Letters

November 2004
November 17 | November 18 | November 4 |

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America's Iranian Oil Council

Noticing "American Iranian Council Congratulates Bush" on top left corner of your page, I had to read it. I was glad to see that there are organizations representing our interests in the US. Then, I read the list of AIC's borad of directors. The list included: J. Michael Stinson, Senior Vice President, Conoco Inc., David Lesar, Chairman of the Board, President and CEO of Halliburton, and Richard H. Matzke, Former Vice Chairman, Chevron Texaco Corporation and Co chairman at AIC.

The advisory board was not any better, as it did include some oil company representatives as well.

Don't you think that it would be more suitable for the "American Iranian Council" to change its name to "America's Iranian Oil Council" instead?

Shahrokh Nikfar

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Namaz in Farsi

Dear fellow readers of Iranian.com,

For a while now, I have been looking for a Farsi translation of namaz (prayer). If anyone knows an internet link which contains Farsi namaz, please let me know. If you have a copy of such text, please scan it and email it as an attachment to my electronic address.

Thanks for your time,

Iraj

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Perisa is cool, Iran is not

In respose to Persia Lover's "Bad thoughts, bad words, bad deeds":

I would like to see our country's name in English changed back to "Persia" once the Islamic government is gone and I have several reasons for this. I'll give you a couple of them:

1- In the eyes of the world "Persia" is synonymous with an old civilized country, an empire with high moral standards and sophisticated social structure, but "Iran" is not.

2- Pesia is not stained with hostage taking or Islamic terrorism,etc.Let's start calling ourselves "Persian" as of now.

N. Ghorbani

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Insulting Iran's national heritage

In respose to Persia Lover's "Bad thoughts, bad words, bad deeds":

Dear Mr. Javid,

I have been a frequent reader of Iranian.com until now, and always assumed the articles featured were subject to quality control for basic accuracy and could be trusted. Then I read the article "Bad thoughts, bad words, bad deeds", and was very much taken back.

Since the article was addressing Zoroastrianism, a subject of interest to me that I have studied for years, I could see how much falacy and biased reporting there was.

I found it very unethical for someone to write an article so derogatory on subject of national pride for Iran, and to hide behind the screen name "Persia Lover."

He refers to the Cambridge History of Iran and takes material out of context to come up with his own unique conclusion.

Then he refers to a 14th century book containing much Arabic words and written by an unknown author. The book Sad Dar is not a Zoroastrian scripture text and misses the essence of Zoroastrianism completely. Very few Zartoshties have ever heard of it, with the exception of those studying history. However, it is my observation this book is very well known to Bahai activists trying to spread false information and to get converts by hooks or crooks. I have seen Bahai activists carry copy of this book in their briefcase and to misrepresent it as a Zoroastrian holy text.

What a shame and disgrace. For any Iranian with a sense of national pride should be committed to truthfulness.Sensational journalism that involves misrepresentation and insulting Iran's national heritage is very unfortunate. There was another publication that tried that cheap trick, and lost many of its readers.

Nariman Ovaissi

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Family lies

In respose to critics of my article "Miss taken identity", one of your readers who dares not sign his/her letter asserts that Iranian woman are "neither victims no villains"; but s/he does not tell us what they are? Freebooters / moftkhoran?

We all have to work in order to earn our leaving; why shouldn't married Iranian women do the same? That is, do their share, play their part within the family simply because they are providing for by their husbands. Why should men have a duty to go out to work and bring in money for every thing the wife needs, but when it comes to wives they should be allowed and expected to put up their feet and do not do the housework, cooking, shopping, looking after children?

S/he also believes that reading my piece Mistaken Identity has reminded her of a late 19th century book in which men are represented as victims and concentrates on elaborating women's vices! It is also asserted that I "assume" certain essential roles for women, and "reproach" women for failing to do their duties.

This writer, as well as other conscientious objectors to my assertions respecting Iranian women, do not back up their own claims as to what fights have women of Iran fought in order to achieve what rights? All we know is that Iranian TV and mass media under the late Shah and even now under the Islamic Republic disseminate plenty of info about feminism and rights of women in the West inside Iran; in Iran today all homes have TV and Islamic Republic is fully aware of this fact and so does its best to divide and rule rank and file Iranians at their roots, that is, within the family. Islamic Republic has been more adamant in buying western soap operas and showing them on TV several times per day to ensure that all women and children will see them and begin to make life for husbands and fathers extremely difficult. Islamic Republic does so because it needs Iranian men entangled within their own families, so as not to have time to protest against and demands rights from the state.

In other words no Iranian woman has fought no battles in order to win any rights. Iranian woman are not aware of having any rights. Iranian TV and mass media does not speak of women's or even human rights; what they do is to report all vices which are ripe in the West such as drug addiction and its benefit, pornography and how it can be used to keep Iranian men fully occupied with matters relating to sexual activities. As a result no one in Iran has any idea of rights and wrongs of women, men and/or children. Yet they all want to live lives they view and watch on Western Soap operas such Ms Marple, the Bill, Mr Bean and so on and so forth. TV programmers in Iran have no taste for quality programmes on Western TV. They are only interested in whatever garbage is produced and shown on BBC, ITV (both TV channels in England).

This problem could be one result of not knowing good English and therefore not being able to see the rights and wrongs of TV programmes purchased from UK and USA. But as we all know no Iranian person would agree with any idea that they may have some shortcomings, such as not knowing English, or not being able to distinguish between good and bad tv programmes when one is making a decision to buy them for the masses, using other people's money. Afterall TV programme buyers do not pay from their own pocket for the rubbish they buy and show on Iranian tv during peak viewing times. They do so using Tax Payers money / beitolmal (Iranian for public money).

Having said that, I wish to ask your readers what do they think the role of women in society is or should be? Do they think women have any role or duty in Iranian society? If they are what they say they are (sociologists and social scientist) then we have a right to demand from them to explain to us what they think family is as far as human society is concerned?

