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May 16, 2002
Part 3
May 16, Part 1
May 16, Part 2

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* Public intimidation at its worst

Thank you Mr. Robert Fisk for your article "Why does John Malkovich want to kill me?". May, concerning criticism of U.S.A. or Israel. This is a kind of new democratic World Order gifted to the entire humanity by the U.S. administration! You rightly said what we all feel but have no ways & means of outlet or worst we do not dare. Public intimidation at its worst.


H. Hakimi,
Oslo, Norway

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* What Fisk doesn't tell you

I had to respond to Robert Fisk's "Fear and learning in America" aticle. He keeps mentioning Israeli killling 17,500 Lebanese in 1982. Hey Robert, did your brain forget. 125,000 Lebanese killed each other in there civil war from 1975 to 1990. How could Fisk you not mention that?

One million Muslims killed each other in the Iran Iraq War. 20,000 Syrians were killed by Assad in 1982. 100,000 Algerians have killed each other since 1992. 90,000 Kurds have been massacred and gassed by Iraq since 1987. 1000 tourists have been murdered in Egypt.

Did I forget about the Damour Lebanon massacre? Why doesn't Robert Fisk tell what Arafat did here? Arafat murdered 500 Lebanese Christians civilians and did some of the worst crimes here. Has Robert ever mentioned this Arafat crime? Here's a website that documents what Arafat did in Damour Lebanon.

Then he mentions his admiration for Amira Hass. First on Amira Hass. Haas was convicted by the Israeli courts for fabricating a story about Jews in Hebron dancing on a dead Palestinians body where video evidence contradicted her story.

I would tell Robert, What does it tell you, Israel allows Amira Hass and all the anti Zionists in Haaretz to criticize Israel every day? Can you tell me one Arab country, that would allow an Arab paper to criticize Arab dictators? That paper would be shut down the next day.

Robert always mentions Sabra and Chatilla. Fisk makes it like Sharon personally ordered these killings of civilians. That is a lie. Sharon had nothing to do with the killings at Sabra and Chatilla. The person who ordered the killings, was Elie Hobeika, not Ariel Sharon. Right after Sabra and Chatilla, Hobeika switched sides to the Syrians. It was then learned by Hobeika's body guard, Roger Hatem, Elie Hobeika was a Syrian agent in the 82 War. Roger Hatem wrote a book called, from Israel to Damascus. You can read the book on his website.

Hatem documents, how Hobeika ordered the killings at Sabra and Chatilla to make Israel look bad, so Syria could control Lebanon. The only reason why the Christians went along with Hobeika's orders, was to avenge the thousands of Christians, who were killed by the PLO in Lebanon. 2nd, in 1985, the Syrian backed Amals Shiites, attacked the same Sabra camp and killed 650 Arabs. Why didn't Fisk mention this?

From 1985 to 1987, in battles with the PLO and the Syrian backed Shiite Amals, 2000 Arabs were killed, half of whom were civilians. Going back to Hatem. What Hatem documents in his book. Sharon told Hobeika, only to go after the armed PLO gunman in Sabra. Sharon made very clear to Hobeika, not to target any civilians. Hobeika agreed to the orders. Then Hobeika gave his own orders to his men. Kill anyone they see in Sabra. Hobeika did this, to make Israel look bad, so Syria could control Lebanon.

If the Arabs are so concerned about the people killed in Sabra and Chatilla, why did Syria and Lebanon protect the person who ordered the killings. (Elie Hobeika). Why didn't Syria or Lebanon prosecute Hobeika? Maybe there worred, he might tell the truth. Which is, Hobeika under orders from Assad was responsible. Hobeika and his people are responsible for the people who were killed.

Dan Wilson

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* Setting the record straight

In answer to "Who's a Nazi?", the logic used by Mr. William Baker, in trying to compare and contrast the Israeli aggressions, terrorism and cold-blooded murders throughout its brief history in the Middle East with the rest of colonial powers is very flawed.

Hopefully I am mistaken, but I gathered from his article that, according to what he tries to do with the term "genocide" is to use the term such that it would be concerned only with what one finds in mass graves and not with how many people are blown up or killed otherwise.

In order to set the record straight, could he please try to answer the followings?

- Do you have any idea of how many building and houses, with people in them, have Israelis blown up since 1945?

- Do you know how many billions of people in the world, including many Americans, had and still have the same feeling as Setareh Sabety when she wrote, ìToday, I am a Palestinian?

- Since there are countries in which exceptional individuals appear (e.g. old Chinese, Persian, Greek and Roman Empires, and modern countries, such as Germany, the US, France, Britain, etc.) not any specific ethnicity, (e.g. compare the Islamic Empire individuals of the old with to todayís individuals in the remaining few countries) therefore, it is a country which contributes to the mental growth of exceptional, not necessarily superior, individuals (supremacists, I do not care for at all)! Therefore nationalities and not the ethnicities are the contributing factor to the development of such exceptional individuals. With this in mind, then how is it that the Zionists, considering their ethnicity, have this zealous superiority complex and speak mostly in absolute terms (e.g. Chosen people, Never again, Promised Land, etc.)?

- Do you know of any other group of people, throughout the worldís history, who have brought upon themselves the hatred of masses to the degree that the Zionists, a very tiny group of intransigents, have?

- What kind of monopolistic or otherwise unique behavior is it that generates such a vehement response, which in turn, creates suffering?

- Why is it that then, as a result of the replenishment of their suffering, they would gladly continue demanding the pity and monetary compensation from everyone else, especially unfortunate Americans?

- Although as far as I am concerned 99% of politicians are crooks, democrats and republicans alike, but how do you dare to write Nixonís name with Sharon, Hitler and Stalin in the same sentence?

- Can you associate Nixon with any genocide or atrocities? Is this what you refer to as rhetorical genocide, trying to create psychological association with someone down and out, like what most of the news media have been doing specially after 9/11? This was, and may be still, to a certain degree, an effective mean of brainwashing, used during the good old days.

- Since Palestinians and Jews are blood-cousins, does anti-Semitic term refers to Palestinians too?

My heart aches for my liberal Jewish friends who are caught in the deadly web of Zionists. They well know that if they ever cross the line, Robinís destiny would await them.

Mehdi Mokarram

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* I am not proud to be an American today

I commend you for your commentary, very honest and forthright [Today, I am a Palestinian]. I cannot imagine how you feel, I am not Islamic nor Palistenian, but I am a white American woman/mother. I cannot understand this Government and it's brutality toward the Palistenian people, or it's support for Israel. It is unconscienable. I am not proud to be an American today.

Please keep up the good work and stay honest in your writing. You have my sincere admiration.

Terry A

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* Please stop patronizing us

Dear Mihan Parast,

Nice family-name though, except that it doesn't specify which Mihan it is that you worship! [Enemy of my enemy] I suppose that's why you wrote this essay so we wouldn't wonder too much!

Dear Sir,

If you truly are Iranian, you should know us better than to think of us as such gullible people and allow yourself to insult our intelligence so blatantly.

We, as a people might not be crazy about Arabs because of certain historical factors, but we are clever enough to recognize someone trying to fish in the troubled water. So thank you very much for your sympathy and understanding, but please, please stop patronizing us by feeding us your misinformation.

Arab or no Arab, Palestinian people need and deserve our help and support -not as Iranians, but as human beings- in their fight against tyranny and injustice which they've been subjected to for past fifty years and I, for one, am willing to do all I can to assist them to reach their goal and free their land from the hands of the merciless occupiers.

Long live freedom for all

Sara O.

