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November 2006

NIETZSCHE
The Hypothetical
Shahriar Zahedi
November 30, 2006

Some nights, just before falling asleep, my mind begins to wonder and I find myself in a realm I call "the Domain of the Hypothetical". Questions starting with 'What if' flood my semi-conscious brain and I incessantly look for answers to them. This cerebral give-and-take frequently yields thought-products that, in all fairness, could only be categorized as utter nonsense. There are rare times, however, that the randomness of the process, coupled with the sheer number of the ideas floating around in my head, produce a thing or two that a generous disposition may consider mildly humorous.

The other day, I was reading Nietzsche during my lunch break. I've been reading this same book for the past 15 years and not only have I not been able to finish it yet, I still can't make heads or tails of what little reading of it I have completed. At any rate, I find it useful to have Nietzsche laying around on my desk. It keeps the Jesus freaks out of my cubicle and it also impresses my female colleagues.

That same night, after watching 2 episodes of 'The Sopranos' on DVD, I went to bed and almost immediately went 'hypothetical'. What if, I asked myself. What if Nietzsche was part of the Italian Mafia based in New Jersey?...

"That which does not kill me*.is because I always whack the motherfucker first."

Or:

"God is swimming with the fishes." Comment

DEAR MAHMOUD
Why don't YOU do it?
David Etebari
November 29, 2006

In a new effort to gain popularity among Arabs and Muslims, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has written another letter, this one to the American people!

I have never believed in giving credit to a sermon from a thief against theft, a killer against murder, or a dictator against dictatorship... I think you get the idea.

It really doesn't matter what Mahmoud asks others to do in their countries when he and his spiritual leader Khamenei don't do the same in Iran. Why are they not so concerned about about their own people as they are for Iraqis and Palestinians? Isn't Mahmoud supposedly elected to handle affairs of Iranians? Where in his 5-page letter did he even bother to discuss the fate, present and future, of Iranians and Iran? Is he the president of USA, Iraq and Palestine -- or Iran?

Could someone call the guy and tell him: Dude! Americans, Iraqis and Palestinians have their own presidents and parliaments and they can write letters about their own people. Who are you to be so concerned about Iraqi, Palestinian or American people? Who do you think you are? Imam Mahdi of the century? Savior of the world? Then great! Why don't you start with your own people and your own country?

Mr. Mahmoud, in your own words:

"It is possible to govern based on an approach that is distinctly different from one of coercion, force and injustice."
TRUE, WHY DON'T YOU DO IT? Should I post the photos of Iranian women demonstrators being beaten, or list the names of your political prisoners?

"It is possible to sincerely serve and promote common human values, and honesty and compassion."
TRUE, WHY DON'T YOU DO IT? Should I post evidence of massive corruption among the Islamic Republic's leaders and mullahs in stealing the Iranian people's wealth?

"It is possible to provide welfare and prosperity without tension, threats, imposition or war."
TRUE, WHY DON'T YOU DO IT? Should I list the number people who died in the Iran-Iraq war that Khomeini continued even after Saddam offered to end it? Do you need proof of your involvements in world terrorism?

At least Mr. Mahmoud has learned to talk less, reducing his none sense from 19 pages to 5. It's a start! Comment

COLLEGE
Support WHAT exactly!?
Rana Rabei
November 28, 2006

Let me cut to the point: What other school organization do you know of that gets a $500 check from a trendy lounge in the US capital to funnel in a young crowd of alcoholics to their venue on a Thursday night, in the last 2 weeks of the school semester?

Other than the Iranian Student Organization, I have no idea.

A friend of mine who's an officer in this organization confronted me the other day, “You haven't supported us once this semester!” And I thought to myself, support WHAT exactly!? To me it seems like this “cultural” organization continues to exist because it provides students with a legitimate family-friendly excuse for wasting time.

The life inside the Persian cluster is unarguably centered on socializing and heavy drinking, and the concept of studying is either a latent priority or a mere afterthought. Ideas such as renting out a space for the local Iranian artists to exhibit their work or Persian poetry-reading night in the local coffee house are farfetched and unrealistic because as they put it, “It won’t make any money for us.”

Money for what, you might ask. After all, this is not a private agency or a small business; it is a student university organization that should theoretically enhance the quality of the college experience for the students.

But the reality is the Iranian Student Organization has in fact turned into a business with a very distinct consumer base. Year after year, capable and hardworking college students get together on weekly bases and spend the equivalence of a part time job drawing out the mindless and labor intensive details of redundant “cultural” events, that fund the flight, hotel accommodations and fees of the featured entertainers such as Shahram Shapareh. All in order to give the local Iranians a chance to dress up, splurge on a new hairstyle, show off the new designer outfit they found on sale a few days ago, and wear that heavy gold necklace they bought last summer in Iran...

"Nice shirt man..."

"Nordstrom", he contently replies. Comment

MEOW
Iranian Beauty, the book
Nader Farzan
November 26, 2006

We have started a book project for charity. Iranian Beauty will be a coffee table book featuring our photography of beautiful Iranian-American females and all the proceeds will be donated to a charity in Iran benefiting children (we are still doing our research to find the best, legitimate charity.) We've been accepting applications for the last week now and the response has been very positive! You can learn more at our website, iranianbeauty.com. We would greatly appreciate it if you could support us any way possible. Please check out our website and let us know what you think. Comment

IRANICA
Getting personal
Mahnaz Azad
November 25, 2006

I have read Dr. Noghrekar's original and followup articles about Iranica in akhbar-rooz, and have to say that I am surprised and sad. Surprised, because I have great respect for him, and didn't expect to see such a biased and weak argument from him. Sad, because once again he shows that our so called intellectuals haven't made any progress in moving beyond their old dogmatic and ideological thinking.

Iranica is one of the most valuable cultural and literary efforts of Iranians, and like any other work of this magnitude, surely is not infallible, and has errors and problems in its articles. Legitimate and constructive critiques could only help make it better.

However, Dr. Noghrekar apparently hasn't found any problem with its integrity, and hasn't been able to find any bias with its content (or else he would say it loud and clear!). As it is a tradition among us Iranians (and unfortunately our most educated intellectuals are no exception), his attacks are personal in nature, and towards the people who have chosen to support this project, not their work.

Dr. Noghrekar should be reminded that the fact that such an amazingly huge project, involving so many people, has keep its integrity and independence despite getting support from people of different political views, is an incredible achievement by itself, and almost unprecedented in our culture! If he wanted to be even slightly fair, he would praise the staff of Iranica for achieving something that no other organization of this size, including anything that he's been involved in, has been able to. That is, to maintain the independence and integrity of the project, while welcoming and accepting support and input from any and all people who are willing to offer it. What a breath of fresh air that a bunch of Iranians can actually do this! If our so called intellectuals were a bit more open minded they would try to learn from this effort instead of bashing it.

Dr. Noghrekar accuses Dr. Yarshater of being politically dependant and cooperating with the Shah's regime. I don't know Yarshater beyond his magnificent effort in Iranica, so I don't know if he has or hasn't been attached to the "darbar". But Noghrekar certainly doesn't convince me with his rather laughable reasons! He basically says that whoever didn't actively fight the Shah's regime (and its censorship) at the time, is a political ally of it. In other words, "if you were not with us, you were against us"!

Dr. Noghrekar is no different from the extremist monarchists who label anyone and everyone who doesn't agree with them as agnates of Islamic Republic of Iran. According to his philosophy anyone who has done any literally or cultural work in Iran during the past 28 years is a political supporter of the regime of Mulla's.

Noghrekar doesn't explain how Ardeshir Zahedi is using the Iranica for "political gains". I suppose the mere fact that he attends fundraising parties and contribute money to this project means "political gain". If Mr. Zahedi has stolen Iranian's wealth, as Noghrekar says, I, as one of those Iranians who is a victim of this theft, would much prefer that he at lease spends some of it for the Iranica project instead of the things that other thieves of national wealth (both of the past and today) do with their stolen money.

