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September 7, 2001

* Amazed at Iranian attitutude

I have read with keen interest the raging debate regarding Israel. Let me say that I am not Iranian, but an American Jew and a Zionist. At the same time, I have great admiration for Iranian history, culture, food, etc. (Yes, one can be a Zionist and a "Persofile" at the same time!)

As a student of history, I have always been perplexed and amazed at Iranians' attitutudes towards Israel. I must say that I believe the reason for Iranians feeling the way they do about Israel comes down to one word: Islam. The Qu'ran is replete with hostile references to Jews, and anyone who is remotely familiar with history knows of the wars of Muhammad against the Jews culminating in the slaughter of the Banu Qurayza.

And this is the great irony. Iranians were the victims of what I consider to be one of the greatest catastrophies in human history: the Arab decimation and deracination of Iran in the 7th Century. The Sassanian Empire overthrown by a ragtag army of Arabs. And yet within a short while, the majority of Iranians would turn in Ahura Mazda for Allah and become thoroughly Islamized. (Not to mention the adaptation of the Arabic alphabet.) Qadasiyah and Nehavand were forgotten, but Karbalah is celebrated. Indeed, the embrace of Islam by the Iranians is an embrace of their own destruction at the hands of the Arabs! >>> FULL TEXT

Steven Simpson

* It's a politicial issue

In regards to Mr. Motamedi's article ["Iranian Don Quixote"], I'd like to comment on a few points.

First of all he goes on to attack the people behind the views, which is a sign of weakness itself. We're discussing views here -- keep to it.

Second he says: "I too am a Persian nationalist from a highly religious background, and still I have never in my life had any hostility towards Jewish people or Israel /.../ I was never taught to feel that way. We learned in childhood that all divine religions (and I can add to that "all beliefs") should be equally respected."

If you didn't have any hostility towards Israel, then you are either Jewish zionist, Christian zionist or some kind of masochist who enjoys seeing the people of Iran suffering. Second, the discussion regarding "Israel" has zero to do with religion. It's a politicial issue.

The founders and rulers are not very religious there, they are politicians who use the Jewish religion as a cloak. Even the army etc. are either irreligious Jews or atleast less religious Jews. The orthodox Jews who are studying in the religious seminaries, and technically should be the ones who "Israel" is created for supposedly, are all exempet from military service. They have not moved there fingers to do anything to it. So, I hope you get this religion thing out of your mind. The opposition to the Zionist state is not a religious opposition!

Second you bring up another point which another other did as well, namely that since we have neighbours who are also under oppression, we should help them. The fallacy in this reasoning is that it supposes that supporting a cause, negates supporting another. It doesn't leave room for the option that one can support several causes simultaneously.

In conclusion, I am wondering who are writing these articles. There have been a few now, and they all have the same core message: "We" have no "real basis" for hostility towards the Zionist state, "We" should focus on "Chechnya, Afghanistan, Iraq" etc., "Not have hostility towards the Zionists or Israel", "Forget about it", shift our attention to our neighbours etc.

I wouldn't be surprised if it was either the Zionists themselves writing these, or hiring some PR-firm (or agents) doing it. (Maybe payed by the Zionist ambassador who wrote a reply recently saying "We didn't break the relations with Iran" ?)

In reply, I can say we will not stop focusing very much on the Zionist issue, nor will we leave them alone to do their crimes, we will always protest, and our hostility stands until they end their racist policies and end the occupation, as well as stop with all their anti-iranian and anti-Islamic propaganda which they spread through their globally zionist-owned media.

Corr Chris

* Errors and elitism

As much as the authors of "Staging a Revolution" have tried to use jargon-ridden texts and kalamateh gholombeh solombeh ["Stirring a nation"], it is basically an unreadable book, and a repetitive insult to the intelligence of Iranian readers. From usage, to numerous factual errors, to misprints, and grammatical mistakes to elitist language of the authors, one only asks who reads these books? Where are the editors, proofreaders, and critics?

