Features

>>> Archive
July 2007

WAR
Special treatment

Lamenting the absurdity of the UK sailors saga
Tinoush Moulaei

Oh, the absurdity!  The callous disregard for justice, honesty, and fairness is depressing, more so because of the chorus of lofty claims to these values.  Well, there is a new twist in the saga involving the 15 British sailors who were captured in (very likely) Iranian waters.  There is plenty of evidence to refute the British claim regarding that incident.  Now, it turns out that the maps used by the British government to make their case were inaccurate after all, according to a British parliamentary report.  These are the very same maps plastered all over Fox, CNN, BBC, etc. usually along with the word “hostage” to add that extra dash of Western righteousness >>>

TRAVELERS
Third western

Turkey, outside Istanbul, is a mix between the Third World and the Western World
Dario Margeli

I arrived at the airport of Izmir at night time. Usually when you exit customs in any major airport, there is an information desk or better yet an official government tourist information office. In the worst case, signs in English directing you to the buses or trains going to the city center. Well, none of that in Izmir airport! Do you know how I got downtown? A Turkish girl sitting with me on the plane saw that I was peeing in my pants and told me I can come with her. Her brother picked us up in his car. On the way to the city center the car goes through the residential neighborhoods which look depressing, sort of like the low-income, crack-smoking dormitory towns in California. Nothing touristy I can assure you. I am dropped off in a downtown street that is uglier than hell >>>

IMMORAL
Soap opera, Iranian style

Nader, being a romantic and sensitive man, was stunned by Roya's beauty, feminism, and good sex
Sophie Saviour

She was amazed how easy and fast Nader fell for her. It was much more than she expected. He was totally ready to spend all his time with her and she knew how to keep him interested. Nader's wife, who felt something is wrong, initiated a couple of things: nice dinner tables and new clothes, as they were doing much better money wise. But all her efforts went unnoticed as Nader never came home on time to have dinner with her. Arguments started! She was upset and inexperienced and was taken by shock. How fast my man is leaving me! She couldn't imagine it. All the attempts to keep him were useless as he was already gone! After a few times when dinner went cold and Nader came home after midnight, she accepted the separation. They grew apart and nothing could bring him back to her. Roya's attaraction was very strong! All set! Roya hit the jackpot! >>>

PEOPLE
Khuzestan 1958-60

Photo essay: Close links of kinship made a deep impression, certainly expanding my sense of human possibilities
Paul Schroeder

FILM
Understanding pain
Kamal Artin

After few screenings and revisions, Jalal Jonroy finally released his romantic comedy, David and Layla, to theaters. Like most of his fellow countrymen in Diaspora, Jonroy has not forgotten the unfair treatment of the people of his origin and remains devoted to their plight throughout the movie. To make his case more tangible by general public and entertainment industry in the West, he pairs another maltreated ethnic group with the people of his origin. Both ethnicities have remained preoccupied with their past traumas, fears, and prejudices. While one of them with a population of 15 millions has been represented by a modern state for the past few decades, the other with a population of 30 to 40 millions still remains stateless in the 21st century >>>

TRAVELER
Gmelin's Persia & Persians

Young German scientist and explorer's 1770 journey to northern Persia
Samuel Gottlieb Gmelin

Further, music is never played if the singers do not sing along. Often a dance is added, but this dance neither represents German nor French taste. Those who perform them only have in mind how they may express the power of the music by the wonderful turns and rotations of their bodies. It is due to this that they then bend backwards and then again fall down headlong with their arms outstretched on the ground, and often also clap their hands together over the head, until they finally get up to again make the most violent movements by another theme of the music, turn around in twirls and yes even tumble with their head over their bodies, all the while hand-clapping >>>

POETRY
Arrival

A new day
Baharak Sedigh

POETRY
Ah, Los Angeles

I accept you as my city >>> Persian
Majid Naficy

POETRY
For Shirin Neshat

Your little black holes are too small for my bullets
Brett

POETRY
Ghatlgaah

Hess meekonam keh tond shodeh nabze gardanam
Laleh Irani

POETRY
The earthquake

It was two in the afternoon when nap time in the heat flattens you out to extract the most comfortable dream
Jam Hamidi

POETRY
Eclipsing the sun

We kill and kill and kill, that all may come to believe
Dara Esfandiary

TURKEY
East meets West at their best

Photo essay: Istanbul and more...
Fariba Amini

DEMOCRACY
Khodaahaafez Torkiyeh?!

Turkey, democracy and women
Shokooh Mirzadegi

FILM
Good spirit
Shirin Bazleh

Done with watching the mega-budget summer movies: Harry Potter, Hairspray and Transformer? Now what about a small independent romantic comedy about a Jewish New Yorker in love with a Moslem-Kurd refugee? Interesting subject, isn’t it? David and Layla’s Kurdish director Jay Jonroy takes the monumental task of balancing the complexities of a cross-cultural love story against its political and religious contradictions. Two hours of cheery entertainment to discover that there really aren’t any contradictions after all.  We have more similarities than differences >>>

UNPOPULAR
Dial 1 for Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

Although Ahmadinejad is unpopular, the West must not think that it has a blank to check to do what it wants in Iran
Meir Javedanfar

While Ahmadinejad owes his initial success to polls, his presidency has since to come to rightly fear them. Although many have ruled out polls in Iran as an objective yardstick, the very fact that politicians are nevertheless scared of them shows that they do present some valid information. This was demonstrated recently when Radio Javan, an Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) owned radio station, asked its listeners, on the second anniversary of Ahamadinejad’s victory, to SMS the candidate they would vote for if the election were held again. The listeners had the same seven candidates to choose from as they did in 2005. The results of this poll were never publicized. According to reports from Iran, this was due to pressure from Ahmadinejad, who had been informed of his performance >>>

EARTHQUAKE
No nukes for Iran!

