January 11, 2002
* Gentle and kind man
I remember both Mr. Masoud , who was a Hamadani and Mr. Parastar , who
were my teachers to. I attended the school many years before you as I am
about 49 now and the school had just come into being. ["Mr.
I can vouch that Masoud was a very gentle and kind man. You probably
did not know his background. In those far away halcyon days it was difficult
to get a good head teacher like him and Sherkat Naft was lucky to employ
him. In the summer he often went with his family back to Hamadan.
Did you know that they did not have a decent bath room in their lodgings
in town and some times he would bring his family to school to use the facilities
there. God forbid if you went to Sanai school , now there you would know
what a beating was, as my poor brother was punished at the tender age of
6 for poor hand writing!!
My father knew Mr. Masoud probably because with Mr. Mosadequi they employed
him at that school.
Mr. Parastar was a bit rough from time to time but he also probably meant
well. He did brag about his high bachelor life which for us ten year olds
was a bit strange!
Hope you don't mind me mentioning a few things i knew about Babak school.
Did you know any of the girls at Roya school!?
REPLY: Oh I'm sure they were both fine men and I completely understand
now that if they didn't show an attitude we would have taken full advantage.
The perspective in the article is based on what I felt about them in school.
something at the end of the article. -- Jahanshah
* Universal story of all kids
Dear Mr. Javid,
Absolutely delightful, my eyes filled with tears as I laughed out very
Masoud"]. Enjoyed the whole story and your little cute picture
on the karnameh plus the other fun visual links.
You told a universal story of all kids that went to school in Iran then,
the light and fun style was very refreshing.
Thanks for the great read.
* Reminded me of my own pedarsoukhteguiha!
I enjoyed your story very much ["Mr.
Masoud"]. It reminded me of my school days and my own pedarsoukhteguiha!
* Much changed in such short time
hope all is well ["Mr.
Masoud"]. my name is a.a. remember you very well.
i live in atlanta, georgia. after finishing 10th grade at 25th of sharivar
they moved us to the new building near the airport.
but i was there for one week only because i went to tehran got my f-1
and moved here. 10 years later graduated from emory dental school and stayed
here in atlanta. from the time i moved here and the time i received my high
school diploma so much changed in such short period of time.
last summer i went back to iran for the first time since 1977. visited
abadan. went to babak/25th. even visited new building that i never really
attended. the peroshimi had the same smell and noise. first we lived behind
shardari on zand street and then in farahabad. mohammad ahmadi (who was
ranked number one along with hamid arjomand) was my neighbor.
i visited both houses and was invited in. that says something about khozestanise.
i stayed at karvansara hotel for a mere 20 dollars a night. i visited downtown.
felt like a stranger. i was very sadened by the whole experience but somehow
could not wait to go back. so i went back 3 weeks ago and visited my cousin
in ahvaz and then took a cab to abadan.
my freshman year at northeastern university. i was with matin karbasion
and mohammad ahmadi. then i moved to indiana and lost both of them. looking
at all the pictures from the alumni of babak and 25th at your website i
remember all of them... emrani, farid shayegan (had a blue mini motorcycle
at babak) farzin baz, bakhshandeh, and all the other names. you are right
about mr massoud and parastar. we had so much fear of authority.
* We were too rowdy!
I had tears in my eyes when I read your article ["Mr.
Masoud"]. I also attended Babak from 1974 through 1977 and
it brought good memories. I remember Mr. Shayesteh used to teach DASTOOR
(grammer) and later he started with the Tali-matta Deeni .
We Used to sit in the back of the class and bet on how many times he
would repeat (DAR-Natijeh... as the results) and Kholaseh -- these two words
were his favorites.
At the end of the Talimatte Deeni kids in the back had usually 30 to
40 instances of each word that was repeated...Everyone would giggle and
laugh each time he used these two words. At the end of the year there was
some big money betting going on in his class.
I also distinctly remember his attitude on beating up kids when they
didn't know the subject....the key was if you had memorized one of the assignments
(and he had happened to pick you) then he would almost never call on you
to come in front of the class for almost 4-5 months.
