Letters

October 2005
October 13
October 14 -- October 25 -- October 31

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Light hearted Persian

On Guive Mirfendereski's "Sweet Farsi":

Dear Mr. Mirfenderski,

About your statement:

"This view about the use of the term Farsi in English is based on the same old common and prevalent Iranian regard for what others may think, in this case the foreigners. I honestly do not give a flying fuck what a foreigner thinks of how I choose to refer to my mother tongue, the state language (lingua franca) of my birthland, as we all refer to it among ourselves, regardless of what language I express myself in."

Today in our "anything-goes" society, where  just about every age-old human institution and standard pertaining to human life , history and behaviour , have little or no meaning and are often questioned or ignored; your argument about Farsi vs. Persian makes perfect sense.

Furthermore, as an historian and author of the book A Diplomatic History of the Caspian Sea , may it not be more consistent with your "Farsi vs. Persian" sentiments, to rename your book "Taarikheh diplomaatikeh Daryaayeh Khazar"?  and in an attempt to settle the ongoing controversy  of Persian vs. Arabian Gulf, it might be an excellent compromise with our Arab neighbours and especially our friends throughout the world's media to to rename the Persian Gulf , The Farsi Gulf or better still, KHALIJEH-FARS, since as you know the word Farsi is an Arabic adaptation from Persian.

Please take my words as nothing but a light hearted reflection on this farcical exchange about our language and national identity.

Humbly :)

Faryar Mansuri

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Not in Washington, London, Paris or Berlin

Dear Iranian all over the world,

Before you ask Mr. G. W. Bush to give us democracy and liberty, ask him for an answer for more than 3,000,000 mothers and fathers in iran and iraq, with their their children, who lost their lives in 3 wars. Mr. Bush is a bastard and a racist. He works only for oil companies in Texas. He is a disgrace to humanity and Americans.

We the Iranian people will develop our democracy only by Iranians and only in Iran and not in Washington, London, Paris or Berlin.

behrouz rajabi

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Khanoom Atefi stories

My name is Romina. I am a mother of 16-month-old baby. I live in San Jose California.

I am desperately looking for Farsi stories, songs and books for my son. It is very hard to find interesting farsi children books or stories here.

Suddenly, I remebered Khanoom Atefi whom I loved to hear her voice when I was very little. I searched in the internet for her stories and I found your website. I am so sad that she passed away !

Would you please let me know how I can find a copy of her stories? Is there any tape or CD that I can buy?

I would appreciate if you could help me in this matter.

Romina

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Bitter counter-attack

On Amir Fassihi's article on Sivand Dam and the threat to archaeological sites, "Arrogance and ignorance Part 1 - Part II":

A few days ago I read the first part of your article (arrogance and ignorance) in Iranian.com. Frankly I was very disapointed with it since it looked to like a bitter "counter-attack" on two Iranian experts who had proved you wrong on your first claims about the "tomb of Cyrus", the whole Pasargad and tang-e Bolaghi literally going under water and all the political fuss that the Iranians abroad were making about it.

After spending the whole "part 1" of your article insulting and mocking the two Iranian professors, you promised that the second part of your article will shed light on what will actually be lost. However, all you did in your second article was to guess what "might" be there and how modern science (including medicine) could extract information from it, if they put all their ressources on it!!

Sir, I am by no means an expert on the subject, but last summer I met a lot of people in Iran who worked in the "Miraseh Farahangi" and other cultural organizations. They were all ordinary Iranians who loved their country and their culture and they were all very please with what the government of Khatami had done for the culture in the past 8 years and all praised him and loved him for that.

So, to go back to the old cliches and paradigms implying that the politicians and high ranking employees of the Islamic Republic are "plotting" to destroy the pre-Islamic history is just rediculous. I think most of the Iranians abroad have completely lost their grip on reality. Their perception of Iran is so simplistic and "romantic" that it looks like a cartoon!!

Ali. N

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The worst may come true

On Amir Fassihi's article on Sivand Dam and the threat to archaeological sites, "Arrogance and ignorance Part 1 - Part II ":

Hell of a job Mr. Fassihi, hell of a job!

I too suffer from the same thing as you do, and that's actually reading things and not getting easily distracted by polemics (of the kind that you refer to in your articles) by the so-called "authorities". So I do greatly appreciate the fact that you took these experts head on and read what they dared us to refer to, hoping that those references were long and tedious enough to dissuade anybody from diggin' in. Marhabaa

But the old major broken-record lesson here is the old az-maast-keh-bar-maast cliche which most of us Iranians are subjected to. Your bones analogy is right on the money also. The fundamental question is, though, why are we (as a people) so vulnerable to this phenomenon. I personally think I know the answer to that question. But I'll let you ponder and maybe we can pick that up another time.

For the time being though, I'm afraid the worst may come true and that won't be the first time either. Remember the Madaa'en palace (near Mosool, Iraq). Heck they &^%$ed that up and nobody blinked, why not the Bolaghi trench?

I hope not.

Seyed Moussavi

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Child brides or crusty princesses?

On Azam Nemati's "Azam's Fatwa":

Jenaabe Azam Khanoum,

Ey baba, haalaa shoma khodetoono naaraahat nakoonin! Maybe the reason some old farts seek out child brides is to get a break from crusty
"enlightened" princesses (ring a bell, anyone?).