In my humble opinion family is a unit upon which human society is formulated. That is, society consist of units which are called family structure; each one of these units consist of one woman / wife / mother and one man / husband / father, plus two or more children. Each one of the individuals within the family structure have roles and duties. Exactly like when you are given a role within a play which is staged in a West End theatre or one of New York's Broadway exhibition houses. Unless you play your role and do what you are supposed to do, the Show cannot go on and ticket buyers / audiences will not be happy and the producers shall suffer a loss and shall be forced to pull down the Show.

If women's role within the family is not doing what they are supposed to do according to our tradition, then what is it? Why should a man / husband be required to go out to work and earn a fortune and then bring it home and give it all to his wife? When the wife is not supposed to have any duties towards her husband? Why should we promote women's position within the family so much that she has ended up being no more than a slave driver? For in Iran today women are demanding all from their husbands, but are not willing to give anything in return to their husbands, let alone admitting that they have any duties towards their husbands and children. Why should this be the case?

Because our activists are no better than these women whose rights they are fighting for. Our activists too wish men give all they have to their wives but expect nothing in return, why? Things like mutual responsibility; reciprocal love and respect, give and take have no place in the ideas and ideologies our activists are promoting within Iran. Perhaps because they do not know foreign languages such as French and English good enough to know what feminists are really up to in the West; or perhaps because they are not ahle motalea and so cannot be expected to read feminist literature and know exactly what it is about; instead of assuming what feminism is all about. It is up to our activists to tell us what is wrong with them? Why do they disseminate wrong information about feminism within Iran?

In the West, in Europe and USA, where feminism has become part and parcel of daily life, men and women who chose to get married and form a family and have children, do believe that they have duties towards each other, and so they decide between themselves who wants to be the breadwinner / go out to work and earn the money the whole family needs, and who wants to stay indoors and do the house work, look after the children, cook, shop, clean the house, see that children have all they need and lack nothing in accordance to their age.

But in Iran our feminists and activists expect from the man / husband to go out to work and earn all the money needed by the family, and then when he finishes work and comes home he should immediately start working indoors, doing all the work that his wife was supposed to do while he was out earning money for the family. What is good about this kind of relationship between men and women in Iran? What do children who are observing their parents relationship learn from this unequal relationship? Who said women must be allowed to exploit, oppress and slave-drive men / their husbands? 

Precisely because there is no clear cut rules and regulations by which women of Iran are required to behave within the family, there is now chaos and misunderstanding in almost all families in Iran today. Women see and hear how their own kind are treating their husbands and children and learn from what they see and hear, and immediately start behaving in the same unethical and illegal manner. That is, almost all women in Iran today are engaged in the business of exploiting husbands and children; keen and fully aware that they must not do any housework, nor any childcare; cooking and shopping for the sake of making sure husbands and children will not starve to death has no place in the mind and thoughts of women of Iran today. 

Why should women choose to marry if they do not want to get involved with the family they are helping to create? Why should women not want to go out to work and earn their own living instead of doing their best to find a man for exploiting and slave driving? When women choose to marry, children are produced; why should women be allowed to get away with starving their own children to death? They do have children because they want to pretend they have married for the right reasons; they don't want any one to know that the only reason why women of Iran today are marrying is to take all their husbands' money and run all the way to the bank laughing and enjoying every minute of it.

If you interview women of Iran about these issues; they immediately respond "hire a house maid to do the housework." But when you tell them, "in that case, your husband will give the money he is giving you to the housemaid, not to you," they bit their lips and say no more.

Because family is a unit of society; it is the place where children learn from their parents what kind of adults they should become when they grow up and become part of the wider society. In families where women are busy exploiting and slave-driving their husbands, the children learn to also become slave drivers in their own adult life. Family structure is where human like produces its own kind / toleed mesl. 

Iran is a backward country precisely because the relationships within the family are unnatural, unethical, exploitative. There is no equality in Iranian society, precisely because within the family one partner (wife or husband) is practising exploitation of the other; adults in Iranian society know no other relationship between Human beings inside Iran. For all they know either their mother has been a slave driver and exploiter of their father or their father has been doing the same to their mother. If our educated activists are not going to realise this simple fact and do all they can to bring about equality within the family, and force women to behave responsible and accept some role / duties and do their best to perform that duty or role in the best possible manner; Iran will remain a backward and undemocratic society, and the greatest part of the blame for this rests on the shoulders of our lawyers, activists and rights champions, and undeserving noble prize winners!

Let me assure Iranian times by saying the fact of the matter is that majority of Iranian men are currently victims of their wives / womenfolk within their own family; my piece is trying to make their voice heard; I have received hundreds of email from men who visit Iranian.com and are most grateful to me for writing that piece; as opposed to a handful of oppressive and exploitative women who have felt threatened by what I have said for the sake of letting the truth come out.  

Susan Moeen

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Fargilisi collection

Send in your Fargilisi or Englinian phrases, such as:

-- "Dad Daree Gol Mi Groweee" (Are you growing flowers?).
-- "Dad, Eeen Dokhtareh Dareh Mann o Mesl e Divooneha Ranandegee Mikoneh" (She is driving me crazy)
-- "Dad Vaghtee Inn GhessTah ro Reedy, Yek kee digeh Bokhor" (When you finished reading this story, read another)
-- The owner of a Persian restaurant asked me "Agha, Eeen Ghaza Ha toon ro Too Goh Mikhain" [Do you want your food to go?]

Send me your Fargilisi or Englinian experiences, particularly if they involve kids growing up outside of Iran. Write them in any format, any grammar, any shape, but tell me what they mean, and see it soon in a collection of other hilarious expressions on this site.

Bahram Saghari

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Human touch

In response to Zohreh Khazai Ghahremani's "Peace":

I read your artilce and as usual it is simple and excellent. I am delighted that you have such fine sense of reasoning and you give human touch to the subject. I wish more Iranian follow your wise sense of humanity toward the World and people around them, as it is evidense in Iranian.com, very few of our community.

