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July 2007
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CAPITAL PUNISHMENT
Murder & order
Tina Ehrami
July 27, 2007

History proves to us that capital punishment always has been an answer to the gravest crimes. Regardless of cultural differences, religion or race, the notion of "eye for an eye" is known to all mankind. Somehow there is almost no state or tribe that doesn't have a smudge in its history regarding capital punishment.

I have always wondered what it is that makes us civilized people think that only by giving a name to an act we are exempt from the main character of the action. We call it capital punishment because it is executed under a certain law by known executors and in accordance with a verdict. But the act itself remains the same as first degree murder. It is still ending a man's life knowingly.

This is when some people tend to raise their cliché arguments that child molesters, rapists and assassins surely should be killed, regarding the gravity of their crimes and their danger to society. But these people tend to forget that by ending the life of such a personal one is actually doing them a favor! An assassin or child molester, from my point of view, should be punished in a way that he or she becomes aware of his actions and its consequences. This is a proper punishment to such a grave crime, and not ending his life.

We call ourselves civilized because we eat our food with a knife and fork and wipe our behinds when we use the toilet, but some of us feel it is still civilized to give in to our animal instinct and have a man killed  because of his acts, whatever those may be. I am wondering what the numbers are of people who are executed while being innocent of the crime they were accused of. The most comic thing about states that have capital punishment is that they have the strictest laws regarding abortion and euthanasia. Apparently, one isn't allowed to end a life of one's own, but only that of another!

In Iran 16 people were executed last week. There are people constantly being murdered under the name of law and justice. In a state as Iran, where there is no rule of law and execution of law is subjected to arbitrariness and perhaps the mood of the judge, imagine the outcome. In fact there is no need to imagine, just observation. Comment

NAANAAM
Global man
Sheema Kalbasi
July 27, 2007

It was 2003 I had put my few months old daughter to bed and was browsing through Iranian Times when I came across a collection of poetry. The poems frustrated, angered, and amazed me at times. The collection titled "One Should Not Sleep with Juliet and Not Be Romeo," and the poems were simply incredible.

I followed his works and a few years later included some of them in the Other Voices International Project. It was then that I received e-mails from some American poets who believed they were the works of a literary genius. This voice belongs to no one but one of the most controversial contemporary poets of our time, Naanaam.

The multi talented artist is also the writer/director of the documentary, the Tale of Two Nazanins. In 2006 he approached the Iranian-born former Miss. Canada, Nazanin Afshin-Jam, for this documentary, which helped save the life of the 17 year old Nazanin Fatehi who, at the time, was a minor on death row in Iran. Nazanin Fatehi's crime was killing one of the three men who had tried to rape her!

On May 2007, Naanaam was short-listed to take part in Live Earth, an event funded by Al Gore on climate crisis. It took place simultaneously in 7 different countries on 7th of July, 2007 and was viewed by approximately 2 billion people around the world. This year he was also chosen by the prestigious Sundance Institute to participate in its 2008 Sundance Filmmakers Awards.

This Iranian-Canadian writer and filmmaker is the winner of 24 international awards for his movies. Last night I watched a Public Services Announcement (PSA) made by him. It is called "How Would You feel in a Different Skin?" and it's on racism against the Roma minority in Eastern Europe. It is a powerful piece. You can watch it below. Comment

Visit zaneirani.blogspot.com

FILM
Understanding pain
Kamal Artin
July 25, 2007

After few screenings and revisions, Jalal Jonroy finally released his romantic comedy, David and Layla, to theaters. Like most of his fellow countrymen in Diaspora, Jonroy has not forgotten the unfair treatment of the people of his origin and remains devoted to their plight throughout the movie. To make his case more tangible by general public and entertainment industry in the West, he pairs another maltreated ethnic group with the people of his origin. Both ethnicities have remained preoccupied with their past traumas, fears, and prejudices. While one of them with a population of 15 millions has been represented by a modern state for the past few decades, the other with a population of 30 to 40 millions still remains stateless in the 21st century.

