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Opinion

In so many words
Comments on issues of the day

February 20, 2005
iranian.com

Emails sent by Hamid Boroumand from January 1, 2005 to February 20, 2005, beginning with the latest:

The Other Significance of Ashura

Dear editor salam,

I read someplace that before Ashura became significant for being the day that Imam Hossein was martyred showing the world the meaning of courageous honor and setting an example for resisting oppressors and overwhelming odds, the Prophet Mohammad (SAWS) used to fast that day every year in commemoration of Prophet Moses' flight from Egypt. Can someone familiar with the history of Islam verify this?

Va salam
Hamid Boroumand

***

Some Thoughts

Dear editor salam,

I would like to see Hossein Shahrestani become Iraq's next Prime Minister, I would like to have Benazir Bhutto return to power in Pakistan, and if things don't change for the better in Iran within the next few months, I would be favorable to an organized bloodless coup with a timetable for free, fair and democratic elections in that country shortly thereafter.

Va salam
Hamid Boroumand

***

Mollas Newest Mafia Racket

Dear editor salam,

The molla regime's newest mafia racket scheme to rob and loot the common citizen behind closed doors and drawn curtains is to deny transparency and accountability on a variety of land and property claims by using the lame, illogical, and untenable excuse that certain cases are beyond transparency and accountability because they are within the realm of the "Vezarat Etelaat and Amniyat." What a crock of s--t!

Is the Vezarat Etelaat and Amniyat now playing interference to cover-up past and ongoing theft and fraud by criminal elements in a variety of Bonyads, as well as high level government officials and their relatives and cronies?

I tell you, the Godfather, the NY mob, the Sicilian Mafia, and La Cosa Nostra could learn a thing or two from our Ayatollahs and Hojatoleslams. And to think that so many Iranians over the years paid their religious dues to educate and train what amounts to nothing more than a handful of thieves and gangsters....khak-too-saremoon.

Va salam
Hamid Boroumand

***

Akbar-Klepto

Dear editor salam,

Akbar-Klepto has recently made some noise about the U.S. holding $8 billion in frozen Iranian assets plus accrued interest from 1979, making demands for the release of those assets. If those assets do indeed exist and in the best interest of the Iranian nation and to keep those assets out of Akbar's sticky hands until a legitimate democratically and popularly elected regime comes to power (and also as an assurance that the Iranian government properly compensates me for my own losses and damages), I propose that the U.S. administration turn all of those assets over to me for safekeeping and for management (all of which I will perform for a modest but fair annual fee.)

Va salam
Hamid Boroumand

***

Not "Sexy" Enough?!?!

Dear editor salam,

In response to comments from some of your "nuttier" readers that the value/contrarian GM (General Motors) idea was not a sufficiently "sexy" addition to the Iranian portfolio, I am adding Lifecell (LIFC) at $8.60 as a new addition to the Iranian portfolio..."sexy" that for a change! Having said that please do not invest in anything without first consulting with your attorney, accountant, financial adviser, spouse, significant other, psychotherapist, etc.

Va salam
Hamid Boroumand

***

Word of Pragmatic Advice to Women

Dear editor salam,

Just a pragmatic word of advice to single women who think that marriage and pursuing their education are mutually exclusive: get married and pursue your education, otherwise you might end up getting educated at the cost of being older with no marriage prospects whatsoever.

Va salam
Hamid Boroumand

***

As Goes GM So Goes...

Dear editor salam,

As a friend of mine once said, "the time to buy is when there is blood in the streets", so in honor of that friend I am adding "down in the dumps" General Motors (GM) at $37 to the Iranian portfolio and holding my breath (as opposed to holding my nose.) [If I were a little more sophisticated I might even consider buying its "junk" rated bonds with yields that I understand are approaching 8% and more.] Having said all that, no one should invest in anything without first consulting with their attorney, accountant, financial adviser, significant other, etc

Va salam
Hamid Boroumand

***

Why I Would Have Liked Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto

Dear editor salam,

Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, a former Prime Minister of Pakistan who was subsequently unjustly executed after a military coup, was a man I didn't know but would have liked. Other than his impeccable taste in choosing a wife from one of the finest families from my hometown of Esfahan, this man was effectively Pakistan's Mossadegh. Just as Mossadegh gave his life to secure the majority benefit of Iran's oil resources for its people, so Bhutto gave his life to guarantee the future safety of Pakistan by securing the Bomb for its people.

Va salam
Hamid Boroumand

***

Friendly Advice - Three In One

Dear editor salam,

Because I am feeling extremely generous today, I am going to give three pieces of free and friendly advice:

1) I typically don't like giving free or friendly advice to Iran's mollas, but because something significantly larger is at stake I feel compelled to do so. My advice to them is not to play with fire with this U.S. administration and give a pretext for Iran to be attacked. TEMPORARILY MOTHBALL THE NUCLEAR PROGRAM AND THE ENRICHMENT ACTIVITIES. It was the forefathers of these same Iranian mollas who got "stupid" 150 years ago and called for the jihad which resulted in Iran losing 17 of its largest cities to the Russian Tsars...the consequences of that loss were staggering not just to Iran, but to the citizens of those lost lands who were and continue to be subjected to all sorts of misery and indignities.

