Flower delivery in Iran


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August 20, 2001
The Iranian

I went to the bathroom this morning and took some pictures of myself, wearing the sweater my daughter bought me the other day from Old Navy. I look like a Ninja Turtle, I'm told. But there's no time to "look good". I'm in a rush, as usual. It's 20 past 2 already. I've barely started working on Monday's content, and I'm only just about to start writing something important, and serious, for a change.

I need your help.


I started iranian.com six years ago this month. I realized there was a huge population out there, waiting to be heard, looking for something to read, something that directly relates to their lives, with their own set of special circumstances.

These are largely Iranians who have lived outside Iran for a decade or more. They don't consider America, Europe or Australia their "home". They are sentimental and nostalgic about Iran. They know full well what they have lost. They may not easily admit it, but in return, they have gained freedom and security. Not exactly a fair or satisfying trade, but...

There are also those who have lived abroad most of their lives, or were born outside Iran. They aren't exactly Iranian, but they are curious about Iran. Or they want to know more about the rich culture of their parents. Or they want to understand what Iran is all about, so that they can tell their friends that Iran is more than what you see on TV.

Based on letters and articles I receive, there is an important third group. These are Iranians of no particular age group, background or nationality. Some are in Iran, some out. All they are looking for is an opportunity to express themselves. As simple as that. They have a story to tell, a memory to recall, an experience to share, an opinion to express. Something they have been holding inside, waiting for someone to listen. Someplace where they would not be questioned or harassed or threatened for who they are or what they think or what they do or what they say.

I identify with all of them and I do my best to provide a free, secure space of their own. According to my last count, about 500 different people have articles or art work in iranian.com. And of course many of you are familiar with the feature writers (those who have five or more features). Some are scholars, professional writers, diplomats, artists, and human rights activists. But most are ordinary people, with an extraordinary heart. (For the record, Bahar Jaberi and Omid Peyrow, were the very first contributors.)

So, every month more than 100,000 people ("uniques" in Internet speak) visit Iranian.com to read their articles and view their work. They come not because they know what to expect. They come because they'll often see something different; something that's not necessarily from their perspective. But no matter how different or odd or shocking, the features in iranian.com are a reflection of who we are, good, bad, left, right, and lots in between.

Naturally, I'm proud of this site of mine. (I got a letter a couple of months ago saying iranian.com no longer belongs to me -- it belongs to its readers. I still think about it.) It's the best thing I've ever done. Best in the sense of pure personal enjoyment. I can't imagine doing anything else. I don't WANT to do anything else.

But as much as iranian.com has been successful as a journalistic exercise, and personally exhilarating, the financial side has been a struggle. That's not because the American economy has slowed down or that the Internet is not the gold mine people thought it would be.

Cultural activities usually require more than direct sales and advertising to generate revenue. In the past five months (since I quit my part-time job in April) advertising income has been about $6,000. Plus there's been ecommerce revenues of less than $200 (amazon.com affiliate sales commission). That's it. You do the math.

So I'm asking for your help.

I have begun a fundraising drive which will lead up to iranian.com's 6th anniversary event in Berkeley on October 6th. If you cannot come to the event itself, I want you to seriously consider making a donation. The goal is to raise $50,000 (donations, event ticket sales, advertising and ecommerce) for the next 12 months.

If you read iranian.com regularly, if you believe in what it has done for all of us, if you want this site to represent us the way we deserve, don't hesitate. Make a donation with your credit card right here. Or consider becoming a sponsor (email for details).

Thank you -- for everything.

Jahanshah Javid

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