In David and Layla, David Moscow plays the role of David, the main male character, flawlessly, as he can identify himself fully with the name, the people, and the culture he is representing. Layla, on the other hand is played by Shiva Rose, a talented and beautiful actress who is not familiar with the background of the people she is assigned to represent. It is difficult for Rose to read a two line poem or even greet normally in the language of the people she is representing. However, in her role she seems to do a much better job than those who claim to be representing the stateless people in the Iraqi, Iranian, Turkish, and Syrian parliaments.

Jonroy freely expresses his understanding of the pain afflicted by Arab dictators on his people, a fact that Jews could easily relate to. He is clever and does not want to make the Arab world angry, so he processes his guilt by being politically correct and acknowledging that some Palestinians are also entitled to have a state, even if Israeli extremists disagree. To remind the Armenians about their common traumatic experience with the people of his origin, Jonroy openly criticizes the past crimes of the Turkish regimes, who happen to be friends of Israel. Surprisingly Jonroy avoids criticizing Iranian regimes too harshly, either because he can not afford to do so, or he is not aware that those regimes have traumatized his people softly but deeply and caused them an internal bleeding instead of a visible wound.

Jonroy portrays the two main ethnic groups in his movie as proud people. In regard to representation of his own people he comes short and instead of Ahmad e Xani one of the greatest 17th century poet and writer, he depicts Saladin, "the world's most noble and generous military leader", as somebody that his people should be proud of, although this 12 century warrior promoted rather the heritage of neighboring Arabs instead of his own. However, he rightfully identifies Einstein and Freud as the 20th century Jewish brains, whose work contributed to the world's technological evolution and sexual liberation, which are still lacking in the land of his stateless people. Then again Jonroy does his people a great service by reminding them that Ziryab, the great musician of the 9th century is one of their geniuses.

In short, this108 minutes film is "about history, culture, tragedy, arts and crafts", as Jonroy himself put it. It reminds us that differences of opinion and love could exist simultaneously, and the latter breaks the cultural, ideological, and political boundaries. Although some of our fellow Kissingerian and fanatic citizens might disagree, I believe this artistic movie deserves a big applause for bringing love and hate as well as heritage and faith to the attention of public in a humorous intercultural romantic comedy. I wouldn't miss seeing it again before it is taken away from the theaters. Comment

Dr. Artin maintains www.art-in-mind.net and hopes the readers sign a petition on the site dedicated to his stateless people!

POETRY
For Shirin Neshat
Brett
July 25, 2007

Youssef and Zuleika have nothing on us
My love
Your little black holes are too small for my bullets
You number men like pigs in a pen
You can count me in
Shirin

Power is obtaining the muscle to fuck like you want
Tattoo that with your calligraphy
My love

Forbidden Seduction is the name of my horse
I named it after you
What greater love can a man express
Than Buraq captured in the nude
Comment

POETRY
Arrival
Baharak Sedigh
July 25, 2007

the wind whistles its arrival
as dawn returns from its night travels

the sun smoothing its cape open
a matador
reigning supreme
in the soul of each movement

olive trees bake in this touch
as old as time
mellowing their branches under the warmth
their roots growing ever closer to the core

a new morning
a new new day

another chance to start your life all over again
Comment

FILM
Good spirit
Shirin Bazleh
July 24, 2007

Done with watching the mega-budget summer movies: Harry Potter, Hairspray and Transformer? Now what about a small independent romantic comedy about a Jewish New Yorker in love with a Moslem-Kurd refugee? Interesting subject, isn’t it?

David and Layla’s Kurdish director Jay Jonroy takes the monumental task of balancing the complexities of a cross-cultural love story against its political and religious contradictions. Two hours of cheery entertainment to discover that there really aren’t any contradictions after all. We have more similarities than differences.

Shiva Rose as (Layla) gives an outstanding performance as a charming, free spirited Kurdish refugee who loves to dance and enjoys a glass of wine now and then. Nothing unusual for most Moslem women I know. But I bet a shocker to your average western audience’s image of a Moslem woman. David Moscow (David) is also terrific as a Jewish TV reporter who surrenders to Layla’s love in spite of his faith and family’s disappointment.