It is a shame that the intelligentsia of our country are still unable to think beyond their own little ideological cocoon, even when it comes to a non-political project which is truly a shining example of what Iran has to offer, and should be a source of pride for all of us. Comment

JOURNALISTS
Expression under repression
Tina Ehrami
November 24, 2006

A group of 21 Iranian journalists were arrested and interrogated by the Iranian authorities earlier this week after returning from a seminar they attended in Hilversum and Amsterdam (The Netherlands). The non-profit organization Communication for Development (CFD) confirmed this message. According to this organization, the journalists were asked personal questions which had no relation whatsoever with a serious investigation. The CFD is concerned that authorities in Iran abuse their power to thwart journalists.

I personally hope that these journalists will not be sabotaged in their professional activities by the authorities. In a country where freedom of press is a myth, it is admirable that there still are people who are willing to risk their safety by attending such occasions. The Netherlands fortunately has started a pleasant tradition by promoting such developmental activities to strive towards a free press. I only hope that their efforts will not be in vane because of the Iranian authorities who react in such a hostile manner by discouraging Iranian journalists and intellectuals who take part in these programs. Comment

APPLY TODAY
UC Abu Ghraib
Eski Sepehr
November 23, 2006

UC Abu Ghraib in Los Angeles like its sister facility in Iraq is home to Middle Easterners of different shades some of whom resemble Mostafa Tabatabainejad, but there are of course notable differences in management policies at the two facilities.

Eventhough at UC Abu Ghraib the men and women in uniform still prefer applying high voltage electric shock as the principle tool of their security work, the torture dungeons have been done away with altogether. This new openness has advanced the cause of Democracy to no end and will no doubt be emulated in future Democracy projects.

Another notable difference is that at UC Abu Ghraib the work of the highly professional security personnel is carried out in plain sight of anyone who can watch a torture and humiliation session without getting dizzy. This is an entirely new concept in security work stemming from the terrific support that the men and women in uniform enjoy in carrying out the important work of securing America. In no law enforcement agency or military organization anywhere in the world can this level of transparency be observed except for in the highly advanced states of the Congo and Bosnia under Serbian control.

Perhaps the most important difference between the two facilities is that at UC Abu Ghraib one need not be an enemy combatant, a criminal, or have any secrets to reveal about threats to US national security in order to be subjected to an electrifying lesson in Western values.

At UC Abu Ghraib looking like a Middle Easterner and failing to carry an identification card is adequate proof that one can always learn more about America. Once frowned upon as an ineffective tool of advancing Democracy, even members of the newly elected Democratic Congress have now conceded that torture can be highly beneficial so long as it is done in a transparent and humane fashion. Comment

COMMUNITY
Only need to be fluent in English
Asoka Ranaweera
November 23, 2006

Founded in 1963, the Literacy Council of Montgomery County, Maryland, is a private, non-profit organization dedicated to helping adults in Montgomery County learn to speak, read, write and understand English. In our English as a second language program (read, write and speak) approximately 24 of our foreign born students are from Iran.

As of today we have more than 300 students waiting to be matched with a tutor. The waiting list includes many Iranian students.

In order to address this critical shortfall I am turning to your organization for advice and suggestions on how we could reach out to potential Iranian-American volunteer tutors from within the community. If at all possible perhaps we could discuss a joint-outreach approach and/or strategy?

Prospective tutors do not need to have any prior experience in education. They only need to be fluent in English and have the desire to assist an adult to read and write in English. The time commitment is only about two hours per week for a period of around 6 months.

I look forward to receiving your invaluable advice, suggestions and input on this very important issue that concerns both the broader community in Montgomery County in general and the Iranian-American community in particular. Comment

UCLA
Iranian guilt
Ari Siletz
November 23, 2006

The Iranian community's outrage at the mistreatment of Mostafa Tabatabainejad by UCLA police has led us into doing a bit of soul-searching. Would we have felt just as indignant if the victim of this assault had been Chinese or African American? The honest answer for some of us is "no." We are humbler than to assume we are saintly beings whose empathy embraces all of humanity with equal zeal. Yet this is no reason for moral despair. The fact that our reach of compassion strengthens with emotional nearness is actually very useful in promoting justice in the world.

As long as everyone defends what is within his or her natural emotional reach, all of humanity is covered. In this "zone defense" scenario, if we do not look after other Iranians, we are not doing our job protecting the little patch of justice with which we have been entrusted. Lamenting that we feel less for a Chinese or an African-American and concluding that we are hypocrites who have no moral right to outrage is not pendareh neek . In fact, it is only after we have shown our willingness to protect our own that we earn the credentials to cast our activism further out to other races and nationalities. Even Gandhi had to free India before he was taken seriously as a promoter of world peace.

Just as parents are morally responsible for the safety of their own children, so are we morally accountable for protecting those nearer to us. There is no guilt in this but in its breach. Our special compassion for Mostafa Tabatabainejad is not because Iranians are racists, it is because Iranians have an identity. Comment

GIFT
1,764,000 dollar Virgin
Neiman Marcus (sent by BB)
November 23, 2006

You've wished upon a star, tried to find the man in the moon, and secretly still want to be an astronaut (remember when you were 8 years old?). Now, for the first time, the heavens are truly within reach, when you charter Virgin Galactic for the journey into space. It may sound like science fiction, but it's very real indeed.

The Burton Rutan-designed SpaceShipOne has already completed three space missions and won the $10 million Ansari X Prize for the first private space flight. Now, funded by Virgin, Rutan is building a larger, commercial version of SpaceShipOne exclusively for Virgin Galactic. Like Sir Richard Branson's previous adventures, this one is being planned, designed, tested, and executed down to the last detail to ensure its safety and success. Construction is also progressing on a $200 million spaceport in New Mexico, and Branson and Rutan are on schedule to begin regular private space travel in 2009.

Your six-passenger charter begins with three days of medical assessments and training for the astronauts-to-be. When your systems are go, your group will board SpaceShipTwo and fly off attached to a launching aircraft. About 10 miles up, the countdown will occur in mid-air. SpaceShipTwo will detach, fire its custom-designed hybrid rocket, and propel you into the majesty of space. Most astronauts have trouble describing the ethereal, awe-inspiring view of Earth from the silence of space; your six travelers won't have to put it into words. About 63 miles above sea level, you will also experience weightlessness firsthand.

After gliding back to Earth with a runway landing, it's off to Sir Richard's private island retreat in the British Virgin Islands for each astronaut and a guest. Your party of 12 will enjoy luxury accommodations on Necker Island and four nights of all-inclusive festivities. Sir Richard will host an exclusive celebration and personally present each member of your flight with a set of Virgin Galactic astronaut wings. With events on land, in the air, and in space, this is the ultimate getaway.

For more information on a gift package that is genuinely out of this world, please call 1.877.9NM.GIFT.

Neiman Marcus is acting as the advertiser for this trip. Expected departure in 2009. Subject to Virgin Galactic standard Deposit Terms and Conditions, Conditions of Carriage, and Virgin Limited Edition standard Terms and Conditions for stay on Necker Island.

Item
Six-Person Space Trip Charter
Price $1,764,000.00
Comment

AMIR-EBRAHIMI
Feel her fear
Sophie Saviour
November 22, 2006

I heard about Zahra Amir-Ebrahimi when I was walking with a friend to meet the rest of the gang in a tea house. She asked me if I know the famous Iranian actress who is in trouble - accused of having sex with her boyfriend in front of a camera. I didn't know anything about it. She read it in a European newspaper and couldn't remember the name. I just felt my throat came to my mouth when I thought of a girl in Iran being in that situation. How she is feeling right now and what she is going through: guilt, embarrassment and fear, a lot of fear!

Which one is worse, the fact that her life is ruined forever (even if she gets out of this alive) or the fear of being in the Islamic Republic courtrooms and jails?

When I came home I did a quick google search and found about Amir-Ebrahimi and the video clip. Still I'm not sure if she is the one in the video as it's not very clear, but in any case, it's clear that the sick boyfriend recorded this on purpose; perhaps to show off dating a famous actress or to blackmail her in case she wants to get out of the relationship. There is even background music on the video; perhaps to serve two purposes: covering the noise from the nosy neighbors and make an artistic video clip to be proud of!

