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January 2005

January 24

* How do you say goodbye to someone you love?

How do you say goodbye to someone you love? How do you deal with that feeling... of knowing -- of just sensing in your guts that the relationship is over? You have not yet broken up; but the relationship is at its deathbed.

You want to sit by it, like a soothing mother caressing its hand, to will it to survive. Like a caring coach, you want to stand by its tired body, daring it to go on. But it's wounded and its heart is heavy.

How do you make someone, who was the center of your days, disappear from the picture of your life? Do you wipe them off in one sweep, or do you slowly taper off from their voice, their touch and their love?

How do you walk away from the most important thing in your life, when it's at its weakest? How do you not?

I have had a full life. By the time I became a teen, I had seen a revolution through, had survived a war, had lived in three different continents, and had already said too many good-byes. And yet a few degrees, some wisdom, a handful of years and several disappointments later--Life keeps me on my toes, and I still don't know how to say goodbye to someone I love.

-- Baharak Sedigh

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* What's a lesbian?

We had an interesting experience with my son Xander (Alexander) last night. It was after 9PM and we had already put the Tasmanian Devil in bed. But as usual, he ran out of his room several times, dragging his favorite stuffed animal Goober and we kept herding him back to bed.

We were watching a new episode of Law & Order, which is one of our favorites and not something we let him watch! So, during the last scene of this episode, the district attorney has a meeting with the assistant DA to tell her that she is fired! She is not happy and responds "Are you firing me because I'm a lesbian?" (we had no idea that the character was a lesbian, by the way!)

Right as she was asking that question, Xander and Goober run out of his room and into the living room. You guessed it; he heard the word LESBIAN! I immediately noticed a slight pause and a question mark on his face!

Before I had a chance to process that hunch and look over at Susan to see her reaction, he says, "What's a lesbian?"

His mother and I looked at each other with our jaws about 2 inches away from the floor. I didn't have a ready answer and neither did Susan! So, she just changed the subject and we never heard back until he finally went to sleep.

We're certain the question has not gone away. It's just been filed temporarily to come back and hit us again when we least expect it. We have to come up with an answer!

What a joy it is to bring up a child in the age of Satellite TV, the Internet and DVD! You have all the amenities of this age, but then you have to be able to answer a 5-year-old's questions about the kind of things that 20 years ago wouldn't have crossed your child's path until he was a freshman in college!

-- Ben Bagheri

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* Miniatures of WW II allied leaders

On the eve of the Tehran Conference in 1943, the Iranian government commissioned a Persian master of miniatures (probably Hossein Behzad) to create three paintings as gifts for FDR, Stalin, and Churchill. The scene depicts the three leaders vanquishing Hitler, Hirohito, and Mussolini.
Each leader was given a painting in which he was personally leading the charge on the white horse. (This is a copy of the one given to Churchill.) The artist has portrayed the Iranian people as distant observers (upper left) >>> Source, Dr. Abbas Milani

-- Sourena Mohammadi

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* Why do we Iranians think we know everything about everything?

Have you ever played backgammon at a party with a couple of older relatives watching? I don't know what makes them compelled to give advice and opinions on EVERY move. "Agha shisho besho ke oontori baazi nemikonan!" "Eh! cheraa oon khoonaro nabastee? Alaan taas miyaareh mizane pedareto dar miyaareh!"

They stand there and spew game advice to the point that you wanna tell them "Hey man, why don't you fuck off and let me play my own way?"

A few nights ago, I was playing poker in a room near San Diego. I started with $80 and made it into $240 in an hour or so. Not bad for a low stakes $4/8 game. I had my $3 steak sandwich and I was sipping on a glass of Congac.  Life was good.

As luck would have it, 2 middle aged Iranian ladies name Mahin and Hoda sat at our table. Mahin khanoom sat next to me. That's when I said, "Oh shit," -- not outloud of course.

They both lost over $50 in the first 3 hands. God only knows why they were betting on their hands. But that didn't stop Mahin khanoom from giving me advice on how I should have played my hands to make more money; "Agha, ba'd az flop baayad check raise mikardee.", "Eh, cheraa dasto endaakhtee? Miraftee to river caardeto migereftee..."

From the minute she sat down she gave me advice, even as I was winning and she was losing. I don't know what kind of logic was driving her thought process; what was making her think she was a better player to give me advice. Not on a hand here and there but on every hand. After I made my $80 to $320, including winning 2 hands from the Iranian sisters, I asked for a table change and left Mahin Khanoom.

The "piece de resistance" came last night at a dinner party in Laguna Beach. There were multiple discussions going on between different groups. People were talking about the economy, politics, future of Iran, and Bush's plans for social security with such conviction that one would think they were heads of the CIA or advisers to Alan Greenspan.

