Letters

November 2006

Part 1 -- Part 2 -- Part 3

November 19

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Tasing is not an equivalent response to a problematic student

In response to Ron Ghana's note on UCLA taser incident, "You broke the law":

It's not about playing the race card. So what if the kid had a little attitude? Nothing justifies how he was treated by campus oficers! I would have told those thugs to get their hands off of me too if they tried to push me out of the room. The problem here is that the student was leaving in the first place and he got abused even tho he was complying!

I don't care what lame, stupid, campus law this student broke; tasing is not an equivalent response to a problematic student (if he even was problematic. More than likely he's just like any other student and has a bit of an attitude and wants to move at his own pace. Good for him!)

Bottom line is that this is excessive force that was completely unneccesary. And yes, the individual victim just so happened to be Iranian. No shame in suing these obusiveestablishments. We should put these people in their place. You, Ron Ghana, are a sour, cowardly jerk with no regard for rational procedures. The fact that you see nothing wrong with this taser abuse shows how much of a disgrace you are to civil liberties. Go stick your hand in an electrical socket.

Arash Hosseini

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As a mother I object to this kind of police behavior

In response to Kourosh A.'s note on UCLA taser incident, "Excessive force":

I am a UCLA student’s mother and I object US Police force used to Iranian-American Student in UCLA Library. I do not understand the use of force for a student anyway and I am sure this action is wrong and as a mother I need explanation for this kind of behavior and logic behind it. How can we stop such behavior to another student?

Safieh Rashti

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Disproportionate and unwarranted use of force

In response to Ron Ghana's note on UCLA taser incident, "You broke the law":

Ron Ghana should go fuck his sanctimonious self and the horse he rode in on. Next time he breaks the law, as he has done numerous times before, he should Taser himself and his horse, too. No human being should be treated like this poor soul was at UCLA. Nobody really knows as yet the circumstances that required intervention by no less than four uniformed campus policemen. If it was near closing hour and the kid had to leave the premises, then what the fuck were all those other people doing sitting in front of their lit computer screens.

Second, the kid offered repeatedly to leave the place and yet the police kept telling him to stand up and when he would/could not they Tasered him again. When you get Tasered, there is a very good chace that your knees buckle and you cannot stand. It is like pepper spraying someone and then demanding that they not close their eyes or stop the tears! Who knows if the kid had his ID or not: one can assume that he did, otherwise he would not have gained entry into the building, no? Was he signed onto a UCLA computer or had his own laptop with him? Was he stray or a legitimate student?

Here is the sad part -- The rest of the people stood around as one of their own got treated in a manner that none of them would approve had it happened to them. This constituted a disproportionate and unwarranted use of force. Shame on the UCLA campus policemen, probably rejects from the military, ex-gang memebrs or unrequited cowboys, have found this corner of California as their Baghdad. Meanwhile the philanthropists of the Eye-ranian ilk who have given generously to this establishment, should protest this kind of treatment of a student, regardless of his/her national origin.

Guive Mirfendereski

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Imagine if it had occurred in Iran

In response to Kourosh A.'s note on UCLA taser incident, "Excessive force":

A lot has already been said about the arrest of a young Iranian student at UCLA. The police officers used excessive violence in this case. Because of this and the fact that the whole thing was spread through the Internet, voices of protest were raised all around the world.

Of course, any sane person would condemn the use of excessive violence in this case, but does a government who abuses human rights systematically, has the right to condemn this action as well? The state television of the Islamic Republic of Iran (IRIB) brought the message across that Iran condemned this action of violence. It seems that by showing the images of the arrest and the demonstrations on television Iran tries to draw a picture of the US as being a country where the rule of law is non-functional. By this they try to put power into images and reflect their view on the "Great Satan".

I only hope that the Iranians in Iran who see the images of the arrest and also of the demonstration realize that if this situation would have occurred in Iran, it would not have been that natural that all those students would be able to freely demonstrate and show their protest against this act of violence. Would demonstrators be interviewed and supported by the state television or would they -- more probable -- attack the demonstrators and silence the whole demonstration to death in the media? What I want to express is that it is a wrong act of the police officers to show that much violence, but it only shows the American respect of human rights when these acts can be protested on by civilians through a demonstration. Iran has no right of condemning this act, since they violate human rights systematically and arrest and torture anyone in Iran who would dare to protest against it! Iran's condemnation is hypocrisy in its purest form!

Tina Ehrami

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If he was Chinese, would you care?

In response to Kaveh Nouraee's "Sack UCLA cops" and Ron Ghana's "You broke the law":

I am afraid you've missed the point and your nationalism gets in the way! Who is abusing what? Is it the UCLA cops or the student who is abusing the university honor system!

Watching the video clip reminded me of a neighbor we had in Tehran with a teenage son. Over every little thing he wanted and was not granted, he would start screaming similarly to what we saw in this clip! The parents would given him anything he wanted to keep the face (baraaye hefze aaberoo) and of course to shot him up!

Well, it sounds this doesn't work in UCLA! Every country and every place has rules! In North America, lots of places use an honor system such as the metro (or sky train). They let you in without checking but you may or may not be asked to show your ticket. Now imagine if someone starts to make such a scene for that!! This is law, for God's sake! And I totally agree with Ron Ghana that he has broken the law!  

As a woman, if I go to Iran, I "have to" wear a scarf! That's the law! Or here in Canada, you are not supposed to drink and drive and if they catch you driving while drunk, you are in deep shit.

Anyway, who can make such a scene for being asked to leave the lab or show an ID?! I wouldn't. This is not what I call "bravery"! It just shows how mature and smart one is!

Oh, by the way, just ask yourself a question: if he was Chinese, would you think the same way about the whole thing?

Unfortunately, starting such trend and abusing the system may change the current honor systems for everyone which is a symbol of "aghab- maandegi" backwardness.

Sophie

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Race card irrelevant to how he was treated

In response to Ron Ghana's note on UCLA taser incident, "You broke the law":

Mr. Ghana, are you actually condoning the use of a Taser gun multiple times to restrain a college student for refusing to show his ID card and not leaving the library? Did you see the clip? Did you notice how frequently the police officer used his Taser gun? Did you notice how he threatened a nearby student with his Taser gun as well? Don't you think the use of force was excessive? What should the police do with dangerous criminals if they treat an unruly and perhaps rude college student such as Mostafa Tabatabainejad like this?

I'm not condoning Tabatabinejad's actions. His lack of cooperation certainly did not help, but neither did the actions of UCLA police. Whether or not Tabatabainejad will use the race card to sue UCLA is irrelevent to how he was treated by UCLA police. 

Abbas Zeineddin

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Racism? No. Abuse of power? YES!

In response to Ron Ghana's note on UCLA taser incident, "You broke the law":

I’m all for justice, equality and complying with rules. But COME ON! The guy refuses to show an ID, and they tase him? What is this, Iraq? It’s a world-class university for God’s sake. I go to a world class university too, and guess what? I’ve seen people in the middle of the night being rowdy and drunk off their asses, but security not being able to do much more than escorting them out of the premises. Even if cops are called, dealing with an unarmed tased student (who can’t even move properly, by the way) is not like dealing with a drug-dealing gangster.

I wouldn’t call this racism as much as the abuse of power by bored police officers. The guy shouts out “stand up” about fifty million times to the same guy he tases about five times in the period of six minutes?!! A high-school dropout who’s never taken any biology in his life, but has the smallest dose of common sense in him would know how ridiculous this demand is. Especially since the victim in question is clearly a student (even if he doesn’t have an ID to prove it!)