I can still remember the slap and the nice kick I got from him...(he
kicked good too) one day when we were making fun of him...He didn't hesitate
to come to our bench and asked what was funny and if we like to share it
with the class....before I even say anything,,,there was a nice slap on
my face and he grabbed my ear dragging me out and followed it by a nice
kick on the ass...He repeated that with me and my buddy next to me. We ended
up standing outside principles office the entire afternoon.....
Well...god bless him wherever he is....we were too rowdy!!!..
PS: I just saw your picture with the other kids... Farzad
Saboori was my buddy... he started as a very sharp kid with excellent
grade, by the time he was 4th to 5th grade... he really went down hill...
I hope he is successful wherever he is... him and I sat next to each other
one year in Roya.
* Inferiority complex
I liked your article on Mr. Masoud, and your Hollywood comparisons. You
were a civil disobedient in advance. ["Mr.
One of the worst things in Iranian schools was physical punishment well
illustrated in one of Kiarostami's films on a boy who wants to leave his
class to see a soccer match forgot the title. The British had physical punishment
til the mid 80's until it was finally abolished.
Contrary to you I was to my own disappointment very obedient in class.
We were in an international school SICS in Shiraz so we were less subject
to Iranian teachers and their often austère methods.
Nevertheless whenever we had farsi courses the teachers were always extremely
strict and liked to lower most of us "beesavads" of mixed cultures.
This inferiority complex was the most terrifying aspect in many of the teachers
attitude who often resented the Cool American attitude towards education.
I think one of the most crucial aspects in Iranian scholastic education
was that the teachers had received a tough education themselves and couldn't
quite relate with their students. Differentiating discipline from humiliation.
Transmit knowledge by arising interest instead of brainstorming children.
American and English teachers were cool but when it came to Farsi classes
they would disappear and leave us in terror.
I must confess I hated my farsi classes except that they developed my
memory thanks to the numerous dictées. I think the educational system
of the time was best adapted for students from rural backgrounds and totally
unadapted to the bourgeois class we belonged to.
It is a proof that the country was on a threshold educationally speaking
with a gap between an educated elite with privileges (Ahan pesareh Agayeh
Doctor salaamoh Aleikom) and a would be educated class which had to go through
what our parents went through a generation before. Well Jahanshah I like
your Rascal Methods of in advance Civil Disobedience :)
* I must have missed something
As a mother and an Iranian I am ashamed that someone thinks having chelo-kabab
makes a person Iranian and takes the time to tell us how they eat it as
yet noble piece of heritage"]. What great accomplishment!!.
The sad part is that so many people assume that their kids are Iranian just
because they like Tah-Deeg or Ghormem Sabzi (someone very educated told
me that just this week).
I have tried so had to make sure that my child knows his heritage by
speaking Farsi only to him, making him take private lesson in Farsi ( to
learn to read and write), read Iranian stories to him and put him to sleep
with Iranian classical music. I must have missed something. All I had to
do was to feed him Iranian food at Iranian Restaurants. I do that at least
once a week anyway. I would disown him if he ever mentions that he is Iranian
just because he loves Chelo-Kabab. Knowing the language and your Motherland's
glorious history and its great people makes you an Iranian.
* Not just the political context
In regards to my article "Just
a concert", I'd like to clarify a few issues. I believe, as
I tried to convey in my piece, that a concert such as the one staged on
Jan. 1, 2001 in Tehran by Raaz-e Shab was a unique and amazing event. The
concert's greatest aspect was not just that it happened but also that it
happened by these people: People who at a time when no one even dreamed
there would be a live pop concert in Tehran, thought to create a band, write
music, and perform. People who are part of a generation that actually experienced
Iran in the 1980s with the War and the strict moral code of the time. Therein
lies the band's, and others like it, greatest accomplishment.
What I also tried to express in my piece was that what adds to the value
of this event is that the audience is an audience sophisticated enough that
does not see the concert as merely a sign or symbol of a political or cultural
opening. It is capable of maintaining and exercising its critical tools,
treating the concert and the music seriously. My piece was an attempt to
portray a populace that rather than accept everything that is handed to
it and be grateful for it, takes what it has and seeks to make it better.
The title "Just
a concert", in the context of the article, is meant as praise
for a group of musicians and their audience who have the imagination and
the hope to reach such heights where their music itself and not just the
political context of its performance will noticed, praised, and critiqued.
