Letters

May 2006
May 5 -- May 26

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Will it take a Chernobyl-type accident?

In the Wed. May 3 BBC article by Frances Harrison, "Iranian author arrested in Tehran," linked right here on iranian.com, there is an important point that is brought up by Akbar Ganji. The last paragraph of the article reads:

"[Mr. Ganji] questioned why in Iran there is no real debate on the nuclear issue, saying every where else in the world civil society groups protest against nuclear power plans, but in Iran everyone lines up to defend them."

This is a classic example of "hameh raa aab bordeh, ma raa khaab."

Will it take a Chernobyl-type accident to convince people that nuclear power is a bad idea? Can't we, and our civil society groups, find a saner cause to rally around?

Sima Nahan

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Ban Ahmadinejad

On Jahanshah Rashidian's "No rights, no sports":

Dear Mr. Rashidian,

I think that Mr. Ahmaninejad should be banned from entering German Soil and thus not be allowed to participate in any shape to the events celebrating the World Cup. The German Law does not allow any form of Nazi provocation on its soil since the fall of the 3rd Reich. However To impose a sanction on the Iranian players and their supporters would be unfair. Even if personally I never considered soccer as being a friendly sport for it tends to flatter nationalistic pride than individuality so more common in other sports.

I nevertheless do not think that sport and politics should co-exist. If that was the case no olympic games could have been organized since the commemoration of the Battle of Marathon that saw the defeat of our Mighty Persian Army of Darius the Great. May I remind you that even after the massacre of Israeli Athletes at Munich Olympic Games of 1972 the games still continued to the very end after a 34 hours break in tribute to the fallen Israeli athletes.

I believe that Iranian athletes and supporters should be treated with respect as long as they do not take a political position. If any of the Iranian players boycotts the games in sign of protest I would salute such a gesture, but that is unlikemy to happen.

I believe personally that these games will particularly serve both the Islamic Regime of Iran as well as the MKO partisans of the infamous Mujahedin Khalg who will do anything to create provocations of animosity in favor of their self elected president Maryam Rajavi as they tried to do during the World Cup match between Iran and the US.

The monarchists will at most wave a Sun and Lion flag at most.

I truly do not think that most Iranian supporters of soccer matches from Iran will cause any sort of problem unless provoked by the MKO members or by marginal Neo Nazi or even leftist groupes who will want to create problems. Many MKO members have been waiting for this moment for they reside in Germany for many years and are very active. I do not understand why THEY should be allowed in the stadiums more than Neo Nazis for the MKO is a terrorist organization and a bunch of traitors looking for some form of legitimacy in the International public opinion. With all their lobbying in the US Congress or other European Parliaments they want to draw attention not on Iran's miseries by on THEIR MOUVEMENT.

The bottom line is that President Ahmaninejad and Iranian officials should be sanctioned and not be allowed to enter German soil or the Stadium under ANY CIRCUMSTANCES WHATSOEVER.

For the rest I believe the games should carry on and everyone should be free to choose to support or not his or her team.

Best,

Darius KADIVAR

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Following wrong democratic models

On Rostam Pourzal's "Dancing to Western music":

I have to thank Mr. Rostam Pourzai for his great response to Shirin Ebadi ["Defusing Iran with democracy"]. I don't really have a lot of information about Shirin Ebadi but from what I have seen about her speeches and writings, she is following the wrong models for democratic and free societies. I totally agree with Mr. Pourzai's points in his letter. Great job Rostam. Good to see an intelligent response to Dr. Ebadi's fantacies.

Farokh

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Stick to what you know best

On Rostam Pourzal's "Dancing to Western music":

Ms. Ebadi please ONLY stick to what you have been recognized for. I have always admired Ms. Shirin Ebadi as a human rights advocate and lawyer but when it comes to her political views and religious standing she has never had my support.

After her recent interview with NPR radio I am even more convinced that she should stick to what she knows best (human rights Legal advocacy) and avoid promoting her political and religious agendas or with her international standing she could hurt rather than help the Iranian's struggle for freedom.

Unfortunately due to her religious bias , she still seem to have a moderate view of capacity of the Islamic Regime to reform within its own laws and constitution, an opinion that was tried and failed again and again from first Iranian Prime minister Bazaragan to its former president Khatami.

In her interview Ms. Ebadi basically is asking the rest of the civilized world to close their ears and eyes to the threat of a Nuclear Islamic Republic. Ms. Ebadi approval of IR nuclear ambitions is exactly what Mullahs, Ahmadi-Najad and Co. wished for.  Radio interview

David Etebari

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Jewish Muslim for peace

On Brother Thomas's "I pray for more earthquakes":

I take extreme issue with anyone proclaiming to be a "Christian" while openly praying for the death and destruction of others.

First of all, Mr. Merrigan, if you are truly any kind of Christian, you might start by following a page right out of the Christian instruction manual. I believe it was your "savior" who stated, "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone". I'll bet the farm that you fall far short of meeting that basic minimum requirement. Or perhaps since it was all just a ruckus about a whore, you'll just give Jesus a pass on that one.

Jesus was not the son of God. The Almighty is not of flesh, and as such, any son (or daughter) would not bleed and die as Jesus did. No father would let his child suffer n such a cruel manner. There is no evidence that Mary was a virgin, and as she was married to Joseph, her being impregnanted by another, even God himself, is a stark contradiction to the very sanctity of the marriage contract, a contract entered into before the very God you say impregnated her, where both husband and wife forsake all others. Are you saying there are exceptions to this? If you are, then you are saying that God is wrong, which we all know is impossible. (Rule #1: God is without flaw. Rule #2; Always remember Rule #1)

We are not brothers in Christ or any other way, sir. My brethren do not wish harm upon anyone, for any reason, even narrow-minded hate-filled people like yourself. You are no different than those sick person who want to harm so-called "infidels" or non-believers. As Islam (or any non-Christian religion) is not Christianity, it cannot be said that Moslems reject Christianity. You embrace an ideology that conflicts with every monotheistic religion. That's your choice. Bottom line is, none of us really know what religion God is, do we?