2) My free and friendly advice to the existing administration in Washington (and to subsequent ones to come) is: don't let the national security of the United States be held hostage to the political decisions of supposed allies with questionable moral or legal authority. Specifically, keep a healthy distance from regionally unpopular countries like Israel, and keep a healthy distance from undemocratic/unpopular leaders of regional countries like Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Pakistan, etc.

3) My free and friendly advice to the investing public is: the demand for raw materials from China and India's growing economies will structurally change the global pricing of those raw materials. So add RTP (Rio Tinto PLC) to the collection of stocks in the Iranian portfolio, as a proxy to capture the pricing pressure on those commodities- having said that please don't invest in anything until you first talk with your accountant, attorney, financial adviser (and probably your spouse as well.)

Va salam
Hamid Boroumand

***

Getting It Backwards

Dear editor salam,

One would think that after 26 years, fringe elements, fanatics and extremists would have allowed themselves enough time to blow-off all that pent-up steam and energy and anger and revert to more of a "middle of the road" position and posture. But only in Iran does it seem that the more time has passed, the more extreme and isolated some regime leadership elements intend to remain...come on now, isn't time to grow up and move on?

Va salam
Hamid Boroumand

***

Serious Business

Dear editor salam,

Interestingly, in the past several weeks, I have had a slew of offers from a variety of sources offering to help recover illegally seized assets and confiscated properties in Iran. With much appreciation for these offers of assistance, I must respectfully decline. Because the size of our claims are of such a large amount (approaching $7 billion just for the damages suffered by my immediate famil y- excluding uncles, cousins, partners, etc.) and because they deal primarily with state and para-state entities, only a formal authorized Iranian government commission can properly handle this matter. Since I am certain that Iran's government now fully understands that I am not the sort of person they want to be agitating, I expect a satisfactory resolution of this matter in a short and timely manner.

Va salam
Hamid Boroumand

***

The Sayed or The Seeb

Dear editor salam,

In an informal sondage (or poll) it has been established that if a general election for leadership were held today between the sayed and a seeb (apple), 95% of Iran's eligible voters would give "baayat" (or their vote) to the seeb!

Va salam
Hamid Boroumand

***

Delicate Situation

Dear editor salam,

It all comes back to the same issue: it is not the gun, but who is holding the gun that matters. A gun in the hands of a criminal is a weapon of danger, but a gun in the hands of a law enforcement officer is a weapon of security. Would a government truly representative of the wishes of the Iranian citizenry AND in possession of enrichment capabilities pose either a threat to its neighbors or a proliferation risk? Probably not, because most regular Iranians probably would agree with me that the Arabs and the Israelis need to solve their own problems, and most regular Iranians probably would agree with me that we would rather not waste our preciously limited resources on Lebanese Hezbollah, and finally most regular Iranians probably would agree with me that they would rather do business with and study in the United States rather than try to blow it up. Which brings us back to the main issue: how does the world community work towards creating a government truly representative of the wishes of the Iranian people versus all the sabre-rattling that is currently taking place?

Va salam
Hamid Boroumand

***

An Apple A Day

Dear editor salam,

I think I will add pharmaceutical giant Merck (MRK) at $29 per share to the Iranian portfolio. Having said that, let me remind everyone that before investing in anything they should first consult with their financial advisor, accountant, attorney etc. to make sure that such investments are suitable for them.

Va salam
Hamid Boroumand

***

16 Years Later and Still No Accountability!

Dear editor salam,

It has been over 16 years that Iran's war with Iraq has ended and still NOT ONE member of Iran's leadership responsible for dragging the war out an extra, futile and bloody 6 years has been held accountable for that unforgivable mistake and for the hundreds of thousands of Iranian lives lost and injured, and the billions of dollars of costs incurred. If only you had been with me years ago when I performed the pilgrimage and saw and talked with some of those fine young men so terribly mutilated and so scarred for life because of the selfishness and stupidity of a bunch of idiot leaders...how they regretted what had happened to them and how they wished they could have been living normal lives. Lanat bar hemaqateh rahbaran beliyaqat.

Va salam
Hamid Boroumand

***

Rahypeyma'i Rangin 22 Bahman

Dear editor salam,

Let the Iranian people show their true sentiments when they converge on Maydoon Azadi this Thursday by wearing the GREEN colors representing a demand for an end to dictatorial oppression and reaffirming a call for a referendum in support of genuine democracy.

Va salam
Hamid Boroumand

***

Cairo On My Mind

Dear editor salam,

It is unbecoming that Egypt, the gem of the Arab world and a land rich in culture and civilization and history, should be ruled as a virtual one party state with a virtual president for life scheming to create a family dynasty by forcibly bringing his son to power upon his demise. Why should a land which has long been known for the prowess of its writers and poets and thinkers, suddenly find renown for the sadism of its secret police and the cruelty of its prison guards? As Egypt has always been at the forefront of all progressive Arab movements, so too should it now take the lead in shedding its quasi-dictatorship to embrace and implement genuine democracy. The first place it can begin is the first place that all the leaders of the Middle East/North Africa can begin: by treating their citizens as dignified human beings with rights and not as serfs and not as servants.

