August 2-6, 1999 / Mordad 11-15, 1378
- Too many donuts
- An American in Iran
* Rose Ghajar
- Why the cars?
- Eye opener
* Gina Nahai
- Marvelous, enchanting
- I went through the same
- Ankara in 1985
- Just as racist
- Very, very, very, very
- Allah knows best
- Yeah right
- Beravim aadam beshavim!
- No harm in defending minorities
August 27, 1999
* Too many donuts
[In response to Leyla Momeny's poems, "Ali
wanting to say
but too many donuts
and bubbles from stale
glasses of Coke
get in the way.
upon the thorns of life?
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* An American in Iran
I just wanted to let you know that I absolutely loved your articles
on your personal travels to Iran [Steven Shaffer's "An
American in Iran", "Mostaqeem",
I was 14-16 years old (but very mature) and lived in Tehran with my
mom and dad back in 1975-1977 (1354-1355 by the Iranian calendar) It was
fascinating. We traveled from Tehran to Rasht, Ramsar, Bandar Abbas, Chalus,
Karaj Dam, Damavand, Ab Ali, Shemshak, Karaj, Ghazvin, Qom, Isfahn and
Shiraz. What a Country.
In two years we only had stones thrown three times at our large American
made Ford, with license plates that in Farsi said "Service".
But everyone for the most part was extremely friendly.
It has been 22 years now, and I am a travel agent, and I'm yearning
for a trip back. Reading your stories make me believe that it may not
be to bad for an American tourist.
Again, great stories and wonderful pictures.
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August 26, 1999
* Why the cars?
All her paintings are absolutely beautiful ["Persian
dreams"] but why are they photographed in the parking lot next
to cars? I don't see the point?!
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* Eye opener
I have seen this movie and I was very moved by it ["A
bitter bite"]. I admired the diector in doing such a nice job.
However, I did not understand the Turkish language spoken by the mother.
Your review or critique on this movie was well done and opened my eyes
to see this project from a different view. And for that I thank you.
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August 25, 1999
* Marvelous, enchanting
I am delighted that The Iranian has featured Ms. Nahai's marvelous
new book, Moonlight
on the Avenue of Faith ["The
night before"]. After reading her first book, Cry
of the Peacock, many times, I was eager to read a second by the
I think Moonlight
on the Avenue of Faith is enchanting. I wanted to read it slowly,
because I was so enthralled in the lives of the characters that I didn't
want the book to end. I loved the ending. Daily I would give my partner
the update on the characters.
I read passages that made us both marvel at Ms. Nahai's talent and insight,
not only into the psyche of the characters, but also the English language.
When it came to the last pages, I refused to share anymore. My rephrasing
the passages would have been an injustice to her work. I felt everyone
should experience almond tears for themselves.
I found the topic of destiny to be fascinating in the book. Destiny
is meticulously woven through every thread of thought in Iran. I heard
so many people refer to it, as a way of justifying their acceptance of
their "place" in life. I even believed in it for a long time.
My friends thought it was their destiny to have jobs that they abhorred.
Some would even say things that implied that they were being punished for
something that they didn't even know they had done. I found this unsettling
and yet, I thought it was my destiny to be a displaced person, and to never
quite fit into any one well defined nationality of people. I accepted my
life as it came and always felt destiny was controlling it, not me. "Zendigee
de geh". ("That's life!", my friends wrote to me over the
I have changed, as many people do, but if anyone has ever felt that
destiny was playing any role in their lives, they will be able to relate
to Roxanna and her story. Ms. Nahai has successfully intertwined the language/attitudes
of the west, the magic of Iranian tradition, and the poetic influences
of Farsi, into a powerful story that the reader will not forget in years
to come. I look forward to more stories by this talented novelist.
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* I went through the same
The story was realy touching ["The
night before"]. Every memory I have had since I came to the U.S.
in 1976 came back to me. I went through the same things and had the same
feelings as the writer.
I still feel the same way every time I go to visit my family in Iran.
Sometimes I think I should not go to visit my family because I get so emotional
that I regret my visit.
Sometimes I feel like going back to Tehran and not come back again,
because I do not know how much more I can take these emotional roller coasters.
But I can not go back. I have two sons here.
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August 24, 1999
* Ankara in 1985
I enjoyed reading your 'documentary' about your trip to Turkey as well
as the nice photos ["Mission
accomplished"]. I could connect with most of the pictures and
your descriptions of life in Turkey, as I got my student visa in Ankara
back in 1985, and for that, I had to spend about two months in Turkey.
One month to wait for my turn to have an interview, and three weeks for
my student visa to be approved.