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* Recommending you to my daughter

My first time reading your material [Setareh Sabety]. You are what keeps humanity alive. I am going to look for more of your writings. I am also going to recommend it to my 16-year old daughter.

Thanks again

Arsalan F

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* You should expect to annoy certain people

Dear Setareh, [Thoreauly wrong]

I read your articles and now I need to say, you keep writing and don't mind narrow minded people who have an agenda supporting this and that group. You write, therefore you should expect to annoy certain people, that comes with it. keep your pen sharp and do what you do best.


Someone who reads

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* Out-and-out condescension and hypocrisy

Dear Setareh,

My name is Dave and I'm writing you because of a recent article you wrote for entitled "Today, I am a Palestinian". I'm sure that mine will not be the only response to your letter. I feel compelled to write you because I agree with your sentiments nearly universally.

I am a sixth-generation American (roots back to Ireland, Scotland, and Norway), white-skinned with fair hair and eyes (just to give you a quick idea of what I look like and my ancestry), which means that I am generally not thought, in most assumptions, to be pro-Palestinian. And with what I'm about to write, I'm sure some misguided and unaware souls will think that I am anti-American.

However, I am very much pro-Palestine/Palestinian and I love America; I just am not always happy with her. I'm always proud to be an American, just not always proud to be associated with some of my fellow citizens or elected officials.

I live in Seoul, Korea, though my American home is Los Angeles. I've lived abroad for nearly four years, the reasons for which are complicated and lengthy, but not the least of which are my feelings toward the American government and its foreign policy leanings, particularly in dealing with the Israeli/Palestinian issue.

I've long been distrustful of the American media and government. It saddens me that so many Americans, including friends and family, are so trusting of, gullible about, and susceptible to the brainwashing monstrosity that is the US government propaganda machine.

It saddens me that a country founded specifically to be a magnet for immigrants from around the world searching for a better life or looking to escape some kind of persecution continues its longstanding practice of frequently persecuting others not in the 'elite' or 'ruling class' and not abiding by the principles upon which we were founded.

One of the things about Americans, not to offer simplifications as much as to offer a perspective, is that they are as narcissistic and isolated from the rest of the world as any citizens in the history of civilization. They don't understand what goes on in the world other than what they are told by the American media or the American government.

And when they have some sort of grasp of a bit of it, they can't just offer sympathy or compassion for the sake of it; no, there's almost always an agenda or a string attached. Americans are masters at taking a situation unrelated to them and instead of supporting it for the sake of it, they, as if it were like putty in their hands, mold it into something that benefits or enwealthens them.

I recently was on vacation and spent the better part of it -- six weeks, to be exact -- in the States. It was my first time in the States since the attacks of last September (which, by the way, I don't think were committed by those whom we've been told committed those crimes) and I looked forward to observing the country as I traveled and visited friends and family.

One Saturday, while I was in Los Angeles, I attended a rally at the Federal Building in Westwood. It was a rally/demonstration/protest regarding Israel's occupation of Palestine and the U.S.'s blatant support for it.

Of course, I've been to numerous rallies over the years and have learned what to expect from them, but, still, I was saddened at the amount of people who were there under the pretext of showing support for the Palestinians, though in reality they were there to espouse their own causes.

It takes away the luster on the legitimate protests against the Zionists who are occupying and persecuting the Palestine and her would-be citizens. It lessens the severity of the situation and the urgency of the protests. I know many people who are very ignorant of what's happening there.

Later, while I was in San Diego visiting my dad, we had an interesting conversation about some things. One of the things we talked about was hypocrisy, especially in relation to the current situation involving the Bush administration's 'war on terrorism' (a misnomer, if ever there were one; 'widening the Empire' would be a more accurate label) and Palestine/Israel, and more.

I think we were talking about the differences in the points of view of America's standing in the world. I made the point to him that I don't consider those Palestinians fighting the war against Israel should be labeled 'terrorists'; I'd also argue that perhaps people such as bin Laden shouldn't be called as such, either.

I was being critical to American media's blatant hypocrisy, selective or revisionist history, and language bending. The thought that occurred to me that afternoon occurs to me right now: when we fought the War of Independence, the struggle that freed us from the bonds of England and allowed us to stand unaided, we were outnumbered in overall militiamen by about three to one.

What this meant, other than the staggering odds' against our winning, was that we were going to have to resort to unconventional warfare and war tactics. One of the tactics to which we resorted was a strike-and-hide sort of maneuver known as guerrilla warfare.

This involved covert maneuvering, hidden strikes, disguised weapons, and attacks on armed practitioners of the Queen's military and those colonists sympathetic to the Crown (or, in other parlance, attacks on military and civilian personnel). If one were to read that last sentence, that is, sans parentheses, a reasonably intelligent person could see that I in no uncertain or stretched terms could be referring to 'terrorism'.

One of the things that drives me most crazy about my country's government (and, indeed, probably about any other government in the world, if truth be known) is its out-and-out condescension and hypocrisy.

As I travel and live more in this world, and as I get to know people from other cultures and lands, in their own skin, not in mine, it becomes my feeling more and more that people would know how to govern themselves if given the chance and not treated as if they were mentally retarded.

I know there would be many arguments against this, but hold on. How could the situations of so many of this world's countries be any worse if there were less government and more personal sovereignty? I don't hold that people are as stupid as the governments have allowed them to become or as they believe they've become. I also don't think it's necessary for governments to lie and make their own truths so much.

Of course, I know it's not necessary and that I'm being idealistic, but it's the way it is because of the megalomania of so many of the elite over the idea of possessing as much wealth, power, and property as can possibly be amassed. I can honestly say that I cannot understand people who think like this. This shows how evolution can go wrongly, maniacally, and dangerously out of control.

Where is the love? Where is the compassion? Where's the coexisting with one's neighbors? Where's the live and let live, love and let love? Where's the open-mindedness? Where's the sharing, the grass-smoking, the letting go of the mind? Where's the thought that more laws AREN'T a good thing? Where's the tolerance?

Some of these same questions were questions that were asked by the very colonists, some of whom became our country's Founding Fathers, who rebelled against the world's then-Empire. Nowadays, we're the Empire, we're the ones harassing, amassing, and crevassing the world's meek. We're the one against whom others often rightly rebel. We're the next Empire that's going to suffer an outrageous fall.

America has had, almost from day one, a history of oppressing others, that which it was that we sought to escape. Hypocrisy, albeit in a different manner than how it lives and breathes in our current democracy, has had a long history of dining at our country's buffet, too. Most of the other ills that so seriously plague us today were begotten later, in the mid-19th century, though they've been fertilized, watered, and cultivated to a sharp edge over the past century, to be sure.

I feel very strongly about all of these things, Setareh, and what I say next might shock you and other readers of this, but if I knew the language and didn't look so, so, American, I'd sell all I had and head to Palestine to take up arms against the oppressors in support for their cause.

As it is, since I look how I look and can only speak English and a smattering of French, Spanish, and Korean, I don't think I'd get too far or be too welcome in Palestine since I wouldn't be able to communicate very well my deep-seated emotions on this. As it is, I have taken other subtle, but effective, ways in protesting (let's just say it's related to the 'taxation without representation' issue back in the 1700s).

Now, as I read your most recent article, "Thoreauly wrong", I, for one, consider myself lucky to have read your writing over the past few months. I always look forward to reading what you have to say. I am with you and agree with you, for though I am not Palestinian, I sometimes consider my point of view of the conflict to be that of a Palestinian.

Best wishes and good luck,


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* Quiet sigh in relief

Dear Setareh,

Reading your article "Today, I am a Palestinian" made me let out a quiet sigh of relief and gratitude at the thought that perhaps not of all Iranians residing in America have sold their soul in exchange of the card of green and the right to pursue their happiness.

