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Shahin & Sepehr


Sehaty Foreign Exchange

Advertise with The Iranian

May 3-7, 1999 / Ordibehesht 13-17, 1378


* The Iranian:
- This is who we are

* Relationships:
- Credit card
- Seeking mother


* Iranians:
- Khar mard-e rend

* Soroush:
- You simply lie
- More, please
- Attempt to reconstruct reality
- Iranian-American men just as bad
- Dignity?

- Weird Western girls
- Aftab-mahtab-nadeedeh wife?
- Hymen reconstruction

- Are you out of your mind?
* The Iranian:
- I disagree

- Why so blatantly biased?

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May 7, 1999

* This is who we are

In response to your letter (Babak Banaei)... Many people would agree that Islamic views are not all that you should see in Iranian culture. As much influence that Islam had in Iranian culture, I am surprised that you expect not too see any influence exerted on our culture by living in the U.S. This is who we are and the way we live here in the U.S. and this is reality. "Iran" and being "Irani" are not some small static definitions in a box. Culture is what we make of it. Culture is not a predetermined entity ... FULL TEXT

Pedram Aleshi

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* Daylight robbery

Mr. Tehranian's story was really amazing ["Turkish coffee is good. But not that good"]. I have also been cheated, on a few occasions and in different cities including Istanbul. However, I could never imagine that local charlatans could dare come up with frauds of such large amounts.

This certainly means that the same guys or similar con artists in the same city have done this in the past and have gotten away with it, while so called reputable organizations like Merrill Lynch and International Visa ignored them. So these con men keep doing it with confidence.

This is what we call daylight robbery. If Visa did not have such a vast and obvious monopoly in the credit card business, many people, including myself, would have returned the cards over this incident. I always enjoy Mr. Tehranian's articles, but this time while it wasn't fun, it was very educational.

Abbas Atrvash

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* Seeking mother

I commend Mr. Cyrus Rafaat's courage for his article on relationships ["Real Iranian girls?"]. Most people are probably not willing to openly show what asses they are. This author has made sweeping generalizations about women in Iran and in the U.S.

There are all types of people, living in every kind of society. The "ghaatipaati" women he referred to exist in the U.S. and they also exist in Iran, and every other society in the world. Similarly, good, upstanding women exist in all societies and cultures.

It sounds to me like Mr. Rafaat is seeking not a wife, but a mother, and therefore cannot accept an Iranian-American woman who would be so different than his mother, which he described as a Mid-Western American woman.

An Iranian-American woman would be dealing with a constant struggle between two cultures, which is the same struggle Mr. Rafaat with his mixed blood probably deals with everyday.

Moreover, he never told us of the outcome of his khastegaari in Iran. I imagine that any woman in her right mind who accepts marriage to this fellow is seeking an easy exit from Iran to the U.S., not knowing what kind of life awaits her here.

Arghavan Sadeghpour
Missoula, Montana

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May 6, 1999

* Khar mard-e rend

In response to Mr. Almassi's letter about "zerangi": The way you described zerang was wrong. A zerang person is not a cheat, liar, or opportunist. A zerang person knows what to do in every situation and has the ability to pull his gilim out of the water! (How do you like that? Persian idiom for you!) What you are referring to is not zerang, that is khar mard-e rend!

Khodadad Rezakhani

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* Iranian-American men just as bad

Mr. Cyrus Raafat, I have been thinking about the same issue for a while, as if you read my mind ["Real Iranian girls?"] . I am so unhappy about the quality of the people I have met here. After 20 years, I have met form the most intellectual, gorgeous face and body, to the richest. But yet not a match. You are right , most of them are so mixed up! They have no morals, virtues, or goals in life.They seem educated or that they come form a good family. But when you get closer, they all seem so fake! They have no idea what they want in life. Sexual relationships are so easy for them. No belief , political or spiritual ideals.

I sometimes think marrying in Iran may be the alternative. At least, everyone knows their roles! People are more respectful. Husband and wife have sharm va haya between themselves. Maybe , it is not such a bad idea after all. I just do not know how my parents would react to me marrying an Iranian man who does not speak English and has never lived in the West! I do not know how my friends would relate to this marriage. Or, maybe I should go to Iran and marry one of the guys who came form the U.S. looking for a wife. At least, he will not have to teach me English, driving, shopping, pay for my education and explain a new culture. Hay, his new bride will be so much more sophisticated than all of his other friends' brides imported from Iran!