Yours Sarcastically,

Kambiz

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Pointing in wrong direction

On Ali Akbar Hassani's "You are a danger to my kids":

I read your letter regarding Akbar Ganji. And I just wanted to comment on it. Well, it is not Akbar Ganji who you should blame if the U.S neoconservatives and the opportunist Iranian opposition groups abraod are using him as a political tool to advance their own agendas. You are pointing your fingers at the wrong direction.

Akbar Ganji was put in prison on baseless charges made up by the hardliners. And on top of that, he was denied the most basic rights as a prisoner. Even his lawers were not allowed to visit him. His wife and children were not allowed to see him and they were in constant pressure by the hardliner's thugs. He was denied any treatment for his illnesses and poor health condition . And even his life was in danger in prison, as many attempts were made to eliminate him.

That just much injustice as a man can take. A hunger strike was the only option for him to make some noise and be heard. And now, you are accusing him of "not taking into consideration the fact that some opportunists among the American Right Wing politicians and in the oppostion abroad, might use his hunger strike as a tool to support their political agenda" . You are asking him to "shut up" and "endure" all the injustice quietly because you don't feel safe when you see his posters in the American TV! That is being selfish, terribly conservative, undemocratic and incredibly insensitive to Human Right issues.

If you want to blame someone, blame Mr. Ladeen and his neoconservative pals and the opportunist Iranian opposition groups abroad who using a legitimate cause for an illegitimate agenda.

Ali. N

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Backstabbing

On Amir Irani-Tehrani's "Fuckbrain war-commemoraters":

Recently I have observed the re-emergence of insulting libel here and there such as this letter, screaming foul for Iran not ending the war after the liberation of Khorramshahr.

I thought I had well addressed that falsity for good in my writing, "Gheirat". Unfortunately it seems, the accusations have been reincarnated.

First of all, I must remark that supporting the war against Saddam in those days, is no reason for anyone to be labeled a "Hezbollahi". That is utter ignorance and callowness at best.

There were thousands that hated Khomeini and the regime from their guts, and yet felt it their duty to go to the front lines and defend their motherland. The numerous Armenian christian and minority volunteers that were in those trenches were not thinking about Karbala or Qods. They were thinking about the "namoos" and "sharaf" of Iran.

At this point, there are three points that come to my mind, which I did not emphasize in the first writing:

1. Even after the liberation of Khorramshahr when Iran supposedly went on the offensive, Iran still had large parts of its territory under occupation; clearly a disadvantage when one wants to negotiate ceasefire terms with the enemy. Even when UN resolution 598 was signed, 20,000 square kilometers of Iran's territory was still occupied by Iraq's army.

2. There were no guarantees then that Iraq would honor the International borders after a ceasefire. Iran's forces at that time were largely composed of volunteer or non-professional forces that were not able to maintain a stable position in times of a ceasefire, while Iraq's army was a professionally trained stable force that would gain the advantage, should the Iranian troops abandon their positions to return to their homes. One doesnt agree to a ceasefire unless one has some guarantees for backup. Iran had none and did not intend to make such a mistake again: Iran lost half of Caucasus to Russia for the very same mistake in 1828.

During the Second Irano-Russian wars, Iranian forces led by Abbas Mirza pushed back the Russian invaders to Tbilisi, liberating Iranian territory. Most of Iran's forces were volunteers that had come there by the decree of the Ulema. They returned victorious to their homes thinking Russia would honor the terms of the ceasefire, only to see the Russians re-group and invade Iran once agaim all the way to Qazvin. One can still see the Russian church and ballet hall built in Qazvin even today.

3. The war reparation figures (gharaamat e Jangi) being proposed to Iran for damages in the war were insulting and humiliating. Iranian officials today estimate the war to have cost Iran One Trillion dollars in damages. They requested only $100 Billion back then. Yet the highest ever suggested figure was by India (with no enforcing authority) and was a diminutive $50 Billion, with no guarantees. The Organization of Islamic Countries proposed a mere $10 Billion. None of the proposing parties cared to continue the talks beyond suggestive remarks anyway, despite Iran's readiness for the matter.

One can spend a lifetime defending the imposed war of Iran against Saddam, and still be betrayed and backstabbed by one's kinsmen, the very people one has been defending all along.

Politics is a bitch.

Nima Kasraie

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Must feel smooth flow

On Chapter 7 of Homayoun Abghari's serialized novel, "Saghpichook":

Very interesting, romantic, poetic at times and tangible story. Well written, well presented, well in touch with reality of life. I enjoyed the story. Writer is able to express the feelings and characters so well that made me live the story while reading it.

I have a short comment respecting one repeated practice of the writer. And may be it's more a personal choice. The writer/narrator, in few places, promises further explanation in upcoming pages, or expect the readers to remember an event in the past pages. In my view, this makes the story incomplete, or turns the novel into a text book. And at best, it's an interruption in the flow of the story.

The reader must feel the smooth flow of the story without any interruption and follow its continuity in every page. The writer is in command to organize his thoughts and writings. Therefore, he should be able to use his authority and say it right there and then, or not.

Amir Kasravi

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Why so wordie?