Unambiguously oppose any nuclear energy development in Iran carried out by an unaccountable government
Reza Fiyouzat

In Iran there is no accountability for anything the government does. For example, and directly related to this topic, there is no accountability for the fact that in an oil-rich country, refined oil (for the everyday consumption of the people) is mostly imported! Refining oil is not exactly nuclear science (no puns intended, but take as many as you like). This is a century-old technology. Why is it that the Iranian government is not investing some of its vast sums of petro-euros-and-dollars on improving the oil-refining capabilities of the nation, thus reducing the need for importing (much more expensive) refined oil products? Would this not be safer, more logical, more efficient, and a more economically viable short-to-mid-term investment of the national resources? >>>

TEAM MELLI
We will always love you
Emad Mirsaeidi

Team Melli Iran through years have been so much a part of the Iranian life, both outside and inside Iran that has become an official word in English language.  It has been a single source of uniting factor among all political beliefs, and ethnic and religious backgrounds among Iranians. Each one us see a part of us in those young kids who are taking on the opponents on that beautiful grass field. We are so much devoted to them that we forget always that there is also another side to the game, and after all, it is just a game. It has a ball and it is a play! Just a play! That does not get reduced because grown men are doing that. It is a play! >>>

 

TRAVELERS
Strolling in Sa'd Abad

Photo essay: Family visit to the Shah's palace
Ben Bagheri

INTERROGATION
Cinema Evin

A film review. Really.
Ari Siletz

The prison interrogator who directed Haleh Esfanidari's "confession" video -- we will call him Evinpour -- does not have Makhmalbaf's skills. His attempts at realism fail at the levels of set design and editing. Evinpour has succeeded, however, in manipulating Esfandiari into believing she is speaking to a friendly listener. In the video aired on Iranian TV, Esfanidari sits in a couch, comfortable and relaxed, surrounded by the earth tones of the furniture. As our minds cooperate with the director to suspend disbelief, the small refrigerator intruding clumsily into the frame suggests that Evinpour himself has been unable to shake off the prison aura. If this prop is meant as an association with food and therefore good treatment, a basket of fruit on the coffee table would have harmonized much better with the intended scheme >>>

LIFE
When will you see them all again?

A family reunion in diaspora
Nazy Kaviani

The youngest is 12. If you look carefully at his small, expressive face, you will see a darkening hairline just above his upper lip. You want to stare at it, marvel at the promise of life it brings its owner and those who love him, but you can’t stare at a 12-year old boy. So you move on... Another is a pretty 14-year old, whose body has grown into curves which weren’t there last year, you could swear. You want to stare at the wild beauty of that gorgeous auburn hair, just like her mother’s, and watch the contour of that figure, memorizing it until the next time you meet, but you can’t stare at a 14-year old girl. So you move on... >>>

HARASSMENT
Repressive measures help pro-war forces

Statement on the detainment of Iranian-Americans
CASMII

Detention and harassment of individuals, academics and NGO or political activists for expressing their ideas or promoting different cultural positions, are deplorable acts, regardless of the diverse contexts and vastly different dimensions in which they might take place, be it in the United States, Guantanamo Bay, Israel, the UK or any other place, including Iran. In addition to being abhorrent in their own right, such acts in a country like Iran which is threatened by warmongers in the west, also play directly into the hands of those determined to bomb Iran >>>

VIEW
3D Iranians

The Iranian fork-road: Stagnation, reconstruction or deconstruction?
Nima Tamaddon

Imagine this. While President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad practically calls for Israel's destruction and relentlessly campaigns against the United States, ordinary young Iranians are fascinated by American music, love Hollywood films. Moreover compared to Persian characters (kings, poets, social activists, politicians ... ) Barbie dolls, Spiderman, Batman, All-Star shoes, Michael Jackson, Jennifer Lopez, Bill Gates and many other American characters, signs and icons are more familiar with them. [Although many western journalists and commentators have pointed to these facts especially since the advent of Iran's 1997 reform movement, it is still worthwhile to underline them to set the stage for any original analysis]. >>>

PEOPLE
The faces of Montbéliard

Photo essay: Just people, and their façade
Fatemeh Farajmandi

FOOTBALL
Team Melli? Tokhme chapam.

On Iran's elimination from Asia Cup
Yahya Saheli

First and foremost I will apologise for the language I am going to use as for the past few days I could not come up with anything more suitable that would convey my true feelings for this bunch of shit that we have had the misfortune of having imposed upon us. The poor poor excuse of humanity called Olaghnoi the head coach and his camp followers and brown nosed hezbullahi yes-men. This mardikeh olagh and his pastfetrat supporters have done exactly what they set out to do and that is to destroy the Iranian spirit even further. Akhe mardikeh olag, how do you put that retard midget Khatibi as a forward to deal with tall Korean defenders >>>

CINEMA
2 films, 2 views

I recently saw two Iranian films and jotted down my impressions on both
Ana Bayat

Ever since I saw FIREWORKS WEDNESDAY I have found myself increasingly discovering various layers of subtexts finding their way into my curious and analytical mind. Never before had the Iranian screen seen such fine performances as that of Hamid Farokh Nejad. If there was no improvisation involved whatsoever, then I have never seen such organic responses on screen or stage by a male actor. A psychological thriller? Hitchcokesc? Innovative? A social commentary? A non-judgmental account of life stories running parallel to each other? >>>

TRAVELERS
Dasht-e Shaqayeq

Photo essay: Wild poppy valley near Damavand
Maziar Behrooz

DEBATE
War and Peace!

