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Pride & prejudice
Email exchange on Ali Kimiai's letter "I'll pay him to shut up" about Hossein Hajiagha's cartoons:


June 27, 2006

From: Dariush Abadi
To: Ali Kimiai

It is interesting that you guys claim you want Hossein Hajiagha to stop bashing "Western minded individuals" but yet Western minded individuals should believe in individual right of freedom of expression. Why shouldn't he have the freedom to express himself without you guys sitting there and trying to censor him? If you want your say, let him have his say. Please take your 2,500 year old backward mentality and put it back in the stone age with Cyrus and Darius.

From: Ali Kimiai
To: Dariush Abadi

With that mentality you should change your name, Dariush, to something like Mozafar. All of a sudden everybody is protecting freedom of expression and at the same time calling someone's precious heritage a backward mentality.

You are just helping this guy, Hajiagha, to go through more depression. What he is expressing is merely the way he feels at this juncture. His attitude toward the world is a mixture of what he has been brainwashed in Iran under the IRI and personal complexes and shortfalls. I have had communications with him. He is suffering from what every Iranian experiences in early stages of being away from home. He is a nice guy, an artist and he will mature in time. So leave him alone and let him find himself.

Meanwhile please change your name and your nationality. You are not to be called an Iranian. You are against our pride, our heritage.

Long live Iran and the hell with TAZIAN

From: Dariush Abadi
To: Ali Kimiai

What exactly is it to be called Iranian? Is it not one who is born within the borders of the modern construct of Iran as a nation-state? Many of you would consider Iran your "vatan" except that the root meaning of VATAN (from the Arabic WATAN) means "place of birth" and signifies the town you were brought out into life rather than a geographic man-made line drawn by imperial designers to weaken and divide our empires for their own glory. By the first definition I cannot change the fact that I was born in Iran. By the second definition I would have to claim that my vatan is Mirdamad in Tehran, and that cannot be changed by a court order.

You then had the nerve to claim I am against "our pride, our heritage". The question really is whom really is against Iran's heritage and not proud of it. Iran is more than just a tablet carved 2,500 years ago for political means by a self-proclaimed King of Iran. It is also more than a few stones put together in Persepolis (Takhteh Jamshid if we want to get away from Greek names) for the pleasure of the King, his wives and his concubines.

The heritage you speak of is a culmination of every thought and action that took place in that area since the beginning of time. This includes the history of the past 1,400 years which happens to be part of Islamic Civilization. The Persian influence on Islam, as well as Islamic influence on Persians/Iran is tremendous and has changed the course of history both for Islam as well as for Iran. I would even go as far as claim that this mutual influence has changed the course of World History and even current events.

To deny the Islamic nature of all the literature, poetry and sciences during the Islamic period of Iran is to deny the authors their motivation in writing such material. To deny Muhammad Ibn Ali Sina, the father of modern medicine his Islamic credentials of Mujtahid (able to interpret Islamic Law) and his medicinal writings deducted from both classic Greek as well as Islamic sources of the Prophet and the Imams is to deny the sources he cites.

To deny Rumi, Hafez, Khayyam and even Ferdowsi the Islamic framework in which their writings and poetry exist is to completely be at failure to understand who these people really were. Ferdowsi showed an utter dislike toward the Arab invaders that came into his land of Pars. However, his praise toward the Prophet Muhammad and the Prophet's family is very evident in his stories. He didn't write such praise under any sort of compulsion for he writes many things that were taboo of that time and was at freedom to do so.

So I ask you, do you deny the glory of the Islamic framework in which our history has been shaped the past 1,400 years or do you spit at it as if it is all foreign and must be rejected? I am not judging what you believe, but interested why you spit at people like Hajiagha for classifying us as Muslim and hating the fact that he is against Western influence and Western invasion of our lands and ideas.

