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    Letters

    May 1999

* Jews:
- What about Jews who hate Iranians?

- God's chosen people not Iranian
- Amazing ignorance
- Must learn to tolerate
- Can't blame people
- Must love Iran first
- Turned off

- Jews & Bahais are Iranians
- Ignoring plight of minorities

- Shameful
- Stick to news

* Revolution:
- Revolution is maturing
- People are maturing

* Kosovo:
- Paranoid
*
The Iranian:
- The revolution is over

- Enjoy the rain
- One of many reflections
- Who says you're more Iranian?
- Chance to learn
- People endure
- This is who we are

- I disagree
- Why so blatantly biased?
* Midget
- Glorifying violence against women

- Mind of a lunatic
* Qajar:
- Marvelous

- Photos speak for themselves
* Soroush:
- You simply lie
- More, please
- Attempt to reconstruct reality
* Rally:
- Fight extremism by improving economy

- Youth true engine of change
*
Travel:
- Isfahan or Iran's problems?
*
Food:
- Japanese food tastes GOOD!

* Scammers:
- Covering up for criminals
- Biggest crook of all

- Backstabber
*
dAyi Hamid:
- H-i-l-a-r-i-o-u-s

* Relationships:
- Like choosing a dog

- Iran's black-eyed beauties
- God have mercy
- Guessing in the dark

- No piece of cake
- Shomaa migin chekaar konam
- Seeking mother
- Iranian-American men just as bad
- Dignity?

- Weird Western girls
- Aftab-mahtab-nadeedeh wife?
- Hymen reconstruction

- Are you out of your mind?
*
Iranians:
- Khar mard-e rend

* Energy man:
- Complete fraud
*
Googoosh:
- In Italy

* Credit card:
- Daylight robbery


Monday
May 31, 1999

* What about Jews who hate Iranians?

Everyone always places Jews at the receiving end of hatred, oppression, and prejudice ["I must be a Jew"]. It's always about how the Jews are the hated minority; in fact anti-Semitism has become a crime that rivals murder in the U.S. (I don't condone anti-Semitism, just making a point here).

I'm still waiting to see when rational people start placing Jews at the disseminating end of that equation, i.e. when will people start seeing the hatred the Jews feel toward other minorities, like Iranians and Arabs? More than once I have been in a situation where I've gotten a less than favorable response when a Jew has found out I was Iranian... FULL TEXT

Nariman Neyshapouri

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* God's chosen people not Iranian

We are THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL AND GOD"S CHOSEN PEOPLE. WE ARE ISRAELITES NOT IRANIAN ["I must be a Jew"]. I frankly do not care about recognition from a bunch of gentiles. Iranan or not, we are Israelite first.

I think all remaining Jews in Iran should go to Israel and join their motherland. For the rest of us living outside of Iran , we shoud forget about Iran and hang on to our glorious Jewish identity and culture, and above all the love and support for the state of Israel, our REAL homeland.

A. Gheytanch

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Friday,
May 28, 1999

* Revolution is maturing

Dear Mr. Sajjadi,

I read with great interest your letter in The Iranian about the death of the revolution, and I just wanted to make a few small points in reply, which I hope you accept as graciously as you have offered your opinions.

First off, I really don't think the revolution as an idea is dead, since it obviously still occupies such vast tracts of the psyche of Iranians inside Iran and outside. Revolutions are only similar to living organisms in that they go through a lifecycle, and I believe that the Iranian Revolution of 1977-1979 is in its maturity stage ... FULL TEXT

Laleh Khalili

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* People are maturing

Dear Ms. Khalili,

... Revolution, by its nature, which is nothing more than war, chaos,terror, etc., never "matures", what you refer to as maturity is in fact the maturity of the Iranian people, who are not looking for another revolution and want to have peaceful change. Credit for a peaceful movement goes to the Iranian people and not to the revolution... FULL TEXT

Ali Sajjadi
Editor, Par magazine

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* Amazing ignorance

Mr. B.M.'s emotional commitment to ignorance is amazing. The statement that not one Bahai died during the Iran-Iraq war or Bahais and Jews don't help during hard times are so ridiculus. What is your proof and how can you substantiate such statments? ["I must be a Jew"]

What is well-documented is what all the minorities in Iran have been and are going through whether there is a war going on or not: Bahais have lost their lives since the begining of their religion, and guess who took these lives? I rather be a Bahai than a blood-thristy nationalist.

Sepehr Sohab

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Thursday
May 27, 1999

* Must learn to tolerate

In a historic speech given during the "Islamic conference" at Tehran University, Secretary General of the United Nations, Kofi Annan said: "Human rights are rights that any person has as a human being. We are all human beings; we are all deserving of human rights.The absence of tolerance and human rights is not only a denial of human dignity. It is also the root of the suffering and hatred that breeds political violence and inhibits economic development."

In order to achieve a civil society we must learn how to tolerate people, your recent articles about minorities "I must be a Jew" and "Siaah Sookhteh" moved me (I am neither Jewish nor Black).

Our country had a much better human rights record 2500 years ago than it does today (relatively speaking). I just want to thank you for paying attention to this very important issue. Thank you The Iranian. Long live CIVIL SOCIETY.

Ali Rajabi

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* Japanese food tastes GOOD!

Your article about sushi ["Well, excuuuse me!"] made me laugh with disgust. So you don't like oriental (Japanese) food? What makes you think everyone jumped on the bandwagon in the 80's and started eating Japanese food because they had a "can't beat them, then join them" mentality? That's a dumb generalization.