Morteza Hashemi

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At least get the nationality right

In response to Anyway section's: "Arab (Iranian) wrestler":

I don't mind Mr Hassan being the bad guy in the WWE, I love the WWE, I mean the Iron Sheik was a classic, but he never referred to himself as Arab. I know Mr Hassan is getting paid to be a goof ball, but the writers should at least get the nationality and language right. The writers and Mr Hassan would be doing everyone well by not perpetrating the stereotype that Iranians are Arabs.

Ali Bashar

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Sounds like the Ayatollah

In response to Roozbeh Shirazi's: "The dangerous path ahead":

Dear Roozbeh,

I couldn't agree with you more. Mr. Bush's war on Terrorism is a war on dissidence. Mr. Bush's exportation of democracy is colonial imperialistic expansion; globalization is domination by Western "culture" (consumerism) and the destruction of anything indigenous and non consumer based. US interests in Afghanistan are a secure area for the gas pipeline from Uzbekistan, US interests in Iraq are oil, in Iran are oil and to hell with everybody else.

This administration and the neo-cons think patriotism means gaining the upper hand for the USA and the rest of the world is there for a resource of cheap labor and material to fuel the giant consumer furnace of our economy so the top 2% can live well. The Americans constitute 2% of the world population and consume 50% of its resources and are willing to invade countries to keep that going. What will happen when all the countries come on line and start consuming at that rate and demanding this "high standard of living" (spending)? The gap between the rich and the middle classes in this country has become an enormous chasm.

Any Iranian who thinks Bush will bring Iran liberation is a fool. He will merely trade one form of dictatorship for another which would benefit US business rather than mullahs pockets. Can anyone really doubt this? Look at who the US administrations ally themselves with in the Middle East: Saudi Arabia and Kuwait which are feudal monarchies not democracies by any stretch where all the real work is done by foreign guest workers and where the actual citizens are a minority and women have few rights ... and of course Israel with its fascist leader who has destroyed any prospect of peace with Palestine that came so close during the Clinton era.

What I find so frightening is that half the popular vote went to Bush. Mr Bush thinks he has a mandate with only 50% of the popular vote. He is delusional. The people who vote Republican live by some myth that if they affiliate themselves with the big money party that somehow they too will become rich by association and of course the Fear Factor of 911; they think Bush who is not afraid to make pre-emptive invasions and drop bombs will protect them when all he has done is make the world a much more dangerous place than he found it and reinstate the arms race.

The religious fundamentalist right in the USA voted for him because he goes to church and thinks he has been appointed by God. Sounds like the Ayatollah if you ask me. How in the scale of things can anyone make a moral comparison between cheating on your wife vs bombing civilians and covering it up? It really seems to be Flint vs the USA. Either we get philanderers or mad bombers for leaders and I for one prefer the "lovers." They are less dangerous. BTW I suspect that Osama is still on the payroll as his video release was timed perfectly to get the swing voters to vote by the Fear Factor.

I think that we need some very brave new leadership in Congress to challenge this administration like never before. The Bush administration is out to get the environment and sell off public lands, as well as spread imperialism abroad and the entire shift of the economy has gone to "defense" which only benefits the defense contractors and the military but not the rest of us. He has created the largest budget deficit in the entire history of the US and no one has challenged this because it has been done in the name of national security. This is crap and I wonder what the landscape is going to look like at the end of his next term?

Brian Appleton

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If Americans could humble themselves

In response to Amir's letter: "Throwing around words":

To be a racist I would have to believe in doctrines of racial superiority or inferiority, which I have repudiated unreservedly in our entire conversation. All such doctrines arise from the doctrine of the Pharisees, in which one stands and says to himself, "Thank you God that I am better than other people."

Now it may be that on some level I really do believe these things myself, and I have to assume that and learn the truth better. If you can document anything like that in truth, I will be in your debt, but you're not doing that so far. It seems rather evident that you misunderstood me and don't want to admit it, and so you have to keep trying to prove you had it right to begin with. But this is a lie, and can only cause you to make a fool of yourself if you persist in it.

I do not believe Iranians are untermenschen. Indeed their empire was probably the best to live under of the great empires of antiquity, lacking in general the harshness of any of the others. That lack of meanness is still evident to this day in the Iranian national character.

But that is how the American empire views Iran, the average American not even able to distinguish between Iranians and Arabs, while feeling quite competent to bomb them and prescribe "democracy" for them. You are a fool to expect such people to bring anything but misery and destruction, which is all they have brought everywhere they go with their messianic dreams.

Barbarians in normal usage are people that have no appreciation of the civilizations they plunder and destroy. One thinks of the Mongols or the Huns. This is precisely what the Americans have proven to be in Iraq. For that matter, it's how they proved to be in North America, as they annihilated entire Indian nations simply to seize their land or to mine gold on their land.

If they could humble themselves all this could be set right. The American national character is not what it is due to some racial defect. It's a theological problem -Pharisaism. Americans find their identity in being better than other people, which is logically equivalent to finding others inferior to them. This is how Nazis felt about themselves and others, and how imperial Japan felt about the Chinese and Koreans, and that's why they behavced as they did. The same tree in America yields the same fruit, so that's why Americans act as they do in the world.

The Ukrainians were disappointed when they trusted the Nazis to deliver them from Stalin, because the Nazis considered the Ukrainians inferior. And Iranians like you will be likewise disappointed by the Americans in whom you trust, because the Americans regard you as inferior.

Peter Attwood

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Throwing around words

In response to Peter Attwood's letter: "Routine mistreatment of others":

Thank you for your email and sorry about the late reply.

You are racist because you employ racist terminology, which you attribute to others, namely your own countrymen and kin. When you say Iranian are Untermenschen, without explicitly indicate that this is a quotation from another, you are claiming it as your own judgement and sentence. Even if you had put it in quotation marks, the regurgitation of hate speech is hate speech, but you have absolutely no problem doing this, because you think that by doing it you would create a difference between yourself and those you pretend to want to criticize, which is again yourself.

