November 2005
November 1 -- November 14 -- November 17


Don't be ashamed of facts

In response to criticisms of Jonathan Jones' "Evil Empire":

Why aren't the Azeris', Rashtis' and Loris' sense of humour in dealing with jokes that are made about them, not equally shared by the rest of the Iranians especially those in USA?

Having lived for over two decades in UK I have come across no English person who would proudly speak of the British Empire least of all journalists (contrary to the past the majority of the British are not monarchists). So what of it if one of them is not so impressed by the Persian Empire neither?

As a journalist he has the right to express his perception of the exhibition without feeling responsible to part of a nation-in-exile in search of their national identity. Obviously the style of the artwork compared to the fluidity of the Greek art indicated a rigidity which for him was associated with despotism.

As for democracy: If democracy was born in Asia I would have been proud of it, wouldn't you? I still have not been to this exhibition, but plan to do so in the near future. I have not seen a review by an Iranian who has been to this exhibition though.

It seems to me that the articles appearing on the Iranian.com are all about the review itself, which shows that they should be really in the letter section as they are a reaction only, and are not written as a different review on the actual exhibition.

This will unfortunately encourages people to think that it is okay to bully journalists for their opinions. At the same time it gives a warning to other Iranians who have seen the exhibition and may have made their own minds about it to do self censorship and avoid writing a review, which brings us back to a long standing Iranian issue.

Once for all get used to these facts and there is nothing shameful about them:

Persians were tribal people; they didn't have historians and couldn't care less to write detailed diaries. When they arrived in West Asia history writing was already practiced by the Semitic scholars. It is in this way that we know about Cyrus in Old Testament.

The Greeks on the other hand invented the detailed history writing and in particular about wars. In every war they had historians travelling with the army who were not necessarily in agreement with everything the head of the army did. There have been cases even in Alexander's army whereby conflict arose between him and the travelling historian who then sent the details of the events secretly to his tutor in Greece.

I have visited Greece many times. Iranians are very respected by Greek people. So what is this complex about them writing the history the way they saw it? Of course anyone would write the way they saw it. Just because you don't like some of it or all of it doesn't mean it is not true. And who says you are responsible for how they behaved?

For instance Xerxes got angry and whipped the sea in Greece in order to calm the storm for his armies' ships - which mainly belonged to his allies in those areas -simply because Persians in Persia had not reached the Caspian sea and the Persian Golf (obviously not yet Persian in those days) and knew only about rivers . So a storm was a new phenomenon to be tamed by the king. On the other hand we also know that he saw a wonderful old tree in Minor Asia and was so impressed by its beauty that he ensured that as long as he was king a guard would protect the tree from being cut, and also ordered the ornamentation of the tree which proves that this might have been a usual practice amongst the Persians.

How nice that other nations wrote of our ancient past, otherwise our knowledge would have only reflected what a few kings thought of themselves- which was not inconsiderable- without an outside observer.

And how many historians have we got today?

Perhaps after all this is not really a subject we are interested in. Don't you think? So why forbid others to write about our history?

Vida Kashizadeh     


Keep eye on the prize

In response to Jalil Bahar's "False opposition":

Dear Jalil,

Thanks for your really informative article. You and the like of you are source pride for many of us Iranians who may not have the time or the background to write about the issues such as what you did. However, the issue of Mollah's in my humble opinion, also goes back to where "you did not want to go to" -- the USA. In fact due to Shah's brutality (brough in and supported by USA) we lost great number of political thinkers and real brilliant minds (nokhbeh).

We are in fact stuck with bunch of mollahs that perhaps (not so sure thou) want a better nation than we have but don't know any better, because they were not free to think free and to learn better --- thanks to the suppression of free thought, etc. and spread of anti-islamic values by the US government in the ME in general and iran in particular). So, "lets keep our eyes on the prize". The real enemy is the government of USA. Lets write about it, and make each other and the world familiar with this menace. Menace is not the American people, but is the American government.

nl ml


How low can we go?

In response to Siamack Salari's "We can, we will":

Thanks for sharing the details of your peeing behavior, .... that, and the pointless story says a lot about you and the times, which publishes any piece of crap they can (i guess they can and they will!). what is more, is that the title of this pointless essay is the heading of the current issue of the times. how low can we go?




In response to "Following Bush's example" by A. Mirfendereski:

I believe Ahmadinejad's remarks have been mis-translated to fit the purpose of Western powers that want to isolate Iran.

I was not able to find the original Ahmadinejad speech off of the IRNA website, but an english article from that website states: 'He [Ahmadinejad] quoted the late imam as saying, "The Qods occupying regime must be eliminated from the surface of earth." '

From the BBC website: ' Referring to Iran's late revolutionary leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, Mr Ahmadinejad said: "As the imam said, Israel must be wiped off the map." '

It is important to look at what he actually said, as opposed to what they want us to believe he said. (Did anyone actually hear/read the speech in Farsi?) If Ahmadinejad was indeed mis-translated, than he did learn from Bush. His remark applies purely to the government of Israel and not the country. And one must admit that the Zionist regime deserves more criticism than it receives.  If one examines the doctrine of religious Zionism, it is not conducive to the peace process because it is inflexible.

