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Shahin & Sepehr


Sehaty Foreign Exchange

Advertise with The Iranian

April 5-April 9, 1999 / Farrvardin 16-20, 1378


* Prejudice:
- She has never told her family

* Kosovo:
- Damned if you do...
- At a loss

- Milosovic's bloody trail
April Fools:
- I'm offended
- Get a laugh
Comedy Central
- Sense of humor
- A wonderful luxury

- Sorry for myself


* Music:
- That which we all are
- Peacekeeping?
- At a loss

- Milosovic's bloody trail
13 Bedar:
- Understandable

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April 9, 1999

* She has never told her family

I am a handsome, well-educated, professional African-American male who met and fell in love with a beautiful, well-educated, professional Iranian woman. We love each other very much but she has never told her family about me. They are constantly trying to fix her up with Iranian men for marriage.

She is always telling me how frustrating it is to not be able to tell them that she has already met someone that she loves (me) and that she isn't looking anymore.

We sometimes talk about a future together but she is really afraid of what her father and family may think. I truely love this woman and hope to marry her someday. Please write me back. I need to talk to someone.

Eternally hopeful

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* Damned if you do...

I just finished reading Mr. Tehrani's article on the Kosovo war situation ["Why Kosovo?"]. As I recall, when the Bosnians were being driven out of their homes or massacred by the Yugoslavian army, many of us Iranians commented that the mere reason NATO or the United States in particular is not intervening is the fact that the victims are Moslems. Now that the West is actually performing a positive role, some of us have managed to come up with absurd scenarios as to why the United States has begun taking military action.

Why do we always have to be so suspicious about everything? This story is very simple. Milosovic got away with murder twice. His intentions in the region are very unclear. You don't know where he will attack next. Better stop him now.

The massacre of the Kurds, Cambodians and Africans are all valid points and must be dealt with separately. Let's not confuse the issue here. Just because the West did not stop the killings in Rwanda, it does not mean they should not stop the killings in Kosovo. Two wrongs don't make a right. I guess you are damned if you do it, damned if you don't.

Ghassem Namazi

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* I'm offended

Sorry. I don't appreciate the humor of the Senator article ["Iran is a great country"]. As an American, I'd love to see the lines of communication between both Iranians and Americans open - as well as, eventually, the lines between our two governments. I don't see the humor in this sad situation.

And, frankly, I'm offended in the portrayal of Americans in it. These stereotypes (dumb American) along with characterizations of Iranians (militant terrorists) are exactly what we need to overcome in order to have this dialogue. Let's, at least, begin with a worthy site such as yours but not adding to these stereotypes.

Marla Zometsky

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* Get a laugh

I read the letters that some uptight readers wrote in response to your April Fool's prank ["Iran is a great country"]. These people have got to get a life and chill out. Whoever even said that Iran wasn't a great country and the Iranians weren't the cat's meow?! It's this obsessive sense of false pride that will never allow the Iranian mind to grow out of it's emotional huvel.

Get a grip folks. I read the very same piece about Diane Feinstein and Barbara Boxer and laughed. I'm also Iranian though, I seem to have a sense of humor that some of the whinning readers truly seem to lack. Thanks for YOUR humor The Iranian! Here's wishing all you a relaxed and FUN filled new year!

Banafsheh Zand

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April 8, 1999

* That which we all are

Listening to the lyrics of ashkha va labkhandha (Sound of Music in Persian) brought tears to my eyes. The years gone by; the memories and people left behind. And that which I am today; that which we all are today.

Behrad Fardi

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* Peacekeeping?

The author of "Why Kosovo?" writes: "Instead of Anglo-American bombing of Iraq or NATO attack on Yugoslavia, the world could have by now established a credible United Nations peacekeeping force to intervene in cases of outright state aggression or genocide. That course would have been far less costly and far more legitimate and humane."

While the idea is quite honorable in theory, the author seems to have lost sight of the practicalities of such an approach. What makes such a "peacekeeping" force credible? The stamp of the U.N.? The Iraqi fiasco does bear the U.N. stamp. One can argue about its legitimacy but the war on Iraq and the ensuing military activity is under the auspices of the U.N.

How exactly would a "peacekeeping" force gain access into a sovereign country (i.e. Yugoslavia) without either the cooperation/permission of that government or by force (outright ground war)? The former was an option but did not work (Yugoslav government did not agree) and the latter is still an option - albeit an expensive one in terms of human lives on both sides. In addition, while the cause of defending the Kosovars is novel and humanitarian, it may not be strong enough to get the public (read votes and money) to support it. Then again, it is too early to tell. It is only day 15 of the bombing.

In addition, who determines where the peacekeeping force should go? As the author has mentioned why not Turkey (to protect the Kurds), or Afghanistan (ostensibly to protect the women) or various locales in Africa? When is it intrusion and meddling in the affairs of a country and when is it peacekeeping? And most important of all who is going to provide the resources (equipment and personnel and money) for such a force? What exists now, whether NATO or U.N., is as close to such a force as possible. And of course, its legitimacy is debatable.

Aref Erfani

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April 7, 1999

* At a loss

Dr. Tehranian's interpretation of the war against Yoguslavia was quite interesting since he himself admitted that no one seems to have an answer to the riddle of why NATO is there ["Why Kosovo?"].