By the way, the "Shalom, my brother" bit, very tasteless and lacks any class. How dare you speak the language of the people you claim killed your savior? By the way, Jews don't accept Jesus as the son of God, either. You might want to start your education by learning more about the religion of Jesus, not the religion about Jesus.

Shalom Aleichem (I'm half Jewish)
Salaam Alaikum (I'm half Moslem)
Peace Be Upon You (The full meaning of the above)

Kaveh Nouraee

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Concluding for Jesus

On Brother Thomas's "I pray for more earthquakes":

I am not a Muslim but I wonder if Jesus would have written what you, who profess to follow him, have written. I am sure you have already concluded for Jesus as well as the rest of us why God allowed the deaths of so many in the 1906 S.F. earthquake or all the other calamities that have occurred in all the Christian areas of the world throughout history and up to the present. Maybe they were not as good a Christian as you believe yourself to be.

ASM

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Shocked

On Brother Thomas's "I pray for more earthquakes":

I just saw that you have posted a short article in your website, entitled, "I pray for more earthquakes" . Now, I know that your motto is "Nothing is sacred" and that you don't believe in respecting other people's beliefs if you do not share them. But this article deals with a very sensitive issue; many people who read your website have lost their family, friends, relatives in the Bam earthquake and such disrespectful comments do not amuse them at all. I am quite shocked to see that you would publish just about any nonsense, from anyone (even with fake identities, just to strike a blow at religion.

I don't think it would be necessary to remind you that many of the donations that were collected for the victims of the Bam earthquake, came from religious charity organizations, churches, mosques...etc So, this so-called "Brother Thomas" character, do not represent the views of the great majority of the religious people. But I am sure you already know that, you are smarter than that!

Ali Nasri

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I don't know what this brother is angry about

On Brother Thomas's "I pray for more earthquakes":

I am an Iranian Christian who is a member of a Baptist church; American, in Dallas, TX. I am a seminary student and will be a minister soon. I was horrified and deeply troubled by what Brother Thomas had to say. I am not even sure if that person is who says he is. Please do understand that this is not the sentiment, position, and understanding of all Christians, if any Christian at all. In fact, I don't know how one can call himself a Christian and pray for evil upon people. After the earthquake in Iran, churches have been praying for the people and have sent donations to reach out to people in need. Many of Christians have volunteered to help people in personal ways and even by going there to help.

I don't know what this brother is angry about but his personal feelings do not represent neither Christianity, nor Christ. Our prayers are; for all peoples, to feel the love and joy of God, to feel his presence and to be empowered by his unconditional and unfailing love. Our prayers for the leaders of countries are for God to give them wisdom to act in ways that do not lead to harm and be agents of peace not of hatred and war. God suffers in suffering of each and every person in each and every corner of the world regardless of religion or faith and God loves each and every person in each and every corner of the world regardless of religion and faith.

Samira Izadi

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Texasy haa kholan

On Brother Thomas's "I pray for more earthquakes":

May the wrath of god befall on the head of Brother Thomas and his nanneh and baba. Marteeke khar, masallan pedar rohaaneeyst? Enn Texasy haa hameh kholan...

SB

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Serious exaggeration

On Asghar Massombagi "Airing out dirty laundry":

This is very well written. Here are my thoughts and personal account: Before/after the Iranian revolution, I saw people of Christian, Zoroastrian, Jewish and even Bahai faith living in peace in Iran. We all know that ignorant bigots live everywhere, including Iran. However, in my 23 years of living in Iran and multiple visits back over the past 15 years, I've personally not seen or heard of any discrimination or hatred towards minorities; quite the contrary, I saw a keen sense of curiosity and respect from fellow citizens that wanted to learn more about other cultures.

The systematic exception being Bahaism. I saw multiple churches and synagogues in the capital and elsewhere, minority cultural communities holding their own group ceremonies and gatherings and a solid welcoming sense towards foreigners. I agree that certainly there should be a more pronounced welcoming attitude throughout and I think that increasing the level of general population literacy will improve people's thought process. Keep in mind that Iran has probably the highest number of immigrants than any country in the region (Iraqis, Pakistanis, Afghans, Armenians, etc).

The picture is not perfect, we all know that.

Recently, what I'm seeing from a few Iranian authors in the US (in the past 5+ years) is hardly a simple "expression of grievance" by a person of religious minority; rather an exaggerated attempt to extract dollars and sympathy through well marketed authoring of books & promoting a notion of having been systematically persecuted and harassed under semi-organized pressure. The image one gets after reviewing literature from some of the writers is one of Nazi Germany.

From my personal experience, that's a serious exaggeration of Iran both pre/post the revolution, including the status quo.

Having said all of this; I can't say what I've observed/lived is a national or authoritative account of the state of affairs. Just my personal experience. As the author of the article says, "no one can ask an Iranian Jew or Armenian or bahai to shut her mouth and not talk about their experiences". It's a free country :->

Saman

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Lack of male companionship

On responses to "Unworthy Iranians" and "Your little psychological misfortunes":

I generally write to you about gambling and my experiences as a well to do Iranian poker addict. After reading a few articles by Azam Nemati, her few supporters and the multitude of people who disagree with her, I couldn't help but to write a few words myself.

It appears that Ms. Nemati suffers from a variety of emotional and psychological disorders. I have had the misfortune of seeing her pictures here and there and let me tell you, the reason there are no men in her life is mostly, but not all, her looks. Now, if she wants to attribute lack of male company to other factors, provided that it helps her deal with her issue, so be it. Who am I to deprive her of her rights.