I don't know if you've been asleep for more than ten years but Japanese food is not all about sushi! Wake up and smell your sumac! Japanese cuisine has many cooked dishes that include beef, chicken, seafood and steak. And they taste GOOD! Have you ever heard of a Japanese Steakhouse? Hello!!

If you're going to talk about another nation's food, then study about it before you open your naive, onion-scented mouth. I'm Iranian and I love our country's food but I appreciate what other countries have to offer as well. Have you ever sampled Thai cuisine? It's delicious and quite healthy.

Life is not all about chelo kabab. Open your eyes and empty your cup. Look around you. Go beyond the obvious and maybe you'll learn to appreciate what you have yet to taste.

Soheil

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* What were you on?

I don't know. When Sir Arthur Conan Doyle wrote the adventures of Sherlock Holmes, he was, high on opium or heroin. Edgar Allen Poe also wrote some of his most horrifying tales while stoned out of his mind.

I wonder what the author here is on to write such a brutal scene ["Midget"]? If it isn't drugs then it must be personal experience or imagination. Either of which should be cause for alarm and a general psychological evaluation.

P. Levin

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Wednesday
May 26, 1999

* Can't blame people

I should congratulate you for the story that you have written ["I must be a Jew"]. Unfortunately, people from time to time get carried away and confuse the issue of politics and blame their international problems on religion or religious differences.

After living outside Iran for more than 15 years in five different countries, I've come to the realization that people's logic works the same way all over the world. The difference is mainly around the type of input given to them.

May be, we can't blame the people. In majority of the circumstances, they are taught to look at their surrounding from a single dimensional aspect and think over a very narrow and limited horizon, i.e, the intellectual engine of data analysis. The information fed into those engines; either through the media or educational system; makes the situation even worse.

Personally I have no clue how to cure this stereotyping problem. But, one thing I can say is that, understanding the problem area is the first step towards the cure.

A. Boustani

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* Must love Iran first

Let's put aside religion for one minute ["I must be a Jew"]. An answer to your question could be that every time the country is going through hard times, Jews or Bahais don't help at all. In the Iran-Iraq war not one jew was killed. I think the living condition of Jews in Iran is not bad. If they left it was not because of thier JAAN, but it was because of thier MAAL.

By the way I am a Muslim with Jewish and Bahai friends. They are my best friends.

Bahais have had a much harder time in Iran. Like any other situation, in order to be accepted by any group or organization, you must pay a big price and you might have to suffer a lot. I guess in a real world justice is not for all.

If Bahais and Jews want to be accepted by Iranians and Iran they must first love Iran, not their religion. If they do this there might be a chance and this will take a long time.

B.M.

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* Turned off

I am a Moslem Iranian who happens to have quite a few American Jewish friends (not too many Iranian Jews in Austin Texas). I knew a few when I lived in Manhattan and believe me the iranian jewish community did more to upkeep the traditions (Noruz) etc. than most of the more perhaps apathetic moslem community ["I must be a Jew"].

I took offense to the whole tone of your piece : does anything positive come of "And you're a STUPID, HATEFUL IDIOT! " or comments like "'Hitler should have finished them all off taa az daste een joohoodaa raahat meeshodeem.'". LANGUAGE SUCH AS THIS SERVES NO PURPOSE. If you want to start a thoughtful dialogue, that's one thing but your language offended and turned me off.

F. BozorgMehr

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Tuesday
May 25, 1999

* Fight extremism by improving economy

I was rejuvenated by Mr. Aria Mehandoost article ["From revolution to freedom"]. I wished I was back in Iran in the crowd saying "Marg bar Taleban" to the Ansar Hizbollah. And I'm sure that the great majority of Iranian youth support reforms toward freedom and democracy, which are of course intertwined.

But I believe that in order to mobilize the majority who voted for Mr. Khatami, and fully neutralize all hardline elements in Iran, the economy needs to be fully improved.

State control of the economy in Iran is considered one of the highest world, with conglomorates like the Bonyad-e-Mostazafin causing too much injury to a potentially blooming economy.

When people feel they have enough to eat without having to hold more than one job, then even some members of the crazy Ansar Hizbollah can be converted to freedom fighters rather than just stay on as mercenaries.

Salman Moghaddamjoo

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* Youth true engine of change

I appreciate the writer's first hand experience and the courage of the students ["From revolution to freedom"]. I only want to remind the writer that no generation of Iranian youth in the past 50 years has been without courage.

That every young generation from the time of Dr. Mossadegh to anti-dictatorship movements of the 60's and 70's to the 1978 revolution has been the true engine of change in Iranian political arena.

Even in the dark days of 80's, it was the women and men (really girls and boys) in high schools and universities who were the vanguards. Anybody who remembers the 30th of Khordad of 1360 knows that they did not run.

Asghar Mossombagi

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Monday
May 24, 1999

* Jews & Bahais are Iranians

Clearly the authors of this story, do not consider Jews and Bahaiis as Iranians ["I must be a Jew"]. Otherwise why do they confront a Jew with an "Iranian" and not a "Moslem" or other kind of Iranian?

It is about time for all concerned Iranians to realize that being Iranian should not be equated to being Moslem, and non-Moslems have not been foreigners, even though up until today it has been so in the minds of most Iranian Moslems, including Religious ones, Leftists and Nationalists.

Committee for Religious Minority Rights in Iran
Los Angeles

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* Isfahan or Iran's problems?

