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September 10, 2001

* Poverty of imagination

Did you notice that in the cover image of the two classrooms, more has changed than just hejab and mixed-sex classes and the picture of the leader?

The pre-revolution picture has the child pointing to a poster of the same classroom, with the implication of an infinite recession of images (which for the intended gradeschool audience is a mind-opening metaphysical game). In the post-revolution classroom the poster shows a house, a landscape, an idealized image but one that by comparison with the previous version is flat, going nowhere.

Some might claim that the first image is decadently self-reflexive, but the change seems to me a small but sad demonstration of the poverty of imagination that our "cultural revolution" has imposed, and also a metaphor for what I find most frustrating about so much Islamic rhetoric: an inability to engage in any kind of metalanguage or self-examination that steps outside its own rigid frame of reference.

Zara Houshmand

* Thank god I'm married

After reading Ms. Namati's tongue-in-cheek piece ["Shaazdeh"], I wondered if I had been living in the dark all these years and not knowing that I, too, am a shaazdeh.

For some reason, mostly by genetics than design, I have some of the physical attributes of her narrative's anti-hero: short, balding, and with enough tyre about my gird to equip a few SUVs -- no problem!

So I went to the mirror to check out this regal specimen of manhood, as she recommended that all the make-belief shaazdehs do. I viewed this sorry ruins of the once proud temple, where progress has turned a washboard stomach to a super-sized washing-machine, and thanked god for having met my mate decades ago and gotten married then, for by these looks I would still be single today, fantasizing about a romantic luleh kabob dinner.

Guive Mirfendereski

* Worth waiting

"Faghan" features some of the best photography ever published in iranian.com. This is art worth waiting for.

Shadi Bahar

* Cut the crap

This is for whoever wrote "Amazed at Iranian attitude".

Tell you what, most Iranians would not be amazed at your attitude. Your attitude is absolutely consistent with the majority of people of your faith; you can not bring yourself to admit that the Israeli policies in the occupied territories border on fascism.

No, your military regime does not make Palestinians wear badges, that would bring too many bad memories for your elders. Instead you have the ID cards and special car number plates. No, there are no gas chambers either, why have such a mess when a teenager throwing stones can be shot, when leaders can be murdered with Apache helicopters and F16s (courtesy of US tax payers)?

Cut the crap about our hypocrisy; we know who we are. We know what has been imposed on us, and yes most of us even know the evils of our religion. Do you know yours?

Karim Goadri

* Justification by selectivity

Mr. Simpson ["Amazed at Iranian attitutude"] has made an interesting contribution to the letters section, and amidst what may be howls of anger and protest at his fumbling with Iranian culture, and his erroneous assertions regarding Arabs and Iranians -- we should perhaps read this letter with the idea that all information is useful -- even misinformation can teach us something about the informant.

Mr. Simpson professes to be a student of history, but he seems to have no understanding of either Iranian cultural history, or the long relationship between Muslims and Jews in Iran that existed prior to 1979. As Mr. Simpson is a Zionist and an American it may be necessary to point out that 1979 is recent history in the context of the Middle East.

He takes the Arab invasion of Iran out of context, and does not understand how the country formulated its own objections to Arab rule in a distinctly Persian manner. We amazed the Arabs perhaps much in the same way we amaze Mr. Simpson, when we chose the Shia path of the Muslim faith. The roots of this choice lay in the schism of 680 but emerged centuries later in 1501.

The decision to become Shia and not Sunni is important in understanding Persian history and Iran's relationships with countries in the Middle East and the Western powers today. It was a decision inspired by religious aquisience yet political opposition towards the Arab conquerors. In a profound choice, Persians were united in a faith that suited the emotion of a nation invaded and defeated many times over -- grief. The consequences of that decision are still with Iran >>> FULL TEXT


* Open their eyes

Just to let you know, this is the first time I have ever written for any website in response to anything, and I'm only eighteen, so that should tell you something, and I apologise in advance for my clumsy -- and what you may think is immature -- writing.

I read your letter ["Amazed at Iranian attitutude"] several times and the only thing I thought you showed was hatred and racism for Arabs and Islam as whole.

I'm not a particularly religious person, in fact by Middle-Eastern standards I'm probably a bad Muslim, but I could not help,but feel offended by your letter. I may not be religious but i'm still a Muslim all the same even if it is just by name, its an inseperable part of my being, and I find it amazing that someone supposedly educated such as your self, and a Jew of all people could express so much religious and racial hatred in so few words, and for what its worth its quite an acheivement.

And why are you so shocked by the iranian attitude towards israel; do you think this view is only shared by Muslims? Why is it so hard for you to see why people support the Palestinians and thier cause? In my opinion, any man or woman, no matter what race or religion they are, who turns a blind eye to the injustice, tyranny and oppression that defines the phenomenon that is Israel does not deserve to be called a human being. The Palestinain issue untill now, has been the only thing which stirs deep and genuine emotions within me, just as i think it will with anyone else who puts themselves in the shoes of an average Palestinian struggling to live a life worthy of a human being.

I'm not trying to say that every man and woman alive should strap themselves with explosives and catch the first flight to Tel Aviv, but I am saying that you (and people in general) should open their eyes, and listen to that little voice at the back of your head that tells you whats right and wrong, even though your politics or aims and aspirations in life whaterver they maybe force you to turn down the volume of that voice untill its bearly audible, but fortunately it doesn't have a mute button whether you like it or not, and you know its there.