But it sounds to me that due to lack of male companionship, she is taking her frustrations out on our Jewish and Bahai brethren. Within the Iranian community here in America, us Muslims are still the strong majority and sometimes feel we can still refer to Jews and Bahais as "aghalliyat"; not realizing that in America, all of us Iranians are minorities and all of us are generally not liked by a good percentage of Americans. OK, enough digression.

It is also abundantly clear that Azam's self confidence is in shatters due to her upbringing in a poor family. Some families in the lower economic class of the society bring up their children with such love, honor and respect for self that, if desired, these children go on to become industry titans. Other children who don't value material wealth as the ultimate goal, go on to become heads of State, University professors, Poets, great musicians and artists.

In Azam's case, the poor child must have been under such pressure from members of her own immediate family that her whole being is consumed by hatred for "rich" people. It happens that most Jewish Iranians in Los Angeles are economically privilaged and hence, Azam's hatred for them.

One thing that really captured my attention was Azam's desire to desecrate the grave of the person Bahais worship as their prophet. She wanted the Bahais to keep the whereabouts of his grave secret because otherwise she would go there and single handedly flatten it to the ground.

Wow! This type of dillusion is not compatible with the rest of the problems she has exhibited. So, I am sending a letter to the American Psychiatric Association requesting classification of this desease as "Azam Nemati Syndrome".

To be diagnosed as a person suffering from the Azam Nemati Syndrome, one must show at least 3 of the following sysmptoms:

1) Thinking that s/he is beautiful, despite numerous evidence to the contrary.
2) Thinking that s/he is smart, despite numerous evidence to the contrary.
3) Thinking that s/he has good taste in music, despite numerous evidence to the contrary.
4) Thinking his/her racist, hateful writings supports minorities in a given population and should not upset them.
5) Thinking his/her opinons are accepted or supported by more than 0.000001% of any given population.
6) Thinking s/he belongs to the human race, despite numerous evidence to the contrary.

Unfortunately, there is no cure for this desease as of yet. But, getting laid, even by means of vibrating plastic instruments can help supress frequent outbreaks.

Sincerely,

Manouchehr M.

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Who is a "worthy" Iranian?

On Qumars Bolourchian's "Exactly the opposite":

During the reign of the Nazi regime in Germany, Hermann Goering who was one of the German architects of the Holocaust was often overheard as saying: "I decide who is a Jew." More than sixty years after the collapse of the Third Reich, we now have the dubious pleasure to follow along Ms. Nemati's thoughts in "Unworthy Iranians" in which she proudly insinuates: "I decide who is Iranian". Goering, of course, was a ruthless politician and military (air force) commander. Ms. Nemati on the other hand, defines herself as a "freedom fighter" and as a "defender of justice for all people" in her rebuttal letter "People do not know the meaning of freedom of expression".

Fighting for justice though, seems to be a tad bit on the backburner for Ms. Nemati when it comes to Jews for example, because as a group, they collectively smell bad and are therefore 'najes', according to her thoughts in "Your little psychological misfortunes". In citing the Jews' motivation to save money by refraining from taking showers, she kindly offers an explanation for this problem, though. And as we all know, the cost of water and bar soap nowadays are indeed exorbitant. Hence, Jews cannot possibly be Iranians because real Iranians don't stink. That Jews view their blood as higher quality than Iranian blood (Ms. Nemati's Science 101) certainly doesn't help them win any brownie points with her in this whole debate of who is a "worthy" Iranian.

The Bahais of course, are another one of those sharlatan minorities in Ms. Nemati's view. Well-documented stories of their plight and persecution ( e.g. by the United Nations Organization, as well as victims' family members) in Iran during the reign of the islamofascist regime are all make-belief and hype, because Ms. Nemati has observed Bahais who import Iranian carpets into the US and sell them to "unsuspecting" Americans. For a profit, no less! This bizarre logic had me glued to the computer screen. Sort of like watching a really bad movie very late at night: You know you're tired and you need to go to bed, or else you pay for it the next day at work, but you can't bring yourself to turn off the damn set because you want to catch the conclusion of this atrocious flick.

In conclusion, I guess all you Iranian musicians out there will probably escape Ms. Nemati's wrath in future artist reviews on Iranian.com, unless of course you're Jewish, Baha'i, Zoroastrians, Christians or Muslims. And for those of you who are members of organized religion, I guess you can always rejoice in the knowledge that Goering, before the long arm of justice had a chance to serve him with his punishment, sealed his own fate by committing suicide.

NNTP

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Persian claims

On Qumars Bolourchian's "Exactly the opposite":

Dear Aghaye Bolourchian,

Salaam. I am one of the idiot Americans to which you referred in your letter to iranian.com regarding Slater Bakhtavar's, "The reason why your Persian." It may come as a surprise, but many millions holding legitimate membership in the idiot league knew quite well that in 1979 - 80 that Persia and Iran were two names for the same nation. 

Morevover, we knew that it was wise during those 444 days for Iranian students in the United States to identify themselves as being Persians rather than as Iranians for the sake of their personal safety. Consequently, we Americans may, as you have stated, be idiots, but does not mean we're all stupid. Just as a rose is rose by any other name, so too is an Iranian or a Persian......at least for most of you.

It is, however, possible for one to be a Persian without being Iranian. Take the case of my two children. My wife is Iranian while I am not. Our children are very much Persian genetically, intellecutually and in their cultural orientation. Their mother saw to the fact that they learned not only to speak Parsi, but to read and write it at a high level. They have been to Iran numerous times to visit family members and they cherish their identity as being members of the Iranian community. Having said all this, my children are not now and never will be Iranians.

The nationality laws of Iran prevent a mother from passing her nationality to her children. Consequently our children have but one nationality; the one they inherited from me. At best all they can claim to be is of "Iranian descent." This label, however, does not have any meaning within the Iran's system of jurisprudence. At best, all it amounts to is a politically correct term for Iranians to use when describing the children of female Iranians who are marred to foreign men. Thus, while our two kids will always be Persian, they will never be Iranian.