Va salam
Hamid Boroumand

***

Investing In Iran?

Dear editor salam,

In response to questions from some of your readers inquiring about investing in Iran (real estate, factories, stocks, trade, etc.), or for that matter any other place: I personally have tried to conduct my business dealings in such a manner that I have NEVER knowingly tried to bring home money that is not honestly earned or sourced (both for moral and religious reasons, and because I am a firm believer that "nothing good comes from nothing good.")

Because of the widespread and ongoing violations of property and ownership rights in Iran subsequent to the 1979 Revolution and the prevalence of questionable bribe induced trades and transactions, I would encourage people to currently avoid investing in Iran until a government materializes which is serious about (1) fair restitution of those whose property rights have been violated (2) implementing a viable legal regime committed to protecting private property rights (3) creating a business climate of fair trade free of corruption and bribery. 

If none of these arguments are sufficient enough to dissuade crooked-minded/morally challenged investors, then the very real possibility that a change in regime will bring back legitimate property owners seeking their belongings and filing heavy criminal and expensive civil charges (including seeking extradition from foreign jurisdictions) against usurpers, should give pause for thought.

Va salam
Hamid Boroumand

***

Bardashti Az Enghelab Iran

Dear editor salam,

Bardashti az enghelab Iran: beeshtar fazelaab Madineh ta Madineyeh fazeleh.

Va salam
Hamid Boroumand

***

Miracle of the Internet

Dear editor salam,

Which little guy (or gal) can't love the internet? Through this amazing vehicle, I- without any real resources (other than Mr. Jahanshah Javid's patience, kindness and willingness to post my interminable ramblings and rantings on his site)- have shared with the world and possibly shaped some opinions (or else made an absolute and total fool of myself) on at least a number of issues: a moderate and beautiful face of faith, the attractiveness of democracy, the need for universal justice and prosperity, the hypocrisy and shortcomings of governments and leaders, personal insight and growth, the value of humor, the fuel of anger, etc. etc. etc.

The greatest satisfaction I have received, however, has been having a platform on which I could share some of my life story or experiences or insights or aspirations with others. One of the tangible benefits of credible publicity is that it actually brings about change to those willing to accept advice/criticism and looking to improve or amend their activities and behavior; readers should not be surprised to hear that through these "letters to the editor" I and Mr. Javid have shaped human behavior, directed world politics and shaken regimes and regime figures (hopefully all for the better). Don't underestimate the power of the pen and a brave (or foolish?) writer and equally courageous epaper editor.

Va salam
Hamid Boroumand

***

Interest Rate Creep

Dear editor salam,

The Fed's decision to raise interest rates once again leads me to encourage those investing in land and homes to consider investing in land constrained markets catering to wealthy retirees. Why? Once again, (a) land constraints help keep prices high by reducing available land supply (b) wealthy clientele are not affected by interest rate increases (c) a large band of the population is falling into the retiree category over the next 10 years and will be seeking homes in retirement locales. The two most attractive markets meeting these criteria, in my opinion, are: East Coast: Western North Carolina (Tryon, NC being an excellent location), West Coast: Coachella Valley, CA (Rancho Mirage, CA being an excellent location.)

Va salam
Hamid Boroumand

***

Something Serious. Something Funny.

Dear editor salam,

I feel rather confident that U.S. troops will be exiting Iraq sooner than everyone thinks, in fact I think most U.S. troops will be out of Iraq within six months and that by that time Iraqis themselves will have gotten a firm handle on security issues and maintenance. Furthermore I am convinced that Iraq's new slate of likely and upstanding leaders, notably Mr. Shahrestani and his colleagues, will take heed of the sorry direction of neighboring Iran's revolution and its misguided/criminal governance to prevent a similar occurrence in Iraq.

On a lighter note (this one is for you Mr. Dabirian, Sr.): famed American writer and humorist Mark Twain had the following interesting observations or thoughts about marriage (note: Mr. Twain's thoughts do not necessarily reflect the views and thoughts of this writer): "Polygamy means having one wife too many...Monogamy means having one wife too many." 

Va salam
Hamid Boroumand

***

The "Agency"

Dear editor salam,

I am of the opinion that changing times make for changing priorities. As such I think that it would be opportune to restructure and refocus the priorities of the "Agency" to make it a prime weapon in the arsenal for justice and democracy. Instead of using resources to prop up kings, dictators, tyrants, and thugs, lets use those same resources to further the aspirations of oppressed people around the world.

For example and as a start, without compromising its assets, I think the "Agency" could begin by publicly releasing eavesdropped communications establishing the culpability of some of Iran's top mollas and their cronies/families in a range of crimes spanning from murder to theft and corruption. As another example, the "Agency" could remove the cloak of anonymity and implicate those criminals outside and inside Iran actively carrying out acts of espionage, imprisonment, torture and assassination against those upholding the banner of justice and democracy. 

After all, why be evil when you can be good?