This officer has serious anger management issues and needs to be brought to justice in court. As much as I feel very bad for the victim, I’m glad this happened in a university setting with a lot of witnesses around him who can hopefully make sure the cop in question is severely punished. There’s no room for testosterone-crazed men in the civilized world, who think their only ways to practice their manhood is by violence and exercising power over helpless unarmed humans.

Farah Qasemi

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I for one find you a disgrace to our community

In response to Ron Ghana's note on UCLA taser incident, "You broke the law":

In response to your writing, I am extremely confused on how you could approve of anyone being tased 5 times for not leaving a premisis, where it has clearly stated in other articles that he was on his way out. And how could say things such as "Oh well now that YOU HAVE BROKEN THE LAW and they have tased you and removed you, it's time to start crying and bringing up the race card and excessive force" where it was clear that he was repeatedly being tased because he could not get up? Does that seem fair to you?

In reponse to your article, I am in shock that someone of "Iranian" decent and someone that seems to be a minority, could aprove of this and not be outraged. (I am assuming you are Iranian since you have stated, "you are a disgrace to our community, enough said" ) Our community? I am not sure if you understand the meaning of the word community where you seem to lack the definition.

I understand that the law applieis to everyone "EVEN IRANIANS" and I also understand that if you break it, there will be consequences. But in this case, I do not see any sense in a consequence of being tased FIVE TIMES, when you are already on the ground, you can not get up, so you get tased again for not leaving?

If you call yourself an Iranian, Mr. Ron Ghana, I for one find you a disgrace to our community that I pride myself to be a part of.

Mahroo

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How many 20000-volt jolts of electricity? Until he is dead?

In response to Ron Ghana's note on UCLA taser incident, "You broke the law":

What are you talking about, broken the law? What was his crime?  Did he have any lethal weapons? How was he threatening the police or his fellow students? You can clearly hear on the video that when another student is asking for the cops badge number ( which is the law for them to provide) he tells him to go back or he will be tazed too? The fact that he was released without bail speaks for itself. When this abuse takes place in this country it is called resisting arrest but the same thing in Iran is called torture. Oops excuse me, I forgot that torture is now LEGAL in America, sorry for my mistake.

Who is the hypocrite now? He was already handcuffed and on his knees after the first jolt of 20000 volts. In other words he was neutralized and no longer a threat. By all national and international laws the police had no right to use force on him any longer.  How many times is enough to hit a defenseless person with 20000 volts of electricity? Until he is dead? He could have very easily died from the shocks if he had a medical condition which the cops would not have known about. No it wasn't the law that the police were upholding but just the reverse, they were breaking the law.

You know the scary part is that these cops as opposed to the cops in the Rodney King case knew full well they were being filmed and despite it did what th ey did. It also proves that this is not the first time that they must have done something like this but this time it was caught on video for the whole world to see.

Babak

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He was TASED as he was LEAVING

In response to Ron Ghana's note on UCLA taser incident, "You broke the law":

Let me make several things clear.

According to UCLA students and those who I talked to personally, Mustafa WAS leaving the library. A cop put his hand on him, Mustafa yelled "don't touch me", and the police did. Police never said leave or you will be tased. They simply tased him. he was hand cuffed, and then tased. and tased, and tased, and tased, and tased. He repeatedly said that HE WILL LEAVE. After one shock of the taser gun, the body is quite paralyzed and CANNOT get up. After the second time, he was on the floor drooling according to UCLA students. He again repeated and yelled that he will leave.

taser gun is made for self defense and not a method of approach. tazing a person more than twice has been rarely reported cause it does not happen. Other students were threatened that if they don't disappear, they will get tased also. so...put these simple facts together and be ashamed of yourself for calling Mustafa a disgrace to our community. it is people like you who make these actions happen and go on with no punishment.

Just pay attention to these facts: he WAS leaving, he said HE WILL LEAVE, many times. He was TASED five times, which is unheard of. After the second time, no one can get up and should be carried. He was tased and tased again. Got it? Yes, a lawsuit will happen, but you know what would be more just? Putting those officers and maybe you along with them in a line, tazing them five times, and asking them to get up or they will be tased again.

Hamed

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I will give to his defense fund

In response to Kourosh A.'s note on UCLA taser incident, "Excessive force":

I was outraged at this barbaric display of force by the police to a student. No doubt, the fact that he did not have blonde hair andblue eyes aggravated the situation.

We need to show that we give a damn as a community and we will not stand for this horrific display of incivility.

Dear Koroush A, please ask the student who was attacked to get an attorney, establish and account and inform us via the site. I promise many of us will contribute to his defense funds. We need to send a strong message by standing united and that is you can not treat us like those who cross the borders illegally, or come off the boats. Of course these officers were uneducated enough not to respect the sacred grounds of a University and we should not let them get away with this.

The victim's lawyer needs to give us a petition to sign (in addition to contributing to the defense funds) asking the LAPD to issue a written apology to the young man. Let's put our differences aside and show solidarity. This could happen to any of us and there may be no cameras to capture it.

You can count on me to personally give to the student's defense funds, to send the e-mail to my large network of friends and supporters and ask everyone I know to contribute and I promise they will.

Azam Nemati

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Iranian community must be united

In response to Ari Siletz's note on UCLA taser incident, "Overwhelmingly xenophobic":

You are absolutely correct and the Iranian community must be united in this sort of accusations. I have witnessed the blacks in the sixties and what they had to go through. It is scary!!!!!!! But I am glad I didn’t witness what they had been going through before then!!!!!!!! It is scarier!!!!!!

Shahram

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Don't make a scene and play a fricken victim

In response to Kaveh Nouraee's note on UCLA taser incident,"Sack UCLA cops":

So what do you expect? For any reason, when authorities come and ask for a simple ID card, just show it and don't make a scene and play a fricken victim. You are not proving anything. If you were in your beloved Eyeran not only you wouldn't dare to challenge their authority and if they would have arrest you or kick your ass for no reason, you would have beg for their sympathy and mercy. I would not mention what would have happened to you if you would have used that language. Please don't act like those with a big chip on their shoulders.  This is a great country because you are still here, so be grateful and respect the law.

Naghi Rahmani

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You should have been an Evin interrogator

In response to Ron Ghana's note on UCLA taser incident, "You broke the law":

Commenting on the guy calling Mostafa a disgrace.... Would you please open your eyes and actually watch the video. He was HANDCUFFED AND ON HIS WAY OUT OF THE LIBRARY when he was tased!!!! How can you say that is acceptable or even the right thing to do? I don't understand what threat 4 police officers could have felt from a handcuffed student. When a 23 year old has just been shocked three times in a row, is it right to yell in his face to stand up immediately and shock him again when he can't gather the strength??? Sounds to me like you should have been an Evin interrogator.

Kourosh Arianejad

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If this is UCLA, what really goes on in Iraq?

In response to Kourosh A.'s note on UCLA taser incident, "Excessive force":

I wish this had happened in my school. You see ... at University of Maryland the students would treat these "cops" like Duke fans. Here's a chair in your face ... come back and visit us again please. If this kind of abuse goes on in our own backyard by a bunch of uniformed dicks ... what really goes on in Iraq?

Support the troops ... and God bless America.

Saman

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How many must be brutalized before police brutality ends?