To critique the traditional values of both cultures (Moslem and Jewish) and try to remain impartial, sometimes the comedy leans toward slapstick and stereo-typing which loses harmony with the film’s history lessons and political and humanitarian messages. But it is all done in good spirit which makes David and Layla engaging and enjoyable to watch. Given today’s political and social climate, artistic efforts and films like Daivd and Layla need to be supported. The idea is a universal one and as important as Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner was in the 60s.

David and Layla opened in Southern California, Detroit and Nashville this weekend and will be distributed in all major cities in the U.S. Comment

TEAM MELLI
We will always love you
Emad Mirsaeidi
July 24, 2007

I read "Team Melli? Tokhme chapam." published on your site, the other day. While I understand the frustrations that is shared with all the fans of Team Melli, not in a single day of my almost 50 years of life, I have referred to my beloved Team Melli with such derogatory terms.

Team Melli Iran through years have been so much a part of the Iranian life, both outside and inside Iran that has become an official word in English language. It has been a single source of uniting factor among all political beliefs, and ethnic and religious backgrounds among Iranians.

Each one us see a part of us in those young kids who are taking on the opponents on that beautiful grass field. We are so much devoted to them that we forget always that there is also another side to the game, and after all, it is just a game. It has a ball and it is a play! Just a play! That does not get reduced because grown men are doing that. It is a play!

I include this old photo of one of the first teams in Iranian soccer history.

The Tadayon Club, Champion of Tehran in 1937 >>> Photo
Front from right: Majzoob- Akhavan- Hossein GanjBakhsh
Middle Row from Right: Mazaheri, Samiei, Anis, Assar and Kashani
Back Row from right: Mehdi Nik-khoo, Alaghehmand, Akbar Ganjbakhsh, Boloorforoushan, and Ahmad GanjBakhsh

This team existed long before many of us were born. We have a wonderful history of soccer. We owe it to all these pioneers, to keep our emotions in check and always just wish the best for whoever is lucky enough to put those boots on.

Zendh Bad Team Melli Iran! Comment

CONFESSIONS
Unintended good
Shahriar Zangeneh
July 20, 2007

The second installment of the greatly anticipated two part miniseries “In the name of Democracy”, a production of Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB), has come and gone. Although it was billed as tell all about the sinister plots that are hatched to overthrow the “first government of Allah on earth”, the docudrama/ confessional series did not deliver on its billing.

In fact, the program came across more as a how to manual for achieving good, in this case democracy, than how to avoid the bad, subjugation. To put it simply, if the intent was to paint the main actors, the hapless prisoners, as the instruments of the evil-intentioned powers to be, it failed. The show portrays the prisoners and their supposed masters as crusaders of Johnny Appleseed kind of good.

Although the set designers and costume people had gone to great length to pacify the unbelieving viewer, their toils resulted in opposite of what was intended. The set -- including the barren bookshelves and haphazardly placed decorative objects, the ill placed mini-bar type refrigerator so close to the settee that made opening its door impossible and many other obvious oversights -- left a lot to be desired. The costume designer too might not have realized that the getup Haleh Esfandiari was provided made her look more like Star Wars's Obi-Wan Kenobi rather than the evil Dark Vader.

All in all the Islamic Republic is in a bind: it professes to be a democracy and yet fights any and all that is part and parcel of a democracy. Unions of all kind, students, labor, teachers and the like are not tolerated and ruthlessly suppressed. The free exchange of ideas in any setting, especially in universities, is not only frowned upon but actively discouraged.

Meanwhile the local mass media -- newspapers, books,... -- are all controlled and channeled by employing multi layered governmental sifts. All other uncontrollable sources of free flowing information including the great equalizer, the internet, are actively confronted with expensive and ultimately unsuccessful attempts to block out. Even the Non Governmental Organizations, NGO, if they lack Islamic Republic linage, are suspect and their members harassed by Islamic goons. And the judiciary is ever willing to throw around its weight against NGO activists.