Va salam
Hamid Boroumand

***

Damn Straight

Dear editor salam,

Damn straight I come from a family of old line massive landowners and large-scale farmers (or more recently developers and builders). We are the same "feudals" (or 'foo-o-dolls', as the neo-communist mollas like to call us) who gifted 2 million square meters of land to the Daneshgah Sanati Sharif (Aryamehr sabegh) in Esfahan, and gifted another 2 million square meters of land to the Iranian government in Shahinshahr for what is now the site of that nation's main aircraft manufacturing/assembly facility. Why did my family do it? I don't know, but for some reason we must have given a s--t about a country that obviously didn't give a s--t about us.

Va salam
Hamid Boroumand

***

Shokran

Dear editor salam,

Shokran (or thank you) to the long-suffering and patient people of Iraq for participating in the democratic election process. You have weathered many difficulties and challenges to arrive to this point. As the candidates you have selected begin the serious work of establishing the framework or "the rules of the game" under which Iraq will be governed including provisions for a transparent democracy free of self-interest and corruption, the return of the rule of law and security, and the exit of all foreign troops and all fighters from Iraq, the people of the entire region will be looking to you as the example for how they themselves might be able to cooperate across sectarian and religious and ethnic lines to transform their own countries and governments into vibrant examples of thriving democracies. So don't let your own people down and don't let the people of the region down, because what we are all witnessing is history in the making. Long live a free, united and democratic Iraq.

Va salam
Hamid Boroumand

***

Statoil is back!

Dear editor salam,

The Norwegian oil company, Statoil, that kicked $11 million back to Rafsanjani's son through a friend of his finally got its foot in Iran...I wonder if Rahbar and the Majlis are going to find the courage to force the little thief to disgorge that money?

Va salam
Hamid Boroumand

***

Anchoring the "Iranian" Portfolio

Dear editor salam,

I think I will add two socially conscious mutual funds to the Iranian portfolio to both anchor the portfolio and to provide some diversity, the first will be a growth mutual fund named Amana Growth Fund (AMAGX) last priced at $14.46, and the other will be an income mutual fund named Amana Income Fund (AMANX) last priced at $20.98.

Va salam
Hamid Boroumand

***

Will She Or Won't She?

Dear editor salam,

About 2 weeks ago I attended a memorial commemorating the passing of the mother of a family friend at their residence. It was a touching and respectable ceremony with a scholarly gentleman and one of the lady's granddaughters sharing insights about life in general and personal experiences with the crowd of guests. Oddly enough, in this emotional gathering filled with sadness, happiness, memories, solidarity, etc., a strikingly beautiful lady caught my eye (single-as I was also later to find out, much to my immense relief.)

Somewhat awkwardly, given the occasion, I had my mother approach the hostess and ask if they might possibly facilitate an introduction (the flip side being that maybe some happiness might sprout from a sad occasion.) The hostess agreed, and now I hopefully await a response... will this mysteriously stunning woman give me an opportunity to meet her and get to know her better or won't she?

Va salam
Hamid Boroumand

***

Tackling High Level Corruption and Promoting Democracy

Dear editor salam,

While the push for global democratization is slowly taking shape, a more immediate and pressing issue is the need for a concerted global effort to rein in high level corruption in developing countries, a capital crime-in my opinion-that is being witnessed on a scale that can only be described as embarrassing and shameful AND dangerous.

Regrettably, this phenomenon is taking place in countries which can least afford such inequities, countries where the divide between the have and the have nots is so great, countries where the majority of the population is living at or below subsistence levels, that the inevitable consequence of this thievery which leads to greater disparity can only be described as violent, hateful, destabilizing, and possibly apocalyptic. Not to mention that contracts awarded on the basis of corruption, undermine regular healthy economic activity which is premised on competitive pricing, better service, technologically superior products, etc.

A safer collective world demands a reduction in the disparity of power and wealth among all social classes across all parts of the globe, so it would seem to be logical that a drive to eliminate high level corruption should accompany the drive for global democratization. 

Va salam
Hamid Boroumand

***

The Great Debate: Lion Slayer or Toothpick?

Dear editor salam,

I and some friends spend our Saturdays hiking in the beautiful hills and mountains of Orange County. A recent spate of mountain lion sightings and attacks in the area has led to some consternation and concern amongst local hikers. For my part, and mainly for fun, I like to carry my hand carved folk-artsy North Carolina walking staff/stick on our hikes, this beautiful accessory has become the subject of an ongoing debate (or more likely the butt of endless jokes) as to whether it might serve to slay any mountain lion that might cross our paths or rather act as a toothpick once the mountain lion has finished us off (frankly I don't intend to stick around to test either theory!)

Va salam
Hamid Boroumand

***

Removing the Cloak of Anonymity

Dear editor salam,

Third-world informers/prison guards/torturers/assassins live and feel protected under cloaks of anonymity. Let us identify and rat them out, making it unbearably uncomfortable for them to feel safe in public and among the general citizenry.