I read the article on "My city, Isfahan" by Mohammad Ali and I'm still trying to see how "the bad and theugly" that the writer gripes about are necessarily Isfahan rather than Iran's problems. And what about "the good" about Isfahan -- such as food that "are to die for" -- that he briefly mentions and leaves suspended?

I am an Abadani with Isfahani heritage. Both my parents are Isfahanis who spent their adult life in Abadan. When I was a kid, my father used to send us (his family) to Isfahan for the off-school summer months. I cherrish the times I spent there and being an Iranian-American does not change that an iota. I'm not a "shotormorgh."

When I left Iran some 25 years ago, among the country's many problems at the time were noisy bumper-to-bumper traffic, low productivity/high demand for nonreturnable products, lack of customer satisfaction, government corruption, addiction, prostitution, poverty ...

What this article obviously brings out is that, the more things have supposedly changed in Iran during the last quarter of a century, the more they are the same -- countrywide and not in Isfahan alone.

Mahin Witkowski

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Friday,
May 21, 1999

* Paranoid

With all due respect to Professor Majid Tehranian, what is his point? ["UNdoing NATO"]. Is he just recounting the Chinese point of view on the Kosovo crisis, or is he repeating those "Sinocentric" (paranoid would be a more appropriate adjective) quotes with approval? Does he seriously believe that "...in Kosovo it [intervention] has produced greater tragedies than it set out to correct"?

Is he saying that the civilian casualties of NATO bombings (no more than 2,500 which is the figure put out by the Milosevic regime) is a greater tragedy than the forcible removal of one million people from their homeland, mass killings of thousands of defenseless civilians, rape and humiliation of thousands of fleeing women, use of the ethnically-cleansed as human shield, etc., etc. ?

Since he believes in the UN, I would be much more interested to hear Prof. Tehranian's analysis of which Security Council resolutions regarding intervention in Kosovo the Chinese would vote for, and which ones they would veto.

K. Cyrus Homayounpour

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* The revolution is over

Dear Babak,

Your passionate letter deeply touched me, particularly because you are labeling people that you clearly don't know anything about. Labels like "zed-e enghelab" and "zed-e Iran." I want to draw your attention to the following points:

- Thank God, the ENGHELAB IS DEAD (it's over, finished, zippo) and I don't think I need to give you any proof of that. Now it is an open secret that the Islamic Revolution was an utter failure in every aspect: morally, socially, culturally, economically, etc ... FULL TEXT

Ali Sajjadi
Editor, Par magazine

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* Covering up for criminals

I would like to comment on Eyaas' letter "Backstabber". Covering up for criminals is no way to help your hamvatans ["Aaberoo reezi"]. Is it right because "everyone else does it"?

I don't believe that "half of the Iranian population here" seeks to exploit the welfare system. Prove me wrong and I will be the first to join the hate-monger dogs who want to rid the U.S. of immigrants.

Most Iranians I know are upstanding, highly productive and ambitious people. It makes me wonder who is the "Persian backstabber"!

Brad Hernlem

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Thursday
May 20, 1999

* Ignoring plight of minorities

Any Iranian with the least understanding of history, can tell you that the Jews contributions to Iranian culture, science, education, art, and economics is beyond belief ["I must be a Jew"].

As a non-Jew, I have had the honor, and privilege of living in the Jewish Quarter in my home town. My family had a great deal of respect for the Jews hard work, honesty, and integrity.

Throughout our sad history, we have witnessed the plight, the murder, and the anguish of our minority folks, and we have played the role of silent majority. Why?

Reza Azarmi

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* Enjoy the rain

Nader Pakravan wrote: "The issue is where to find the golden pot at the end of the rainbow." Consider, if you will, the following: The essence of your message is not to find the the golden pot [pot of gold] at the end of the rainbow. It is, and rightly so, for one to care neither about the pot of gold nor the rainbow, but just simply enjoy the rain. I, for one, appreciate your perspective, which means I understand it and agree with it.

Guive Mirfendereski

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* Like choosing a dog

I was pleased to see Iranian women responding to Mr. Raafat's recent article in your paper ["Real Iranian girls?"]. As an educated American woman I found his article uneducated, sexist, and sad.

I respect his desire to express himself, however, what catagory of Persian men was he directing his stereotypical speech to? The single Persian men in the smokey corners of discos that have no emotional depth and no hope of a respectful loving relationship?!

Mr. Raafat has no idea that while he is degrating women across the board he is degrating himself even more. I wish him all the best in choosing his wife like you choose a dog at the dog pound and my apologies to the future "virgin" bride.

Katherine Threlfall

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Wednesday
May 19, 1999

* Shameful

Are you guys Iranian, because if you are,you ought to be ashamed of yourselves ["I must be a Jew"]. You are guilty of the very accussation you are leveling at most Iranians. You are STEREOTYPING. Basically, you are dumb asses who have had a chance to express your views on this desolate, wasteland of virtual intellectuality.

There is no doubt that Jews control most of the media in this country. There is no doubt that they have been responsible in lobbying to isolate Iran, and to paint that beloved nation of ours as a "terrorist" nation. But most Iranians do not wish that Hitler had finished off the Jews.

And one more thing, I am damn proud of my Aryan heritage. Damn proud. We are the true Aryans, not Aryan in context of Nazism, but Aryan in the context of nobleness, loyal, and faithful. There is nothing "crappy" about that.