What the two parts “In the name of Democracy” leaves with the viewer is a desire to achieve what it wants you to abstain from, it is the classical case of unintended consequences on display. The Revolutionary Guard commander come head of the IRIB, “General” Zarghami, should be commended for this two part how-to-achieve a peaceful transition to Democracy series and must be encouraged to do more of the same. Comment

PERSONAL
You get the picture
Faramarz Fateh
July 19, 2007

TEHRANGELES -- I was browsing iranian.com when I saw a link to a picture showing a women without hejab riding on the back of a guy on a street racer bike. I was thinking to myself how badbakht have we Iranians become when a picture of woman without a head scarf, in the year 2007, finds its way to the home page of a site with a lot of readers.

A few moments later, I started reading the letters page. As usual, many well written letters with great content. While basking in the thoughts of how well some of my countrymen and women write in English, I came across a letter by the "individual" with the internet pen name of Issa Hajizadeh. Subject of this letter was "Sad rahmat beh gaav" in response to a peice written in the memory of the well known General Minbashian from the pre revolution times.

Over 50% of the words used in this 3 paragraph 11 line little piece were words like "fuck", "shit", "goh", mother f'er etc. This individual just HAD to share his "thoughts" on the general with the rest of us. Then I remembered this was the same moron who wrote a similar letter about a group of Bahai women who were killed in Shiraz some 20 years ago. This "individual" wanted to shit on all Bahais.

I am not sure what this sub human entity eats for food, but it sure sounds like he has a lot of excrement to share. Most likely he does not have a family to offer his feces to and so goes the compelling need to share it with strangers. Then I got thinking. What sort of sub human entity would write letters like this?

My conclusions:

This thing is most likely a male; genetically speaking. He is most likely short, either very fat or super skinny as a pencil. He works as a janitor at one of the 1 star motels in Vegas. He has a very small penis and much to the delight of his "female" motel coworkers, he has erection issues. Not only he cannot get one, but once in a blue moon when he does get one, he cannot sustain it. Therefore there is no danger of sexual harassment or assault.

"His" body odor is such that his nick name is Sheik Skunk. Humans that come across this entity offer him tomato juice in 55 gallon drums so that he could take a bath in the juice and take the edge off of the vile smell.

Besides sexual and hygiene problems, this entity is very ugly. A cross between a monkey's butt and Khomeini 48 hours after his death. You get the picture.

So, you see, this entity may just deserve to rant and rave once in a while. Wouldn't YOU if the shoes were on your feet? Comment

CONFESSIONS
Must-see TV
Shahriar Zangeneh
July 18, 2007

There are those who enjoy opera, ballet and an occasional afternoon at Guggenheim savoring the intricacies of finer things in life, yours truly does not. My chosen mode of cultural/artistic venue is more down to earth, way way down, to be blunt, guttural. I enjoy Jerry Springer confessional shows, the so called white trash trailer park reality talk show. Let the Hoity-toity watch the Oprah Winfrey, I take Jerry any day.

Likewise I enjoy Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting to any other mass media outlet, especially over the Persian media in Diaspora. Aside from the stupefying imaginative ways it presents strings of unending bad news with glorifying adjectives and artful twisting and turning of physical facts that puts the best contortionist to shame, once in a while it has a special treat for people like me.

I know there are those who might be tempted to label me and my type as perverted bunch, the sadomasochists in desperate need of heavy doses of psychotherapeutic medication in conjunction with daily intensive laid-out-prone on the couch therapy. To them I just say don’t knock it till you try it.

The very first time that I saw a confessional show on IRIB, I was captivated. True, in the beginning it was crude, the interviewer was always out of camera range barking out the “questions” and the subject’s physical pose was unnaturally rigid for someone who was unburdening himself. Their eyes had the deer-in-a-headlight look to them but like any other Endeavour in life, art included, it has progressively gotten better. I am sure Van Gogh’s first few paintings did not come close to anything like his Sun Flower paintings; likewise IRIB is getting better as the time passes.