Va salam
Hamid Boroumand

***

Publicity for the Silent Opinion Poll

Dear editor salam,

Media outlets both within and outside of Iran are not doing enough to beam publicity to Iranians within the country encouraging them to a "Green" deployment. The message is: those within Iran wearing green shirts, headscarves, coats, armbands,etc. are silently and collectively expressing their desire for a nationwide referendum of "ya hokoomat mardomi ya hokoomat akhoondi", and their intent to boycott Iran's upcoming presidential elections to force the issue of the referendum.

Va salam
Hamid Boroumand

***

Bardashti Az Enghelab Iran

Dear editor salam,

The drop in eBay's stock price has many frightened, but I will stick with Franco-American-Iranian Pierre (that is French for 'stone', if I am not mistaken) Omidyar and will add to the Iranian portfolio position at these prices. This phenomenal internet franchise has penetrated less than 2% of the world's population as users, and should be able to capture significantly more with the right marketing strategy. Having said all this, let me remind everyone not to invest in anything without first consulting their financial advisors, accountants, attorneys, etc.

Va salam
Hamid Boroumand

***

Confusing the Issue

Dear editor salam,

I would encourage Mr. Reza Pahlavi to formally renounce any claims to a throne or a restoration of the monarchy in Iran. This unresolved issue is creating confusion and hesitation among a large number of people interested in change within Iran and its political structure but hesitant or unwilling to commit to that change if it risks the return of a monarchy.

Mr. Pahlavi, should he have a continued interest in participating in the political process, may choose to consider the route that the last emperor of Brazil took, when in the early 1900's he abolished Brazil's monarchy, but was so liked by the citizenry that they elected the same man as the Brazilian republic's first president.

To Mr. Pahlavi's supporters and others opposed to him I extend this piece of advice: Iran needs to be established as a country where the rule of law is paramount meaning that regardless of what political party or faction temporarily assumes democratic leadership, the lives, the property, the security, and the honor of all need to be respected under a code of law that transcends administrations and politics.

Va salam
Hamid Boroumand

***

In So Many Words

Dear editor salam,

I spent a portion of my morning today attending the congregational "Eid" prayer celebrating the culmination of this year's season of pilgrimage, or "Haj." In the midst of his speech, the man delivering the sermon used seven simple but meaningful words to convey a weighty message, this gentle spoken soul stressed the importance of establishing a world (and personal) order where we all live by the code that, " right is might, not might is right."

Aameen (or Amen) to that.

Va salam
Hamid Boroumand

***

Transparency

Dear editor salam,

I have repeatedly called for greater transparency pertaining to the dealings of the Bonyad Mostazafan in view of credible reports of widespread theft and corruption within that organization. I would now like to extend that request for transparency to ALL Iranian oil/gas and mineral transactions including the NIOC, of course, but more specifically the Sarcheshmeh copper facility and contracts pertaining to it. After all, what are the members of Iran's Shurayeh Majlis getting a salary for?

Va salam
Hamid Boroumand

***

Formal Change of Position and a Request for Support

Dear editor salam,

I am taking this opportunity to formally change my position and distance myself from supporting or seeking ANY armed aggression from the United States of America (or any other power) against Iran as a vehicle of political change. The necessary changes in Iran (including guarantees on weapons monitoring or control) can be secured if the world community chooses to support an indigenous Iranian movement, the "Green Revolution" , that I and a group of like-minded individuals like myself are trying to catalyze in Iran.

Not unlike Mrs. Aquino's "Yellow Revolution" of the mid-1980's in the Philippines and Mr. Yuschenko's more recent "Orange Revolution" in the Ukraine, we are seeking to mobilize/hearten a population that has been intimidated by violence and imprisonment and executions over the past 26 years, into peacefully bringing about change by boycotting Iran's upcoming presidential elections and demanding a referendum to shift power from a group of corrupt and unelected "criminal-clergymen" to popularly and democratically elected citizens.

The best manner in which the world community can currently assist us is by not engaging in activities which will solidify support behind or unify a despised, disunited, and fractured ruling clique, but by extending the power/reach of their media assets (satellites, TV, radio, newspapers, etc.) to the Green movement to give it the necessary publicity in Iran proper to create the momentum for the movement to take on a life of its own.

A concurrent request that the Green movement is making of the world community is for a temporary boycott of the purchase of Iran's oil exports with the intention not of harming the general populace or the world economy, but of restricting the regime's ability to buy support- effectively forcing the regime to more quickly come to the negotiating table.

Va salam
Hamid Boroumand

***

Fox News versus Facts News

Dear editor salam,

It is disappointing to learn in these tense times that Fox News, with no substantiation, is trying to incite public hatred for and violence towards the American Muslim community by alleging that the murder of a family of Egyptian Coptics in New Jersey was religiously motivated, and by portraying Muslims as intolerant and prone to violence. Irresponsible reporting can have dangerous and unintended consequences. Furthermore, if we in Amercia choose to hold Fox News to the same standards the Al-Manar network was held to (and I think we should apply the same standards), then Fox News could very well also see its broadcasting license yanked.