In the last couple of days everyone is talking about the UCLA student and I am thinking of the woman in Iran who is being abused in many dimensions and perhaps without any support! Imagine the case: 1) an abusive boyfriend who has already fled to Dubai , 2) a government and police system that will definitely kill her -- in her soul and heart, if not literally. And 3) family and friends and radical Moslems who will criticize her for corrupting their image!

It breaks my heart and I assure you that Zahra would prefer to be tasered like Mostafa Tabatabainejad 10 times more than being in this situation!

Many of you may not know what the meaning of "being trapped" in Iran is. The Spanish inquisition type courtrooms and jails. No matter what the reason, "siaasi" or "akhlaaghi" (political or moral), they have a way to make you feel you want to die. Verrry inhuman techniques: dirty, nasty and cruel!

In Zahra's case, if the girl in the video is or is not her, doesn't matter; she is screwed for the rest of her life.

Let's get out of our safe environment and feel her fear and define the "abuse". I know this is like opening Pandora's box as may Iranians even living out of Iran for many years and being involved in relationships out of marriage may still condemn her. Don't forget these kids are born after the revolution and grown up in the hypocritical society! Learning one thing in school and TV and other thing at home!

I am simply asking: does she really deserve such cruelty? Comment

FILM
In memory of Robert Altman
Niki Tehranchi
November 21, 2006

Reading various obituaries on Robert Altman since yesterday, an item frequently mentioned is that despite a prolific career, he never won an Oscar (except for the Honorary Lifetime Achievement Award last year). Since my feelings about award shows can best be summed up by Woody Allen ("What's with all these awards? They're always giving out awards. Best Fascist Dictator: Adolf Hitler"), to me, the fact that Altman was left out of the Oscar race only adds to his prestige. He joins the ranks of Alfred Hitchcock and Charlie Chaplin, and leaves those coveted directing statues to Mel Gibson and Barry Levinson.

Robert Altman, for me, is one of the true Hollywood rebels. How he did not become a phony and instead, he maintained an ironic distance and poignant self-awareness throughout his career is totally amazing.

I won't attempt to summarize his work or go into his personal or professional life. There are, I am sure, countless biographies, film textbooks and media articles that can give you an encyclopedic knowledge of all that.

I am simply going to share with you, for a few moments, in his memory, my favorite film of his. Being a complete film nutjob since the age of 7, I have a special fondness for Hollywood films that are about Hollywood films. They could be comedies like La Nuit Americaine or Singing in the Rain, or dark thrillers like Swimming with Sharks or Sunset Boulevard. But the one film that stands out from all of them, classic or not, the most bold and honest, is Altman's The Player. Never has content and style meshed together so effectively.

The weaving of multiple plots and characters, the style of acting that seems like imporvistion and often is, the absurdity, humor and at the same time sense of doom, all lend themselves perfectly to the Hollywood scene as seen through his eyes, with all the sleazy back-alley deals, betrayals and rat races among major and minor players, agents, directors, actors, and writers. A twisted satire/romance/murder/mystery all in one delicious dish of a movie, and to top it all off, filled with cameos from the director's friends spoofing their own movie star persona, and they did it all on their own dime! Fellini would have relished this circus.

Some favorite movie quotes:

"I was just thinking what an interesting concept it is to eliminate the writer from the artistic process. If we could just get rid of these actors and directors, maybe we've got something here."

Or

"I like words and letters, but I'm not crazy about complete sentences."

And, finally, the scene that the movie is probably the most known for, Buck Henry pitching a sequel to the Graduate to bored studio execs:

"Okay, here it is: The Graduate, Part II! Ben and Elaine are married still, living in a big old spooky house in Northern California somewhere. Mrs. Robinson, her aging mother, lives with them. She's had a stroke. And they've got a daughter in college -- Julia Roberts, maybe. It'll be dark and weird and funny -- with a stroke."

In honor of Bob Altman, I will not only fill the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday with a film viewing feast of his work, I will strive to keep abreast of all those who make it onto his special, exclusive club of Oscar rejects and true artist rebels. Comment

UCLA
Let's get a grip
Faramarz Fateh
November 21, 2006

LOS ANGELES -- Today I as I read all the letters to Iranian.com regarding the taser incident at UCLA, I was amazed at how majority of us Iranians look at most situations.

I have a teenage son. He will probably attend UCLA in 4 years. Like any other parent, I would have been outraged, mad as hell and worried sick if police had tased my son 5 times for no reason. I would also have been outraged if my son would have made such a hoopla over a request to get up and leave a library, when asked by "authority". Whats wrong with packing up your things and listening to the police who has the right to ask for your ID, as well as the right to expell you if you don't have an ID.

One question that has not come up yet is why this student was asked for his ID?

There is no doubt that many of the police men and women in the U.S. are not the brightest or most worldly of the general population. If they were, they would work at jobs with better pay. But no matter how stupid or racists they may be, and like it or not, they are the authority when it comes to the UCLA campus. By law, we have to do what they say. We show our drivers license, registration and proof of insurance when we are stopped for a traffic violation. We also have to show our student ID when the campus police asks for it. If you don't have one, guess what! You gotta leave dude.

The question is why would a young man such as Mostafa Tabatabinejad (if this is his name) make such a big deal about the police's request. Why not get up and leave with a few friends, get the name of the officers and complain to the university? Someone could have as easily recorded the incident on video and submitted it to the proper authorities overseeing the campus cops with the complaint report. This kid's behavior was illogical, improper, uncivilized, suspect and with motives. Or, the kid suffers from depression or other psychological issue. Or maybe he has anger management issues. Who knows.

I don't know what motive(s) but I am sure we'll find out soon enough. Worse than this kid's behavior is the behavior of us Iranians living here in the U.S. Why are we outraged about this matter? As someone else had written in her letter, would any of us given it a damn if the kid was Chinese? or Arab, or ......

What about all the injustice the young Iranian women are facing in Iran; getting slapped in the face, being called whores etc etc by the Khaharane Ansar or the other filth that looks for improper hijab on the streets of Iran? Why are we so super selective about our causes and outrages?

Have any of you letter writers done anything to improve the situation in Iran, for the women, news paper reporters, people who can't get into Tehran university because they don't fit the Islamic model or they don't have a shahid in their family?

If the investigation of this matter at UCLA finds Mostafa innocent and the actions of the police excessive and improper, then we can use our economic muscle in California to get rid of the 4 or 5 responsible cops, their boss(es), and ask for reform of laws giving authority to the UC police. If the investigation proves that Mostafa was out of line, then we have to use this opportunity to teach our teenagers not to create drama when dealing with the police. Its that simple.

Lets get a grip people! Find out all the facts before you bombard the office of the UCLA chancellor with angry letters and emails. Lets show Americans that we are better than a immigrant group that is chumping at the bit to cry injustice, racism and minority abuse. Comment

ADVICE
How not to make a sex video
Siamack Baniameri
November 21, 2006

I eagerly watched the sex video which has caused quite a bit of havoc in Iranian sex-deprived society, especially among the younger generation. The home movie, supposedly showing TV soap actress Zahra Amir Ebrahimi and her lover, has created such turmoil that the notorious Judge Mortazavi has personally volunteered to investigate.

As an avid porn watcher who spends almost all his paycheck subscribing to porn websites and magazines, I was extremely disappointed with the quality of acting in the home movie, featuring Amir Ebrahimi and her male companion. The unprofessional setup and amateurish techniques made this home movie almost unbearable to watch.

Every individual who attempts to produce a home pornographic movie knows that first of all, you ruin the dramatic effect by having your socks on while engaging in sex especially when you're butt naked. Take the socks off, you lazy bastard.

Secondly, it's not very professional to abruptly interrupt the action to read the instructions on the condom box. There is not much to it. Take it out and put it on. Stop reading the instructions. You're not making macaroni and cheese.