How can any intelligent person see any parallels between Ahmadinejhad's agenda and the interests of Iranians as a nation?
G. Rahmanian

Catastrophes brought upon Iranians as direct results of the regime's unjustifiable policies since its inception, are too numerous to mention and are beyond the scope of this article, so I limit myself to just a few. Had the regime's uranium enrichment activities been legitimate and peaceful to begin with, there would have been no reason for secrecy for a period of eighteen years until they were exposed by the MEK, the group with which Sepahpour and other supporters of the regime seem to be intensely obsessed. This issue has nothing to do with the "treasonous" MEK members anymore, the world does not seem to trust the Iranian regime and there are good reasons for their distrust >>>

U.S.-IRAN
The devil's genius

Once again, ignoring a policy of diplomacy which would lead to peace, we are being led to war
Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich

With censorship abound, we must dodge the bullet of stupor and learn to recognize that Dick Cheney, this Yale drop-out who wore the color of cowardice during the Vietnam War, was chosen to be the devil’s instrument in order to influence George Bush on his destructive path.  While the electronic highways are jammed with petitions to impeach Bush and Cheney, we must not fail to hold to account those who have held our highest office hostage and ax the root of evil.  The destructive forces have already made their way into our future and the sparks alone are more threatening that the blaze we are currently engulfed in >>>

IDEAS
First step toward direct democracy

Direct representation for taxation
Reza Fiyouzat

A majority of the U.S. citizens get zero political representation for the taxes they pay. Of the 49 percent of the population that does vote in the general elections (with the advisory that as low as 20-25 percent may vote in mid-term elections, and less in local elections), another significant majority only remotely, and in highly mediated form, may see a hint of representation. Time permitting, of course; the Senators’ and Representatives’ time is exceptionally precious and by necessity only a small minority of it shall be spent on lesser voters. Only a small minority of the total population has any real political representation, and of that minority a tiny segment, as we all know, owns the politicians >>>

TRAVELERS
Origin of flight

Photo essay: Relaxing in North Carolina
Morteza Loghmani

TRAVELERS
Seummer garden

Photo essay: Sorkheh Hessar, Tehran
Mehrdad Mahmoudi

CONFESSIONS
Unintended good
Shahriar Zangeneh

The second installment of the greatly anticipated two part miniseries “In the name of Democracy”, a production of Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB), has come and gone.  Although it was billed as tell all about the sinister plots that are hatched to overthrow the “first government of Allah on earth”, the docudrama/ confessional series did not deliver on its billing. In fact, the program came across more as a how to manual for achieving good, in this case democracy, than how to avoid the bad, subjugation. To put it simply, if the intent was to paint the main actors, the hapless prisoners, as the instruments of the evil-intentioned powers to be, it failed.  The show portrays the prisoners and their supposed masters as crusaders of Johnny Appleseed kind of good >>>

IRAQ
Blood money

No one is looking, so they’re taking!
Tinoush Moulaei

I should give a little background information. The US government basically wrote a draft law for Iraq’s government to pass setting up the rules and regulations for awarding contracts on Iraq’s oil and gas resources and industry. This law basically opens up Iraq for the taking. It puts in legal framework for rape of Iraq. The passage of this law has been included as one of the benchmarks for Iraq government to achieve in order to show progress in Iraq. This subcommittee was reviewing progress on passing this law. One could say this law is the Holy Grail of the Iraq invasion for Bush administration and the very symbol of the War for Oil >>>

WOMEN
Bahaaneye Bush

Threat of war should not be used as an excuse to dismiss demands for equal rights
Monireh Kazemi

CREATIVITY
My children

Photo essay: London art workshop
Parima Shahin Moghaddam

TRAVELERS
Seeing the “real” Iran

As a naïve kid, I assumed that Persia was a tiny island paradise that rarely made it to maps like my birthplace
Yuki-Jennifer Kurumi

A country’s history is much like wine. Considering Shiraz is the birthplace of the seductive grape to which it gave its name, I believe my thought is reasonable. With age, a culture grows more attractive, increases its depth and notes, and heightens in value. Hence, I have concluded that Persia, with its three thousand years of flavor is one of the finest in the world. Having spent majority of my twenty-one years in Australia, I could not avoid becoming a jolly wine follower. We proud Aussies swear by our top quality Shiraz, but will always be haunted by the fact that it originally ain’t really our grape. Bugger >>>

PERSONAL
You get the picture
Faramarz Fateh

TEHRANGELES -- I was browsing iranian.com when I saw a link to a picture showing a women without hejab riding on the back of a guy on a street racer bike. I was thinking to myself how badbakht have we Iranians become when a picture of woman without a head scarf, in the year 2007, finds its way to the home page of a site with a lot of readers. A few moments later, I started reading the letters page. As usual, many well written letters with great content. While basking in the thoughts of how well some of my countrymen and women write in English, I came across a letter by the "individual" with the internet pen name of Issa Hajizadeh >>>

CITIZENSHIP
A chance to meet

Citizenship Workshop with Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi in San Francisco
Elahe Enssani

With the recent defeat of the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Bill in the Senate, a major opportunity was missed to strengthen and improve our broken immigration laws. Although the proposed Bill was not perfect, there were areas that affected the Iranian American Community such as the H1B visas and sponsoring family members for green card. The Bill is dead for now, but the debate is not and there is a good chance that another Bill will surface in the next Congress. We, as Iranian Americans, must pay close attention to the new Bill and lend our voice to the debate as our community is for most part an Immigrant Community, meaning majority of us was born outside the United States >>>

IRANIANS
Hitler's legacy

Iran's and Iranians' identity is indeed largely based on what they see as Iranians being Aryans
Ben Madadi

There are indeed many who identify themselves as proud Iranians who would get angry for calling Iran a backward country, or even to associate Iran with the neighbourhood. They would argue that Iran is unique, great, and notably different from not just its peers but also from the rest of the world. And to prove this, the so-called Persian/Iranian nationalists (not calling them racists is just being nice) would proudly identify and associate themselves with Aryans, with no reserves at all, openly and arrogantly. Clear sign of backwardness! No further proof is needed. No further comment is needed. And in case, one, like me, would dare to question the legitimacy and diplomacy (is it okay in today's world to bring words about such a dodgy identity that has been buried by Westerners more than half a century ago?!) of such a popular stance, these proud Aryans would not hesitate to attack >>>