I believe there is a great value in the written word and I am happy that you expressed regret for having written in support of the US-Israeili occupation. I wish more people would clear their eyes and their minds and see the truth.

What makes me continue visiting is these shimmers of hope and humanity in the Iranian community.

BTW, JJ, if your book is really about some things that are sacred then good for you!


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* Molla, not clergy

A good unknown reader of my last article, "Democracy my foot" was not happy for the usage of the word MOLLA. I had to please him by saying that, I had no intention of denigrating the Persian Clergy.

The truth is that I am not sure or happy to use the word CLERGY or PRIEST for our Men of God. Since the words Clergy or Priest, ordinarily is associated with Christianity, as Rabbi is used for the Jews, Monk for Buddhists & so forth. Therefore I am confronted and at loss as what will be a proper word or name to call the clergy men who at the present time ruling our country uncontested, without offending anybody or denigrating our own Clergy.

Let us go to our background & find out what we had learned from our childhood to call these so called MEN OF GOD in our family or social environment. As a child & the eldest son, whenever my grand mother had ROZEH KHANI, which was regularly once a month, I was the one who had to run after AGHA while he was leaving & slip a brisk 5 toomani note to his pocket or hand. AHGA used to pat on my head as a sign of thanks, or acknowledgment, I presume.

This ROZEH KHAN was always refereed to as AGHA. But omnipotent AHGA was the name refereed to my father, though he was not a man of god but an ordinary government functionary. That created a bit of confusion, how is it that ROZEH KHAN & my father are both AGHAS, but they have nothing in common!?

Again when there was a funeral the same AGHA was called VAEZ. At the same time in family gathering or chit chats the same AGHA was either called MOLLA or AAKHOND & some times even SHEIKH. We grow up without realizing any distinction between all these names. We never had heard or used, SHEIKH-AL-ISLAM, HOJAT-AL-ISLAM, AYAT-AL-LAH.

Then we went to school started reading & reciting some well known poetry, there again, the Men of God were called VAEZ. Hafez ( VEZAN ...... CHON BE KHALVAT MIRAVAND.... ), Saadi, Obeide Zakani, Iraj Mirza, calls them, ARBABE AMAEM. They use different names for these men of God. Our literature is full of different names for our clergy which adds to confusion. Only once Iraj Mirza has used HOJAT-AL-ISLAM, ( HOJAT-AL-ISLAM KOTAK MIZANAD - BA HANAK VA TAHTE HANAK MIZANAD !!!).

Up until the advent of the happenings of 1979, This was ordinary Men/Women knowledge & understanding of the names for our religious MOAMAMs. But afterwards we came to know the hierarchy of our religious institution, We got used to, not only to hear all the odd names, AYAT-AL-LAH, HOJAT-AL-ISLAM, SHEIKH-AL-ISLAM, but even to use them every day. The proliferation of these names has contaminated the western languages & media as well, for good or bad.
If you are called AYAT-AL-LAH in the west, you know right well, what is the implication!

Let us have a convention or a kind of understanding to chose & use specific word for referring to our MEN OF GOD so that nobody gets hurt. Or do we need a referendum on this subject as well?

H. Hakimi

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* Jewish lobby assault on Iranians

Dear Yek Mihan Parast,

In response to your article "Enemy of my enemy", I'd like to emphasize, the reasons, in my opinion, for the hostility shown by many Iranians aginst Isreal and it's policies.

In your article you write, "They have never hated or harmed Iranians (Israelis even have the "Purian" celebration coinciding with Norooz, glorifying Iran and the Persians who allotted them freedom from the Babylonians.)", however, you fail to make any reference to the latest assault on Iranians by the powerful Jewish lobby.

I have nothing against the Jews or the state of Isreal; in fact, I distrust the arabs deeply. What I don't understand is why Israel, and their powerful allies in Washington, can't make a distiction between the government of Iran and the Iranian people.

I am very angered and insulted by the passage of H.R. 3525, Enhanced Border Security and Visa Entry Reform Act of 2002. This bill was pushed fiercly by the jewish lobby and as a result, unfortunately, the people who end up loosing the most are the Iranians living in US and their families not the government of Iran.

So, in this case, the "Enemy of my enemy" ended up being my enemy.

Best regards.

Yek Irandoost

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* If a > b and b > c, then a > c

Dear William,

I am writing to you about your article "Who's a Nazi?".

I think your article can be summarized in two basic sentence: (a) no two things (even down to atoms) are truly alike, and (b) "extremist rhetoric" has never solved any issues. And you are 100% right on both count. Fascism in Germany and Zionism in Israel may have some commonality, yet they are not the same. Some may argue that Zionism has more in common with Apartheid of South Africa, atrocities of Turks, Hafez Assad, or Chengiz Khan for that matter. There are some validity in these comparisons and as you pointed out the comparison are not 100% accurate. Instead of these comparison it is much more productive if we stick to "values" rather than "rhetoric".

Nevertheless, to address your main point as to why some people feel that Israel's government is worst than Hitler, one needs to review their basic Algebra. In Algebra we have "Transitive Property of Inequality" which says "if a > b and b > c, then a > c".

President Bush Sr told us that Saddam Hussein was worse than Hitler and justified the attack against Iraq and the sanctions that has been in place since. President Clinton told us that Millosovic was worse than Hitler for its treatment of Kosovo Albanians, thus justified NATO attacks against Yugoslavia.

I believe what Israel has been doing to Palestinians is truly worst than both Saddam Hussein and Millosovic actions vis-a-vis Kuwait or Kosovo Albanian. For no other reason than the fact that Israeli atrocities has been going on since 1947, and has been exasperated with every Isrealli "victory", namely 1968, 1973, and ironically since Oslo "peace process". That is a lot longer than the Stalin, Hitler, Pol Pot, Millosovic, Saddam Hussien, or other examples that you included in your article.

What to me makes the situation even more disturbing is that these atrocities are committed by people that supposedly have learned from the Nazi experience, and want to teach others what "must not be repeated". There has been reports that Israeli army officers have been orderd to brush up on their techniques by studying the tactics used by Nazis in crushing the Jewish uprising in Warsaw gethoes. Stalin, Pol Pot, etc. committing the crimes you mention is one thing, but when you see the victims become the oppressor, you lose faith in humanity. And to me, that is the most troubling aspect of Israel-Palestinain conflict.

Without getting too deep into emotions of this issue, we can go back to our Algebra exercise. If we conclude that Israel's behavior has been worst than either Saddam Hussein, or Millosovic, and we know that based on the statements by two successive American presidents that either of these two villains have been worst than Hitler, then one has to conclude that Israel atrocities are worst than Hitlers. So it may not be "extremist rhetoric" after all, unless you want to claim that President Bush Sr, and President Clintion were extremist.

In your conclusion you said: "A military struggle against a superior power like Israel, which enjoys the support of the remaining global super power, is doomed to failure." Furthermore you go on and seem to blame the "extremist rhetoric" for the apparent "failure" of Palestinians. Albert Einstein said "The significant problems we face cannot be solved at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them." I believe the problem with your conclusion is that are still at the "same level of thinking" as when the problem of Israel was "created".

Imagine for a moment a Germany were Hitler would have succeeded in its goal of eliminating Jews, since they achieved thier goal you would think that someone (with all due respect) with your "level" of thinking would call it a victory. I would like to submit to you that, such a victory would have been the worst catastrophe for the German people, much more so than any of their victims.