Conversely, the legal status of the children of Iranian men married to foreign women is much different. Such children have only one Iranian parent. The law of Iran bestows upon them Iranian nationality since they were the offspring of Iranian fathers. They might rightly be called Iranians and/or Persians while the children of Iranian mothers can only claim to be Persians.

Being Persian and Iranian is not always the same.

Khoda Nagah-dar,

James

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Suri: Corruptied word?

On Manouchehr Saadat Noury's "Suri, the Persian rose" and Kaveh T.'s "Searching for Suri":

In Persian, the term suri or sori, as in Gol-e-sori, has two additional possible explanations -- at least it should. First, just like the "peech-e amindowleh," which refers to a vine popularized by the former Iranian courtier and minister, or Gol-e Mohammadi, which recalls a connection to one name Mohammad, Gole-sori can well be a reference to one named Soraya, the short for which is Sori! I know (!) -- , some of you are gonna pillory me for suggesting that Soraya is written with three-dotted "c" and sori is written with syn.

I don't care and nor should you because by the same token "o" and "u" become interchanged in Iran's many dialects as has f for p. The second explanation worth pondering is that sori as in gol-e sori, which  signifies a red rose, is in all likelihood the contraction of the word sorkh, meaning "red" via the adjective sorkhi.The contraction is probably due to the exigencies of meter and rhyme in Persian poetry. There is always the possibility that suri or sori  may be the corruption of another word in which s substituted for another letter and r was in origin l.

Before I get a spew of hate mail for wasting people's time with my charand-o-parand, I would like to remind the detractors that I already explained the meaning of that term last year in ["Kneading a meaning"]. Today, I want to tackle the meaning of part-o-pala. The word part means "away to the side, far and afield." The word pala, is what? It is probably a contraction of parakandeh, which means "scattered about." In Farsi we often see the interchange of the sound l and  and so parakandeh became palakandeh an then shortened to pala when it was paired off with part, to signify then nonsensical, incoherent idle talk -- yea! like this dilly.

Guive Mirfendereski

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Suri concealed

On Manouchehr Saadat Noury's "Suri, the Persian rose" and Kaveh T.'s "Searching for Suri":

In response to a piece you published as Searching for Suri, I would like to remind Kaveh T. that Professor Amirahmadi was wrong when he was asked if Suri meant as a Persian rose. In his interview, he stated that, "I think it is a mistake. In Farsi, it means red, like a fiery color, but there is no such a thing as a Suri that means red rose, I can promise you that; the word also can mean a party or celebration." The piece by Kaveh T. looks like a black chador for Prof. Amirahmadi's remarks by which the body (the meaning of Suri as a Persian rose) is concealed and only the face (party or celebration) is open. The other article published as "Suri, the Persian rose" was a prominent article in which the author covered only one of the meanings of Suri as a Persian rose.

Leela Baharan

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Can't follow the dead

On Dariush Abadi's "You've been fooled":

With Mr Abadi being a brash apologist of the (anti) Islamic regime of Iran and deliberately trying to promote a corrupted version of Islam, as prescribed by Khomeini and his followers, I can't imagine that there will ever be an end to his continued denial of the truth - this is the way of the fanatics. But I am sure your readers would be equally amused, if not appalled, if they knew that there is A volume of the said book, Tahrirol-vassileh in which Mr Abadi's Imam responded to a number of questions in relation to the religious duties of the Muslim while travelling to other galactic planets!

The Q and A was published in an Islamic Republic’s science magazine, titled Faza (Space), while Khomeini was still alive (late 1980’s). I may still have a copy of that article in my personal archives. The questions ranged from how to find the direction of Mecca while on a visit to the Moon, to the duties of the Muslim on encountering planetary inhabitants during their intergalactic journeys, to the violation of the Islamic code on sexual relations due to a chance encounter between a man and a woman while their bodies are being “beamed up” from the alien planet to the spaceship – yes, I am not being funny, whoever asked these questions must have been a Trekkie. The answers were equally entertaining.

A dutiful Muslim must face in the direction of the planet Earth (in lieu of Mecca) while performing his daily prayers; they must not bury their dead on the dark side of side of the Moon – obviously the great Imam was no fan of The Pink Floyd; the all-knowing-all-wise Imam conceded defeat on the last question – he decreed that due to the mitigating conditions surrounding the encounter of a man and a woman, while being “beamed up”, the decision as to how many lashes must each one receive lies with the local Imam who knows the technical complexities of performing act of lewd nature while being converted from matter to energy!

Sadly for Mr Abadi, and contrary to his assertion, a deceased Imam cannot be followed and his decrees are no longer a duty upon his former followers.

Parkhash

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You would mock and ridicule

On Parkhash's "Can'r follow the dead":

Parkhash,

The enemies of Islam will take anything and try to use it as an argument against Islam. For example, if Imam Khomeini did not have any religious rulings on the matters of space travel, someone like you would joke that "what if Neil Armstrong was a Muslim and wanted to pray on the moon? How could he pray with a space suite and in what direction?" Is that not so?

You would mock and ridicule either way. What is wrong with matters such as future space travel and future visions of what Muslims can do.

The Qur'an itself tells us to do space travel eventually: "33) O company of jinn and men, if ye have power to penetrate (all) regions of the heavens and the earth; then penetrate (them)! Ye will never penetrate them save with a power from Us"

What separates Islam, and specifically Shi'a Islam from other religions is its notion of 'ijtihad. To re-interpret laws and create new laws for the time. Imam Ali (A) warned his followers to tell future generations not to implement Islam the same way as him, but to continually re-interpret it for their own times. This is what saves us from becoming the Taliban.