You speak about Americans being barbarians. Then you say that you don't understand it when I bring up Americans in reference to Germany, and would rather jump around to Imperial Japan and China... and Nazi Germany and Yugoslavia... so, are the imperial Chinese and Japanese the barbarians or Americans?

If you throw around words and concepts you have to establish a logical consistency between them and stick to the point that you have been challenged to prove, namely the barabarism of America... As well as being a latent racist and a meek subservient to cultural relativism justified by snobism of the Christian dogma, you show yourself incapable of arguing a particular case you have taken up in bad faith, with any degree of logical consistancy.

I don't want to talk about Japan and China because I am not interested in them and find them irrelevant to our discussion, which started when an evangelical Christian racist ethno and Eurocentric guy wrote on an Iranian website that Iranians are Untermenschen.

Are you really as dense as you pretend to be? Do you really not see your own offensive racism and lack of logical coherence?

Amir

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Routine mistreatment of others

In response to Amir's letter: "Isolated and out od context":

You're not making much sense to me. I'm clear that there is good and evil, but to distinguish between them certainly can't be done uncritically, especially since evil working in my own heart can be expected to deceive me.

I don't see what evidence you have for my being a racist, and as I have used subhuman and barbarian, you cannot refute me. There is no question that imperial America considers others subhuman, because it routinedly treats them in ways that it finds improper with real humans, that is its own.

I'm not expecting to absolve myself by characterizing Americans as evil-doers ort barbarians - I'm just expecting to benefit from walking in the truth. Having grown up in this country for 50 years, I am aware that all this is to be expected in myself, and only so far as I learn the truth about my own entanglement can I escape.

I don't understand your reference to Germany and Iraq - imperial Japan in north China and in its resource wars in Southeast Asia is more apt. America assailed Iraq and has slaughtered its people precisely because Iraq was helpless - much like the German assault on Yugoslvia in 1941.

Peter Attwood

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Isolated and out of context

In response to Peter Attwood's letter: "Kidding yourself":

Okay, I accept that you are a Jesus freak. The point is taken, you are not a leftist. Fine. But as far as you seem confused about my mistaking the two, I must say that for me they are quite close, because they are both historically teleological and incorporate a preNietzschean, uncritical and dogmatic understanding of Good and Evil. The leftists tend to take out God and replace it by the community or the society or the dictatorship of the proletariat, but both you and they are waiting for the Kingdom come and until then are supposed to be nice and righteous.

(Except that your regurgitation of terms like Barbaric and Subhuman, which introduces these terms again and again into the discourse, affirming them and racial categories, seems to be quite "barbaric" in fact, but that might have to do with my Zoroastrian understanding that one, especially when one portends to be good, ought to have good (or unique) thoughts, speak good words, and do good deeds. Admittedly this is quite foreign to Christianity, so again, okay, I accept you as an Evangelical Christian racist, fine...)

Now you should try to logically argue your point regarding Americans being barbarians, the killing of 100,000 civilians is not enough, especially so isolated and out of context. You should for instance try and tell me why Iraq could not be the next Germany... (Perhaps because the pounding of the cities has not been as heavy?)

But one more thing. If you think that you can separate and distance yourself and point to some " Americans" as Evil-doers or barbarians thereby absolving yourself, I must say that this weak and meek position, like the politics espoused by the Europeans at the moment, neither in any way make you a better person, nor will it cause the other side to see you more favorably; no matter how close you may feel to a god, which you think you can argue to also be theirs.

The wars between the perifery and the center, the north and the south, and the west and the east have started, and if you think by jumping ship and pointing to the barbarian Americans over there, denouncing them and away from yourself, you can have some ascendency, or experience mercy, have another thing coming.

Amir

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Kidding yourself

In response to Amir's letter: "Are you an American?":

You may feel free to kid yourself concerning the righteousness of the Americans, but it remains that they have killed huge numbers of people for no good reason, except the pursuit of world domination. What they have done in Iraq may be expected if they invade Iran, and that will make the IRI seem great by comparison.

I am an American citizen that lives in California. I don't know what you mean by leftist; I just apply the words of Moses, the prophets, and Jesus to what I see. If you wish to learn more of my thinking, some of my writings appear on:

//home.earthlink.net/~attwoods/

Peter Attwood

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Are you an American?

In response to Peter Attwood's letter: "Subhuman treatment":

Dear Mr. Attwood,

You introduced yourself as a Christian, yet I am yet to read anything from you related to where you get your "chops". If you want to continue to present yourself so, I recommend you buying the Oxford Study Bible; it has a lot of very useful footnotes, and some illuminating articles in the introduction and the appendix. You would be more believable. It is a good investment for what you are trying to do.

You have in your most recent writing to me, proceeded to talk about Rudyard Kipling and the Nazis, and somehow presume to grab for "how Americans see everyone else" and the "American view;" just on formalistic grounds, if nothing else, you have no logical argument here. However, you have again proved your Eurocentrism to me, one could in fact be a Eurocentric without any credible knowledge of European arts and letters, as most Eurocentric Islamic Republicans are.

Now, again, because you haven't shown me anything, based on which I would be able to entertain the idea of you being who you say you are, I am now doubting whether or not you are American at all.

In your writing you say that the "IRI" (do Christian fundamentalists normally refer to the Islamic Republic of Iran in this shorthand?) at least considers Iranians humans. This sentence might either come from an operative or agent of IRI, or from someone who knows absolutely nothing about the IRI. Which one are you?

From there you go on to play air violin for the people of Iraq and then bring up the matter of the Barbarians, for which you give a definition. This definition is primarily plays on a lack of knowledge of history and possession of tanks, both of which you attribute to Americans. Again, this makes me wonder if you are American at all, or whether or not you realize that Americans in their institutions (which automatically precludes them from being barbaric according to the most accepted definitions,) know more about history of all peoples than any empire in the world has ever know.

The hundred thousand plus people who were killed were not killed for joy, no matter how your weird incoherent IRI logic tries to twist this, they were killed because the terrorists and fundamentalists who were fairly and squarely not only decimated, but destroyed on the battle fields, chose to take the fight to the civilians. This is what the terrorists do. This is not what the American armed forced ever wanted.