First, it is highly unethical to use the artworks of artists and do not document the source and credits. Let us ignore the literary and grammatical mistakes. Forget that no one has heard the invented terms; "dramaturgical" and "semiological". The authors who emphasize, over and over, that every mood has to be documented, "Every genre of this mobilizing mechanisms, every mood of these systematic orchestration of public sentiments, ought to be understood carefully, and documented appropriately, before we can begin to comprehend both the semiological and the dramaturgical dimensions of the Revolution" become totally careless when documenting research materials about artists and their works.

The problem with crossing over to another field of expertise (visual art in this case) is that if you are not trained to differentiate between posters and artworks you can unprofessionally present and treat them as equals. Both these authors know very well how to do footnotes and give credits. You can not just publish someone's work without giving details about their names, size, dimensions, year and medium of the works. Where are the names of graphic artists, painters, titles, and other technical information? >>> FULL TEXT

Amir Hedayati

* Zod

My name got messed up quite a bit when I came to the US in 1984 to start school ["SHE-REEN!", "Sepehr to Zip"].

When read out loud, "Farzad" was usually pronounced Far-Zad (to rhyme with bad!). Then I began actively thinking of a nickname when my first girlfriend's mom kept calling me "fascade"!!!

As chance would have it, concurrently with this same fiasco, the movie Superman II came to the wide screen. This movie featured an evil villain from Superman's home planet played by Terence Stamp named "General Zod". The guys in my University of Texas (Go Horns) all-male dorm broke down my name and started calling me "General Zod" and then just Zod.

I've been going by that since. There is a certain simplicity and at the same time "weight" to it that I have gotten quite used to.

Ghorbaneh hamegee

Farzad (Zod) Bozorgmehr

* Slay those who...

After reading your debate [Where's the evidence?] with Mr. Kaveh Ahangar ["Do not denigrate us"], I became encouraged to share some related thoughts with you.

At first, let me assure you that the sources I will use consist mainly of the holy Koran and Imam Ali's Nahaj-ol- balaghah. This way, we will not take the risk of falling in the trap of all those thinkers, philosophers, researchers and scholars who wrote thousands of books in English, Russian, and French etc, about Islam and its history and, as you enlightened us, were murderers, oppressors and rapists of thousands (and why not millions) of Muslims! I learn from the content of your letter that Islam is the religion of peace and brotherhood whose true humanistic nature has been put into practice only during the rule of the prophet Muhammad and Imam Ali. I presume you agree with me that, during their reign, those Hazrats certainly implemented the teachings of the holy Koran, when it says:

Slay those who believe neither in God nor the Last Day, who do not forbid what God and his apostle have forbidden, and who do not embrace the true Faith, until they pay jaziah out of hand and are utterly subdued Surah Al-Tawbah (Repentence), Ayah 29,


When the sacred months are over, slay the idolaters wherever you find them. Arrest them, besiege them and lie in ambush everywhere for them. If they repent and take to prayer and render alms levy, allow them to go their way. God is forgiving and merciful. Surah Al-Tawbah, Ayah 5.

We notice in these Ayahs, that financial pressure and sword have both been prescribed against those who do not believe in this divine, ideology. So I for one, would be surprised to learn that the Muslim forces did not carry out their divine duty of killing, taxing and raping, during their invasion of Persia, would you? >>> FULL TEXT

F. Pour Manuchehr

* Generalizing everything

I just make short comments on these two very long articles, with respect to Mr. Pakravan's opinions. I think you have a terrible tendency to generalize everything from politics to cinema as if you had the solution to all the problems of the Middle East.

In your first article: "Imperialism is alive", correct me if I have mis-interpreted your views, but globally you blame filmakers for being irresponsible when it comes to evaluating the impact their work can have on the society. You write:"I would like to argue that it is the responsibility of the artist to see the impact of his/her actions." I totally disagree with you on this point.