I have always wanted to ask a person such as yourself, several questions and if you have and any sort of explantion I hope you respond!

Do you think the Palestinians are getting a fair deal? Do you think it's right for people to get kicked out of their homes, and never be allowed to return, simply because they weren't Jewish? Do you think it's right that people should get kidnapped, abused, tortured and murdered because they aren't tolerated in their land any more and because they're not willing to give up for a fight? What is your justification for the being of Israel? Did god give you this land, along with the permission to oppress its native inhabitants?

Reza Noori

* Tough luck

I read all the articles written on or about names ["SHE-REEN!", "Sepehr to Zip"]. It is amazing I can relate to being called everything and anything but my actual name.

But there is one thing I have refused to do since I came to the West... let people miss pronounce or "re-name" me because they "can't" say my name... tough luck.

I always think, how come I have to learn to say their names right, and if I don't, they are quick to correct me and some of those names are not easy to say.

In the past 10 years I have learned that when you stand your ground on your name, they respect you and at least try their best to say it right. Of course I have to admit I gave up trying to make them say my last name correctly and they gave up calling me with my last name. I am probably the only person who throughout her university years was not once referred to, or called upon by her last name.

I am proud of my Iranian name. It is unique. I am not just another Jane or Sara or Marry. I am the ONLY one with my whole name. And that adds to my uniqueness as a person. If someone picks up the phone book and looks up my number, they won't get two pages of "Jane Smith". Instead they would see only one name.

I also love what my name means and I have to admit I like the word "NAZ" at the end of my name. It is unique to our language. English doesn't have a word that relates the meaning of NAZ... NAZ is a combination of 5-6 words and adjectives in English that is nicly summed up in three little words. Aren't we special : - )

Living in a new country... mixed cultures... languages... beliefs... one might forget at times where they came from, what has made their family who they are, the history behind them, and everything else that relates to our birth country or our parents' birth country and its rich history. But our names will always connect us to that glorious land, where in right hands and ruled by right minds, will once again one day become glorious.

Glory, Glorious... I like that too... because that is what my name means... Someone Glorious with a lot of Naz : - )

Picha P.

* Visual feast

To Shirin Neshat:

What poetry ... what visual feast for my weary eyes ... this non-ending ... dance of shades and light ... it takes me far ... to the bosom of memories ... comforting ... disturbing all at once ... I wake under the canopy of the women's eyes (in your pictures)... sometimes as a child ... sometimes as a man ... or a lover ... I find myself wondering beneath that mysterious cloth ... under which ... I learned my first steps ... and sought refuge .... and then discovered love ... your images takes me far ... chasing the dance of the dark cloth.

I discover again ... that ageless fable ... transcending time ... alas love of a women ... a mother ... a sister ... a Lover ...

Your work is inspiring.



PS: When are you back in New York?

* Had the Shah been tougher

Yeah right! We really need a man like Khalkhali! What kind of person are you? One of Islam's most important rules is forgiveness. Mr. Khalkhali, also known as the cat killer, is an embarrassment to every Iranian in the world. What he did with the Kurds is unforgivable and he should be put in an international tribunal and answer for it. As far as the Shah's ministers are concerned, Khalkhali must also answer.

In his book, he claimed he did what Khomeini told him. What if Khomeini had told him to go and jump over a cliff? Would he jump? There were many people such as General Pakravan, who had saved Khomeini's life in 1963 by asking the Shah not to execute him. Even in his book, Khalkhali can't help but admire the late General. General Pakravan had been the Savak chief in the early 1960's when Savak was nothing like what it became during Nasiri's time.

Pakravan was a great gentleman and whoever says he must have been killed need to have his brain examined. My grandfather had an encounter with him at a party once and he noticed how humble Pakravan was. When referring to his promotion to a general, Pakravan apparently said "I don't know whether I deserve that."

Another example of innocent victims of Mr. Khalkali was General Moghadam who only became a Savak chief in 1978 and he even tried to work with the revolutionaries.

Mr. Khalatbari, the foreign minister, was also executed for no reason. As far as the military people, including Rahimi, were concerned, they were just doing their job. The Islamic Republic has exaggerated the number of the people who were killed by the soldiers. The Shah himself said he did not want bloodshed and that was his big mistake. Had he been tougher and had killed a few more people, there would be no revolution.

I understand maybe and just maybe some people such as Hoveyda and Nasiri needed harsh sentences, but killing all those people was a crime. A crime that Mr. Khalkhali needs to pay for. He should explain one by one why he killed all those people! As for Mr. Jamili, it takes a lot of shame for you to defend the most vicious criminal of the Islamic Republic!

* Hmmmm...

Need answers about the characteristics of selected Iranian world cultures that resulted from geographical influences and historical events and factors, such as invasions and conquests, colonization,immigration, and trade. And also what influence of geographical features and natural resources on development of a specific culture, addressing the following areas; 1.Economic Development. 2.Political relationships. 3.Foreign policies. 4.Culture.

Explain influence of historical events and factors on development of specific culture, addressing the following areas;1.Economic development. 2. Political relationships. 3. Foreign policies. 4. Culture.Please e-mail me back as soon as possible.



* Clothes for Tehran orphanage

I am going to Iran for vacation and I plan to visit an orphanage. I would like to take a suitcase full of used clothing for the children, 220 up to age 9. If your children have outgrown clothes that are still in very good shape, GAP, Gymboree, etc. please email me. I would be happy to pay for the postage. The orphanage is in Tehran.


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