January 8, 2002
* Looking for my brother
I'm looking for my brother Hoshang Alaii (Alaei). If you have any information
about him please contact me at this email address: email@example.com.
* Expressing love in his own language
I would just like to take a moment to thank you for taking the time to
translate these beautiful poems [Zara
Houshmand's Rumi] ... I am Canadian, and my boyfriend is Iranian
... He is a great lover of poems and would have to translate when he would
be reading them to me, I have now surprised him on many occasions with beautiful
poems that I can understand aswell ... For this, I am thankful!
Thank you for being a median to express my love to him, in his own language
... : )
* There are OTHER types of democracies
When you talk about indigenous solution ["All
chiefs and no Indians"], what exactly do you have in mind?
You admit that the above is the "modus operandi" while seeking
The problem, if I may say so without offending you, is that your view
of the concept of democracy is confined to your understanding of republican
democracy. For your information, there are OTHER types of democratic governments
that are NOT republics.
Also your view of Shia Islam needs a bit of mending. The laws of Islam,
as you purport to know, cannot be changed, but their implementation/interpretation
CAN. Another error: jurisprudence is Feqh and NOT Ijtehad. Shia Islam is
by far the most flexible of all shades of Isalm, and this why other Islamic
sects view us as heretics! (reply below)
* Shariah subject to interpretation
I am more than happy to address your objections here ["There are OTHER types of democracies"]. Whether there
are other systems that purport to be democracies but involve some historical
institution is irrelevent. We strive for democracy and the rule of people
not some abstract word that can be manipulated to admit less than ideal
forms of gevernment only because they are nominally democracies.
The indigenous solution I refer to is not what I aim to prescribe but
what should evolve through debate and participation of the people. Unlike
you sir, I have no claim to intellectual superiority. You scuff at the
concept of Iranians coming up with their own system of government. Do you
find us Iranians so incompetant and intellectually wanting that we need
foreigners to decide our fate?
As for your second point, your religious education may have been interupted
by your migration and I do not falt you on that. The translation of Ijtehad
was added by the editor, Mr Javid and not me. There are five sources of
Islamic law. The first is the Koran which is infallible. Koranic injunctions
are either temporally binding or for all times. Three other sources are
Sunna (tradition), Ijma (consensus) and Ghyas (comparison). All of which
are guides and can be contradicted. The last source is Ijtehad (Innovation)
whose 'door' is closed in Sunna but not Shia.
Although in the Sunni faith one can interpret laws as they pertain to
oe of the traditionas of law, as in Hanbali, Shafei ... the muftis can not
change the Shariah. In Shia the laws are not codified and though all clerics
seem to follow Allameh Majlisi in matters of Fiqh, his edicts are not binding
as he is dead. Except for those things that are explicitly for all time
in the Koran all other parts of Shariah are not only subject to interpretation
but also change.
I hope my correspondence has been adequately respectful to encourage
you to respond.
* Religious politics will breed resentment
I agree with many of the statements the writer has made ["All chiefs
and no Indians"]. Democracy is the only way. I personally do
not bother reading the rhetoric of a bored rich son of a murder or a religious
person who thinks establishing theocracy in Iran is the way.
I consider religion a matter of personal choice and am totally against
any type of religious government and its involvement in politics at all
(for the record I pray, fast and observe Ramadan but strictly as a matter
of personal choice.)
My heritage is Iranian and that is the only issue I care about promoting.
Any type of religious brand of politics (modern or not) will breed resentment
and cause unnecessary pain and truly is a waste of precious time when it
Let's leave any brand of religion and any person who wants to push religious
ideas out of our politics please!!