TRAVELERS
Paris divided by art

Photo essay: Museums, historical buildings, churches...
Shaghayegh Ghanbari

ETHNIC
Jang afrooziye ghomi

Disastrous consequences of ethnic conflicts
Mohammad Amini

VISUAL
A Kiarostami day

Joining friends to see Abbas Kiarostami's photo exhibition and films in Berkeley
Ari Siletz

At the Berkeley Art Museum a fan blew at one Kiarostami photograph. The rest of his works remained still--like the audience in a theater-- while this projected video of branches and leaves apparently swayed in the turbulence created by the fan. The famed film director had broadened me forever with awareness of the very air between the projector and the screen. Beware, those who would walk blithely into Abbas Kiarostami‚s mind, the door you entered through will be too small to let you back out. I was late for a rendez-vous with friends to see some of Kiarostami's early films being shown across the street, so I hurried past his photographs of trees in the snow, promising to return while their winter still hung on the walls >>>

CONFESSIONS
Must-see TV
Shahriar Zangeneh

The very first time that I saw a confessional show on IRIB, I was captivated. True, in the beginning it was crude, the interviewer was always out of camera range barking out the “questions” and the subject’s physical pose was unnaturally rigid for someone who was unburdening himself... Our beloved IRIB has just announced the two episode long confessional show to be broadcast on its channel one on this coming tonight and tomorrow night (Wednesday and Thursday) at 21:45. The stars are to be one Haleh Esfandiari, a sixty something grandmother and Kian Tajbakhsh, a father of a spanking new baby >>>

IRAQ
Unpleasant truth?

No evidence of Iran’s role in violence and instability in Iraq – confirms British Foreign Minister
Mehrnaz Shahabi

Contextually, this important admission by the British Foreign Minister of absence of any evidence linking Iran to the violence and instability in Iraq was preceded by the discussion about Iran’s nuclear programme and Britain’s readiness to impose another set of punishing sanctions on Iranian people, for Iran’s non-compliance with the security council’s resolutions which have no basis in international law, imposed on supposed suspicions for which again THERE IS NO EVIDENCE >>>

TRAVELERS
The flight home

Photo essay: Plane ride to Iran
Ben Bagheri

ARTIST
Samphoniye noor

On the art of Negar Assari-Samimi
Mandana Zandian

WAR
Joe Lieberman and an acquiescent Congress
Daniel M Pourkesali

There has been several reports in the past few days by multiple media sources quoting official U.S. military figures that "45% of all foreign militants targeting U.S. troops and Iraqi civilians and security forces are from Saudi Arabia; 15% are from Syria and Lebanon; and 10% from North Africa" and that "nearly half of all foreigners in U.S. detention facilities in Iraq are Saudis". Last week Kevin Bergner, spokesman for Multi-National Force in Iraq, declared 'Al Qaeda in Iraq' as the country's No. 1 threat and released a profile of a thwarted suicide bomber who was later identified as a Saudi national by a senior military officer >>>

RELIGION
Moderate Islam is no Islam

How can you possibly secularize a shark or a snake?
Amil Imani

We humans are torn each day by conflict, sometimes in our profession, other times in our family, sometimes in our country and in the world at large. Humans are unique. We are driven to search for meaning of things. We want to make sense out of things and find a purpose to continue. I believe that there is an unfathomable Being who is the Fashioner of this universe, including us. We refer to this Being as God, He, and so forth, in a futile attempt to encapsulate this Being into our extremely finite minds. I also believe that this Being is not a dot commer. He doesn't sit around and wait to fill orders or requests. Neither does he interfere in the details of our lives >>>

POETRY
Kaaseh aash

Baayad daagh khord
Shoja Adel

POETRY
La la ee Ghajari

Sabaah... Sabaah...
Sheida Mohammadi

POETRY
Parvin

My poet is a Diaspora of scattered souls
Shabnem

POETRY
Seebee baraaye rahaaee

Entezaare mojezehee az aasemaan neest
Iman Tavassoly

POETRY
Delam raa mabadi misaazam

... va aatashi miafroozam dar aan
Homayoun Abghari

POETRY
Doing my best

"You have one life to live, don't let it waste"
Yasmin NA

CITY
Peaceville

Photo essay: Berkeley, California
Pouya Alimagham

ART
Out of whack

Paintings
Asal Khosravi

MILLIONS OF LETTERS
Progress in the face of savagery

I need to ask for a small favor. Next time when you have the urge of forwarding yet another email showing how beautiful Iran has become and how great life is in Iran or how western media doesn't show the real Iran: add this to the list. To be honest I'm as mad at Iran's regime as I am of some people who unwittingly, have turn into Islamic Republic's propaganda machine. Life is not great in Iran because some have built beautiful hotels. Pictures of Iranian food and pastry, fruits or nuts such sunflowers seeds is not a sign of progress. Stoning human beings to death however, is a clear sign of savagery which is religion >>> Letters

PETITION
More important than a movie
Nema Milaninia

I have to question the priorities of our Iranian-American community. In March, when the movie 300 came out in theaters, there was an outrage in the Iranian-American community. A petition was drawn up, criticizing the movie based on a fictional comic book for dishonoring our “Persian kings.” To date, that petition has garnered over 50,700 signatures ... Now that we have effectively demonstrated our ability to attack a movie, what about attacking the use of the death penalty against children, political prisoners, and homosexuals in Iran. In the past two weeks a petition was drawn up calling for the abolishment of the death penalty in Iran >>>

ARCHITECTURE
Restoring Tehran's glory
Laleh Larijani

After a two month roundabout in Tehran I decided to stop over in Paris in my eventual return to my home in Toronto. I hadn’t yet emptied my camera of all the pictures I had taken during my trip and while one must occupy themselves while sipping coffee, I began to review them. Flipping through, it dawned on me that Tehran is a city of extraordinary glory. Even if one ignores that much of the organic architecture that once ornated the streets are no longer, there still remains a need to preserve and restore the city >>>