On Abdolkarim Soroush's "Amaan az een zamaaneye Farhad kosh":

I certainly praise the man for his intelligence and efforts to modernize Islam. But can't understand a word he writes in Farsi.

Why do Iranian intellectuals have to write so verbosely? The ones he should attract are Islamic fundamentalist and religious fanatics who probably don't understand his writing much.

Sheila

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Your are a danger to my kids

Letter to dissident writer Akbar Gani regarding his hunger strike:

Dear Mr Ganji

Many have taken up your banner, but I can't forget that not so long ago you were at the forefront of the regime's paramilitary street thugs, the same regime which you claim to now oppose with the same over-heated vehemence. Apparently, your extremism knows no bounds and merely switches from one side to another.

And do you accomplish something constructive with your latest stunts? No, nothing, except to hand a propagand tool the Neoconservative monsters like Ledeen and Fox News, who would be quite happy to see hundreds of thousands of Iranians children die in their "regime change" scenarios, just as hundreds of thousands of Iraqi children died as a result of the bombings and sanctions. Yes, you can be certain that war criminals like Bush and Rumsfeld stay awake many nights, shedding crocodile tears for human rights in Iran -- and you are their convenient poster boy, a useful idiot. You are a danger to my kids.

If you manage to kill yourself, are you a martyr? No, that term is reserved for the people who willingly stepped into minefields to defend our country; people who slowly choked to death on poisonous gases sold to Saddam Hussein by the same French, American, German and British government that rush to your defense and proclaim the sanctity of human rights. The names and pictures of those martyers were not featured by Reuters or Associated Press as your picture and name are, and they never expected that. They simply did their best to defend and protect their nation and people. They were the true martyrs who made the greatest sacrifice in defense of their nation - not you.

I do not wish you to die, of course. I think that you should be force-fed and legally confined to a mental asylum, like any other suicide candidate whose delusions of glory and sense of self-importance bring him close to death. But if you do die, I expect that you will be remembered for a while among the fashionably-political cafe-latte sippers sitting in New York or LA, who will espouse the cause of human rights in their own relative comfort far from Iran. I too shall remember you, not as a martyr for freedom or democracy or human rights but as a fool whose extremism was a danger to the nation and people of Iran -- but who ultimately proved to be a greater danger to himself.

And then I too shall forget you.

aliakbar hassani

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Gay grudge

In response to Ali Mousavi's "Cyrus can rest in peace" and Zohreh Khazai Ghahremani's "So much for Mr Jones":

It is unfortunate that people like Jonathan Jones have free tribune in the Guardian while writing outside of their field, namely critique of art. Indeed, he talks about what he knows so little in this article. But I'm sure that Jonathan Jones as a gay man has certainly a grudge against Islamic Republic of Iran (IRI) for the recent execution of the two pedophiles. He is confusing  IRI with Persia.

fred mira

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Nukes in earthquake zone?

On Kouross Esmaili's "Ahmadinejad challenges the big boys":

You say, "The nationalization of Iranian oil was the first successful anti-colonial struggle in the post-World War II era. " I think the independence of India and Pakistan came before that.

The big question about Iran's nuclear fission power stations is, what are the plans for disposal or storage of the radioactive waste? Iran is an earthquake zone. How can they safely store this stuff for thousands of years?

It seems stupid to get involved in this old, discredited technology now, when wind and solar power are improving technically at a great rate. Iran also has a sea coast where tidal power could be developed.

Don

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Damet garm

On Pouya Alimagham's "We remember"

Pouya jan,

Damet garm, a wonderful and well pull justified remembrance. I honor all those who defended Iran. My salute to all of them who fought so bravely.

Mehrdad M

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Freedom from self

Perhaps it was time that all of us people, persians and non persians realized that the freedom we have long searched for must first and foremost be felt inside. Got to feel free from this self and its impositions and restrictions.

Medya

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Not funny

On "Executive Abdaarchi":

Looks like I am in the mood to keep correcting you today; I can't help reminding you that what you posted under "anyway" as "Executive abdaarchi" is inappropriate and perhaps illegal (since I assume it was not sent to you by the employee himself). It was not funny at all and exposed some confidential information on an honest laborer; what are you doing?!

HG

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He needs a physical

On Shokooh Miry's advice to "Pissed Off Persian"

Constant anger can be caused by a number of physical ailments, as it can be a sign or outright symptom of on-setting or existing untreated diseases. To name a few, hypertension, diabetes, or a simple malfunction of the thyroid gland could all be at the source of this gentleman's free-floating anger.

This is why it would have been more responsible to first ask the subject to go through a physical check-up rather than sending him to anger management therapy sessions, which, in case he's actually suffering from a disease such as those named above, will not do him any good. In any case, it would be preferable in this case that this gentleman quickly sees a medical doctor first.

I must admit that having read all your previous columns, which were all very thoughtful and ethically sound, I was a bit surprised at the advice given in this one. I urge you or Mr.J avid to rectify the above.

I wish you all the best in your future endeavors,

Parham Nik-Eteghad

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See your doctor

On Shokooh Miry's advice to "Pissed Off Persian"

I was surprised to see that the lady doctorate candidate is totally ignoring the role of very common and treatable medical conditions such as hypo- or hyperthyroidism and just assumes that this needs to be dealt with through dispencing advice like "We have all felt anger, whether mild irritation or full rage, etc.".