It was funny reading your criticism of Iranian girls in the U.S. I hear the same things from my girlfriends about Iranian men living here! Few years ago, my blood would be boiling over your stereotyping. In a few years, you too would look at life differently.Relationships are hard work. Nothing that comes easy is appreciated for long. So, just because an Iranian-American girl does not bat her eyelashes at you all the time, does not hang on your every word, or is careful about her marriage choices, it does not mean she does not have much to offer.

And more importantly: What do you have to offer her? How interesting are you? What are your political views? what do you believe in, spiritually? What books are you reading these days? What do you think about the war in Yugoslavia? Are you a good role model for children? What kind of values and ethics do you have?

Although I have my issues with all three cultures, I value love and partnership. I value my family and friends. I have learned to look at the person -- not the package. So, stop chasing packages, and get to know the person, whoever she/he is! It is hard work but like a good gardener the harder you work, the prettier your roses!

Shahrzad Irani

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* Dignity?

I congratulate you on your sincere affection towards Iran and Iranian culture ["Real Iranian girls?"]. Nonetheless, just as you are praising Iranian girls for their dignity and self-respect, you contradict yourself by comparing them to touchable (or untouched!) objects, pieces of cake and lower species created and put there to serve as your virgin brides! Are you sure that you understand the meaning of dignity?

Najmeh Khalili

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May 5, 1999

* You simply lie

I read the interview with Mr Abdolkarim Soroush (previously Abdolkarim Haji Jafar) about reconciling Islam and human rights ["Travelers on one ship"]. Since the revolution everybody remembers him as a bearded man giving lectures on history and philosophy, in a language that was 80% Arabic, 20 % Farsi. I remember it was very difficult to follow

At that time he was the nightingale of the Islamic Republic. I remember those days (enghelaab-e-farhangi and the closure of all universities in Iran for four years). While we were struggling so hard to meet all the demands of the shoraay-e-enghelaab farhangi -- which Dr. Soroush was one of its eminent figures -- to reopen the universities, Dr. Soroush was giving sophisticated lectures to the public on TV.

He remembers well when he received my message about his lectures. I told him, "You are giving these lectures for AVAAM (ordinary Farsi-speaking people) but your highness should be aware that we do not understand you because these lectures are for the KHAVAAS (people who speak your lingo)."

Knowing Dr Soroush, he climbed the ladder of Borj-e-aaj, with the help of the Islamic Republic. I cannot believe in his sincerity, when he talks about democracy and human rights . Knowing Islamic fegh'h, everyone knows that they are not compatible. The Islamic Republic from Khomeini's time up to now has been very clear about that. They even went so far that they changed vealyat-e-faghih, to velayat-e-mostabeddeh-e faghih.

My request is for him to elucidate his process of ESTEHALEH to the public, not the way he used to give lectures nor the way he is writing nowadays, which is reminiscent of the writing in KALILEH & DEMNEH and he is very proud of it. Dr. Soroush, you are NAMAK KHOR & NAMAKDAN SHEKAN. YOU ARE A PERMANENT MEMBER OF HEZB-E-BAAD. You are still pretending. You simply lie.

Ali Agha

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* More, please

The Iranian needs more pieces like this! ["Soroush interview: Travelers on one ship"]

Babak Banaei

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* Weird Western girls

This is the best article I've read here! ["Real Iranian girls?"] This guy is great! I am a successful 42-year-old engineer in California who has not found Ms. Right. Look at this fascination with these "siaahs" for instance, what does that tell you? It might not be fair to say that all girls in the West are weirdos, but it seems all the ones I meet, are.

There are girls in Iran who do bad. But I bet they are like 3% of the population. Here in America maybe 3% are good; big difference!

I think if I get rich in the U.S. I will go back to my country and get a good girl. For now it seems hard to find one and after 17 years in this country this story has inspired me to go and check things out.

Ali Sofastaey

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* Aftab-mahtab-nadeedeh wife?

I read your proud proclamation of chauvinism with utter disbelief ["Real Iranian girls?"]. How truly hypocritical to admit to having been a playboy and expect an aftab-mahtab-nadeedeh wife! Do you not hold yourself to the same moral standards that you expect of your future partner in life? What on earth makes YOU a better husband than an Iranian man living in Iran or any of the more enlightened Iranian men living in the West?

There is nothing inherently wrong with wanting to marry a woman who was raised in Iran - there are undoubtedly a good number of intelligent, virtuous young ladies living there. However, the same is true about the women living in the west. Ultimately, there are people of all kinds everywhere.

If you have not had the opportunity to meet some of the more hard working, bright and accomplished Iranian women living in the U.S. in your lifetime, you should question your own character, social circle and life style!