In response to Kourosh A.'s note on UCLA taser incident, "Excessive force":

UCLA's protest against police brutality is a wake up call for minority students attending UCLA, Iranians and Americans whose ancestors immigrated from Iran. The taser incident was reminiscent of the 1960s civil rights movement. This time the victim was an American whose parents immigrated from Iran. The police officers used excessive force.

News reports state that the student said that he had a medical condition. He was then tasered. It has been reported that a person can go into shock for about 5 minutes if they are tasered. The officers repeatedly ordered this semi-unconscious student to stand up. In front of many witnesses the student was barbaricly tortured. Reminiscent of the scenes of the 1960s the officers may as well have hosed this poor student as the police hosed blacks during the civil rights movement.

First, there was Rodney King, and now this. What is wrong with the police and security personelle in Southern California? They seem to learn from the Nazis. One must ask, "How many must be brutalized before police brutality ends?"

Peyman

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It's obvious this student is anti America

In response to Kourosh A.'s note on UCLA taser incident, "Excessive force":

Maybe the Iranian student should have followed the officer's order. Instead, Tabatabainejad encouraged others at the library to join his resistance. When a crowd began to gather, they used the stun gun on him... and what does the Patriot Act have to do with this? It's obvious this student is anti America and should be deported to his native Iran.

Tom

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Why do you have to play the race card all the time?

In response to Kaveh Nouraee's "Sack UCLA cops":

Why is it that you are talking about an Iranian student in UCLA? Why do you have to play the race card all the time? Here is how you should report this:

An unruly student was tased at UCLA because he ignored repeated warning from the officers and did not leave the library. Why do you take the side of any Iranian even when they are wrong just because they are Iranian? This guy wanted trouble, he was mentioning the patriot act and asking other to join him. If an iranian raped and killed your family member, would you say: that's Ok, he is hamshari! Shame on all of you racists!

Tom

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The right not treated like an animal

In response to Ron Ghana's note on UCLA taser incident, "You broke the law":

Dude,

you have been in Iran for too long... Here you still have some rights, and every one is not treated like an animal. If you have no respect for yourself, don't assume that everyone doesn't either.

Farhad

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Pigs who hide behind weapons and badges

In response to Ron Ghana's note on UCLA taser incident, "You broke the law":

Ron Ghana,

Shame on you for the callous remarks you made regarding the UCLA beating; Shame on those cowardly and treacherous pigs who hide behind weapons and badges torturing and abusing people, thus nurturing public distrust and hatred towards law enforcement. How can one watch and listen to that footage and not be enraged!? At this moment there are two thoughts that bring joy to my mind in order to offset the rage I feel. One is tasering those pigs at UCLA and hearing them scream and beg for forgiveness, and the other is kicking your fucking ass Ron.

Farshad Z.

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Tased and confused

In response to Kourosh A.'s note on UCLA taser incident, "Excessive force":

Hey, we don't know the whole story. That guy could have been acting like a real jerk. They asked for I D and he didn't show it or have it. Itobviously went down hill from there. Don't jump to conclusions just because he's Iranian. His behavior for all we know, could just make us look bad, we don't need any more of that bullshit.

Ali

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You live in a police state

In response to Mohamad Navab's photos of UCLA protest, "War on tasing":

Kids... wake up and smell the gun powder. 

You live in a police state. These are the times of walk straight, don't look up, don't say anything, and answer by, "yes sir". Human rights, civil rights, citizen rights, and all the bull shit about freedom, are simply words on old pieces of paper.

You live in a society that allows a high-school drop out dressed in a campus police, one who wasn't even smart enough to get a job as a real police, can purge thousands of volts of electricity through the body of a young man who could become somebody in this country.

These are the times, where a well educated, well rounded, professional, who has spent most of his adult life doing clinical research and contributed to the health of this country, gets stopped at the Mexican border, questioned non stop, and is treated worse than a criminal, simply because of his name and where he was born.

An immigration officer who barely had the brain power to go through high-school, if that, has the power to hold highly educated, world renounced scientists for hours. 

You guys have a bright future, in a fake democracy and even more fake freedom. Good luck.

Hamid Bakhsheshi

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Tone it down

In response to Mohamad Navab's photos of UCLA protest, "War on tasing":

I wish Mr. Navab would have chosen to put aside the pride issue and instead of declaring the students "cream of the crop" and the "future leaders" and the problem solvers, would more humbly focus on solving the matter before him.

Kyle Saghafi

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All students are future leaders

In response to Kyle Saghafi's "Tone it down":

Thank you for your careful point and thoughtful recommendation. If by what you write you mean you got the impression that my statements meant that ucla students are superior, I need to clarify and say that the intention was to mean: All students are the future leaders etc. All over the planet earth. There was no mention of Iranians in the entire text and most of the students at the protest were non-Iranian.

Mohamad Navab

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If your answer is "NO"

In response to Ron Ghana's note on UCLA taser incident, "You broke the law":

Were you there? Have you, personally, spoke to any eye witnesses? If your answer is "NO" to the questions above, my response, along with a loud voice of anyone who has higher IQ than you, which includes just about anyone, including the apes at the zoo, SHUT THE FUCK UP!

Hamid Bakhsheshi

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Maybe the Law is bullshit

In response to Ron Ghana's note on UCLA taser incident, "You broke the law":

Maybe the Law is bullshit. I tell you a story.I know an "Ahmed" from Torkmenistan, who was always"casually" checked at the airport.It did not help that he worked for the American embassy or later for the OSCE. Maybe this persian guy did forget his ID somewhere but still had to do some research at the UCLA.

Do you really think the police would have acted that way with a white anglo saxon protestant ??? Don't be silly! After 9/11 America has become crazy and racism has found a new direction. I am really lucky that still we don't have this strict rules over here. Land of the free, Home of the brave??? Are you sure ??

Heinz
Vienna, Austria (no Kangaroos!!)
Europe

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The officer was polite

In response to Kourosh A.'s note on UCLA taser incident, "Excessive force":

The essay on "excessive force" is just plain wrong. The officer was polite. The student was belligerent. He did not co-operate with the officers orders. He yelled at the officer. He used vulgar language. He repeatedly ignored the officers orders. And he was in the UCLA library without ID, that is trespassing. As an American child whose ancestors immigrated from Iran I am ashamed that this student is Iranian. And with a name like Mostafa he is a disgrace to all Shia Muslim Iranians every where. He just makes us look bad.

Yaghub Abdul-Aziz Kohan

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Great heroism... against a vicious screamer

In response to Kourosh A.'s note on UCLA taser incident, "Excessive force":

Bravo to your brave police officers for fearlessley defending the helpless victims of the school library against a vicious screamer. I can now rest easier, knowing your officers can tase a student over and over and do not even break a sweat. Job well done... and to think that for every videotaped episode, there are many more that we have missed and are denied to be a witness of your great heroism!

Frank

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Utterly and profoundly disgusted to the core of my being

In response to Kourosh A.'s note on UCLA taser incident, "Excessive force":

THIS IS NOT OK! THIS IS NOT OK!

Iranians please "stand up" -- and speak up!

Stand up against what happened to the UCLA student not because he's Iranian, because he is you and I -- a human being for God's sake! When you go up against a couple of brutes without logic and without self control and without common sense such as those campus police, it doesn't matter if you are right or wrong, in the moment, you become voiceless. So "stand up" and "speak up" and get this disgusting show of uncalled for use of force some attention so it can be dealt with.

I am utterly and profoundly disgusted to the core of my being over what I just saw. Imagine all the stuff that goes on daily that hasn't been captured on film!