This pride does not come by looking down on Arabs, or Blacks. It is there, because, we Iranians are certain of our place in the annals of civilizations, WE KNOW OF OUR CONTRIBUTION TO HUMANITY. And that is far more than Jews have ever done, inspite of "khaens" like yourselves.

Get a life, and try to write something useful.

T.T.

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* Stick to news

Several recent features in The Iranian have been about hate & hatred of other nationalities and races ["I must be a Jew"]. Why don't you stick to the business of reporting the news?

Noghrey

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Tuesday
May 18, 1999

* One of many reflections

Babak jan,

I read your note, and understand your perspective. I do differ with your conclusions, although I think you are correct in many of your observations. The Iranian is not a reflection of Iran - or Iranians that have exclusively kept their links (cultural, or other) to the country. The Iranian, whether by design or by default, has become a representative of the new Iranian-American. Most, if not all, of the authors you mention have been either born or raised here in the U.S. They associate closely with the Iranian culture, its dichotomies and through that association critique/comment the culture from their perspective.

To judge them as qarb-zadeh is not correct (if not overtly simplistic), they are qarbi - and if anything Iran-zadeh. And, this is not a bad thing - it is the reality of over a million people who are as American as the Irish who migrated a century ago to this country ... FULL TEXT

Nader Pakdaman

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* Biggest crook of all

I wish that 20/20 ["Aaberoo reezi"] had done a piece on the biggest fraud of all: The Bonyad Mostazafan and Janbazan and Iran's (if not the world's) #1 crook: Mohsen Rafighdoost.

Hamid Boroumand

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* Iran's black-eyed beauties

The author Cyrus Raafat is a bold and courageous gentleman ["Real Iranian girls?"]! He seems to have the balls to do what he knows is good and righteous.

I was born in Iran, but haven't been back for so many years! I will be hitting 30 in almost a year and have thought about settling down, after finishing my education. Like Cyrus, I am half-Iranian, half-American and feel a pull towards those sweet babes in Iran! He's got it together and I know that what he has done and says is completely on the ball!

I can totally agree with the brother and think that all these blamer-complainers out here just can't be too sweet! The fact is, if you want something pure...go to it's source: real black-eyed beauties are found nowhere else, except in good Iran!

I think all those girls who trash him are jealous of them girls with hymens intact! Those "liberal guys" are just envious of his actions. Maybe they don't have the balls to do it?

Move on brother, move on,

David Mir

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Monday
May 17, 1999

* Who says you're more Iranian?

In response to your letter (Babak Banaei), there is no doubt that this magazine has a very shaky quality; some very interesting & educative materials adjacent to some very futile and self-opinionated (contributor's own raw point of view) essays.

But who are YOU to tell others that you are more Iranian or more revolutionary than others. Why should your ideas and feelings be better and stronger than others? Yes you might not like reading/writing about liking Black men and not liking expatriate Iranian girls, but what your expressed opinion is similarly superficial and low on content.

You want articles about religion because Iran is predominately religious country? From the point of view of a Sunni Moslem (our Arab cousins in Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Kuwait, Turkey, UAE, Oman, Saudi Arabia, N. Africa and etc, etc) Iran's Shiite branch of Islam is not entirely acceptable. Out of Islam's global population, only 1%-2% are Shiite. So your Moslem neighbors always preferred and prefer their Christian friends than their Shiite cousins. So don't go Arabic on me.

I know your type: You kissed Eskandar's hand, the Arab sword, the Mongol boot, the Afghan lash (very recently for the second time), but you still have no tolerance for your Iranian brothers and sisters. Why?

Hallaj

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* H-i-l-a-r-i-o-u-s

Just wanted to say that your articles [dAyi Hamid's index] are h-i-l-a-r-i-o-u-s. Wonderful. You managed to take a whole half-hour out of my paper-war at the end of this blessed semester in college. vAghean, delam az khandeh dard gereft. Nun muss ich wieder zurueck an die Arbeit, das Voelkerrecht auseinanderpfluegen.

SG

P.S. Kann man diese Schweizer-Iranische Radiostation hier in New York empfangen? Oder koennte ich eine Cassette bekommen? (noch so eine "torshideh"...;)

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* Glorifying violence against women

I would think that your imagination would find a better template than writing stories on violence against women ["Midget"]. As you well know, what you call literature is a reality which we should rally against rather than glorify in writing.

Heggy Mesbahi

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Friday,
May 14, 1999

* Googoosh in Italy

I need information about Googoosh's performance at the Sanremo music festival in Italy. From what I have heard she went to Italy and sang three songs in English (including "I Believe") in an international competition sometime in 1970s.

Does anyone know exactly which year that was? RAI (Italian TV station) has its entire archive on sale. If I can find out which year that show went on air, we might be able to find videos of Googoosh that have never been seen before!

Pedram Missaghi

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* Backstabber

I do not think Mr. Yekrangi realizes that half of the Iranian population here in America are trying to get there relatives on welfare ["Aaberoo reezi"]. It is not a big surprise to any of us, and I would like to know where Mr. Yekrangi has been for the past 100 years. Everyone wants to come to the U.S. and get the French Benefits so-to-speak.

All kinds of immigrants are coming here and getting welfare money and going back, it's not just Iranians. There are Cubans, Haitians, and many others. Instead of trying to help the Iranian population out, he is trying to get them in trouble.

It is not new however to find a Persian backstabber.