* Comparing two evil systems
I started reading your article with interest ["Consider
the facts"], but that interest faded when I realized that
you have not offered any explanation for your support of constitutional
monarchy. Comparing two evil systems is not good enough explanation for
governing 75 million people.I am a staunch supporter of republic form of
I encourage you to read COMMON SENSE by Thomas Paine. It was applicable
over two hundred years ago as the British colonies were trying to bread
away and it is very much applicable for Iran and why we should not chose
Simply, Iran needs a republic form of government(exactly what we have
here in the U.S.A) with its checks and balances its term limits and two
congressional houses and most of the time independent judiciary.
This will prevent tyrannical rulers and absolute power.we have tried
monarch for over 2,500 years and we have tried religious tyranny for 22
years. please give a true democracy a try. A system that all will have
a voice(voting). And where there is a separation of mosque and state. (reply below)
* Mistaking one for the other
Dear Mr. Moradi, ["Comparing two evil systems"]
Thank you for your e-mail below. Two points: One, I am talking about
constitutional monarchy, not absolute monarchy ["Consider
the facts"]. Two, the framework of the speech I gave did not
permit for a longer consideration of the reasons for constitutional monarchy.
You are not alone in mistaking one for the other. Most people cannot
distinguish between constitutional monarchy, which is a democratic form
of government with all the things you have mentioned below, and absolute
monarchy which is neither democratic nor displays any of the things you
mention. I do not argue for absolute monarchy. Your criticism would be appropriate
if I were defending absolute monarchy. As I do not, your criticism is ill
Now, you may ask how is constitutional monarchy different from absolute
monarchy. It is different in every way, and in the very ways which you favor.
It is better than a mere republic, however, since it also provides for a
continuity of tradition that republics do not but desperately want to.
Finally, as to Tom Paine's Common Sense. As I am a professor of political
science and political theory in particular, I have not only read but teach
this material to my students regularly. Tom Paine's argument is with monarchy
of the absolute kind. He also favors the achievements of the French Revolution.
His arguments have no bearing on my preferred form of government, constitutional
monarchy, with one exception: he is against the notion of heredity in general,
for any position in government. On that he and I disagree, but that would
take too long to expound here.
Thank you for your interest.
With all good wishes,
Manoutchehr M. Eskandari-Qajar
* Important to remember the circumstances
Indeed, your comments are little more than thinly veiled rationalizations
of revolutionary propaganda fetish ['tFailing
to consider facts't]. In other words a plethora of pseudo-intellectual
assertions exploiting grievance flavored themes of the oppressed, which
are simply unfounded, both due to lack of adequate research on the subject
matter and, more strikingly, in failing to carry out internal assessment
(as opposed to finding blame, which is always easier).
Irrespective of my preferred system of government, Mr. Eskandari-Qajar's
contentions were valid, and far from ironical, as you suggest. I believe
everyone is aware that both the current regime and the one that preceded
it carried their flaws; there is no utopia. And, as Mr. Eskandari-Qajar
made it quite clear, when juxtaposed only a modicum of reasoning is required
to realize that economically, politically, and socially- life in Iran was
simply better during the pre-79 Pahlavi regime. This, of course, goes for
those whose lives were not lost in any wars!
Meaningless sentimental assertions, such as 'tbowing down to the West't,
in your context, remind me of the rhetoric that mislead people into embracing
the ideals that the 79 Revolution. Standing up against the Great Satan,
dissuading the West from forcefully imposing its institutions, values, and
practices, which are, at best, corrupt, and returning to the ideals of Islamic
life, are fruitful efforts I still yearn to discern now in Iran. Its couterproductive
efforts have affected the country, and the people, more significantly than
Of course, I would love for my country to free itself from any detrimental
entanglement, whether social or political, to make its own decisions, to
provide what is best for the people. Yet, utter rejection is no solution.
A cursory study of Middle Eastern history focusing on the Islamic empire
will illuminate the following: whereas the West was eager to adopt Islamic
advancements in sciences, providing the foundation for their Renaissance,
the Muslims complacently did so with less enthusiasm, making themselves,
in a sense, obsurantists.