To make sweeping generalizations about all Iranian women born or raised in the West and to call them all immoral, unchaste and lazy is disrespectful and does nothing to prove your point, if you have one at all.

It is your mentality and those of men like you that has made hymen reconstructive surgery one of the most frequently performed surgical procedures in Iran. Yes, the virgin wife that you will be importing could have an intact hymen, but nothing remotely virtuous about her. Of course, your hypocrisy deserves nothing less.

Mehrak Kiankarimi
Chaste in San Diego

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May 4, 1999

* Hymen reconstruction

Mr. Raafat's obsession with female virginity ["Real Iranian girls?"] is not only irritatingly uncool and medieval, but is also surprisingly naive for a self-proclaimed playboy.

Precisely because of customers like him, reconstructing hymen has become a common occurrence and a profitable business for doctors in Iran.

Iranian genius, with help from Japanese technology, rebuilds this precious part of the female anatomy better and stronger than God himself had intended.

While this keeps the likes of Mr. Raafat happy, it perpetuates hypocrisy and harms Iranian youth's desire for an open and healthy society.

Hossein Samiei
Washington D.C.

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* Are you out of your mind?

Cyrus Raafat mentioned ["Real Iranian girls?"] that Iranian girls abroad are "ghaatipaati" and in his opinion any self-respecting American girl is better than them. But, aren't you ghaatipaati when you are seeking a decent, virtuous, virgin, chaste, untouched bride and at the same time admit to being a playboy?

And of course congrats for meeting 23 girls during only 35 days in Iran. All they had to do to impress you was talking to you in English and "really" wanting to know you. I wonder if what you really need is just some attention, which you haven't gotten from Iranian-American girls.

And do you really think that if virginity is not an issue for someone, it means they do not care if their bride sleeps with someone else the night before their wedding? Either you are very simple or just completely out of your mind.

Yazdaneh Amiryazdani

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* I disagree

In penning his May 3rd letter "Why so blatantly biased", Mr. Banaei illustrates that he has bought into the Western notion of bias versus subjectivity, while he criticizes the very paradigm his analysis is based on. What he is in essence objecting to, is the fact that his viewpoint is not being addressed.

To adopt a different style, I disagree with Mr. Banaei for the following reasons: Banaei levels accusations and offers critiques of Iranian writers while failing to acknowledge that in general viewpoints reflect a bias. His admonition of the contributors to The Iranian is quite humorous given his "bias". Furthermore, by criticizing the writings of Laleh Khalili and Shalizeh Nadjmi, he trivializes the legitimate concerns and voices of Iranian women.

Couching this chauvinism in accusations of "zede Iran", Mr. Banaei is only illustrating his simplistic understanding of the larger issues facing the Iranian diaspora. Would he be content if women only wrote what he believes or didn't write at all? After years of struggling as veritable second class citizens, Iranian women are finding a voice and a forum to raise issues.

It is curiously ironic that at a time when President Khatami is struggling to guide the country on a course towards openness, tolerance and democratization, we encounter this sort of myopic analysis. I have no problems with Banaei speaking openly, and if I did, I certainly wouldn't accuse him of being "zede azadi".

Shahbaz Shahbazi

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May 3, 1999

* Attempt to reconstruct reality

From open letter in October 1997: Dr. Soroush was in a position of responsibility when the Iranian academic community was under the most serious intellectual, psychological and even physical assault. I do not recall hearing a word of support from Dr. Soroush. I said I find it delightfully ironic that my association comes to the defense of a man who regards himself as an intellectual but was a part of the machinery that destroyed an intellectual community. Be it a reminder to those who may be in the position of power today. Be it an example for those who have eyes and can see ... FULL TEXT

Sohrab Behdad

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* Why so blatantly biased?

I cannot help but notice the "zede-enqelaab" or even "zede-Iran" bias of your magazine. A simple browse over the list of articles available reveals this. You have the assimilationist piece by Guive Mirfendereski, an adolescent article by Pejman Mosleh, a thoroughly boring piece of fiction by Massud Alemi, a couple gharbzadeh-esque articles from Laleh Khalili, the article from Shalizeh Nadjmi that is little more than a thinly veiled rationalization of her Black man fetish, the collection of pictures from the pre-Revolutionary Air Force (who cares!?), the typically mediocre poetry of yet another gharbzadeh young Iranian woman, Leyla Momeny. ... Why is your magazine so blatantly biased? ... FULL TEXT

Babak Banaei

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