Buttomline, don't be misleading, the first advice to this patient must be "first see your primary care doctor to rule out medical conditions such as thyroid malfunction and take it from there".

HG

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Ugly & racist (& anti-Pahlavi)

On Mahdad's cartoons:

I find Mahdad's cartoons ugly and racist. There is truly a lack of imagination in his cartoons and that goes beyond who he critisizes be it Reza Pahlavi, Ahmaninejad or the MKO. It reminds me of some of the cartoons made during the NAZI era in Germany against Jews saying that they were ugly and inferior. Is that a political statement ? I think that Saman's cartoons for instance have a point and does it with talent. But Mahdad is simply making fun of physical appearances and makes no point out of it. You probably do have something to say Mahdad but this is certainly not the right road to take ...

Best,

Darius KADIVAR
, aka Joe
Paris FRANCE

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Playing with fire

On Meir Javedanfar's "Why not us?":

Dear Meir,

Tehran is not Iran and as for Mr. Ahmaninejad accepting to speak in front of an unvieled Amanpour (Also Iranian) is no feat. After all he was in America ans has to obey American culture. Amanpour did wear the veil in Iran when she did the interview with Khatami. Your arguments seem to justify Mr. Ahmaninejad's bellicose policies.

As for "In the fight to stop the Iranian government from developing the nuclear bomb, the West needs the Iranian people on its side." Yes you are right but when a people are wrong we should also say they are wrong no ? The Iranian people have to realize that their leaders are playing with fire and that this dangerous attitude will only harm them and their interests.

I do not wish a military conflict with Iran which I hope and think is improbable given the difficulties of Bush in the US with the public opinion and because of the mess in Iraq. However the case of Iran and nuclear technology is only retarding any effort to see the regime in Iran concede to the nations will to be free and see an end to the unjust and pathetic way this theocracy is managing Iran's affairs both internally and externally.

Darius KADIVAR
Paris FRANCE

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You crossed the line

On "Executive Abdaarchi":

Ever since I accidentally discovered your website a few years ago, I have been a frequent visitor. I must say your open-minded logo "nothing is sacred" made the connection and sparked my curiosity that has lasted ever since.

Throughout these years I have enjoyed reading articles and opinions from all walks of life associated with Iranians and their issues, some well written, some poorly, some based on facts and figures and some baseless and just plain dumb. Most of them however had one thing in common. They never intended, to say the least, to insult one's dignity. Today you crossed that line. I was disgusted to see material on your site humoring one's effort to make a buck.

I believe you owe an apology to Mr. Haji Zadeh. Moreover you should make a sincere effort differentiating between humor and chauvinism.

Arsalan Faghri

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Sick mind

On Aidin Fathalizadeh's photos of sacrficing a lamb, "Qorbani":

What a sick mind wants to look at these photos? Why bring in innocent children to look at this barbarism? I despise everything ISLAMIC!

HH

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Anglo Saxon masters

On Farrokh A. Ashtiani's "Over a barrel of oil":

Dear Mr. Ashtiani,

What a wonderful article about oil. Thanks a lot for exposing the Brits policy in our region.

Most of what you have said about the price of oil in comparison with other liquid commodities is not only right & true, it is the same as Mohamad Reza Shah was saying, some 30 years ago for which, HE paid heavy price. He was insisting that the price of oil should be decided on par with other industrial merchandise. Also, HE had pointed out, that oil is a sacred commodity since more than 3000 different by products, including ordinary Aspirin is derived from it, which can not be made any other way when the wells go dry. Therefore the 1979 Mullah’s uprising!

But I have to disagree with you concerning the construction of the Trans Iranian Rail Way. The law to construct that Rail Way was passed in the Iranian National Parliament (Majles Shoraye Meli) in 1305 (1926-27). At that time there was no name of Hitler or even Nazi Germany. Therefore it is hard to accept your statement that the Trans Iranian Rail Way was constructed to ship arm & armaments to Russia some 17 years later?

If anybody could have such far reaching vision, he/she could claim being a prophet, Mohamad, Moses or Josses!? Or at least Nostra Damous?

Also you have correctly exposed the betrayal part of Mossadeh in Nationalization of our oil. Some time ago I had written a comment about the revenge the Brits are yet taking from the Americans for being kicked out of U.S.A. Therefore I share you evaluation of the peculiar relationship between the two.

It is true that the Yanks did away with the Brits colonial stranglehold, but they could not do away with the ANGLO SAXONS who are ruling America as a subservient to their original British Masters.

Over all, I am delighted to read your article.

H. Hakimi,
Oslo,
Norway

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British revenge on America

On Hashem Hakimi's letter, "Anglo Saxon masters":

Dear Mr. Hakimi,

Thank you so much for reading the article [Over a barrel of oil] and most importantly my hats off to you for recognizing the British atrocities in our country and the region. You are correct about the dates that the railroad was constructed and I should have made it clear that eventually in 1941 the railroad was used to carry the arms for the allied forces to fight the Germans.  I thank you for your correction and comments.