Don't get me worng. If I am at an Iranian function and Kamran Elahian is talking about venture capital for tech start ups or Dr. Zamani is sharing the latest on laser neurosurgeory, I will be all ears.

I long for the day I can be involved in a discussion with a group of my countrymen where we could discuss and exchange ideas without thinking we know everything about everything.

-- Manouchehr Mehrparvar

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* Your poetry and prose in Faultline

Dear artists and friends,

Hello there! I've been asked to help make the 40th anniversary issue of Faultline literary Magazine, which is published at UC Irvine (my Alma Mater), an issue with some migrant Iranian presence. In general, they accept submissions of great quality from anywhere, and for this issue, they are particularly looking for California-resident immigrant voices of the same quality.

You can submit poetry and prose written in English or translated into English. As well, you can submit artwork. Submission guidelines are listed below. They like submissions by snail mail, but in certain cases they might accept email submissions. You can check with them on that.

Please forward this information to your fellow artist friends. And I hope that you submit and fill the issue with immigrant Iranian artists!

Niloufar Talebi

Deadline March 1st, 2005Submission Guidelines
Poetry: Up to five poems
Fiction and Creative Nonfiction: Up to twenty pages
Artwork: Up to five 8 X 10 color or black and white prints  (slides may be necessary if work is accepted for publication)

Submissions are read between September 1 and March 1. Submissions received at any other time will not be read. Simultaneous submissions are acceptable, but please indicate if the manuscript  is being considered elsewhere. Please include a cover letter with your name, mailing and  email addresses, titles of work submitted, and an SASE with appropriate postage. To assist anonymous judging, do not include name and address on manuscript. Send poetry separately from fiction and nonfiction.

Submit work to:

Department of English & Comparative Literature
University of California, Irvine
Irvine, CA 92697-2650

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January 18

* Nooshe jaan

After posting my Dizi pictures I got so many e-mails regarding the recipe, the method of cooking and where to purchase  the pots. So if you don't mind, here are the answers to my dizi fans:)

1- For the recipe, see below.
2- As for the pots, they can either purchase them from Middle Eastern markets (Iranian markets mostly) or from Bazaar Ghaem in Tajrish (where I bought mine), in Tehran.

Recipe For each Dizi pot:

-- 2 oz beef shank
-- 1 Small piece beef soup bone (optional for more taste)
-- 1 Small red potato, skin on
-- 1 Small yellow onion, skin off
-- 3 Red cherry tomato
-- 1/2 Cup mixed red beans and garbanzo beans
-- 1 Limo Amani ( you can get this from Middle Eastern Market)
-- 1/2 Tbsp spoon tomato paste
-- 2 Cloves of Gralic
-- 1 Tsp Turmeric
-- 1 Tsp Cinnamon
-- Salt and Pepper to taste

To make sure the meat is cooked thoroughly, put the beef shank and the bone in a separate pot and add water to cover. Cook on medium heat for 1/2 hour.

Then divide the cooked meat and bones along with the rest of the ingredients into each Dizi pot.

Place inside the fireplace (around the edges of your fire place. Far away from the flames).

After the fire is out, gather the left over charcoals tight around the Dizi pots and let them cook until the next morning.

It usually takes few hours for Dizis on charcoal to cook and the smoky taste gives it an extra aroma.

Nooshe Jaan.

-- Sholeh Jahanfard

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* Geotechnical scholarship

The Geotechnical Engineering Technical Group of the Los Angeles Section is pleased to offer a scholarship directed to senior and continuing graduate students planning to enroll in a graduate-level geotechnical program in Fall 2005. The scholarship is intended to recognize past achievement and career growth potential for students interested in pursuing a career in geotechnical engineering. The scholarship provides a cash award of $2,000. [see details]

-- Keyvan Fotoohi, Ph.D., P.E.
Second Director
ASCE Geotechnical Engineering Group, Los Angeles Section
c/o Converse Consultants
222 E. Huntington Drive, Suite 211
Monrovia, CA 91016
Phone: (626) 930-1275
Fax: (626) 930-1212

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January 11

* Orkut update

Third note:
I'm writing again to update you on the filtering situation. This will most likely be my last update on the story, since everything seems to be back to normal, so to speak. [Petition to unblock Orkut]

Neda Network is back. Rumor has it that they refused to filter Orkut and that's why they had to close down briefly. Pars Online apparently never closed according to some, and was "plumbed" according to others.

People are just figuring out different ways to circumvent the filters and get to Orkut. One of the most effective ways to do it is to use Orkut's IP address instead of the regular URL, which would mean just typing // in the address bar in order to reach the site. Of course, proxies could be used for the purpose too. There are a few guides on how to use proxies already on the web.