However at this juncture it is necessary not to allow this essentially terrorist technique to prevail, and that leads to the killing of the civilians. This however does not fit to any definition of barbarism... You are ideologically overreaching for an argument, an essentially and apriori Anti-American argument at that. As an American, I take offense to that, but as an American, I agree to your right to spew your nonsense, so go right ahead.

It is remarkable to me nevertheless Mr. Attwood, that you continue to refer to Americans as "them". What perspective actually do you have? If you are an American of European decent, then the question would be, what do you know about the thousands-of-years civilization of the Iraqis, and assuming that you have an idea about this, how can you argue that "Americans" don't know this... You are as inconsistent as the garden variety IRI operative.

For your information, you IRI operative with leftist inclinations who is trying to pass himself off as a Christian fundamentalist in order to play some elementary reverse psychology, America is the greatest Empire that the world has ever known. The righteousness of America stems from its strength, resolve and observation of world history, but this not completely from a Eurocentric perspective. Not rejecting Europe, but going beyond it.

Amir

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Treating others as subhuman

In response to Amir's letter: "Evil banality":

Untermensch is a German word meaning subhuman used by the Nazis to describe what they deemed inferior races. Rudyard Kipling, who was not a Nazi, referred to non-Europeans as "lesser breeds without the law," so this is much bigger than just Nazism.

My point is and was that this view of the world determines how Americans see everyone else, especially non-Europeans, and that that is why you have to be crazy to expect people who think that way to be any good to Iran or anybody else who in the American view is of the "lesser breeds," which in the American case is all non-Americans, including Europeans.

At least the IRI is ruled by people who think Iraninans are fully human. Bad as they may be, they're still likely to be better for Iran than people who consider them subhuman, like the Americans. Iraq, where they have killed a good 100,000 people, mostly by bombing civilian neighborhoods, and do not even notice a problem, shows what may be expected from this master race, as they are in their own eyes.

By barbarians, I mean specifically people devoid of culture and any understanding of or reverence for the past, seeing nothing but their own present power and wealth as meaning anything. Barbarians do not notice the treasures crunching under the treads of their tanks.

These barbarians went into Iraq, a civilization thousands of years old, and saw nothing worth guarding but the Ministry of Oil and the Ministry of the Interior (the secret police).

They are on top of the world and have no respect for the past, although having been around for less than 400 years they have not shown that they know how to live without raping, overheating, and devastating the whole earth. If they were not barbarians, they might realize that a civilization like Iran, which has been around for 2500 years, might have something to teach them.

Well, they have no clue. Because they are barbarians, they can go to Iraq or Iran and see nothing in these ancient civilizations which have proven to be wiser than they are except oil and sand niggers.

It is insane to expect from such people anything but the misery and destruction which we see them bringing everywhere they go. Any Iranian who looks to them to do anything to Iran except harm, especially in view of what they are doing to Iraq, is completely delusional. Some figured once that anything could be better than the Shah. God forbid they have to learn on their skins, and at the cost of millions of Iranian lives, that the American master race will indeed be worse for Iran than the IRI.

Peter Attwood

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Evil banality

In response to Peter Attwood's letter: "Iranians are untermenschen":

You wrote: "Iranians are untermenschen, just like the Arabs, from which these barbarians cannot even distinguish Iranians. People who regard Iranians as untermenschen will be no better for Iranian health than they have been to the Iraqis." I don't care if your stupid ass is trying to paraphrase an idea, regurgitation of this crap is what gives away not only your banality, but also the evil related to this banality.

Your mama is an Untermensch you ass sucking fuckhead. Is this crap supposed to persuade Iranians to espouse your position, dumbfuck? As the words you have used here clearly demonstrate, there is little doubt in my mind that the self-proclaimed left in America, which really consists of decadent and weak, depricate, fearful, isolationist, Eurocentric, ethnocentric, and unapologetic culturally-relativist racist-lowlives if demonstrated by nothing else then by the evidence of the type of Iranians who agree with them: those who are ever again lible to support islamic fascism by any means available to them, and always, whether it was 26 years ago or today, in the name of liberal values claim for intellectual and moral superiority ... this confederacy of dunces is what there is to look out for.

But for you you motherfucking schmach, stop talking shit about Iranians, and don't for a moment think that because a few old hezbollahis and revolutionary guardsmen agree with your position that you have figured out Iranians. Just like your kind were in for a good surprise on Wednesday, if you don't start working the little brain that you've been awarded, surprises just keep coming...

Amir

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Zoroastrian misgivings toward Muslims

In response to Zohreh Khazai Ghahremani's letter "Dividing God":

Ms. Gahremani asserts that she was "appalled by the prejudice they [Zoroastrians] showed toward Muslims." I respectfully disagree. I have grown up among Zoroastrians and have never noticed their "prejudice toward Muslims." However, if some Zoroastrians have misgivings toward Muslims, it's totally understandable considering 1400 years of discrimination, fear, and maltreatment in the hands of Muslims.

After the Arab invasion, thousands of Zoroastrians were tortured and killed by Muslim Arabs. In 1642 Shah Abbas II ordered the massacre of thousands of Zoroastrian men, women, and children who refused to convert to Islam. In 1719 Afghan invaders butchered thousands of Zoroastrians in Kerman. Up until 1882, Zoroastrians had to pay jaziye -a special tax designed for non-Muslims.

The author perhaps is not aware that until 40 years ago, Zoroastrians of Yazd were not permitted to get out of their homes in rain because the Muslims didn't want to touch the water the Zoroastrians stepped in for fear of becoming "najes." In addition, Zoroastrians were not permitted to ride horses because they were perceived as sub-human (and these are the same people who established two of our great Persian Empires on their horseback!). I suggest we take a good look of the dark periods of our history before judging others.