I am very interested to read the piece that you have written about the “revenge the Brits are yet taking from the Americans” this indeed is the central focus of the British in their relationship with the US. I am truly hopeful that someday a few Iranian get together and start the public education of our people on who our true enemies are.

Farrokh Ashtiani

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Who wants to listen to HER?

On Jahanshah Javid's "Che Khabar?":

I always enjoy looking at your websiet, and have enjoyed reading the articles and catching up with the news from our home country Iran, for years and years.

I was a little disappointed to see this che khabar? video clips. The lady who is one of your friends, and is talking -- she sounds soooooooooo ..... childish despite her old age. When she is talking with her silly accent she does not even speak farsi good enough, and she is making fun of her country and the people in it. She sounds like a total idiot. What a shame. Who wants to hear about her stupid experience. She lacks substance and class. Who is she?

You must be ruuning out of ideas, and are trying to fill up the page, but having stories like that--really lowers your wonderful website. Does not add, just distracts. This is a friendly comment. Please don't take it as criticism. I am your friend. I just thought it is a pity you put something in that nature in your wonderful website.

Farzaneh S

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I am truly in love

On Jahanshah Javid's "Che Khabar?":

Please allow me to tell you about myself. I am a young attorney and I have been reading your website since I was in undergrad. This is my first time writing in, but I feel compelled to write in because I saw the clips in "Cheh Khabar" and I fell in love!

I fell in love with the woman who is in your clips, who is wearing blue and is very active in voicing her stories in the clips. I just think she is marvelous! She would be my ideal dream wife. I think she is beautiful, articulate, funny and knows how to tell a story well! She is also very dramtic and full of life! I am truly in love with this girl.

Is there anyway, you can put me into communication with her? By either giving me her email or giving mine to her? I would greatly appreciate it.

GK

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I was at the picnic, too

On Jahanshah Javid's "Che Khabar?":

I really liked what you did. It was as if I was there with you all at that picinic. Thanks for sharing the experience. You guys rate at the top of "baa haal" scale!

Noosh...

Farrokh

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James Golmohammadi

i am trying to contact a gentleman who i met in san antonio in 1969. he was stationed at one of the air force bases there, in a training program for pilots of the iranian imperial air force.

we met at fort sam houston where i was stationed, training for a tour of duty in vietnam in the army nurse corps. my orders to report to long binh, vietnam, were for february 1970, and i believe that he was due to return to iran within that year also.

this man's name is jamaleddin golmohammadi, (he suggested that i call him james) and his home was in tehran at that time.

i am asking that this message be posted in your news publication. if any person reads this, and knows Jamal, please inform him that i would appreciate hearing from him.

jamal (james), please get in touch with "typical trice" at 8 thunder lane, charlemont, ma. 01339.

Trice Hyer

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Bored to tears

On Houman Jazaeri's "Getting married":

Another Iranian drama!! Is this ever going to leave the minds and souls of Iranians? What is so significant about this that is worthy of being among much more informative and clever articles. I am bored to tears after reading this.

Sorry pal,

Amir Moazzami

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Thank god for foreigners

On Matt Bina's "He's British!":

What mozakhraf is this? Because he is British he must be a villain? Are all Muslims terrorists, eh?

It's quite clear that as a foreigner you can see often better than a fellowman because you are not so emotionally and educationally involved.Sometimes you can see better from afar.

By the way, without british and french archeologists there wouldn't be much left of the iranian heritage. Everyday so much is stolen in Tehran museums, you can't imagine. You should praise those foreigners , who knew the value of takht-e jamshid and other places and who cared much more for the iranian heritage than iranians themselves ever did.

So shut up bloody bastard.You just showed your prejudices nothing else. British Academics are usualy not agents of the government, that for sure
Ther might be pros and cons concernung this dam.

But to say that because he's british ,because he is a foreigner, he shouldn't be listened to,is extremely narrow minded not much different from the mullahs(some of them for sure).

What you put forward in that letter was just a mixture of prejudice, stereotypes and paranoia.If you got proof, so proove it, if got none, be quiet.

Heinz
(by the way a foreigner)

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Are you getting paid?

On links to BBC and Radio Farda on iranian.com:

I WONDER IF YOU ARE GETTING PAID BY "BBC " AND / OR " RADIO FARAD" , COPYING A PORTION OF THEIR WEB SITES ON THE IRANIAN.COM. I KNOW BOTH "BBC" AND "RADIO FARAD" ARE NO FRIENDS OF OUR NATION , SO MAKE ME WONDER WHY YOU GUYS ARE SO MUCH OBSESSED  WITH THEM?

HAVE A NICE DAY.

Ahmad Talemy

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What have we done for Iran?

On Kamyar Abdi's "Sensationalism vs. Rationalism"

Very well done article. I don't know, should I start with, we, or I. I think I start with more general way, we. We Iranians are a very good talkers, scolders, and sellers. But when it comes to actions and putting our hand into our pockets, we forget everything.

We blame the government of Iran what it has done in the past to Iran, not asking ourselves what have we done for Iran and Iranians.
We open up shops, media shops, by putting people against each other in order to gain advantages for ourselves.

I can write on this subject for ever and ever but I know, you don't have the time and I don't need to knowledge my selfishness, because I only see, "me". My parents gave me this idea from many generation past. I hope my son can be more realistic and different than me.