* Rigid view on literature
Dear Reader, Mr. Hamed Vahidi: ["A
good poem resembles a melody", "Crimes
I was quite intrigued by your letter in iranian.com. As a professional
poet, it is my honor to inform you that in addition to khalil Gibran and
Parvin Etessami whose days are long over in terms of their creative style
(not their social/spiritual perspectives), the days of Moshiri, Bahar, and
Shahriyar are over as well (in terms of poetic techniques, language, and
images). I think we are dealing with a fundamental issue of "what poetry
Pre-modern or classical poetry's main purpose was to offer advice or
some kind of reformative message to its readers. There are many many examples
which I won't bring here, but you can just read samples of Etessami's or
Moshiri's or Tavalalli's work to grasp the undercurrent of overstated ideologies
and recommendations on how to lead one's life morally and optimistically.
A contemporary poet, expresses him/herself through currently existing
elements, such as "mobile phones", "subways", "coffee
shops", "underground clubs", "fast foods", "addictions",
"prostitution", "neon lights" or even "one-night
stands!". I am sorry to disappoint you my friend, but a modern poet
has RESPONSIBILITY to speak about cockroaches and hamburgers and the fact
that some hamburgers are made with ground cockroach eyeballs! and some toothpicks
are carved out of their little hairy legs... and in these grotesque images
if you will, upon your own depth and repertoire of subjective experiences,
you will find that he/she maybe alluding to or objecting against a political/social/cultural
The fact that you do not observe poetry in "Papa Noele Marhoom"
attests to your overwhelming alienation with the arena of contemporary literature
in general. In regards to a contemporary free-verse piece, one could say
it's a "bad" poem or a "good" poem, but anyone who has
not managed to drag his/her feet out of the drowning Bermuda of traditional
poetry in light of the advent and evolution of modern world literature,
(over a span of nearly a century), would have serious issues reading any
non-melodic and unrhymed poem.
For such rigid view on literature, any deviation from the "normalcy"
of mainstreamed practices of language and image, would be considered a taboo
or even a blasphemy. Of course any one is entitled to their take on all
creative matters, but one can not deny the indispensable need for each rising
generation to express its psychic truth through creative media by means
of its "own" genuinely crafted linguistic and literary tools.
At the end, I would like to appreciate your honest critique and I look forward
to having more discussions on this topic with any other reader of my work.
* Life is meaningless without the YANG
A nursery rhyme is full of melody (and nazm!) but is most certainly not
poetry. Rhythm and rhyme limit language, and there are only so many ways
thoughts can be conveyed by adhering to the classical rules. Those ways
have been discovered and used by the geniuses of Persian Poetry along with
many hundreds of mediocre others. How many times do you want to hear the
same old ghafieh (rhymes)? ["A
good poem resembles a melody", "Crimes
A good poem is art. Art is art; it does not have to resemble anything
else. The essence of art is to convey an idea, thought, or feeling. Good
art conveys NEW thought, meaning, or philosophy. How it is done is only
secondary, what is important is the freshness of the message.
Does the message/meaning have to be simple and accessible to most? Absolutely
not. Art does not have to be populist. Do you really think that the message
in Hafez is not hidden. He did not write for the illiterate masses, he wrote
for the educated few. If you want to appeal to "all sorts of mentalities",
you have to appeal to the lowest common denominator.
As for "the majesty of nature, and the high ideals of human freedom,
ultimate meaning, man's place in cosmos, delicacy of human spirit and feminine
beauty and class", would you please leave 18th century romanticism
and join the modern world. Why not discuss the cruelty of nature, the base
reality of human behavior, the uncertainty principle, insignificance of
man in a senseless cosmos, the rough human character, and spousal abuse
or prostitution. Your notion of poetry is all YING. Life is meaningless
without the YANG.
Forget that Farjami,s poetry doesn't fit yours. The real issue is was
she saying anything new?
* What makes you an expert
So you say A good poem resembles a melody! ["A
good poem resembles a melody", "Crimes
of poetry"] Why don,t you start working on yours? I always
enjoy reading the pieces on the Iranian.com too and like you - whether they
are shallow and nonprofessional or scholarly and informative, I still read
After your comments and words-put-together, I came to realize you are
not that far off in what you suggest about "Nazm in poetry but we have
a slightly different view on this. I think you should be concerned about
your own poetry and not others because I find yours (I do not want to call
your put-together-words: A Poem) absolutely ...