Also, never show your audience the half-crack. Either pull up your underwear or remove it. Showing your audience the half-crack will remind them of a repairman, bending over to reach for something under the refrigerator.

Lastly, if your ass is hairy, do not ... I repeat ... do not point it at the camera.

I'm hoping that my vast experience as a porn viewer will help the new generation of Iranian pornographic home movie makers achieve the quality this art form deserves. Comment

UCLA
Civil disobedience deserved a civilized reaction
Ardavan M.T.
November 19, 2006

Some of your readers have condemned the UCLA student, Mr. Tabatabaienejad's, behavior in failing to obey the police officers' orders and deemed it inappropriate.

However, it should be noted that his actions, inappropriate or not, would legally qualify as a civil disobedience. On the contrary, it's the reaction from the officers which was excessive and disproportionate, for the following two reasons:

1) A non-violent civil disobedience deserves a non-violent civilized response. The officers could have charged Mr. Tabatabaienejad with disobedience and given him a court notice. The issue then could have taken its legal course in the court of law, where in a civilized society such incidences should be dealt with.

2) Repeated tasering of an individual is certainly an excessive use of force. Tasering is a cruel and painful means of subduing. In fact, it is as inhumane as beating and just short of shooting with a gun, not to mention that its usage is associated with a high risk of causing sudden death.

In light of the above, the objections to the use of such an excessive amount of force, in a civil disobedience case, are certainly justified. Comment

UCLA
Overwhelmingly xenophobic
Ari Siletz
November 19, 2006

On reading the news of an Iranian-American student being tasered by UCLA campus police, I checked the yahoo message board for public reaction. Here's a tally:

KarlwithaK2002 said, "It was probably a N!gger, huh? Or a damned Muslim bastard-why are we letting these bastards into the country?" Karlwithak2002 received a recommendation from yahoo news readers for his comment.

Fuad98 also collected a recommendation with his, "They should have shot the motherfu*r!"

Thebrink2003 (musician according to his yahoo profile) wrote, "This nut job could have had a gun and killed the cops[;] they should have shot him with a sniper rifle at some safe distance. Suicide bombers like him kill loads of people every day all over the world!!!!" Though more informative than KarlwithaK2002 and Fuad98, this writer tied with his competitors for the single recommendation they each received. Losers all of them, because Scoutman1712, has so far collected an astonishing 20 recommendations for a clever piece of writing connecting the UCLA incident to terrorist activities from 1968 to present.

Scoutman1712, who according to his yahoo profile, likes camping and hiking and whose favorite quote is "No man stands so tall as when he stoops to help a boy," appears to be a Boy Scouts supporter and a pillar of his community. His commentary is in the form of a long multiple choice quiz which include question like:

In 1979, the US embassy in Iran was taken over by:

a. Lost Norwegians
b. Elvis
c. A tour bus full of 80 year old women.
d. A Muslim male extremist between the ages of 17 and 40.

On 9/11/01, four airliners were hijacked... Thousands of people were killed by:

a. Bugs Bunny...
b. The Supreme Court of Florida
c. Mr. Bean
d. A Muslim male extremist between the ages of 17 and 40.

and so on for a list of 13 questions all ending in "d. A Muslim male extremist between the ages of 17 and 40"

A few voices on the message board do condemn the use of excessive force by the UCLA police, but the tone of the discussion is overwhelmingly xenophobic.

As an educated minority, Iranian-Americans understand the urgency of spending more effort on community outreach and on the education of the general American public about ourselves. On the other hand, we also understand that if this humiliation of an Iranian-American student goes unchallenged, it will weaken our position in American society, inviting more such incidents. A collective response is appropriate. Unfortunately marches, and protests are not as effective as they used to be in the sixties. The media doesn't give protests much attention, and when there is coverage, the tendency is to cast the protestors in a violent light, particularly if the protestors have an Islamic connection.

The way around this is to exert the Iranian-American influence in quieter ways. For example, our writers and journalists must tenaciously follow up on the story with engaging and informative articles, keeping the public interested in the case. This incident must not be allowed to fade in our minds until all questions are answered and everyone responsible for the events is held fully accountable.

Not respecting the law had its cost for young Mostafa Tabatabainejad, but mistreating him so brutally must have its own consequences. The repeated use of a taser gun on a member of our peaceful community deserves a stinging response. Iranian-Americans have no use for electric shock devices, but the rank and file of UCLA police must be conditioned to know that our political sting is as much to be feared. Comment

BRAINY
Happy anniversary, Dr. Ghajar
Fathali Ghahremani
November 18, 2006

As you may know the Brain Trauma Foundation-BTF (braintrauma.org) was established to educate doctors and emergency personnel in the proper protocols for the treatment of Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). Dr. Jamshid Ghajar founded the organization twenty years ago and through his personal diligence and sacrifices it has become a success, helping the medical community develop the correct protocols for treating brain injury (see attachment).

I think it is appropriate for all of us to support his dedication. It would be great, if at this time, through our support of BTF, we would show our appreciation of the work that Jamshid is doing every single day to save lives and, even more important, preserving the quality of life of patients. A contribution (tax deductible in the United States) to BTF will show that we are aware of his efforts to make the world a better place for all of us. His work let's each an everyone of us feel proud and stand a bit taller.

I would like to get as many of us as possible to support this effort. A contribution of $50.00 to the Brain Trauma Foundation would be appropriate, but, please be as generous as you can. You can make a contribution by going to this link or sending a check to:

The Brain Trauma Foundation
708 Third Ave
18he Floor
New York, NY 10017
Comment

COMEDY
Love child of Peter Sellers and Andy Kaufman
Niki Tehranchi
November 16, 2006

The hit film Borat is more than just a great comedy (and definitely my favorite comedy of all times), it has become a cultural phenomenon. Usually, catch phrases are the domain of TV shows like Seinfeld but nowadays, it is not unusual to overhear people of all races, classes, and age act out entire scenes from the film, whether it is the fictional songs of Korki Kochek, or one of Borat's famous "high fives."

It is also fascinating to see the negative reactions to the movie, everything from lawsuits filed by disgruntled individuals appearing in the movie, to conservative columnists poo-pooing it as anti-American, and of course the government of Kazakhstan lodging protests with the White House over the depiction in the film. The absurdity of the claims of being "duped" into revealing to the whole world one's anti-Semitic, misogynist or racist views is beyond anything that I have ever seen. The level of outrage sparked by Borat only serves as a litmus test to how effective the genius behind this character, and this film is.

Borat can hardly be described by comparison to any previous characters in film or literature. There has been no one like him, at least with this mainstream success and worldwide appeal. Sasha Baron Cohen can at best be considered the love child of Peter Sellers and Andy Kaufman. That is not to say that he mimics these classic actors, only that they paved the way for him, and he has of course taken their satirical outlook to heights previously unseen.

Borat also reminds me of another wide-eyed innocent, used as a tool to demonstrate all those nasty, hypocritical and absurd aspect of our society, from centuries ago: Candide's Voltaire. Behind all his seemingly surface goofiness, there is great intelligence and no scene or characters have been selected at random. All have been depicted with a specific purpose.

On his amazing journey of "Cultural Learnings of America", Borat encounters every aspect of American society, from the judiciary, politicians, religious groups, urban dwellers etc. And while we may have an easy time laughing at the old rodeo cowboy talking about executing all homosexuals, because he seems like such an anachronism, the audience remains uncomfortably silent when those same sentiments are echoed by the young frat boys, our so-called best and brightest, the future generation of this country.