Why do you care that he expresses his dislike of the occupation of Palestine? Would you not want some non-Iranian to draw political cartoons against America's occupation of Iran if God-forbid that happens? Why should humanity not have a collective mentality when it comes to injustice rather than focus on a border drawn by man to divide us?

The job of the imperialist has been successful. You are Iranian and the little girl in Palestine who lost her family due to a massacre on the beach is foreign to you. You do not care who she is, you do not even sympathize with her as a human, let alone of someone born of the same religion (regardless of wither you practice it or not).

They have even divided your mentality of your own nation. You probably find utter disgust or are in absolute denial when you realize that more people poured out in the streets to mourn Imam Khomeini's death than they showed up to cheer him when he arrived in Iran in 1979. You will probably respond back and call me a "mullah lover" for stating a fact that is undeniable in history. You will be even in more disgust to know that Ahmadinejad whom the Diaspora hates so much has a 72% support rate according to non-governmental polls. He has become a man of the people rather than craving the attention of the Imperial Masters such as Muhammad-Reza Pahlavi and Muhammad Khatami.

But you focus on the tiny island called "North Tehran" and the views spouted from there. Why? Because its what the Diaspora wants to hear. They don't want to hear the voice of the majority which is outside of North Tehran. The voice of those still crying for Imam Hussein (AS), the voice of those who still would sacrifice their lives for Islam AND for Justice and Truth. You probably brand them all with the same brush: "they are ignorant fools".

The irony is, many of these "ignorant fools" have PhD's from America's top universities. Probably more educated than you ever will be. The likes of Ali Larijani, Muhammad Larijani, even ex-President Khatami all had Masters degrees or PhDs from Western universities.  One of the greatest martyrs of Islam and Iran was Shaheed Chamran who had a PhD in Nuclear Engineering from UC Berkeley in California.

Your response will probably be "what a waste". I'm not putting words in your mouth, but I ask you to analyze what you think. At the end, as Rumi has repeatedly said, do both of you come from dirt and return to dirt? Is not your fate and Chamran's fate not both returning to that same dirt that supplied you with nutrients your whole life? He died struggling in what he believed in sincerely, you live hating those who have such sincere beliefs. He was at peace with himself, you cannot be for your beliefs are centered mostly on the hatred of what other people believe.

What is my point?

Quickly when I disagreed with you, you were to quick to label me "un-Iranian". You pretty much branded me an infidel in a nationalistic spectrum. Is that not irony?

You probably hate religious people and probably label their beliefs as dogmatic. But ironically, if you sit there and analyze what you say, you are probably more dogmatic in your beliefs than religious people. A Muslim would still regard you as Muslim even though you probably don't practice (but I won't judge, I'll assume you do and wouldn't care otherwise). But you are quick to throw me out of being Iranian the second that I have views that don't conform to what you fit as "truth".

What will YOUR conclusion be at the end of this e-mail?

Most probably you will say I've been brainwashed by the Islamic Republic. Guess what though my fellow "hamvatan": I've never lived in the Islamic Republic, nor do I have access to satellite stations to get any "propaganda" from them nor the Monarchists to shape my views. I've been an academic my whole life and my views are shaped by both Western and Iranian sources living both in Iran and outside.

If you dont' believe in what I believe, do not try to find justifications of why by claiming I've been brainwashed and you have not. That would be arrogance. We have both been "brainwashed" by the sources we have selectively chosen to read. I might have read your sources and you might have read my sources, but we both choose what we find relevant in shaping our views.

We can both read a poem by Hafez and come out with opposite meanings from it. That is the beauty of poetry. Life is just like poetry. Understand that each person has his/her own interpretation from it.

Insha'Allah you will live a long life of peace and tranquility. Don't get yourself worked up over my e-mail. I hope I did not say anything to upset you. My intentions were just to express my own views.

For letters section

Hossein Hajiagha

Dariush Abadi



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The Pursuit of Pleasure
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by Rudi Matthee

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