I said all these to share with those few like minded connoisseurs who might not have heard the blessed news. Our beloved IRIB has just announced the two episode long confessional show to be broadcast on its channel one on this coming tonight and tomorrow night (Wednesday and Thursday) at 21:45. The stars are to be one Haleh Esfandiari, a sixty something grandmother and Kian Tajbakhsh, a father of a spanking new baby.

The grapevine gossip has it that the setting will have the ambiance of a comfy home and the interview will have an air of friendly casual conversation/chat. It is expected that the elderly Mata Hari, James Bond duo are to reveal the dastardly master plot hatched by non other than the chaps at the Central Ineptitude Agency, CIA, in conjunction with their colleagues at half dozen foreign intelligence agencies.

It is further expected that the dynamic duo will name names and unmask many deep moles and sleeping agents who have been planted to overthrow “the first government of Allah on earth”, Allah-land for short. I tell you I can’t wait for Wednesday’s début. Comment

WAR
Joe Lieberman and an acquiescent Congress
Daniel M Pourkesali
July 17, 2007

There has been several reports in the past few days by multiple media sources [1] [2] [3] quoting official U.S. military figures that "45% of all foreign militants targeting U.S. troops and Iraqi civilians and security forces are from Saudi Arabia; 15% are from Syria and Lebanon; and 10% from North Africa" and that "nearly half of all foreigners in U.S. detention facilities in Iraq are Saudis".

Last week Kevin Bergner, spokesman for Multi-National Force in Iraq, declared 'Al Qaeda in Iraq' as the country's No. 1 threat and released a profile of a thwarted suicide bomber who was later identified as a Saudi national by a senior military officer. One may ask what is our government and our commander-in-chief doing about these reports. Well the answer is nothing other than placing the blame for anything and everything that has gone wrong in Iraq on its eastern neighbor.

During the mid-term elections last November, majority of Americans recognized the true deadly and costly face of this dreadful 'war of choice' and demanded an immediate change of course in Iraq and a major shift in U.S. foreign policy in ways that reflects their values and those of this nation's great forefathers. Instead what they got was more of the same.

Last Wednesday when Joe Lieberman [4] the Senator from Connecticut who earlier this month called for bombing strikes against Iran [5], introduced an amendment to the Defense Authorization Bill [6] in support of the White House's uncorroborated accusations that "Iran is funding, training, and arming of Iraqi militias who are contributing to the destabilization of Iraq and responsible for the murder of the members of the United States Armed Forces", not a single Senator raised to challenge those allegations and the amendment passed unanimously on a 97-0 vote.

It is now clear that most of the newly elected members of Congress have abandoned the antiwar platforms on which they ran their election campaigns on and have willingly joined the bandwagon of lies, half-truths and disinformation which will prepare the ground for and inevitably lead to a new military adventure this time against yet another sovereign nation that has not posed a threat to the United States.

Aside from the now known fact that there never were any weapons of mass destruction nor an Al Qaeda or any other terrorist organization in Iraq; and dismissing the belief by a majority of their own constituents that most of the current chaos in Iraq is a direct result of an ill-conceived and poorly executed invasion, our representative in Congress rather than correcting the half-a-trillion-dollar colossal error that has cost the lives of over 3,600 Americans and tens of thousands of innocent Iraqi civilians, are instead moving us all closer to the brink of a far more serious catastrophe. Comment

PETITION
More important than a movie
Nema Milaninia
July 16, 2007

I have to question the priorities of our Iranian-American community. In March, when the movie 300 came out in theaters, there was an outrage in the Iranian-American community. A petition was drawn up, criticizing the movie based on a fictional comic book for dishonoring our “Persian kings.” To date, that petition has garnered over 50,700 signatures and spawned websites and news articles criticizing the movie. Interestingly enough, it was also one of the few times in recent days when both the Iranian government and the Iranian Diaspora agreed on something.