Borat is a film that is not only hilarious, satirical, and smart, it is also very bittersweet. For myself and millions of immigrants in the world, his eagerness to embrace combined with a degree of cautiousness and outright fear, cluelessness regarding social and cultural norms, and ultimately, his optimism in the face of adversity and disappointment, resonates a chord with all of us. Comment

STUDENT
You broke the law
Ron Ghana
November 16, 2006

Here we go again. A punk student disregard and disopeyed campus police and got tased and now probably will sue the school for some doe. I am sick and tired of people blaming thers and not wanting to take responsibility for their own actions. Campus police repeatedly asked him to leave the library or he will be tased. When you are a student in any university you are obligated to follow the rules (this include Iranian students). Campus police asked you to show your ID, no luck; campus police asked you to leave the libray or be tased, no luck. 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. Mostafa you are a disgrace to our community, enough said. Comment

ABUSE
Sack UCLA cops
Kaveh Nouraee
November 16, 2006

After seeing the video where Mostafa Tabatabainejad is getting tasered by UCLA campus police in the computer lab, my blood began to boil.

I am the first one who would stand up and declare in no uncertain terms, that the safety and well-being of all students and faculty on any school campus are of paramount importance.

However, when the very people who are supposed to "keep the peace" are the ones students need protection from, that's where enough is enough.

What are campus police doing ID checks inside the computer lab for anyway? Don't they have a system at the door to prevent unauthorized people from entering to begin with? All that comes to mind when I read that are episodes of Hogan's Heroes where the Gestapo would set up checkpoints and review your identity documents. ("Yavol, your papers appear to be in order. Auf wiedesein. Heil Hitler!")

It was also reported that the student was released on his own recognizance. That is just a multi-syllabic way of saying that the UCLA police admit they really screwed this one up. Otherwise, he would be held in lieu of some type of monetary bail for resisting arrest, failure to obey the commands of a peace officer, trespassing, etc, etc, etc.

And to think this happened right in the capital of Tehrangeles, aka Vestvood. Here is the link to the UCLA Campus police page with the contact info for Karl Ross, the chief of police. Phone (310) 825-1491, e-mail is: kross@ucpd.ucla.edu. Call and e-mail him enough that he will want to taser himself for waking up this morning.

Enough is enough already. Comment

STATS
California dreamin'
Faramarz Fateh
November 11, 2006

A couple of nights ago, my friends and I -- let's call them Ahmad and Ali Reza -- went out to eat some Italian food. We have had our quota of Chelo Kabab and Chinese for the week so we decided on pasta.

As we were waiting to be seated, Ahmad's cousin walked in with a bunch of his friends. Naturally we asked them to join us because one of the girls in their group was just drop dead gorgeous. It turned out that all these young girls and guys were grad students in UCLA. The discussion somehow ended up being about divorce.

One of the young guys in the group had done studies on divorce statistics in the State of California, between 1996 & 2001. Analysis of these statistical data had shown that it is possible to target specific segments of the population, based on their income, age and length of marriage for divorce lawyer advertisements. His recommendation was met with such enthusiasm in the consulting firm he had been working in as an intern, that they made him a lucrative job offer which included paying for his law school's tuition.

This is a highlight of what this guy's research had revealed (thank God for laptop computers):

1) Divorce rate based on annual income level; single family income

Below $25,000............. 44%
$25,000-$40,000............. 32%
$40,000-$75,000............. 26%
$75,000-$120,000............. 29%
$120,000-200,000............. 34%
$200,000-400,000............. 38%
$400,000-1000,000............. 43%
Above $1000,000............. 27%

2) Rate of divorce between months 29-39, after civil recording of marriage

Below $25,000............. 43%
$200,000-400,000............. 47%
$400,000-1000,000............. 43%

All other income categories were below 37%

Our friend was a bit uncomfortable sharing more of the data with us because the data now belonged to his employers.

I found this data fascinating. I hope you do too. With the hope that the divorce rate throughout the world decreases every year. Comment

PRIVACY
The right to be left alone
Tina Ehrami
November 11, 2006

THE NETHERLANDS -- You and I are losing bits of our privacy everyday. Do we really need to be confronted with that much of our private lives when we personally do not choose to give it away voluntarily? The internet has made it possible to communicate more and more anonymously. Everyone can take your personal information and abuse it for their own sick purposes.

A few days ago I read about this famous Iranian actress Zahra Amir Ebrahimi whose personal sex video has been circulating on the internet! I really feel sorry for this poor woman. The thought of everyone-including your family- seeing you in such a position must be devastating. I hope she won't get charged with anything like corruption or prostitution. It is just crazy that she has to go through such humiliation first and then even have to worry about being prosecuted for it as well. I personally do not think she can continue her work there as an actress, nor will she be able to live a "normal" life in Iran anymore.

What is it with people nowadays that they want to know and see everything of others? Why is there so much need for real life TV, gossip magazines, hanging out each others dirt on the internet and such? What good does it do for us? Honestly, where are the borders of our privacy now and in the future? The internet, one of the most free media's mankind has ever experienced is reaching its puberty phase.

After the birth of internet, we experienced the expansion and growth, which we were all very thankful about. People, not only got access to information, they also found ways of making their voices heard. A lot of people were also able to contact each other this way, resolving to more dialogue and understanding. It also gave closed cultures the chance to express their idea's which they were not allowed to express in their daily lives. They also received criticism and were forced to handle this, which eventually will lead to a cultural maturity. All growth occurs with ups and downs though.

A question that rises is: "how free are we to use the internet?" Can we show pictures of undressed minors? Can we say that the president looks like a monkey or that it is time for a jihad against all unbelievers? Or maybe more close to home, how free are we in our criticism of others, while using our freedom of speech? Does freedom of speech equals total and unlimited verbal abuse? I think we need to pass this phase of growth and develop some kind of internet behavioral code that would ask people to behave decent as they would in "real life". Unfortunately the puberty phase of internet users, especially in the Iranian arena, nowadays leads to a lot of unnecessary verbal abuse and personal attacks.

My message for these internet users would be: the internet is not a ditching place of dirt or frustration! It is the reflection of the world. Treat it the way you would like to be treated yourself. Of course I understand all the Iranians who have been suppressed and were never able to express their criticism and now feel this is their turn to cry out their anger and grief, but never forget that when decency and discretion move to the background, the downfall of humanity comes closer. Comment

INTEGRITY
Unwavering fairness
Reza Bayegan
November 9, 2006

Unfortunately I never got to meet Shahla Samii. My contact with her was through e-mail and in connection with a political campaign waged by a few individuals who were hoping against hope and were using whatever last resources at their disposal to speak up against tyranny and injustice in their homeland.

Shahla Samii was outstanding within this group for her sharp intelligence and her unwavering fairness of judgment. She never took a stance for the sake of pleasing this or that source of power or without first carefully and meticulously evaluating the merits and demerits of the case at hand. I remember her advising her friends ‘Always speak with conviction, never sway from your principles’.

Embroiled in a heated political discussion some of our compatriots tend to indulge in a caustic, bitter or downright offensive manner of speech foreign to our native character. Shahla Samii's temperament stayed entirely Iranian in this regard. She never deviated from her customary courtesy and gentle kindness. She argued without attacking any person and made her point without being in the least disrespectful.

Without her displaying the slightest symptoms of intellectual pretension, it soon became clear to her interlocutors that she was a very cultivated lady, at home amongst books and in possession of a refined taste.

Shahla Samii will remain an example to all those who fight for a democratic Iran. She will be remembered as a woman of integrity and high standards and inspire all those who devote their moral and intellectual energy to their homeland without any ulterior motive or any hope of personal gain. In the consciousness of those who came into contact with Mrs Samii, her courage and dedication to her dear Iran has left an indelible memory. May she rest in peace.

Shahla Samii, 17 December 1944 – 5 November 2006
Comment

DEMOCRACY
Nazri and Neocons
Azam Nemati
November 9, 2006

I had been looking forward to this day for 6 years. You should have seen the Republicans in my state lined up in a parking lot on both side to try and intimidate the voters. I stopped and shouted, "Don't you even go there. I am Iranian and will never vote Republican as long as I live here." They said "have a good day!"

I even did the Persian Nazr and promised God if he intervenes and the Neocons get ousted, I will begin to exercise and lose weight.

I feel the energy of all of us and the world is going to change now that we will have people who want to work with diplomacy instead of bullying the world. I anticipate dialogues with Iran and more positive and friendlier feelings towards America by the citizens of the world.

