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Shahin & Sepehr


Sehaty Foreign Exchange

Advertise with The Iranian

August 2-6, 1999 / Mordad 11-15, 1378


* Poetry
- Too many donuts

* Travel
- An American in Iran


* Rose Ghajar
- Why the cars?

* Film
- Eye opener
Gina Nahai
- Marvelous, enchanting
- I went through the same
- Ankara in 1985
- Just as racist

* Eclipse:
- Very, very, very, very
- Allah knows best

- Yeah right
* Politics:
- Beravim aadam beshavim!

* Jews:
- No harm in defending minorities

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August 27, 1999

* Too many donuts

[In response to Leyla Momeny's poems, "Ali & Mark"]

A girl
wanting to say
something profound
but too many donuts
and bubbles from stale
glasses of Coke
left overnight
get in the way.

Who falls
upon the thorns of life?
who bleeds?

Bruce Kermane

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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", "Shomaal", "Passing seasons"].

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.

Larry Rutzell
St.Louis, MO.

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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?!

Pooneh Lari

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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.

Mohsen Abdi

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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 author.

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 years).

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.

Carolyn Dabirsiaghi

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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.

Hamid Beykzadeh

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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 TEXT

Vahid N.

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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.

Mike Khatibi

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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 people worldwide.

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.

Asally Adib

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