Of course, the causes of that stagnation and decline cannot be solely
ascribed to this one point, as many factors were involved; however, this
filter did play a role. This has happened under the IRI. You have to admit
to yourself that the West is now spearheading the movement for progress.
We must embrace the goods, learn from them, and adapt, all while keeping
our traditions and our beautiful religion.
True, "the US would love for there to exist an obedient monarch
in Iran"; what other hegemony outside of Iran wouldn't? That's international
relations for you. The only way to rise above this paranoia is to become
strong, politically, socially, and economically. Until a country is in a
situation do so then the people will continue starve, population will mutliply
unsustainably, people will be think twice before taking walks outside their
house for fear of being questioned on conjugal matters, movies produced
will have to disguise their themes with simplistic notions in order to avoid
persecution or death (the latter, prevalent in our beloved land), real journalism
and reporting will remain a hoax and any attempt to claim the truth will,
once again, lead to the persecution or death, the history of our great nation
will remain in the dark instead of being praised, etc.
To better the situation does not mean that the country will re-shuffle
its ideologies and perspectives. It will not require us to bow down to
Western pressure and take a subservient role. That, is not in our nature
(for the most part). For instance, we can continue to support the Palestinian
cause and work towards achieving a peaceful solution to the Israeli-Pal
conflict, and still remain on good terms with the West, namely America.
(I live in American and I support the Palestinian cause).
Characteric of too many Iranians, in particular those who have an affinity
for the clerics in Iran, and who happened to skim Edward Said's Orientalism,
further exacerbating their anger, you take an position that will not work
well for the people. Concurrently, neither will the adoption of all that
is Western (neo-colonialist submission). I wonder, are you against the
system of monarchy in general, the Pahlavi monarchy in particular, or are
you a victim of the ease by which the marked apex of a monarchist regime
You mention the word puppet when referring to the monarch. Characters
from the current regime could also be substituted into that mold the masters
would only be different. Allegiance and supreme authority lies in the hands
of the Ayatollah. I still anxiously await tangible reforms.
When you say "that of bowing to pressure from the US and letting
the US decide our future". There are ideological issues that you glaze
over and misaddress. You should be aware that the U.S. supported Khomeini
at first. In fact, if you think that it was simply the will of the people
of Iran that was the sole impetus of Khomeini's entrance into Iran than
you are large mistaken. There exists a diversity of plausible perspectives
on the downfall of that regime, unlike what is professed most of the time.
It the magic of mass media: a simple and easy to follow theme to engender
You laudably declare: "However, history has proven that this situation
is intolerable, and the Mollahs - for all their faults - have at least denied
the US any further influence." As intolerable as it is, is it not
paradoxical that so many Iranians, living in Iran now, are vehement about
the prospects of moving to the US? I take it that the people of Iran hold
a different outlook of America than the government. Are you not a student
in England? In referring to history, she has had a much greater hold on
us than any other country from the occident.
Because of our oil, or blood, as some people deservedly call it, not
only were we -and many others, subsequently- subjected to the highest level
of inhumane exploitation and robbery, which is also a form of terrorism,
but we were the victims of many Imperial Games, namely the Great Game (Russian
vs. England). Yet, with regards to petroleum, these disparities are what
led to the birth of OPEC, which Iran took a leading role in, not complete
Besides, as many anti-monarchists eagerly stand up to point out the meekness
of the "puppets", it is important to remember that given the circumstances
in Iran in the early to mid 20th century, the "puppets" did not
have much resource to work with in combating imperial efforts. We were
in a position of relative weakness in a world that housed a number of powerful,
narcissistic, and contending parties seeking to extend authority.
At this time there is no other person that has stepped up, to such a
degree, in opposition to the current regime, as Reza Pahlavi has. If there
are other prospects do let me know; I have seen none. Furthermore, when
asked in the media about his role in a new Iran, R. Pahlavi repeatedly states
that he wishes the people of Iran to decide (referendum). As long as people
will elect democratically, all will be well.