Ms. Gahremani admonishes Zoroastrians for not accept new converts. If one studies the Zoroastrian scriptures and historical documents from the Sacred Gathas of 1700 BC to the Avesta to the Rivayats of 16th century, one finds not even a word against conversion. In fact, historically Zoroastrians were very pro-conversion. For instance, Armenians before becoming Christians had converted to Zoroastrianism from their original pagan religion.

Today, Zoroastrians of Iran do not accept converts for of fear of retaliation from the Islamic Republic not because of religious mandate. (The author perhaps is not aware that any Muslim who converts to other religion is "vajob-ol-ghatl" under the Sharia). The Parsis (Zoroastrians of India) do not accept converts not based on any religious evidence for they have none, but because they are fearful of sharing their enormous wealth with new converts.

The author may be surprised to know that Zoroastrianism has become one of the fastest growing religions in Americas in recent years. In the last two years, more than 30,000 people have converted to Zoroastrianism in Brazil, Venezuela, Mexico, the United States, and Canada. 

Finally, Ms. Gahremani's criticism of Zoroastrianism as an "organized religion" has no basis. Zoroastrianism comparing with Islam, Judaism, and Christianity is the least "organized" religion today. In its long history of 3700 years, Zoroastrianism has been organized for only 400 years during the Sasanian Empire. And that has been long gone thanks to Arab invasion. Unlike other prophets, Zarathushtra never indulges in the details of everyday life. This has made his religion one of the most progressive religions in the world today. 

A new convert to Zoroastrianism

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Shallow

In response to Farhad Radmehrian's cartoon "Khatami STD":

Materials of low quality, or of no intelligent and shallow, can only damage your name, which I am sure is respected by many. It is difficult to earn prestige, but it is even more difficult to maintain it.

Abdy Sadri

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Some CIA expert

In response to excerpt from Kenneth M. Pollack's book "The Persian Puzzle":

Of course, the CIA's Iran expert makes a number of mistakes in even this single chapter of his book:

First, Darius was not the son of Cambyses (Cyrus' son who conquered Egypt.) He was a distant cousin to Cambyses and an officer in his army. Second, Darius did not invade "Greece" as there was no such country then. In fact there were Greeks fighting on the side of the Persian armies, and a number of the Greek city states had aligned with Persia.

Third, Alexander was not a Greek. He was Macedonian. His father, Philip, had fought the Greek city states. The Persians were providing aid to the Greeks against the Macedonians. Thus, the Greeks did not "come back and bite" the Persians when Alexander defeated them and the Persians. It was only later that Alexander was coopted by Greek nationalists and Orientalists as evidence of the superiority of the West over the East.

John Mohammadi

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View from Europe

In response to Sharif N Mafi's "Closet Bush supporter":

Sharif you sound confused. Not to say that it isn't a confusing situation, but why scramble it once more. Are you simply a Republican because they are similar to the supposed enemy? If so, then you head towards mutual destruction. To imitate your enemy, is ok in the jungle but here in the real world it is a losing battle. Or have you stepped out the closet for some other reason?

I've tried to decipher the note on your closet door and it makes little sense. You highlight the worst parts of humanity and then try to show similarities. Sharif, do you try to be a conglomeration of all the worst traits that you see in the people around you? Yes, there are problems in the world outside the US, but is the best way to tackle them a head on confrontation? The Republicans stand for head on confrontation, that together with 'milk the land for what it's worth', seems to be their motto.

Of course if you confront a people so tactlessly you will get an ugly response. I was never pro any of these tyrants, religion also simply blinds a person's better judgement. But what a fucking mess the world has been left in now. I think the mending process will take much longer, but the first step must be to be more humble, more careful, America needs an empathetic leader, a leader who has a better sense for other people's feelings, and needs.

I live in Europe and from here, well away from the fog of lies that clouds the average American mind, America has clearly gotten itself into the most dangerous position in its history. Armed to the teeth it paddles against the currents, this will be its demise. Left with very few friends, the great American whale will gasp for breath. How anyone can still hold on to the Republicans during such a time puzzles people outside of 'the Land of the Free'. But your explanation shows that it is devoid of logic and devoid of reason, in fact it seems to lack so many things that I wonder if it appears in full.

Did you get up to make yourself a drink half way through writing this and then forget where you'd got to on your return? I have yet to read a pro Republican argument that makes the slightest bit of sense. Maybe someone else would like to rise up to the occasion, because it seems that Sharif's reasoning got left behind in his closet.

Oliver Mallah

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Generalizations

In response to Borzou Daragahi's "Heavy metal Islam":

Not so dear Borzu khan,

Since when is Ramadan a month of "mourning for the Prophet Muhammad"? If you are going to pass judgment on religion, why not inform yourself first? Who cares whether or not you believe in God, or if you think, like many ignorant Iranians, that modernity's first task is to discredit and crush religion. But aim for accuracy, in what seems to be a piece of factual reporting (regrettably infected with observations like "cool people who don't care about religion or politics"). "Many Iraqis say" that other Iraqis are turning to a "strict interpretation of religion" because they perceive the American attacks to be on their "faith." So were they religious in the first place?

You associate religion, or "strict" religion, with anti-Americanism, terrorism, violence and generally every type of unpleasant attitude and behaviour. The inference is that good people drink, and religious people bomb and shoot. Surely not all, but did you bother to find out? You should read a book or article by Edward Said, who observed in one book that the type of generalizations, implied or overt, made about "Muslims" by journalists like yourself would be unacceptable if made about blacks, women or handicapped people.

Your vocabulary is infantile: Iraq "sucks", "laid-back" Iraqis... Is this what you send to the New York Times? Then there is the "strict interpretation of Islam" half way down the article. Is that what "many Iraqis" said, or your own editorializing, suggesting an unlikely attention on your part to nuances?

