedom of Expression and Publication I have always been and shall always be a whole-hearted defender of, did not dream of his Satanic Verses to become an almost bestseller. But Khomeini’s edict against his life and work made it so >>>

IDEAS
Trust vs. fear

My suggestion is to look at ourselves before blaming others
Ben Madadi

What are the reasons behind all this suspicion and animosity that Middle-Easterners have toward the West? Why can't Iranians and other Middle-Easterners have a more receptive and trusting approach toward the West? I remember my own father and many elders I knew used to talk about the West in a very negative sense. Some old and even young people used to talk about Americans and the British as being behind almost everything, controlling the lives and minds of Iranians, Muslims and others through all the possible means, even including the imported food. Some of my school colleagues in Iran used to talk about how the West was trying to control, manipulate and exploit us through their films, products and even pretty much innocent science >>>

SAILORS
Treated like royalty
Hadi Panah

Score another victory for Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.  While Prime Minister Tony Blair and President Bush screamed of violations of international law, the truth of the matter is that the British hostages were treated like royalty compared to the treatment given to "enemy combatants", Quantanamo and Abu Gharaib prisoners and poor souls that are picked up as part of the CIA's rendition program.  So much for Mahmoud being "Hitler Jr." as Sean Hannity likes to call him. Deep down inside he must be burning, knowing that this make Iran look good and reasoned. And to drive the dagger deeper, they were released for Easter, guess we can throw out Iranians being anti-Christian >>>

IRANIANS
Chelo-kabab culture

We have a rich culture, yet we seem uncultured
Talaieh Joon

Recently, I've come across several articles and photo essays about the various events surrounding Norooz and Sizdah Bedar. I've also received emails from patriotic Iranians showing the desire to promote and teach our fellow Americans a thing or two about the rich Iranian culture. First thing is first. Before we teach others about our culture we should expand our horizons and learn it ourselves >>>

TRAVELERS

Snow trip

Photo essay: Dizin ski trip
Sanaz D

SIZDAH BEDAR

The best for last

Photo essay: Sizdah Bedar, Los Gatos, Northern California
Talieh Shahrokhi

The Norouz Festival Committee did another excellent job in organizing this event in Los Gatos, norther Califnora, for a third year in a row at this location. There was plenty of food, music, and socializing. The weather was absolutely perfect which was something to be very thankful for >>>

SAILORS
Wam bam thank you Mahmoud
Shahriar Zangeneh

It is hard for me to admit it, but truth being the greatest emancipator, admit I shall. By George, after nearly thirty years and numerous trial and errors The Islamic Republic of Iran has got it down pat, well, sort of. Just as the mass media was getting comfy with calling the fifteen British naval personnel detained by the IRI, as hostages, they were bedazzled by the magnanimity of none other than Manhoud "Motor Mouth" Ahmadinejad's "presidential pardon" >>>

SAILORS
Eidi

Iran frees British sailors, demonstrating that the spirit of Norooz is still alive and well
Payam Ghamsari

Two of the most important Iranian principles have always been pride and hospitality. It was an Iranian sense of hospitality that drove the Revolutionary Guard's to invite the 15 British sailors and marines to share their sabzi polo baa maahi while showing off the guns that they had received as Eidi. However it was also motivated by an Iranian sense of pride, they didn't want to be outdone by the British, Americans or the Iraqi's who have been so prolific in their hospitality towards Iranian government officials. Fortunately these recent events have demonstrated that the spirit of Norooz is still alive and well >>>

MUSIC
30 years and somehow still kicking!