Eyaas

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* God have mercy

Cyrus Raafat wrote: "...deep down inside every guy wants an untouched piece of cake, right?" ["Real Iranian girls?"] You must be kidding me. Every Iranian girl in the U.S. is "neither moral, nor virtuous; neither chaste, nor hard working!" he says, and all Iranian women in Iran are "chaste".

God have mercy on the woman whom you choose to marry. May she smack, and I mean literally smack, some sense into you and your ignorant pea of a brain.

Massi Behbahani

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Thursday
May 13, 1999

* Marvelous

Thank you so much for publishing the photos from "ganj-e peyda" ["Casual moments"]. They are absolutely marvelous and captivating.

Malihe Evans

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* Guessing in the dark

Mr. Raafat, a very interesting article ["Real Iranian girls?"]. It is nice to see that you actually took the time to go to Iran and visit. A word about generalization: I don't know if you have heard the old Molla Nassredin joke:

An elephant was brought to a town where no one had seen such a creature before. The elephant was kept in a very dark place and people had to guess what it was by their sense of touch. Some felt his trunk and came out saying it was a long snake-like animal . Others felt his tail and said it was a tall skinny animal.... do you see where I'm going with this?

Unfortunately for me, I haven't met too many Iranian women in the U.S., partly due to where I live. However, I would certainly hesitate to say that all Iranian women, in your age group, living in the States are ghaati-paati. I'm quite certain you'll find women, or men, of the same nature no matter where you go across the planet earth, Iran included.

I am sorry to see that you have not been able to find yourself a virtuous, self-respecting, educated and motivated Iranian woman in the States. Have you looked within for an answer?

Ali S.

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* Chance to learn

[Regarding The Iranian] Thank you very much for offering us all this most precious chance to learn more about the fascinating Iranian culture.

Miryam Librán Moreno

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Wednesday
May 12, 1999

* Mind of a lunatic

"Midget" is a very good story. Very well written and very descriptive. I really saw inside the mind of this lunatic. Again, well done.

Nima "John" Sharifi

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Tuesday
May 11, 1999

* Complete fraud

A very interesting story, but a complete fraud ["The energy man"]. The spoon bending experiment is old news - the famous Uri Geller was among the first to claim such supernatural powers. He was "debunked" repeatedly by people who actually showed how to do the spoon bending. As for energy waves and healing, these are also old news and have been debunked repeatedly in the scientific community.

If Mr. Aliakbari is really serious about his so-called powers, he can do the following two things:

1) Produce for us humble people, the results of the alleged Princeton University study.

2) Take a look at this site: http://www.randi.org. A prize of over one million dollars has been offered for years by this foundation, to anybody who can actually demonstrate something supernatural. Surely there is much to be gained by Mr. Aliakbari if indeed his claims are true, isn't it so?

Many people have taken this challenge, but all have failed. James Randi has been able to demonstrate EXACTLY how they do *it*. Take a look at this site, read about him, and his articles and books. You will not believe a word of charlatans such as Mohammad Aliakbari any more. He is a disgrace to Iran, Iranians, and the world community of rational and intelligent people.

Payman Arabshahi

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* Photos speak for themselves

The Qajar-era pictures are very interesting ["Casual moments"] and I think the people who own them can remember more. There must be stories behind each one, but I know it is very difficult to present the past and get people interested. Anyway, photographs speak for themselves and the sky is the limit for immagination.

Soudabeh Mathews

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* No piece of cake

I read your article with interest ["Real Iranian girls?"]. While I can understand this thought in a purely cultural context, I cannot understand or accept it as the logic of a mature adult.

I do agree with your opinion of the self-respect and intellect of Iranian women. However, I do take offense at your regard of a woman as an object to be had such as "a piece of cake."

Correct me if I err, but your article conveys the undertone of failed relationships in your personal past and an unjustified sense of entitlement. I am sorry if any woman is willing to play into and up to this idea to get a life partner.

While you comment so strongly on the advantageous aspects of Iranian womanhood you seem to utterly disregard them as full and equal human beings.

To go from your article, you do not need a partner. You need a combination of objects:

a) a mucous membrane (Try blowing your nose.)
b) a good bakery shop around the corner
c) an "Uebermutter"
d) a test tube and
e) a uterus.

These objects used in various combinations over a longer period of time are guaranteed to satisfy all needs.

To base high regard of a person on an issue so basic is to insult and debase the very qualities you profess to admire.

Pamela Blevins

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Monday
May 10, 1999

* Shomaa migin chekaar konam

Aghaye sardabir,digeh az bas dar morede zanhaaye iraani maghaaleh khundim khasteh shodim vallaa ["Real Iranian girls?"]. bandeh yek dokhtare bisto hasht saaleh iraani hastam, dar iraan ham dasrs khundam. felan do saalo nimeh khaaej az iraan zendegi mikonam.

1 - avalan moshkelaate zanhaaye iraani aslan az moshkelaate mardhaa jodaa nist. be hich surat nemisheh jame-eh raa be do ghesmate zan va mard taghsim kard. agar dokhtarhaaye iraani-ye moghim Amrikaa ziaad iraani nistand, pesarhaaye iraani moghim Amrikaa ham be hamin tartib. che unhaee ke bande shakhsan dar iraan didam, che unhaaee ke dar kharej az iraan didam.

2 - hame jaaye donyaa hamye zanhaa hanuz baa hoghugheshun va khaastehaashun moshkel daarand , faghat iraan nist ke intoreh. movafaghiyat har shakhsi be avaamele ziaadi bastegi daareh ke shaayad yeki az un avaamel sex baashe.