Thank you for your fantastic article.

Amir
Los Gatos , Ca. USA

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Nuclear sense

On Guive Mirfendereski's "Things you don't want to hear"

In spite of the fact that the 'West' is dead set on wanting to derail Iran's nuclear program, I can't help but wonder if the tide would have changed in our favor had Dr. Mirfendereski argued our case with his logic which is so brilliantly articulated. 

Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich

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Boobs are bad

On video "Athletic boobs"

I think the Moral isssue is a big problem facing mankind. The science, tehcnology and physical eduation is progressing all the time, but the moral education is going down rapidly.

This is a spiritual desease that mankind is facing. I understand that MEDIA must be free and have all the doors and opinions wide open, but then there should be a border line and a POLICY and standard.

My comment is about the recent Video you put on your web site called the "Authletic boobs" and many others as well. The quality of Iranian.com has come down real fast comparing to when it started first. Our responsibilty we have in this world and specially in America which moral values are declining radily is to stand up for good values and virtues.

Your duty there is to teach our preciuos cultural values and to learn the good American cultural values. Iranian.com used to be a good place to exchange such things.

Soroush

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Check your facts first

On Jack Oakley's "An American in Tehran"

Having read Mr. Oakley's article, bearing in mind no interest in what he thinks of Iran or Iranians on his trip (bear in mind dear sir that you live your way of life and we live ours, good or bad) I wouldn't have normally responded to such an article. But he stumbles on a mistaken political statement that I must correct: in his article he states that "The ruling mafia started a war with Iraq just after the revolution..."

Now I don't know what Mr. Oakley's professional background is, but even a high school student in the US would learn in the 8th grade that the war was actually started by Iraq, not to emphasize the fact that it was backed heavily by the US herself.

So, the next time you write a "socio-cultural" piece Mr. Oakley, and you want to put in a little political statement, you make sure you check your facts. Like I said, I don't care how you think of Iran, but do get your international facts in order dear sir.

Cordially,

S. Hesam H.

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Evil delight

On Iranian women football players:

I was highly aroused by your explicit photos of female football players. The sight of their voluptuous fingers and protruding nose sent me into uncontrollable spasms of evil delight. So much so, that I immediately stripped and ran naked down the street and started fondling all members of the fair sex, be they babies, girls, or old age pensioners. Next week I am due to appear in court to explain my actions.

My lawyer says that Iranian.com is to blame for exposing me to such irresistible urges. He is also writing to the Supreme Ayatollah of the Islamic Republic of Iran to insist that a FULL burka or chador be prescribed for ALL female athletes, in all competitions from football to swimming to gymnastics to ice-skating to hang-gliding.

We must all fervently pray that the beloved homeland is no longer backward in these matters and quickly advances to the sublime heights of admirable societies such as Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia, who lead the world in true freedom, justice, mercy, logic, transport to Heaven, & blah blah blah!

Sam Nejad

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Sacred lies

On link to BBC report on Bush's alleged comments on God and his mission in the Middle East:

Abbas and people in the room who took official notes have stated that Bush never said this. So... print ugly rumors and harm America if you wish...  Nothing is sacred means lies are welcomed here.

Kathleen Nassery

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We have issues

On Jahanshah Javid's "Heechee kam nadaaran":

Great piece on the Bahais. I have been married to a Bahai woman for 17 years now and although much like you, I don't believe in organized religion, I have to say this: on a relative scale, the best Iranians I have come in contact with during my life have almost all been Bahais.

The problem you mentioned about us Muslim Iranians doesn't end with the Bahais. We have the same or worse issue with the Jews. On the surface they have more rights in Iran but at the end of the day, they are 3rd class citizens in Iran.

I can't tell you how many times I have heard my friends say horrible things about our Jewish friends behind their back; its 2005 for God sake!

Anyway, reading what you had so beautifully written made me happy and added to my respect and like for you.

My wife is also a big fan of yours.

Take care and keep up the good work.

Fateh

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You got one thing right

On Jahanshah Javid's "Heechee kam nadaaran":

As an Iranian Baha'i living in Washington State, I was very amused by your story. Baha'is have been persecuted for a very long time and I commend you for putting some thought into this piece-yes I know your internet connection was down and you probably didn't have anything better to do than ponder the unfairnesses of this world. I am not going to try to preach to you the teachings of our religion, but you did get it right that we are after peace, abolishment of prejudices and racism and all other "happy" stuff. However, the Baha'i Faith does also have teachings that will blow your mind, things that are so commonsensical (is this actually a word?) but are not practiced by any religion. So we are more than fluff. But I digress. Anyways, interesting read, I'm glad someone is thinking about the unspoken persecutions that still occur in Iran every day.

Nakisa

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You will be a Bahai

On Jahanshah Javid's "Heechee kam nadaaran":

People with such sense of justice as you are give me courage and strength.

I began to investigate the Bahai Faith for the same reasons you are upset about "Religion". My home is in the Dominican Republic where I am learning about the Bahai Faith because their social economic development projects attracted me.

Names are not important, it is what's on your haert that is important. I think you will be a Bahai.