Artists are creators, and by definition are subjective. What you advocate through your examples such as Spielberg's so-called racism, is highly exaggerated. You mention an innocent film like "back to the future" where the hero Michael J. Fox travels through time only by coincidence and realizes that he can actually change the course of events in his own future (His mother being an alcoholic, and father a coward who accepts to be bullied by his ex-classmate), and eventually succeeds. True in the course at some point in the plot Libyan terrorists appear.

The film was shot in the 80's. Let me remind you that in those days Libya was accused of terrorist acts. So was the P.L.O, but I won't get into this debate, because it places us on an entirely different level. Arafat since the Oslo agreement has tried to seek peace with Israel, but things took a different turn with the successive assassinations of Rabin for example not to mention Sharons provocations in the occupied territories. I will come on this subject in regard to your second article.

Let's get back to your first article where you take Spielberg and Hollywood as the instrument of Jewish Propaganda, even though "Back to the Future" was directed by Robert Zemekis who later directed "Forrest Gump" and American History does not appear in its most glorified aspect. Hollywood is far from being a Jewish monopoly. Both Spielberg and Lucas were independent filmmakers from the start and conquered Hollywood through their immense talent. Sure some Hollywood films have could be qualified as racist such as "The Birth of A Nation" which I mentioned in my first article to The Iranian ["Persia?"].

Filmmakers and artists have been the instrument of Government propaganda, such as Leni Riefenstahl who glorified the Olympic Games of 1936 in her film "Les Dieux du Stade". Which didn't stop Jesse Owens a black American to humiliate the German runners, by winning the Gold medals in all the competitions to such an extent that Adolf Hitler refused to shake hands with him. Leni Riefenstahl was unfortunate to be a talented filmmaker in a totalitarian regime and had to cope with the situation >>> FULL TEXT

Darius Kadivar

* Commit to it

Kobra Khanom,

Regarding a letter from one of your readers, you should have asked the writer where in Quran it is okay to have boyfriend? I am not a Muslim, but you got to be kidding me; it seems religion has become a buffet.

When you choose a religion and commit to it, you commit to it all. Otherwise it is hypocrisy.



* Go get'sm girl!

Dear Kobra Khanom,

I'd never seriously read your pages until I saw Parastoo's praise ["Put your foot down"] for you in the Letter's section and your reply to Mr. ZA.

I'm proud to be from the same country as you. Go get'em girl! I am absolutely 100% sure we will, in our lifetime, meet in Iran and have that discussion without your being arrested. I only wish I could now set the time and day when I could invite you over to our place in Birjand for "Chai".

What I am still not sure of is whether our Mr. Reader, who in today's Islamic Republic could just "walk off" as you say, will be able to see freedom of (secular) speech and (secular) thought in Iran without it being a threat to their existance or if it will be over their "dead-body" so to speak.

In any case "be omid-e didaar".

Amir-Khosrow Sheibany

* We need a man like Khalkhali

I think Khalkhali is a man of his word ["Khaateraat-e Ayatollah Khalkhali"] . He is not afraid of what he has done. That is great. He is not like others who are afraid to mension what they have done. He believed he was right.

The law of Islam says we should judge people on their behaviour and action. Those peoples who were killed by Khalkhali (Shah's ministers and generals) were criminals, because they served and faught for the Shah's regime (which was anti-Muslim).

But I am not supporting Khalkhali's judgements in Kurdistan, since they were innocent peoples killed only because of personal issues with those who were with the government of Islam. We need a man like Khalkhali, but he must be restricted.


* Congratulations

I just wanted to congratulate you on your site. I am a layman in the use of the Internet. A few days ago I chanced upon your site in gooya.com and was pleasantly surprized to fine such variety and rishness there.

More important than that, I realized how much The Iranian site has to offer to bring the Irans from across the world together to share opinions and connect.I am glad and proud to be a visitor of your site.


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