You know what the Taliban would have said in the same matter? "Space travel is an innovation that did not exist at the time of the Holy Prophet, therefore it is haraam (forbidden) to do so". Yet you find Imam Khomeini speaking with the vision that one day Muslims will travel into space and explore the galaxies. Must you be an atheist to become a scientist? Maybe in Christianity.

And your last assertion is also false. The people who follow Imam Khomeini in taqhlid can remain in his taqhlid even after his death. But no one can chose him for taqhlid if they did not do so while he was still alive.

And please stop branding people (such as brash apologist for the Islamic regime). It shows that you have a closed mind and are not willing to accept differences of opinion.

Dariush Abadi

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The most polite nation!

Dear Iranians and readers of Iranian.com site,

I was skimming through the letter section of the Iranian site today and although I didn't have time to read every letter I was appalled at the language used by some Iranians in their letters. Here are some examples that caught my eyes:

ignorant, disgraceful, do not open your mouth, ugly, lousy, take your head out of your ass, human excrement, as ugly as a dog, "ashghal", fuck, shit, "khak beh un saret", take your head out of your ass, etc. etc. .....

I was just wondering if any of us have seen any of these expressions in the letter sections of Time magazine, Newsweek, Los Angeles Times, New Your Times, or any other reputable newspaper here or anywhere in the world ! 

"Befarma" and "Beneshin" and "Betamarg" all have the same meaning -- the one we choose when we want to ask someone to sit down depends on the kind of person we are, how educated and how socially polite and graceful we are. We all have every right to criticize and express our opinions, even forcefully if need be, but we can do it with respect and "effat-e kalam". After all aren't we continuously boasting about our long and great history and "civilization" ? So, let's put our money where our mouth is !

Best wishes for all Iranians

N. Shafiei

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Delete it

On video, "Coming soon to your favorite European city":

I really think this video should be deleted. I be curious on how many feel the same way as I do.

Hamid D

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Naughty Zoroastrian boy

Could you plz. tell me about the Zoroastrian religion? My boyfriend was Zoroastrian, but he left me because he said "in my religion I'm not allowed to marry you!!!" Is that the truth or not? plz help me.

Afsoon

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Googoosh: Dil Khoya Khoya Gumsum

I saw your email address among the fan letters to Googoosh, I am looking for the name of a Googoosh song - it was interpreted in an Indian Movie sung by Asha Bhosle - Dil Khoya Khoya Gumsum. If you know the name of the song kindly let me know - thank you.

Ashley

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Internet-based courses on Iran?

Good Morning!

I'm a 4th generation Australian who is very interested in Iranian Culture & Modern History. The population of Iranian immigrants in Australia is not big enough to warrant courses at universities or colleges on these subjects. Are any of your readers aware of any internet based courses (or the like) in the US that might be able to fulfill my needs. I'm sure there must be!

Ross Allan

May 1, 2006

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You're not so rational either

On Rod Liddle's Sunday Times piece, "We may have to bomb Iran":

Dear Rod Liddle,

There is something worse than living in a world where Iran has nuclear weapons: one where ill-informed and illiterate columnists prescribe war as a cure in international relations as casually as a GP might headache tablets.

Iran's president is not a particularly rational man. Nor, judging by your impatience to bomb the Iranian people, and the intellectual poverty of your arguments -- shrouded by your shockingly jokey tone -- are you.

Please, read a few books about a country before you recommend bombing it. And these are countries, Mr Liddle, with people, with histories, not clusters of nuisance coons as you might think.

Peyvand Khorsandi

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ALL should stand together now

On Kamal H Artin's "Natural right":

Let me start with the basic flaw in your article: "Kurdistan, the foster child of the Middle East, has been dreaming of obtaining her natural right of independence for decades. While its inhabitants share a common origin, history, language, and customs that define Kurdistan as a nation, obstacles such as culture, geography, politics, and traumas have prevented Kurdish independence."

Have you forgotten the fact that Kurds share a common origin, history, and customs with all other Iranian groups? The Medean empire was an Iranian empire, as was the Persian empire and the other great empires of the past. We all share a similar culture, similar customs, and the same past.

Your idea of nationalism is a continental European ideal of nationalism, where the nation-state is made up of mainly one ethnic group. Part of this ideal is that each group has its own "homeland" (or "motherland") that they come from, should reside in, and have political control over. However, this is an ideal and very far from reality. Look at most of the nations in continental Europe. Spain is not made up of only Spaniards, but have a large Basque and Catalan population. Similarly, France, Italy, and Germany are not made up of only these ethnic groups, but do love to pretend that they are. Have we learned nothing from history?

European nationalism is what lead to Nazi Germany. Insisting on having one land for one people inevitably leads to discrimination, persecution, and genocide. If a nation is supposed to represent only one ethnic group, then anyone not of that group automatically is a lesser citizen. Do we Iranians (and Kurds are Iranians, just as Persians are) really want to have such a racist view of the world, and separate from each other during a time when we need to stand together? All Iranians, be they Persian, Kurdish, Azeri, etc, share a common history and a common culture. (No Ruz, food, names, etc.)

We all share a common history and share a sense of pride in this history. We have more in common than we have differences, and we ALL should stand together now. We need to stand together now more then ever, when we are on the brink of another unwanted war between a colonizing power on the one hand and an oppressive regime on the other. We have all suffered from the current (and past) regimes. Some groups have suffered more than others, but who doesn't know someone that has been beaten, jailed, or killed by various government stooges?

We Iranians need to turn away from the continental European model of nationality and create our own national identity, one based on integrating all people (both cultural groups and religious groups) inside the borders of Iran.

Sarah Javaheri

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Confusing ethnicity with language

On Slater Bakhtavar's "The reason why you're Persian":

There is a simple challenege to your suggestion Mr. Bakhtavar. You are confusing ethnicity with language. 51 per-cent of Iranians are native Persian speakers. Despite popular belief, that does not make them ethnically Persian! The same goes with all other Iranian "ethnic" groups you named. Jurds, Azeris, Arabs, and Gilakis are still just Iranians who speak Kurdish, Azeri, Arabic, and Gilaki. The concept of ethnicity=language is a very modern, and often misguided notion. You speak English as well, does that make you an Englishman? Are the 290 million English speaking population of North America also English?