The Black Cats
Bruce Bahmani

This NoRouz during the traditional 13-bedar outing, I was able to see the latest incarnation of the Black Cats, Iran's oldest Boy Band in what we hope each year will be their last year. Founded by the enigma of the band, Shahbal, a rather prophetic name, because frankly, one has to have a pair of the largest bass ones around, to have the audacity to continue putting out such a high level of consistent drivel, for this many years. Formulaic? Absolutely! Predictable? Only slightly. Putting a well balanced singer or 2 as in the case of recent parolees Kamran & Hooman, in front of the mike and then shoving the techno infused dambali-dimbo down their throats like corn into a goose. Except the resulting explosion is far from Pate. Although my liver often aches >>>

MUSIC
MOSSADEGH

A new rock opera by Michael Minn
MP3s

Mossadegh is the true story of the coup orchestrated by the C.I.A. in 1953 that installed the Shah of Iran. Driven by an infectious power-pop score, this 45-minute piece is entirely performed by the members of a four-piece rock band and features a wide variety of characters from this pivotal moment in American foreign policy >>>

300
Microphones, planes, and stereotypes

Those behind the making of “300”
Touraj Daryaee and Warren Soward

Perhaps I have had my head buried in the books for too long, but having taken courses on politics and history through film (such courses are offered at major universities in the U.S., especially for those who are interested in American popular culture!), I am still quite disturbed by the intentions of the film. In fact, it is these scholarly pursuits that make me dig a bit deeper, past the slogans and moralistic hyperbolae. I see now that the reason that I reacted to “300” needs some explanation, in order that our friends understand why this is not just a movie! >>>

SIZDAH BEDAR

Virginians

Photo essay: 13 Bedar in Algon Kian Park, Northern Virgina
Hossein Molayem

SIZDAH BEDAR

BBQ in Bear Mountain

Photo essay: Sizdah Bedar in New York
Ali Afshar

SIZDAH BEDAR

Farewell ‘haftseen’

Photo essay: Now that my duty is done and the ‘sabzeh’ is thrown in the water I get to look at the scenery
Shahireh Sharif

Another ‘sizdah-be-dar’, another goodbye to yet another ‘sofrey haftseen’! A group of us gathered to celebrate ‘sizdah-be-dar’ in the usual manner. We are also protecting ourselves against the bad luck that is supposed to be associated with 13th of Farvardeen if spent indoor! Not surprisingly, there are other groups of Iranians about. The common factors between us are a desire to have a good time, ‘aash’ and ‘kabaab’! >>>

SAILORS
Hostages and hospitality

The truth is the Revolutionary Guards were bored
Payam Ghamsari

It is sometimes hard to know whether as Iranian you should feel proud, ashamed, embarrassed or bemused. Having closely followed the current impasse which has dominated the news cycles over the course of the last eleven days, I have come to the conclusion that in this particular instance it is a combination of all of the above. In the profound words of Forrest Gump, "Life is like a box of chocolates"; and as Ali Larijani implied in an interview yesterday (with John Snow, on the Channel 4 news), if a foreign power strays into your territorial waters, you do not offer them "chocolat"! >>>

LIFE
Three thousand years of civilization
Sanaz Samali

When I left my country of birth, Iran, back in 1987, I wanted to get away from all things Iranian. I told my father that I would rather live in a tent in America than live in our comfortable home in the north of Tehran. I was only fifteen years old at the time suffered from what I call "tabeh gharb", west fever. After spending some time in Ankara, Turkey with my parents, I was finally granted a visa to come to the United States. Upon returning to Hotel Tondovan in Ankara, a popular hotel regularly occupied by Iranians who were seeking visas to the U.S., I became the envy of every girl who was turned down by the U.S. Consulate. I thought that day was the greatest day of my life >>>

DIPLOMACY
11 days too late

Has the UK lost its 'edge' in foreign policy
Mohammad Kamaali

The recent story of the arrest of 15 British sailors in the Persian Gulf has revealed interesting and often hidden facts regarding the current administration in Britain. Regardless of the incredibly complicated geopolitical situation in the Middle East and in particular the mouth of Arvandroud (or Shat-Alarab), the way this story has been handled by the British government shows a lack of understanding of the ‘New Middle East’ they helped to form. The fact is that following the invasion of Iraq the balance of power in that region of the world has changed dramatically; too fast even for the British to keep up with it >>>