Neda

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UCLA isn't some cave in Afghanistan

In response to Ron Ghana's note on UCLA taser incident, "You broke the law":

Whatta inteligent person you are?... really! :O) In the wonderful land of U-S of A ... the land of free and exporting "free"... the top example of civilization ... the same land where we've had leaders such as Dr. Martin Luther Kind whom changed the lives of millions if not billions. You actually defend force and violence against some tiny little punk in a pathetic video like this one? Chill on the testosterone friend ... this might be LA but it ain't Hollywood and trying to be "discovered" by a PhoneCam. It sure ain't the Discovery Channel wrestling alligators either.

Taser guns are supposed to be used in self-defense ... supposed to use it as if it's a real gun when life threatening situations. Now ... if this little chump was scaring bunch of meat-head cops ... that's LAPD/Campus police's problem to have highered smarter guys. Not some college young buck without a library card. This isn't some cave in Afghanistan... what if it was your kid? Punish him for getting tased 5 times?

There are only 2 conclusions to this embarrassment ... humane angle and twisted enough to actually get people off like you. Not calling you a racist or playing the race game. It's much uglier that that. You're just not evolved enough to realize what kind of dumb comment you made about a disturbing video which interested you enough to publicly defend. You're totally kosher with what the cops did in this video and I'm afraid I understand where you come from.

If this kind of professionalism is going on by our proud men in uniform in a library at some shee shee, liberal school in California... where most kids have a BMW and PhoneCams to record this behavior ... imagine what the poor African Americans have to deal without the assistance of YouTube? Or even better ... what could Johnny Fred Neck be doing behind closed doors in Iraq and Afghanistan? Support our Troops and God Bless America! Suchlike slogans are needed for major insecurities...

Saman

PS. Feel sorry for the kids you'll bring to this world. Damn Shame!

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Officers did not give him a chance

In response to Kourosh A.'s note on UCLA taser incident, "Excessive force":

What I see is a young man who even though he was in the wrong (running his mouth, cussing the cops,. etc) He did not deserve to be tased at least six times that I counted. After the second time he was tased he was telling them he was going to go but the officers did not give him a chance.

In a few medical journals it states that after being tased there is a probability of being totally immobilized for five to ten minutes. Who is to say this did not happen? If not after the second time I am sure after the sixth time he could not have moved. If they had wanted him out of the building they should have carried him out (unless they couldn't lift him which is unlikely).

There was no reason to tase him this many times. I do not agree with the young man's actions but the police had no authority to tase him at least six times.

Mahnaz

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I hope he forgives himself

In response to Kaveh Nouraee's "Sack UCLA cops":

Ron Ghana has only embarrassed himself by rushing to make an unwise statement. I hope he learns and most importantly forgives himself.

Abdy Sadri

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Don't remain silent

In response to Kourosh A.'s note on UCLA taser incident, "Excessive force":

It is absolutely true that the police have abused their power for many years in this country. Maybe this outrageous unjustified incident will prompt the beginning to end the violent behavior & excessive force of the police in the U.S. under the pretext of law .

Although it won't be easy to fight a system that its essence and sole purpose has been in fact to protect us & our rights and has gone awry, it is the only choice we have. By remaining silent or indifferent, more of the same unjust actions will be the norm. The synergy of a grass root movement, empowered by the individual's momentum such as us to change this abuse of power & excessive force by the police in the U.S. is what will be making a difference.

Any and all means to contact the UCLA authorities, participate in the demonstrations, sign petitions, and contact media is a step in the right direction.

Nasrin Sasanpour

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Ask for discipline

In response to Kourosh A.'s note on UCLA taser incident, "Excessive force":

In regards to the incident of having a student tased below is the contact information for the chancellor of the UCLA. The office of chancellor is logging phone calls and e-mails with concerns . The best way is to send Chancellor Abrams e-mails or call his office to voice your concern and ask for those officers involved to be disciplined.

Chancellor Norman Abrams
Telephone: 310-825-2151
Fax: 310-206-6030

Address (U.S. Mail):
Box 951405, Murphy Hall 2147
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1405

Address (Campus Mail):
Murphy Hall 2147
Campus: 140501

E-mail: chancellor@conet.ucla.edu

Faris

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Brutal punishment for very small misdeed

In response to Kourosh A.'s note on UCLA taser incident, "Excessive force":

The following is my e-mail to the UCLA cheif of police who ordered his men to use a taser against the young Iranian university student. I did not write the letter in a calm mood but rather I was disgusted and angery. It's truly pathetic to see a police officer, who must reinforce peace in society, use a taser against a university student:

An act of harsh dictatorship, an act of pure violence, this is what an American cop is trained to do to a young student. A police must reinforce peace by using peace, not reinforcing it by violence. If you sir had a bad day, keep it to yourself and do not empty it on a student who is on the path of success. The man was just trying to get into the university library and did not have his card... does that mean police must use the most brutal equipment to punish a student for a very small misdeed? I don't think so. This is exactly what your president is doing to Iraq and other third world countries. He's bringing "peace" by killing millions.

Me as a student cannot tolerate such an act and I'm disgusted by the way the American police treats its people. I will personally spread this news to university students all around the world so they can become aware of what kind of country the United States is. It is in fact bull when they say America is the land of opportunity and freedom.

I am sure if such an act was implemented on your kids you wouldn't have been pleased.

Be ashamed of yourself, you are not a cop but a bringer of terror.

Sahand

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Not all about Ansari

In response to Anousheh Ansari's space flight and her critics:

First let me say that I don't think the criticism posed to Mrs. Ansari is one that is exclusively given by her fellow Iranian-Americans. After all such criticisms are prevalent among many other Americans who are not of Iranian descent who have been critical of other Americans who have also acted in such and/or various other self indulgence manners.

The point here is not about her rights with her own hard earned money -- after all in a free society one can do whatever s/he wants to do with their own money within the boundaries of law -- heck one can even start a chain of strip clubs to fulfill one's own adolescent fantasies -- but at the same time in a free society others are also entitled to make a judgment on those who make such self indulgence acts which are clearly self indulgences in the eyes and abilities of perhaps 99.9% of world population.

The other issue here is not so much a direct criticism of Mrs. Ansari but perhaps the overall affluent Iranian-American community. In an earlier article of mine I wrote about the "apparent" lack of philanthropic culture among affluent IA community.

Although one sample isn't a true representation of any population but given the lack of data let me just make a leap of judgment and assume that the budget of Child Foundation which finished 2005 with about $1.5 million dollar in donation is perhaps if not the highest funded charity but at the most is one that is at par with many other 10 or so charitable organizations that operate in U.S.

With such small annual budgets and with so many IA multi millionaires and billionaires is why we have such criticism of any self indulgence acts and references to the widely used Saadi verse.

Arya

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Poor Kundera!

In response to Mahsa Meshki's "The 'basher' and the 'immortal'":

Poor Kundera! He never imagined he'd called to be defend the bored Iranian woman's trek into the Nordstrom of the space.

Ramin

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This is not about envy

In response to Mahsa Meshki's "The 'basher' and the 'immortal'":

Dear Mahsa,

That was a very moving and an extremely intriguing, yet simple to understand conversation between the two characters. But as great as your piece was in defending her and as wonderful as this project was for Anousheh Ansari, you do not seem to relent from the fact that non of what was published against what she did had even come close to bashing her.