I would say, "I am Iranian, and I speak Persian".

Khodadad Rezakhani

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Exactly the opposite

On Slater Bakhtavar's "The reason why you're Persian":

Mr. Bakhtavar asserts that people who reject the label "Persian" are ignorant. In fact, it's exactly the opposite. The history that Mr. Bakhtavar may not wish to recall, is not Iranian history, but American. In the early years after the revolution, Iran was heavily demonized in the News. The hostage crises angered many Americans who blamed Iranians, as was the case right after 9/11 with Arab Americans. These immigrants to the US wished to distance themselves from what was happening back in Iran, and any hint of "Islam" mostly to fool idiot Americans who didn't know that "Persian" and "Iranian" refer to the same people. That's why "Persian" became a American-friendly alternative. That's why, if Mr. Bakhtavr ever took the time to check, he will find that "Persian" as and identification is hardly used with Iranians in France, Germany, Sweden or Australia. Even the word itself is not Iranian, it's greek in origin.

I'm glad that Iranians of a new generation have figured this out, and now proudly refer to themselves as "Iranian."

Mr. Bakhtavar quotes CIA country fact book, as if we are so stupid as to not know about ethnic differences in our own country. The fact is, when someone asks you where you are from, the right answer is a country, not an ethnicity. What are minority ethnicities who are Iranian supposed to say? "I'm Arab"? "I'm Azeri?" Using "Persian" is not only incorrect but it betrays a deep-seeded ethnocentricism that should no longer have any place in modern Iranian society. Iranian heritage, history and accomplishments belong to all Iranians. We do not need to divide ourselves on "ethnic" grounds, even if it makes it easier for the American media. Unfortunately, such tendencies live on as short-sighted individuals continue to promote them though the use of language.

Qumars Bolourchian

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Iran is still Iran

On Slater Bakhtavar's "The reason why you're Persian":

Thanks for that article, Slater. However, note this: That regardless of what an Iranian prefers to be called, Iran is still Iran, and should remain Iran. I.E. Any schemes to divide up Iran (which your party and its backers probably favor for strategic purposes) per ethnic groups via military intervention or other means will backfire catastrophically. That is due just to the nature of millenia-old nationalism (yes, even from the 'non-Persians' in Iran), coupled with regional intervention in Asia.

It's all fine and good to re-remind Iranians of where they came from, but just remember the core nature of cultural fidelity in such a time of crisis.

Payam

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People do not know the meaning of freedom of expression

On responses to "Unworthy Iranians" and "Your little psychological misfortunes":

I thought I live in America where freedom of speech is the gift for all but apparently, some Iranians feel this is Iran and they must dictate what one should say or not or she is a racist. It is amazing that when I ask people to help a cancer patient or a kidney transplant patient, you do not find this certain group calling each other all over the globe and faxing the written material but, they did do just that for these articles did.

I am so disappointed and hurt by the phone messages (since locals have my phone number often listed on flyers for events I volunteer. One even called me at work). It pains me that these people call me racist or that I am a hater. That is so far from the truth. I help anyone and everyone regardless of their national origin, color, race or religion. I withdraw if they begin to bring up religion and have a discussion which I have always refused since that is not important to me.

Some callers had been clever and used phone cards so the number would not register. I guess some of these readers assume that I am the same person as the fake Azam who had used my name and e-mail address to write horrible things such as "my sisters let's nuke Iran" and had written the most profane comments about someone who publishes poetry at the site (some of the smart readers had noticed this person and wrote me. The fake Azam had the audacity to write me "I am the real Azam Nemati").

I filed an official mail abuse complain and had to send a signed written statement along with a form which I filled, attached copy of his horrible e-mail (which people had replied to me thinking the original e-mails were from me) as well as a copy of my license to show that I had been using the e-mail address for 5 years and my name is on the license issued in 1978.

Yahoo simply sent me an e-mail and said they have taken care of the matter and could not reveal further information. I checked wit some computer gurus to see if there were a way for me to find out who this impersonator was and was told nearly impossible.

Anyway, I do not hate any body and yes I am angry that people are being tortured every day, just last week a young girl was picked up by 4 men from a sports facility in Tehran, raped and then dropped back because she was not following the proper dress code (a friend of the family informed me because it is not allowed to be reported) and a woman poisoned her 11 year old last week, drank the poison and then jumped off the window because she could not support her family and there are many like her. So we should be fighting to alleviate all the people's sufferings.

The message I have always wanted to get across is that we have to fight for freedom and justice for all people and not exclusively for a especial group because they feel they have suffered more. Blood has been shed by previous government and is being done by the current one so focusing on the past and who did what to who is not productive. We need to stop living in the past and care about what is going on now. I have constant anxiety and can not sleep at night because I fear the government of Iran may do something to provoke a war where thousands of innocent people would be killed and the ones causing the war remain safe in their bunkers.

My son who is one of the most peaceful and kindest people on earth is so disturbed about the calls I have received. He asked me not to write my opinions because some of my fellow people do not know the meaning of freedom of expression and resort to threats and other insults.

For his sake and for the sake of some of the readers who have written in support of me only to be blasted and called the most horrible names (I am being copied by the writers) which the softest one is Mullah's whores, I ask that my two articles be removed and I am going to pray that those small minded people soon realize that contrasting point of views are healthy and thought provoking and criticizing and disagreeing with the writer's opinion is welcomed but, attacking and threatening the person is not civilized and inappropriate.