I just hope some of my rich Republican-Iranians now begin to give some of their capital gains which they got by sacrificing the middle-class so some of their depression, cholesterol problems, and host of other illnesses which are cause by greed would go away.

Now let's get ready to enlighten the remaining stupid people who care more about what two -people do in their bedroom rather than their future, the peace in the world and the future of their children and planet.

We in Florida got a Republican governor and I am not happy about that, but the Senator is a Democrat so that is great. The ugly Kathreen Harris is out, so God willing we do not have to see her ugly ass face anymore. Comment

DEMOCRACY
Today is a good day
Bruce Bahmani
November 9, 2006

Like the first rat leaving the sinking ship, Donald Rumsfeld, the Robert McNamara of his time, resigned in total and utter shame today. He even looks like McNamara these days.

I say shame, because I refuse to let him leave with even one scrap of the honor we are being sold by President Bush. And before he gest one, let me be the first to curse the medal he is about to receive for his "service".

Of course, at the very moment when it is precisely too late to admit you were wrong, too late to admit you were warned by everyoen that you were wrong, the natural cowards way out of all this, is to quit and simply and try to quietly slink away from the very problems he hath wrought!

Talk about cutting and running!

Please let the newly invigorated Democrats grow their much needed spines, and for once follow through on the nationally embarassing but necessarily painful and long-running inquiry into the slimy details of the Iraq war disaster left in Rumsfelds wake.

And when it is finally done, let there be swift justice. Just once let's send these bastards to jail for the incompetence that has possibly uncorked an irretrievable world-wind of chaos and long lasting inter-cultural schism. At a minimum it will get the attention of those with similar "divine inspirations".

But of course the answer is now Gates. For as we all know, running a hick-filled University of Texas A&M, and being the family friend of the Georges, makes you completely qualified to fill those ever-squeaking shoes.

But today is a good day. Comment

CANDIDATE
It has been a wonderful experience
Kourosh Hangafarin, Mayoral Candidate, Imperial Beach California
November 8, 2006

Dear Friends,

First of all, let me thank you for your support throughout the past few months. It has been a wonderful experience for me personally. Without your support none of this would have been possible.

I believe that we were victorious in our campaign. We were able to discuss the serious issues and challenges we face as a community. We were able to challenge those who have failed to take real action and provide real solutions to these very real problems we face. And most importantly, we were able to engage in a conversation with the community about the future of our children and our city.

Below are the election results.

JIM JANNEY: 1657 (49.58%)
J.M. BUD HARBIN: 1055 (31.57%)
KOUROSH HANGAFARIN: 630 (18.85%)
Comment

U.S.-IRAN
Start with a discussion about peace
Ali Mostofi
November 8, 2006

With most of the vote in, it seems that with the conservative Democrats taking charge of the House, ironically George W Bush will actually have agreement in certain areas like immigration. The only real challenge to GWB will be San Fransiconian politics of Liberal Democrat Nancy Pelosi. Iranians will need her help to fight for women's rights in Iran. As the most Liberal Democrat she will have to keep the sanity of United States in the challenging times ahead. Go Nancy.... hit GWB hard! But alas, and ironically she has the most conservative bunch of Democrats she has had to deal with.

So Centre Politics is King, and the moderates are now in charge. Extremism is off the table, unless it is provoked by some incident like 9/11. And we don't really know what the oil companies and the military machine will cook up for the US. You all know the conspiracy theories; from US sinking their own ships to whateva, blaming it on Islamists etc etc, because the Islamists could not do it anyway. But with the US military machine facing cut backs and some Democrats talking about impeaching GWB, these theories can become reality.

And so I say, we Iranians have to ignore the Americans. We are a nation of our own, and we need to not get caught up, in the what if's. Remember how Iranians got suckered by the Republicans, thinking that they would have the US engage the Islamists very soon. And what happened? Nothing. Every day Iranians outside Iran get up and wish, "oh let's hope that the Russians or Chinese side with the EU and US, and everyone bashes the mad mullah in the head, and kicks them out."

This is the classical posh Iranians' living abroad mentality. And because of that, the antithesis it produces, is the no frills Islamist Iranians in Iran, who fell for Ahmadinejad. So at one extreme you have the modern Iranians like the Crown Prince, and at the other end Mesbah Yazdi. But they both react to US politics. None try to motivate the silent majority of Iranians. And the key word is motivate. The Crown Prince has a duty to run the Royal Institution, but he is not doing anything in a focused practical way. The Iranian Opposition has not come together in a coordinated way as I have stated.

What have I stated? And is it new? Nothing is new in this game. Zoroaster and Cyrus the Great said it thousands and thousands of years ago. And do any of the so called "Leaders of Iran" say anything along the line of non violent regime change everyday? Not one of them does. How many articles have we Iranians written about non violent regime change? I have, but who else? Shame on all editors and all the Iranian Bloggers and anyone who is interested in the future of Iran if they do not talk about peaceful regime change. More people are interested in how Iran does in global politics, than taking direct action towards non violent regime change by themselves.

So I say to the people of Iran, especially those rich Iranians in sunny California. For the sake of Iran think about what I have said. Talk to all your relatives and friends about non violent regime change. Forget about what US politics is. We Iranians must handle our own affairs ourselves in our own civilized way. Take your first action. Argue about the how we are going to change Iran so that our children can live with the Islamists' children. Yes, as Gandhi and all passive movement people have said, we have to win the peace. So start with a discussion about peace. Engage a conversation about how weak the Islamists are if the people of Iran go on a General Strike.

If you are an editor of an Iranian newspaper, I hope you really not sleep tonight if you do not think about how many people have not learnt from you, the benefits of General Strike and non violent regime change. The people of Iran must write as many articles about national peace for Iran. Iranian Love is stronger than Islam. Our culture is deeper than any other principle, and we can use it to show how civilized we really are. We have our own poets and philosophers, that bind us in our Iranian way. It is with these ideas that we can bind the people and show that we can resist working for the alien Islamist slave drivers, and be able to not feel guilty when we remove them in a civilized way without any harm to them. Comment

PERCEPTION
15 minutes of dignity: Priceless!
Omid Parsi
November 8, 2006

NEW YORK -- Lately, as anyone deeply familar with the Iranian spirit could have predicted, there has been an outburst of passion from assorted commentators - literate ones too, amazingly - condemning Anousheh Ansari's space travel and her ensuing "15 minutes of fame" as vane and extravagant.

Indeed how could anyone spend twenty million or so "beezaboon" US$$ to fulfill a childish whim of spending a night in a cold space capsule?!

What is more troubling to me however is the fact that it never ocurred to our big-hearted but small-minded Ansari-bashers that maybe the recognition she has received might somehow uplift all Iranians.

After all, in case some of us have not realized, lately the world's general perception of Iranians is not something we could be all too proud of.

For starters, I wish our people and their elected leaders would do something other than make Iranians appear the same as the doomed Taliban. And by that I do not mean going nuclear so as to pose a more frightening threat to the civilized world.

Perhaps the global attention and recognition that Ms. Ansari has received might help raise the awareness, ever so slightly, that the Iranian woman is a higher from of life than the masses of slavish hijab-wearers cheering the bearded Islamic thugs as they go about publicly turturing, hanging and stoning "infidels" while bragging about how they intend to do the same to the rest of the world.

In the last 27 years, our Islamofascist regime has literally spent billions of dollars out of our national treasures on arms, terror and propaganda to portray our people as bellicose barbarians.

To me it seems evident that twenty million dollars to counter that shameful image, even for a mere "15 minutes", is a bargain if not a gift.

One can measure the self-esteem and potential of a race or a nation in how its treats its over- achievers. Iranians cannot be that depraved. Comment

PASARGAD
Prevent this disaster
International Committee to Save Pasargad
November 7, 2006

It is almost two years that thousands of people interested in the historical and cultural heritages of human kind have pleaded for your help to save a large part of archeologically unique sites of Iran, recognized as a part of human heritage, from complete destruction by the flooding of a Dam called Sivand.