What appears to you as "failure" of Palestinians, namely the success of the Israel in creating a ethnically pure Jewish state void of its Palestinian inhabitant, in reality is complete failure of Israeli society in my book. Instead of a nation of values which can be a model of prosperity and tolerance in the middle east (or the world at large) it has chosen a path of apartheid, ethnic cleansing, and state of perpetual war.

It is a challenge for Israelis to change the path of their society, I hope they can step-up to the plate and "do the right thing". As you said they have the "superior power" and thus the choice of which path to take. They have responsibilty toward their future generation, it would be a sorry situation if with all their resources their only contribution to humanity and civilization be the likes of Arial Sharon. Such a conclusion is "failure" of Israellies much more so than for their Palestinian victims. In the mean time the comparsion with Hilter Germany may server as a wake up call for the Israellies to see the ultimate futility of their goverments policies, eventhough they have not yet gased, or "transfered" millions of Palestinians into yet another exile yet.


Daryoush Mehrtash

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* Get a grip

I read your comments on in response to "What crisis?" and I agree with you 1000 percent! Nothing but bunch of "Arab parasts" and "hypocrites", that's all we are. And this is why our government is nothing but an extension of Arab culture and hegemony any way.

I mean in the end, people do deserve the kind of government they get, don't they? You will never hear one word from this pseudo intellectual cappuccino drinkers, or should I say Iranians in exile, about the mass ethnic cleansing of our Kurdish brothers in Turkey (23000 dead, 400 villages erased) and Iraq (Probably about 100000, give and take). Do these people even care or know that Kurdish people are among the member of what constitues Iranian tribes, being massacured by Turks and Arabs continously?

How about Russian ethnic cleansing of Chechnia (well how can we criticize Russians, after all they supposedly support us! and sell us some junk sub marines and nuclear reactor and some old armament that no one wants to buy ....) Rawanda , forget about it? but there is not a week go by that these folks "Ashk temsah mirizan barayeh Palestine!"

Get a grip: The so called Palestenians are Arabs. they are represented by 22 Arabs copuntries with more popoulation and wealth than Iran can ever put together. Time after time, opportunity after opportunity, these so called palestenians have taken side of their Arabs brothers, from Iran Iraq war, to the owner ship of our Iranian island in the Persian gulf (OOPS! Did I just say taboo word Persian Gulf!)?

Guess what, if tommorow Sadam Hoessin obtains a Nuclear bomb and drops it on Iran(he will not have a guts dropping it on Isreal!), I bet you, palestinans will be the first ones supporting this act and cheering in the streets, while our reletives are burning like french frise!!!

I am not even going to talk about Iran, cause for these folks, so long as they can travel to Iran, take some pictures, attend some lavish party(mehmooney), and ski some where and drink forbidden booze, that's the extent of their patriotism and level of their care!

In the year 1972, shah of Iran said "kourush asoodeh bekhab ke ma bidarim" he really should have said "Arabs rest easy, Iranians will protect and promote your culture and survival, even if it cost their own self destruction!"

Mr Irani

PS: Just as I was finishing my letter, I saw a new artcile by Setarhe Sabety titled "Today, I am a Palestinian" I am not going to bother reading it! I shall wait for an article "Today, I am Iranian" in a major Arab news paper or web site. chances of that happening, -150%!!!!

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* I cannot agree with condemnation of all Israelis

First of all, sorry for my english but I m not fluent in this language. I understant your emotion after the events of these past weeks and the brutal if not the barbarous behaviour of the israelian army towards the palestinian civils. But I cannot agree with your condemnation of all the israelis. [Today, I am a Palestinian]

You musn't forget that after all israel is a democracy, the only one in this part of the world and that there are millions of israelis that are for a peacefull solution to this conflict by the creation of a palestinian state, but they were certainly desapointed by the answer of arafat to the proposans of the late israeli prime minister barak. It seems that you are desapointed by the attitude of the States toward this conflict. But usa has always been an ally of israel whatever there were republicans or democrates at the white house.

The only probleme today is that ther is currently an ultra right governement in israel and in us exept Mr Collins a governement composed by ultra right wing of the republican party without no idea of the reality of the middle east, I mean the apartheid against the palestinian people and the feeling of a majority of israelis that the palestinians don't whant peace but the destruction of israel.

You cannot consider the palestinian kamikazs as freedom fighters since they act usually not against the occupation army of israel but against the civilians people and help Sharon to legitimise his policy. The problem of palestinian is a dictatorial and week leadership, arafat I think is completly out from the reality of the palestinian/israeli conflict. He only want to keep the power in his hand and to present himself as the only palestinian leader able to defend the legitime interests of his people.

No doubt his role as a major architect to the recognition of the right of the palestinian people to a state is considerable, but now it is high time for him to give the power to peoples more pragmatic and more democratic than him, able to provoque a referendum to let the palestinian people agree or not to a peace treaty with the israelis. In regard of the Sharon governement, thre is nothing to expect.

A peacefull and long intifada will certainly collapse his coalition. In regard to the us policy, the only hope is that with the plan of bush administration to attack sadam hussein's irak, thre is a chance of a thougher attitude toward sharon, but don't expet something revolutionary. But, at the end, the main purpose of this letter is to tell you why as a person of iranian origin, are you so much interested by this conflict.

There are so much countries that are tking care of this problem (the arab countries for their own internal policy and interest, and the european to counter the influence of us in the meadle east). There is another people that nobody talk about and that its suffers are much more greater than those of the palestinians.

A people that is thrully enduring an hollocaust of the kind of the nazis (comparing any criminal act of the israeli governement to the holaucost suffered by the jew people during the second world war is really an offense to the memory of those victim of nazism and a significant misunderstand of the definition of hollocaust wich is the complete extermination of a people in consideration of its ethnic origin). This people is the tchetchenian people.


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* Most immigrants have same problem

Salaam Sadaf!

I read your TASLIM. Who is the old writter?Why he is so terrified about his around?OK! But you mix CAFE NAADERI with .... CAFE in ..... So It's not clear for both cultures(Iranian/American).

I know that you are not insist on mixing or writting for both cultures ,but if you think that,so it's a little problem here. After comming back from BERKLEY,.....the atmospher of your story changes to American style (Franciss,Josefin,Thrumpet,...).

Don't worry! It's about living in US, not about any mistake in your story. Mostly refugees and immigrants have the same problem. It's normal. BUYE GASE MUHAAYAM!..... smell of my hair?!. Mehraabaad airport, GEREHE RUSARY.... nice writting about changing the atmospher! Smart!


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* Homes of present leaders accessible?

It is quite a sight -- to see the ordinary big houses, less opulent and grand than most mansions of the rich and famous around the world, including third world countries, being displayed as exclusive and suddenly accessible palace museums [Sadabad]. I wonder how many people have their private homes, in whatever country they live, accessible to whoever wants to walk in?

Except for the historical Golestan Palace, which was a museum and open to the public, used only sometimes for official banquets and functions, which had tourists and sight-seers visit prior to 1979 because of the beauty of its architecture, the mirror work and chandeliers, none of the other so-called palaces were much to write home about.

The park-like gardens were not manicured and were left natural, especially in Sadabad because there was an abundance of old and beautiful trees. The bubbling brook was magical ó with more water streaming through it in the Spring, since its source was the melting snow from the Alborz Mountains.

In Shemiran, the so-called suburb north of Tehran, many other homes had this same kind of landscaping: large gardens with old trees, fresh-water streams and brooks, and most had their own water wells, so that there was enough water to keep the gardens green during the dry season and the heat of the summer months. Now many of those same beautiful gardens have been destroyed and apartment buildings are the new landscape.