I am not questioning your talents, but what exactly is creative in your
poetry or let me ask you in your own words; do you know what you are doing?
A good poem creates a sense of weightlessness in the reader and I did not
find this feeling reading your poetry. You talk about the experiences of
physical and spiritual freedom but yours is far from any of the above. So
I want to know what makes you an expert on the poetry issue.
* Forgotten where he came from
Dear Farid (an American citizen), ["Relative
I feel very sorry for you. You are one of those Iranians who has forgotten
where he came from. As Jack Welch (former CEO of GE) says, "you should
never forget where you came from". I am sick and tired of Iranians
like you who have become so selfish upon their arrival to this country.
People from other nationalities, help their fellow countrymen as much as
possible. What do we do? We try so hard to compete with each other. We can
not see each other's success. We feel that we are the chosen ones. Two years
ago, I was having dinner in an Italian restaurant with some of my Iranian
friends. Our waiter was an Italian man with the thickest accent imaginable.
Some of my friends were so fascinated by this guy's accent. They kept saying,
"wow, what a beautiful accent". Interestingly, the next day, we
were in an Iranian restaurant.
As soon as our Iranian waiter finished greeting us and left the table
to get our drinks, the same people who thought the Italian accent was beautiful,
started making fun of our Iranian waiter's accent. Why? Why are we like
this? Why can't we be nice to each other? So what if you had a difficult
rout to get here? Don't you enjoy changing somebody's life by helping them
Mr. American citizen? I am not sure why your wife left you but I assure
you that your selfishness had a lot to do with it. Believe me, Americans
are so much more generous than you.
* I feel very sorry for you
I agree that the picture of the Iranians you describe in your article
does represent part of the people in that society, but is that the only
picture of Iranians you know of? ["Relative
visa"] If so, I feel very sorry for you. You obviously have
not seen anything else of Iranian people and that is very sad. I grew up
in the U.S. and went back when I was in high school, and though I did see
a different picture than my upbringing her in the U.S., my family lived
more like Europeans in Northern Tehran. The reason I left was because all
around me there was nothing except glamor and luxury.
I also traveled the whole country during the years I was there, almost
to every province, and though I did see things that surprised me, I have
not allowed myself to insult my people and country, or generalize about
them. Iran is the most diverse country in that region and I think you should
learn more about it before putting it down.
It's sad that many of us don't have pride for our nation and instead
worship western cultures for the sake of trying to look un- primitive. The
Europeans had worse habits than burping in the years before industrialization,
and still had a great pride for their nations and were very arrogant about
it and still are.
I think this comes from the fact that you lived in Iran and only associated
with people and relatives around you, so you don't know anything different
about the Iranian people and were overwhelmed by the first glimpse of Western
and not so cultural U.S. society and it's impact on you.
We are a nation that prides itself on being the one of the greatest empires
of the world in its history and being ahead of all the main civilizations
of its day. Not being proud of your heritage will make you a sad and unsuccessful
person and I think it has already.
P.S. If you don't think that Persian carpets are of much worth, at least
the Europeans do. But that's all that really counts, right? Oh and by the
way, dough is spelled doogh, since dough means khamir. To be a full Americanized
person, it's not bad to at least start by spelling and using the language
* First rays of the sunrise
I read your article on the Iranian. ["I'm
I have had kind of strange feelings about humanity for a long time. At
least I thought they were strange because I couldn't quite understand them.
I couldn't understand why after any bad incident happens somewhere in the
world, instead of feeling depressed and down I feel more encouraged to live
and I feel much more love and affection for other human beings. I couldn't
quite explain it to myself that
Why I was feeling that way... and after reading your article it is as
clear as the first rays of the sunrise.... that's it, that is what fills
my heart "the knowledge that somewhere, sometime, someone, a man, a
woman, or a child braver than me, will stand in front of that tank"
* I can't express my love
Dear Readers and Sara, ["Mano
Sara writing has been about something that I think speaks for a lot of
people, yet very few have the courage to write about it. It is something
that I feel too.
I consider myself way too sensitive and caring, but I never let it show.