FAILURE
Disfunctional democracy

Why did America fail in Iraq?
Ben Madadi

The failure in Iraq is becoming more and more apparent and realistic as more and more American voters start to realise the outcome of their misadventure. But how many Americans have understood the real reasons behind this failure? How many Iranians, or others, have understood the real reasons behind this failure? Was it because the Americans actually wanted to destroy Iraq and this is probably as close as it gets to the intended conspiracy anyway and everybody is actually happy within the neo-con circle and they are just pretending that they are unhappy about the whole debacle? Conspiracy theorists will always find explanations. Let me mention some of the conspiracies that circulated about the Iraq war that are less prevalent nowadays >>>

ART
Sacred words

Calligraphy
Mohammad Ehsaee

RESORT
Escape

Photo essay: Kish Island, Persian Gulf
From kraf001

PEACE WALK
From London to the Persian Gulf
Katarzyna Javaheri

On July, 10, 2007, after two months of walking, Mohammad Samghani reached Cracow, Poland. He has started his peace journey in London to be ended in the Persian Gulf as his final destination. Beside his peace massage, he wants also to tell to the whole world that the only correct name for the Persian Gulf is Persian Gulf (not e.g. Arabian Gulf). After his stay in Cracow, he is going to head to a few Slovak cities and then Budapest, Bucharest, Istanbul >>>

LIFE
Familiar and beautiful things

Taking my mother to Italy
Brian Appleton

A few weeks ago I took my 89 year old mother back to Italy and my 20 year old son, who had never been there. He took over 4,500 digital photos but we were constantly looking for batteries...LOL... What impressed me most about Italy this time was not what had changed but what had not changed especially the old friends, more than 30 of them who acted as if no time had passed at all. Some of them I had not seen for 27 years, while in the case of my mother, she had not been there in 37 years. Not only did friends treat us with great kindess but so did every Italian we had any dealings with...they were especially solicitous of my mother >>>

POETRY
Democrat or Republican

I come from a land; Its king with the last word
Farhad Zaltash

POETRY
Baaraan

Kheese khees
Mehrdad Artef-Adib

POETRY
A gold in the ground

Mother Nature's shimmer washes my five hearts
Azadeh Azad

POETRY
Javaabe man

Mikonam negaah: kuri ke nemibini
Nazanin Canadai

SCOUT
A place in my heart
Nina Habibi

Scout who was 8 years old, passed away on Saturday. We first met four years ago. She was in the class I taught at Star Island. At four, Scout was the youngest in class. She was gentle, diligent, kind, and a little unsure but full of life and eager to participate. She quickly found a place in my heart >>>

TEHRAN
Mohaaveraate Tajrishi

I saw a boy circling a phonebooth, whispering things to me
Sanaz Namdar

LIFE
Wish upon a star

The feeling of envy mixed with the beauty of fireworks with a view quite unique had me all screwed up
Hamid Bakhsheshi

It is 9:30pm July 4th. I'm looking out of the window of an airplane and see balls of fireworks coming up towards us. It is a sight, if you haven't seen it. Amongst other things, I realize that I have never seen fireworks like this before. Last time I saw anything like this was the day I flew out of Los Angeles during the 1992 riots. That wasn't anything fun to see. But what these two "fiery" days had in common was a sadness that came over me. For the first time I was envious of Americans. Americans have a true Independence Day, a day they can really celebrate as a "real" day. A day, the forefathers fought for and gained it with honor and blood >>>

SICKO
Health fudge

When doctors behave like mafia capos, who should the people turn to?
Tinoush Moulaei

Who is Dr. Sanjay Gupta!?  He has been doing a mafia style hit job on Michael Moore’s Sicko on CNN.  So, who is he?  Or more accurately, what is he?  He’s the very manifestation of a system that is rotten to the core.  I say that for a simple reason.  Doctors are bound by the Hippocratic Oath to work to alleviate pain and suffering.  I should be clear that it’s commendable when he, as a surgeon, saves lives.  But the issue goes beyond that.  It’s shameful when he utilizes his medical credential in actions that prolong human pain and suffering. Sanjay Gupta is clever, but he must think that others are stupid enough not to see through him.  The crux of his debate with Michael Moore was that Sicko is fudging the data to make a case for a national healthcare system.  I think Michael Moore did a great job of defending his figures and you can watch the debate for yourself >>>

PEACE
People to people

Videos & Photo essay: San Francisco gives warm welcome to peace cyclists from Iran
Talieh Shahrokhi

LIFE
The Tehrangelesazation of Brooklyn

I have a problem with the mindset of a lot of Brooklyn transplants
Roozbeh Shirazi

BROOKLYN, New York -- East Tehrangeles. Not literally, of course. There aren't scores of 'Purshian' mafia running around with sharply gelled tips, fake boobs, and nose jobs. NOT YET. But I tell you, if the L.A. Persian hipsters ever find a way out of SoCal and get into tattoos, thrift shop chic, and adopting Asian babies, I think they would feel right at home in say, Park Slope or in the other colonized neighborhoods in BK. Why, you might ask. Because the kinds of people that have taken over Brooklyn's choice neighborhoods increasingly exhibit the same social ambitions and hang ups as my West Coast brethren. Smug sense of satisfaction with their zip codes? Check. Pride at being able to say they live in a particular neighborhood? Check >>>

JAZZ
I return

New album from Rana Farhan
MP3s

CAMPAIGN
They're not Ron Paul

Democratic Party candidates for U.S. president look good. Ron Paul does good.
Toofan Hosseinnezhad

Let's rather talk about the candidates I feel most American-Iranians feel compelled to vote on, the democrats. Out of these candidates naturally we have the "handsome and dazzling" Obama. Its about time we had a black president right? I mean, Martin Luther King wasn't bad was he? Also we have Hillary Clinton, the woman. Its also about time the US got a female president, no? Its about time women got to control the White house, yeah? Wrong to both, let's just compare their voting record to Ron Paul on certain key issues and you will understand what I mean: >>>