We are not reacting to this, nor does anyone wants their name to be in history books in any shape or form. This is not about envying someone. What you mentioned in that fictional converstaion was real, and actual accusations that were possibly made againts him. what you enclosed along with your letter, was far from being accusatory. Even though it was written by azam nemati! You have failed to make the distinction here.

Since when being critical of someone and suggesting ideas and opinions about what he or she has done qualifies as "crediting ourselves with moral superiority?" Do we not reserve the right to do so?

Since when did anyone advocatethat she would take up the cause for Darfur or other impoverished parts of the world?

I myself as one of those who opposed this project am very well aware of the fact that there are so many out there who are more wealthy than she is , and my main objection was blaming all of them for not doing enough for the poor. why don't they all team up and create organizations to benefit the poor people?

Ansari treaded onto a foreign land and now supposedly in space! and let's say she did manage to inspire some children out there, But what percentage of those children do you think in reality will have the chance, the ones that she had to reach those goals? You may not want to admit this, But she ain't as self-made of an entrepreneur as you think. don't forget how she obtained the huge portion of what she possesses at the moment. Don;t forget to include her husband in there as well.

I wish that you would have stopped and think for a moment, before you'd delve into this subject in the most romanticizing and dreamy way. It is as if you are composing a poem. Ansari's passion is shared by so many others in the world , and no one can truly judge how childish and simple one person is just by reading that person's Blog! We can not measure her state of emotions just by reading her words.

It is hard to understand why you are comparing aghdashloo and anoushe together. How did aghdashloo's role in holywood is a contribution " to furthering humanity's vision beyond the boundaries of our earth will have a profound shift in our consciousness beyond what our limited vision allows us to see at this time"?

It is true that we each have our own dreams, But when was the last time that you read somewhere that she was being held responsible for the entire world's hunger? It would be a greatthing if she could have managed to help the poor and the hungry in iran, Let alone the world.

I seriously disgaree with your defense of her and that she has joined the ranks of the immortals of the history. that is too much sensationlism.You
have to realize that there is no Bashing involved. We are free to express our opinions about this and anything else, and any conclusion that doing so equals bashing someone is nothing but an exaggeration.

I am sorry to see that your over-the-top devotion and admiration and rather Obsession with ansari, has led you to create names for others who happenn to disagree with you.

You have delved into such deeply irrelevant psycological analysis, through which you are simply trying to put down those who just happen to not like and even dare criticize ansari's project. That is a shame, really.

Kyle

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Deeply insecure

In response to Jim S.'s "Screw the Sexual Revolution":

Au contraire, Jim S.

I would not want a wife who hadn't slept with other men.

You, my friend, are deeply insecure. (And, chances are, pretty unsatisfying as a lover.)

David Donnell

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Maybe women will become wiser

In response to Jim S.'s "Screw the Sexual Revolution":

Thank you for writing this. It is so good to hear it from someone other than Iranian men. No offense guys but maybe if more men of different nationalities say the same thing Iranian men say then maybe women will become wiser and realize that they are worth more than sex.

Mahnaz

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Defense of exploitation and male chauvinism

In response to Jim S.'s "Screw the Sexual Revolution":

Hogwash! (to be polite). More nonsensical sexism, defense of exploitation and male chauvinism. Patriarchyis the system which denies rights to all women and sends young men to war (to die) so they can have all the wealth and women.

Nancy

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Why should only girls have to restrain their desires?

In response to Jim S.'s "Screw the Sexual Revolution":

I find two things really shocking. First of all for you true love and marriage seem to be based on sex, on virginity. Secondly,  you place all the responsibility in the hands of the girls.

It sounds very romantic that girls can make guys so devote to themselves by giving them their virginity in their wedding night. I rather like to believe that true love is about much more and is not based on virginity. If a guy makes virginity a requirement for true love I think he made it himself easy. True love is about the whole personality of your partner. It is not just about the part of her or his personality that was strong enough to keep away from sex until marriage. But I wonder if the guy looked so deeply into her character if virginity is so crucial to him. And vice versa, is virginity the guarantee for a great personality? I am afraid not.

In my opinion sex before marriage is even good because is gives you the possibility to compare and to get experience. I think these experiences make later relationships much more advanced and mature. For me it is true that each of my relationships was better than the previous one because of the lesson learned from those previous relationships. Plus a lot of people agree with me that it is great to have an experienced partner; that is not only true for in bed. I wonder if it isn't out of insecurity if men prefer unexperienced girls who cannot compare.

I find it interesting that you talk for all the men in the Western world anyways. I am pretty sure that a very high percentage of them, especially the younger ones, disagrees with you. Moreover I wonder if it never came to your mind that some girls might prefer virgins as their partners, too. Who gave the monopoly to the men? That brings me to the next point.

Your view is extremely single-sided. Maybe that is because you are father of a daughter, because of being married to a traditional Iranian or because you answer with your letter to a woman's article. I think it is ridiculous to place all the responsibility for more moral in the girls' hands. Even tradition doesn't make that a good choice. Why should only girls have to restrain their desires? If you think that the girl's big head can always and in all situations control their very small head (we have one, too!), as you put it, then you don't know women. Girls have all the desires that guys have or don't have. Why do the girls have to be the ones to say no? Does the initiative for more moral have to come from them? Are guys that weak or that lazy? Why are guys allowed to let go as soon as the possibility occurs? Do they want to be controlled like that? Reading your experiences it seems that you loved to be controlled, even if that was partly volunteerly. Where is your own strength and your own head? Did it need somebody else to push you to restrain from sex? I think you don't leave much diginity to the men by depriving them of so fundamental will power.

Last but not least, already the Greeks thought that their youth is such attitudes that it cannot end good with them. But it did. And it did it again, and again until today. As in the old Greece the time keeps changing and the youth always had and always will have a big stake in it. The older people will always try to swim against it because humans tend to not like change. But that won't stop the train of change. So I think it is better to accept new habits, especially if they already became mainstream in the part of the world that you live in, and try to make the best out of them. Even the oldest traditions were new at some point of time....

Say hi to your daughter,

Frauke

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Take it from an outsider

In response to Jim S.'s "Screw the Sexual Revolution":

Dear Jim,

It saddens me to see that Iranians have reached a point in life where an outsider has to tell them what we are loosing and how valuable and precious their past experience of life and culture, left for them by their parents, has been and helps them to have a happy life.

Thanks for sharing your honest view with everyone.

Abdy

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How much more selfish can one get?

In response to Jim S.'s "Screw the Sexual Revolution":

I sincerely hope that whoever reads this article, would do so in such a deep and scrutinizing manner to help them separate facts and fictions. Jim continuosly boasts about the fact that how realistic he has been and how he was a lucky fellow to have found an angel who has stayed with him and will be with him to the end, but when he so arrogantly and absurdly refers to Young men of our ages as some wild, sexual beasts who have no desire but to love a woman for sex, and that they look at it as merely a challenge! To me , he has lost all the credibility. How simplistic to liken such an experience to climbing a mountain! How much more selfish one can get?

I wish he would wisen up and begin respecting all that graying hair, and change such baseless and unfounded beliefs. Young men these days are not just bunch of low-lives and good-for-nothings who have no aims but to be interested in what is down there. He needs to kiss that old mentality good bye and recoginze that evenn though there are some jerks, there is a huge improvement in terms the men's  knowledge level and knowing how a woman needs to be treated. I have witnessed so many married couples and unmarried ones in their 20's , In fact more unmarried than married ones., who completely Defy jim's theory. He will be surprised out of his mind, how many supposedly Unattainable women, are found so extremely desirable by men, and how men really love and respect the fact of when a woman wants to share with them her passion out of pure and sincere love and true feelings.