Back then there were a lot more Iranians at the U.S. embassy each day,
maybe several hundred. And a U.S. Visa, for some people, was like the key
to the Heaven, or an exit from Hell! I could see people crying coming out
of the embassy, either from the joy of getting the visa, or the sadness
of their application being denied ... FULL
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* Just as racist
I beg to differ ["Mission
accomplished"]! I have met Turkish people, I have lived with Turkish
people and I know Turkish people. They are just as bit racist as Iranians.
Sorry to break the bad news to you.
They are very much like Iranians, good on the surface but cunning underneath.
That is why Westerners always have a very difficult time predicting Middle-Easterners.
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August 9, 1999
* No harm in defending minorities
Mr. Ali Akbar Mahdi's piece ["Harmful
favoritism"] on the response of Western governments and media
to the arrest of 13 Iranian Jews was well researched, yet a bit naïve
in its arguments. Mr. Mahdi complains and asks: "Why do the Western
media and Jewish groups fail to mention the others among this group [of
arrested Iranians]?" What he fails to realize is that the only reason
anyone is talking about the arrest of Jews in Iran--or any other country
in the world for that matter--is the well organized lobby of the Jewish
people. Due to the centuries-long anti-Semitism and genocide experienced
by the Jews, they have developed a highly united front in defending their
The Jews and Israel have gone through amazing lengths to free their
cohorts in the past. Who could forget the deal Israel made with the Marxist
government of Ethiopia in the 1980s, when they literally traded weapons
for Jews? Cargo planes would fly weapons from Tel Aviv to Addis Ababa,
and the same planes would in turn transport thousands of Ethiopian Jews
to Israel. If the followers of any other religion or ethnicity in Iran
(or any other country) had one-tenth of the concern, unity and organization
that the Jews have in favor of their people, you can be sure that we would
hear about the rest of the folks persecuted and in jail in Iran more often.
New York City is full of Jews. The majority is educated, and if some
even don't believe in God, they never the less care about their fellow
Jews in trouble in any part of the world--whether it be Ethiopia, Russia
or Iran. Can we say the same thing about the Iranian community? Much of
the Iranian diaspora is either totally apathetic to events in Iran or hates
this group or that group of Iranians (as can be discerned from occasional
hate letters to the The Iranian) and would not come to the defense of an
individual or group who may not share their peculiar political or religious
affiliation. In the majority of cases, however, Jews will help each other
no matter what their extent of political differences. (Its interesting
to note that Jews have been helping others as well. During the Civil Rights
era in the 1960s in the United States, a very large proportion of the white
Americans marching alongside Martin Luther King's followers were Jews.
And during the Kosovo crisis of 1999, Israel accepted some Muslim Kosovar
families as refugees and currently at least one American Jewish organization
has set up medical clinics for Muslims and Christians in the Balkans.)
A more important mistaken stance held by Mr. Mahdi is his complaint
about the Western governments and media in what he writes as their "overblown
reaction to a case that is not yet determined (as if all these 13 Jews
[currently jailed in Iran] are already convicted and about to be put to
execution) " If I may say so, that is such a lame criticism! What
does Mr. Mahdi expect the Jewish diaspora and their friends to do? Wait
until the dead bodies of their Iranian colleagues are delivered to their
relatives (as has been done many-a-time by the Iranian regime with other
"counter-revolutionaries"), and then publicize and complain about
their arrests AND executions?! As most human rights organizations would
concur, the more publicity is shed on cases of presumed prisoners of conscience,
the more likely is for the regime holding such prisoners to treat them
better and at the minimum not execute them. However, it goes without saying
that the appeals to the governments have to be polite and void of name-calling.
Mr. Mahdi should not get me wrong. I too wish that the Western press
and governments would publicize the cases of all people arrested on unsubstantiated
charges in Iran whether they be Jewish, Muslim, Bahai, Christian, Zoroastrian,
Kurd, communist, agnostic or atheist. But let's not forget that the media
and governments react to their constituents. In the real politik world,
it is safe to posit that the amount of concern shown by the western media
and governments to such injustices worldwide is directly proportional to
the existence of active grass root efforts urging them to do so. Having
learnt from history, the Jews have such organized lobby and grass-roots
advocacy groups, united in favor of their people. Our reaction should not
be to criticize the effort of the Jews or the media and governments they
influence. We should rather commend them, befriend them, and emulate the
unity and organization they hold, and try to implement our new-found knowledge
in defending the Iranian community as a whole.
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* Passionate feelings
The article by Reza Razavi ["Who
are we kidding?"] was actually an article I could read and understand
very clearly. He is an excellent writer. I'm a journalist myself, and I
always look for stories that can have the passionate feelings in the writings
and can directly hit me through my mind and heart, simultaneosly. Rezavi
did just that! Hope to read more of his articles soon.
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