Most importantly, the rumors about the restriction of blog sites definitely don't seem to be true and only hype. Persianblog, and the rest are all functioning as they always did. The filtering only concerns Orkut. >>> First & second note

-- Anonymous, Tehran

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January 10

* Oldest animation

A team of archaeologists in Iran have recently discovered an earthenware bowl which has what they believe is the world's oldest animated picture drawn around it. Shahr-e Sookhteh "Burnt City" in Iran's eastern Sistan Province, This is my animation gif version of it.

-- Mehrdad

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January 9

* IRI blocks popular Orkut

Second note:
Hi again,

I'm writing to update you on what I reported earlier about the crackdown. I've checked, and contrary to what the BBC is reporting, it is alive and well and living on the Iranian web shores. [See petition to unblock Orkut]

There are no updates on rumors concerning Pars Online and Neda, but this also might be of interest: Apparently, there has been a case made against [Vice President] Abtahi at the clerics' court ("daadgaah-e rowhaaniat") after he created the commission to investigate allegations of mistreatment made by arrested bloggers. This is also still a rumor, but the difference is that Abtahi himself has claimed having heard about the case.

I'll attach two screenshots [from my computer monitor in Tehran] of the now filtered Orkut as well as the filtered petition site.

First note:
Thought you'd want to know that there are rumors of a major Internet crackdown over here. Orkut has definitely been filtered "be dastoore ghovveye ghazayie", is not working anymore (though according to the company itself, it's only for 24 hours), Pars Online has been "plumbed" ("polomb!") this morning according to another rumor, and so on.

Weblogs haven't been filtered (yet?), neither is -- at least not on the ISP I'm using. People can still get on Orkut if they use the secure version of the site (by using https for every page they're trying to retrieve), but apparently, there's a way to filter that as well.

-- Anonymous, Tehran

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* UNICEF, youth, Persian

Dear all,

UNICEF's Voice of Youth website is for all youth that like to talk about various subjects. We, Chatr (in Farsi meaning umbrella) Adolescents and Youth Center (CAYC) are a young NGO. A few of us already knew UNICEF but there were so many of us who did not know anything about UNICEF and its activities. Therefore, a kind of information sharing project was developed with the support of UNICEF.

The objective was to create a friendly atmosphere for Iranian children and adolescents to make their voices heard by everyone. But a lot of children cannot speak English. So we organized some on-line discussions in Farsi in which children from different provinces as well and from all over the world participated. We would translate children's views and put them on VOY in their name. But this would take lots of time. Therefore, we spoke with site Admin and it was agreed to create a discussion forum in Farsi.

The topics of discussions on VOY are: HIV/AIDS, education, children's rights and media and we, in CAYC will be moderators of the discussions. We have also promised VOY to put a brief translation of your views for others to understand.

Persian-Speaking Children of the World, Now is the time to make you voices heard, as loudly as possible! Cause, everybody is ready to listen. We must ALL help to build a World Fit for Children!

Wish you all the best,

Chatr Association Youth Center
Tara Mokhtary
Administrator of Farsi Disscussion Group of VOY

Iran NGO News is a group composed of Iranian non-governmental organizations that share their news and events through this group that is moderated by the House of Culture and Sustainable Development. If you are from the NGO community in Iran or you are interested in NGO activities, please join us. Let us share what we believe and do through this mailing list. You can become a member to the list by sending a blank email to:

-- Sent by Talieh Shahrokhi

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January 7

* U.S.-Iran conference, Ankara

* ** C A L L F O R P A P E R S ** *


** PROPOSAL DEADLINE: FEB. 25, 2005 **

The United States and the Iran have had severed diplomatic relationships and only limited contacts in the past quarter of century. Mutual suspicions and lack of communications between the two states and their respective citizens have increased following the rise of tensions in the post-9-11 world.

To promote networking, interdisciplinary communications, and sharing of ideas and research findings on part of scholars, institutions, policy makers and citizens, the University of Utah (Middle East & Central Asia Conference Committee), the Middle East Technical University (METU-Ankara, Department of International Relations), and World Security Network are happy to announce the upcoming: US-IRAN RELATIONS CONFERENCE: REGIONAL & GLOBAL DYNAMICS, May 19-21, 2005, ANKARA, TURKEY.

