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    Septembert 7, 1999

Big fat hairy happy birthday

I used to be a regular subscriber to Soc.Culture.Iranian (SCI), the most visited Iranian usenet newsgroup. Sometime in mid 1995 there was a strange message from an unknown silent reader called Jahanshah Javid who announced plans to start a new Iranian magazine and asked SCIers to contribute articles.

Ah, I thought, another single-page magazine with articles talking about how the Iranian government is blah blah and how America is tati tata. Not everybody thought the same way. There were some flamers who started belittling the guy's magazine and calling him a "mozdur" of the regime: "He used to work for them, he must be a spy or something."

A few months later another message caught my eye; same person giving a url of his magazine's first edition. Now, this was interesting. Is he really a hezbollahi as some used to call him? I thought I'll have a look and see for myself. And wow, how I liked it.

What impressed me the most was the closing of his editorial where he dedicated the magazine to his young daughter and a wonderful remark about freedom. And somewhere in the same editorial he wrote: "The Iranian is based on the belief that we all have something to say, something to gain, something to prove."

I decided to write a little article for him ... nah too lazy. I dug out one of my articles to SCI and sent it to him. He was thankful and asked for some pictures to add to the article. I didn't have a scanner, so I snail mailed some to him, and before I knew it there was this message in SCI: "If you want to know how dAyi Hamid looks like, come to The Iranian."

Slimy bastard, I thought. He's advertising with my false fame in SCI. I was about to write and complain, when I got some emails from other silent SCIers congratulating me for writing for The Iranian, and some nasty hatemail from well-known SCI thugs calling me a hezbollahi (the same people used to call me a Jew and a Bahai because I defended their rights). I thought JJ must have received a lot more hatemail, and I decided not to leave the battlefront.

Today, after exactly four years, The Iranian has become one of the most-visited Iranian sites and the most popular Iranian magazine in cyberspace. Daryaa kenaar, one of the 30+ Iranian clubs on internet has the most members an Iranian club has ever had. The Iranian Times is the most important source of information for Iranian interneters. The Iranian is read and appreciated all over the world.

Like everything else in life, The Iranian has changed over the past four years. It has transformed from a shy, careful magazine to a taboo-breaking, freedom-fighting frontier, and I'm proud to be one of its first contributors.

In this new The Iranian where literature professors, professional writers, talented journalists, intellectuals and artists write breathtaking articles, there's not much demand for people like me with poor middle-European command of the English language.

Mind you, now I'm a kind of proud that the "slimy" guy used my name to advertise such a great magazine. With hope for better years to come, a big fat hairy HAPPY BIRTHDAY.

dAyi Hamid

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