June 21-25, 1999 / Khordad 31-Tir 4, 1378
- Do something about it
- I hope you go to heaven
- Khatami's political priority
- We sympathize, but...
- Universal narcissistic tendency
- You belong in hell
- No excuse
- Thank you
* Laleh Khalili:
- Mentally trapped
- Iranian blood not enough
June 25, 1999
* Do something about it
What really disturbed me about mr Sia M's article ["Son,
don't ever do that again"] isn't the poor state of health care
in Iran Now and in the past, but his sense of anguish or detachment.
If you look at logically, at least nowadays everyone knows the dire
straight position of Iranian economy, so much more than criticism is needed.
We need people with vision, funds and the commitment to make a difference,
and not tape recorders taping the misery we all know that exists.
Wouldn't it be better if every privileged Iranian (whether in Iran or
America or any where in the world) contributed somehow to set up or at
least help these hospitals deal with the poor better?
I am sure constructive criticism can help, but not the kind of hopelessness
that lots of Iranians tend to chat about.
It all comes down to believing that EACH and EVERY one of us CAN make
a DIFFERENCE. And collectively, who knows how many lives and how many jobs
we can save and create without the need to wait (forever) until a great
government comes about.
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* I hope you go to heaven
I was very impressed by your letter ["You belong
in hell"], it proudly displays your open mind and impressive level
of intellectual sophistication. Thank you very much for eloquently describing
how all 60-something million of us think and act alike.
From your letter I infer that all the Jews think the same, all the Christians
feel similarly about everything, and all the Hindus believe in one thing,
.....oh, I almost forgot, all the Americans are ignorant bastards, all
the Germans are Jew-killing Nazis, all Britons are colonialists, and all
the Israelis are ultraorthodox radicals...
I hope you go to heaven, because I hope God (mine and yours are one
and the same, like it or not) forgives you, and all the bigoted idiots
like you, whether they are Muslim, Jew, Christian, or whatever.
A civilized Iranian
Hamid Salamipour, M.D.,
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June 24, 1999
* We sympathize, but...
We sympathize with those protesting against the arrest of 13 Jews by
Iran's government on espionage charges. We, too, seek justice: If they're
innocent, free them and apologize. If not, imprison them and throw the
Your letter indicates that you don't enjoy a high
level of education or tactfulness. Your remarkable depth of ignorance about
Iranians and their struggle against a despot government in Iran has probably
led your underdeveloped mind to stereotype all the Iranian individuals
-- an action that I would never commit toward my best friends, who happen
to be Jews (Abraham and Shalom), by mixing their actions with many unfair
policies committed by the Israeli government toward Christian Israeli's
or Muslims living in Israel.
As an Iranian-American, I pray for your enlightenment. Well, at this
stage of your mental development, a simple improvement in culture and sophistication
will do. Practical advice: Cut back on using the sensational news on TV
and/or trashy magazines as the source of your insignificant information.
Instead, visit your public library more often.
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* Universal narcissistic tendency
I am afraid that there has been and will be for the fore-seeable future
a malignant strain of anti-Judaism in Iran ["I
must be a Jew"].
Those of us who have experienced the deep religious (and other kinds
of) bigotry displayed by the typical Muslim Iranian, would likely attest
to its universal hostility against non-Muslims including Christians, Bahais,
Zoroastrians and so on.
My own feeling is that there is a universal narcissistic tendency in
human beings to try to enhance their own standing by denigrating others;
"Even though I am a (X) beggar, I am still superior to that rich (Y)."
I recall Israeli Jews telling me how all dirty words in Hebrew have
come from Arabic since "Hebrew has been such a pure language"
etc. I also recall my sister being denied Hebrew instruction on the grounds
that only Jews should learn the Judaic language.
I empathize with those Jews who would like to have their history and
their contribution to Iran acknowledged. But they have to take a number
since the main contours of Iranian history is still largely unwritten,
let alone such interesting eddies as the Jews of Iran.
The most important thing, however, in my opinion, is not whether the
two religious communities like each other or don't like each other. The
most important thing is whether a Jew can live his life in peace; going
about his own business?