3 - baa yeki do hafte tuye iraan zendegi kardan va mehmuni raftan nemisheh dar morede hame iraan ghezaavat kard tehraan baa hame shahrhaaye digeh kheyli tafaavot daareh. be ghole maruf "rafti tehraan barnagard iraan".

4 - kolan alaan moshkele bozorge javunhaaye iraani moshkele kaar va pul hast - unghadr-haa ham masaleh bekaarat va dushizegi na ahamiat daare va na ahamiat nadaareh. aslan unghadr hame dargireh ye loghmeh nune shab hastan ke ki gushesh bedehkaare in harfhaast? aslan jaaee nist ke to beri unja bekaartet ro az dast bedi. aakhe kojaa? na maashin daari, na khuneh, kojaa beri? in harfhaa baraaye nojavunhaaee ke hanuz moshkele kaar va pul nadaarand momkeneh jaaleb basheh.

5 - man hanuz baa kheyli az dustaanam (dokhtar va pesar) dar iraan (tehraan va shahrestaanha) ertebaat va mokaatebeh daaram. oonhaa dars mikhunand , kar mikonand , aarezu mikonand, omidvaarand.

Khaahesh mikonam in darkhaaste mano tuye majaletun montasher konid, "YE FEKRI BE HAALE JAVUNHAAYE IRAANI BEKONID", inghadr ham dar morede dokhtarhaaye khub va khoshgele iraani ke aashpazishun khubeh va Engelisi ham khub harf mizanad fekr nakonid! be man ham az in chizhaa ziaad goftand vali man hanuz dargire moshkele maskan va ejaareh_khuneh hastam.

Beesto hasht saalameh, mohandesam, panj saale daaram kaar mikonam (dar iraan va khaarej) va hichi nadaaram! duste pesare ghablim ham moratab az iraan naameh miniviseh migeh davatnaame befrest! maadaram ham hamash minaaleh migeh mano tanhaa gozaashti rafti! shomaa migin chekaar konam!?

Mandana

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* People endure

In response to your letter (Babak Banaei), I think you make an interesting point . There is a large distinction to be made between the experience of Iranians residing in Iran and those who have had to assimilate into other cultures. Still, even Iranian expats need and want to hang on to their sense of being Iranian. Being Iranian can mean many things, just as being human can mean many things. Whether we identify with the Islamic regime or not is really not the issue.

Governments are not loved, it is the land, its history and its people that matter most. Governments fall every day, but the people endure.

Perhaps if the Islamic government of Iran were not so fearful of public access to the internet, The Iranian Times would be in the happy position of publishing articles by those who are more able to write about the realities of Iran today. Perhaps more traditional Islamic Iranians in Iran would have a voice and those of us who are interested, could listen to what they have to say.

Ironic, but I think your complaint is misdirected. You should be complaining to the Islamic Republic for denying its people access to this forum for education/exchange and debate. Censorship is more their modus operandus, is it not?

Our neighbors in Turkey have certainly not missed the ball. In a recent Time magazine internet poll for man of the century, the internet literate Turkish people made themselves heard in a big way. Kemal Ataturk won by a landslide in every category, including best entertainer of the century ... leaving Elvis Presley in the dust.

I for one, would be most delighted to read the words of real Islamic thinkers about issues that concern the world today. But unfortunately, they seem to frighten the Islamic Republic as much as the internet does.

Yasmine Rafii

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Friday,
May 7, 1999

* This is who we are

In response to your letter (Babak Banaei)... Many people would agree that Islamic views are not all that you should see in Iranian culture. As much influence that Islam had in Iranian culture, I am surprised that you expect not too see any influence exerted on our culture by living in the U.S. This is who we are and the way we live here in the U.S. and this is reality. "Iran" and being "Irani" are not some small static definitions in a box. Culture is what we make of it. Culture is not a predetermined entity ... FULL TEXT

Pedram Aleshi

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* Daylight robbery

Mr. Tehranian's story was really amazing ["Turkish coffee is good. But not that good"]. I have also been cheated, on a few occasions and in different cities including Istanbul. However, I could never imagine that local charlatans could dare come up with frauds of such large amounts.

This certainly means that the same guys or similar con artists in the same city have done this in the past and have gotten away with it, while so called reputable organizations like Merrill Lynch and International Visa ignored them. So these con men keep doing it with confidence.

This is what we call daylight robbery. If Visa did not have such a vast and obvious monopoly in the credit card business, many people, including myself, would have returned the cards over this incident. I always enjoy Mr. Tehranian's articles, but this time while it wasn't fun, it was very educational.

Abbas Atrvash

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* Seeking mother

I commend Mr. Cyrus Rafaat's courage for his article on relationships ["Real Iranian girls?"]. Most people are probably not willing to openly show what asses they are. This author has made sweeping generalizations about women in Iran and in the U.S.

There are all types of people, living in every kind of society. The "ghaatipaati" women he referred to exist in the U.S. and they also exist in Iran, and every other society in the world. Similarly, good, upstanding women exist in all societies and cultures.

It sounds to me like Mr. Rafaat is seeking not a wife, but a mother, and therefore cannot accept an Iranian-American woman who would be so different than his mother, which he described as a Mid-Western American woman.

An Iranian-American woman would be dealing with a constant struggle between two cultures, which is the same struggle Mr. Rafaat with his mixed blood probably deals with everyday.