Western powers want the world to believe Iran and the people of Iran are anti-semitic and thus we have remarks such as "revulsion" and "sickening" (an allusion to genocide) allowing many to spring to the conclusion that Iran is a "clear and present danger".

I must conclude by saying that despite the mis-translation, Ahmadinejad is an oaf of a politician and he should not have said that.

Yousef Z
An Iranian-American


Iran will die

On President Ahmadinejad's "Wipe Israel off the map" comment:

Keep it up, assholes, Tehran will be GLASS, nuclear waste. And the rest of the country will follow if need be. 

Your President is an IDIOT. He will DIE and be lost in the nuclear blast. IRAN WILL DIE.

Mike Geele


We are with you

On President Ahmadinejad's "Wipe Israel off the map" comment:

Although small in number, there are people here in The US who want Israel off the map too.

Israel is the 21st century nazi and must be wiped out. Be Strong. Have Courage.

We are with you.

People of The United States

Scott Burry


Long gone

there was a time when the mention of the word "persia" sent shivers down the backs of all other nations. there was a time when persians were masters of the world. there was a time when persians felt they were masters of their own destiny. those times are long long gone. now it is either "zire daste engelisa" or "ghesmat ast".

i personally feel that the turning point in iranian history was when iran fell to the invaders from the arabian peninsula. after that iran was more on the receiving end. and i personally feel that after that the outlook of the persians changed as well. they were no longer the master of their own destiny

now iran has to worry about sanctions, being brought in front of the un security counsil, or even worst be attacked by foreigners. even a small child can look at the movement of us troops over the past 3 years and see where they are converging to.. it is truly heartbreaking to see how our beloved homeland has been ravaged by arabs, mongols, turks, macedonians, english, russians, afghans, turkmens, iraqis, etc.

after world war II and the horrors of the holocaust, the was an immigration of people from europe to palestine. the map of the middle east was redrawn after world war I and the whole regions has been a powderkeg in the past 100 yearsthere has been a continuous mutual distrust between the nations of the region. after the creation of a new state in 1948, the ancient contries in the region were coerced into fighting eachother to be mutually weakened. amongst all the countries of the region, iran is the one with the longest history as a nation.

i certainly hope that iran moves towards a great and prosperous future, and becomes the dominant power in the region. it has the longest and richest history, it is the largest and most populous i also think that these objectives can be achieved by looking inward and more towards her own heritage for answers, rather than looking at the outside world.

hooman golshan


Unrehabilitatable monsters

On Jim Hoagland's Washington Post column "Iran's Useful Reminder":

Dear Mr. Hoagland:

Terrorist Ahmadi-Nejad and the Mullahs in Iran came to power through deception, violence, and the direct support of foreign governments such as yours and the Brits. These two-legged monsters are unrehabilitatable and God knows how many times the late Shah of Iran tried to explain it to you (review your last interview with him), President Carter, and his advisers!

Don't you think it's time for America to redeem itself by apologizing to the Iranian people for abandoning and back-stabbing them and the late Shah in 1979. America helped Mullahs come to power and is morally obligated to take them out of power. An Iran of without Mullahs is good for Iranians, Americans, and the whole world for that matter!

Very respectfully,

General Xerxes


Everybody knows

On Mojammad Ali's "Go make funds for Isreal":

Javid Kahen is just telling the story of a little boy being abused in school because of his religion and it doesn't have to do anything with who controls the bazaar, which by the way I thought it was the mullahs, but that's besides the point. Everybody knows that minorities are discriminated against in the Islamic republic, particularly bahiais and jews. What good does it do to try to deny that ? It's not like the fact that they supposedly control the financial sector (???) or whatever makes it ok to discriminate against people.

Bahar Sharafi


Don't cry wolf

On Javid Kahen's "I was only a child":

Dear Mr. Javid Kahen:

Just to remind you that what you experienced in Iran is totally wrong million times over, how about the Palestinians who have been tortured and denied of their basic rights by your people, you do not have to be a rocket scientist to know that we all have right to exist and

You Jewish people had it much better under the corrupt previous regime, and we the non Jewish were and are suffering under the past and present criminal regime. What I am trying to say is, two wrong does not make right, and please do not cry wolf and find a way to get red of this regime that has no respect for basic human right.



Treated like the enemy

On Mojammad Ali's "Go make funds for Isreal":

I am responding to Mohammad Ali whose letter still carries the blind hatred to the Jewish people; the blind hatred that's been injected to the infected brains of numerous victims; the children of Islamic Republic! To many of us!

Dear Mohammad Ali, Millions of people ( you call them Muslims) in Iran don't seem to care about their life condition and the future of Iran And yet, I don't get your point that how do you connect all your fabrications about diamonds and domination of the bazaar and treating the Jewish community (one of the oldest communities of Iran)  like the enemy. And what's wrong with funding Israel? Why can't you find your favourite government in Iran to fund?

