BBC: Story of the revolution

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Shahin & Sepehr


Sehaty Foreign Exchange

Advertise with The Iranian

July 26-30, 1999 / Mordad 4-8, 1378


* Protests:
- Slogans won't do it


* Fiction:
- Thanks for Samad

* Revolution
- CIA couldn't do it better
- True conspiracies
- Blind faith

- Groundless assumptions
- Women in Islam
* The Iranian:
- 007

* Protests:
- Wishful thinking

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July 30, 1999

* Slogans won't do it

It is great we can talk about Iran so freely, but being away from Iran and just talking does not help much ["Solidarity"]. I feel that we can make a change, even from outside. Living in the United States (or other countries abroad), we have the luxury of expressing our rights to those in power.

However, standing in front of the federal buildings, shouting, holding billboards, gathering crowds in an unorganized fashion will not explain Iran's situation nor can anyone watching the charade understand our thoughts. In fact, it will bring embarrassing images of Iran!

To get help to change Iran, it is important we clean our image first. In the United States the word "Iran" reads "death to America", "Terrorism" and "Hostage Takers"! Although there is a large population of Iranians in the U.S., many of whom are well-established both academically and professionally, we have yet to bring the truth about ourselves to the eyes of Americans.

The truth is that majority of people in Iran don't believe in those hideous words of death to this and that, nor do they hate Americans, nor do they believe in Islamic tyranny. But they are forced to say and do senseless acts as I am sure many of you fellow Iranians can relate to.

If other countries see us as violent people, they'll never help us. It is not easy to clean up the existing image of Iran. But there are more efficient ways in showing our support for democracy.

It is important that we bring our voices down, structure them, organize them and give them a perspective. Then we can forward them to the those in power. Those who can talk for us. They can be anybody, in the media or politicians.

Wouldn't it look better to be interviewed sitting in front of the camera in a proper place with a proper attire, than to yell on the streets saying, "democracy", "Iran", and ...? Wouldn't it be better to be viewed as a civilized society? Educated? Diplomatic?


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July 29, 1999

* Thanks for Samad

I just finished two translated stories from Samad Behrangi ["Talkhun", "In search of fate"]. Both of them were beautiful and I enjoyed them in English .

I am originally Iranian, and so proud of the Iranian writers and translators. The job done was great to my taste. Thanks to The Iranian Times and all the friends involved. Looking forward to see more.


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* CIA couldn't do it better

This is in response to the gentleman who wrote "Worse than a dog":

You are absolutely right. The revolution has taken so many young, innocent lives (the revolution itself, the Iran-Iraq war, MKO executions and so on), brought our economy to its worst level, destroyed our international image, paralyzed and rendered useless 50% of our country's workforce (women) and many other horrible things. I don't think even the CIA could have done a better job.

Long live the Islamic Revolution!

M. Mobini

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July 28, 1999

* Blind faith

Farina Chaudry's letter sounds like someone indoctrinated to defend the "faith" to the point of being blind. As with Christianity, many things that became Islamic law did so decades and centuries after Mohammad died. They were put into law by those who used religion as a conduit of power to control the masses. It's always been an effective tool for that. Overtime these laws, many which were derived from the settling of differences of opinion, became institutionalized and taught to those too far removed spatially and temporally to understand the basis of these laws.

Were the origins better understood, people might not be so ready to accept them unquestioningly. Take for example the veiling of women. Originally this was used within the Persian empire as a way to distinguish upper class women from those of the lower classes. It conveyed the idea that a woman's husband was well-off enough financially that his wife did not need to work. As Muslim Arabs became the new upper class they adopted this practice and eventually made it into Islamic law.

What is important to note here, however, is that this law was not a choice given to women. It was forced upon them by men and because of that it serves as a form of oppression of one sex against the other. There is nothing in the Quran that supports this as an Islamic practice. And even if there was, I'd still question it, for in the eyes of God we are all equal. It is only when we are educated under oppression that this status gets lost for some. And when that happens we all lose something of ourselves.

Alex Bettesworth

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* True conspiracies

Ahmad Ashraf has a very nice interpretation of history. I admire his interest but what he said in "Conspiracy theories and the Persian mind" shows his lack of knowledge. The history of Iran is a fact and far from any myth.


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July 27, 1999

* 007

I have been very impressed by the eloquent, thoughtful, and professional reporting of your correspondent, Soma 007, in Tehran, and more generally by your coverage of recent events in Iran. Thank you.