To be honest, I understand your views. I could tell that you are concerned
of the plight of the Palestinians; you believe that Israeli life is promoted
as more valuable than of Palestinian or Iraqi life with regards to the latter,
over 500,000 have died since the Gulf war; that hezbollah was a freedom
fighting organization and now a legitimate movement. To adopt Western ideals
is not to reject these opinions.
For instance, it is important to keep in mind that the number of Middle
Easterners in America is growing. Moreoever, these people are moving up
socially, economically, and politically. They are becoming prominent businessmen,
politicians, doctors, etc. In time, this strenghtening will be conducive
to desired change in US Foreign policy in the Middle East, which happens
to be the most influential one in the Middle East.
Everything happens for a reason, including the 79 Revolution. I think
one of the most important results of this revolution were the benefits of
education. Many Iranians now living in the world over have had the opportunity
of receiving some of the best education available. They have learnt new
ideologies and methodologies; they have worked with different institutions
and organizations; and they have learnt a great deal that could be implemented
in Iran once they return.
A new form of government must accommodate the benefits of such education.
This is what R. Pahlavi is proposing. You may believe and argue that nothing
is a 100% guarantee, but unless you have alternatives to work with than
you have to follow the best proposition. I think too many of us have gone
through too much hardship to decide on an Iran whose new regime and constitution
will become an instrument of injustice and oppression.
Amir Ali Boogh
* This monarchy would allow political diversity
I am a fellow Iranian also. I enjoyed your editorial, "Citizen
Pahlavi", and found it brave of you to express your true feelings.
Both you and I can relate, but in my case - I long for the monarchy that
we once had. Of course, this monarchy would allow political diversity. I
would love to go on about this all day - but I am pressed for time, so I
will leave it at this.
* There is still hope
Jamshid, thank you for the wonderful essay ["Killing
history"]. It was certainly enjoyable to know that there are
those who are passionate about their Iranian heritage.
For a long time, I thought that a country that so cheaply sells its cultural
heritage and religion to a foreign conqueror, replaces light with darkness
and promotes lies and hypocrisy as the key ingredients for survival, does
not deserve any better.
Today, I understand that there is still hope.
* Indeed at war with Arabs
Many thanks to Jamshid Charmchi, for his wonderful article ["Killing
history"]. Indeed the process of colonization, cultural destruction
and ethnic cleansing by the Arabs, to the non Arab (Persian, Kurds, Jews,
Christians, cops, etc) inhabitant of the middle east and Central Asia is
still on going and far from being over!
Ironically it was Prophet Mohammed's whose first act of genocide and
ethnic cleansing against the Jews of Arabia, was an initial catalyst for
the rest of this process. We are indeed at war with Arabs, both territorial
It's about time for our die-hard liberal and leftists Iranian to wake
up and smell the coffee (reality check). In particular those Iranians that
whine right and left about a Palestenian cause (Kaaseh daaghtar az aash!)
I have yet to see any Arab whine and yell about youe right as an Iranians
to live in peace, democracy, freedom and respect. I am just wondering when
will we learn?
* A good poem resembles a melody
I always enjoy reading the pieces you publish in your website - whether
they are shallow and nonprofessional or scholarly and informative, but may
I ask in what way Leila Farjami's ["Papa
Noele Marhoom"] fits into the category of "poetry"?
I am not questioning Ms. Farjami's talents, but isn't the art of poetry
similar to "plastic surgery" or "architectural design"?
You not only have to know what you are doing, but you also have to be creative.
The word we use for poetry is "Nazm" and as we all know "Nazm"
is another word for order. A good poem not only has order, meaning and
rhythm, but above all, upon reading, it resembles a melody. That's why
I enjoy reading Shakespeare, Shelley, Goethe, Pushkin, Lamartine, Dante,
Hafez, Molavi, Iraj Mirza, Bahar and Moshiri.
