Letters and a reply regarding "Nice
Massud Alemi: Price to be paid
Ali A. Parsa: Free expression
Sima Fard: Most cultures do it
Mortazavi: So low
Mehdi: So what?
Ali Akbar Mahdi: Alarmed
REPLY, Jahanshah Javid: Distasteful, but valuable
Ali Akbar Mahdi: More sleaze than reflective
Price to be paid
What is Mr. Mahdi really saying? That by admitting the existence of
three unfortunate Iranian prostitutes in Mexico, we're showing that all
Iranians are prostitutes? Then what are we promoting by forbidding the
publication of such descriptions? That there are NO Iranian prostitutes
anywhere in the world? That our race is incapable of producing prostitutes?
Zakani and Sa'di and many other poets were all liars? That Iraj Mirza
and Parvin-e Etessami were spreaders of untruths? Are we not making an
ignorant bunch out of ourselves, then?
To me, writing about and publishing the ugly truths about ourselves
is a sign of maturity. Let the stone-throwers fling their stones and hurt
us. There's a price to be paid for attaining high culture, and someone's
got to foot the bill.
In reference to what should and should not be covered by The Iranian
It is sad that some of us just don't get it. If The Iranian censured
every letter in its own liking, it would not be a medium of free expression
and not so many of us would read it.
To me, the most important service of The Iranian is that it is
a medium of freedom of expression that is a unique privilege of living
in America. As we know this privilege is in process of erosion all over
the world including America, because it is taken for granted, not used
or abused. As I have indicated in this space before, not only the founders
of America but our own centuries-old culture and our true intellectuals
and mentors have always recommended tolerance and respect for each other's
point of view. This is because we can learn the most by being open, by
reading, and debating the opposite issues.
Modern science, genetics engineering and mapping of our genes have further
supported the the marvels of creation and the validity of the above teachings
the basis of which is individual differences. In fact, observation of spectrum
of ideas should not bother us but should be a source of pleasure, and even
worship and recognition of a higher power. The botom line is that, now
more than ever, we know that although we all share many common traits,
we differ in interpretation of the same things and each of us can support
the others in our own unique way. Preservaion of the Family of Man, freedom
and democracy, depends more than anything on education, dialogue, sharing,
caring and appreciation of views in contrast.
Ali A. Parsa
I am alarmed by the disparity between your "feature" pieces.
One high and one like this ["Nice
What can I say? I am not a moralist nor do I oppose freedom of expression.
However, I wonder why such a piece should be included in The Iranian?
What are the informative, investigative, or literary aspects of this piece
qualifying it for publication? How can one generalize about a community
by visiting one brothel and talking to three girls?
No serious editor will find this kind of individual observation worthy
of publication. Please do not allow The Iranian to be brought to
the level of pieces like this.
Ali Akbar Mahdi
Associate professor of sociology
Ohio Wesleyan University
Distasteful, but valuable
I do understand your concern. This piece ["Nice
ladies, amigo?"] does not meet high journalistic standards. But
I think it is still interesting as a personal account of an aspect of Iranian
life in America which is never officially talked about. Several of my friends
have told me about how often Iranians go to the brothels in Tijuana and
I have always wondered what goes on there and why. I think this is a social
phenomenon that should be noticed.
Of course I would have preferred an article by a professional journalist
or a scholar. But I think personal stories can be valuable -- even if they
are unprofessional, distasteful or about controversial subjects. Maybe
such crude stories will open some eyes and pave the way toward more serious
discussions and studies.
And another important point, I think, is that Internet-based publications
such as iranian.com cannot be compared to traditional magazines and newspapers.
The Internet is more personal and interactive, and therefore it is not
as polished and heavily edited as the print media. That's why I prefer
the Internet. It is more real, and being real is not always pretty or tasteful.
More sleaze than reflective
In reply to J. Javid note:
I understand the nature of Internet and the approach you are taking
in The Iranian. You have never seen me objecting to all those controversial
subjects and diverse pieces you publish. It is fine and they have been
a good source of intellectual soul searching among young Iranians on the
net. As you know, I have often said in my lectures that if one is to get
a glimpse of the Iranian second generation, s/he should look into your
But my worries about this piece ["Nice
ladies, amigo?"] has two aspects, one the piece itself and one
its place in The Iranian. As for the piece, I agree with you that
it is personal. However, it claims to be reportive but fails to meet the
criteria. It is more sleaze than reflective. It is more sloppy than investigative.
As for your Features section, you have pieces from Majid
Clinton, or Yahya
Kamalipour, then this one ["Nice
ladies, amigo?"]. Not that all the pieces should be from academics
or even have academic rigor. Not at all. I am not against the kind of issues
raised here either.
See, I was in Tijuana about eight weeks earlier than the time this gentleman
was there. My sons, my wife, and I went to places no tourist goes. We took
the most back roads that one can find. We SAW and learned A LOT about that
country. But, can I really write about my touristic, two days observations
with the kind of certainty this gentleman has? I dare not.
I know I am a sociologist and will be in deep trouble if I go about
generalizing my off time observations like this. I do not expect everyone
to be a sociologist either.
I agree with you very much that the issue is worthy of attention and
someone should look into it. In that case, you may want to ask a journalist
(or someone with an interest in investigative reporting) in that area to
do a bit of homework on this issue and write a report. It does not have
to be scientific and with the highest level of methodological standards.
Ali Akbar Mahdi
Associate professor of sociology
Ohio Wesleyan University
I am very disappointed in the feature article concerning prostitution
ladies, amigo?"]. When I was in Iran I received more respect from
men than I am receiving from your publication. I am sorry to see you sink
Please remove my address from you list.
I am so disappointed to read your piece on prostitution, it has nothing
to offer ["Nice
ladies, amigo?"]. it has no valuable information or entertaining
Why do you publish this kind of stuff as your main feature? Why don't
you concentrate on more important issues? A couple of guys go to a Mexican
brothel -- so what? If you want to publish something about this subject
at least find the right material.
Most cultures do it
This is in response to the letter wirtten by a Mr. Kamran Behzadian
ladies, amigo?"]. It was interesting that you reported on your
curious adventure to Tijuana.
What I found not so interesting was how you misrepresented the title
of your report as if the members of the brothel were indeed Iranians. As
it turned out it was the Iranian men who most often visited this brothel.
Not that I find anything wrong with this behavior, but your report sounds
like we should be ashamed of participating in conduct that takes place
in most cultures.
It is the first time that I have visited this site. Could not help but
notice how fascinated you are with hookers and pimps. Maybe we could diversify
on the subjects a little or we may end up with more brothels down in Mexico
catering to Iranians.
An Iranian woman