Sadabad was not modernized and actually was only used as the summer residence. It did not have air-conditioning. Niavaran Palace, where the royal family lived most of the year, was also another big house, with an annex and an old building on the grounds, which had been converted to a guest house.

I would love to see the homes of our present leaders, and I wonder how accessible they are to the public and curious sightseers.

Shahla Samii

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* Sadabad stripped naked

I visited Iran for the first time in 15 years about 1 1/2 years ago. One of the places I went to was Sadabad palace. While I agree the luxuries of Shah's palace during his reign were very much in excess; I am also disappointed how corrupt the new regime has become in regard to turning these kinds of places into museums.

For example, Sadabad has been stripped practically naked. The pictures you saw are of the rooms that still have furniture left in them. Even the chandeliers have had the original expensive crystals replaced by cheap glass. The bulk of the French furniture is gone. Most of the paintings and handcraft have completely disappeared. All the fancy furnishings have mysteriously vanished!

I even asked one of the guards who was in charge of the grounds at "Princess Ashraf's" house what had happened to the place; there was absolutely nothing left in her home at Sadabad. His reply was to turn his head away. I personally disagreed with the Shah's regime, but to say that the Mullahs and Akhoonds are any better when it comes to the issues of corruption and lavish lifestyles, is a big fat lie!

Library user,

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* Beauty with a mouse

Dear Sadaf:

One article I found interesting was a cover story from The Iranian about you and your art [Solitude]. I cannot believe the beauty you create with a mouse. I can barely point and click let alone draw like that with a mouse. Heck I can't draw that well with a pencil and pad of paper. :) I find you most interesting and you appear to have a colorful personal history and a great cultural heritage.

I really look forward to seeing more of your works.


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* You spoke for many Iranians

Ms. Sabety,

While I have not read all your articles in, I have read a couple including "Today, I am a Palestinian". Thank you, thank you, thank you !! You spoke for many Iranians. Do not be intimidated by the annoying phone calls,(easy for me to say!), we all know what kind of groups are behind these massive hate campaigns.

On a related subject, I don't know if you've had the chance to read a former best seller called "They dare to speak out", by Paul Findley, a former senator from Michigan. In that book lies the reasons for all the hate mail you've been getting on the article. I highly recommend it.

Wishing you all the best,


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* Ich bin Frau Sabety!

I almost always find something to criticize, and one of the people that I criticize is Ms. Sabety.  I particularly disagree with her aggrandizement of the downtrodden for a hobby. But I have never felt like I needed to harass her [Thoreauly wrong].  Stop harassing her, whoever's doing it.  Take a bath, go to the zoo. 

And same goes for Jahanshah, and his site.  It is a great site, showing us who we are, through the infinite conversation it provides.  Politics is something one could study.  Anything other than that is mere opinion.  Don't use the telephone to relay your stupid, ridiculous opinions.

It is both cowardly and lazy, two things that get in the way of your enlightenment, provided you have any sense whatsoever to begin with.  Try to write something as nice as Ms. Sabety writes, and try to defeat her argument, or engage her on an aesthetic realm.  Stop the violence: both "Israelis" and honorary "Palestinians". 

Cheers to 

Today, until around midnight or so, Ich bin Frau Sabety!

My best,


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* Unable to have a logical discussion

Dear Setareh, [Thoreauly wrong]

My heart went out to you after reading your most recent article in The Iranian regarding the abusive messages and phone calls you have been receiving lately. I have never written an article for The Iranian, but a letter or two that I have occasionally sent in has attracted abusive messages before.

There was one guy who would write obscene letters to other readers of The Iranian and sign my name on the bottom. It is scary and unsettling, but more than anything, it is sad that we simply cannot agree to disagree. It is indicative of a certain lack of civilized mentality that we are unable to have a logical discussion/argument without resorting to name-calling and dragging the jad-o-abad into the mess.

I enjoy reading your articles and agree with most of your view points (except maybe wanting to live under Sharon's Israel!). I applaud you for exercising your right to free speech. Bravo and hang in there.

Warm regards,


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* Minoo Naghi Rezaei

My name is Jason Zaccarini and I am seeking information on my father who served in the Iranian Navy on board the IIS ROSTAM. He was stationed at Barrow-in-Furness, Lancashire, England in 1970/1971 while the ship was being constructed. His name is Minoo Naghi Rezaei. He lived in Bandar Abbas although he originated from northern Iran, near the Caspian Sea.

I believe he was the ships secretary while serving on IIS ROSTAM. I believe he was still in the navy until around 1989/1990. We were in touch until about 1991.

Please can you offer me any help or guidance in finding and making contact with him? This is of the utmost importance to me.

Many thanks for your help,


Jason Zaccarini

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* Daring escape

Back in the mid 80s, I heard of a woman who made a daring escape from Iran. She intentionally married a handicapped war veteran (Iran/Iraq) to smuggle her family fortune out of the country. She was able to lure her husband to travel with her to European destination. Upon her arrival, she fled and left her husband (on the wheel chair) in the airport.

If anyone has any information about this story or even heard of it, please email me.


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* Footage of modern day Tabriz

LACMA (Los Angeles County Museum of Art) is doing an exhibit on Changiz Khan.

As a part of the exhibit, they will show a video that covers his life and legacy. For this video they need a few minutes footage of modern day Tabriz. People in daily life situations: in Bazaar, at the park, in the streets, etc.

If anyone has such a footage that was shot on high8 or DV, or the equivalent, LACMA is looking to purchase such material. Please email me with a brief description of what you have.

Shirin Pejman

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* Extrememly impressed

Ms Farjami,

I have a confession to make. I was first drawn to your poetry at when I espied your photo. You are incredibly beautiful, and I realise that is an unoriginal thing to say, but I believe in being honest. :) However, since then I have read your words and enjoyed them very much, I only wish I could read farsi script so that I could appreciate your writing more.

Anyway, my reason for writing is simply to tell you that I was extrememly impressed by 'It's Alive' . In my opinion it is a masterful blend of light humor and heavy reality. You manage the kind of emotional cocktail that every poet should endevour to mix. So I just wanted to congratulate you on that.

With regards, your humble reader,

Mr J.P Amos

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* UN vote

I'm on holiday again, and I just heard the news about the UN vote to exclude the IRI from human rights violator status etc. Would anyone know exactly which countries voted in favour of the Mullah republic and which against. Would you be so kind as to e-mail it to me, I'd like it for my records.

Amir-Khosrow Sheibany

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* PERSIA, in my opinion

Dear Mr. Issabeigi,

I read your article with interest [The rest]. You are mixing two different issues to prove that Persia does not include all of the Iranians. Your example of Khoosestan, Azarbayejan & others are irrelevant.

When Herodot the ancient Greek Traveller & Historian named our, the then very vast country, PERSIA, he had in mind the inhabitants of the entire Persian Flato, consisting of today's Central Asian countries as well as Asia Minor (Turkey) almost all Bein-Al-Nahrain, (Iraq, Syria) till part of indian province of Sind. And from the north west, just a line under today's  Moscow.

If you consult the ancient Atlases, the part of the world depicted under the name of PERSIA is so vast that includes so many, as you call, ethnic groups, much more that, Azaris, Kurds, Arabs. It includes, Tajiks, Kazaks, Ghergis, Uzbeks, Afghans, Gorgies, Armenians & so many others that for long have been Persians.

Only 170 years ago we lost the northern part of our country to Russians. That is not so long according to the history. To my opinion, PERSIA, not only encompasses today's entire Iranian territory it includes so many other proud Persians residing on the Persian Flato.