Now that we have effectively demonstrated our ability to attack a movie, what about attacking the use of the death penalty against children, political prisoners, and homosexuals in Iran. In the past two weeks a petition was drawn up calling for the abolishment of the death penalty in Iran. The petition can be found here.

To date, that petition has only been signed by roughly 70 people -- approximately 50,630 people less than those who stood up against Warner Brothers. Isn’t it about time that we start protesting and petitioning for something that can save lives? The fact is that Amnesty International has documented that online petitions ARE successful, but only where enough people have signed on to them.

In the past, in fact, online petitions were highly successful in preventing the stoning and execution of numerous people in Iran but only because people supported them. And that support came primarily from the Iranian community. Given their success and given the sheer importance of the cause, we should all rouse up the anger and frustration that encouraged us to petition against 300, the movie, in order to petition against the use of the death penalty by the Iranian government. It would at least demonstrate that our community still has its priorities straight. Comment

ARCHITECTURE
Restoring Tehran's glory
Laleh Larijani
July 16, 2007

After a two month roundabout in Tehran I decided to stop over in Paris in my eventual return to my home in Toronto. I hadn’t yet emptied my camera of all the pictures I had taken during my trip and while one must occupy themselves while sipping coffee, I began to review them. Flipping through, it dawned on me that Tehran is a city of extraordinary glory. Even if one ignores that much of the organic architecture that once ornated the streets are no longer, there still remains a need to preserve and restore the city.

I suppose this is not an original observation but non-the-less I haven’t come across many others that have concerned themselves with the topic. I must stop myself and say that I did meet a fantastic fellow by the name of Behrouz Gharibpour who has taken to overseeing the restoration of the Iranian Foreign Affairs complex in the heart of old Tehran. It's a beautiful crisscross of two streets that have now been inlayed with stone and the structures are in the process of being restored to their golden days. He has also restored Tehran’s old slaughterhouse to house a cultural centre dedicated to the finest of Iranian contemporary arts.

Figures like him are certainly a scarce commodity in Iran, and fairly so I think they need as much support as possible to continue a mission that is in its eventuality one of upmost service to citizens of Tehran and those of us who return there. Most certainly, we could by the most passive of efforts, consider the value of restoration and preservation for what remains of Tehran. I have believed and still believe that one should prioritize the benefit of a collective cultural heritage over economic gain. The game of the hour however seems to be about destroying the old to build the “new.” In this sense I think we are missing a fundamental collective conviction that heritage, even if only reminiscent in architecture, is worth preserving. Comment

PEACE WALK
From London to the Persian Gulf
Katarzyna Javaheri
July 15, 2007

On July, 10, 2007, after two months of walking, Mohammad Samghani reached Cracow, Poland. He has started his peace journey in London to be ended in the Persian Gulf as his final destination. Beside his peace massage, he wants also to tell to the whole world that the only correct name for the Persian Gulf is Persian Gulf (not e.g. Arabian Gulf). After his stay in Cracow, he is going to head to a few Slovak cities and then Budapest, Bucharest, Istanbul...

Backpack, tent and camera are his only equipment. The watchword "Walking for peace from London to the Persian Gulf" is visible on his backpack; in every country in its own language (Germany: Fur den Frieden Zu Fuß von London zum Persischer Golf, Poland: Dla pokoju pieszo z Londynu nad Zatokê Persk’, Slovakia: Pre mier pe??qo z Londyna po Perzsky zaliv). After 18 years spent in England, he is going back to his homeland: Iran.

Mohammad Samghani was born in Tehran in 1966. He has a wife and two children. His wife is waiting for him in Iran.

done itinerary: England >>> Holland >>> Germany >>> Poland
planned itinerary: Slovakia >>> Hungary >>> Romania >>> Turkey >>> Iran
Comment

SCOUT
A place in my heart
Nina Habibi
July 14, 2007

Scout who was 8 years old, passed away on Saturday. We first met four years ago. She was in the class I taught at Star Island. At four, Scout was the youngest in class. She was gentle, diligent, kind, and a little unsure but full of life and eager to participate. She quickly found a place in my heart.