Moreover, he never told us of the outcome of his khastegaari in Iran. I imagine that any woman in her right mind who accepts marriage to this fellow is seeking an easy exit from Iran to the U.S., not knowing what kind of life awaits her here.

Arghavan Sadeghpour
Missoula, Montana

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Thursday
May 6, 1999

* Khar mard-e rend

In response to Mr. Almassi's letter about "zerangi": The way you described zerang was wrong. A zerang person is not a cheat, liar, or opportunist. A zerang person knows what to do in every situation and has the ability to pull his gilim out of the water! (How do you like that? Persian idiom for you!) What you are referring to is not zerang, that is khar mard-e rend!

Khodadad Rezakhani

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* Iranian-American men just as bad

Mr. Cyrus Raafat, I have been thinking about the same issue for a while, as if you read my mind ["Real Iranian girls?"] . I am so unhappy about the quality of the people I have met here. After 20 years, I have met form the most intellectual, gorgeous face and body, to the richest. But yet not a match. You are right , most of them are so mixed up! They have no morals, virtues, or goals in life.They seem educated or that they come form a good family. But when you get closer, they all seem so fake! They have no idea what they want in life. Sexual relationships are so easy for them. No belief , political or spiritual ideals.

I sometimes think marrying in Iran may be the alternative. At least, everyone knows their roles! People are more respectful. Husband and wife have sharm va haya between themselves. Maybe , it is not such a bad idea after all. I just do not know how my parents would react to me marrying an Iranian man who does not speak English and has never lived in the West! I do not know how my friends would relate to this marriage. Or, maybe I should go to Iran and marry one of the guys who came form the U.S. looking for a wife. At least, he will not have to teach me English, driving, shopping, pay for my education and explain a new culture. Hay, his new bride will be so much more sophisticated than all of his other friends' brides imported from Iran!

It was funny reading your criticism of Iranian girls in the U.S. I hear the same things from my girlfriends about Iranian men living here! Few years ago, my blood would be boiling over your stereotyping. In a few years, you too would look at life differently. Relationships are hard work. Nothing that comes easy is appreciated for long. So, just because an Iranian-American girl does not bat her eyelashes at you all the time, does not hang on your every word, or is careful about her marriage choices, it does not mean she does not have much to offer.

And more importantly: What do you have to offer her? How interesting are you? What are your political views? what do you believe in, spiritually? What books are you reading these days? What do you think about the war in Yugoslavia? Are you a good role model for children? What kind of values and ethics do you have?

Although I have my issues with all three cultures, I value love and partnership. I value my family and friends. I have learned to look at the person -- not the package. So, stop chasing packages, and get to know the person, whoever she/he is! It is hard work but like a good gardener the harder you work, the prettier your roses!

Shahrzad Irani

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* Dignity?

I congratulate you on your sincere affection towards Iran and Iranian culture ["Real Iranian girls?"]. Nonetheless, just as you are praising Iranian girls for their dignity and self-respect, you contradict yourself by comparing them to touchable (or untouched!) objects, pieces of cake and lower species created and put there to serve as your virgin brides! Are you sure that you understand the meaning of dignity?

Najmeh Khalili

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Wednesday
May 5, 1999

* You simply lie

I read the interview with Mr Abdolkarim Soroush (previously Abdolkarim Haji Jafar) about reconciling Islam and human rights ["Travelers on one ship"]. Since the revolution everybody remembers him as a bearded man giving lectures on history and philosophy, in a language that was 80% Arabic, 20 % Farsi. I remember it was very difficult to follow

At that time he was the nightingale of the Islamic Republic. I remember those days (enghelaab-e-farhangi and the closure of all universities in Iran for four years). While we were struggling so hard to meet all the demands of the shoraay-e-enghelaab farhangi -- which Dr. Soroush was one of its eminent figures -- to reopen the universities, Dr. Soroush was giving sophisticated lectures to the public on TV.

He remembers well when he received my message about his lectures. I told him, "You are giving these lectures for AVAAM (ordinary Farsi-speaking people) but your highness should be aware that we do not understand you because these lectures are for the KHAVAAS (people who speak your lingo)."

Knowing Dr Soroush, he climbed the ladder of Borj-e-aaj, with the help of the Islamic Republic. I cannot believe in his sincerity, when he talks about democracy and human rights . Knowing Islamic fegh'h, everyone knows that they are not compatible. The Islamic Republic from Khomeini's time up to now has been very clear about that. They even went so far that they changed vealyat-e-faghih, to velayat-e-mostabeddeh-e faghih.

My request is for him to elucidate his process of ESTEHALEH to the public, not the way he used to give lectures nor the way he is writing nowadays, which is reminiscent of the writing in KALILEH & DEMNEH and he is very proud of it. Dr. Soroush, you are NAMAK KHOR & NAMAKDAN SHEKAN. YOU ARE A PERMANENT MEMBER OF HEZB-E-BAAD. You are still pretending. You simply lie.

Ali Agha

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* More, please

The Iranian needs more pieces like this! ["Soroush interview: Travelers on one ship"]

Babak Banaei

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* Weird Western girls

This is the best article I've read here! ["Real Iranian girls?"] This guy is great! I am a successful 42-year-old engineer in California who has not found Ms. Right. Look at this fascination with these "siaahs" for instance, what does that tell you? It might not be fair to say that all girls in the West are weirdos, but it seems all the ones I meet, are.

There are girls in Iran who do bad. But I bet they are like 3% of the population. Here in America maybe 3% are good; big difference!