A good poem creates a sense of weightlessness in the reader. The reader
experiences a sense of physical and spiritual freedom. Of course, sometimes
you have to sacrifice rhythm and melody for meaning, but that's okay. The
qualities that I just mentioned can be superbly integrated into both classical
and "modern" poetry. Therefore, I am not degrading the value
and importance of modern poetry, but my argument goes beyond such notions.
I read Ms. Farjami's "[Papa Noele Marhoom]" several times and
each time I had difficulty fitting it into the category of "poetry".
I showed it to a number of other people and they had the same problem.
Of course, Ms. Farjami is not alone and she ranks among other Iranian (Nooriala,
Kalbasi, Shamlou, Khalili, Farrokhzad,...) and Pulitzer or Nobel Prize winning
American and Spanish poets.
Is it the job of a poet to stack a number of bricks and create a dry,
rigid and senseless form that he/she alone knows its hidden meaning OR to
design a beautiful structure that is meaningful and appeals to all sorts
Is it the job of a poet to write about cockroaches, soup, hamburgers,
barber shops and steak and cheese with mushrooms OR to debunk hypocrisy,
describe the majesty of nature, and promote the high ideals of human freedom,
ultimate meaning, man's place in cosmos, delicacy of human spirit and feminine
beauty and class (the two distinguishing characteristics of Iranian women)?
Now, take the following politically correct poem, which I happened to
write instantly, as an example:
in the sight of God.
are His maidens.
are His pride.
don't shed tears for men
who oppress you.
Now, the essence of the above poem can be expressed in a more creative
Of God and the pride of His creation called man,
Of that enticing creature He favors, but less than a man
Don't shed tears at the foot of a man who runs for someone else,
Don't seek the warmth of a body whose heart beats for someone else.
I believe the good, old days of Kahlil Jibran, Edna St. Vincent Millay
and Parvin Etesami are gone, but we should always be hopeful.
Congratulations for your photos ["Signs
of life"]. Please go on with your photo job about Afeganistan
and continue to clarify the ideas of many people around the world.
* Jihad Johnny
Our prisons contain thousands of men whose parents would claim were good
boys who did not really mean any harm.
The fact is that Jihad Johnny ["Let
him go home"] from Fairfax went half way around the world seemingly
trying to study Arabic and Islam but ultimately was caught carrying a Kalishnikov.
He did say that he wanted to be a martyr for Islam supposedly by taking
the lives of others he considers as infidels.
The best justice is to bring some reality to Jihad Johnny's world by
applying consequences such as prison. If he suffers then that is reality
and it should raise his stature in the eyes of the God he imagines. He
can also continue his studies of Arabic and Islam in prison as did Richard
Reid without the distractions of Kalishnikovs, etc.
* Liz Taylor in Iran
I was happily surprised with the picture of Liz
Taylor in Iran where did you find it. My father saw her in Shiraz
and given the Qashqaie's in the background I believe the picture was taken
in Shiraz not Tehran. In anycase what great and rare documents you find.
* Iranian ambassadors to Sweden
I am doing some academic research and request your assistance.
I am trying to find a list of Iranian ambassadors to Sweden from 1964
to present, including the name of the ambassador and the years that he served
as ambassador. Do you know where I can find this information?
* In Iran in World WAR II
I have lots of things from my wife's great uncle who was in Iran in World
War II. I would love some more info on the mission in Iran ["Bridge to victory"].
The man in our family that was there was named Ernest J Mack svs # 33835032.
If you can find more info on him when he was in Iran our family would
love to hear from you. Because he never talked about his time there but
I do understand; I to am a vet. Enerst J Mack died the year 2000 and took
those stories to the grave along with him...
Very truely your,
* I lived in Bereim
Hi Reza, ["I
did not see it as you did"]
My parents and I lived in Bereim up to 34 years ago, when we left for
Ahvaz (I was only 3 then) - My father worked for Sherkat-e Naft for 31 years
His name was Abbas Nikkhah and he was a senior manger in Abadan and later
Managing Director of "Looleh Sazi" in Ahvaz. He passed away 5.5
years ago aged 75 - in Tehran.
