December 13 2000
Controversial opinions open eyes
I read your squabble with Termeh Rassi ["Drawing
the line"]. I agree with you that controversial opinions open
our eyes to the wrongs that sprout in our community. Whether or not they
are signed is irrelevant. You reminded us by publishing the letter that
indeed there are Iranian racists that are alive and thriving in cyber space.
That reminder, however hurtful to the people, involved is rendering a service.
Now if someone did not ask the persons involved permission to publish
their picture that is another problem ["Maryam
One thing I found lacking in the reasoning of Ms.Rassi was the awareness
of the nature of the Internet as a medium. There is an immediacy about
the Internet that renders web publication quite different in their nature
than print media. The Net is a place where information and opinions float
at a high speed. Web sites like Iranian.com are a cross between a news
magazine and a telephone conversation. You get information from them but
also, feel free to participate. The speed with which you can engage in
this participation is what makes this relatively new medium so appealing.
A web magazine is by its very nature interactive. It is both a source
of information and a public forum. Editing the way you propose would take
away from the spontaneous nature of the medium. It would be like trying
to censor a college cafeteria discussion. It is therefore much harder and
against the very nature of cyber debates to censor them.
Also, we are a community of exiles in struggling to forge a new identity
in a foreign land. It is a good thing to keep our differences however unappealing
or even appalling as open as possible. God knows we have had our share
of censorship and hush hushing throughout our history.
I am grateful to the editor of this magazine for providing a forum where
all posturing and pretense is set a side. Continue giving us the bad along
side the praiseworthy that is what this kind of journalism is all about.
Sensitive souls should just be aware before entering.
P.S. I am ignorant of what in her "lineage and work" makes
Ms. Oveissi a public figure. Could you please inform me . I also wish her
and her very handsome Daryl all the best. And I apologize to them on behalf
of some of our ignorant fellow countrymen. You are lucky you did not criticize
Googoosh -- you would get hate mail till kingdom come! Iran like all other
nations has its share of bigots. It is when they run governments that we
must all cringe.