I am so sorry Jim. and I know that it hurts your pride, But it is time to wake up and see things for what and how they really are. You could do a heck of a lot better encouraging and giving young men out there some credit. At least, i should hope so.

Kourosh (Kyle)

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Puke away, girls!

In response to Sanaz Raji's "Persians & Trojans":

I know that it comes on the heals of "Screw the Sexual Revolution", but I felt that I had to respond to Ms. Alexander and those like her (once you read what I've written, you know who she is). If she thinks she can get away trying to intimadate others who opinions of life don't match hers, she is mistaken. The only thing is whether she gets to find out about it from me vis-a-vis iranian.com, or she finds out latter in life from someone else regarding some other issue. -- Jim S.

On Thursday, November 18th, I recieved an email from a woman I didn't know named, Loren Alexander. She wrote in response to my letter which appeared in iranian.com under the title, Screw the Sexual Revolution. Ms. Alexander's email was short and to the point. She wrote to tell me, "I wanted to throw up after I read your letter. I'm glad you're not my husband or father."  At first I was taken aback and a bit angry. If she had challenged any of my opinions, I would have taken it better, but she didn't. She instead implied that I was backward for believing that family values and morality have a place in modern society.

After an initial impulse to fire off a nasty reply, I took a deep breath and restrained myself. I realized that her correspondence was nothing more than the knee-jerk reaction of an enraged feminist. For some unfathomable reason, feminists either can't or won't accept the fact that freedom of speech means more than their right to shove the feminist manifesto down the throats of other people. It means that we, who may disagree with them from time to time, have the right to stand up for what we believe in with a vigilance that is equal to their insatiable lust to tear down every traditional value upon which family life is and has always been predicated. When someone has the audacity to stand up and voice an opinion that does not neatly comport with the feminist veiw of the world, that individual is attacked personally. This, I am sure, is why Ms. Alexander was repulsed and nauseated with my views.

What she failed to apprehend, however, was that I never said that young men and women could not engage in as many permarital sexual encounters as they desired. Being a Westerner, I am fully cognizant that the laws of all Western nations protect the rights of consenting adults "to do whomever however whenever they wish." The fundamental point of my letter was that if young women choose to engage in premarital sexual intimacies and if those sexual escapades become public knowledge, society will judge them harshly. I don't think that this is news to anyone!

Much to the dismay of feminists, we do not live in an imaginary feminist utopia. We live in the real world. No matter which society in the world today one calls home, dispersions are cast upon the reputations of unmarried women whose behavior is deemed to be unchaste while unmarried men suffer no similar indignity. This is why an unmarried man who sleeps around is often thought of as a "stud" while an unmarried woman who does exactly the same thing is regarded as a "slut" or a "whore." I never said that I agree with the obvious unfairness imposed upon women in this regard. I merely stated that this is the way it is, the way it always has been and the way it always will be for those of us consigned to living in the real world instead of a perfect feminist dream world.

Words like values, honor, dignity, discipline and self-restraint have no place in the feminist lexicon. These and many other arcane references to the higher attributes of personal character were expunged long ago, when in the formative years of the feminist movement a new and addictive orthodoxy of life emerged, "if it feels good, do it." People, who still believe that these antiquated expressions have more to offer young people than simply the possibility of abstract applications in life...people who believe that these terms offer the hope of living with principles which young people can apply in everyday situations, are insulted and vilified by the most hard-core of feminists.

Feeling secure in my belief that many people feel, as I do, we should be helping our young generation of Iranian women, among whom I count my daughter, to stand tall on the pedestal of self-respect rather than allowing others to pull them down into society's common toilet of mediocrity and immorality. I will never concede to the feminist rabble that morality and modernity are mutually exclusive. Our daughters can be both at the same time.

The feminists wish to intoxicate our daughters with the belief that sexual pomiscuity and self-indulgence is preferable to principled self-restraint if one wishes to be considered both modern and hip. What a load of horse shi.....oops.....manure! Sadly we can only talk to our daughters and give them our best advice. The ultimate decision rests with each one of them to make individually. Each must decide for herself which form of safe sex is best for her: condoms or abstainence. In making this very important decision, I would hope that every young woman would ask herself whether she would be embarrassed if her children in the future were able to find out which of these two alternative methods she chose.

I shall never shrink from my belief that the honor, dignity and reputation of young Iranian women is far more precious and valuable than the price of a condom regardless of how repugnant I may appear to feminists. If the price I have to pay to stand up for my beliefs is to live with the knowledge that I've made a few feminsts vomit, then all I can really say is "puke away, girls!" Should any of that vomit spash upon my reputation, I shall proudly wear the stench-filled stain as a badge of honor...just as millions of other mothers and fathers would do.

Jim S.

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The myth of safe sex

In response to Sanaz Raji's "Persians & Trojans":

Get real, sex is surreal. It is beyond dignity, virginity, promiscuity, modernity, post modernity, marital, pre- marital, love, lust, trust, wearing or not wearing a condom. There is no such thing as "safe sex". Any emotional, mental, or physical entanglement with a breathing entity involves substantial risks, especially those of the sexual kind. Every sexual encounter has the potential to alter the course of one's life.

How so you may ask? In many ways and days.

One example, it may start with the simple breakage of a condom (yes, they do break), leading to the fertilization of an egg, ensuing in an unwanted pregnancy for one or both of the parties, which in turn leads to having a child or terminating the pregnancy, both hard choices to make, given that you even have a choice. Millions of people are unwittingly trapped in relationships for years because of a shared child.

I am not being crass here, but the heart, mind, and soul connections between two people are usually just as temporary as the connection between their body parts. But once you have a child with someone it is for "good" and so are most of the diseases caught due to a malfunctioning condom. You might think there is always abortion but that is not always as "safe" and " simple" as popping a morning after pill or stopping by the nearest planned parenthood clinic. It takes two to tango but only one can take the lead. Any activity that may lead to the creation of another human being may carry consequences, real physcial, emotional, financial, and legal long term consequences and result in ties which bind.

Let's face it, sex is not even "safe" in a marriage. It only takes one cheating partner one fateful indiscretion to cause his/her spouse and family quite a bit of despair in a multitude of ways. Don't delude yourself into thinking there is such a thing as "safe sex".There is only "risky sex" or" very risky sex". Sex should certainly not be perceived as a recreational sport for consenting adults or big kids. No "protective" condom or any other birth control method can fully protect one from all the potential risks of "safe" sex.

Read the fine print and side effects of sex before you partake. There may be a price to be paid for the pleasure and/or pain of sex. The payment may be delayed, lump sum or in installments. Payment might be paid out physically, emotionally, mentally, spiritually and last and least financially. Open your eyes, ear,hearts and minds. You can always say no and "know" what you are not getting or you can say yes and not be sure of what you are getting...

Of course, hearing and/or reading about tales of terror is never quite as poignant as seeing and feeling one's own encounter with terror. But that is not something the condom makers want you to know, yes sex is also a business and always looking for more buyers. So go ahead and sex responsibly (some major fees ,fines, and restrictions might apply).

M.D.

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It is not only true for Iranians

In response to Sanaz Raji's "Persians & Trojans":

Thanks for saying all this. It is not only true for Iranians, too. I was lucky there are also guys from Iran who are the total opposite of the guys you describe and who are so open and emancipated about sex as one could only wish. I wish it was as easy to talk about wishes and musts in sex with every guy as with them.

