July 26-30, 1999 / Mordad 4-8, 1378
- Slogans won't do it
- Thanks for Samad
- CIA couldn't do it better
- True conspiracies
- Blind faith
- Groundless assumptions
- Women in Islam
* The Iranian:
- Wishful thinking
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
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!
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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.
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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
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.
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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,
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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.
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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"
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
Farina Yasmin Chaudry
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