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Shahin & Sepehr


Sehaty Foreign Exchange

Advertise with The Iranian

November 29-December 3, 1999 / Azar 8-12, 1378


* Identity:
- Long live Iran

* Thanksgiving:
- Thanking Allah for this blessed land


* Census:
- Iranians in the U.S.: political power

* The Iranian:
- Persoanl agenda
- Lengesh kon!

* Thanksgiving:
- More thankful than Americans
- Top ten

* Sex:
- Erotic Sufi tradition

* Khomeini:
- Delplored life, glorified death

* Identity:
- Predictable behavior

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December 3, 1999

* Long live Iran

I believe very strongly in where I'm from. Iran. And even though I'm an American citizen influenced by many American views, that does not affect my beliefs. I have one hundred percent Iranian blood!

As a fourteen-year-old I have spent four of my summers there. And my expierence cannot be put into words. It was all just so beautiful; the people, the places, the food. I know that the love of my country is more than the love Shakspeare had for writng. And that this bond is here to stay until the end of life.

What I do not understand is why my country is always being ridiculed, and why I see so many Iranians hide their true identity. That's the worst part. It hurts me so much to see the one thing I am so proud of, so cowardly hidden by other Iranians.

I believe that these people, mostly teenagers, some adults, are afraid. Afraid of not being what other people want them to be. But it is themselves they should be afraid of. They can go through life pleasing everyone, letting them hear what they want, and see what they want to see. But if they can't look back into the eyes of the person in the mirror then they are no one, they are a puppet, with no heart or feelings.

And another thing: Long live Iran!

Rahill Jamalifard

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* Thanking Allah for this blessed land

In response to, "What are you thankful for?"

"What am I thankful for?" the thought came to my mind as I went through my pile of daily email on Thansgiving day. I couldn't help remembering the collage of self-pity, searching-for-self-and-identity crap I had read in the The Iranian Times in the past.

So we all found our way to North America at one time or other. Some of us were young teens when we called our old country "home", and some were old and needy. But the fact remains that we did end up here. And the fact remains that we all chose to live here.

I found myself in south Florida this Thanksgiving. I had to be away from my tribe and away from our annual Thanksgiving gathering north of San Luis Obispo, California, this year. South Florida has very few Iranians but all kinds of people from other cultures. Its culture is one step ahead of the Third World and not quite America yet. Its people are almost as diverse as San Francisco's East Bay and its climate is worse than what I remember of the Abadan of my childhood.

I had Thanksgiving dinner with an American Jewish and Catholic family. There were people fresh off the boat with a lesbian couple from New York, an aging cross-dressing couple, a retired US army captain, a few long-haired people stuck in the 60s, bunch of kids and I - the Iranian guy from California. We ate turkey and stuffing, partied and drank. I taught them to say "Beh salaamati " and I said "Lekha'im" every other time we raised our glasses.

All of us newcomers came here for various reasons and this great country accepted us with open arms and treated us like its own children. Thanksgiving to me is all about thanking Allah for this blessed land.

Kamran Behzadian

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December 2, 1999

* Iranians in the U.S.: political power

As Iranian-Americans - according to US government there are more than a million of us - we have to begin concentrating on our identity and status here, in our new home! On the eve of the 2000 US presidential elections and the upcoming Census 2000, we have to make a concerted and aggressive effort to declare our significant existence to the political establishment.

We must begin developing our political power base in whatever party we happen to lean towards. We should also prepare for Census 2000 and plan to provide the type of racial information that will put Iranians on the map as a legitimate and significant minority. This census will be our best chance for being counted (for more information search for Census 2000 on the Web) ... FULL TEXT

Ben Bagheri

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* Personal agenda

You know, Jahanshah, if you weren't such a fucking asshole who puts his own personal agenda and views ahead of journalistic integrity and impartiality, I (and I'm sure others as well) would actually feel comfortable writing a letter or two to your magazine in response to something, knowing that you'd post it. But NO, instead we must resort to writing individual letters to people, which is fine. But I (as an ex-journalist myself) just wanted to tell you what I think of you.

Sina Dadfarmay

Jahanshah Javid replies: I can and will have a personal agenda. I think my track record proves I'm fair towards everybody. I LIKE being fair. You don't think I'm fair enough, don't read it.

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December 1 1999

* Lengesh kon!

Mr. Qezelbash's commentary on recent events in Iran ["It's over"] is very valid and lands a bull's eye! What a shame for the rest of us to sit back here in the comfort of our new found homes and criticize the snapper-head hard-liners in Iran. I have to admit that I am indeed one of those folks.

I continually wish for a better Iran for the Iranians who live there and can't get out. I continuously wish for a better Iran for the rest of us Iranians living abroad and have never been back to Iran since the revolution. I continuously wish for a better Iran for me to return, visit and come to a closure. I continuously wish to do something to make things the way they were.

But, hey, what the heck, I'm the one living outside and saying "lengesh kon!"

Alireza S.

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* Top ten

In response to, "What are you thankful for?"

I am thankful to be in the U.S. for the following reasons:

1. It saved me from seeing Ayatollahs on the TV everyday
2. I was not killed in the war, or arrested and tortured, or killed by Emami
3. I can get together with friends and family and celebrate Thanksgiving, etc.
4. I can drive in straight lines (mostly)
5. Officials are not rude to me; they don't call me "to" instead of "shoma"
6. I can live by myself, being divorced, and not perceived as weird
7. I am not awakened by the wonderfully loud call to prayer in the morning
8. I don't have to believe in a logic that has not advanced beyond the thirteenth century
9. I can go out in T-shirt and shorts
10. I can watch movies undubbed...