LIFE
Do not ask

The best I can do is to consolidate the countless lips, hips, eyes, noses, ears and nipples that I have kissed and call it my ideal
Cameron Batmanghlich

It is that energy and power that in this shabby bar serving frozen local beers, where plastic and worn out tables are wiped with dirty rags, leavening a repulsive and sour odor behind ... in this God forsaken place where the smell of blood after the war, amplified by the heavy rain still lingering in the dirty street with loose skinny dogs roaming around and with ‘Machistas’ whistling after you as if you were a prey and give you the feeling that they would spit you out once they have satisfied their hunger ... yes, it is in this far-out place, that that energy enables me to still smile and keeps the sparkle in my eyes lit >>>

KAFSH KATOONIES
It's gotta be the shoes
B. Fellini

Today I received a nicely wrapped package in the mail. It was a new pair of Adidas cleats that I had special ordered from a local apparel shop. At this point you must be thinking who cares? Rewind about 15 years ago. Like most Iranian kids I was an enormous soccer fan; I grew up idolizing different players like the majority of immigrant kids. I pretended I was Parvin leading Iran to its first world cup win or Maradona dribbling the entire English team and scoring his now famous goal. My love for the game led me to sign up for a local traveling soccer >>>

MADNESS
Problem of war

A letter to my son
Doug Soderstrom

I want you to know how very much I love you, how much I have always loved you since the very day you were born. From that moment on I have given you my best as a father. I taught you everything I knew, everything you needed to know in order that you might one day become a man. However, during the past few years the world has changed, and as a result I, as well, have changed. When you were but a child, I believed that a man had no choice but to love, honor, and respect his country, that one should, without question, obey the laws of his land >>>

PARTY
Taaraaj

Photo essay: Book give-away party
Jahanshah Javid

NEW
Mordad 85

Tracks from new album by Sarakhs
Babak Khiavchi

ZIBA
Dying with dignity

Award celebrates the life and legacy of Zahra ‘Ziba’ Kazemi
Shahrzad Arshadi

July 10 marked the fourth anniversary of the death of Zahra “Ziba“ Kazemi, a Canadian photojournalist arrested after photographing a demonstration outside Evin prison in Iran following the student uprisings of 2003. Ziba was killed while in the custody of the Iranian judiciary. Shahrzad Arshadi, a founder of the Kazemi Foundation, celebrates Ziba’s life and legacy and provides an update on her son Stephan Hachemi’s legal case against the Islamic Republic >>>

WOMEN
Zire yek saghf

On the Iranian women's gathering in Washington, DC
Mahvash Nasehi

PRIORITIES
Crocodile tears

Animal rights? Global warming? We have much higher priorities in life to worry about, such as corporate productivity
Jeesh Daram

On a short trip near Caspian Sea in 1979 I stopped at an art and craft store that mostly sold wooden bowls, straw hats and dried garlic on strings. But I also noticed an out of place object there; a stuffed body of a baby Persian tiger (Panthera tigris virgata) now completely extinct, thank god. The taxidermy job on the baby tiger was done so badly with pieces of fur missing and looked like a homeless outside McDonald's that have not had a shower for six years and of all things the baby tiger had a smile on his face! The shopkeeper seemed proud of his prized collection and like a typical Iranian merchant gave you a silent hint of "you can't afford it so don't even bother to ask how much it is." >>>

DAVANDEH
Run run run Reza

Photo essay: Attempting to break a current world record for longest, solo run around continental U.S.
Reza Baluchi

POETRY
Baaraan neest

Chizi bar saram zadeh ast
Leila Farjami

EMBARASSING
Mahasti va media

Iranian media's appalling coverage of Mahasti's death
Fariba Moghadam

VIEW
In the name of laughter

What is very interesting to observe is the emergence of using humor and comedy in dealing with oppressive ideologies or regimes
Reza Akbari

The people of Pakistan during the past couple of days have had the chance to enjoy a relatively humorous event. On July 5th, Pakistani security forces captured Maulana Abdul Aziz, the leader of a radical mosque in Islamabad, trying to escape wearing a woman's burqa. The implications of this event are far beyond what may appear at first. Abdul Aziz is known for his revolutionary and Jihadist rhetoric that captivated many youth to his mosque. He has been one of the leading advocates of using force and, has been quoted to promote suicide bombings. This brave and bold figure, who was perceived to be a strong leader, was captured wearing a burqa while escaping his mosque. His image has been plastered all over the media and people are simply laughing at him >>>

LITERATURE
Perfectly flawed

If Parsipur, like Golshiri, Hedayat and Yoshij before her doesn't push the langauage forward, then who will?
Ramin Tabib

Let us compare Parsipur to a European counterpart: The winner of noble prize in literature in 2006 was the Austrian Elfriede Jelinek. Jelinek is the woman who has been called a pornogrpaher, whose prose has won the claim of being obscene, blasphemous and degrading to women. Then why do we ostracize Parsipur for doing the same thing? Are we seriously this self destructive that we cannot stand our best female writer challenge the Iranian status-quo? Should all our female characters be like the main woman in Cheshmhaayash, or Leili in Dai Jan Napolen - prissy, virgin-like beings who are romanticized and adored? >>>

NO MORE WAR
DemoKracy

Music by Abjeez
Video by Saman

IDEAS
Apparently, we have some very wealthy [and generous] folks!