These threatened areas are comprised of Bolaghi Gorge, Pasargad Plains and the Mausoleum of Cyrus the Great, the author of the first Human rights charter. According to reports prepared by excavators, geologists, environmentalists, archeologists and historians, all published inside Iran, flooding the Sivand Dam will not only destroy all the historical treasures of this area but it will also jeopardize the environment and agriculture of a vast region in Iran's Fars province.

Now, the Ministry of Energy in Iran, with the consent of Organization for Historical Heritage of that country, the very establishment that is to preserve such treasures, intends to flood this area regardless of all the above grave consequences.

The International Committee to Save Pasargad, addresses your civilized and loving consciousness to do whatever you humanly can to prevent this cultural and human disaster from happening >>> Letter to world community, UNESCO
Comment

SADDAM
The Neocon agenda
Daniel Pourkesali
November 7, 2006

LEESBURG, Virginia -- Learning and memory are critical characteristics of human intelligence pervading all aspects of our interactions with each other and the world we live in. Unfortunately that does not seem to apply to most of the dumbed and numbed down American population today.

As Mr. Bush and the rest of the politicians hail the late Iraqi leader's death sentence as a victory for the "new and democratic Iraq", no one seems to recall that crimes against Iraqis for which the butcher of Baghdad is being tried and convicted for, were carried out with full complacency of the west at a time when Mr. Hussein was considered a friend and ally of the very same powers who turned against him and brought such horrendous death and destruction on his nation that made his monstrous atrocities pale in comparison.

The neo-cons in the American government would of course welcome an speedy execution of this verdict for round up and massacre of villagers in a failed assassination attempt in order to prevent the embarrassing information that might come out of any future trials for the indiscriminate gassing of thousands of innocent Iraqi Kurds and Iranian civilians by the U.S. supplied chemicals listed in this May 25, 1994 Senator Riegle report entitled "United States Chemical and Biological Warfare-related Dual-use exports to Iraq and their possible impact on the Health Consequences of the Persian Gulf War"

It is no accident that Saddam's first trial by this U.S. propped Kangaroo court was decidedly on a crime that would not expose the close relationship and collaboration of the western powers in the crimes committed by the late dictator. Over 665,000 Iraqis have lost their lives since the beginning of this invasion, and the U.S.-UK criminal axis-of-occupation continues to push more and more of the blame and responsibility onto Iraqis for rebuilding the infrastructure they destroyed and restoring the civil order they forcefully removed.

Make no mistake about it, regardless of which party controls the Congress, the amnesia-prone American population are being primed and manipulated as they sleep walk into the main Israeli-NeoCon agenda which has always been attacking Iran and bringing the very same chaos, turmoil and destruction to Iranians at a much grander scale. As Iraq sinks into a sectarian civil war which threatens to disintegrate a once proud nation into three separate regions, there are daily reports of demonstrations and violent acts carried out in Iran's ethnic provinces in order to initiate the same which all have been traced to US-UK-Israeli instigated and funded sources.

No matter where every person of Iranian heritage stands politically, we must join together and unite against sinister designs by those bent on robbing Iran its proud history and violating its territorial integrity. Comment

See Campaign Against Sanctions and Military Intervention in Iran, CampaignIran.org

SADDAM
We want an apology
Firoozeh Derakhshani
November 7, 2006

1- Why is it absolutely necessary to get a word of apology from Saddam in the name of humanity?
2- Why do we Iranians demand Saddam confess to the injustice he committed when he deployed chemical weapons against the people of Iran?
3- Why is it necessary for Saddam to tell the court of justice who exactly armed him with chemical weapons and actualized such acts of cruelty against humanity?

As an Iranian woman writer I have demanded the replies to the same issues since 1983 in Geneva at the United Nations Commission & Sub commission on Human Rights. The western diplomats turned a sour face when I distributed pictures or pamphlets with the chemical weapon victims brought to the Swiss hospitals.

Some of the religious based NGOs lingered for a moment but preferred to leave me alone feeling like a clown who is crying for a human tragedy while governmental representatives at the UN were happy to promote a show of brutal power against Iran whose Shah had dared to raise oil prices in the service of the oil companies and their entourage of political actors leading to the victory of the Republican U.S. President Ronald Reagan.

Time proved that I was not wrong in refusing to participate in the ugly greed of the world decision makers who have continued to make self defeating policies leading to bloodshed and bombardment of ancient remains of world heritage in Afghanistan and Iraq, and shamelessly demeaning the value of the human family across the world. They have tried to push globalization as a commercial gimmick rather than enabling more even development across the underdeveloped world. Under these circumstances the UN system has lost more credibility and popularity.

As a world citizen I ask Saddam to make a gesture towards peace for the sake of humanity rather than going down as a mere loser to the forces who gave him the possibilities of rising to such position of absolute power that destroyed him absolutely and he ended up becoming the fall guy for war mongers who continue to wage wars of terror and threaten to feed their media with hate and horror stories that reflect savagery.

I am criticizing those who believe conditions around the world should hit rock bottom before peace can rise and the humanitarian potentials for conflict resolution are employed rather than allowing blood and money defining humanity at the end of the day. I opt for beautiful human prospects, and leave the worse to their sick mentality. I can't do anything meaningful as a nobody that they have made out of individuals in todays world. So I have to live in a future world since today is theirs and excludes all of us creatures of the creator. Comment

BIRTH
Engineering error
Kayvan Mobini
November 6, 2006

Why we are born through the pain of a woman and then die in pain and turn into dust? Wouldn't it have been more realistic and better if we were born from dust as an old person with children, carried through life to get a clock for the retirement, a few more years and we would be younger finding ourselves married and going through its ups and downs just to reach the honeymoon period at the end of it, and before you know it a few more years and we would become single, enjoying the freedom of roaming and planting our seeds all over the garden, then a few more years and we would be teenagers enjoying the drugs and the booze with expenses paid by our parents, a little more in time and would be children, playful and away from hardship of life, some time more in time and we would be babies suckling mothers breast and after that we would go out into nothingness in a big ORGASM, wouldn't that have been more enjoyable and more realistic than the way we are now!?

You may disagree with me on this simply because you may be a devoted believer in god almighty while I question his method of creation, I am an engineer and a creator of sort too!. You may question my logic in presenting the above solution to our ails, but I am sure you do agree with the ending!? Comment

HEALING
In the name of your god
Payam Ghassemlou
November 6, 2006

It scares me to know what you can do in the name of your god. Throughout human history, you have committed so many atrocities in the name of your god like hanging gays in public, stoning lesbians to death, shaming AIDS patients, blowing yourself up in a crowded bus, crashing airplanes into buildings, bombing refuge camps, invading countries and stealing their oil reserves. You can even rape children, torture prisoners, commit hate crimes, pollute the oceans, and experiment on animals for your research in the name of your god.

You have the media at your disposal to advertise your god and mobilize people to rally for your cause. You crawl into churches, masques, temples, and any place of worship you can find to spread your message of hate and intolerance. You arouse the collective by using powerful words like “crusade”, “jihad”, “evil”, “terrorists”, “weapons of mass destruction”, and “danger” stir them into an emotional frenzy. Tragedy (9/11, earthquake, tsunami, etc.) brings people together and you and your media are there to manipulate their emotions to support your god. You mobilize and provoke people to the point that they betray their own values for it seems necessary for survival.

The “you” that I am writing about symbolizes anyone who in the name of a god has committed atrocities and left their painful marks on the psyche of humanity. The “I” symbolizes heroic forces that have been fighting against “you” throughout history. From the perspective of duality, this is the battle between light and dark, e.g., “us versus them.” As long as we have dualistic perspective about our global suffering, we will never see the end of the battle between the forces of light and dark. This “you versus me” mentality has increased the level of hatred on the planet and has not liberated us. As long as there is “you” to hate, there is “me” with the capacity to hate. As Rumi said, “Our task is to purify the inner world of hatred - to cleanse the soul of inner enemies. That’s the hidden meaning of fighting evil for the sake of God.”