If you need more reasons let me know and I'll send you another ten reasons immediately.

Mohtaj e Doaa

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* Integrity

I wholeheartedly agree with K. Magardie's letter rejecting the notion that Khomeini collaborated with the SAVAK as portrayed in the article "Lunch with Khomeini".

I know many things went wrong when the late ayatollah was Iran's leader but it's totally irresponsible to label him a dishonest man. Overly orthodox, ardently religious yes, but dishonest or dirty never.

Like it or not, millions of Muslims around the world revere Khomeini. A large majority of Iranians, in spite of disagreements with him, still acknowledge the man's integrity and modesty.


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November 30, 1999

* Delplored life, glorified death

In response to Mehrdad's letter:

Some people may think of Khomeini as a true fundamentalist who was acting on pure Islamic values without any regard to human rights or interanationally respected democractic principles ["Lunch with Khomeini"]. But, the fact is that Khomeini knew the power of religion over the unedcuated masses, and he used that to the utmost of his abilities.

Altough mainsream Islam is based on self sacrifice and obedience to religious authorities, the barbaric manifestations of vengenace killing (qasas) and many other facets of these extremely reactionary rules which belong to 7th century desert bedoiuns has lost its validity in most of the Islamic countries.

Khomeini was able to revive the most backward, ill conceived notions of shite religion. He used ex- SAVAK agents , hooligans, and many of the mollas that used to be on the payroll of SAVAK to crush the legitimate political oppositions.

Most political opposition groups in Iran refrained from criticizing the extremely backward reactionary teaching of Khomeini. They thought that such a criticism may isolate them from the masses. Iranian history has seen many dictators, and bullies, but no one has been as blood thirsty, hateful, unashamedly hypocite as Khomeini.

To call Khomeini as a man who only acted upon his fundamentalist view is a critical mistake; he delplored life, he glorified death. A man who initially claimed he did not want to have any role in politics, established one of the bloodiest and violent religious dictatorships in the world.

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* More thankful than Americans

In response to, "What are you thankful for?"

You should be thankful that you are living in the United States, and not anywhere else in the world.; thankful for the freedom that you are provided to breath freely; thankful for walking in the streets without fear of paasdaars, thankful for being able to look at hundreds of beautiful women of all ages; thankful that your daughter doesn't have to wear the chador and can get an education and have a future; thankful that you can publish your thoughts and ideas on the Internet without having to get permission from anyone; thankful that you can turn on the TV and radio and hear music; thankful that there is a huge bookstore in every neighborhood that you can go and browse hundreds of thousands of subjects; thankful that you can go to a bar and order a beer without fear; thankful for abundance in stores; thankful for cheap food of the highest quality; thankful for security...

Actually, come to think of it, as immigrants we have more to be thankful for than the natives. We were not born here, but we are extremely lucky and blessed to find ourselves not only out of Iran, but in the U.S., land of freedom and prosperity, like no other on earth.


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November 29, 1999

* Predictable behavior

So far as procrastination is concerned, there has not been a more powerful tool invented. I read your article ["The search"] with some interest as I, like many other young products of our time, have been coming to grips with assorted questions of identity. Although your article read well, it sounded more like an introduction to a thesis (a long-winded abstract perhaps) than a sharp inquisitive article. You suggest a hypothesis, which although sounds trendy is hard to define or justify, and then you fail to refer to it again...

... There is no specific handbook for being an Iranian or an exiled Iranian. However what you have failed to grasp here is that there is a pervasive pattern in each set which is easily defined based on various parameters including socioeconomic background, education and alike. So as you see, in most cases there is a predictable pattern of behavior which is governed by the competing and dominant forces in an individual's life ... FULL TEXT

Dariush Rafaei, PhD

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* Erotic Sufi tradition

In response to Rasool Nafisi's letter:

There are a few specific themes that I wish to explore in Sufi mysticism. The Prophet Mohammad was the starting point of Islamic mysticism; Rabi'a, as the founder of the theme of Sufi love; al-Hallaj, whose writings are the locus classicus of impassioned union; al-Ghazzali, as the clear-headed systematizer and reconciler of mysticism with orthodoxy; Ibn al-Farid, as the composer of what is perhaps the greatest erotic love poem in all of Sufi literature; Ibn al-'Arabi, as the supreme philosopher of the erotic in the Sufi tradition; and Rumi, as the exponent of love best-known to the West ["Let's not talk about sex"].

The earliest foundation of the theme of the erotic in Arabic poetry predates Islam. Poetry was the primary form of literature, indeed, the main form of artistic expression, of the jahiliyya period, circa 500-622 C.E. While there were a few different types of poetry, the qasida, or ode, was the only finished type. The qasida tended to have a fairly invariant structure: a nomad would stumble upon the remains of a desert camp and sing of its desolation. His loneliness would inspire him to recall his fondness for those who had once encamped there, and he would describe with great nostalgia the strength of his affection for his beloved and not infrequently would describe her in detail. This section of the poem is called the nasib, "erotic prelude." ... FULL TEXT

Dr Fereidoun Abbasi

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