Oh!, I hope you got back your Internet connection on time, and I certanly hope you will lose it again...

Vaya con Dios!
Felix Serrano

REPLY: Don't bet on it. -- Jahanshah Javid

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God save us from ourselves

On Abdolkarim Soroush's "Amaan az een zamaaneye Farhad kosh":

I read or tried to read Souroush's reply to Bahmanpour and the original Bahmanpour letter. I felt like the hapless hero in Jamalzadeh's "Farsi Shekar Ast" which every Iranian should read. The language is incomprehinsible to the average Iranian and I defy anyone to say otherwise. The use of Arabic shows a madness in the Iranian character since Islam to be more Arab than the Arab.

Moreover I find the political arguments justified through "fegh" or Islamic philosophy in this day and age idiotic. The fokolie-Moslem generation is trying unsuccessfully to reform a backward reactionary leadership who has no interest, who has sold its soul to power lock stock and barrel.

Mr Soruoush if you are trying to say "goh khordam", well you don't need to black so many pages and waste so much bandwidth otherwise why are you wasting your time? From what I saw in Iran and its young people, they are not interested and they won't be fooled by you or Shariati or such charlatans ever again.

Rostam

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Roots & influences

On Guive Mirfendereski's "Against conventional wisdom":

This is just a short answer to Mr. Mirfendereski's quick answer to my little passages.

I have never denied Arabic borrowings from Persian, nor has anyone else. I have actually compiled a list of such borrowings and I find them very interesting: some basic Arabic words such as the RZQ root (raazaaq, rezq) are from Persian and there is no doubt Persian influenced Arabic.

Also, Parthian is not a "version" of Persian, rather a language in its own right. Parthian was a northwestern Iranian language and was a seperate language from Persian. However, you said that "The Avesta was written in the Parthian and Sasanian version of Persian and it is said to have remotely related to Vedic." The Avesta was composed and later written in a language called Avestan, which again is a language in its own right, it was not written in Persian or Old Persian. Avestan was a northeastern Iranian language and its Gathic sections provide the oldest evidence we have of an Iranian language, predating Old Persian by about 500-800 years.

Also, Old/Gathic Avestan was actually very closed to Vedic, so much that they could be considered dialects of each other. If you are using Old Aryan as a designation for Indo-Iranian, it is okay, but I just wanted to know if you mean it in this sense or whether you are using it for "Indo-European" as a whole.

I suggest a review of Corpus Lingarum Iranicarum (translated as Zabaanhaaye Irani), edited by R. Schmitt (Persian translation edited by Dr. H. Rezai-Baghbidi). This is a valuable source, and the standard work, for information about the Iranian Language Family.

Khodadad Rezakhani
www.iranologie.com
www.vishistorica.com

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Against conventional wisdom 

On Khodadad Rezakhani's "Folk etymology":

And what makes the Western sources cited by the reader any more valid than the rational conjecture taken from the reading of the Oxford English Dictionary and Dehkhoda. I am not a linguist but as nothing is sacred, in my humble view, folk etymology is all we have to relate to because the know-it-alls of our community have chosen to sit on their ganjineh of knowledge and bury their wisdom in pages of "scholarly" journals that most people do not see or read.

As for ma-vara he is wrong because ma-vara (from beyond) itself is a compound prefix such as in ma vara al-bahar (from beyond the seas, frontiers) and I happen to believe that Arabic borrowed much from Persian and it also borrowed the notion of vara from Persian. I doubt if the Arabs use vara; this is an Arabicized version of a Persian word like Farsi from Parsi (they call Farsi really Ajam). The Iranians have so auto-victimized themselves by this Arabification stuff that they have lost all ability to think for a moment that maybe, maybe, Arabic got much from the Persian language too.

Old Aryan (Indo-Iranian-European) includes the Old Persian and Sanskrit (and Vedic). The Avesta was written in the Parthian and Sasanian version of Persian and it is said to have remotely related to Vedic.

I will continue to transgress against the conventional wisdom until I can make some sense for myself (and maybe for some others in the process) about Iran's contribution to civilization, besides some worn out tablets in the British Museum.

Sincerely,

Guive Mirfendereski

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Folk etymology

On Guive Mirfendereski's "Beyond far and good":

I read the article with interest and I think it is quite well-written, as most of the pieces by Mr. Mirfendereski are. His command of the English language and his ability to write so well should be an example to the rest of the expatriate Iranians who often lack the same skills and manage to ignore it most of the time.

However, I have a few problems with Mr. Mirfenderski's etymologies and I think they border "folk etymology", which is not a good thing to pursue. I also would like to ask Mr. Mirfendereski to kindly provide some sources for the etymologies.

To start, I would like to ask Mr. Mirfendereski to clarify the term "Old Aryan" in the first line of the third paragraph. Is this refering to the pre-Sanskrit stage of the Indo-Iranian language group, or is Mr. Mirfendereski following the 100 years old belief that all Indo-European languages came from Sanskrit and thus are "Aryan" languages? If the second is the case, I would plead with you to update your information.