We met again last July. She was with her four year old sister, Leo, who reminded me so much of Scout at that age. Again, Scout's loving, warm nature impressed me. I was shocked and pained to hear of her passing. Thank you Scout for gracing everyone who knew you with your presence and kindness.

I've attached some photos of our time together in class last summer. Scout's the one with the toothy smile. I know many of you don't know her family and didn't know Scout, but I wanted to offer a tribute to Scout and ask you to send good thoughts to her parents Abby and Neil and her little sister Leo. Comment

TEHRAN
Mohaaveraate Tajrishi
Sanaz Namdar
July 14, 2007

Comment
Visit cantfindanamexyzsanaz.blogspot.com

KAFSH KATOONIES
It's gotta be the shoes
B. Fellini
July 11, 2007

Today I received a nicely wrapped package in the mail. It was a new pair of Adidas cleats that I had special ordered from a local apparel shop. At this point you must be thinking who cares?

Rewind about 15 years ago. Like most Iranian kids I was an enormous soccer fan; I grew up idolizing different players like the majority of immigrant kids. I pretended I was Parvin leading Iran to its first world cup win or Maradona dribbling the entire English team and scoring his now famous goal. My love for the game led me to sign up for a local traveling soccer team. Their were two tryouts held one on Saturday and the other on Sunday I thought this would make it difficult to make the team until I realized that both days the same group of kids showed up. You have to realize this was before being a soccer mom was popular so most parents were taking their kids to baseball and skipping soccer season.

Being able to convince my mother to sign me up for the team was hard enough but getting her to buy me a pair of Adidas cleats was like asking the Iranian government to start a fund for the Advancement of the state of Israel, it was next to impossible. After explaining it was important to get shoes for football because I can get hurt with my "kafesh katoonies" she sent my brother to the store to buy proper soccer shoes.

Instead of sending my brother who knew something about football she sent my brother who was into the math and sciences and never ventured out into the playing fields for fear of looking like an idiot. I waited until he got home and realized the box was from a discount shoe store. AHHHHH! I thought. I am going to look like an idiot I opened the box and there they were a crappy heavy looking cookie cutter pair of shoes that would add at least another 10 pounds to my already heavy stature. Worst yet they didn't even look like imitations, but I didn't care I just wanted to play.

I walked on to the field and one of the kids looked at my shoe and said "hey nice XJ-300s" OK not the best memory of my life but listen I was on the team! It started to get out of hand when the whole team started calling me XJ-300. One day the incredible happened as I was walking onto the field for practice one of the guys on the team came up to me and gave me a pair of shoes; I looked at the shoes and it was a pair of Adidas. It was a memory I will never forget because it was the first time I was accepted by any group or team in the United States.

I ended up playing soccer with that team for a few years; we never really were that good, we were more famous for fighting with the other team then actually winning any games. Football and the team were like a stepping stone into the United States getting accepted and understanding the new culture I was part of. Today as a first generation Iranian living in the United States I still feel like an outsider with the Americas and I don't quite fit in with the new Iranians, the ones that were born here, or the ones that just walked off the plane.

All us kids that were born in Iran and moved here 25 years ago are like a bridge, meaning we have to bridge the gap for the new Iranians since we had to work harder to be successful and to ultimately be accepted by our new home. On our shoulders also rest the responsibility of not forgetting who we are, what it means to have 2500 years of history under our belt and the importance of keeping the positive elements of our culture alive. Comment

HYPOCRISY
Save the earth?
Siamack Baniameri
July 9, 2007

A 24-hour music marathon spanning seven continents Saturday reached the Western hemisphere with rappers, rockers and country stars taking the stage at Live Earth concerts to fight climate change!

This was a true illustration of hypocrisy at its worst where rock and rap stars, telling us to conserve and save the earth while themselves owning several mansions ($5000 electricity bills) and rolling around town in gas-guzzler SUVs, consuming everything earth unfriendly and lavish.

But then I remembered that our own Iranian expast follow the same decree by inviting the people of Iran to overthrow the mullahs and go on strike, while themselves living in total comfort and security of their adopted countries with no need to throw a single punch.