Alidad Vassigh

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Angry democrats & the "religious right"

In response to Hamid Bakhsheshi's "Ok which country am I in?":

Dr. Bakhsheshi,

With due respect, I believe that you are confused although you have lived here in the United States for the past 25 years. You are a highly educated physician and must be highly regarded in your community, but you have confused me as well, as follows:

In reference to your opinion/article regarding where you are, Iran or the U.S., you compare President Bush and this Administration with the late Ayatollah Khomeini and the present regime in Iran. You state that because of the Patriot Act II, we live under similar fears, moral restrictions and religious impositions as those in Iran. I can't believe that you make the United States out to be a 'police state' and compare it with Iran, Guatemala, Columbia, and Sudan.

You visit Iran and I have not, therefore I cannot argue nor comment on what the situation is for the people living, working and studying there, but I do hear and know enough from relatives and friends that life is hard, harsh and hopeless for the majority, and especially for those without money or regime connections / favors. However, I know the situation in this country firsthand (as you do), and I do not understand your fear and contempt nor your "feeling of hopelessness and helplessness. A feeling one gets only when cornered with few ways out" - your words.

Here we are free to hold any religious beliefs or none; here we have legitimate and democratic laws which, if not abused, will protect us; here students may study without having to pass religious exams and impositions; here we can mingle, dance and sing in public without fear of lashings or prison; and here we can write (as you did) about whatever political beliefs and opinions we hold, without fear of incarceration.

You may want to argue this point, but unless a person instigates violence, he or she is not in danger. Here comedians, journalists and actually the whole population can poke fun at the President or the Administration, and they are not silenced. Have you read the bumper stickers on cars from those who want to make a point - whatever it may be? Neither their cars nor their owners are in any danger from the 'state'.

There is much talk in the media about the 'religious right' and President Bush being religious. But have you ever thought that much of this comes from the 'angry' Democrats lashing out after their loss? I guess it's convenient to forget that historically many Presidents have been religious and spoken openly about their faith with no backlash from the media and public. Morality has been an issue for years ( traditionally Americans have been know as 'puritans'), except amongst the Hollywood elite and amongst the majority of the academia and major media outlets.

You may be a Democrat or have liberal views, and that is your prerogative. I am a Republican and am conservative, and that should be acceptable to you. My confusion lies with your comparisons.

You yourself certainly have the choice to leave and therefore are not cornered. So there is hope and help for you and like-minded individuals, as long as you are not confused and can make up your mind. Those in Iran who don't have legal protections, money or means, have little choice and not much hope.

In conclusion, I believe that we are fortunate to live in a democracy with ample protections and freedom. I wish the same for Iran.

Shahla Samii

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Before we condemn Islam

In response to Azar Majedi "A threat to humankind":

I want to point out that the view that she takes on Islam is biased and tainted by her personal experience as a woman in Iran and sad crimes that are comitted in today's world, under the banner of Islam.

A lot of our compatriots seem to blame religion for  their misgivings and experiences with the current regime in Iran. What they fail to take into consideration is that it is not Islam as a religion that is evil or destructive to society. The method by which is Islam is implied by institutions, governments and societies is cruel and aggressive.

The following are a few facts about Islam:

- The word "Islam" means submission to the will of God.
- When Islam was accepted as a religion by the people of Arabia, more than 1500 years ago, women were freed from their past misgivings. They gained legal rights for divorce and inheritance (the social/economic factors of the time have to be taken into consideration when examining the extent and scope of these rights) This made Islam a progressive religion considering that women in the UK could not inherit from their kin up until only 200 years ago.
- Cruelty against women and children are explicitly banned by the Quran
-The following verse, which means that religion must not be forced on any individual, is repeated many times in the Quran: "La Ikrahu fil din"

These facts that I have referred to are contradictory to the crimes committed against women and children . Where in the Quran does it mention that 9 year old girls should be forced into marriage against their will? Lets not take cultural rules and forms that have existed prior to Islam, and are indeed banned by Quranic law, and make believe that they are due to Islamic teachings. The circumcision of women in Sudan and forced marriages in Arabia and the rest of the Middle East, for example, are pre-Islamic ways of life, and are condemned by Islamic teachings, specifically by the Quran.

So please, before we condemn Islam and its teachings, let's make ourselves familiar with Quranic text and distinguish clearly between religious guidance and thought, and laws imposed by states for the benefits of certain individuals and groups.

In addition, Islam is not only a religion, its a way of life. To suggest that states must be secularised and religious schools abolished goes against the very essence of this religion. Many individuals benefit from the spirituality they find in religion, whether it be Islam, Christianity and Judaism. I believe that suggesting that we abolish a school of thought and a way of life of people in the Middle East based on some peoples' personal experiences is radical and fundementalist in itself. As for reforming Islam, true Muslims believe that religion should be adopted to serve the times that we are living in.

My message to Ms. Majedi and others who have similar views to her is as follows: Please distinguish between Islam and the evil that people do in the name of religion. You are tainting the name of God, religion and faithful believers with your rhetoric.

Sanaz

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Poor, poor Yazdi

In response to news report "Iran dissident faces prison term":

Poor, Poor Mr Ibarahim Yazdi ... after getting medical treatment in the US (which he so vehemently denied that right to the former Shah of Iran) is now threatened to serve a jail sentence in the IRI cells. Its time you made good use of your Green Card again Mr. Yazdi and join your real country the US cause your touch of english accent in Farsi is far too risky these days even for you.

Darius KADIVAR

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Explaining my religion

In response to recent articles on Zoroastrians:

i really appriciate all the articles on zoroastrians that have been on your website lately. I've passed around the world to quite a few people in my community and everyone seems to be somewhat excited about the current articles.

I'm a 20 year old zoroastrian in L.A. and have always had trouble explaining my religion to people who have never heard of it. It's nice to see that there are people who care and haven't forgotten about Iran's past.

I'm fascinated with what people have said about Zoroastrianism whether it was good [The fire within] or bad [Bad thoughts, bad words, bad deeds] I think it's helping people become more informed. So, not only did I enjoy your website before but have enjoyed it even more because zoroastrianism is very personal to me.