Va salam
Hamid Boroumand

***

Why Khamenei is No Khomeini

Dear editor salam,

The difference between Khamenei and Khomeini can be summed up in one simple example: if Khomeini had lasted just a little longer he would not have put up with Rafsanjani and his crony's antics and corruption (to put it bluntly, Khomeini would have had Akbar and his gang lined up against a wall and executed by firing squad); regrettably Khamenei lacks this same foresight, courage, fortitude of character, and decisiveness...he is simply a weak and ineffective puppet in the hands of powers shrewder a more cunning than he might imagine (and the proof is in the pudding, as we here in America say.)

Va salam
Hamid Boroumand

***

Bazham Roozegar!

Dear editor salam,

Yikes! I thought I must have been hallucinating or witnessing a bad dream! The other night I saw a broadcast from Iran's state television where the guest was Sartip (you guessed it) Karegar! Used to be a time when the top military officers came from "sarshenas" families like Boroumand and Khosrowshahi. Nothing is sacred anymore! I fully expect to see a Sepahbod Chopoon and an Arteshbod Bagheboon on upcoming episodes of the state television broadcast... I will keep you posted!

Va salam
Hamid Boroumand

***

You Want More Real Estate Advice?

Dear editor salam,

In response to reader requests for more real estate investment advice, I will offer the following guidance: for those continuing to look to buy a house in the land constrained Orange County area (the wealthiest county in the ENTIRE U.S. in real estate value metrics) of Southern California, I find the most desirable community to be San Juan Capistrano, and the best relative values to be found in a community called Hidden Mountain Estates followed closely by an adjoining lower-end community called Hidden Mountain (both are located where San Juan Creek Road and Avenida La Mancha meet.)

Last I checked, there were very few homes available for sale in those neighborhoods with the exception of one attractively priced highly upgraded custom house listed in Hidden Mountain Estates by Olson Re/Max (a real estate agency out of the '818' area code.)

Va salam
Hamid Boroumand

***

Getting Ahead of the "8" Ball

Dear editor salam,

I think that 2 significant foreign policy changes would go a great distance towards securing long-term U.S. (and ultimately international) interests in the Middle East, North Africa and Southwest Asia. The first would be an active and persistent push for the dismantling of absolute (or even quasi-constitutional) monarchies and dictatorships in the region combined with a concurrent push to cultivate democratic alternatives (the logic behind this being that a planned and gradual and friendly change would have significantly more favorable outcomes for the U.S./world as a whole, as opposed to a violent overthrow and takeover by fanatics and extremists- this being relevant everywhere but particularly relevant in the case of Arabia, a major oil producer, and Pakistan, a nuclear power.)

The second would be an active U.S. policy of distancing itself from the idea of supporting/maintaining the colonial legacy of separate "nation-states" in the region in favor of supporting a significantly more viable and diverse and (historically accurate) democratic federation (I am thinking of, at least for now, Lebanon /Syria /Iraq /Kuwait /Jordan /Palestine /Israel) that might subsequently become the seed for an even greater political and economic bloc spanning much of Southeast Asia, Central Asia and North Africa, and matching the European Union in heft and prosperity.

On a totally separate issue, I congratulate the U.S. government for coming down severely on those in the military convicted of human rights abuses and the torture of prisoners, and encourage a continued expansion of the investigation and prosecution. Heavy, but justified, sentences will do much to recapture the lost prestige of the armed forces and restore faith in the institution. Of an even greater priority, however, should be (a) the reclassification of the prisoners in Guantanamo as regular prisoners of war with some prospects either for their convictions or release, and (b) the immediate dismantling of the incarceration program in Guantanamo- of which just the allegations of torture and abuse there have created a significant political costs (and other risks) to the US not worth bearing.

Va salam
Hamid Boroumand

***

Signs of Regime Weakness

Dear editor salam,

Two highly apparent signs of regime weakness in any system poised to fall:

(1) The inability to accept a genuine, legitimate and free opposition movement.
(2) The inability to tolerate an unmolested free press.

Va salam
Hamid Boroumand

***

Mojdeh va "Dasteh Penhan"
Dear editor salam,

Mojdeh b hameyeh peyrovan Engelab Sabz, shoma harkodametan Mohammad Mossadeghhayeh zamaneyeh khodetan va shiftegaran Iran zamin hastid.

Yes my fellow compatriots word has reached me that the popular "Green" revolt, seeking a referendum to replace the "hokoomat akhoondi" with a "hokoomat mardomi", observing a 100% boycott of the upcoming presidential election as vote of dissatisfaction with this regime, and congregating peacefully in large numbers in public venues wearing the green colors of freedom, democracy, and progress, has deeply shaken the current nezam starting with ol' Rahbar himself.

Let me assure the people of Iran that behind our movement is the "Dasteh Penhan" of a higher power, seeking to return justice and decency to our land and its people and to free us from the "zolm" and "beghanoony" and "adamkoshy" and "maalkhory" of a bunch of unelected and illegitimate unsavory characters, people who hijacked the Revolution of 1358 to empower and enrich themselves with no concern for Iran and Iranians.
Keep up the struggle.

Zendebad Iran,

Marg bar Estebdad.

Va salam
Hamid Boroumand

***

What Law?