Don't get me wrong. I'm all for that. Nothing is sexier than asking others to make sacrifices while yourself stand on the sideline and cheer them on.

Save the earth, kill the mullahs and don't worry about a thing, I've got your back!

Now if you excuse me, I gotta go fill up my Hummer! Comment

RIGHTS
Human wrongs
Elahe Amani
July 9, 2007

On June 30th Iranian Labour News Agency reported that Mohammad Javad Larijani, the head of Human Rights Committee of Iran, had a meeting with the German Green Party parliamentary representative and the the group accompanying him. In this meeting while both parties emphasized the importance of developing and improving the relationship between Iran and Germany, the head of Human Right Committee of Iran and the Judiciary Consultant on International Matters stated that the west criticizes Iran on two accounts. The first criticism concerns the proper implementation of law in Iran and "The second criticism is about our laws, such as death penalty, stoning, and so forth. We have to say that the criticisms of the western countries are beyond the Islamic Republic of Iran's commitments since our international commitments do not include any of these cases."

Global community is outraged that Iran continues to pass death sentences on minors and juvenile offenders (those convicted of crimes committed before the age of 18), and that it is still passing sentences of stoning to death, despite having announced a moratorium on such executions. Iran imposed a moratorium upon stoning in December 2002 under a directive from the Head of the Judiciary, and while the global community has been waiting for a response from Iranian authorities concerning stoning in Iranian laws, now, all of a sudden, the authorities in Iran clearly state that Iranian governments international commitments does not include stoning, death penalty, and other human rights violations.

Although the ultimate goal of human rights defenders is to abolish death penalty as n ainhumane punishment and a violation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the ICCPR to which Iran is a signatory, however, stopping execution by stoning is of immediate concern, when we consider the fact that this method of execution is specifically designed to cause the victim grievous pain before death and which is the most extreme and cruel form of torture.

The human rights defenders must hold the governments accountable for their commitments to human rights as a fundamental tenet of foreign policy. The stated position of Iran is two steps back as far as protection of human rights in Iran is concerned. Comment

* English version of this news article
* Original Persian news article
* Petition for abolishing death penalty in Iran

MINBASHIAN
Five stars
Sepehr Haddad
July 8, 2007

I received a phone call on the eve of the 4th of July while we had gathered with family to barbeque, as most in the US do, on Independence Day. The call was from my cousin in Paris, giving me the news that my uncle, Fatollah Minbashian, had passed away half an hour before his call. Telling my mother the news was very difficult; however, I was relieved that she was with us when we got the news so that we could console her a bit.

Minbashian was truly a great man, from a different era. As a child, he always reminded me of James Bond, and I always wanted to be like him, for he was handsome, talented, an athlete (goal keeper for the Iranian national soccer team), a poet, a songwriter, a musician (virtuoso violinist), spoke several languages fluently, and the list goes on and on.

In terms of his career, he was a 5 star general (Arteshbod) Commander of the Iranian Armed forces until 1974 when he left the armed forces and retired in Paris. Most importantly he loved Iran and the army, not the institution as much as the individual soldiers that comprised it. He cared for their living conditions, their salaries, their health care and was always surprised why more was not being done by the government they were serving, to make their lives better.

Readers of Iranian.com who are too young to remember his great service to his country, may remember his name since two of the songs he had written in his youth, "Anzaman" and "Negahe-Yar-e Man" that I re-recorded were presented here in the recent past. I am honored to be able to keep his memory alive through these songs. We will all miss him dearly. Comment

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Back Barack
Bruce Bahmani
July 4, 2007

I share the same goals as Barack Obama: ending the Iraq War, honoring our commitment to our veterans, achieving energy independence, stopping the genocide in Darfur, improving our schools, and affordable universal health care for every single American. I know the political process sometimes seems superficial and worse. But Barack Obama gives me hope for a better America and a better world. So please take a moment to learn more about Senator Obama and join the campaign >>>
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