Also, we should remind our Arab neighbours specially Iraq, that their claim over Khuzestan is base less, since our ancient capital, TISFOON, stands erect even today, only 30 Kilometres south of Baghdad!

For your Information, go to BBC Archive & search for PERSIA, you will be amazed that you do not find any thing there? Ask yourself WHY? Where there are so many books, videos about every other ancient civilizations. You name them they have it.

Go to Time Magazine, their book & video section about Ancient Civilizations, NOTHING FROM PERSIA? WHY? I wrote them & asked the this very question. HOW GREAT IS YOUR ALEXANDER THE GREAT WITHOUT PERSIA? Their reply. WE WILL THINK ABOUT IT.

Dear Ham Vatan, I beg you not to help those who want the world forget about PERSIA.

Best wishes & regards,

H. Hakimi

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* Why don't we march for ourselves?

I have been reading multiple articles over the past month, about the feelings fellow Iranians have toward the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I to feel that the current situation has become an international crisis, in the inhumane treatment of the arab population, of palestinians which reside on the outskirts of Israel in the land that has been alloted to them.

However although I am Muslim and naturally have a strong allegiance with the Palestinians, I do not forget the complete support of Saddahm Hussein by Yasser Arafat during our 9 year war, and I as many Iranians who where in Iran remember Sadham stating that khorhamshar will be Arabshar and that it will be a wonderful place for a new home for the Palestinians, with Yassar Erafat grinning from ear to ear in full support of our countries destruction.

We have many problems within our country and we are at a very delicate time, approximatly every twenty years the political agenda in our country has changed we now are passing that point. Instead of marching in Washington for what has been happening in Israel for the past couple of weeks and month, Why dont we march downtown against President Bush's statement of Axis of Evil?..Why don't we march for ourselves?.. Are we any better off than the Palestinians?...

I wonder how our young University students feel when they see on the news Iranians outside of Iran marching with picket signs that say Iranians in support of Palestinians... I know that I was a University student there 2 years ago I know how I would have felt.

I wish peace for our young population although i feel for the Palestinians Iran comes FIRST.

Soheila M.

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* Two questions

After reading Setareh Sabety's piece "Today, I am a Palestinian", I would like to ask her two questions:

1. Does she, like other "Palestinians" support UAE:s claim on three IRANIAN Islands?

2. Did she, like other "Palestinians", cheer when her Iraqi "brothers" attacked Iran?


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* Do not fear the reaction

I am so glad that quite a few people have addressed the amazing e-mails they have received from readers [Thoreauly wrong]. I hope the nasty and reactionary remark from some of the readers does not intimidate Mrs. Sabety. She needs to keep on expressing whateveris on her mind.

I do not know about the content of e-mails she has received but she would be amazed to know that in response to my comments about "what I read in the name of poetry was garbage", what response I received from the writer of the piece! Well, this beloved poetess (so she claimed ) used "I don't give a fuck what you think" four times. She called me Fatmeh Khanoom and a lazy Iranian that did nothing for my people.

I let this dame have it by telling her that on the contrary I was anything but lazy and unlike her that writes at the comfort of her cozy and free new homeland, I have been fighting for women's rights since I was 14 years old and participated in the underground meetings during high school and college and she probably was not even born then. To this day, I work to promote Iranian culture and causes every day of my life. I try to make a difference in othere people's lives every day a swell.

I too was called names when I wrote a short comment about the Reza P. The reader called me the bitch on Mullah's payroll and wished I would be sodomized by Khomeini! The evil twin in me answered that his mother must have been sodomized very savagely and that must have caused his brain damage.

I went on to tell him that Khomeini was long dead and as an old man there was not much he could have done anyway. When I wrote that inflicting wounds was a shameful practice for Ashura, someone wrote that Hossein went to war for ungrateful people like me!. Well, by the style of his writing I knew he was very uneducated so I just asked him to please refresh my memory and ask the man (who died 1700 years ago)to tell me what he had done for me. Another one wrote simply "loser" and it was spelled "louser".

Unfortunately, I brought myself to his level and answered: next time you are done washing the toilets of the restaurant you work in, head to a library and start improving your writing and reading skills so you can get a decent job and realize you are the real loser. I have a name for these people. I call them "men without parts".

Amazingly, most of them hide behind some funky e-mail name and I can tell by their style of writing they are men but don't have the balls to give their real names. I make sure I bring that up everytime. I sign my legal name to everything I write. I also, get a clear feeling that most of them are not very educated and are in low level jobs. An intelligent and educated person who is successful and happy does not assume the writer belongs to one sect or the other. Now, I only answer once and if I see another e-mail from the same person, I simply block it and move on.

As a woman we are even more target of criticism because we should just write love stories and let our intelligent Iranian men write about important issues. What does a woman know? My hat off to Mrs. Sabety and all the other women who do not fear the reaction of a few men without parts or a few women without guts. I intend to speak my mind. By everyone's account I am too old to change and most intelligent people like me that way.


Azam Nemati

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* They raise holy hell

Loved your article [Just wondering]. I have also been baffled by Iranian mullah's portrayel of Israel as their greatest enemy. One can only speculate that they want an enemy with a low threat of actually doing something to retaliate against their rhetoric.

Of course, the Palestinean issue is a sore spot for Muslims, but look at what is happening to Muslims in China. They've been brutally repressed there and many executed along with Christians and Buddhists, all in the name of Chinese state security. Ziang Zemin comes to Iran and the mullahs trip over themselves to please him. Not a word about the mistreatment of innocent civilians, but let the IDF kill one or an errant U.S. bomb go off in Afghanistan and they raise holy hell.

The message to Chinese Muslims -- you're on your own, we don't give a damn about you.

Richard Marvel

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* ?

To whom it may concern:

Good day. My name is Paul Way and I represent Zogby International, I am emailing you to see if you would be interested in our Ten Nation "Impressions of America" Poll Report. I have included some excerpts from the report, plus a link that provides more information about the Ten Nation concept and report.

In the aftermath of the September 11 attacks, Americans became painfully aware of the gap in understanding between our world and much of the Arab world. Front page headlines and newsmagazine cover stories asked "why do they hate us?' Pundits and scholars across the ideological spectrum offered answers that ranged from the serious to the silly.

Some suggested that the behavior of the attackers was not aberrant, but characteristic of Islam and its followers. They suggested that the West and Islam are not only different, but are inevitably headed toward a clash.

Others suggested that "they" hate our democratic values, our superpower status, our wealth, and our people. Still others noted that it was our policy of unquestioning support for Israel, our denial of Palestinian rights, and our collaboration with authoritarian regimes in the Middle East that was behind "their" alienation from "us".

Zogby International conducted face-to-face interviews in five Arab nations - Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Kuwait, and the United Arab Emirates. Face-to-face interviews were also conducted in three non-Arab Muslim nations - Pakistan, Iran, and Indonesia. To establish a proper context for our results, we also conducted face-to-face interviews in France and Venezuela.

This link contains detailed information about the Ten Nation Report.

Let me know what you think. Thank you for your time.


Paul Way
Director of E-commerce
Zogby International
1750 Genesee Street
Utica, NY 13502
(315) 624-0200, ext. 255
"Impressions of America" Report Available Within Minutes

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* Land of hypocrisy and CNN

I just wanted to write and say that I feel the same way you do [Thoreauly wrong]. From your feelings of shame about being American at this point, to your disgust with the Nazification of Israel, with US support, and to your feeling about IRI's position on Palestine and CNN I am in agreement with you. I am ashamed of the US and its behaviour.