Frauke

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My problem is that he calls himself a cartoonist

In response to Hossein Hajiagha's cartoons:

I've been meaning to write about Hajiagha's so called cartoons for a long time now. Like many other readers I wonder why he is so angry (I do have some guesses though) and why in the world does he live in the West if he hates it to this extent. However, I believe in freedom of speech so he can express his views for as long as he wants.

My problem with him is that he calls himself a cartoonist. I'm surprised at what he gets away with as far as the form - not the content - is concerned. There have been instances that he has simply written down his thoughts and sent them as cartoons. Apparently Iranian.com considers any file in JPEG format to be a cartoon! (I don't care to go through the archive and find the links because that would require revisiting all that distastefulness. I think anyone following his work knows what I'm talking about) 

And then there is the unbearable number of words in each cartoon. He beats us over the head with the point he's trying to make again and again.  There is the drawing (of course he feels free to skip that part if he doesn't feel like drawing!) and then there are the speech balloons (that is if we're lucky and the drawings aren't simply ornamental). 

You'd think that's enough but no, we're too dumb to grasp the underlying meaning of  Mr. Hajiagha's abstract work of art so he has to write a whole page summary of what's happening in the "cartoon," what he means by it, how miserable his life is and almost never fails to mention that all women are whores because they don't sleep with him. Does he not trust his "art" (he calls it art in a recent work and complains that he's not appreciated because he lives in a racist society!) to speak for itself? Does every line he draws have to be padded with 10 lines of user manual?

I tolerate his misogynist comments and his distorted image of his surroundings but I refuse to recognize any scribbling that's accompanied by an irrelevant piece of drawing as a cartoon.

I know nothing is sacred here but there have to be some minimum standards as far as form is concerned. You wouldn't publish this email in the poetry section even if I insisted it's poetry, would you?

Negar

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Do we care about each other as much as we do about our clan?

In response to Zohreh Khazai Ghahremani's "Learning to love LA":

Zohreh jan Cool!

A thought in passing about the LA crowd.  I can take them or leave them; they are as much a reflection of our nation as anyone else, including myself.  After all, they like the rest of us, have created their own version of the Diaspora.  Some can afford the high style, some not but, deep down, the real issue is if we care as much about each other as we do about our own specific clan and tribe.

To be honest even in Iran, the clan was superior to the rest of the country and we carry that intense feeling of “US” and “Them” very close to our hearts.  “Us”, the clan, was always welcome, a confident, a brother in arms, a trusted compatriot.  “Them” was everyone else with questionable integrity and lineage.

I wonder if we, as a nation, will be ever able to exceed ourselves and see that in reality there is only an “US”,  “them” does not exist.

I really enjoyed the piece, I hope you get a lot of comments on it!!!!

Fathali

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All true

In response to Zohreh Khazai Ghahremani's "Learning to love LA":

It is all true. Keep up the good work.

Masoud Nasrollahzadeh

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I never bought into the monolithic concept of Iran

In response to Ben Madadi's "Not that special":

Wow! Man Wow!

What an article, Fantastic.  You have hit a nail directly on the head and I am sure you will elicit a lot of negative reviews, but let me, for one, congratulate you on raising a very pertinent and important issue.  One that can, in fact save, us as a nation.  I never bought into the monolithic concept of Iran,  I believe our strength is in our diversity and I hope that we can make it last!

Fathali

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Enjoying best music

In response to Azam Nemati's music selections, "Taknavazan":

Dear Azam,

This is to thank you for making it possible for us to enjoy what I consider the best of iranian.com: Music!

Take care,

Abdy Sadri

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Dictionary definition of idiot

In response to Azam Nemati's "Money doesn't buy you brains":

Azam Namati has proven, beyond any shadow of a doubt, that she has no clue, whatsoever, as to what the hell she is talking about. In fact, even her sanity is under question. Let the word go forth that from now on we should refer to Azam Nemati as the "Village Idiot". In no form or shape should we use her name again. For easier use in future communications, some alllowed variation of "Village Idiot" are VI, Village Id, or V. Idiot. The editors at Webster's Dictionary were also contacted and they have agreed to put her picture in front of the word Idiot.

Farshad

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Is this the real art of "tanz"?

In response to Siamack Baniameri's "Rewarding disobedient wives":

Siamack-e aziz,

I know you through Iranian.com and truly enjoy your work. This is what I call the real art of "tanz": it represents an unpleasant situation or subject in a pleasant and funny way; it changes the mood and bring awareness to the subject. It has something to say! A message to articulate. Totally different from what we see from that "table-e-too-khali, Hajagha", who doesn't have anything to offer and repeats boring trash over and over again without any creativity! Anyway, I am not trying to compare incomparable here.

I would love to know how you define "tanz" and since someone gets upset or offended by any type of  "tanz", what draw that fine line between  "tanz" as an art and vulgarity?

Sophie Saviour

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No gathering of Iranians anywhere is truly authentic, unless...

In response to Jahanshah Javid's "Poker night":

Your poker night with your Iranian friends is not "authentically Iranian" because you did not talk about Iran's nuclear issue, the mullahs, the Mojahedin, the "saltanat talab-ha", the democracy lovers, Islam and how it destroyed the great and totally "PERFECT" Iran before it came, etc. etc. etc...

No gathering of Iranians anywhere is truly authentic unless these topics are discussed and by the end of the gathering everyone shouting and fighting each other over who is right and who is wrong!

Have a nice [next] poker night!

N. Shafiei

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Absolutely facinating

In response to Pouria Lotfi's Afghanistan photo essay, "Buzkashi":

Dear Mr. Lotfi,

The photos you took in Afghanistan on the Buzkashi are absolutely facinating. I just hope for the poor animal that it is dead before this race (given that his head is chopped I suppose it is the case) otherwise it is extremly cruel.

That said I wanted to let you know that this ritual sport in Afghanistan was the subject of a book by French Journalist/novelist and adventurer Joseph Kessel. It is called the Horsemen. It was also brought to the  movie screens in the 70's with Omar Sharif and the late Jack Palance and directed by John Frankenheimer (French Connection/Ronin). It is a strange film but it does give an idea on the tradition and tough life of the Afghan Horsemen.

Darius KADIVAR

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The best: Western European democracy and secularism

In response to Amil Imani's "May peace be upon you":

Dear Mr. Amil Imani,

Reading your article, Holding Islam to account, brought me to the idea to point out the following remarks.

There is no doubt that Islam under any interpretation is a at best a mediocre social system of the most primitive pagans of a clan society. It is not only incompatible to our society, but also creates great obstacles for all aspects of modern life. I can understand and share your critics over Islam that are in a large spectrum our collective problems.

But, regarding my views about the West, especially the US, I have to distance myself from your views when the fututre of our country is discussed.

It is obvious that the policy of the West towards the IRI is presented their outline of long-term strategy for the region and of course their economic interests.

It is important to mention that in a wild capitalist system, Governments are not even fully representing their own people, but are traditionally consistent with what are expected to be the recommendations of the main profiteers of the system.

The economic interests of Western capitalism have privileged status for the western Governments in outlining their policy, in our case, towards Iran-- even though and regardless these Governments know that the IRI is the most prolific sponsor of terrorism in the West.

To be realistic, we cannot expect such Governments, especially the Anglo-American model, contain human responses above all other parameters.