A cure or healing for our collective maladies needs to include teachings of leaders like Gandhi and Dr. Martin Luther King . When Gandhi was working toward India’s liberation, he never said I hate England; instead, he loved and advocated for independence. Dr. King never advocated hatred for white people; rather, he expressed equality for all people.

From a Sufi perspective, there is no duality, and “There is no god but God (Lailaha illa llah).” In relation to our global suffering, we need to come from the place of oneness and unity. We avoid coming from the place of duality by not becoming an unconscious participant to our global problems. In essence, we are loving the world back to peace. Darkness absorbs divine light and gives rise to evil acts, and our work involves bringing the light of individual consciousness to places where it is needed. As Rumi said, “My friend, all you can do is be a reminder. Over them you have no power.” We all can be a “reminder” by offering our individual consciousness to the collective and become part of the healing process. Comment

© Dr. Payam Ghassemlou is a psychotherapist in private practice in Los Angeles, California.

HUMOR
Azam shot into space
Faramarz Fateh
November 6, 2006

Flordia, Dec. 18, 2010 (Iranian News Network) -- To celebrate the first decade of the new millennium, Iranian Americans paid $6 million to the Russian Space Agency to send Azam Nemati permanently to Space Station III, which has been in orbit since last year. Half of the expense was donated by Anousheh Ansari, the first female space tourist.

Nemati is a 60-year-old Iraian woman who has been suffering from various psychological issues since she was a teenager. One example is her view on how she looks. Although quite ugly, she has always been under the impression that she is attractive. She actually wrote an article in the Google-owned subsidiary Iranian.com in which she referred to Ansari as unattractive. In numerous other articles she has written extensively about her good taste in music, which again is widely viewed as nausiating and revolting.

The Iranian community spokesperson told the Iranian News Network that with the permanent exile of Nemati to space, it is hoped that visitors to Iranian.com would not have to read her crap anymore. You see, being in zero gravity in space is thought to eventually cure most psychological issues.

A deal was made with the Russians not to install any mirrors in Space Station III because after her cure, Nemati may not be able to withstand her own looks.

We wish Azam Nemati and the Iranian American community the best for the next decade of this new millenium. Comment

HOVEYDA
International man
Mojgan Jayranpour
November 5, 2006

Fereydoun Hoveyda, the former Ambassador and permanent representative of Iran to the United Nations died at his home in Virginia on November 3, 2006 at the age of 82. As a young Iranian diplomat, he was involved in the preparatory work for the San Francisco Conference that adopted the Charter of the U.N. (1945) In 1947 and 1948 he participated in the drafting and voting of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. He was the last living signer of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

From 1952 to 1966 Hoveyda became an international civil servant in UNESCO's Department of Mass Communications where he specialized in development of free flow of information in the developing countries. From 1966 to 1970 he represented Iran in the annual General Assembly sessions of the U.N, as Iranian deputy foreign minister in charge of international organizations. From 1971 to 1979, he served as Iran's ambassador and chief delegate to the United Nations. After leaving Iranian Foreign Service, he was a Senior Fellow at the National Committee on American Foreign Policy.

Hoveyda is the author of, among others, Que veulent les Arabes (1991; What Do The Arabs Want?), The Broken Crescent: The Threat of Militant Islamic Fundamentalism (2002), The Shah and the Ayatollah, Iranian Mythology and Islamic Revolution (2003).

Hoveyda was a founding contributor of the celebrated “Les Cahiers Du Cinema” that in the early 1960’s launched what was to be known as the "new wave" of film directors. Hoveyda. is represented in two volumes of Les cahiers du cinéma, on the 1950s and 1960s respectively, which were published by Harvard University in 1985-1986 in an English translation. During this time Hoveyda also wrote the screenplay for Roberto Rossellini's film, “India.”

As an artist Hoveyda, in his many shows in the U.S., developed a new technique of "papiers collés," leaving a very narrow white space between papers. In the words of Andy Warhol, "Hoveyda combines his literary sensitivity, his cinematic instinct, and his international experience, to create images that are beautiful, perceptive, and funny."

Hoveyda was brother to Amir Abbas Hoveyda, who served as Iran’s Prime Minister for 13 years prior to the Islamic revolution of Iran in 1979, during which he was executed.

He is survived by his wife, Gisela, and his two daughters, Mandana and Roxana. Comment

ZOROASTRIAN
Music across the globe
Shayan Italia
November 5, 2006

My name is Shayan Italia and I am the artist/songwriter of the album DELIVERANCE. I also happen to be a Zoroastrian.

I am pleased to mention that I have now signed a worldwide digital distribution deal to have the album distributed ONLINE in over 25 countries, including North & South America, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Australia, Japan, France, United Kingdom, Singapore, New Zealand, Austria, Luxembourg, Spain, Belgium, Netherlands, Denmark, Norway, Finland, Portugal, Germany Sweden, Switzerland, Greece, Ireland, Italy and more.... The album is featured on iTunes, Napster, eMusic, HMV Digital, Virgin Digital and all other digital providers.

In light of the above I wish to make all Zoroastrians across the globe aware of the same.

Please visit www.shayanitalia.com and www.myspace.com/shayanitalia to know more about me and listen to the album in full. Also do watch the music video for my debut single REFLECTION which I think you will very much enjoy!

I really want to get Zoroastrians across the world to be a part of this unique project. If you can help in any way spread the word, i.e. recommend the music, or contemplate writing about this project so that other Zoroastrians may read about it, I would be most grateful. Comment

ELECTIONS
Vote out the Petropublics
Cyrus Mossaddegh
November 5, 2006

It is absolutely critical that normally Republican voting Iranian-Americans change their voting habit on Tuesday and play a part in keeping in check the power of the Petropublics.

Why? Because your vote has a direct bearing on Iran's future.

What has happened to Iraq can easily happen to Iran.

If you think regime change through military force is the correct path, then you are a stooge of the Petropublics, and are betraying fellow Iranians, especially those that support non-violent paths.

What are my reasons for stating the above? My reasons are based on a great deal of supporting documents that Republicans almost never read as they are too busy listening to Rush Limbaugh and fellow cretins like him.

If you are prepared to get informed then there is a very good chance you will arrive at the conclusion that military force is not the right solution, and based on this conclusion it is necessary that you not vote for Republicans on Tuesday, or at least sit this election out. Comment

For information on Iran, war, and Petropublics, please visit the following sites:

* Iran Information Agency
* Campaign Against Sanctions and Military Intervention in Iran
* Antiwar.com
* Informed Comment

NEIGHBORS
Spiritual friction
Manouchehr
November 1, 2006

Several months ago, one of our neighbours invited us to join them for an informal class or series of classes on spirituality and virtues along with socialization, breaking bread etc. My neighbours are Iranian Bahais, very nice but generally boring people, so I thought.

Because I was busy with playing poker most nights, my wife and kids started going to these classes without me. I noticed that every Tuesday night, all of them make sure they are home on time so they can go to these classes called 'Ruhi Institute" on time.

My boys are 13 and 16. So, being the normal Iranian dad, I thought they are going to these classes because a) there were cute girls there or b) the food was good. But why was my wife also so crazy about these classes?! I was hoping she is not going because of good looking men.

A few weeks ago I started going to whats called the Ruhi 2 class, one of several that are offered in most neighbourhoods in LA and Orange County. I have to tell you that for a typical Iranian man with A.D.D. who is also a poker addict, it takes a lot (I mean a lot) to sit my behind in a chair for 2 hours, listen to civil (no shouting, no cussing, no politics, no business) discussion and even actively participate in the discussions.

I have attended 4 classes so far. The content of what we read and the discussions are getting better each time. There was an Iranian Bahai lady in the class who was aggressively trying to promote the Bahai religion to me and my family. But fortunately the host (our neighbour) put a stop to that. I had made it clear to them that I don't want my family to change religion or to be anything other than a Muslim in name only. I still think too much of any religion spells trouble. But I tell you one thing, what you get from going to these classes is pretty awesome. Comment

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