Jewish nations went through so many massacres. The worst kind of it was an Industrial form of Massacre along with communists and Slavs and gypsies by Adolf Hitler. And if we don't talk about the atrocities and if we don't condemn them periodically, it will happen again.We never never put an effort to talk about thousands of massacres that happen to our beloved country And you see what's been happening to us for 26 years
And now you are trying to shut Javid for what he shared with us in his childhood experience.

Do we want these experiences to happen again to any Iranian child, regardless his/her ethnic back-ground. Islamic republic has been always trying to take away our Iranian identity and wanted to give us the Islamic one !!

Let's not give them more chances.

Payandeh Iran va Irani

Mohsen Bavand, Toronto


Hair-raising adventrues

On Pouya Alimagham's "Blone Iranians":

Dear Pouya Agha,

I just finished reading your article, and all I could think was that on this very important, earth-shattering issue, the barber's shears cut both ways.

If I understood you correctly, you feel that Iranians sporting blond hair have inferiority complexes because they are trying to look like people who are ethnically Northern European. Well, I don't know if I'd agree with you on that point since I've never been inducted into the ranks of the hair police, but if it makes you feel any better, I'd like you to know that those of us who have light colored hair naturally,  have our share of problems when visiting Iran because of our hair color.

Unlike, you, whom I assume to be 100% ethnicalIy Iranian, I am an Ameranian by birth. My mother is an Iranian lady with beautiful dark black hair and my father is a balding blond haired American man. Most of my 15 years in this world were spent having a head full of light brown hair, but a couple of years ago when puberty kicked in full blast, some of my raging hormones must have gone straight to my head because my hair began turning lighter.  About two years ago at the ripe old age of thirteen began turning lighter. Now my hair is not only lighter than it once was, but much lighter. I now sport a full head of medium blond hair, but I don't feel inferior about it, or should I say,  I don't feel inferior about it until I step off the plane in Iran.

Let me recount just a couple of my "hair-raising" adventrues for you from my family's most recent trip to home . Last summer I went with my maman and dad to Iran as we do each year. My uncle, who is 50 years old and once a dark black hair, now dyes it black to hide the grey that's overtaking his head. He wanted my mother to let him give me a quirt or two of his "black from the bottle", so that I would, in his words, "fit in better". My mother told her brother that his idea was pretty "hair-brained" and that he had enough of his own hair to worry about than to worry about the color of mine.

On another occasion, my mother and I were shopping in a store in a bazar, chatting in Farsi to one another when the store clerk started staring at me with a look of bewilderment. He asked my mother, how does that "white boy" know "our" language?  My mother smiled and told him that it was because she gave birth to me and taught me the language like any other Iranian mother in the world. The man then sheepishly added that he would have never guessed that I could speak Farsi with my head full of blond hair.

On another shopping trip out, I went along with my dad because he can't speak much Farsi and he needs either me or my maman to translate for him when he ventures out in Tehran. As the two of us broused through a shop I could hear the two store clerks arguing in Farsi, of course, about how much they ought to jack-up the prices on whatever my dad decided to purchase. They smiled big friendly, toothy, shark-like smiles at him as they eagerly anticipated just how much of a bite they were going to take from his wallet. You should have seen the look of utter shock as their faces turned pasty-white when I turned to them and asked in Farsi whether they would like for me to translate into English what they had been discussing about for my dad. The embarassment on their faces betrayed I their complete surprise that a blond haired person, like me, could actually speak "their" language.

In addition to all of this, my blond hair and that of my dad's always seemed to attract the most expensive taxi drivers to us whenever we hailed a cab from a street curb. Our hair was like magnet drawing them towards us. My maman finally got fed up with taxis quoting us triple and quadrouple fares, so she ended up telling us to let her hail the taxis. She would tell us not to stand next to her whenever she was trying to negotiate with a taxi driver. She would have me and my dad either stand some distance away from her and pretend to be looking the other way or better still she'd tell us to stand behind a tree if one was convenient. Only after she'd get the driver to tell her the fare in advance would she hollar at us to run over and jump in the taxi with her.  Some of the taxi drivers got so pissed-off that they wanted to pull their (black) hair out when they realised they had missed the chance to sqeeze a few thousand more tomans out of us.

I hope will come to see that whether a person's hair is black, brown or blond, we all have problems in life because of the way we look. Some among us may feel that their hair color keeps us from feeling American-enough, or being fully accepted in American society, while others among us may feel that their hair color keeps them from feeling Iranian-enough or being accepted fully by other Iranians whether inside or outside of Iran.  Whether you are correct in your assessment that blond haired Iranian-Americans have inferiority complexes while black or brown haired ones don't, I don't know. What I do know though, is this: whatever any individual Iranians hair color is and whether it comes from a bottle or is natural is nobodys business, but theirs.

Really, Ahga jan, doesn't the Diaspora have more important issues to deal with than to worry about the color of other people's hair?   I for one do not wish to join hair police now will I call them when I see another blond haired Iranian.

Khoda Nagah-dar,
Lance Raheem


November 14 -- November 17
All past letters
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