He shares with others a nascent sense of not understanding this conflict within the framework of the traditional politco-social studies. Is it imperialism, capitalist expansion, war-mongering or plain and simple humanitarianism?

He is not alone, everyone from my own mother who always blamed everything on the whim that "there must be something in it for someone," to even best socialist magazines such as "The Nation" ( are pretty much at a loss as to how to interpret this within the leftist frame of thought.

May I offer this explanation which occured to me when I was buying a travel guide recently. Maybe, just maybe, map publishers such Rand McNally are paying Milosovic to do this in order for them to print a whole set of new atlases and maps with yet another county added to the world. Other than that, we just might have to aceept that the plight of hundreds of thousands of Kosovo Albanians being driven out of burning villages is cause enough for NATO to do this.

Ramin Tabib

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* Milosovic's bloody trail

I admit that I'm a simple man who doesn't see the many hidden political forces that cloud Dr. Tehranian's view of NATO's campaign over Serbia ["Why Kosovo?"]. In contrast, what I doubt most is what Dr. Tehranian sees as most clearly: "... that an opportunity for peaceful resolution of international and inter-ethnic conflicts is tragically being lost." I thought that the repeated visits of the U.S. Special Envoy to Yugoslavia and even the visit of the Soviet prime minister were ample opportunities.

In looking at what is happening in Kosovo today, I can't help but remember that President Molosovic is the same man that spearheaded the humanitarian tragedy in Bosnia. In judging his actions, we have the luxury of knowing that it is not his first time to "ethnically cleanse" an entire city. In fact, his pattern of actions have traversed a long and bloody trail.

As nearly half a million woman and children pour across the borders, many without their sons and husbands, this is not the time to explore theoretical possibilities for a U.N. that might send troops in places where there is genocide. The fact is that such a U.N. body has never existed, and with the weakening of Russia and rise of the United States, perhaps never will.

Reza Shadmehr

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April 6, 1999

* Understandable

In "15 Bedar" you wrote: "Year by year our Persian festivities will become less and less Persian. But we'll always have each other." That is understandable. It happened to the British, Irish, Orientals, Indians, Africans, and now Iranians. This situation is also true for Iranians who live in Europe or other places.

Kids grow up and understand Farsi but do not talk Farsi. They listen to rap music instead of traditional Iranian music. Is this bad? I do not know the answer. If you do not like it what can you do? Take the family to Iran for at least one month a year. Dollar is 805 tomans now and you can buy airline tickets for $770.

Loved the pictures. I wish I was there. It is a blessing to live in a metropolitan with a large Iranian population.

Hosain Massiha
(exiled in Louisiana)

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* Comedy Central

The Iranian Times is a news organization, not Comedy Central. I am of course referring to your April Fool's prank "Iran is a great country". Also, what is interesting is the notion put forward by at least one of your readers that irresponsible journalism is somehow covered by the First Amendment (you know, freedom of the press). Freedom of speech is a right guaranteed for those with opposing points of view. Your credibility as a reliable source of news has in my view suffered a lot.

Shahram Mostarshed

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* Sense of humor

Dear Ali Hashemi-Nejad

Every one tries to make a dollar at the expense of something or someone, it is what makes the world go around. I believe that it will be a more tolerant and peaceful world if we all had a sense of humor and did not take ourselves so seriously ["Iran is a great country"].

I respect your opinion, and do share some of your concerns, but I do not find the solution standing on a higher intellectual plateau, throwing insults at others, for in the realm of things, who is to judge one's superior or inferior intellect?

Babak Yektafar

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April 5, 1999

* A wonderful luxury

I enjoyed your rather tasteless April Fool's joke - it did make me smile but it was rather too close to the knuckle ["Iran is a great country"]! I really had a good laugh though when I read the letter by Ali Hashemi-Nejad. To claim cultural and class superiority and yet to not be able to spell invites hilarity - not sympathy.

Humor is a wonderful teaching tool - and the responses to your prank have made me think about the incredible luxury of free speech. It is not purely an American luxury - it is a luxury that people try and uphold everywhere around the world. I hope The Iranian Times will make more of the story about a court case in Iran reported in this week's Economist (March 27-April 2) entitled 'Stop that laughing, please.' The fortnightly magazine Adineh was banned for carrying a story with the headline 'Is joy lost in our city? Is laughing a sin?' The article told the story about a family dining in a restaurant and openly enjoying themselves when they were asked by a man if they were not ashamed that they were laughing. This was obviously too much for the group called the Headquarters for Combating Vice and Promoting Virtue - they went to court to close the magazine and were successful.

As we wander around what Mr. Hashemi-Nejad calls our 'cultural wasteland' he and the rest of us can thank our lucky stars that we are free to poke fun, to misspell 'inebriated' (even when we presumably are not!) and to criticize our politicians when they are silly - without the threat of losing our livelihoods. Mr.Hashemi-Nejad should learn to lighten up or rethink the privileges he claims by living here - of course should he choose to return to Iran I think we could all heartily recommend him for a job at the Headquarters for Combating Vice and Promoting Virtue!


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* Sorry for myself

What an awful joke ["Iran is a great country"]. I'm really sorry for myself for being a subscriber [to The Iranian Times]. You are running a media and these kinds of jokes are not acceptable at all. Can we trust you anymore? Have you ever heard the TV or radio stations in this country [U.S.] giving the wrong information ... or just joking about it?

Katayoun Hashemi

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