I think if I get rich in the U.S. I will go back to my country and get a good girl. For now it seems hard to find one and after 17 years in this country this story has inspired me to go and check things out.

Ali Sofastaey

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* Aftab-mahtab-nadeedeh wife?

I read your proud proclamation of chauvinism with utter disbelief ["Real Iranian girls?"]. How truly hypocritical to admit to having been a playboy and expect an aftab-mahtab-nadeedeh wife! Do you not hold yourself to the same moral standards that you expect of your future partner in life? What on earth makes YOU a better husband than an Iranian man living in Iran or any of the more enlightened Iranian men living in the West?

There is nothing inherently wrong with wanting to marry a woman who was raised in Iran - there are undoubtedly a good number of intelligent, virtuous young ladies living there. However, the same is true about the women living in the west. Ultimately, there are people of all kinds everywhere.

If you have not had the opportunity to meet some of the more hard working, bright and accomplished Iranian women living in the U.S. in your lifetime, you should question your own character, social circle and life style!

To make sweeping generalizations about all Iranian women born or raised in the West and to call them all immoral, unchaste and lazy is disrespectful and does nothing to prove your point, if you have one at all.

It is your mentality and those of men like you that has made hymen reconstructive surgery one of the most frequently performed surgical procedures in Iran. Yes, the virgin wife that you will be importing could have an intact hymen, but nothing remotely virtuous about her. Of course, your hypocrisy deserves nothing less.

Mehrak Kiankarimi
Chaste in San Diego

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Tuesday
May 4, 1999

* Hymen reconstruction

Mr. Raafat's obsession with female virginity ["Real Iranian girls?"] is not only irritatingly uncool and medieval, but is also surprisingly naive for a self-proclaimed playboy.

Precisely because of customers like him, reconstructing hymen has become a common occurrence and a profitable business for doctors in Iran.

Iranian genius, with help from Japanese technology, rebuilds this precious part of the female anatomy better and stronger than God himself had intended.

While this keeps the likes of Mr. Raafat happy, it perpetuates hypocrisy and harms Iranian youth's desire for an open and healthy society.

Hossein Samiei
Washington D.C.

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* Are you out of your mind?

Cyrus Raafat mentioned ["Real Iranian girls?"] that Iranian girls abroad are "ghaatipaati" and in his opinion any self-respecting American girl is better than them. But, aren't you ghaatipaati when you are seeking a decent, virtuous, virgin, chaste, untouched bride and at the same time admit to being a playboy?

And of course congrats for meeting 23 girls during only 35 days in Iran. All they had to do to impress you was talking to you in English and "really" wanting to know you. I wonder if what you really need is just some attention, which you haven't gotten from Iranian-American girls.

And do you really think that if virginity is not an issue for someone, it means they do not care if their bride sleeps with someone else the night before their wedding? Either you are very simple or just completely out of your mind.

Yazdaneh Amiryazdani

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* I disagree

In penning his May 3rd letter "Why so blatantly biased", Mr. Banaei illustrates that he has bought into the Western notion of bias versus subjectivity, while he criticizes the very paradigm his analysis is based on. What he is in essence objecting to, is the fact that his viewpoint is not being addressed.

To adopt a different style, I disagree with Mr. Banaei for the following reasons: Banaei levels accusations and offers critiques of Iranian writers while failing to acknowledge that in general viewpoints reflect a bias. His admonition of the contributors to The Iranian is quite humorous given his "bias". Furthermore, by criticizing the writings of Laleh Khalili and Shalizeh Nadjmi, he trivializes the legitimate concerns and voices of Iranian women.

Couching this chauvinism in accusations of "zede Iran", Mr. Banaei is only illustrating his simplistic understanding of the larger issues facing the Iranian diaspora. Would he be content if women only wrote what he believes or didn't write at all? After years of struggling as veritable second class citizens, Iranian women are finding a voice and a forum to raise issues.

It is curiously ironic that at a time when President Khatami is struggling to guide the country on a course towards openness, tolerance and democratization, we encounter this sort of myopic analysis. I have no problems with Banaei speaking openly, and if I did, I certainly wouldn't accuse him of being "zede azadi".

Shahbaz Shahbazi

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Monday
May 3, 1999

* Attempt to reconstruct reality

From open letter in October 1997: Dr. Soroush was in a position of responsibility when the Iranian academic community was under the most serious intellectual, psychological and even physical assault. I do not recall hearing a word of support from Dr. Soroush. I said I find it delightfully ironic that my association comes to the defense of a man who regards himself as an intellectual but was a part of the machinery that destroyed an intellectual community. Be it a reminder to those who may be in the position of power today. Be it an example for those who have eyes and can see ... FULL TEXT

Sohrab Behdad

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* Why so blatantly biased?

I cannot help but notice the "zede-enqelaab" or even "zede-Iran" bias of your magazine. A simple browse over the list of articles available reveals this. You have the assimilationist piece by Guive Mirfendereski, an adolescent article by Pejman Mosleh, a thoroughly boring piece of fiction by Massud Alemi, a couple gharbzadeh-esque articles from Laleh Khalili, the article from Shalizeh Nadjmi that is little more than a thinly veiled rationalization of her Black man fetish, the collection of pictures from the pre-Revolutionary Air Force (who cares!?), the typically mediocre poetry of yet another gharbzadeh young Iranian woman, Leyla Momeny. ... Why is your magazine so blatantly biased? ... FULL TEXT

Babak Banaei

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