I can't say that I wish I never had become an American since I was born one. My mother is American. All I can do is continue to hold onto Iranian culture and the Iranian side of my identity as at this point my feelings for the US side, which have been declining for some time, are and have been at an all-time low. In fact I renewed my work contract for an additional three years so that I would not have to return to the land of hypocrisy and CNN.

I teach at a rather prominent university in [Europe] where there are many US students whose ignorance and racism in regard to this area is truly breathtaking. Of course there are exceptions, but many have the CNN/FOX News mentality and are not prepared to see things from a different point of view. 'They are all animal-like terrorists' I have heard from several of them.

The majority of Europeans have sympathy with the Palestinians, decrying Israel's illegal occupation of Palestinian lands and the brutal colonial war it is raging in order to gain more 'living space' for Israel.

Khoda negahdar,


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* Go where it is going

Dear Setareh, [Thoreauly wrong]

I enjoyed your answer to the phone calls even better than the article "Today, I am a Palestinian". I hope your pen will continue to go where it is going.

Best wishes,


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* Silent majority

Dear Mrs.Sabety,

First of all, I'd like to thank you for your articles [Thoreauly wrong]. You're one of my favorite writers for the, and I believe the type of ideology represented by yourself, the webmaster, and Saman in his cartoons in reality stands for what the majority of us Iranians, both in and outside of Iran, stand for.

We're against these mullahs who've hijacked our beautiful country to their own profit and power, but we're also very much against a puppet prince pahlavi who's fake smile for democracy underlies a great support of the same father of his who hand in hand with the cia got rid of our democratic Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadeq, thus leading our people down the road of extremism which bore fruit with the chaos of the '79 revolution.

We're against a rascist israel which explains its ownership of the land it occupies as the "will of God," in a similar manner which khamenei describes his power and position in an Islamic Republic which is obviously not really a Republic, and also as a result of the corruption, torture, suppression, and power-blinded self-indulgence of these mullahs, no longer even Islamic.

It seriously shames me as a Muslim when other Muslims throw stones at women to kill them, all in the name of God, the same God who gave us brains which some of these taliban mullahs probably also regard as being "un-Islamic." And of course, we're against terrorism, but we're against terrorism in all its forms. This includes the terrorism inflicted on young Palestinian children by F-16s which my tax money, against my will, has gone to.

This includes the terrorism that killed hundreds of Africans in US embassies several years ago which nobody gave a damn about, simply cause their not American. But it also includes the terrorism of the mullahs which has associated the word Iranian in parts of the US as being side by side with the word terrorist.

I wrote this to tell you that for every email or call that you've had of people against your articles, there are probably 100 people who've read and agree with what you say, if not even more. I'm just one of those silent people who write this so that you'll hopefully keep writing your articles, so as to speak for us, the silent majority.

Thank you,

Salman M


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* Read ur articles religiously

Salam Khanome Sabety, [Thoreauly wrong]

(When talking about ur articles to my friends or sisters, I refer to you as Setareh, but i thought i'd be a bit more polite and formal!)

Ever since I found this site I have read ur articles religiously. i don't always agree with you, but i most certainly ALWAYS enjoy reading your point of view. I don't usually email in my views coz i'm sure u get more than plenty and are tired of reading them.

I think you are exceptionally brave and talented. You must be an amazing role model for the younger generation who know you. I have never agreed with you more than I did in the last article, "Today, I am a Palestinian".

I commend u on ur excellent work and look forward to reading more of your articles.

Wishing you and your family all the best,


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* Dissent is a great American characteristic

Dear Mrs. Sabety,

Before I even begin to say anything else, I want to tell you how proud I am of you and other Iranians like you who are enlightened enough to know that dissent is a great American characteristic and that possessing this Iranian trait in no way makes us unIranian. [Thoreauly wrong]

I am an eighteen year old political science major and although I try to stay away from the convuluted world of Iranian politics, I know how it feels to get hateful letters based on an article that you wrote.

I don't mean to sound offensive, but it makes sense to me why some people would be angered by your writings. I, on the other hand, write satire about materialism and marriage and what do I get? More hateful e-mails. I have realized something that you probably figured out a very long time ago. Iranians are afraid of people with free minds.

We have been kept in the dark for so long (or that is where people have tried to keep us) and when we break free and step into the sunshine, those who have been long accustomed to the dark fear us and try to hold back our progress. I enjoy your writings very much as do many others and I hope to hear more from your mind soon! Thanks!

Assal Badrkhani

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* You seem to be fairly intelligent

Why do you have this incessant obsession with the term "monarchist"? [Thoreauly wrong] You seem to be fairly intelligent. Can't you come up with another term to describe people who don't agree with your myopic views? Who is a monarchist? What monarch? Where? Think a little before you start categorizing people.


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* Break a leg!

Congratulations to YOU Jahanshah khan,

You are loving and wonderful man with the RIGHT personality and experience for an Iranian site. You have lived inside and outside Iran in the time of Islamic Republic so you can understand each single Iranian person in the world. You have been married so you know about married and singles. You have a daughter so you know about children. You have been in many people's hearts so you know about the heart.

Don't stop it. Break a leg!


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* Stretching your argument

Dear Sir,

I read your article "The rest" on the Persian vs Iranian with interest. You have a point there but again I think that you are stretching your argument maybe too far. I don't think that the term Persian is as strong among Iranians in Iran. The term Persian is hardly used in farsi. It is more used in English or French and since 1935 when the Official name became Iran it has lost its diplomatic use. Nevertheless you do have a point when you say that Iran is a multi-ethnic country. Yet the Persians historically were the first to have concieved a multi-ethnic Empire in which the medes and the Persians before integrating other ethnics were to live side by side.

Like in all dominations one people dominated the other by the will of the sword. Yet the multi-ethnical uniqueness of the Persian Empire was based on the respect of the local traditions and religions of the conquered people. The same way the Roman Empire had established a PAX Romana, the Persians had imposed centuries before a PAX Achaeminia on the lands extending from the Hindus river to the Nile.

If the Persian Empire was considerably reduced to the frontiers of today the term "Persian" has kept its strong symbolism mainly for its unifying terminology which again is more apparent in Anglosaxon languages than again in Farsi which could have been kept Parsi had the Arabian conquest not introduced its own influences on our language. Yes you do have a point when you say kurds are iranians and not Persian however one ethnical entity managed to supersede all others and that were the Persians over the centuries.

One can regret this on the otherhand one can understand why the concept of Persia persisted due to the need maintain a central framework inherited from the Aecheminian Dynasty ( First Persian Dynasty) to the country known to us all as Iran and not Persia. Unlike what you mention in your article I do think that the major differences between ethnical entities in Iran have nevertheless been recognized despite the supremacy of the term "Persian" over Kurd, Mede or anyother minority in Iran. A typical example is Iranian Jews who consider themselves Iranian before being Jewish. Nevertheless your arguments are indeed interesting.



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* No clear definition of "Persian"

Dearest Editor,

First let me tell you that I am glad that the discussion on the term Persia versus Iran [The rest] has fallen out of the hands of those close minded people who used to consider any attempt of this type an attack against Reza shah and refuted that, though blindly! At least now we can see some genuine arguments coming from intellectuals who have concerns or questions. I personally never got involved in this type of discussion before, just to avoid personal conflicts although appreciated the efforts of those who nurtured this cultural debate relentlessly, obviously successfully.