Can a Jew trust the state to protect his life, his family, and his property?
With the exception of the forced conversion of the Mashhadi Jews in the
19th century; this question must be answered in the affirmative as far
as Iran is concerned.
As I said before, I do not want to minimize the general bigotry of the
Iranian Muslims against non-Muslims (they were still restrained in expressing
their hostility by their religious beliefs, in my opinion.)
I personally believe that Islam may be viewed as Judaism for Gentiles;
the second surah of the Qoran is a recapitulation of Jewish Haggadah. I
also believe that there is a place within Islamic Iran for various religious
minority with full citizenship rights.
As the panelists observed, Jews have a long history in Iran and in Islam.
At the moment; the world Jewry has its faith in West. It is useful, in
my opinion, for Jews to keep their ancient ties to Iran; in spite of the
present difficulties. History has been full of unpleasant surprises.
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June 23, 1999
* You belong in hell
I cannot believe how you Iranians can be such a barbaric, anti-Semitic,
hate-mongering, blood-loving people. To take 13 innocent Jews and cook
up a false story of espionage, and then have thousands of people demonstrating
and shouting "Hang the Jews!", just goes to show that the place
where you Iranians belong is to rot in hell forever and ever.
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* Khatami's political priority
I read your article with interest on the Iranian economy ["Sleep-walking
economy"]. You make good observations and make some very valid
points. I was in Iran just a few weeks ago (after 13 years). The economic
situation is not very good and people don't have the feeling that the government
is doing much to fix anything. These are general observations from talking
to various people.
It also seems to me that Mr. Khatami's theory is that before the economy
can be fixed, political and social freedom must be expanded. While some
may disagree, my observance of his presidency leads me to believe that
this is exactly where he is placing his bets.
Also, I couldn't quite follow your argument on hard currency and why
more of it would not alleviate some problems. For example, one reason that
U.S. dollar exchange rate is high is that there simply is not enough of
Thanks and again, your article was done very well. I look forward to
reading many more pieces.
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June 22, 1999
* No excuse
Enjoyed reading "I
must be a Jew" in The Iranian. I agree with the assessment
that anti-Semitism is alive and well in the U.S., although not as overt
as say anti-Iranian, anti-Arab or anti-Black sentiments.
This of course does not excuse those of us in the Iranian community
who express their hatred towards Jews. This is simply wrong and if enough
people stood up and complained it would go away, at least in the way that
it is currently being expressed.
I do however reserve my dislike for Zionism, because it is an ethnocentric
and racist movement which a lot of Israelis and some American Jews subscribe
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* Thank you
Thank you for reminding us about our poets and literary figures - this
I hope we appreciate their contribution to our heritage.
June 21, 1999
* Mentally trapped
This morning I read Laleh Khalili's account of her trip to Abadan and
groves survive"]. It was very well written. Of course the things
she is describing are awesome, but there was also the style and the economy
and precision that served the telling.
Twice I broke down reading that part where she tells of the veterans
taking off their shoes to observe heart-felt respect they feel for those
killing fields when they visit their baked salty dusts. Compare this purity
with the mercenary posture and utterances of the vacuous "intellectuals"
and despicable "poets" etc.
Mentally trapped in a world of spent customs and habits, we are, all
of us, sleepwalking on a tight rope, that is also worn out, when we think
and talk about our society, its politics and culture.
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* Iranian blood not enough
I visited the Iranian web site and I saw Andre Agassi's pictures ["Andre the
great"]. They are really nice pictures. However, I don't ever
recall Agassi talking or mentioning anything about his Iranian background.
As a matter of fact, I don't think he has ever acknowledged that.
Keeping that in mind, my question is why should we, as Iranians, try
to relate him to ourselves. In my opinion, to being Iranian has nothing
to do with having Iranian blood, but it has everything to do with one's
love and interest toward Iran, its people, its culture and its history.
Unfortunately, I can't see this interest in Andre Agassi despite the
fact that his father is an Iranian and, if I am not mistaken, served in
Iran's national boxing team. I think he is a great tennis player, but I
just can't picture him as an Iranian.
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