IRAN
Pouya's Top 10

Things you don't know about Iran
Pouya Alimagham

Iran is being demonized much like the way Iraq was being demonized in the run up to the 2003 invasion. Movies, news briefs, right-wing TV programs, articles, books, etc. are effectively degrading the image of more than 70 million people in a psychological war justifying any future conflict with Iran.  This tension is even surfacing in unlikely places like Facbook and MySpace, two popular online social networking websites where groups titled “Anyone who supports bombing Iran back to the stone age” and “Out of Iraq and into I RAN” exist with dozens of members. The Iranian people, however, are rallying to avert a war and are showing a different side to Iran >>>

SIZDAH BEDAR

From Los Angeles, with love

Photo essay: Sizdah Bedar in North and South Los Angeles
Mohamad Navab

SIZDAH BEDAR

Lucky 13

Photo essay: Sizdah Bedar in Encino, Southern California
Tony Forberg

RIGHTS
We care

For Ali Farahbakhsh, prisoner of conscience
Nazy Kaviani

Over the past few months, I have come to know a name I had never heard before, Ali Farahbakhsh.  While everyone was hoping to see him finally freed, this young Iranian journalist, who had been detained at Evin prison for the past several months, was recently tried and sentenced to three years in prison, based on ambiguous and unfounded charges.  His research and journalism domain is economics and finance.  He isn’t even a social or a political journalist.  Farahbakhsh was imprisoned for several months, forced to “confess” to having ties to outside agencies keen on overthrowing the Iranian government.  He refused to confess to something he didn’t do, hence he was handed a sentence of three years’ jail term this week >>>

LIFE
Sizdah Bedar
Sheema Kalbasi

Every Sizdah Bedar I am sick. It is become my genetic code to have fever on the thirteenth day of this Persian celebration of the spring festival. The oldest memory of my first sickness on this day goes back to one of these Sizdah Bedars. Driving near Tehran after having Baghali polo --a dish of baby lima bean with dill rice and meat, the common cuisine for the day-- I saw a Haji Firooz, a painted face character in his red costume who is the traditional herald of the Nowruz season singing and dancing. Maybe it was watching the children jumping around him or maybe it was an incident from half an hour earlier that made me feel dizzy and sick >>>

POETRY
Vote for Superman

He can be your earthly Don Juan and heavenly Imam
Leila Farjami

NOROOZ

Dazzling

Photo essay: Norooz in Philadelphia
Omid Alavi

PERSIANS

Coming out

Hollywood stars proudly show their Persian colors
Photos

Hollywood stars of Persian heritage are coming out of the closet. Angered by the huge success of the shameful Persian-basing movie "300", leading actors who once hid their Persian ancestry are now parading their race with pride. So much so that many have even revealed their original Persian name. Here are just a few >>>

DISCOVERY
It's Pirdawsi, NOT Ferdowsi

It will be some time before the Iranians get used to the name Pirdawsi, if ever
Steven J. von Monica

I have come to Tus, 19 miles north of the provincial capital Mashhad, in the northeastern Iranian province of Khorasan, to attend the Fifth Annual International Conference on the Legacy of Pirdawsi (pronounced: pir-dough-si), Iran’s most revered national poet. I had covered this beat a few years back, when the affair hardly received any attention, not even among the Iranian intellectuals, here or abroad. At that time the same honoree was known by the name Ferdowsi (pronounced: fer-dough-si). Why the name-change? >>>

300
Ridiculous, plain and simple

Frank Miller's 300 is woven in ignorance and racism
Ali Jami

So after buying our tickets and haggling with the cinema staff to let one of my mates in (you see the film is rated for 15 year olds and over, we’re all 14 but we all were allowed but one of my mates wasn’t but thanks to my flattery we all went through), and buying our snacks we entered the cinema. We sat down through the stretched out trailers whilst joking and talking and then the film came on. My immediate thought was...  “Wow, this is amazingly shot; I love the backdrops and directing.” And this is true; the film in my opinion will definitely pick up the director a Best Director award. It is immaculately shot but that was about the only good point in the film for about the first 30 to 60 minutes. It just dragged on and on, trying to give the film's plot some depth but it failed >>>

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