I have never uttered the words I love you to either my mom or my dad. They
have educated me and done their best to provide me with the means to succeed
in life. I, however, have never shown any emotions whatsoever. I love them
enormously but I can't and will not express myself.
I guess it all started way back when me and my siblings were all kids.
My father seemed to prefer my brother over me and my other siblings. He
was the "ba-orze" and the "zarang." He was the "shaytoon"
and "street smart" kid. It seemed my parents and especially my
father encouraged and looked positively on things such as outsmarting other
If he screwed up, it was seen as a result of his courage and "having
balls" and was soon forgiven. I must admit though that my parents never
laid their hands on us. They only seemed to prefer my brother over me. I
guess this is the reason, I turned out to be so cold towards them. They
hurt me through their preferential treatment and now is the time for me
to hurt them by making them feel I don't care about them.
I have not called my parents once in the past four years. It is always
them calling. I have tried to distance myself away from them even though
they paid for my education. Even so, when I asked them for money, I asked
them for just enough to get by even though I could have asked for more nad
they would have provided.
I always felt guilty asking them for money even though they had the menas.
I felt that I don't belong to the family and therefore have no business
asking for money. Asking them for money was in my mind like the Islamic
Republic bowing before the USA.
When I was in high school, they thought I was doing drugs even though
I have never touched drugs. This sense of mistrust and not trusting me infuriated
me even more.
When it came to buying me a car in high school, my number one choice
of automobile was rejected, so I skipped number two and went all the way
down to number 40. I just felt that if they are not willing to buy me the
car I want then I should simply suffer and go with an average car.
Only a few years later, my parents bought my brother bought a sweet ass
car, of course after my brother insisted. I still drive my "unwanted"
My parents seem to think that I like to save money and I am a modest
guy. But they don't know that heck I would buy a freaking porche and the
best clothes if I had money. But I never asked for much from them because
I felt I am not part of the family, even though the money has always been
available only had I asked.
Some may argue that a car doesn't mean a thing. But it does especially
for a teenager. Later in your life, when you look back you can remember
the awesome car you had and all the good stuff that came along with it.
I am especially aware of that because when I look back at high school and
remember that I didn't ask a girl for my senior prom, it was a huge mistake.
Maybe if I had a nice car, I would have had the courage to ask one out
but I didn't. And now that period has passed by. My high school years were
not anything but ordinary and average.
At this point in my life, I am working and my mission is to succeed in
life and make money. Total independence. Never ask my parents for money
again even though they were paying for my education before.
I strive to succeed to make money and prove that I am self sufficient
and I do not need my parents. I love my parents but for some reason, I feel
that I deserve to suffer. I don't care if I die tomorrow. I wish I can die
tomorrow. I go walking to seven eleven at 3:30 am hoping that one day some
stranger walks up and blows my head up so I can rest peacefully.
Like I said before, my parents do love me, but they seem to prefer my
other brother. If i could have my wish, I would ask somebody to put fences
around my grave so no one would mourn for me.
* Moft-khor tourist attractions
If you look around the world, the monarchs in genuine constitutional
monarchies are a bunch of useless bi-kaar moft-khor tourist attractions
who do nothing more than dress up in costumes and consume taxpayer money.
So why are Mr. Pahlavi's handlers so interested in him becoming a constitutional
Why do these Monarchists who pretend to have suddenly discovered the
benefits of democracy and constitutional ism totally ignore the option of
forming a genuine REPUBLIC instead of a constitutional monarchy? Its not
as if the Pahlavi Dynasty was such a long-lived or well-respected one that
the country can't function without them, especially now that 22 years have
passed without them.
The only explanations for this pushing of a "constitutional"
monarchy are either Reza Pahlavi needs a job very badly, or his handlers
are simply manipulating people's frustrations with empty promises about
constitutional ism to get a grip on power and then promptly forget about
the constitution, just as his father did.
* Ultimate judge
I have met a good number of young, eager, literary talents who are simply
afraid to step forward for the fear of receiving severe criticism from literary
of poetry"]. Although I appreciate your conservatism, here
is my message to you. First and above all, have faith in your work. If there
is a severe flaw in your work, the ultimate judge would be world literary
community, not just Iranian.com. Second, do not be afraid of criticisms.