I left Iran in 1355 (1976) and have been living in England since. I
did visit Abadan & Ahvaz 8-9 years ago - the devestation was sad.
* Noruz time
I would like to know the exact time of Noruuz this year, 2002. My calendar
doesn't have it written, and I live in Colorado. Can you please help?
* Proficiency testing in Farsi
I am looking for assistance for a high school IB student for proficiency
testing in Farsi. Can you help?
* Just wants to see pictures
My boyfriend Navid is so homesick for his country, he just wants to see
pictures of the streets. I can not wait for him to get home to see your
pictures. Do you have any more pictures of everyday life happening on the
streets of Tehran? Somewhere that a young guy would have hung out with his
He walked to work and the picture he showed me of the place he walked
by is called Tajrish Square. I know I may sound silly, but I can't begin
to imagine what it must be like to be so far away from all his loved ones.
If you don't have any pictures; do you know where these types of pictures
may be online? Thanks for your beautiful pictures.
REPLY: Go here
* Fill out survey
Dear All ,
As most of you know i am studying for my International Baccalaureate
diploma. One of the subjects which i am studying is ITGS (Information technology
in a global society) and as my main project i have chosen to gather information
about Youth in Iran and create a website.
As part of the testing and refinment phase of its development, I have
created an survey through which you can assess various factors of the website.
Please take a moment or two to fill out the survey, as it'll help me to
judge what I'm doing right or wrong.
The url to the website is:
For more information please contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org
* Maryam Jamshidi
My name is Ziba and I am looking for a long lost friend from Tehran.
Her name is Maryam Jamshidi and her dad used to work for the oil company
in Tehran, we used to play at Baashgaahe Naft in Tehran. She has 2 sisters
and 4 brothers.
Please if anybody knows about her contact me,
* Hossein Mohammadi
My name is Saeid Firouzabadi. I am looking for Mr Hossein Mohammadi who
was the principal in Kharazmi #1 in Tehran during 1972-1980 or maybe later.
I finished high school 1976.
If anyone has info about him please contact me at : email@example.com
* History of Jask
I am originally an Iranian person who was born in Dubai in 1976. I believe
that my parents came from a small city called "Jask" in the South
East of Iran. I've been looking in some websites for information about the
city's history and it's people, but it seems that they arent many.
I would be grateful if you can tell me of websites or even books or publications
which has information about this city "Jask" and its history and
its people. I am actually more interested in the origins of its people as
i'm trying to find out more about my family tree.
Thank you for your time and i'll look forword to hear from you soon.
* Parsi calling
I am a 48-year-old Parsi Zoroastrian journalist with a long-standing
attachment to and passion for my madar vatan Iran. Besides, I am also passionate
about Western Classical music and English literature. I have been striving
to learn Farsi for years, but in the absence of suitable conversational
opportunities with native Iranians have not been too successful so far.
I would like to contact, through your via media, other Iranians of a
suitable age group, preferably Iranian Zoroastrian women. Hope to see this
used in your letters column.
Arda Kaikhushroo Batha
* Poor family
My Name is Kashif Hussain Soomro I am belonging to Pakistan a poor Muslim
family I have cleared my Fsc II Pre Eng in Grade C because there are many
big problem of my family but sir you can see my previous career you will
find my hard working in Ninth class I got First position and in Matric in
my class and also in District Shikarpur.
Sir, I am writing this mail to you for a request as now I am able for
study in University But due to my poorness I can't afford University expenses
would you please help me in this
Sir, I have six sisters and four brothers my father is shop keeper he
can't afford my education so I am expecting from your organization if you
grant my scholarship.
Sir, even I can't afford my TOEFL and SAT fees. I am looking forward
to hearing from you Sir.
Allah bless you
Kashif Hussain Soomro