The conference is estimated to be composed of 24 topic-specific panels with as many as 100 paper presentations. There will also be two distinguished plenary presentations by renowned scholars on the conference theme. Specific panels will likely fall within the following general topics, but not necessarily be confined to them:

* Historical Outlook and Analyses
* Civil Society and Citizen Contacts
* US and Iranian Hegemonies
* Afghanistan
* Iraq
* The 'Other' in US and Iranian Media and Politics
* Diaspora and Bi-nationals
* Trade, Oil, Gas, and Foreign Investment
* Nuclear Energy and WMD
* Human Rights
* Women and Minorities
* Terrorism, War and State Violence
* Palestine-Israel Impasse in Context of US-Iran Relations
* Regional Cooperation and Organizations
* The Role of the EU and European Powers
* Prospects for Continuing Sanctions
* Prospects for Diplomatic Relations

All interested in participating are required to send the following to:


All of the above must fit in no more than two pages in one Word file. (Please name the file as your last name in capital letters)

** PROPOSAL DEADLINE: FEB. 25, 2005 **

The Conference Committee will inform all applicants about its decision on admission no later than March 10, 2005. All participants with or without paper presentation are expected to send a registration fee of $100 (this fee includes two conference meals; late fee: $150) to be mailed to the Conference Committee. Further details on paper and fee due dates will be elaborated and communicated to individual applicants upon receipt of proposals. Updates will be made available on our websites:


-- Sent by

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January 4

* Nooouuurruouououoouoooooz: Saal Tahvil - 73 days to go! :-)))

Norouz - Noruz - Nowruz - Noroz - Norooz - Norowz - Nuruz ... How ever you spell it, it still comes out to be the same day - My favorite Day!

Norouz 2564 (1384) begins at:

12:34 UTC time
04:04 PM Tehran time
12:34 PM London
01:34 PM Paris - Frankfurt - Rome 
09:34 PM Tokyo - Seoul 
11:34 PM Australia/Newzeland
02:34 AM Honolulu
04:34 AM LA - San Fran - Seattle - Vancouver
06:34 AM Chicago
07:34 AM New York - Montreal

-- Talieh Shahrokhi

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* Southern California Scholarship Fund

We are happy to announce that scholarship applications for the academic year 2005-2006 are now available at For the past eighth years a total of 39 scholarships have been awarded.

These scholarships are avaiable to qualifying Iranian American students attending universities and colleges throughout Southern California. We recommend that applicants make certain that their attending institute is within Southern California region.

Deadline for application submission is April 15, 2005 - post marked.

Board of Trustees
Iranian American Scholarship Fund

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* Maryland Language Center: Persian

My name is Jane Edwards, and I work for the National Foreign Language Center at the University of Maryland. Currently, we are working on a project called LangNet, which provides adult language learners with interactive online tools to reinforce their foreign language skills. We focus on the less commonly taught languages. This year, we will be working with the Persian language.

We are currently looking for several individuals to help us launch the Persian project. Specifically, we need educated, native Persian speakers (or equivalent) to create online activities in the Persian language using the software we provide. In addition we need Pedagogues to review the activities. We also need Persian speakers to find authentic Persian texts, to record audio files, and to perform various editing tasks.

You can find more information on our website  If you are interested in working with us or if you know a qualified candidate who would be interested in working with us, please contact me via email at or via telephone at (301) 403 – 1750 x42. 


Jane A. Edwards
Program Coordinator
National Foreign Language Center

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* Makhmalbaf, Garcia Lorca, Afghanistan

Recently I watched Samira Makhmalbaf's movie about a woman's dream to become president in Afghanistan. More than anything else it showed the primitive nature and the brutal condition that people live under in Afghanistan. I suddenly remembered how similar life still is in some areas in Iran. But the part about the poet reading Lorca to Noghreh the protagonist, reminded me of the political evolution of Makhmalbaf.

Samira definitely shares his father Mohsen's ideas as it can be seen in Mohsen's movies like Dastforoush (Peddler). It is a full transition that the one who was a bulwark of Islamic ideology now seeks refuge in Lorca's poetry. This phenomenon could be observed before but it is more pronounced now.

The poem tells about the death of a bull at five in the afternoon (and BTW "Five in the afternoon" is the name of the movie) and how final the death is. You can find plenty on this perspective in Persian poetry but then again Makhmalbaf seems to have made this movie for an audience that appreciates Lorca even though it may seem out of place in Afghanistan.

-- A. Ahmadi

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January 24
* How do you say goodbye to someone you love?
* What's a lesbian?
* WWII miniatures
* We know everything
* Poetry and prose in Faultline
January 18
* Nooshe jaan
* Geotechnical scholarship
January 11
* Orkut update
January 10
* Oldest animation
January 9
* IRI blocks popular Orkut
* UNICIEF, youth, Persian
January 7
* U.S.-Iran conference, Ankara
January 4
* Noruz: Saal tahvil times
* Southern California Scholarship Fund
* Maryland Language Center: Persian
* Makhmalbaf, Garcia Lorca, Afghanistan

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