Dear editor salam,

Could someone please enlighten me... either I don't understand the definition of "law" in a country like Iran, or the authorities don't understand the definition of "law" in a country like Iran: for example, in Esfahan, the judicial arm of this regime (the Dadgah-e-Engelab, to be more exact) which is supposed to represent the "law" has for 25 years seized, occupied, and established itself in my family's eight story building next to the Zayanderood and the Pol-e-Khajoo without permission and without compensation (is this "lawful"?)

Let's try another example: the law enforcement authority (I think it is called the Entezamat) which is supposed to enforce/uphold the "law" has for 25 years seized, occupied, and established itself in my family's house in Shahinshahr without permission and without compensation (is this "lawful"?)

Oh, by the way, did I mention that the Revolutionary Court "judge" of the kangaroo court which issued Hokm 237 against my family in absentia, and who was subsequently executed on charges of "corruption on earth" and for being a pedophile and a homosexual (you got it, the infamous Omid Najafabadi), never had the fraudulent/dishonest rulings he issued tossed out and his victims made whole (is this "lawful"?)

Va salam
Hamid Boroumand

***

Exceptions To The Rule

Dear editor salam,

My very legitimate antipathy for mollas is probably well known by now, but having said that, however, I will agree and acknowledge that on occasion one or a few good individuals might be found in a bad crowd. One of those exceptions, back in the good old days in Esfahan, was a highly respected Mujtahed (who, by the way, dressed like the man on the street) named Haj Agha Rahim Arbab, he had a regular job as a landowner and farmer, and used to teach the talabehs "on the side", and wasn't in it "for the money."

Locally, here in Southern California, I have to put in a good word for a family of Iraqi mollas named the Qazvinis (who still choose to wear the traditional outfit), without whose help my brother probably could not have married into the very respectable Shahrestani family...a marriage that has resulted in two fantastic little boys who have brought a lot of joy to my family and myself.

Va salam
Hamid Boroumand

***

Molla Whores

Dear editor salam,

These mollas are nothing short of a bunch of whores...look how eagerly they are willing to allow foreigners access to Iran's military installations in Parchin just to retain their hold on power, and this is no different than their firesale auction of Iran's resources to foreigners in deals that are never even seen/sanctioned by Iran's Majlis.

Va salam
Hamid Boroumand

***

Vicarious Treasure Hunting

Dear editor salam,

There are companies that one may want to follow "just for fun" and which generally have no real or probable investment value (I call these companies the 'Sin City Alternatives'...if one has budgeted $250 to lose at the tables in Las Vegas, they might as well spare themselves the hassle of driving/flying there and instead consider these companies.) Today I am adding one of these companies to the 'Iranian' portfolio "just for fun".

Anyways, for those people who are closet treasure hunters and who dream about stumbling upon a trove of long lost and cleverly hidden gems and doubloons, they can do so vicariously and financially through a company called Odyssey Marine Exploration (OMR) www.odysseymarine.com a scientifically driven publicly-traded treasure hunting outfit with some interesting discoveries to its credit. Having said all this, please remember that investing in the markets entails risks, and that one should consult their attorney, financial advisor, accountant, etc. before making any investments.

Va salam
Hamid Boroumand

***

Natural Gas Duopoly/ONGEC

Dear editor salam,

ONGEC or Organization of Natural Gas Exporting Countries. Did you know that between them, Russian and Iran control over 50% of the world's natural gas reserves? In view of the fact that Russia and Iran will both be competing to provide natural gas to Europe, China/Far East, and India, it would seem to be wise for both nations to create a commission to jointly 'fix' the export price of that resource in order not to ruinously compete against one another and in order to allow both countries to maximize their returns from these natural resource exports. This lack of cooperation/ruinous competition is already damaging the monetary returns from both Iran's and Russia's natural gas exports to Turkey.

Va salam
Hamid Boroumand

***

Modern Slavery: The Brain Drain

Dear editor salam,

Until about a century ago when physical labor was the ultimate fuel that drove the world's economic engine, underdeveloped and undeveloped countries (everywhere, but mainly in Africa) had that valuable resource (their people) literally stolen from their lands and enslaved to be a cog in the economic machine of wealthier/stronger countries of the time.*

The dislocation and depletion of that valuable resource may explain some of the problems now facing those countries that were the primary victims of these human heists. In todays "knowledge" economy we are witnessing something akin to the slavery of old: developing countries are losing invaluable "knowledgeable" citizens whom they have spent scarce resources educationg and training to higher bidders in differing economies...so, when will this cycle of misery end?

Va salam
Hamid Boroumand

* If I am not mistaken, slavery was still legal in Brazil until the late 1800's.

***

So Where's The Spirit

Dear editor salam,

So where's the spirit? I would have at least expected hosts of satellite programs being broadcast into Iran who favor a presidential election boycott and a referendum favoring people power, and who would like to see substantive changes in the governance of that country to start sporting GREEN armbands in solidarity with people in Iran doing the same.