Mr. Isabeigi [The rest] has many valid points but I am afraid he has "stepped up the menbar" (walked up to the podium) to lecture on "true, true, unrelated". The first fact that is being forgotten is that we would never have this whole discussion, hadn't a semi Qajari prince/intellectual with his Nazi impressed mind suggested to Reza shah the idea of formally issuing a decree to the foreign embassies in Tehran to replace the term Persia with Iran. Or if Dr Shacht (Nazi Germany's minister who visited Iran and mentioned our Aryan origin) hadn't exempted us from the discrimination planned by the Nazi regime against certain minorities, etc. (by the way, he didn't say one of our ethnic groups, he mentioned Persia and meant the whole country, keep that in mind). There is a notion in Soraya Bakhtiari's book about Reza shah's pride about this attitude of Nazi Germany towards our country (again without exemplifying any religious or ethnic group).

Therefore, it remains a core issue that we are still suffering from a decision that was made by someone under far gone circumstances for totally different reasons and has nothing to do with the rights of minorities in our country! Saying Persia or Persian never meant to address anything but the name of a country or nation, no matter how multiethnic. Exactly like saying American that includes Asian looking, African looking or European, Middle eastern Hispanic, etc., they are all American and won't take offense by being called American, quite contrary! Even Mr. Pat Buchanon doesn't have any problems with that (at least as long as they all represent one culture, according to him)! And meanwhile they don't care that the term is coming from the name of an European guy (Americ Vespus), while we are lucky and the term is from one of our own tribes (Pars).

Using the term Persia has never been exactly about the genetic roots of Persian (whatever it means) versus Non Persian. Because there is no clear definition of the term Persian and there will not be one in the future either. Why? Because the term Persian has been used by people to address a country, as its the case with any other country/nation. Do you consider all aspects of the term Almaan or Germany or Duchland when you address the country or nation that we all recognize after using any of these terms? Do you say some of them are blond and some are not? Some must be of a different ethnic background sometime in the past and there is no way to consider them all the same group? This would be an absurd argument. Just look at the phenotypic make up of what we call Persian. Its really a mixture. A good example is in Judaism, there is no doubt that there is multiethnic combination from Russian blond to Ethiopian dark skin to that, but its considered a nation exactly as we always did in Iran, respected even today.

The same applies to the country of China or any example of multiethnic countries. The terms are just names because you can't come up with a unique name that equally addresses everybody, so let's leave it to the human history (unless you want to hire a high price naming company). Don't forget that the term Iran is also biased and means Aryan; are those minorities that Mr. Isabeigi mention are all Aryan? So we are back to the first square!

By the same token the term Persia and Persian had never meant to classify people inside the country but just simply represent the whole nation for the foreigners. Let's solve the ethnic and political problems of ours by finding the right means and enjoy the beautiful history and glory behind both terms equally, Iran (when speaking in our mother tongue) and Persia (when foreigners address our country), like Egyptians do for another example. Don't try to fight Persia, its 2500 hundred years old and no Reza shah or diplomatic decree can eliminate it. In another 50 years we will be again proud Persians outside Iran and Iranians inside Iran, I don't see any conflict here. Conflicts have other sources and solutions, trust me.

Yours truly,

H. Shamloo

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* British instigation

A response to the article called "The rest".

I disagree with the author and his admonishment on those who call Iranians, the Persians. In its daily usage when an Iranian refers to herself as a Persian that does not mean that she is saying "I am not a Turk" she is using the word that applies to all Iran. To explain further I don't think anyone from Shiraz or Fars refers to himself as a Persian because he is from that region.

The instigating article and the tone of the author is divisive and feudalistic. If he is truly an Iranian then he is a true Persian too. He may speak Arabic or Sangsaree or Spranto or Turkish, but he is belong to Iran or alternatively called Persian.

This kind of instigation is expected only from the British and their cronies whom for centuries have been trying to divide us and they were very successful. Put your prejudices apart and next time say very loud that you are a PERSIAN, although you may speak any of the languages and dialects that are found in Iran. Persians are all Iranians.


A Persian and an Iranian

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* Zoroasterian photography

Dear Sirs,

I am very pleaed to have your website address in internet. I am a professional photographer.

In order to be closed recently many publication in Iran, I lost my job in a closed daily publication and a magazine. So I need to sell my different works (photos) to solve my financial problems.

I have many photos of Zoroasterian in Iran and their custom. As Zoroastrianism is the oldest of the revealed world-religions, and it has probably had more influence on mankind, directly and indirectly, than any other single faith and I am a Zoroasterian myself, I would like to perform a new photography project about Zoroasterian in Iran.

In this case, I would be highly grateful, if you help me to find customers for my photos and an investor for my new project. My own e-mail is : . Looking forward to hearing from you soon.

Yours sincerely,

Kamran Fereydouni

PS. Hereunder, one of the photos is attached.

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* Pray "David" will prevail!

I have just finished reading the article by Setareh Sabety [Today, I am a Palestinian], and she echoes my sentiments exactly, regarding the brutality of the Israelis towards the Palestinian people. This injustice, truly epitomizes the story of David and Goliath, with the Palestinians assuming the role of David. Let us all, as Americans, pray that "David" will prevail!

It was heart-breaking to read of Mrs. Sabety's disappointment and her abject frustration with my country, however, I truly feel that once the American people are made aware of the truth regarding the present political leadership of Israel, justice will prevail. I truly hope that it will not be too late!

Laurel Lieberman McCarthy

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* The real terrorist

Dear Setareh,

I feel the same as you do. It was a wonderful article and I know it is coming from your heart [Today, I am a Palestinian].

I wish you would read the articles from Jan. 25/ (Irish Times, New Zealand Times and BBC) to see how Sharon and his secret Moused orchestrated the car bombing a day before in Lebanon, because the Lebanese commander who did the massacre of Palestinians in 1982 was going to testify against Sharon in the Hague court. Now you see who is the real terrorist?

Thanks again and be honest as always to your feelings.

Sincerely yours:

Reza K

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* Freedom fighters my ass!

You would really rather be a Palestinian than an American? [Today, I am a Palestinian] Well go be one. Really. I don't mean to be harsh, but a suicide bomber of non-combatants is just a cold-blooded murderer, a STUPID one at that. Sorry, but it's true. There were PEACE negotiations going on at the time! PEACE! You know, everybody stops killing each other long enough to work things out like rational human beings?

And what do the Palestinians do when the Israeli's stop? They kill as many Israeli's as they possibly can. How would you like to live with suicide bombers and wild-eyes gunmen for neighbors? I for one would want to get RID of them TOTALLY! Although I think Israel lays it on a bit thick, I can't blame them one bit for being defensive and have no sympathy to spare for terrorists.

Freedom fighters my ass! I'll feel sorry for them when, and only when, they stop being terrorists. For heaven's sake, they seem to have no lack of weapons. Let them attack armed soldiers instead of people at parties, babies in the arms of their parents, old people at bus stops, random shoppers at open-air markets....!!!!!!

Jeb W

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* I was born and raised in Kuwait

Dear Setareh

I am so glad you wrote this article. I was waiting for you to talk. [Today, I am a Palestinian]

I was born and raised in Kuwait and had seen the difficulties the Palestinians were facing even though those had a musch better life than the people who remained in Palestine....they could not vosit thier relatives bc Israel would not even allow them a visit. they are denied many right in other Arab countries.

It makes me so mad when I hear some american politicians say" Palest. should go to other Arab countries.." Why don't they bring the Israeli people here to the US? It is not the we Iranians are pro-Arabs, as some are saying... it is simply the fact that we Iranians throught history have been against :injustice". This is the biggest violation of human rights in the day-light, with the support of America.

I am so sad , I am crying every day over this. We came here in this country for freedome and democracy, and all we are seeinmg is double standard.

Keep up the good job,


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May 16 letters, Part 1
May 16 letters, Part 2


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