Thank you so much,

Ariyan Parvaresh

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Zoroastrianism & anger

In response to Zohreh Khazai Ghahremani's "Peace":

Thank you for your article. I also agree that Alexander did not try to usurp the indigenous religion(s) of Persia. My European ancestors had their traditions destroyed or usurped. The Native Americans had the same experience. Ditto the Native North Africans - Berbers, etc. Now, many people wish to return to their roots, to reclaim their connections with their native spiritualities, of course, are the same at root.

N Hank

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Attention Persian Gulf lovers

I am sure this is interesting enough for every Iranian to see how National Geographic, on the eighth edition of Atlas of the World is calling Persian Gulf, Arabian Gulf!! Also see the three Iranian Islands are called occupied by Iran!! Since you are a very skilful writer, by publishing an article in your magazine with proper links to the site, you would be able to draw everybody's attention to this important subject. [Protest to National Geographic editors]

Also with the releasing of the movie Alexander The Great, History Channel has produced a program by the same name.

In this story Persian Empire is referred to as Asian Empire by historian commentators through out. We know in 300 B.C Asia did not exist. So what point are we missing?? As a writer and reporter you should also address this matter.

(Please do not show my name and email address.)

M.

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Soup hypocrite

In response to Iranian of the day "Ali Yeganeh ('SoupNazi')":

It is sad to see the once mighty "soup nazi" resort to the use of doctored images and a hungry editor of a major online ezine to promote his product

It is heartening to see at least, if not great soup, good old Iranian debauchery and conniving are at full tilt.

Moe

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Your hero Arafat

In response to Setareh Sabety's "The anti-shah":

I was going to reply to your article but then I read the one by Mr Ghassem Namazi, which pretty much says it all. I just would like to add that Arafat was a corrupt thief who embezzled millions if not hundreds of millions of Dollars from the Palestinian people. A quick search on the internet will provide the necessary material for you to study, here is such links, Middle East Realities and "Who will get Arafat's millions?":

Sometimes one has to let go of childhood idealisms and heroes when faced with facts and realities. Better save your eloquent writing for something more worthwhile than praising Arafat or attacking a regime that was destroyed some 25 years ago in Iran.

Kamran Mirshahi

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Eat shit

In response to Setareh Sabety's "The anti-shah":

Setareh Khahoum,

Again, you shit of a dirty woman, let your pen run on the paper and scramble idiotic accusations. And that pervert J.J. gladly published your shit. He should have swallowed it instead. Your idiotic comparison of that supper terrorist, mother fucker, Yaser Arafat with that civilized gentile man, our late beloved SHAH, Is like comparing a dagger with a rose!

Go deep your old smelly bottom into the ice cold water so that your heart may have some rest from your deep prejudice.

Also, at least, for the next four year, you & that J.J. have nothing to do save lick your wounds!

H. Hakimi

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Bush's personal faith bothers you?

In response to Hossein Bagher Zadeh's "A Christian Revolution":

I would like to remind you that President Bush is the democratically elected President of a secular liberal constitutional government where religious freedom is prized. The United States Constitution and the First Amendment ensure freedom of any religion and further ensure that the government doesn't impose any religion on society.

President Bush having a strong 'personal' faith bothers you, but i am guessing that the idea of a Democracy where only Islamists can run for office like advocated by the reformist Khatami is a 'wonderful thing'?

Furthermore, there is absolutely no similarity between a man of strong personal faith who lives in a secular democratic country with checks and balances, federalism, and a strong precedent of judicial secularism backed by a respected Constitution to Khomeini who was theocratic dictator who called for an Islamic government and a Constitution based on the Sharia.

Are we being fair?

Slater Bakhtavar

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Just assumining?

In response to Choob's "Neither victims no villains":

In one of your letters (iranian.com) you said there is a reason why there are more women than men in Iranian universities, they work harder! have you done any research in that subject, or you are just assumining? If you are just assuming as many Iranians are used to assuming things that they do not know anything about (you might, or might not be one, I am not assuming anything, just asking question).

There are socio-economic reasons why there are more Iranian women than men, I can breifly name just a few. if a boy does not go to school he is not forced to marry, there are more job opportunities for boys than girls, so a college degree helps jobless girls, it is easier for grown girls ask for money from their parents or husbands then boys, boys normally do not ask their wives for money to go to college.

There many colleges in Iran, almost in any village, so going to college necessrily does not get you a job, it is just keep you out of trouble like community colleges in USA, since it is easier to get in and girls have more free time they do go more than boys.

Mohammad R. Khaneghahi

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More than assumptions

In response to Mohammad R. Khaneghahi's "Just assuming?":

Despite your strong feelings about Iranians who make assumptions, you seem to fall in the same trap. Your "socio-economic" factors seems to be based on a set of assumptions you make yourself. Even if we accept your assertion that "it is easier for women to ask for money" from men in their families, does this mean that they actually get the money? Why assume that women "have more free time" than men do?

Let's not forget that many women in Iran have to work to help the family economy (you seem to be taking the middle-class family as "norm" and generalizing your ideas). Regardless of the assumptions you make in your response to my letter, let me clarify a few points:

There is no doubt in my mind that the high attendance of Iranian women in universities does not exist outside of socio-economic conditions, nor do I think that this trend is separate from political discourses in Iran. However, I take issue with the too-familiar approach that denies any form of agency to women, even as this agency exists within relations of power (including the state) and may be enabled by them (this is the case with any form of agency, I believe).

As many Iranian women scholars and activists have argued, the ambivalent relation of Iranian women to the state is intertwined with the way that the state has tried to moblize women- by bringing to the forefront issues of gender, while simultaneously articulating women's proper roles within the nation and the family. "Working hard," then, in my letter refers to the hardships that women have endured (and continue to endure) in order to negotiate and utilize spaces that have been opened up for them in struggles between the compteing discourses of state and family.

While you seem to assume a form of familiarity (and thus authenticity of knowledge) about the situation in Iran, I encourage you to think about the way that every expeience/knowledge is mediated. That includes Susan Moeen's ["Miss taken identity"], yours, and mine.

Choob Dosar Gohi

P.S.: you may want to visit these links: womeniniran.org and badjens.com.

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