Azam Nemati

REPLY: Azam Jan... You have been a writer and contributor for a long time and you know that I have a very strict policy of not removing anything. You are always welcome to write and explain your views and situation. You are a very strong person and I'm sure a few angry emails or phone calls will not hurt you. I get them all the time and nothing has happened to me. I look ofrward to your next piece! -- Jahanshah Javid

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A few unworthy Iranians

On Azam Nemati's "Unworthy Iranians":

Since several people have already expressed their disgust in Azam Nemati, I just suffice to respond to one sentence this foremost authority in Iranian culture has written: "I challenge anyone to show in the history that Jews or Bahais or Christians helped any cultural cause, donated time or money to the building of any historical monuments or helped anyone."

Ms. Nemati, allow me to introduce you to the following "UNWORTHY IRANIANS":

1- In 1966, a young Iranian architect, won a nationwide competition to design the Azadi (shahyad)Monument in Tehran, which has since become a symbol of modern Iran. The arch rises from Azadi Square mirroring the Alborz mountain range just north of the city. Though not as wondrous as the snowy peaks of Mount Damavand, it is a 148-foot tall masterpiece of cut marble that marks the entrance to this historic city. Some of his other work includes Aryamehr University and the Persian Culture Heritage Center in Tehran.< /o:p>

Unworthy Iranian - Hossien Amanat

2- Born in 1920 he became famous for designing many projects in the 1950s in Iran Including Tehran's Central Railway Station, Avicenna's mausoleum in Hamedan, mausoleums for Omar Khayam and Nader Shah, among other Iranian notables, as well as completing the main complex of Iranian National Congress, and a large educational complex in South of Tehran. Also during this period he lectured wide in Iran, Europe and North America and conducted numerous seminars and workshops. He was instrumental in bringing two World Architectural Congress to Iran, one in historical Isfahan and one in Persepolis (Shiraz).

Unworthy Iranian - Hooshang Seyhoon

3- She was born in Tehran. Her university training was completed in London in 1966, with First Class Honors. On return to Iran, she designed two fresco works (mosaic and glass) in the Opera House of Tehran (Talar Rudaki), interior/exterior and mural designs for Koorosh Hotel in Shiraz, and the complete design for the 24-story building of the Ministry of Agriculture.

Unworthy Iranian - Mahmehr Golestaneh

4- He received his B.A. from Tehran University in 1971 and D.Phil. from Oxford University in 1981. He is the Chair of the Council on Middle East Studies at Yale and recipient of Mellon-Sawyer Seminar Grant for Millennialism Project (1998-2001). He is a Consulting Editor and longtime contributor to Encyclopedia Iranica . He was the Editor-in-Chief of Iranian Studies, the journal of the International Society for Iranian Studies (1991-98).

Unworthy Iranian - Abbas Amanat

5- She was a brave woman who stood up for human rights, equality of men and women and her own strong belief against the oppression and radicalism in Iran. In 1852 this young Persian poetess was strangled with her own veil by the religious authorities of Tehran. She heralded a new age of equality for women in an otherwise male dominated society. Thousands of her followers, from Baghdad to Constantinople, began to remove their veils and started the suffrage movement, pre-emptying the woman's liberation movement in America by several years.

Unworthy Iranian - Tahereh Qurrat Al Ain

6- In about 1940 he built the Missaghiyeh hospital. He contributed to the development and enlargement of the Missaghiyeh Hospital and Maternity Clinic, one of the most important and best equipped in the Iranian capital.  Soon a school for nurses and later a home for the aged were created as auxiliaries of the hospital.  The institutions to which persons of all backgrounds were admitted, sometimes free of charge. He took a deep personal interest in the hospital and his generosity made it unnecessary for appeals to be made for the purchase of new equipment or to meet deficits in the operating costs.

Unworthy Iranian - Abdu'l-Missagh Missaghiyeh

"Also this same group of Unworthy Iranians, at the time when state schools and colleges were practically non-existent in Iran, established the earliest schools, beginning with the Tarbíyat, schools in Tehran for both boys and girls, and followed by the Ta'yíd and Mawhibat schools in Hamadan, the Vahdat-i-Bashar school in Kashan and other similar educational institutions in Barfurush and Qazvin."

"Blessed is the man who, having nothing to stay, abstains from giving us worthy evidence of the fact." George Eliot

Mozhgan Dadgostar

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Naracassist defined

On Azam Nemati's "Your little psychological misfortunes":

Azam,

I gladly admit that I'm the one who asked you to look up the word naracassist. Just in case you didn't here the proper definition:

1)       Excessive love or admiration of oneself.
2)       A psychological condition characterized by self-preoccupation, lack of empathy, and unconscious deficits in self-esteem.
3)       Erotic pleasure derived from contemplation or admiration of one's own body or self, especially as a fixation on or a regression to an infantile stage of development.
4)       The attribute of the human psyche charactized by admiration of oneself but within normal limits.

I’m fairly sure you fit the first, second and fourth definitions. I won’t demean you by saying you fit the second. Just out of pure boredom (and curiosity) I looked up the number of times you used the word "I" in reference to yourself and how wonderful you claim to be. The reference to yourself was used 75 times! That being said, I think it would be so much cooler if you started referring to yourself in third person. By the way, to refer to yourself in third person means substituting your name for every time you use "I." 

Here’s an example: “Because Azam have no personal life (Azam’s kid is a sophomore in a university 500 miles away) and Azam is not into the dating or having boyfriends, Azam spend most of my time promoting awareness about my cultural heritage and helping anyone Azam can be helpful as well. Azam also help raise funds for Iranian causes and Azam assure you that Azam know all the minorities in this community (even though some will not admit) and Azam get flattering e-mails from them but not once have Azam seen a check for $1.00 being donated to any of the cultural events and if anything they complain.”  

Out of curiosity, what Iranian charity organizations do you work with? Thanks again, and I hope my comments help you in your future endeavors.