Furthermore, from historic revelations, their interests have been considered as serious obstacles to democracy in Iran-- we could see the Shah’s dictatorship as a bulwark against democracy in Iran but a guarantee for the American interests in the region.

Although, some European countries have occasionally criticised the very flagrant violations of human rights in Iran, indeed, since the Islamic revolution of 1979, the West has never treated the IRI as a criminal regime. No western country has ever condemned the massacre of political prisoners in Iran, thousands of executions of Iranian political activists, barbaric repression against Iranian people and many other similar cases. Nor has put a single ” civilised” country the IRI in a category of prime enemy of humanity or an illegal regime, like that of Nazi, Stalin, Pol Pot and etc.

The West will of course diabolise the IRI when this one is replaced by a democratic regime, but as long as the IRI exists, it can at best be branded as a fundamentalist, but not an illegitimate and criminal regime.

However, I am convinced that Western model, especially the European one, is the best existing model of democracy and secularism, but I cannot imagine that the West offers democracy and secularism to Iranian peole. We can use worthy experiences of the western societies, but not let them decide about our future.

We have had a very bad experience of the Shah’s dependent regime. While believing in the western model of democracy, I am at the same time very attached to our full independence.

Jahanshah Rashidian

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Ummeh-ism is anathema to democratic ideal

In response to Jahanshah Rashidian's "The best: Western European democracy and secularism":

Dear Mr. Rashidian,

Thank you for writing to me. I always enjoy reading constructive criticisms. I know how you feel about America. I can understand it. Most Europeans carry your sentiments, perhaps. There is only one thing that has disturbed me and that is your denial of my love for Iran. Please Keep in mind that I can say the same thing about you. Just be very careful when you loosely deny me of my unmitigated love for Iran.

Well, please let me explain what it means to be an American and why we cherish our democracy and why Islam and Muslims are a threat to the west in the same manner that it is and has been a threat to Iran.

A relatively recent demographic change -- significant increase in Muslim population -- poses a serious challenge to the American system of governance -- democracy.

Historically, people from all over the world came to this land-of-take-all and made it their home. In becoming American, each new aspirant had to meet specific provisions and take the "Pledge of Allegiance" as sworn affirmation of his highest loyalty to his new homeland. After a couple of generations, all hyphenated Americans saw themselves as Americans with a special affection for their ancestral heritage. An Irish-American, for instance, considered himself every bit as American as a German-American, or a Chinese-American.

Traditionally, America did not homogenize its diverse people. The notion of the "melting pot," is inaccurate. Instead, America did one better. As it welcomed its diverse people, America united them around a set of core values such as respect for human rights, democratic governance, and the rule of law.

The large number of Muslims arrival of recent years is posing a serious problem to this nation of all nations. Bluntly speaking, no one can be a Muslim and American at the same time. Here are some of the reasons.

* A Muslim is, first and foremost, an Ummehist -- a citizen of international Islam. So, when a Muslim takes the Pledge of Allegiance, he is either ignorant of the implication of his pledge or is lying willfully. Ignorance is never a valid reason in the court of law, and lying in the process of becoming citizen is a ground for denying the application and even deporting the violator. Sadly enough, tagyyeh -- lying, or dissimulation -- is not only condoned, it is recommended to the Muslims in their scripture. Hence, a Muslim can and would lie without any compunctions, whenever it is expedient.

* Muslims, by belief and practice, are the most blatant violators of human rights. We hardly need to detail here Muslims' systemic cruel treatment of the unbelievers, women of all persuasions, and any and all minorities across the board. To Muslims, human rights have a different meaning, and it protective provisions are reserved strictly for Muslims -- primarily for Muslim men. Just a couple of examples should suffice for now.

Oppression of women, for one, is so systemic in Islam that to this day women are, at best, second class citizens under Islamic law. Saudi Arabia, the custodian of Islamdom, denies women the right to drive, vote or hold elective offices -- the most basic rights of citizens in democratic societies.

For another, no non-Islamic literature are allowed in Saudi Arabia. A visiting Christian, for instance, is denied to enter the Kingdom with a Bible. Further, severe punishment is meted out to anyone daring to disagree with Islam or espouse a different religion. Iran's resurgent Shiism often vies with Saudi Arabia in its mistreatment of religious and non-religious minorities. To the fanatical ruling gang in Iran, it is their brand of Islam or disenfranchisement of rights of citizenship and even death for the "sin" of apostasy. And of course, there is no point at all in talking about the savage Islamic Taliban.

* Respect for the rule of law, as it is understood and practiced by civilized people, is an instrument of convenience to be used to advantage and to be violated when it is not, for the Muslim. A Muslim believes in a different law -- the Shariah: a set of stone-age rules. Violation of the non-Muslim laws, therefore, is no violation at all to a Muslim.

What is incredible is the gull and audacity of Muslims in demanding that Western and other democracies legalize Shariah in their societies. Large populations of Muslims, mostly recent arrivals, in countries such as Canada, Great Britain, and Sweden are experiencing the insistent demands by Muslims to have Shariah rule their Islamic communities. This is just the beginning and it may seem relatively harmless to the simpletons in our midst. Yet, once Shariah is recognized to any extent, it will reach out to rule not only on matters that concern Muslims, but also those that may involve a Muslim and non-Muslim. Under Shariah, a Muslim man married to a non-Muslim woman is able to divorce the woman at will, automatically have custody of the children, and literally toss the wife out of "his" home with just about no compensations.

* As for democracy, the rule of the people, Muslims have no use at all. Muslims believe that Allah's rule must govern the world in the form of Caliphate -- a theocracy. Making mockery of democracy, subverting its working, and ignoring its provisions is a Muslim's way of falsifying what he already believes to be a sinful and false system of governance invented by the infidels.

To Muslims, Ummeh-ism -- international Islamism -- is the legitimate form of government. Ummeh-ism is another form of despotism such as Communism and Fascism, with the added feature of enjoying "divine" authority.

The world has good samples of Ummeh-ism in practice to scrutinize in Islamic autocracies. Khamenei of Iran is not called "Caliph." He is called the "Supreme Guide." The Saudi King is just another Caliph vessel of the "divine." These Islamic despots are every bit as vile as the Hitlers, the Stalins, the Pol Pots, and the Mussolinis. The government these Islamic autocrats head is infested to the core with the Islamic disease of oppression, corruption and the absence of accountability to the people.

Democracies believe that government must be of the people, by the people, and for the people. Ummeh-ism is anathema to this sacrosanct fundamental democratic ideal.

As more and more Muslims arrive in non-Islamic lands, as they reproduce with great fecundity, as they convert the disenchanted and minorities, and as petrodollar-flush Muslims and Muslim treasuries supply generous funds, Muslims gather more power to undermine the democratic rule. A consortium composed of pandering politicians, blinded with short-term self-interest and egoism; attention and fund-seeking self-proclaimed prima donna professors; and, bastions of useful idiot liberals, universities, is the witting or unwitting promoter of Ummeh-ism.

It is human nature to be concerned, first and foremost, with his personal well-being. Some people evolve to a higher level of humanness and place the welfare of the general public above their own. Yet, many remain fixated at the constricted stage of "self first, self, last." Even if you belong to this latter group, your self-interest demands that you do all you can to make sure that the disease of Islamofascism does not devour democracy. Democracy is both fragile and corruptible. It takes vigilant citizenry to protect its integrity.

We fully agree with Churchill's observation, "Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the rest." Yet, as imperfect as it is, democracy is still humanity's best system of self-rule. We, one and all, must defend it with our all.

Amil Imani

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