How to build a community: Lesson 3
Bruce Bahmani

Nice and easy. It always amazes me how when you relax a bit, deconstruct a problem, and give it enough time, the answers always seem to come. To recap if you're just joining in now; 1) Apparently Iranians suffer from CDD or community deficiency disorder. Or in laymen's terms, we don't have a cohesive community tendency. 2) We need to hold a meeting of some sort, something like a "Town Hall Meeting". 3) If we ask nicely, we can get some of our own Iranian-American elected officials to run one for us. People like Ahsha Safai, Ross Karimi, and Bahador Hariri, who are experienced in this sort of thing and do it a lot. Only, they normally do it for non-Iranian communities >>>

BOOK
Quran and women

A new translation challenges traditional interpretations
Laleh Bakhtiar

We know that in a situation where the Prophet was having difficulties with his wives, he went away to let the emotions subside. Based on the Sunnah, the verse should be understood as: “If husbands fear resistance on the part of their wives, first admonish them; then leave their sleeping place; if they still persist in their resistance, go away from them.” In other words, using the discernment provided and taught by the Quran, instead of “beat them,” the command is “go away from them.” That is, you have admonished them and left their bed, and yet they are still resistant so submit to God, let God handle it -- go away from them and let God work His Will instead of a human being inflicting pain and suffering on another human being in the Name of God >>>

OBJECTION
Mozele baanuye saal

Shahrnush Parsipur is the wrong choice for "Woman of the Year"
Parvaneh Hamidi

PEOPLE
Love underground

Photo essay: Two drug addicts in Germany
Mohammad Tehrani

IMAGINE
Tasavvor

Music by Jadugaran (Feat Taymoor, Deev, Changeez)
Video by Ardalan Payvar, Shadi Yousefian and Afshean Hessam

HYPOCRISY
Save the earth?
Siamack Baniameri

A 24-hour music marathon spanning seven continents Saturday reached the Western hemisphere with rappers, rockers and country stars taking the stage at Live Earth concerts to fight climate change! This was a true illustration of hypocrisy at its worst where rock and rap stars, telling us to conserve and save the earth while themselves owning several mansions ($5000 electricity bills) and rolling around town in gas-guzzler SUVs, consuming everything earth unfriendly and lavish. But then I remembered that our own Iranian expast follow the same decree by inviting the people of Iran to overthrow the mullahs and go on strike, while themselves living in total comfort and security of their adopted countries with no need to throw a single punch >>>

WOMEN
Farmaane "rahbar" va mojezeye to

Why do they fear women?
Shokooh Mirzadegi

RIGHTS
Human wrongs
Elahe Amani

Global community is outraged that Iran continues to pass death sentences on minors and juvenile offenders (those convicted of crimes committed before the age of 18), and that it is still passing sentences of stoning to death, despite having announced a moratorium on such executions.   Iran imposed a moratorium upon stoning in December 2002 under a directive from the Head of the Judiciary, and while the global community has been waiting for a response from Iranian authorities concerning stoning in Iranian laws, now, all of a sudden, the authorities in Iran clearly state that Iranian governments international commitments does not include stoning, death penalty, and other human rights violations >>>

MUSIC
Roots of the Riddim

"Poison Dart" and more
MP3s

MINBASHIAN
Five stars
Sepehr Haddad

I received a phone call on the eve of the 4th of July while we had gathered with family to barbeque, as most in the US do, on Independence Day. The call was from my cousin in Paris, giving me the news that my uncle, Fatollah Minbashian, had passed away half an hour before his call. Telling my mother the news was very difficult; however, I was relieved that she was with us when we got the news so that we could console her a bit. Minbashian was truly a great man, from a different era. As a child, he always reminded me of James Bond, and I always wanted to be like him >>>

WAR
Merchants of hate

Photo essay: Products promoting war
Qumars Bolourchian

CINEMA
Taste of censorship

It is still not too late for Iranian film-makers to shoot off a few letters in defense of Marjane Satrapi
Peyvand Khorsandi

Ten years ago the Islamic Republic of Iran, in what many regarded as a charade, 'mulled' barring director Abbas Kiarostami’s Taste of Cherry from the Cannes film festival. The film went on to become co-winner of the Palme d’Or, arguably buoyed by the publicity Iran’s threatened withdrawal generated. Ten years on and another Iranian film, this time funded by French money, is co-winner at Cannes of the Jury prize – France ignored the mullahs’ protests and the film was allowed to take part. The 2007 Bangkok international film festival, which kicks off this month, however, was not so bold >>>

VIEW
One way street

Dialogue among civilizations or clash of civilizations?
Fariborz Shamshiri

"Dialogue Among Civilizations" is a one of misleading terms I have ever heard! what does it mean? it means there are some civilizations which we are one of them and we are going to talk! Duh! is this Islamic country civilized?! in what way? let's just review some news and see how much our country and Islamic regions are civilized! Salman Rushdie was still in the news last week! why? because he was appointed a Knight Bachelor for "services to literature" by Queen Elizabeth. well? good for him! honesty, he deserve it! if you don't like his novel, it's up to you but at least he spent years underground! so he deserve more than that because he is courageous man to write his own ideas and ignore Islamic regular fear and cruel on any free discussion! >>>

IMAGINATION
The art of lying

Photo essay: Let's play photoshop
Shahireh Sharif

LIFE
Koli

We would laugh at gypsies more than any other
Saeed Tavakkol

DIVINE
Goddess not God

The physical characteristics of the universe -- and more -- point to the hands of a goddess at work
Tinoush Moulaei

It seems to me that if there is a god, it must be a she-god, a goddess.  By the way, if this kind of discussion offends your religious sensibilities, please stop reading right here.  We know that god created man in his (her) own image, or so we’re told by at least three major religions.  This makes sense.  When we create, we impart our own character to our creations.  Why shouldn’t any other creator do the same?  Therefore, assuming that we are created in god’s image, then we have two choices: god or goddess!  There are no true hermaphrodites in humans, meaning one individual who can function as both female and male, so that choice is out.  I will give four different perspectives as to why it’s goddess and not god >>>

KALIMI
Two countries, close and far away

Interview with two Israeli-Iranians
Fariba Amini

While visiting the beautiful city of Istanbul a few weeks ago, I had the fascinating experience of encountering two young Israeli men of Iranian descent. I met Daniel and Yaron at a workshop on minorities in the early modern Middle East held at the German Oriental Institute in the busy, sophisticated quarter of Jahangir in the heart of Istanbul, overlooking the breathtaking Bosphorus. Until I spoke to them I did not know where they were from. It turned out that both were Israeli citizens living in Jerusalem. Interestingly, the minute we started speaking I established a bond with them; we quickly became friends, maybe because of our common heritage--Iran. Who knows, they say blood is thicker than >>>

FAIRNESS
All men?