Despite the fact that the association of English "far" with the Proto-Indo-European *par- (actually *per-) is correct, I have to disappoint by saying that the Modern Persian "vara" (as in maa-varaa) is actually Arabic and the similarities arepurely coincidental. Furthermore, the word faravard is actually far-avard, not fara-vard as seemed to have been suggested in the article. It is from the prefix far- (OIr. *fra- discussed below) and the past stem of the verb "to bring" and as a combination means "brought forth".

Persian far- prefix (properly called a pre-verb) is from an Old Iranian *fra- which gives the idea of action, bringing forth. The best example of it is in the word farman (fra-man: "bringing forth a thought/idea, commanding").

The word tigra- in Old Persian does not mean "tall, high" as was suggested by Mr. Mirfendereski, rather "swift, sharp" and is reflected in Modern Persian teez "sharp". Saka Tigra Khauda actually means "saka with sharp helmet".

The etymology for the Euphrates was interesting, and some think it might indeed be an Avestan word: huperethuua "good to cross". However, we have the Akkadian form of this word, which predates any Iranian naming, and that is purattu- which seems to be the more plausible etymology.

The etymology for better, despite the fact that is suggested in a light-hearted way (it gives me a perverse pleasure as well Mr. Mirfendereski), is a little too far-fetched. Usually basic words are not borrowed from each other. Modern Persian behtaryn is actually a later formation. The proper persian superlative suffix is -ist/isht which in the case of beh is reflected in the word behesht (from wahisht).

The English *botz- root is reflected in many other Germanic roots and has an Indo-European root *bhad-. It is possible that both "behtar" and "better" have the same IE root, but it is a little hard to imagine that the Germanic people did not know how to say "better" before they borrowed the word from the Persians.

My basic sources for this were:

Bartholomae, Christian. Altiranisches Woerterbuch, Strassburg, 1904

Pfeifer, Wolfgang (ed.). Etymologisches Woerterbuch des Deutschen. DTV, 1989

Pokorny, Julius. Indo-Germanisches Etymologisches Woerterbuch, Francke, Bern, 1989

Watkins, Calvert. The American Heritage Dictionary of the Indo-European Roots. Houghton Mifflin Company, 2000

Khodadad Rezakhani
www.iranologie.com
www.vishistorica.com   

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Why can't iran look like that?

On Nooshin and Aram Basseri's "Celebration of life":

i looked at all those pictures of italy and i keep thinking why can't iran look like that?

the people all in colors, in shorts, or tank tops, their hair showing, the colors of the buildings and the flowers everywhere, the fruit stands. i mean i know there are fruit stands in iran too and floers, but its just different.

all the gloomsville akhoonds in their black and white and gray outfits running the country so stupidly strict and so demanding that that is how it should be and not any other way.

well, whatever, guess that is why we will live anywhere but there.

michelle

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Better than average

On Javid Kahen's "Man faghat yek koodak boodam":

Thank you Mr. Kahen for sharing your story with us.

My family and I left Iran in 1986. We lived among other places in Youssefabad of Tehran for a time, where before the revolution a strong Jewish community existed, but after the revolution there weren't very many Jews left there - while I suspect that some were hidding their religion, or at least were not very open about being Jewish. I am very sorry about that especially because it has been my experience after leaving Iran that all the little prejudices that the regime or society in Iran had drilled into my head and that of many other Iranians was not only off or a little wrong, but in many cases the exact opposite of truth.

In fact since leaving Iran I have found that religious minorities such as the Jews, Bahais, Christians etc. are not only not "najes" but very often much more clean and good than average. Same applies to other kinds of minorities. It has been my experience for instance that Turks or Azaris, are not only not dumb as ! the prejudice against them or jokes and such would have it, but often times much smarter and more intelligent than those who call themselves Fars or Persian... And of course same also applies to Arabs and others as well.

But I am writing to thank you for your post in the iranian.com, because such matters must not be taken for granted and must be expressed if we are ever going to get over this rather systematic dumbing down with fascistic method. Because it is not only you who were hurt that day, but everyone in Iran is hurt because you and your family like so many others, have had to leave. What you are writing about then, while it is your personal experience, as you say in the beginning of you article, stands for the experience of very many Iranians of all backgrounds.

Amir

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Sex sells

On "Eroric ads":

These erotic ads show how sex sells. In Iran prior to the 1979 Revolution sex sold a lot. The magazines at the time promoted sex a lot in order to sell items. The films at the time also had topless as well as totally nude scenes. Two movies that I remember that had nude scenes were "Maheh Assal" and "Dar Emtedad Shab", both movies were Gogoosh movies. Iran prior to the revolution was like Amsterdam. It was all about sex, drugs and rock and roll.

There was even a place that the Shah opened up called "Shahre No". A new city where prostitution was legal. From 1st hand sources I have heard that houses of prostitution existed all over Iran prior to the revolution. One Iranian male told me that there was even a whore house located next to a masjid in Tehran in those good old days. One but wonders what happened to those great days of Iranian history.

After the Revolution that all stopped. But now there is the option of temporary marriage with widows and divorced women and that is prevelant in all of Iran. Slamming Iranian bitches is still going on!

And who ever said that the Islamic Revolution was puritanical when it came to the sex trade is all wrong. Iran has always been one big orgy. Now the orgy takes place behind closed doors. If Iran opens up, maybe the world can take a camera in and film this stuff.

Jamshid Richard William Tehrani III

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