Hossein Samiei

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* Groundless assumptions

In response to Farina Yasmin Chaudry: I think that how a person chooses to express him/herself has no limits, just as freedom doesn't have limits, and to put a stopper on creativity would result in the ruin of human civilization as we know it ["The gun and the gaze"].

We cannot tell each other what to dream, what to think, what to do, what to write, and what to draw. That is only for the individual to decide, and not for Anyone to interfere with. If we do this we have violated a right more sacred than life itself, for if a person does not have freedom of expression or thought, there is no point to it.

Your assumption that Islam was for the greater good of the female sex is a groundless one. I seem to remember quite clearly that in the religion of Islam if a woman is raped she is to be killed to purify her of the dishonor. There was a case in Pakistan of a woman getting raped by her own brother and then being killed by her family, for her brother's vice. Also, only recently was the stoning of women in Iran outlawed.

Under Islamic law, men are given preference over women in divorce, in inheritences, and in other legal settlements. Also, it is a woman who may not talk to strangers in public and must cover all of her body at all times. In short, a woman is only half a man in Islam.

And if you consider Zoroastrians and Jews, who have had such a huge impact on all religions, including Islam, to be pagan, with a smile on my face, I suggest you reconsider your comment on burying people in sand.

You also make very general comments giving credit to Islam for giving more freedom to women. Before the rise of Islam, Minoan women held very high places in society that would even surprise current day Islamic governments.

That is only one in a long list of civilizations that have held women in high regard. If you have ever lived in Iran, I cannot even guess how you can support Islam's stance on the female race, as half of my own family's women suffer each and every day because of it, and I imagine you would, too.

Maziar Shirazi

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July 26, 1999

* Wishful thinking

I couldn't be more agree with Mr. Hoveyda ["1999 not 1979"] about needing a leader in the recent demonstrations in Iran. The Los Angeles-based Radio Iran in reply to most of the listners' comments suggested that people should rise and continue the fight until the present government is overthrown and then Reza Pahlavi or Banisadr would step in and take over. Wishful thinking!

As for Mr. Khatami, he reminds me a lot of Mehdi Bazargan whose inability to govern broght such havoc upon us. Mr. Khatami has betrayed the people once again by giving nice promisses to his constituents, knowing that he has no power to fulfil them.

F. Rafat

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* Women in Islam

I understand as an artist you have the right to express yourself but the way that you express yourself should have some limitations. Some of your art I think is truly poetic and beautiful ["The gun and the gaze"]. I really do respect your talent. I do however strongly disagree with how you portray women with rifles and blood.

I can not believe you would portray Islamic women like they were some type of extremist missionaries. If you knew anything about Islam you would know that Islam is a religion based upon peace and respect for women. Islam was the first religion to give women true rights. Before Islam came around pagans were burying their daughters in the sand. Islam was the first religion to give women rights. It gave women the right to vote, it gave women the right to own property. They say heaven is beneath your mothers feet and the prophet himself told people to treat your mother better than your father.

Islam started from one prophet and is now spread into a religion of over 1/6th of the world. The prophet himself would listen to the opinions of women just the same as men. To portray these women like extremists who are oppressed is disgusting and appalling. Who are you to display women in chador like they're extremists? I myself wear the hijab and have grown up in the U.S. Not a day goes by that at one time or another I don't feel uncomfortable, because some person is starting at me like I'm a terrorists. Do you know why they look at me like I'm crazy and oppressed? Because of people like you who give women in Islam a bad name.

I am not oppressed, I have chosen to wear the hijab and am proud of myself every day because of this choice. Islam is the fastest growing religion in the world, including the U.S., and three times as many women convert than men because of the rights Islam gives women. It is people like you who allow people to dwell in their ignorance of how Islam is the "terrorist" religion.

I'm not trying to in any way shape or form tell you that you should be a Muslim or tell you that your faith is wrong. What I am trying to tell you is that just as a human being you should try to make an effort to understand other people's religion and to respect them out of humanity. You stereotype these women into terrorists.

I'm a Muslim and come from a Middle Eastern country and in fact I'm happy, my parents treat me extremely lovingly and treat each other the same. My father has never even raised his hand or voice to my mother. I'm educated and I've never ever held a gun in my hand. So where you get your examples of Muslim women e from, I don't know. But what I do know is that your pictures are offensive, insinuating, degrading and just plain disgusting.

To think that God wasted talent on someone like you when he could have given it to one of the women in your photographs who could be photographing you.

Farina Yasmin Chaudry

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