If you think it is a fair one, then simply thank the critic and immediately
start working on your flaws. If it is an unfair one, then simply ignore
it or politely mention the fact to the critic. But how about if, deep down
in your heart, you feel that you are the subject of, God forbids, "accusations"?
Well, you can either ignore them or respond to them as strongly as you can,
but always take it like a MAN. Remember what Einstein once said in response
to his critics: "If I were wrong, one would have been enough."
Today, I received a letter from a reader in which she demanded that I
"should be stopped" and that my works (both the poems and articles)
are pure rubbish and that I "bore her to death". Well, that's
fine with me. I am not responsible for how others feel about me or my work,
but she finally boiled my blood to 100 degrees centigrade by accusing me
that I "had stolen verse translations of Hafez and that her friends
wondered why I take these verse translations and pass them as mine".
I simply asked her to show me which verse translations I had stolen (well,
in a not-so-polite language because I was angry).
Let's become professional for a while and think clearly. The next paragraph
is a summary of a portion of the talk I listened to by Dr. Jahanpour. I
am adding some of my own comments to it.
In both Hafez and Khayyam's poems there is a phrase called "Charkheh
Falak". "Charkh" means "wheel" and "Falak"
means several things such as fortune, fate or sphere. So, a rough translation
of "Charkheh Falak" would be something like "wheel of fortune"
or "destiny" or simply what you expect of the world.
Now, Khayyam, in one of his poems said that "Charkheh Falak"
does not turn or move in his favor. Then Hafez came after him and changed
it a little bit by telling others that "he won't be upset or that he
simply would not be belittled or humiliated if the wheel of fortune does
not turn or move according to his expectations".
As we all know, Hafez was greatly influenced by Khayyam, but is it fair
to accuse Hafez that "Hafez jan, please stop writing. We all know you
stole from Khayyam". People inspire each other both in science, philosophy
Moreover, Alfred Tennyson, Percy Shelley and Wolfgang Goethe (see his
West - Ostlicher Diwan) were all inspired by Hafez and some of their poems
are very, very similar to Hafez. Does it mean that they have stolen verse
translations of Hafez?
Of all the 500 and so poems that now exist of Hafez, I can only read
and fully understand 50 of them -- with great difficulty and help of others
of course. I have written a good number of poems and someday I may publish
them. I've received comments that my poems resemble that of Hafez, Molavi,
Tagore, Vincent Millay and Gibran. So according to the logic of a number
of our readers, I should have spent all my life stealing poems from these
My last advice to you literary talents of tomorrow is to read more books
and compare Literary works with one another and don't be afraid to ask questions
and seek advice from experts.
* Queen of Jordan
In response to "Huh?":
Toni Gardiner was the second wife of King Hussein of Jordan. (aka Muna
al Hussein) She is the mother of King Abdullah, the current king of Jordan.
* Ambassadors to Sweden
In response to "Iranian
ambassadors to Sweden":
Iran established relationships with Sweden in 1896. Ambassadors were
in Moscow. The first Iranian Embassy in Sweden (Legation) was established
1- Assad Khan Assad Bahador 1919-1920
2- Ghaffar Khan Jalal-ol-Saltaneh 1921-1922
3- Reza Khan Arfaa-ed-Dowleh 1925-1934
4- Assad Khan Assad Bahador 1934-1939
5- AbdolHossein Massoud Ansari 1941-1944
6- Bagher Kazemi 1945-1950
7- Fazlollah Nabil 1950-1952
8- Abbas Forouhar 1952-1953
9- Fazlollah Nabil 1953-1957 (Legation raised to Embassy)
10- Hossein Navab 1958-59
11- Gholam-Hossein Forouhar 1959-1963
12- Morteza Adl Tabatabai 1963-66
13- Akbar Darai 1966-1970
14- Issa Malek 1970-74
15- Manouchehr Marzban 1974 till 1979 Revolution
16- Hamzeh Sabouri from revolution till 1979
17- Abbas Amir Entezam beginning 1979- middle 1979
18- Parviz Khazai 1979-1980
19- Abdol Rahim Gavahi 1980-81
20- Said Kalantarnia 1981-1985
21- Jaafar Shamsian 1985-86
22- Mehdi Danesh Yazdi 1986