Best regards,

Nema

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37 words

On Azam Nemati's "Unworthy Iranians":

Try as I might, I could not boil down in a single word the way I feel about Azam Nemati, her beliefs and her writings, especially her last two contributions to iranian.com, Unworthy Iranians and Your little psychological misfortunes.

I don't think that she can be adequately or accurately described in less than 37 words. Here are the 37 words I think best represent her and her beliefs. Anything less would simply do her an injustice. She is all of the following:

abominable, appalling, boorish, bad-mannered, base, crude, contemptible, coarse, depraved, detestable, despicable, disgraceful, dishonorable, discreditable, excruciating (as in painful to read), foul-mouthed, hateful, insufferable, intolerable, impolite, ill-mannered, indecorous, loutish, loathsome, obnoxious, odious, revolting, repugnant, rude, shameful, uncultured, unsophisticated, unbearable, uncouth, uncivilized, vulgar & vile.

The last two, vulgar & vile, describe her essance, though. Please feel free to add to the list if you think I've overlooked any adjectives that do Azam justice.

Lance Raheem
(just one of many that Ms. Neamati considers and unworthy Iranian).

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I am Irani, I speak Irani

On responses to "I speak Irani":

On Akbarzadeh and Manesh's letters: I do not agree with Mr. Yarshater about his obsessive view of the use of Persian and Persia, so citing him does not impress me nor should it sway anyone else. As for Mr. Akbarzadeh's letter -- this must be like the fifth time that I have read something from Mr. Akbarzadeh along these lines. Same old, same old. Repetition of the same does not make it any more persuasive. I am Irani, I speak Irani and if you force me I will speak Farsi in both Persian and English. I wish you and Manesh (come to think of it, if I had his shortcomings I too would be known by a funky screen name) and alike stopped telling people what to think, what to eat, what to speak and when to fart. It is a free world and as the man says nothing is sacred. Live with it.

Guive Mirfendereski

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They would love your freedoms

On response to "Big clean-up":

Dear Dariush, ["On the "religiousness" of Iranians"]

I usually do not respond to messages with anything but "thank you" or similar short phrases.

And, thank you too for caring to write ;)

I am indeed not the biggest fan of any religion at all, at least no so far.

I see that you are not necessarily bothered with me talking about religion as a whole being something that has scarred the Iranian society, and the world as a whole. You are more bothered about me linking the Iranins to this world.

As you said that you are an American-raised Iranian and you have had the ability to choose freely to become a Muslim (I bet Shia Muslim that is) then I suggest you instead of defending a religious tyranny, where you would not have had that same right to choose your own religion, depart immediately and join Mr Ahmadinejad in his quest for eternal "peace and love" in Iran.

I think that would come handy! I bet there are millions and millions of young Iranians who would love to swap their citizenships (I suppose you have US citizenship) with you just for the sake of having some of the freedoms you now take for granted. And therefore you are (as I see) not fit to take advantage of these freedoms because you are suporting and defending the opposite.

Ben Madadi

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You've been fooled

On Khomeini's "sayings":

You want to know who was fooled? You posted a letter on Iranian.com with "sayings of Ayatullah Ruhollah Khomeini". But I would like to point the finger back at you, and say that you've been fooled.

Those quotations were fabricated in the late 1980's in order to "demonize" the Imam (and I say Imam, because even at his death, the majority of Iranians rose up to mourn their leader).

The irony is, "Tahrirolvasyleh" fourth volume did not even exist. The last volume was the 3rd volume, of which anyone who does taqlid (follows) Imam Khomeini would know.

So spread your ignorance elsewhere. Out of your hatred toward Islam, you would believe anything thrown at you like a wild dog who is hungry for hate.

Dariush Abadi

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Googoosh info

On Jasmin Darznik's "The last seduction":

dear jasmine,

i read your article on googoosh. just wanted to drop a line and attract your attention to things that are currently happening among her fans. see her fansites for more info: //googoosh.cjb.net

Shiva Mokri

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Liberals bending backwards

On London Guardian's "There can be a nuclear bargain":

The left, Europeans and the so called liberals never seem to learn from the past to the extent that they sometimes make me wonder on whose side they REALLY are! The well known liberal London daily Guardian... it writes:  

"Some argue that the best course would be to acquiesce in an Iranian bomb. That may yet happen. But there is much more to be done. What is needed is a return to the idea that a bargain can be struck with Iran, or at least with the pragmatists sidelined by the president. It can have security guarantees if it accepts UN demands. The US needs Iranian help over the mess next door in Iraq. Denouncing Tehran as dictatorial and revolutionary won't bring that. But Iran must restore confidence in its intentions. "

Such conciliatory and "acquiesce" suggestions remind me of the liberals during the Cold War with soviet union while the Republican US president late Ronald Reagon stood tall and non-compromising with the soviet people and TOLD their government to "Tear down this wall".

They seem to also have forgotten the days that the liberals were in cheerful tears watching the smiling Mullah (former Iranian president Khatami) who fooled them again with his empty slogans of the "dialogue among civilizations". All these "pragmatists" suggestions of striking "bargains" from the same people who hold the so called flags of liberty in every street corner of the civilized world is nothing new to me. They shout freedom and liberty , yet always suggest bending over backwards to dictatorial and theocratic regimes and what is mind bugling is that they actually believe that dictators and ayatollahs of the world really care about not breaking any "guarantees" and "bargains" that they may temporarily provide!

 As if the article is written by an advisor to the Islamic Republic who really believes in their integrity by suggesting that "Iran must restore confidence in its intentions". At least we now know that Guardianians too believe in its "intentions" of Islamic Republic and they only humbly are asking the Mullahs to "restore confidence" in their good "intentions" while the same so called liberals tell US to stop "Denouncing Tehran as dictatorial"

Yes, "USA can wait" while the fools makes even bigger fools out of themselve: again and again and ....

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Never!

It must be about time for the goldfish to go to the hoze surely?

M. Partovi

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