Va salam
Hamid Boroumand

***

No Money, Know Honey

Dear editor salam,

In response to those cynical gold-diggers and materialists who live by the credo "No Money, No Honey"; I once again choose to turn conventional norm on its head by embracing/advocating that idealistic slogan of true love: "No Money, Know Honey." After all, real love that is formed in circumstances of material neutrality or even material difficulty is the kind of love that will show resiliency in many adversities. What I am trying to say to fathers and mothers and sons and daughters, is to make marriage and happiness easy for your children and yourselves by considering a potential mate's good character and qualities; choose them for their deeds not their degrees or their dollars (or in farsi, "rashid boodan ra tarjih bedid b riyal 'o reshteh.")

Va salam
Hamid Boroumand

***

Reducing the Violence

Dear editor salam,

Two quick thoughts on damping the violence in Iraq. (1) I don't think it is unreasonable to request a fatva from open-minded respected Sunni scholars outside of harms way (i.e. perhaps those affiliated with Cairo's Al-Azhar University) condemning the violence in Iraq which is preventing a quick return to law and order, and effectively hampering the venue for a subsequent speedy extraction of U.S. forces from that country (2) I think it is the right of the Iraqi government to demand and the obligation of the international community through the UN to commit international peacekeepers on a large scale to provide law and order allowing regular Iraqi citizens to exercise their right to vote and participate in the democratic process free of threats and intimidation.

Va salam
Hamid Boroumand

***

Real Estate Advice 2005

Dear editor salam,

For a long time now I have been encouraging people to look into the demographic angle of real estate investments, specifically encouraging them to invest in very desirable areas catering to the wave of baby-boomers who will begin retiring in the next 6 to 10 years. On the east coast my favorite market is the Western North Carolina market (I have mention Tryon, NC a number of times see www.wwerealty.com), on the west coast I like the Coachella Valley/Palm Springs, CA area (the towns of Rancho Mirage and Indian Wells being the most desirable- if lots and land can still be found there. In Indian Wells check-out Toscana Country Club www.toscanacc.com being built by Sunrise Company, you will need advance reservations 760-772-7000.) A major attraction of this specific demographic group is that wealthier retirees typically aren't affected by interest rate increases that may be looming over the horizon. 

Va salam
Hamid Boroumand

***

Some People Just Don't Get It

Dear editor salam,

The wanton murder and assassination of Iraqi government officials and police and guardsmen, regular men and women trying to serve their country and provide for their families, by other Iraqis using wild labels such as "collaborators" and "apostates" only increases the sympathy and support and respect that the world has for the victims. I don't think that I just speak for myself when I say my sympathy goes out to the families of murdered Iraqi police officers and guardsmen, and that my dislike increases for the perpetrators of these killings with every act of violence.

Va salam
Hamid Boroumand

***

Political Aspirations and Personal Ambitions? Qui Moi?
Dear editor salam,

Individuals from certain quarters have suggested that I may have political aspirations or personal ambitions, frankly nothing could be further from the truth. I am just a simple lowly man persistently seeking to right some wrongs, and all I am asking for are four very reasonable demands (1 public and 3 private): The public demand consists of: a genuine democratic system of governance in Iran fully transparant and accountable, and free of shadow governments. The three private demands consist of (a) the identification and prosecution of those responsible for the cowardly murder of Dr. Abdolrahman Boroumand (b) the full return and restitution of unjustly confiscated and expropriated family properties and assets (c) a public apology.

Va salam
Hamid Boroumand

***

Islam's Biggest Enemies

Dear editor salam,

Democracy and the satellite dish are not Islam's enemies, to the contrary the biggest threat to Islam and Muslims today are the same two threats that undermined the most fascinating social, political and belief movement that the world has ever witnessed over 1400 years ago: I label those twin threats as the Muaviite and the Kharijiite threats. The Muaviite threats are currently represented by dictatorial and tyrannical rulers across the Muslim world who suppress the legitimate demands for political participation and accountability from their people, with the sole objective of securing greater illegitimate power and wealth strictly for themselves and their families and their cronies. The Kharijiite threats are currently represented by the "holier than thou" religious fanatics and extremists who are blind to anything but their interpretation and vision of Islam, and violently/destructively subscribe to the "its my way, or the highway" school of thought. These were the two diseases that the honorable Ali Ibn Abi Talib struggled so valiantly against in his era, and these are the two diseases that the true Muslims of today are confronted with.

Va salam
Hamid Boroumand

***

Aquino's Yellows. Yuschenko's Oranges. Boroumand's Greens.

Dear editor salam,

In the spirit of Mrs. Corozan Acquino's Yellow Revolution which kicked-out Marcos, and Mr. Victor Yushchenko's Orange Revolution which booted Yanukovich, I am proposing Hamid Boroumand's Green Revolution to see-off Khamenei & Associates. Our agenda will be: a total boycott of the upcoming presidential elections in Iran unless an internationally monitored referendum is held immediately allowing Iranians to decide what form of governance they genuinely desire (i.e. hokoomat mardomi ya hokoomat akhoondi.) To turn up the pressure, I invite supporters of this demand to congregate peacefully as soon as possible and in as large as numbers as possible in Tehran's Maydoon Azadi wearing either green shirts or jackets or caps or armbands or roosaris or chadors, or carrying green banners or flags or balloons, until further instructions. Mardom Beyayid Enghelab Sabz Ra Shoroo Konim.

Va salam
Hamid Boroumand

* *

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