Male-bashing in iranian.com
Toofan Hosseinnezhad

I appreciate and admire what Iranian.com is doing in creating an open community for Iranian writers to express and write their views without any censorship and so on. But there is a small something that stings me down below the times when I go to Iranian.com and read about women's rights in Iran and their hard fight for justice and natural given right to equality, and that is the little green texts over the headlines. I will give you a recent example which was written on the left column of iranian.com's front page (there have been other examples as well): >>>

CANDIDATE
Back Barack
Bruce Bahmani

I share the same goals as Barack Obama: ending the Iraq War, honoring our commitment to our veterans, achieving energy independence, stopping the genocide in Darfur, improving our schools, and affordable universal health care for every single American. I know the political process sometimes seems superficial and worse. But Barack Obama gives me hope for a better America and a better world. So please take a moment to learn more about Senator Obama and join the campaign >>>

PEOPLE
Eagles 'n' Ravens

Photo essay: Canada's National Aboriginal Day
Azadeh Azad

HERITAGE
Before being drowned

Photo essay: Ancient remains endangered by Sivand dam
Ahmadreza Tavakoli

CARING
Life as an after-thought

I start to consider things I can do to help others, and nothing comes to my mind; nothing at all
Maryam Nayeb-Yazdi

For many, the idea of being able to help others makes their hearts race with excitement, and in a way they feel better about themselves knowing that they are contributing to the greater good of humankind. It’s refreshing to see proactive attitudes, but sadly I’ve been noticing that most peoples’ emotions are inconsistent. While one may sympathize with a single heartbreaking story of poverty, we are never really affected long enough for the real message to sink in. Usually by the time someone starts to sense the first signs of sadness, they choose to tune it out in order to numb feelings of guilt. I guess it’s easier to think we can’t do anything to help rather than attempt to make a difference >>>

LATEST LETTERS
There are mountains of evidence that these guys are plotting against us

On Ben Madadi's "Why are Iranians so concerned about Israel?": Well Ben, I'm one of those anti-IR Iranians that has a seething hatred for Zionists. To label us in any way as anti-Semites is rediculous. This has nothing to do with Judaism, and everything to do with elements in Israel, and extremist Zionists. There are mountains of evidence that these guys are plotting against us. For one thing, look at a list of the same people who pushed for the Iraq war, the Neo-Cons. These are the same people who are pushing for an Iran war today. Their loyalties do NOT lie with America, they lie with Israel >>>

HERBS
Hashaashin

High times
Shahriar Zahedi

CAPITALISM
Have a heart

Where the hell does all the wealth that they steal from the rest of the world go?
Tinoush Moulaei

8:30am, corner of 7th and 34th in Manhattan - I’m waiting for my favorite (and let’s not forget cheap) mode of transportation between D.C. and New York, the famous, heart-stopping Chinatown bus. These things fly on the Jersey turnpike at full speed, weaving in and out of traffic more like a minivan than a bus. If you’re an adrenaline junkie like me and don’t mind a bit of discomfort, I highly recommend them. I always like these last few minutes just before leaving New York. I get to stand and watch the river of humanity go by. Once I got into a sad yet amusing conversation with an Ethiopian man who said he hated all black men! He thought they should be all wiped out. He wasn’t running on all his pistons >>>

TRAVELERS
Familiar forms

Photo essay: Tehran during my recent visit
Parviz Forghani

FANS
For your grace

Photo essay: Candlelight vigil for Mahasti
Talieh Shahrokhi

STORY
Tehran nights

Part 4: It sounded like the cars were honking from every direction
Sanaz Khalaj

It was a Thursday night, which is the equivalent of a Friday or Saturday night in the US. There's one "weekend" day in Iran, and most of the Middle East, instead of two days. Friday is the day that's considered to be the day off. So naturally Thursday nights happen to be the busiest time for the young and hip to hit the streets. "Honk!" One car screamed for a while when our driver forced himself in the left lane as if it was his last chance forever. "Take a left at the next exit. We want to go through Jordan Street to get there." Roya said to the driver of our stretch black Mercedes 600 with tint so dark we could barely make out the streets and people from inside the car >>>

MAHASTI
Zendehyaad

We ought not to cry for her, we ought to cry for ourselves
Lance Raheem

It was with great sadness that this week our people bade farewell to one of Iran's most beloved singers, Zendehyad Mahasti.  While I was saddened by the passing of one, I clearly recognized as an icon in Iranian music, I was not of the generation that loved Mahasti as if she were part of the family.  My mother is of that generation and when I saw her heaving in grief with tears pouring down her face on the morning of June 25th, I knew instantly that for millions of older Iranians, Mahasti was more than just a singer; she was deeply loved and adored as a lady of the people... her people >>>

LIFE
True story

I couldn’t believe it!  There she was in the photograph
Nazy Kaviani

I found yet another excuse to leave the classroom, quickly and quietly running up the stairs two at a time into the second floor landing, and holding my breath as my heart was pounding with excitement, I slowly pushed open the door to the auditorium, just enough for my small and skinny frame to pass through, and looking to make sure nobody would take notice of my unwarranted presence, I slipped into a corner below the stage, perched on a metal Arj chair, and watched the rehearsal in progress on the stage. Five or six beautiful young women, 10th and 11th graders, were rehearsing a classical Persian dance, breaking for corrections and changes, and resuming again >>>

CROWN
Merely a hat

Photo essay: Iran in Amsterdam's diamond museum
Homa Nasab

POETRY
Scream

Stainless steel between my legs
Giti Karimi Zand

POETRY
Aphyllous

Why is her sun hiding behind the moon?
Tina Ehrami

POETRY
Saayeh medaad bar kaaghaz

Alefbaaye to
Alireza Zarrin

 

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